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Powering Sustainable Livelihoods: India’s Summit on Harnessing Decentralized Energy for Rural Development

Our partner the Council on Energy Environment and Water (CEEW), along with Villgro, hosted an event focused on showcasing the impact of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) on rural livelihoods in India. The event, the National Summit on 'Powering Sustainable Livelihoods', took place at ITC Maurya in New Delhi on May 17, 2023. The primary objective of the event was to highlight the initiatives of Powering Livelihood, a joint initiative of CEEW and Villgro, aimed at boosting the rural economy through the widespread adoption of DRE-based applications. The program specifically emphasized the empowerment of women.

The Powering Livelihood initiative achieves its goals by:

  1. Providing comprehensive technical and capital assistance to social impact enterprises that deploy DRE-powered equipment.

  2. Facilitating sector partnerships with financiers, investors, state government departments, and go-to-market companies.

  3. Generating tailored market research providing insights and evidence on the impact and viability of DRE solutions at scale.

  4. Supporting the development of national and sub-national policy frameworks to mainstream DRE and positively impact rural communities.

The event attracted over 200 delegates, including innovators, startups, and grassroots voices. A small expo was organized for DRE-based startups incubated under the Powering Livelihood umbrella, showcasing various products such as solar driers, solar refrigerators, small solar pumps, solar-based fodder units, and solar looms. The highlight of the event was the presence of Shri RK Singh, the Power Minister of India, who launched a report titled "How Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) Powered Technologies Impact Livelihood - Findings from the Ground," which presented on-the-ground research findings. Additionally, the program also introduced its own solar anthem to raise awareness about DRE.

During panel discussions, female farmers, members of self-help groups, State Livelihood Mission officers, civil society organizations, and founders of DRE-based startups shared their experiences of using DRE applications and how they have improved lives. The program also focused on the challenges, financing options, and scalability issues associated with DRE-based solutions. Mr. Jeevan Kumar Jethani, Deputy Director at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), highlighted MNRE's unique framework for DRE-based solutions, based on a year of extensive consultations. To further support this framework, MNRE is planning to provide additional financial subsidies for various types of DRE applications, in addition to the large solar pumps covered under the PM Kusum scheme. Mr. Abhishek Jain, a Fellow at CEEW, noted that India is the first country to have such a framework for DRE-based applications, setting an example for other nations to follow.

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Power for All’s delegate Pooja Kumari, Jharkhand Manager, with a poster showcasing members of Powering Livelihood. Power for All has been a supporter of Powering Livelihood from the beginning.

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