The government of the Indian state Orissa has promised to deliver electricity to another 2,000 villages by the end of March 2012.The electricity will not come from traditional power plants but from a mix of solar, wind and biomass sources as well as small-scale hydropower projects.
The Indian government is momentarily doing a great deal of investment in renewable power sources to meet growing power demands. So far, wind power capacity of 1167MW and about 5 billion units of electricity have been fed into the national grid. Small-business owners have started using renewable energy sources for their power needs. Although solar panels are still unaffordable for the majority, the use of solar heaters is expanding in houses and hotels in India with the market rapidly growing. Bangalore has the largest number of rooftop solar water heaters in India that generates an energy equivalent of 200 MW everyday.
But in many rural areas it is still a different story, even concerning traditional electrification. Despite earlier efforts of the state and the central government, nearly 40% of Orissa villages are yet to be electrified. In the national scenario, Orissa is placed at the bottom of the list (24th position) of states already electrified, along with states like Bihar, Meghalaya, Tripura and Jharkhand. This is a surprise fact for Orissa, as it is regarded as a leading power producer in the country. But progress is at hand; currently already 395 villages in the state are powered by solar energy and an additional number of 205 are to be completed by the end of the year. Further renewable energy development in Orissa includes 118 MW of biomass plants, with 20 MW of that to be completed soon. Two wind power projects, 150 MW in size are in the works, with surveys for 22 more locations underway. Micro, mini and small scale hydropower projects are also planned for deliver an additional 300 MW.
So no hooking up to coal-fired plants for these first time electricity users, if all goes to plan it will be smooth sailing into the modern era of electricty for these rural villages.