Indian rural electrification project launched

24 March 2006 – Over $3m is to be invested in helping provide power to rural communities in India after GE officially launched its Rural Electrification programme for India at a ceremony in New Delhi yesterday.

The ceremony confirmed a partnership announced earlier this year by USAID and GE. With the aim of increasing access to cleaner and more affordable energy services in rural India, USAID plans to contribute $600 000, while GE and its network of technology centres and partners will invest up to $2.7m in direct and indirect funding.

In addition to the joint programme with USAID, GE has pledged to support the ‘Power to All by 2012’ and ‘Rural Electrification/Rural Business Hub’ initiatives that have been launched by the Indian government.

At present, 56 per cent of India’s 700 million rural residents lack reliable power supplies. GE’s Rural Electrification Programme for India has been designed around renewable and waste stream technologies that can help to reduce or eliminate a community’s dependence on transported fuels.

The Programme will incorporate a number of technologies including renewable, biogas or waste gas technologies, as well as high-efficiency, low emissions gas turbines and engines. The company also believes there is potential within the programme for furthering energy independence of communities through the use of solar and wind power.

GE’s Global Research Centre in Bangalore has developed an integrated hybrid technology model for the programme, which combines various forms of renewable energy and provides customised power solutions based on availability of local fuel resources.

During yesterday’s ceremony, GE also announced that it would supply biogas engines for pilot projects in India. Under the programme it has signed a contract with Malavalli Power Plant Private Limited (MPPL) to provide 30 Jenbacher JMS320 engines, which will be used to generate combined heat and power to meet electrical, refrigeration and heating needs within rural communities.

Chairman of MPPL, K. Krishan, said: “These projects can be the catalyst in helping us meet almost 50 per cent of our rural electrification needs by using renewable energy.”