Decentralized renewable energy (DRE) in India is not only moving towards self-sufficiency but also providing solutions that can solve major energy issues from the ground level. The concept makes energy affordable for beneficiaries and ensures sustainability for the years to come.
Ecoideaz is delighted to bring you case studies from enterprises that have made their mark in the sector and are continuing to do so. These enterprises are members of CLEAN, a network organization that champions DRE initiatives across various sectors.
This story talks about how ‘Fair Climate Fund‘, a Netherlands-based social enterprise creates a positive impact on the lives of people living in Chikballapur district of Karnataka. The area predominantly consists of people living below the poverty line. The inhabitants still rely on traditional techniques to function in their day to day lives, including traditional cooking methods. These methods largely required the use of firewood, resulting in carbon emissions and smoke. This not only deteriorated the environment but also took a toll on their health.
Fair Climate Fund began working with its partner NGO ADATS in early 2009 to provide biogas units to around 12,000 households who are members of a local community organization Bagepalli Coolie Sangha (BCS). This simple process requires the collection of organic waste to be fermented in an underground unit, so that enough biogas is generated for daily cooking needs.
This method of cooking reduces CO2 and methane emissions in the kitchen, clears up organic waste, and saves household expenses on kerosene, wood, and time. Further, the byproduct ‘slurry’, which comes out of the biogas digester, serves as a good fertilizer. A biogas plant of 2 cubic meters provides enough gas for a family to cook daily and to heat water in a safe and environmentally friendly way. What remains after fermentation is fertile manure.
These biogas plants are financed by contributions from the participating families, which are reimbursed through carbon credits. They not only provide material benefit to such families but also achieve various UN Sustainable Development Goals for Fair Climate Fund. Its partner NGOs such as BCS undertake various development activities in the fields of health, education for children and adults, as well as small-scale lending, agricultural development, and activities to support widows and abandoned women.
In 2012, ADATS and BCS placed a biogas plant at Narsamma’s house. Narsamma is a 56-year-old farmer living with her husband and children. Besides completing domestic chores and crop plantation, a big chunk of her time went in fetching firewood every day. She would go to the woods, collect and carry the load on her head and upon returning home, cut them into smaller pieces, as required for cooking. The laborious and harmful process of cooking took its own time.
The biogas plant was installed with the intention of making life easy for Narsamma. Its 2-cubic meter unit capacity provided enough gas for the family’s daily cooking requirement. This method of cooking also saved Narsamma approximately 16 hours a week of drudgery. Similar other biogas plants were placed on other community households so that more number of inhabitants could benefit from it. “Rich people use gas for cooking and since I use biogas, I feel rich too. I can cook faster now, so my kids are on time for school. Also, I can give more time to farming now. I am very grateful.” says a gratified Narsamma.
With a mission to demonstrate that the carbon market can benefit people most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, Neera van der Geest, Director, Fair Climate Fund says, “We are happy to help people like Narsamma, together with our partners in India and in the West. Our goal is to make climate neutrality the norm in a fair way. This means working towards a better climate and at the same time helping the most vulnerable people become resilient against the effects of climate change. We believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we provide future generations around the world with a secure environment and sustainable existence.”