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Tata Power, Rockefeller Foundation boost renewable microgrid electricity in India

November 2019
Tata Power and The Rockefeller Foundation recently announced the launch of a major new initiative to set up microgrids, which will address one of the most pervasive challenges in modern India: the lack of access to affordable, reliable electricity for millions of rural homes and enterprises. By scaling up an innovative microgrid model to be implemented in collaboration with Smart Power India (SPI) and the Institute for Transformative Technologies, TP Renewable Microgrid will provide clean power to nearly 5 million households, directly impacting the lives of 25 million people over the next decade.

This unique collaboration will amplify the Government of India’s ongoing campaign to provide electricity to rural areas, unleashing the potential of renewable microgrids to serve households and businesses that suffer from poor reliability and coverage by traditional grid-based power.

Rural businesses and households continue to rely on alternative sources to power daily needs – with more than 40 per cent of rural enterprises in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh relying on non-grid sources of power such as diesel. The new model, which will be operated and managed by Tata Power, will provide a competitive and cleaner source of power, expanding access and lowering effective electricity costs and carbon emissions by 1 million tons per year as well as reducing the amount of diesel burned by 57 million litres yearly. Over time, the opportunity to deploy grid-interactive solutions will materialize, creating a more integrated, stable and smart rural grid.

“We are proud to bring energy to millions of people, once at scale, TP Renewable Microgrid anticipates supporting 100,000 rural enterprises, creating 10,000 new green jobs, and providing irrigation for over 400,000 local farmers,” said Tata Power CEO, Praveer Sinha. “We look forward to empowering communities across India by creating micro-enterprise and creating opportunities for all people.”

Its anticipated rollout of 10,000 grids will drastically expand the global microgrid footprint and will act as a catalyst for governments and the private sector to collaborate in building clean, resilient and stable grids in other markets. SPI, which was launched by The Rockefeller Foundation in 2015, would provide technical expertise to the enterprise, having built microgrids that today provide clean, distributed electricity to more than 200 villages in rural India.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to transform the lives of millions of people in India by providing access to power,” said Dr Rajiv J Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Providing reliable electricity to the communities that need it most is one of the best ways for us to end poverty and unleash economic opportunity in our lifetimes.”

In addition to building, owning, and operating microgrids in India, the microgrid intends to provide ancillary micro-enterprise services to benefit communities.