Bhubaneswar : In a significant step towards advancing the national goal of embracing distributed renewable energy solutions and addressing sustainability challenges, SwitchON Foundation in partnership with SELCO Foundation, successfully organized an “Expo on Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE)” in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The DRE Expo showcased the latest advancements in renewable energy solutions for underserved rural communities and there were deliberations on the prospects and potential of DRE in Odisha.
The workshop brought together stakeholders from various sectors to delve into the diverse facets of distributed renewable energy solutions in India. Notable attendees included
Dr. Sudhansu K K Mishra, CGM, NABARD as Chief Guest, Shri. Soumya Ranjan Panda, Joint Director, OREDA and Shri. Muktikant Mahapatra, Chief Engineer, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Empowerment and representatives from numerous organizations, leaders of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Gram Panchayat (GP) and Block-level leaders, Self-Help Group (SHG) leaders, and crucial government departments such as the Agriculture Department and Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA). Additionally, local service providers, renewable energy manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers contributed their expertise to the event. The collective aim was to foster discussions on scalability and the broader adoption of distributed renewable energy technology and solutions, ultimately enhancing livelihoods and community enterprises.
The workshop sought to create awareness and disseminate knowledge about the importance and benefits of distributed renewable energy sources and technologies. It also shed light on government initiatives, and incentives to foster DRE adoption. Practical demonstrations gave them hands-on experience with various DRE solutions. It also explored ways of initiating the ecosystem for better adoption and scalability of DRE solutions through bridging all stakeholders together like FPO leaders, GP/Block level SHG leads, farmers, NGOs and government departments.The initiative also introduced and promoted the concept of green entrepreneurship.
Mr. Vinay Jaju, MD of SwitchON Foundation, commented on the event, “Distributed Renewable Energy solutions have proven to double farmer income, improve standard of living and by bringing together stakeholders from various sectors, we hope to accelerate the adoption of distributed renewable energy, positively impacting both livelihoods and the environment.”
According to the Odisha Renewable Energy Policy report 2022 published in The Odisha Gazette, between 2005 and 2018, Odisha saw a significant 2.67-fold increase in its emissions, with the energy sector responsible for 92% of this surge, indicating a pressing need for renewable energy adoption. Odisha achieved only 23% of its 2022 renewable energy targets, with an installed renewable energy capacity of approximately 627.57 MW, falling short of the targeted 2750 MW. The state has ambitious plans to escalate its renewable energy capacity to 10,000 MW by 2030.The new policy promotes decentralization by emphasizing the utilization of solar technologies at a local level, including solar cookers, solar water heaters, and solar food dryers.
Challenges in expanding localized renewable energy capacity in Odisha include disinterested consumers, inadequate operation and maintenance services, a shortage of skilled workers at the grassroots level, and a need for training programs tailored to the renewable energy sector to support rural livelihood promotion and skill development initiatives.
Mr. Gautam Pradhan, Sr. Advisor, SELCO Foundation remarked, “Collaborative initiatives like this are pivotal in our shared aim to promote distributed renewable energy solutions. By partnering with multiple stakeholders, we aim to inspire and empower communities towards a sustainable and brighter tomorrow.”
Shri. Soumya Ranjan Panda, Joint Director, OREDA, spoke about the initiative,“Today’s workshop marks a significant step in our commitment to sustainable energy solutions. By fostering awareness, supporting practical demonstrations, and promoting green entrepreneurship, we can create a brighter, greener future for our communities and our nation.”
Dr. Sudhansu K K Mishra, CGM, NABARD , shared his perspective, “NABARD is committed to supporting initiatives like these that bridge the gap between technology, finance, and rural development. By fostering collaboration and innovation, we can truly catalyze the growth of distributed renewable energy, contributing to a greener future.”
To achieve widespread DRE adoption, the importance of uniting all the stakeholders is of utmost importance. The Expo facilitated dialogue and collaboration among the multiple layers of stakeholders. This collaborative ecosystem will be a catalyst for scalability and sustainable DRE solutions. Through expert panels, interactive exhibits and networking opportunities the expo aimed to drive sustainable energy solutions.