Action towards Sustainable Rural Energy: Enhancing Energy Security for Forest Villages | Original Article
India has around 6.41 lakh villages in which 2,474 forest villages& settlements spread over 12 States are completely located in the forest. Forest villages mostly habitat of tribal and their population (Forest dwellers) and their livelihoods are critically linked to the forest ecosystem. These forest dwellers are among the poorest people and are highly vulnerable because of high dependency on natural resources, and lacking clean and efficient energy. This has made them to be remaining poor and poor quality of life. In the absence to grid connected power, they are not in a position to irrigate the land and better utilize their skill and time to enhance their economy. Further, fuel-mix in the forest villages of India is characterized by predominance of bio-energy which includes fuel-wood, crop residues, and animal dung. This heavy dependence on biomass and traditional energy techniques with low conversion efficiency has led to serious environmental and health effects, particularly at the local, regional level. The most obvious solution would be to connect these villages through grid supply, but due to their remoteness and heavy transmission & distribution loss, this may not be a viable solution to get them connected to grid connected power supply. India is committed for enhancing its share of clean energy and also electrify those remote villages, which are not connected through grids. There are efficient renewable energy techniques (RET), widely tested in India may also be suitable to these forest villages also. These villages are rich in renewable energy sources like flowing water, wind, solar and more reliable one is the bio-mass. The paper is discussing on the quantification of forest village resources and proto-typing and institutionalizing RETs for energy security to these villagers. Sustainable management of renewable feed stock for RET will help to conserve the forest and enhance livelihood and quality life of these forest villages.