Pune, 29th October 2015: The United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (UN-ESCWA) is keen on bringing Asia Pacific and Middle East together for effective utilization of renewable energy. UN-ESCWA is going to encourage technology and policy transfer between India and West Asian countries for use of renewable energy especially in rural parts of these countries.
“This will create a greater opportunity for Indian companies operating in this particular area to deploy more projects in Western Asian countries,” opined Dr. Krishnan Raghavan, Coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
As part of this project, senior-level policy makers from six major countries of the ESCWA region, including Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania, Oman, Sudan, and Morocco were in Pune to participate in a study tour and training programme on ‘Ensuring Access to Modern Energy Services in Rural Areas through the Use of Renewable Energy Technologies – The Indian Experience’.
The programme was organised by the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE), Pune, who were the Indian partners, and was facilitated by UNESCAP-APCTT.
The key purpose of this study tour in India was:
§ To enable policy makers in selected ESCWA member countries to design policies for development and dissemination of appropriate green technologies in rural areas.
§ To enhance the knowledge of policy makers and decision makers on policy options and build their capacity for using policy tools to enable an environment conducive for investment in appropriate green technologies in rural areas in the region. It will:
– Acquaint participants with successful experiences in the area of developing, promoting, and implementing green technology initiatives.
– To expose participants to successful experiences in the implementation of policies leading to an environment favorable to investment in the development, promotion, and dissemination of appropriate green technology initiatives.
Field visits to an RE facility in rural settings and to organizations involved in providing modern energy access through appropriate renewable energy technologies was also organised by The World Institute of Renewable Energy (WISE), Pune.
Senior representatives from the United Nations who were present in the study tour and training programme were Dr Krishnan Raghavan, Coordinator for the technology transfer programme of UNESCAP-APCTT; Mr Kohji Iwakami, Economic Affairs Officer, Energy Security and Water Resources, Environment and Development Division, UN-ESCAP; and Imad Sleiman from UN-ESCWA. G M Pillai, Founder Director General, WISE, is leading the project in India; and Surendra Pimparkhedkar, Fellow and Head, Centre for Regulation and Policy, WISE, was the Programme Coordinator for the study tour and training programme.
It was discussed during the study tour sessions that,
· Lack of access to modern energy services in off-grid rural and remote regions ranks among the top factors holding back development of rural communities. Extending the grid to these regions requires allocation of large public funding; such funding, however, is subject to national development prioritization, and unfortunately, competing national needs and low return on investment for such projects lessen their chances of early approval.
· Appropriate renewable energy application technologies can be an alternative to the grid in ensuring modern energy access to off-grid rural communities. They require smaller investments, follow a distributed electricity generation model, are locally installed and sized as per local needs, but most importantly, they can be affordable to segments of rural communities.
· Improving rural economies leads to job creation, increased income, and improved livelihoods, which translates into better social services. Improving productivity of local businesses follows this logic, and having access to energy might be a turning point to some farming and non-farming activities through acquisition of technology tools with high potential for improving productivity.
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