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Bihar: Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi promises to act on Greenpeace recommendations for energy access

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Patna: The Greenpeace report "Empowering Bihar: Policy pathway for energy access" was unveiled by Honourable Deputy Chief Minister Shri Sushil Kumar Modi at a conference in Hotel Chanakya, Patna. The report illustrates the changes that have to be made, both in terms of institutional and government policies to enable the state of Bihar meet its energy requirements. The report suggests that a decentralised approach based on renewable sources of energy would not only solve the prevailing issue of limited access to reliable energy in rural areas, but also transform the economic situation of the state.

Decentralised energy systems offer opportunities to transform the state's rural areas significantly by enhancing the overall socio–economic capacities. The state has several natural and strategic advantages like solar potential, which could be the main source of energy for the state in the coming years. Being an agriculturally dominant state it has the potential to produce abundant agricultural residue that could be used for energy generation. Along with this, it also has potential for developing small scale hydro power and wind power in the northern parts of the state.
Greenpeace has been campaigning on decentralized renewable energy in Bihar since 2010 and believes that DRE can revolutionize the energy situation of the state. Ramapati Kumar, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India, said, "Greenpeace is recommending a state-wide network of decentralized renewable energy plants developed with support from state government agencies, in collaboration with private entrepreneurs for an effective and accelerated economic development of the state. What is needed is a robust policy that would enable an environment to kick start the process."

Hounourable Deputy Chief Minister commended Greenpeace on its report and promised to take the recommendations into consideration.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Anjula Gurtoo, lead author of the report said, "The report recommends integrated energy planning and institutional changes in the immediate short term while demanding adequate governance structures and policy changes in the long term. The suggestions in the report are aligned with the state's need to increase its investment capacity, generate developmental benefits and minimize environmental damage."

The biggest challenge before the government is to provide reliable energy access to approximately 89 per cent of its rural population. "Greenpeace envisions that Bihar can become a champion state by becoming self-reliant in energy and thereby effectively provide quality energy services to its rural populace in a short period of time. Greenpeace is committed to help Bihar government to strengthen the RE policy and have suggested various policy option  in bringing about a comprehensive policy and facilitate a process in the state", informed Arpana Udupa, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The report was released in the presence of Shri Shaibal Gupta, ADRI, energy and policy experts along with renewable energy service companies discussing the policy framework for Bihar.

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