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"Dynamics of Rural Energy Access in India: An Assessment"

In this May 24, 2011 photograph, Boommi Gowda, extreme right , holds an oil lamp as her children study in their house in Nada, a village near the southwest Indian port of Mangalore, India.
AP Photo

"Dynamics of Rural Energy Access in India: An Assessment"

Journal Article, Energy, volume 36, issue 9, pages 5556-5567

September 2011

Author: Balachandra Patil, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 20092010

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Energy Technology Innovation Policy; Environment and Natural Resources; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



This article is based on research conducted during the author's research fellowship with the Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group during 20092010.


India's rural energy challenges are formidable with the presence of majority energy poor. In 2005, out of a rural population of 809 million, 364 million lacked access to electricity and 726 million to modern cooking fuels. This indicates low effectiveness of government policies and programs of the past, and need for a more effective approach to bridge this gap. However, before the government can address this challenge, it is essential that it gain a deeper insight into prevailing status of energy access and reasons for such outcomes. Toward this, we perform a critical analysis of the dynamics of energy access status with respect to time, income and regions, and present the results as possible indicators of effectiveness of policies/programmes. Results indicate that energy deprivations are highest for poorest households with 93% depending on biomass for cooking and 62% lacking access to electricity. The annual growth rates in expansion in energy access are gradually declining from double digit growth rates experienced 10 years back to just around 4% in recent years. Regional variations indicate, on an average, cooking access levels were 5.3 times higher in top five states compared to bottom five states whereas this ratio was 3.4 for electricity access.


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For Academic Citation:

Patil, Balachandra. "Dynamics of Rural Energy Access in India: An Assessment." Energy 36, no. 9 (September 2011): 5556-5567.

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