The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced an interesting initiative for rural India. The National Biomass Cookstove initiative which aims to provide efficient cooking stoves to rural areas. This is a step which we see as a positive sign of the realisation of creating sustainable, clean and cheap sources of energy and making sure that the same is available at a large scale to the relevant market.
According to the MNRE, 80% of residential energy in India comes from biomass (with 826 million users), which has adverse environmental and health effects, especially on women and children. The National Biomass Cookstove initiative is meant to be economically sustainable, so the government will not give out cookstoves. Instead, this initiative is meant to improve on previous efforts by properly training new users on how to use the new technology, simultaneously working on the design to adapt to traditional cooking methods, and encouraging public private partnerships.
This is an encouraging step towards creating new possibilities for the BoP in India and also establishing scalable infrastructure, for the private players to understand and better design for the BoP market. Such a move will surely have interests of the large private players and attract many young entrepreneurs who are working towards creating disruptive innovations towards “energy” based solutions, which are meant to serve the BoP market in India.
We find the the initiative to be very promising both in terms of creating the right outreach and opening up the windows of opportunity to problem solvers and the consumers. The technology aims at reducing India’s climate impact, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the health of the rural population.
More such suggestions should come up and more initiatives should be taken up, establishing a solid partnership between the government and the private players, to show the sizable market opportunity which exists, with needs, which are different from that of the urban market.