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Decentralised renewable energy (DRE) technologies

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life


Source: DTE

 Context: According to a new report, technologies that are powered by DRE could potentially impact 37 million livelihoods in India’s agriculture and textile sectors.


DRE: Energy that is generated close to where it will be used and typically uses renewable energy sources, including small hydro, combined heat and power (CHP), biomass, solar and wind power.


DRE technologies include: Solar-run textile manufacturing units, biomass-powered cold solar storages and micro solar pumps, etc.


Current status in India:


  • India has 12 mature technologies powered by DRE.
  • There are 5.5 lakh installations of these 12 technologies, with an estimated livelihood impact of 5.6 lakh people.



  • DRE has a market potential of Rs 4 lakh crore in rural and peri-urban communities in India and can impact 37 million livelihoods.
  • Solar-powered technologies have the maximum potential to be deployed (UP leads in terms of estimated future adoption).
  • Solar pumps are the most mature technologies due to the government subsidies provided.


Positive impacts of using DRE technologies:

 Barriers to DRE tech adoption:

  • The commercial viability of such solutions, which are capital intensive in nature.
  • One barrier faced by the users is the lack of direct contact with the manufacturers to address technology defects.


Way ahead:

  • Assessment of demand: It will help in mapping the needs of beneficiaries with appropriate fit to DRE livelihood applications.
  • R&D and standardisation: To offer tailor-made solutions important for their widespread adoption.
  • Pilot and up-scaling: It is vital to ascertain the success of any technology innovation on the ground.
  • Access to finance:
    • Introducing long-period, low-interest loans to users to enable ease of adoption of such solutions.
    • State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs) can leverage their existing institutional setup to provide financial support for the women SHG members.
  • Skill development and capacity building:
    • This has the potential of creating new local job opportunities in operations, maintenance and installation/fabrication.
    • Linkages will be established in existing government schemes like MUDRA to support micro-entrepreneurship in the value chain for DRE livelihood applications.
  • Public information and awareness