Renewable energy village

How one community became an example of the benefits of access to energy

Even where natural energy resources such as the sun, wind and water are readily available, communites often lack the knowledge, expertise and funds needed to utilise them. 

The provision of energy is critical to help people escape poverty. Renewable energy technologies offer clean and sustainable options for generating energy. When owned and managed in the right way they can make a dramatic contribution to poverty reduction.

In rural Nepal, where the majority of the population still does not have access to basic energy services, Practical Action has established an "Energy Village" demonstrating how renewable energies - micro-hydro, solar and wind - can make an enormous benefit to income generation and local development without increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Practical Action's Renewable Energy Village in a Chepang Village in Gorhka district has meant that 67 households now have access to lighting from renewable energy sources. These sources include wind/solar hybrid, micro-hydro, pico-hydro and solar lanterns.

The project aims to increase income and build capacities of poor Chepangs in development and management of infrastructure facilities. In addition to energy for lighting the following activities have also been undertaken:

  • Installation of 11 bio-gas plants as a source of clean energy
  • Installation of 47 smoke hoods for alleviating kitchen smoke in 47 households.
  • Construction of 10 demonstration Ecosan toilets for improving household sanitation
  • Training on marketing of local products
  • Introduction of solar dryers for agro-processing

One man's dream brought light to the village

Lukman Praja is a Chepang farmer residing in Bhumlichowk VDC of Gorkha district, central Nepal. Chepangs are of an indigenous ethnic group who are also one of the most disadvantaged communities with the lowest level of literacy. Until a few years ago they did not even have citizenship cards, nor ownership certificates of their land.

Nuprang village, where Lukman lives, has only five households and is just 3 km off the national highway. In spite of being so close to the highway the villagers are deprived of basic public facilities. They are also deprived of electricity even though the national grid passes near the village. And there is no possibility of getting it for many years to come.

Practical Action visited Lukman's village and Lukman supported the team by providing relevant information and requested Practical Action to bring electricity to their village. However it is difficult to provide an electricity facility for just five households from micro-hydro or from the national grid.

To solve this problem several technological options were considered and a wind & solar hybrid panel was installed. Villagers remained sceptical about the scheme but celebrated through song and dance when the first electricity was provided.

The villagers experienced a better quality of life after electricity was introduced. Children began to study in a better environment and the household sanitation improved. Working in the kitchen was not troublesome for Lukman's wife anymore, as she does not have to use a wick lamp. As a result the overall health of the village also improved.

These renewable energy technologies are beautifully simple however they can change the lives of people, families and communities immeasurably.  Without your help Practical Action cannot pass on the key knowledge necessary to pull people of poverty. Please, make a donation today.

Video reports from the Renewable Energy Village

Energy for Rural Communities

Nearly a third of the world's population have no access to grid electricity. Households can use renewable energy to provide electricity.

Rural Lighting

Lighting is taken for granted in industrial countries. It is hard for many people to imagine living at night without being able to obtain light at the flick of a switch.

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