Earth Summit 2002   Assessing Best Practice

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Assessing Best Practice

The participants at this workshop first of all agreed a list of Criteria that could be used to help assess energy projects in meeting the needs required for best practice. The next stage of the workshop consisted of some of the participants presenting their own project proposals or research findings. The two proposals and the action plan listed below are the outcomes of the workshop. However,  the general consensus from the participants is that it would be good at some stage to pull the different initiatives together and work collaboratively for success. At this stage more dialogue is needed between the different organisations as how best this could be accommodated.


Criteria for Assessing Best Practice Energy Projects



Integrate existing formal and informal structures

Diverse and integrated energy sources

Integration of different criteria



Relevant to local needs, conditions, culture and belief systems




Meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including policy makers


Bottom-up implementation and ownership

Involvement of women



Best available and appropriate technology (user friendly, affordable, short payback, ecologically friendly, safe and functional)

Holistic approach (e.g. cooking systems, pot shapes etc)

Efficient consumption, production

Conversion, user and maintenance efficiency


Quality of life

Improved education (children)


Poverty eradication

Attitudes of people to consumption



Economic efficiency

Considering social and environmental externalities

Value addition: cultural activities, economic development of the region, income generation, job creation


Realistic pricing



In harmony with nature

Emission and production of green house gases

Community forests as carbon sinks

Pollution level (H2O, sound, air)



Systematic evaluation and feedback

Baseline information

Implementation time scale


Gender Aspect


Strategic alliances

Support networks


Capacity building

Empowerment of people to participate in decision making

(communication, training, information etc.)

Use of technology and maintenance of infrastructure



Is the project sustainable?

Are the energy sources sustainable?

What is the overall impact of the project on the receiving environment (physical environment, people, quality of life, number of people affected, income generation, health, education etc.)



Enabling framework

Legislation, policy and political will

Transparency in decision making

Transparency between national and local governments, private sector



Proposal 1: Local Energy Launch-pad

by Rob Fowler and Randeep Bindra


The key steps/actions: Develop an interactive tool that matches local sustainable development implementers with energy information and tools that are relevant to their specific local context.

Utilise and consolidate information resources currently being developed by the wider energy community including databases, case examples, best practices, key lessons and expertise as well as practical guides for needs assessments, community organisation, strategic planning, impact assessments and project planning.

The partners: Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future; US Department of Energy; Eskom Renewables; Global Village Energy Partnership  (to be confirmed)

The funding requirements: To be determined

Details: This is a PowerPoint Presentation.

Current Status:  This proposal is currently stages of finalisation.



Proposal 2: Identification, documentation and replication of integrated renewable energy models in India

By Arjun Dutta, CUTS India, and Professor Sujay Basu Jadavapur University


Objective of the project:

Identification of successful integrated renewable energy model (it could be bunch of successful models as ‘best’ is relative and restrictive terminology) as practiced in India on the basis of well defined socio economic and environmental parameters to make a comparative impact analysis of such models across different regions and nations.

Awareness generation and capacity building programmes among policy makers, implementing agencies and other stake holders of renewable energy to invoke interest among them to replicate identified good practice models. 



The Government of India has taken an ambitious plan to produce 10,000 MW of electricity from renewable sources by the year 2012. It will constitute 10 percent of total electrical capacity addition with the 10th and 11th five-year plan period.

Over 70 percent of the India’s population of one billion still resides in villages. To Indian energy planners, meeting the energy requirements of this vast non-urban population is a challenging development issue.

The Central Government formed the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) in 1969 for the specific purpose of bringing electricity to the villages. In terms of the number of villages, the REC’s performance was impressive: up to March 31, 1996, some 86.3 percent of India’s 580,000 villages had been electrified. But the percentage of rural households electrified was dismally low (less than 15 percent). In other words rural electrification could improve the quality of life of the richer section only keeping the majority of the populace in the darkness. Despite its strong political appeal and its sound economic and political objectives, the rural electrification programme as envisaged initially has failed to bring about the intended changes in the lives of rural people.

To meet the energy needs of the majority of villagers with limited purchasing power, it is imperative that the rural energy supply be enhanced and an alternative energy source is to be explored.

India’s National Planning Commission launched the Integrated Rural Energy Programme (IREP) in the early 1980s with two broad objectives. (i) To meet the basic energy needs of rural people by utilizing locally available resources and (ii) to supply a critical input for the sustainable economic development of rural areas. IREP also encourages local self-governments, institutions and NGOs in effective energy planning at the local level.

As IREP activities are mostly in the field of non-conventional energy, in 1994 the programme was shifted to the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES).

On the implementation side, the programme starts with planning at the level of a block of villages, then at the district level and finally at the state level. Each block has a junior engineer and programme officer; the local district administration looks after block activities and co-ordinates overall planning; the state level has a senior engineer and an economist in charge of planning. In each block/district a technical institution functions as technical back-up unit (TBU), while a university serves as a state backup unit- training IREP staffs and beneficiaries.

This model of decentralized integrated energy programme had a mixed record of success and failures. While there are quite a few success stories, examples of failures are also there. Our task will be to identify the integrated best practice model (or a bunch of good models) based on some well-defined parameters. The term ‘integrated’ is stressed upon because in a particular block or village there could be combination of different forms of energy in use depending on the resource endowment and energy demand pattern of that locality. For example it could be a combination of wind, biogas, solar. In some village it could be a hybrid model (wind and diesel type of generator) as in the case of Sagar island of West Bengal.


The work would be split in two phases to achieve objectives of the project as spelt out in the beginning of the proposal.


Phase I:

Methodology & Parameters: The first phase of the initiative will be primarily of desktop research complimented with field trips. The findings will then be documented and presented before a national seminar.

The major criteria of selecting a model (integrated or standalone) would be steady generation and distribution of energy over a period of say at least two years to the local community using mostly renewable sources. Also it should be sustainable over a long period.

Impact on environment will be another deciding factor in choosing a good energy model. Some of the important parameter will be

production and emission of green house gases,

effectiveness of community forests grown specifically for biogas production as carbon sinks,

water, sound and air pollution level during production of energy, and

The important socio economic factors that would be considered as key parameters for judgment are:

involvement of local women with the project and benefits reached to them out of it,

efficient use of energy resources,

improvement of the quality of education of the children and primary health facility of the community,

increased cultural, business and industrial activities,

general economic development of the region.             

Duration: Six month                   Proposed budget: $12,500 


Phase II

The next phase of work will be directed towards achieving the second objective of the project i.e. awareness generation and capacity building programme among policy makers, implementing agencies and other stakeholders of renewable energy to invoke interest among them to replicate identified good practice models.
Apart from above programme there will be community based field pilot projects to experiment on renewable energy models most suited with the resource endowment and demand patters of that particular community.
The project will target policy makers and implementing agencies of South Asian (esp. India)
Duration: 3 years                     Proposed budget: $300,000   


Implementing Agency:

Centre for Sustainable Production and Consumption

Consumer Unity and Trust Society

3 Suren Tagore Road, Calcutta 700 019

Telefax: 91-33-4601424


Contact person: Dipankar Dey/ Arjun Dutta

In consultation with: Prof Sujoy Basu, Director, School of Energy Studies

Jadavpur University, Calcutta 700 032


Current Status:  This proposal needs further updating and then a consensus reached between the different participants on how best to move forward.



Action Plan By ENERGIA:

Peoples Choice:  Integrated Rural Energy Systems


The network NGO, ENERGIA first of all presented a Research Paper of Gender and Energy.  They then came up with an Action Plan about Integrated Rural Energy Systems, which focuses on the importance of taking gender into account when formulating, implementing and assessing energy projects.  


What is it?

Multi-Institutional and Multi-stakeholder Project

Local Communities especially women coming together to make a multiple choice, that is flexible and affordable

Community does the Needs Assessment for the present and the future

Use IT Databases, websites and other Information Resources

Needs to be a synergy amongst the communities



Recognise that community based energy services is gender sensitive and inclusive

Introduce low cost and no cost solutions to promote and propagate to other communities

Only when more people are included can it be cost effective



  1. A Selection of Villages

  2. Needs Assessment:
    -  develop databases
    -  survey design               
    -  questionnaires
    -  analysis

  3. Choices
    - investment

  4. Implementation

  5. Monitoring

  6.  Dissemination


ENERGIA believe it would be fruitful to try and create one collaborative proposal encompassing the proposal outcomes of the workshop.  ENERGIA’s role within that would be one of ensuring that gender is fully integrated into the programme.

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