Varun Gaur, India (PPRE 2011/13)
PhD at Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany
India is an overwhelmingly rural country, with a huge reliance on traditional biomass for its energy consumption. Besides its direct impact on health and environment, traditional biomass usage has serious consequences on the economic and social development of rural households. Biomass energy supply and consumption affect the general welfare as it may compete for scarce factors (such as land, labor and water) with agriculture particularly food security. Bio-energy thus plays an intrinsic role in the Water-Energy-Food security Nexus.
Modern bio-energy development is considered as an effective tool for strengthening the security of energy supply, reducing carbon emissions and simultaneously offering opportunities for livelihood generation and the overall development. Modern bio-energy is thus at the center of sustainable economic development and the green growth. This makes bio-energy innovations critical for India, and is the motivation for this research. Firstly, by combining both production and consumption decisions of agricultural households (regarding domestic biomass energy use), the study analyzes the drivers for the energy transition from traditional biomass to modern energy sources of different kinds. Secondly, it analyzes the net gains or losses for the households adopting modern renewable energy. Thirdly, it analyzes the spillover effects of the adoption of modern energy by households to the village economy specifically to village’s energy market / its agricultural sector. With one of the lowest electrification rate in the country, huge dependence on traditional biomass, its significant bio-energy potential and agriculture dominant economy, Uttar Pradesh was selected as the region of study.