Impact of Decentralized Renewable Energy on SDG in India

"Renewable energy is an essential part of our strategy of decarbonization,decentralization, as well as digitalization of energy.”

In today’s world, The developing and underdeveloped countries are not able to fulfill the basic requirements of all their large and dispersed population. Here decentralized renewable energy solutions play an important role in maintaining the small-scale rural energy needs in an affordable, reliable, and carbon-neutral manner. Such socio-technical transitions offer substantial support to address energy poverty and act as a key tool in ameliorating human well-being, economic prosperity, and environmental conservation envisioned under the Sustainable development goals(SDGs).

Factors influencing economic and financial barriers are high initial capital, lack of financial institutes, lack of investors, competition from fossil fuels, and fewer subsidies compared to traditional fuel. These factors have prevented renewable energy from becoming widespread.

New and innovative technologies developed to go beyond conventional uses like lighting to create livelihoods at the local level and powering other critical functions for communities. DRE-powered ecosystems unlock socio-economic co-benefits by impacting sectors such as healthcare, education, livelihoods, irrigation, etc


Electricity has been declared a necessity to spur economic and human development, especially in the generation of unemployment amidst the pandemic. If electricity is easily accessible to village communities, electrification strategies are expected to contribute significantly to rural development. India being a country with fertile land and biomass and whose most parts are exposed to sunlight for more than half a year, shows potential for extraordinary results using DRE.

International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Development Index, out of 64 developing countries, India was ranked 34th. Twenty-three million houses in India still have no electricity. Fortunately, for a few years now, India has been looking at distributed renewable energy to supply. This is a plan of action involving generating electricity using renewable sources of energy near the point of usage instead of centralized generation sources from power plants.

Although, the DRE sector exhibited resilience in the pandemic; however, in 2020, the rural health statistics showed that over 28 percent of treatment centers in rural areas in India are still operating without electricity despite the outbreak of covid-19. Creating access to electricity in these areas would imply access to vaccines and heavy machinery in clinics. This, in turn, helps in achieving SDG 3, good health and well-being of all.


The KUSUM scheme by the government of India, if implemented properly, along with financial support, will help in reducing the dependency on erratic grid supply, reduce carbon emissions and generate additional income during its non-usage days. Similarly, MNREs announcement of the draft policy framework for developing and promoting Decentralized Renewable Energy Livelihood Applications could be a game-changer in ameliorating the rural infrastructure and boost rural income levels. DRE for livelihoods will ensure our commitment for SDG 8: decent work and economic growth.


In any place, the quality of education depends upon the availability of basic infrastructure such as classrooms, water and sanitation facilities, electricity, and digital learning tools -- all of which need reliable electricity to function effectively. A great divide between the urban and rural education infrastructure, fuelled by lack of energy access in the rural setting, therefore, does not come as a surprise

Much of rural areas are barely exposed to the advancement of the modern world. Children are unacquainted with modern digital teaching mechanisms, which have disrupted academic flow in rural areas. It is unsurprising that they are also deprived of clean water, sanitary facilities in schools. Employment of DRE energy sources for modern and hygienic atmosphere points to help achieve SDG 4, quality education.


The agriculture industry is the primary source of livelihood in India, contributing 20 percent to the GDP. However, the power consumption by the sector as a whole is only 18%. Enabling access to electricity can increase profits for farmers, helping them get coolers to ration to avoid food wastage and electric run turbines and tube-wells to irrigate large areas of land, all of which can increase economic growth. In India, the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector announced that it could provide employment opportunities to 190,000 more people by 2022-23.

The Indian government plans to deploy 1.75 million solar water pumps through the KUSUM scheme between 2017–18 and 2022–23. This is expected to create a demand for skilled laborers for creating, maintaining, repairing said DRE energy sources, all of which help reach SDG 8, decent work, and economic growth.

Ananya Sarva, Aditya Ratley

BITSMUN Research Team