The seminar presented preliminary findings from the project studying the welfare benefits of electricity services for the rural population. The primary investigators on this project are Robin Burgess (LSE), Michael Greenstone (EPIC, University of Chicago), Anant Sudarshan (EPIC-India, University of Chicago) and Nicholas Ryan (Yale University). Please see below for a detailed abstract.

Seminar Abstract

Access to electricity is critical to encouraging growth and reducing poverty. Around the world, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity, including 300 million Indian citizens, most of whom live in rural areas. At the same time, the rapid growth of the electricity sector in India will not be sustainable if it relies on burning ever more fossil fuels. Small, decentralized energy projects will therefore play an important role in providing universal access and may reduce the carbon-intensity of electricity load growth.

Solar energy is gaining a lot of traction in the rural market in India, particularly with the falling prices of inputs. In comparison with the electric grid, solar energy has lower capital costs, can easily be extended to remote rural areas and will reduce carbon emissions of the electricity generation sector. However, the appliances offered by solar energy are limited, and maintenance of the equipment is costly and logistically challenging, particularly in remote areas. In this context, JPAL-South Asia is conducting a randomized control trial in collaboration with Husk Power Systems (HPS) on the demand and welfare benefits of solar energy amongst households in rural Bihar.

This seminar brought together various stakeholders from the public and private sectors to discuss the future of solar energy vis-à-vis the electric grid, as well present preliminary results from JPAL-SA’s household survey of rural energy demand and electricity access.

Cost: Free

Contacts
UChicago Center in India Private Limited: delhi@uchicago.edu

Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Renewable Energy
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Renewable Energy
Lower technology costs and supportive public policies are driving an increase in renewable energy in markets around the world. EPIC research is assessing the costs, benefits, and efficiency of policies...
Electric Power
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Electric Power
As the electric power system faces new pressures and opportunities, EPIC research is working to identify the mix of policies needed to accelerate the global transition to clean, reliable, affordable...