Electricity has a unique ability. An ability to remove darkness from the world, and illuminate every sphere of human activity. Life today without electricity is almost impossible. The Uttar Pradesh state government in last few years has been taking several initiatives to ensure reliable power supply in both rural as well as urban areas to illuminate millions of lives. Moving ahead on the same track, on 28th March 2016, the Uttar Pradesh government under the leadership of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav implemented the Mini-Grid Policy. This was done in a Mini-Grid Conclave which was organized by Rockefeller Foundation in Lucknow. The conclave was designed to showcase the potential of the renewable mini-grid sector to drive inclusive economic development in the State. Also, CM Akhilesh Yadav welcomed the Rockefeller Foundation’s Smart Power Initiative to bring electricity to rural areas of Uttar Pradesh.
The state government is implementing the mini grid policy to ensure power supply to un-electrified remote villages and hamlets which will immensely improve the living standards of the rural folk, and also making it available at a low cost. All the stakeholders including state government, investors and bankers are making efforts for setting up small capacity solar power plants so that the power could be made available to the remote rural areas at an affordable cost. Under the current governments, Samagr Lohia rural development scheme 70,000 solar streets lights are proposed to be installed. A large number of solar plants are in various stages of implementation in the state. In last four years, the state government has made a hefty investment in improving the power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure which has enabled the government to provide 14-hour power in rural areas, 16 hours to tehsil headquarters, 22 hours at divisional headquarters and 24 hours to KAVAL towns.
Ashvin Dayal, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Asia, Rockefeller Foundation, also chipped in by saying, “We expect to see steady growth in the number of operating plants in Uttar Pradesh in 2016.” The Rockefeller Foundation hosted this meeting as part of its Smart Power for Rural Development (SPRD) initiative that aims to deliver electricity and catalyse economic development among underserved rural populations in 1,000 villages in Uttar Pradesh by 2018. Since the SPRD launch in April 2015, the initiative has 81 operational plants – 58 of which are in Hardoi, Kushinagar, Pratapgarh, Rai Bareli, Shravasthi, Balrampur and Sitapur districts.
The implementation of the sector-wise investor-friendly policy by the state government in last 4 years has immensely improved the perception of the investors and entrepreneurs about Uttar Pradesh. It is a mutually benefitting situation as it is going to benefit both the investors and the people of the state. With this conclave, UP became the first state to formulate and implement the mini grid policy for promoting the power generation through solar and other non-conventional sources.