In Asia, IUCN is working to incorporate nature-based principles into energy policies and promote fair access to clean energy through economic approaches. From village solar energy projects to research into new energy crops, the work and experience of IUCN Members plays a key role.
Solar energy for rural households in Bangladesh
IUCN Member BRAC has been promoting solar energy in Bangladesh for rural households in the 50,000 villages outside the national power grid. Through micro-enterprise loans, villagers choose from a selection of home packages that can provide up to four hours of power each night and are capable of running a television, a couple of light bulbs and mobile phone chargers. The system includes a solar panel, battery, charge controller, inverter, cable, switch and accessories. The programme is currently financed by the World Bank through the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL). To date, it has successfully installed 36,830 solar panels, bringing renewable energy to 180,000 rural people.
Women, water and energy in Bhutan
The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature in Bhutan, an IUCN Member, is working to ensure gender participation in alternative energy technologies. Through its Women in Water and Energy project, the Society has introduced a range of clean technologies for household use. These include solar-powered dryers, water heaters, cookers, a number of improved stoves and water harvesting and irrigation systems.
Reducing the impact on Juniper forests in Pakistan
In Pakistan, IUCN is working to make production activities in the Juniper forest ecosystem of Ziarat biodiversity friendly. Among the project’s many community-based activities are pilot initiatives to reduce cutting of Juniper trees for fuel wood, timber, forage and land conversion for cultivation, housing and other uses. The project also aims to reduce the negative impacts of livestock grazing and energy production.
Research and development centre to address energy issues in China
IUCN Member, The Institute of Botany in China and partners have opened a new research and development centre for energy crops. The centre’s research uses interdisciplinary approaches including photosynthesis, physiology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and ecology and environment. The centre is developing technology to produce high-yield, resistant plants aimed at breeding new energy crop varieties that are suitable for growing in marginal lands.
Bio-diesel and biodiversity in India
In India, IUCN Member, The Applied Environmental Research Foundation is exploring the relationships between biodiversity and energy through research and community-based initiatives. In one project, the Global Village Energy Programme is using renewable energy to address energy needs in rural areas in Maharashtra. The project has established decentralized bio-diesel resource centres to support the use of indigenous bio-diesel yielding tree species, Pongamia pinnata and Madhuca indica.
Rural electrification in India
IUCN Member Winrock International India’s renewable energy focus is commercialization, enterprise development, financing, institutional links and capacity building. The Rural Electrification Policy of the Government of India provides for the development of a Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) model as one of the approaches for rural electrification. Several pilot DDG projects have been initiated, but questions still remain whether the scheme is suitable to be implemented in thousands of villages. Winrock International India has used the pilot projects to learn about the suitability of generation technology, the costs involved and implementation challenges, and based on this, develop Guidelines for Decentralized Distributed Generation.
For more information contact Michael Dougherty, IUCN Asia Regional Communications Coordinator