The Energy and Environment (E&E) Program of InsPIRE promotes sustainable energy development through accelerated commercialization of clean and renewable energy technologies and implementation of energy conservation programs. The overarching goal is to bring about significant improvement through innovative solutions linked to the development process and livelihoods.
Starting in the early 90’s, the program focused on commercializing renewable energy in India by providing grants, conditional grants and loans to aspiring entrepreneurs to set up small renewable energy businesses. Today, the E&E Program leads the promotion of biofuels in the country - having dialogue with the governments (central and state level) and other relevant stakeholders, to promote the usage of biofuels for the transport sector and for remote village electrification in India. By implementing such programs on ground, the division is making a significant contribution towards improving rural livelihoods by providing access to energy and creating a cleaner local environment.
The program has a proven track record of managing complex energy conservation projects. The core expertise lies in detailed energy audits, energy bench-
-marking studies, technology assessment, preparation of feasibility studies and detailed project reports, technology transfer, demonstration of pilot projects, implementation guidance and support, improving access to financing and capital monitoring and evaluation, training and capacity building, and information dissemination and outreach. This initiative is targeted with an aim to support industry, both large and small & medium enterprises (SMEs) besides commercial buildings, policymakers in the government and various bilateral and multilateral organizations active in this area.
The E&E Program works through two groups:
Energy Conservation Group
The Energy Conservation (EC) Group at InsPIRE is involved in development and implementation of innovative ideas in two distinct but complimentary aspects of industrial energy efficiency (EE). While on one hand, InsPIRE’s expertise has been recognized in areas like technology assessment and feasibility studies, technology transfer facilitation, design and demonstration of pilot projects, implementation guidance and support, InsPIRE on the other hand, is also active in mainstreaming such technologies through structuring novel financial engineering mechanisms, improving access to financing and capital, capacity building, information dissemination and outreach, and facilitating policy level dialogues.
InsPIRE’s efforts towards development and implementation of cleaner and cost effective technologies for the MSMEs across various end use sectors have been widely recognized and InsPIRE has been accorded the status of being a ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’ (SIRO) by Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.
InsPIRE’s initiatives in the EC sector, with special reference to Indian MSME sector ranges from macro level policy studies to focused sectoral technological interventions. Several innovative EE technologies researched and introduced by InsPIRE have found wide acceptance and deep penetration among many MSME clusters like glass, steel rerolling, forging etc. The initiatives undertaken by InsPIRE have been supported/partnered by almost all of the key international and national developmental entities supporting the promotion of EE in Indian industrial scenario. InsPIRE has successfully partnered with bi- and multi- lateral agencies (The World Bank, DFID, USAID, UNIDO, UNDP etc), international development agencies (International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer, NEDO, KfW, JICA etc.), leading Indian MSME financing institutions (SIDBI, ICICI, IREDA etc.) and most importantly the concerned departments/Ministries (BEE, MoEF, MoP, PCRA etc). InsPIRE has excellent linkages with a number of industrial bodies and chambers, cluster level industrial associations, research institutions, groups of local service providers etc.
Rural Energy Access Group
The Rural Energy Access (REA) Group, during its formative years, provided fund facilitation services that helped commercialization of the renewable energy (RE) industry in India. Small-scale renewable energy projects were provided grants that helped mainstream RE technologies (RETs) in India. Over the years, the group has implemented programs including research and demonstration of mainstreaming RE technologies, diffusion of RETs through technical assistance and risk guarantee mechanism, training and capacity building through workshops, seminars, international conferences, study tours and information dissemination through publications for relevant stakeholders.
The group has moved forward and now has a more diverse and multi-dimensional project-portfolio. The major initiatives of REA revolves in the areas of biofuels based rural electrification, mainstreaming the use, development for renewable energy, capacity building at various levels to enable and improve access to finance and credit services for renewable energy and also looking at the diverse and the best possible use of low carbon based clean energy to improve the livelihood of marginalized communities. The group has also taken up different studies and action research in the area of access to renewable energy in general and biofuels sector in particular. The projects have been supported by different donors ranging from different ministries within Government of India, multi-lateral and bi-lateral donors to individual foundations. Slowly but steadily, the group is also moving towards using its expertise to influence evidence based policy change. Development of Guidelines for Decentralized Distributed (DDG) Scheme under Rajiv Gandhi Village Electrification Programme has been a small step towards that direction.