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India Needs a Clean Cooking Energy Mission: CEEW's Energy Access Survey Recommends
29 Sep 2015

Only a fifth of rural households in India have access to an LPG connection and 95% of rural households use some form of traditional fuel for cooking, the largest energy access survey in India has found. Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, today released an independent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), in collaboration with Columbia University.

The Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity – Survey of States (ACCESS) is India's largest energy access survey, covering more than 8500 households, 714 villages and 51 districts, across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Although majority of rural households do not have LPG or other clean cooking options, Uttar Pradesh performed relatively better than the other states, while Jharkhand reported the lowest levels of access to clean cooking energy.

Speaking at the release of the ACCESS study, Minister Piyush Goyal, said, “CEEW’s ACCESS study provides a holistic approach to analyse the deep distress to rural India due to poor cooking energy access and could be the handbook for all future discussion on this topic. My government is committed to providing affordable and quality energy access to the entire country. I applauded the efforts of urban citizens who have already given up their LPG subsidies as part of the ‘Give it Up’ campaign. I would urge other citizens from urban India to do the same as subsidies given up by a single urban household could light up several rural homes by providing cleaner cooking energy at affordable prices. This will also have significant health benefits and improve the quality of life for an increased number of households.”

With more than 800 million Indians relying on traditional biomass, the access to modern forms of cooking energy is still a significant barrier to India’s development. India must consider a comprehensive cooking energy policy aimed at creating bottom-up demand for clean cooking energy solutions in rural India. Prime Minister Modi's speech at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit last week reiterated his commitment to alleviating energy poverty, lauding the inclusion of ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ in the Sustainable Development Goals.'

Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, said, “Despite having a mammoth 150 million LPG connections in India, CEEW’s ACCESS report clearly shows the energy gap we still have to bridge. This excessive dependence on traditional fuels poses as a major health hazard and could severely hamper India’s economic productivity, while continuing to reinforce gender disparities in human development. By identifying specific impediments at a granular level, the ACCESS study can help policymakers develop region/district-specific solutions, thereby targeting government programmes more effectively.”

The ACCESS study is result of an expansive data collection process, lasting over twelve months and resulting in the collection of over 2.5 million data points. It provides a first-of-its-kind multi-dimensional evaluation of the state of energy access in India and highlights the multiple nuances associated with cooking energy access such as availability, quality, affordability, convenience, and health and safety. The ACCESS study was supported by the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

Download ACCESS study: http://ceew.in/pdf/CEEW-ACCESS-Report-29Sep15.pdf

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CEEW’s Fact of the day...
In India, around 74 million rural households lack access to modern lighting services and a larger proportion of the population (around 840 million) continue to be dependent on traditional biomass energy sources
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