Tata Power Co. Ltd., in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, plans to develop 10,000 microgrids in India to boost access to affordable and reliable electricity to homes and enterprises across the nation’s vast rural areas.
Tata Power will set up a new unit, TP Renewable Microgrid Ltd., to build the microgrids through 2026 that will serve nearly 5 million homes in India’s countryside and impact 25 million people, the two organizations said in a joint statement Monday. The venture will become the world’s largest microgrid developer and operator, they said.
The plan “represents important scaling up of efforts to provide access to affordable, reliable and clean electricity in India, and will serve as a model for expanding access to more than 800 million people who are without power worldwide,” they said in the statement.
Typically, each of the microgrid projects cost 4 million to 5 million rupees, but a final cost is still being worked out, Tata Power’s Managing Director Praveer Sinha said in an interview in New Delhi Monday.
The initiative will be controlled and operated by Tata Power, while the Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical expertise, according to the statement. As the venture progresses, Tata Power will have more partners on board, Sinha said.
Though the nation of 1.3 billion said in March it brought power connections to almost all homes, reliable power continues to elude citizens in rural communities. That’s partly because distribution utilities tend to lose money due to power theft and poor billing, resulting in regular supply curbs to contain those losses. That also leads some homes and enterprises to source energy from diesel generators, an expensive and polluting option, or forgo grid-connected power entirely.
By replacing diesel generators, TP Renewable Microgrid aims to reduce annual consumption of the fuel by 57 million liters and carbon emissions by 1 million tons, according to the statement.