Since the beginning, Auroville has been involved
in the research and implementation of renewable energy systems. Interest
in these systems developed out of sheer necessity to secure energy for
living and day-to-day activities. Interested persons carried on with the
improvement of the devices, and those activities led to the formation
of units involved in R&D, the manufacturing and the promotion of the
different renewable energy devices. Today, Auroville is recognised in
India as a 'testing' centre for a wide variety of renewable energy technologies.
Present situation in India
India is blessed with abundant sunshine and wind,
and though the government is implementing one of the world's largest programmes
in renewable energy it will hardly reduce the anticipated shortfalls generated
under conventional energy sources. Budgetary allocations for promotion
of renewable energy are still too low (0.8% of total funds allocated to
the energy sector in the eighth Five Year Plan from '92 to '97) compared
to conventional energy sources that operate with huge subsidies from the
government. Investment from industries in research and development of
renewable energy is insufficient to make a difference both in quality
and quantity. Financing and end-user acceptability are still considered
major barriers. Considering all these points it is normal that the promotion
and the development of renewable energy sources is still considered as
a frontier adventure.
In order to counterbalance the substantial government
subsidies to the conventional energy sector, the Indian Renewable Energy
Development Agency (IREDA) offers programmes under which subsidies, soft
loans and tax benefits are made available to renewable energy users.
the commercial outlet of CSR, is involved
in the promotion and implementation of renewable energy systems in Auroville
and India by availing of these financial facilities on behalf of interested
end-user groups and institutions.