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Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy’
Q&A with Charlie Dou, author of Micro-Hydro Power case study in China

Charlie Dou is an adjunct Professor and Research Associate, Alternative Energy Institute, West Texas A&M University, USA; CEO, Beijing Bergey Windpower Co. Ltd., served as International advisor for UNDP/GEF on renewable energy project in China, key Expert for EU, Consultant for the World Bank/GEF, etc. He is directly involved in many research and international projects sponsored by UNDP/GEF, the World Bank, China central government, and has published and/or edited 14 books and more than 40 papers/presentations, including “China Village Power Project development Guidebook” and the series books of “Capacity Building Strategy for the Rapid Commercialization of Renewable Energy in China” for UNDP. He received his Master’s Degree in Engineering Technology in the US, and Master’s Degree in Electric Engineering in China, and once worked on his doctoral degree on Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech University.

To download the Micro-Hydro Power case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is the project’s basic value proposition and what makes its financial model sustainable?

The economic development is slow for these remote villages located in China’s western mountain regions and the life of these villagers is poor because of their inability to access electricity.  Extension of traditional utility power line is not viable, and not affordable for low-income residents.  Finding a technical and economically feasible solution is key for rural electrification in such areas.  Micro-hydro power is the least costly technology for power generation compared with other renewable energy technologies and traditional power plants. This case provides a successful example of local people relying on their own efforts to develop an electricity service without government and outside financial assistance and improve their life.

In developing countries, what are the main challenges for access to energy for the poor?

The main challenges for access to energy for the poor in developing countries is to develop a solution for a financially and technically sustainable power supply and affordable power service.

What main factors make this model successful that will allow it to be replicated elsewhere?

First, availability of resource and technology. Second, affordability of the solution (again, micro-hydro power generation is one of the least costly power generation technologies). Third, self-motivation (local residents wished to change their status). Fourth, clear ownership (the micro-hydro power system was developed and managed by the villagers themselves).

What would you say was critical about the actor ecosystem that enabled this business to be successful?

The villagers there have lacked power supply for generations. They wished to change this situation.  But the local utility company is not interested in expanding the service to such areas due to high investment and poor return (or even no return, since the losses from the power transmission may be even more than the power to be applied).  Micro-hydro power generation provides an affordable and environmentally friendly solution, since usually, for such a micro-hydro power generation, no civic construction is needed.  The water flow will not change significantly, which means little negative impact on local ecosystems compared with large hydro dams.

 
Turning Agricultural Waste into Bioenergy in China: New GIM Case Study Released

About the author

Charlie Dou is an adjunct Professor and Research Associate, Alternative Energy Institute, West Texas A&M University, USA; CEO, Beijing Bergey Windpower Co. Ltd., served as International advisor for UNDP/GEF on renewable energy project in China, key Expert for EU, Consultant for the World Bank/GEF, etc. He is directly involved in many research and international projects sponsored by UNDP/GEF, the World Bank, China central government, and has published and/or edited 14 books and more than 40 papers/presentations, including “China Village Power Project development Guidebook” and the series books of “Capacity Building Strategy for the Rapid Commercialization of Renewable Energy in China” for UNDP. He received his Master’s Degree in Engineering Technology in the US, and Master’s Degree in Electric Engineering in China, and once worked on his doctoral degree on Industrial Engineering at Texas Tech University.

About the case study

Agricultural waste was previously just waste, burned outside in winter. It needs a lot of labour to handle and also produces severe environmental problems. This successful business converts agricultural waste into a valuable product. Beijing Shengchang Bioenergy S&T Co., Ltd. (SBST) is a bioenergy manufacturer located in Beijing, China, that turns agricultural waste into bioenergy, while simultaneously benefiting the local farmers. The company engages in bioenergy production, controlling the process from raw material access to final products and application. There are two production and value chains: one is collecting and purchasing bio wastes from farmers, then producing Biomass Pellet Fuel (BPF) and selling it to the users for cooking and heating; the other one is developing and manufacturing pellet boilers and stoves, then selling them to farmers and industrial users. Local farmers benefit by earning extra income through selling agricultural waste to the company and also by reducing their fuel expenses if they switch from their traditional burners to biofuel burners.

The business has made great impact on the economy, society and the environment. It promotes rural development, thus meeting the goals of the Government of China. Through purchasing agricultural waste (AW) from farmers and promoting biofuel burners, so far it has benefited at least 30,000 households. Families who sell AW to the company can gain an extra CNY 2,400 (US$353) per year, while those families who are using biofuel burners can reduce their fuel expense by CNY 600 (US$88) per year. Meanwhile, the burners reduce coal consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If the government could develop policies to treat the bioenergy industry in the same way as other renewable energy sources in China, the business could be scaled up quickly and have a greater impact.

To download the Beijing Shengchang case study from the GIM database, please click here.

 
GIM Releases New Case Study on Solar Energy in Rural India

About the author

Sourav Mukherji is Associate Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. An engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Sourav obtained his doctorate from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His major research interests are strategic and structural challenges faced by Indian firms competing in global markets. At IIM Bangalore, he teaches post graduate and doctoral level courses on Organization Design, Strategy Process, Organization Learning and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining IIM Bangalore as a faculty member, Sourav worked for the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant, where he was involved in assignments concerning portfolio analysis, organization design, merger and acquisitions and market entry strategies for Indian and international firms. After completing his engineering, Sourav had worked with information technology firms like IBM and Oracle in various product management functions. As a doctoral student at IIM Bangalore he won the ‘Infosys Fellowship’, awarded for research in the IT industry. Sourav has presented papers in international academic conferences, spoken at national and international corporate forums and published in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to globalization of Indian organizations, outsourcing of knowledge intensive services, novel organization forms and knowledge management. He has also been involved in several consulting assignments, advising organizations on strategic and structural issues. At IIM Bangalore, Sourav was the Chairperson of Career Development and Placement activities during 2006-09. He is also a member of various committees that oversee ongoing programmes and new initiatives at IIM Bangalore. Sourav is among the board of advisors of an entrepreneurial venture in the information technology services sector.

About the case study

SELCO India is a Bangalore‐based social enterprise that makes solar lighting technology accessible to the economically impoverished people in India. SELCO’s mission is based on a simple but powerful idea that the economic conditions of the impoverished can be improved substantially if they are made productive. One of the biggest hurdles before is their inaccessibility to clean and cost effective sources of electricity. Most of India’s rural population does not have access to electricity. Instead, they are dependent on highly polluting and inefficient sources of energy such as kerosene or forest wood. Solar lights are free from pollution and provide greater illumination. However, given an average rural income of less than US$50 per month, upfront investment in solar lighting, ranging from US$200 to US$500, can be expensive and seemingly unviable for the average rural household. To tide improve this situation, SELCO made sustained efforts to persuade state‐owned rural banks to lend money to households so that they can make the purchase. They worked extensively with these state‐owned banks, an arduous task in India, to ensure that the repayment pattern matched the cash flow that would be generated as a result of the additional income facilitated by the purchase of solar lights.

To download the SELCO case study from the GIM database, please click here.