When discussing alternate sources of clean energy in India, one of the first things that pop in our mind is bio gas. With agriculture being a seasonal activity, most farmers also own a few dairy animals for year round income, which allows them access to adequate manure. A small bio gas plant does not occupy much space and provides enough energy for cooking and day to day activities. In addition, the dry residue acts as nutritious organic fertilizer for the sprawling crop fields. In fact, the government of India offers subsidy and discounts in order to encourage rural citizens to build their own bio gas plants.
It is quite obvious that bio gas in the countryside of India has an enormous potential, yet we do not see people yielding its benefits to its full extents, and there are several reasons for this. At an average, a plant has an approximate of 4 years of operational life, a big setback to the alternative energy program. Although the government offers to share half the cost of repairs with the beneficiaries, old and non-functional plants are often not repaired and put back in use. So lack of serious government will to promote alternative energy is another obstacle.
Maintenance of bio gas plants require trained professionals who are very few in number. A sustainable option of maintenance and repair service provision needs to be worked out and the government should employ maintenance experts to do periodic inspections. It is not enough if just a few households have bio gas plants in the entire village. This should be taken up as a joint effort by the village as a whole.
Renewable energy has a long way to go in India, but there is an absolute need for bio gas production to be taken a step further considering India’s bucolic stronghold.