The village electrification committee decided to restrict electricity supply to five hours at nighttime. Greenpeace put up posters telling people not to use energy-hungry appliances such as rice cookers, electric water heaters, irons, space heaters and air coolers.
Dharnai, a community of about 3,200 people in eastern India’s Bihar state, had been without electricity for three decades. So when activists with Greenpeace set up a solar-powered microgrid in July of 2014, the excitement was palpable. But, residents said, the problems started almost immediately. When the former chief minister of Bihar state visited to inaugurate the grid, villagers lined up to protest, chanting, “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!” By “real,” they meant power from the central grid, generated mostly using coal. By “fake,” they meant solar.
Over three months, engineers set up 70 kilowatts of photovoltaic cells on the rooftop of public buildings scattered throughout the village. They installed 224 batteries to store the energy. Artists painted a cheerful mural of rainbows and birds on the wall of the village chief’s office, branding the village “Dharnai Live.” The village also has a website. All told, the installation cost 2.7 crore rupees ($407,050).
The day the power came was one of celebration. Villagers, rich and poor alike, ate sweets. Then, the wealthy families plugged in energy-inefficient televisions and refrigerators. With the power suddenly facing heavy demand, the batteries drained within hours. When Kumar woke up at 4 a.m. before his farming duties to study, the light bulb did not work. “I think it’s wrong that when I studied, the power would get cut,” he said.
Morano: 'This UN climate fund is committing us to essentially helping poor countries stay poor. We are going to subsidize governments that are best at keeping people poor. That is obscene. And we are going to slow down their fossil fuel development. They will not be able to emulate the wealthy Western nations. They are going to have to stay poor in order to fight ‘global warming.’