Despite significant strides in household electrification under the Saubhagya Scheme, Nagaland still faces considerable challenges in providing electricity to its vital institutions, particularly in rural and remote areas. An opinion piece by Shikha Anand, Abdul Khalid and Mantok Yanlem published on World Resources Institute (WRI) India titled, “Enabling Development in Nagaland: The Case for Energy Access Explorer” published on June 19, 2024, suggests that WRI India’s EAE (Energy Access Explorer) can bridge this gap and support the state’s sustainable development goals.

Mokokchung
Nagaland’s hilly terrain makes it challenging to ensure energy access, particularly in remote parts of this Northeastern state. Decentralized renewable energy can play an important role in ensuring access to reliable energy, especially in schools and hospitals. (Photo: Aren Changkiri)

According to the article, out of Nagaland’s 5, 23,870 households, 1, 32,507 have received electricity through the Saubhagya Scheme. However, the electrification of schools and health centers remains inadequate, with 74% of schools and over 36% of health sub-centers still lacking power as of 2021.

To address these challenges, WRI India suggests the Energy Access Explorer (EAE), a comprehensive tool designed to aid government departments and decision-makers in planning and implementing electrification projects. The EAE platform integrates diverse data sets, including population density, socio-economic conditions, and environmental factors, providing a holistic view of the energy landscape.

Nagaland’s current peak energy is approximately 180 MW and is expected to reach 400 MW by 2025. The state has limited generation capacity and relies heavily on central allocation (140 MW) and purchases from the energy market. To meet its growing energy demand, the state can consider utilizing its vast untapped resources including 7920 MW of solar energy, 180 MW of small hydropower and 10 MW of biofuel energy. However, the article suggests that since the hilly state is also prone to earthquakes and landslides, effective energy planning must also account for this.

Potential applications of EAE in Nagaland
Solarization of Schools: According to the article, schools without electricity can efficiently access power by installing decentralized photovoltaic (PV) systems with battery backup. The EAE provides global horizontal irradiance (GHI) data to estimate solar energy potential, helping determine the required size of solar PV panels. Additionally, assessing road networks is crucial for the connectivity to schools and the installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems.

It suggested that the EAE can also prioritize the solarization of remote schools by integrating multiple criteria, such as distance from major roads and GHI levels. This helps in targeting schools that are more difficult to access and ensuring they receive electricity first.

Beyond solar PV, small hydropower plants (<10 MW) could be used to generate electricity for remote healthcare facilities. Reliable electricity is critical for providing healthcare services, especially in primary healthcare sub-centers in rural areas. The EAE allows users to overlay healthcare facilities with irregular electricity supply, small hydropower potential sites, and road networks to identify the best locations for new installations.

By integrating GHI, population density, and data on historical seismic activity and landslides, the EAE helps understand regional vulnerabilities and promotes disaster-resilient energy planning in areas with high energy access potential. Slope and aspect significantly affect solar radiation and the efficiency of solar PV installations. Using aspect data to identify south-facing slopes, which receive the most sunlight, can ensure more efficient solarization.

The EAE also serves as a data repository for various departments, streamlining monitoring processes and fostering collaborative efforts towards common objectives. For instance, it hosts data from the Nagaland Health Project (NHP), illustrating its utility as a comprehensive repository. Backed by the World Bank, the NHP aims to enhance healthcare services in Nagaland, and the EAE can help plan subsequent project phases and monitor ongoing schemes effectively.

These are some examples of how the EAE can play a pivotal role in supporting, strengthening, and prioritizing electrification efforts in Nagaland to help improve educational and health outcomes and meet energy demand across the state as suggested in the article.

MTNews Desk

9 thoughts on “WRI India’s EAE can address Nagaland’s energy challenges”
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