Two simultaneous dynamics are currently taking place in the energy sector in Bihar. One is the development of the electricity grid and the improvement of supply. The other is a push by the Central and State governments for renewable energies, especially for solar. The 2017 'Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Energy Sources' thus plans to install more than 3400 MW of renewable energy by 2022.
This presentation will introduce an ongoing research that analyses how these two dynamics have modified the “market for electricity”, in other words, the local economy that provides households and shops with electricity supply, back-up or technologies that will help reduce their bills. These products and services are either autonomous or complementary to the grid, and include small individual solutions (solar lanterns, batteries, etc), large individual solutions for condominiums or public buildings (solar rooftops, generators, etc), and collective solutions (generator services, rental of batteries, etc). The research sits at the intersection of energy and urban studies and is carried out in three different urban or semi-urban localities in the district of Bhagalpur. The presentation will examine how these three localities, despite being geographically very close to one another, are currently following three different energy trajectories.
The research thus contributes to two areas of study. First, it gives insights into the assemblages of actors, technical objects and institutions, which preside over the nature, structure and evolution of local electricity supply systems, i.e. the energy transition in contemporary India. Second, it furthers the knowledge on local entrepreneurship in different urban settings.
About the Speaker
Bérénice Girard holds a PhD in Sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France). Her doctoral research focused on the role of engineers in the management of the Ganges River. As a postdoctoral fellow for the ANR Hybridelec (LATTS / UPEM), she looks at local electricity supply systems and energy transition in three cities in Bihar. During her stay in India, she is hosted by the Centre for Policy Research.