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Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent
Report

Clean, Affordable and Sustainable Cooking Energy for India

Possibilities and Realities beyond LPG

Abhishek Jain, Poulami Choudhury, Karthik Ganesan
February 2015 | Energy Access

Suggested Citation: Abhishek Jain, Poulami Choudhury and Karthik Ganesan. 2015. Clean, affordable and sustainable cooking energy for India. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Overview

This study highlights the need to expand the horizon of public debate and efforts around clean cooking energy beyond LPG. It provides a decision-making framework to pursue such an approach. The report discusses various alternative cooking energy options to provide a holistic and comprehensive view of the state technology options. Further, it offers macro-level recommendations on the current state of affairs and specific recommendations for each technology.

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Key Findings

  • Biogas and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) emerged as the most attractive options for consumers on the economic front. LPG and pellet based cookstoves were amongst the costliest.
  • About 70 per cent of biomass consumed in rural households was commercially procured and, therefore, carried a real cost, apart from the notional cost associated even with the free-of-cost biomass.
  • Most of the alternative technologies for clean cooking, barring improved cookstoves, fared well in terms of health improvement because of indoor air pollution.
  • Traditional biomass was marked with the highest fuel supply assurance, which also pertains to energy security at the national level.
  • LPG and PNG solutions were rated high in terms of technology resilience, whereas biogas and improved cookstoves both fared low. Electricity based solutions received a mediocre place.

Summary of evaluation across all considered attributes

Summary of evaluation across all considered attributes
 
  • LPG fared high on cooking convenience and had a significantly lower health impact. However, it posed a significant burden on the individual on the affordability front, which could translate to a higher fiscal burden on the exchequer.
  • All clean cooking energy technologies were evaluated as better than traditional ‘Chulha’ because of lower emissions of black carbon resulting from incomplete combustion in conventional stoves.
  • Electricity based solutions had the highest global environmental impact due to the predominantly thermal generation mix of India.

Key Recommendations

  • Unify the ongoing government programmes for clean cooking under a common framework, with a vision to achieve clean, affordable, and sustainable cooking energy for every Indian household.
  • Create awareness about the negative impacts of the use of traditional chulha to generate demand for clean cooking solutions and ensure that they are sustained.
  • Promote biogas in areas with suitable climatic conditions, resource feasibility, and community acceptance by creating the necessary ecosystem and a favourable environment for its roll-out.
  • Introduce differentiated subsidy for domestic LPG to align the prices with affordability.
  • Reduce the limit on subsidised LPG to 9 cylinders per annum per connection to drive efficient use of the commodity and allow for a larger user base.
  • Develop and impose rigorous quality standards for clean cooking technologies to regulate the influx of low-quality products.
  • Facilitate innovation and technology development to improve the design, construction quality and resilience of biogas plants.
  • Innovate low-cost technologies to ensure safe and hygienic handling of dung, slurry and manure.
Biogas and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) emerged as the most attractive options for consumers on the economic front. LPG and pellet based cookstoves were amongst the costliest.

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