Gayatri Agro, Andhra Pradesh, India
This renewable energy project has installed and operates a small biomass-based power plant to generate electricity. The 6MW plant is fueled with agricultural waste products (biomass residues), such as rice husk, paddy straw, castor stems, and pulse stalks. These residues are traditionally burnt on the fields (leading to high particulate emissions and air pollution) or allowed to decompose (leading to methane emissions, which contribute to climate change). Electricity generated at the power plant is fed into the regional grid, which is otherwise dominated by fossil fuels such as coal, lignite and natural gas.
- Currently available CERs: 11,171
Supporting the Local Community
Villages surrounding the Gayatri Agro power plant
The Gayatri Agro power plant is located in Vemulapally Mandal of Nalgonda District, 125 kilometers from Hyderabad, the state capital of Andhra Pradesh, and is accessible by road. Six villages in the vicinity of the plant have been selected thus far for Sustainable Development investments: Ravulapenta (population 3654), Votla palle (population 2912), Thakellapadu (population 3466), Thadakamalla (population 4010), Venkatadripalem (population 7942) and Alagadapa (population 4308). Though the villages are remote, they are electrified and have literacy rates ranging from approximately 40 to 60%. The primary occupation of the villagers is agriculture. According to the census of 2010, large fractions of the populations in these villages (ranging from 75 to 95%) have incomes in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. The villages have been selected for investments based on their proximity to the power plant, income levels, the level of unmet basic needs of the population, and the willingness and interest of the village Presidents (head of the village, referred to locally as the Sarpanch) to collaborate in and muster support for implementing Sustainable Development activities.
Health & Education
A health camp was held in Ravulapenta in April, 2012, at which time free medical examinations, advisory services and medication were provided. A team of doctors from the field of general medicine, gynecology and ophthalmology provided services at the camp. Approximately 500 villagers availed themselves of the services provided at the camp.
Awareness-raising activities have been held in Ravulapenta at the village schools and community center to inform the villagers about the measures undertaken to improve their health and safety. The awareness-raising activities were conducted with the help of DWCRA (Development of women and children in rural areas) and Anganwadi groups and the village President.
Awareness-raising activities on sanitation and personal hygiene were conducted to raise awareness on the ill effects of open defecation, and to encourage the villagers to use and maintain toilets constructed under the program (see Sanitation and Cleanliness, below).
Two sets of five public toilets and 110 private toilets have been constructed in Ravulapenta. The public toilets are located in a co-educational primary school (grades 1 through 6) with 300 students. Private toilets have been installed at eligible households selected on a first come, first served basis. Eligibility was determined based on clearly-communicated and transparent criteria, including: availability of space and suitable installation conditions, and the willingness and ability of households to support and cooperate with the program. Villagers were also required to pay a fee for a fraction of the investment cost of the toilets, in order to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility for their maintenance over time. The income derived from these fees was used to increase the number of toilets installed under the program.
A water treatment plant with a capacity of 3000 liters/day has been installed in Ravulapenta, providing the village population with clean water for drinking and cooking.
Comfort & Safety
To improve safety and mobility, 10 Solar LED lighting fixtures and lamps have been installed at important junctions throughout Ravulapenta, including bus stops, schools, the medical center and central locations where members of the community congregate. A total of 100 Solar LED streetlights are currently under installation, in Votla palle, Thakellapadu, Thadakamalla, Venkatadripalem and Alagadapa, following the same placement strategy. These solar streetlights are connected to timers, providing full lighting between 6pm and 10pm and dim lighting between 10pm and 6am, daily. The village Presidents have assumed responsibility for ensuring maintenance of the new LED fixtures and periodic replacement of the lamps.
Broader Contributions to Sustainable Development
The project provides skilled and unskilled employment opportunities to rural un employed youth, both at the plant location and in the biomass supply chain. The project currently supports the livelihoods of approximately 400 employees, directly and indirectly.
Power generated from the project activity has stabilized the local grid.
Economic and Infrastructural Development
The Project acts as a nucleus, stimulating and contributing to economic development in the area in the form of cottage industries, hotels, and shops. The Project also generates additional income for rural farmers by creating commercial value for biomass wastes. Paved roads have been laid in nearby villages as well.
Avoiding Rural Migration
The additional employment opportunities and increased income generation resulting from the project mitigates rural migration to nearby cities and towns.
Improving the Local Environment
The Project avoids open-air burning and decay of biomass resources in fields, which otherwise result in high particulate emissions as well as ground water contamination.