I'm putting this in economics as part of the question regards the economics of the area. I find the whole thing somewhat strange.
Whole story with comments
I was struck this week by a curious headline about a new solar microgrid in India, ‘Bihar village rejects solar-powered microgrid and demands ‘real’ electricity.’
The India Today article tells the story of Dharnai, “a non-descript village tucked away in the Naxal heartland of Bihar.” The village recently gained electricity for the first time in 33 years thanks to a 100-kW solar microgrid brought by Greenpeace India.
But apparently not all of the villagers are happy with the microgrid.
“Village youngsters” greeted a visiting dignitary with placards that said: “We do not want artificial energy, give us the real one,” said the article.
It is not clear from the article why the protesters considered the solar microgrid artificial energy; nor is it clear how they define real energy. But the article implied that they wanted their village to be connected to the main grid, as it had been more than 30 years earlier before a transformer burned and cables were carted away.
Clearly, the protesters view microgrids very differently than do Americans. Here a microgrid is a premium product, likely to be employed by research universities, data centers and others seeking high quality, reliable power. These microgrids are very much ‘real’ electricity in that they reduce the threat of outages. “I see ourselves as at risk anytime we are on the grid because we are more reliable than them,” said Juan Ontiveros, who runs the microgrid at the University of Texas at Austin, when he was recently interviewed by EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com. His statement encapsulated the growing appreciation of microgrids in the United States, especially since Superstorm Sandy.