While 85 percent of villages in Uttarakhand have been connected to the state electrical grid since 2005, seasonal power shortages and hilly terrain with poor transmission infrastructure create a very unreliable supply of electricity in the area. People frequently use kerosene, which is expensive and highly damaging to health and the environment, as a cooking and backup lighting source.
Additionally, the Western Himalayas are among the most vulnerable areas of the world to forest fires. Pine forests are expanding rapidly in the area, pushing other species out which decreases biodiversity and significantly increases the number of pine needles that help spread fires. These fires destroy local agriculture, grazing ground, and natural resources, adversely affecting the livelihood of low-income families in the area.
Avani’s 120 kW power plants convert pine needles into electricity which is fed directly into the existing grid, providing reliable and clean energy to the area.
Local women collect the pine needles used in the gasification process, creating reliable employment in the area.
Households also use pine charcoal, a byproduct of Avani’s power plants, as a replacement for kerosene for their cooking needs.
The company’s technology transforms the region’s pine needle problem into an energy solution, supporting the local economy and decreasing the risk of forest fires. Each power plant creates significant employment opportunities with trained community members operating the plants and collecting the pine needles. Around 7,500 farmers in the area also benefit from reduced threat of forest fires.
Acumen’s investment will allow Avani to scale to 20 power plants in the area with each 120 kW Avani gasification plant serving approximately 3,000 people. The reliable source of electricity contributes to increased productivity and decreased reliance on expensive and unsustainable fossil fuels.