This case study examines the sustainable development and community involvement aspects of the Bagepalli Biogas CDM project, and outlines strategies for scaling up community-based CDM projects.
In many contemporary CDM projects, community development is hardly considered at all. In the “top down” approach, the top-level management takes a decision and passes it on to the bottom level management for it to be carried out. With such an imbalance of power, those who are working hands-on with the project are often left unrepresented, and their voice unheard. By contrast, the Bagepalli biogas CDM project is a grassroots level project that provides tangible benefits for the rural community. The project has benefited 5500 poor households in the Kolar district of Karnataka. The key to the success of this project has been the active involvement of the local community.
The paper studies and analyses various NGO models of involvement in CDM projects and attempts to identify ways in which to scale up NGO-promoted CDM projects by briefly comparing the Bagepalli project with the Nepal Biogas support program.
Findings from the study indicate an improvement in the quality of life for locals, benefitting 5500 poor households in the Kolar District of Karnataka, as a direct result of using biogas as a cooking fuel. Results also indicate substantial time saved in fuel procurement, improved kitchens and ease in cooking. It was observed that women were able to save more time for agricultural activities, which will eventually result in more income. Usage of biogas has also resulted in fewer health-related risks and outcomes as households became smoke free.
Biogas production is one of the healthiest ways of disposing of waste, and the gas generated from the Bagepalli biogas digester is a means of addressing the energy scarcity present across poor segments in the society, specifically rural areas in India. Findings from this study have important implications for designing and implementing community-based energy management projects.