Students help to bring electricity to remote Indian villages
Press release issued: 25 July 2013
The challenge of bringing sustainable electricity to a Mumbai slum and two remote Indian villages is being tackled by two University of Bristol students as part of a pioneering project. Chloe Tingle and Adam Smith will be travelling to the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu to discuss ways in which villagers can improve their lives by generating their own power.
The fact-finding mission is part of a unique project led by Bristol-based charity The Converging World (TCW), which has installed wind farms in the area and invests the profits into helping people who live in energy poverty.
A quarter of India, which has a total population of 350million people, still has no electricity while vast areas of Tamil Nadu suffer from intermittent electricity or no energy supply at all, making even the most basic daily tasks extremely difficult.
The pair’s trip will begin on Saturday [27 July] in a Mumbai slum, where a solar project is underway at a local community centre. Adam and Chloe will run workshops to educate local people about the importance of renewable energies.
They will then travel to the villages of Kalilaspura and Muthumakamura, which are close to the wind turbines built by The Converging World. Here they will assess the energy needs and lifestyles of the local people while also meeting with local suppliers of biomass and biogas generators.
Chloe, who is in the final year of her Master’s degree in Engineering Design and a volunteer project manager for the charity, said: “Our trip is a fact-finding mission to gain an appreciation of local lifestyles. Meeting with communities face to face is the best way to understand their needs and learn about how their quality of life could be improved.”
Chloe started volunteering with The Converging World last November and is now the joint programme manager for their Access to Affordable Sustainable Energy programme.
Both she and Adam are part of the Bristol branch of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a student-run organisation which works to remove barriers to development through engineering.
Adam, who has just completed a Masters in Physics, said: “At The Converging World we are focussed on sustainability, so it’s important that we don’t go straight in and install energy systems that no-one understands how to use or maintain, that will be forgotten after a couple of years.”
They will both continue working on the project in the UK once they return at the end of August, using their research to recommend what type of technology would be best to use and which suppliers in India could help with this.
Bristol University is sponsoring Chloe and Adam’s part-time internships at the charity and they are self-funding their trip through grants and fundraising events. More information is available on the Sponsorcraft website.