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Rural energy consumption patterns - A field study

Elsevier Science
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  • Centre For Sustainable Technologies (Formerly Astra)
  • Agricultural Science


This paper is a condensed version of the final report of a detailed field study of rural energy consumption patterns in six villages located west of Bangalore in the dry belt of Karnataka State in India. The study was carried out in two phases; first, a pilot study of four villages and second, the detailed study of six villages, the populations of which varied from around 350 to about 950. The pilot survey ended in late 1976, and most of the data was collected for the main project in 1977. Processing of the collected data was completed in 1980. The aim was to carry out a census survey, rather than a sample study. Hence, considerable effort was expended in production of both a suitable questionnaire, ensuring that all respondents were contacted, and devising methods which would accurately reflect the actual energy use in various energy-utilising activities. In the end, 560 households out of 578 (97%) were surveyed. The following ranking was found for the various energy sources in order of average percentage contribution to the annual total energy requirement: firewood, 81·6%; human energy, 7·7%; animal energy, 2·7%; kerosene, 2·1%; electricity, 0·6% and all other sources (rice husks, agro-wastes, coal and diesel fuel), 5·3%. In other words commercial fuels made only a small contribution to the overall energy use. It should be noted that dung cakes are not burned in this region. The average energy use pattern, sector by sector, again on a percentage basis, was as follows: domestic, 88·3%; industry, 4·7%; agriculture, 4·3%; lighting, 2·2% and transport, 0·5%. The total annual per capita energy consumption was 12·6 ± 1·2 GJ, giving an average annual household consumption of around 78·6 GJ.

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