When the world’s largest democracy goes dark, it makes headlines. During the 2012 India blackouts, roughly 600 million people were left without power, making it the largest power outage in world history. Not included among those without electricity were the more than 200,000 customers of Husk Power Systems (HPS) in the state of Bihar. The biogas-powered mini-grids created and run by Husk Power continued to provide electricity and light for villages that the India government has declared “impossible to reach by conventional means.”
Acumen first invested in HPS in 2009 when the company had only a few working plants. Now they have over 80 rice-husk power plants throughout the state and will continued to grow, thanks in part to a Series A funding round lead by Acumen in 2012. Providing electricity to rural villages who had never before had access is no small feat. Husk’s work is empowering, in the literal and figurative sense.
Last week, The PBS NewsHour did a feature on Husk Power Systems in the context of India’s recent blackouts and ongoing energy issues. The video does an excellent job of showing that social enterprises like Husk have an vital role to play in meeting customer demand in areas where governments have failed to deliver.