About 2 billion people of the world, mostly in rural areas of the developing countries, do not have access to grid-based electricity. The most critical factor affecting their livelihoods is access to clean, affordable and reliable energy services for household and productive uses. Under this backdrop, renewable and readily available energy from the nature can be incorporated in several proven renewable energy technology (RET) systems and can play a significant role in meeting crucial energy needs in these remote far flung areas. RETs are ideal as distributed energy source and they can be incorporated in packages of energy services and thus offer unique opportunities to provide improved lighting, health care, drinking water, education, communication, and irrigation. Energy is also vital for most of the income-generating activities, both at the household or commercial levels. Access to energy is strongly connected to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set targets for poverty reduction, improved health, and gender equality as well as environmental sustainability. Environmentally benign renewable energy systems can contribute significantly in the above-mentioned unserved or underserved areas in the developing countries to achieve both local and global environmental benefits. This is important in the context of sustainable development in: (i) poverty alleviation, (ii) education, (iii) gender equity and empowerment, (iv) health including other benefits like improved information access through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centers, (v) better security, and (vi) increase in social or recreational opportunities. It is evident that proliferation of renewable energy resources through implementing their applications for meeting energy demand will promote all the three dimensions namely, social, economic and environmental of sustainable development in the developing countries. Several small scale enabling RET systems have been suggested in this paper in the light of above-mentioned issues of energy sustainability and they can significantly contribute to the improvement of the livelihood of the remote impoverished rural communities of the developing countries. With the current state of technology development, several RET systems (such as wind, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, biomass and microhydro) have become successful in different parts of the world. In this paper, an exhaustive literature survey has been conducted and several successful and financially viable small-scale RET systems were analyzed. These systems have relevance to the economies of the developing countries that can be utilized for electrification of domestic houses, micro enterprises, health clinics, educational establishments and rural development centers.

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