A sustainability framework for assessing bio-energy projects: a note on the initial learning from the re-impact project in India

The Indian Biofuels Program began over 60 years ago but has gained significant momentum only in the past decade and especially in the past 5 years. While until early 2000 the major focus was on ethanol as a blending additive to gasoline, in 2003 the National Biodiesel Mission was established by the Planning
Commission that identified Jatropha curcas as the most suitable tree-borne oilseed (TBO) for the production of biodiesel and expected the program to substitute fossil diesel up to 20% by 2011-12 as well as help rehabilitate degraded lands by improving their water retention capacity. This note presents the initial work undertaken towards developing a Sustainable Rural Development Framework for assessing bio-energy projects. This is an ongoing task and the framework described below could be revised further as the project progresses. It draws heavily on the sustainability framework for the evaluation of bio-energy interventions developed by one of the project partners, The
Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, and which was further contextualised for the Indian case