Monday, July 11, 2011
Power To The People
As I type this, a UPS beeps furiously behind me, and the growl of half-a-dozen diesel generators is audible down the street. I'm in Leh, a city nestled in a Himalayan valley surrounded by 6,000-metre / 20,000-foot peaks, the fast-growing capital of India's northernmost territory Ladakh. It's clearly outgrown its electrical capacity; power cuts hit several times a day. Power generation is a deeply unsexy but profoundly important subject in the developing world. Technology is busily transforming lives all around the globe as you read this, but the dearth of reliable electricity is a massive obstacle even in major cities, much less faraway villages. People do find various imperfect and ingenious ways to cope.