Renewable energy has huge potential to provide solution to increase energy crisis and it is the key factor to the future of energy, food and economic security, said participants at a seminar organized by greentech and Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We are a growing economy. So our energy requirement is also growing. But we don’t produce enough energy to meet even our current needs. With depleting fossil fuel reserves and concerns about its environmental impact, renewable energy is the only long-term solution,” said Bibek Bandhopadhyay, advisor at the ministry of new and renewable energy.
At present, India’s installed power capacity is 2,10,645 MW with renewable energy contributing 26,900 MW or 12.4%. From various energy technologies, a capacity addition of about 30,000 MW has been planned during the 12th Plan period 2012-2017. The focus is now on mainstreaming renewable energy technologies so that it becomes cost-effective. Of this, 69% is generation from wind and 4.5% from solar.
Incidentally, India was the first country to set up a ministry of non-conventional energy resources in the early 1980s.
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. Much of the country does not have an electric grid, so one of the first applications of solar power has been for water pumping, to begin replacing India’s 4-5 million diesel powered water pumps, each consuming about 3.5 kilowatts, and off-grid lighting. Some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 sq km area of the Thar desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 to 2,100 GW.
The Indian Solar Loan Programme, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme has won the prestigious Energy Globe World award for sustainability for helping to establish a consumer financing program for solar home power systems. Over the span of three years more than 16,000 solar home systems have been financed through 2,000 bank branches, particularly in rural areas of south India where there is no grid electricty.
Launched in 2003, the Indian Solar Loan Programme was a four-year partnership between UNEP, the UNEP Risoe Centre, and the Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank.
Announced in November 2009, the Government of India proposed to launch its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013 and up to 20,000 MW grid-based solar power, 2,000 MW of off-grid solar power and cover 20 million sq metres with collectors by the end of the final phase of the mission in 2020.
Development of wind power in India began in the 1990s and has increased in recent years. Although a relative newcomer to the wind industry compared with Denmark or the US, domestic policy support for wind power has led India to become the country with the fifth largest installed wind power capacity in the world. As of December 2010, the installed capacity of wind power in India was 13,065.37 MW, mainly spread across Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal. Wind power accounts for 6% of India’s total installed power capacity, and it generates 1.6% of the country’s power.
Every year, about 55 million tonnes of municipal solid waste and 38 billion litres of sewage are generated in the urban areas of India. In addition, large quantities of solid and liquid wastes are generated by industries. Waste generation in India is expected to increase rapidly in the future. As more people migrate to urban areas and as incomes increase, consumption levels are likely to rise, as are rates of waste generation. It is estimated that the amount of waste generated in India will increase at a per capita rate of approximately 1-1.33% annually. This has significant impacts on the amount of land that is and will be needed for disposal, economic costs of collecting and transporting waste, and the environmental consequences of increased MSW generation levels.