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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Use of Renewable Energy, saving fossil fuel

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The Indian Government launched a campaign for the conservation of energy on 14th December 2004.The Bureau of Energy Efficiency conducted a number of programmes for the conservation of energy during the year 2005.The country celebrates National Energy Conservation Day on 14th December every year. The National Energy Labeling Programme was started by the Indian Government on 18th May 2006.The country celebrates “Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas” on 20th August every year. The principal vision behind these numerous programmes conducted through out the country from time to time relates to the fact that our traditional sources of energy are depleting fast and the excessive use of fossil fuels through inefficient technologies has been certified to contribute to the global environmental problems like the increasing green house effect leading to the global warming and the climate change besides causing acid rains, corroding walls of monuments, causing diseases in humans and cattle, and numerous others. On the other hand the world especially the developing world is passing through an acute energy crisis. Thus it is important now to encourage the use of non- conventional sources of energy and search latest and efficient technologies for harnessing energy through these sources while saving our fossil sources as far as practicable.

A vast gap exists between the demand and supply of energy today across the whole world. The rate of consumption of fossil fuels is going on increasing day by day in spite of the fact that we have very limited stock of these resources. This is the reason why the prices of these fuels are rising day by day, and it is reflected brightly on the economy of the country. In brief one can conclude that the country in particular is passing through a phase of an acute energy crisis. Of the total primary energy requirements, 60 percent comes from the commercial sources. 69 percent or more of the electricity generation depends on coal only. About 25 percent of the energy requirement is met by the hydel power. The contribution of diesel and natural gas in this area is just 4 percent. Only 2 percent of the gross energy requirement is met by the nuclear energy. The contribution of non- conventional sources like solar light, wind, tide, hydro, and geo-thermal etc. is poor 1 percent. It is here that we need to worry a lot.

Addressing to a class of academicians on 26th June 2006 at Tata Energy Research Institute New Delhi, the ex-President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam asked the energy sector to raise the existing power generation capacity from 130,000 MW to 400,000 MW up to 2030. According to him the country could become self sufficient in energy generation by 2030 by building capacities in the areas of Hydel power, nuclear energy, and non-conventional energy like solar energy, biomass energy etc.
Today India has about 30,100,000 biogas plants; 4, 90,000 solar cookers; 3,400 solar pumps; and 637 wind energy pumps. The generation of solar energy is being enhanced through the application of solar photovoltaic cells. Currently, the country is generating about 57 MW of electricity by the application of about 7, 00,000 solar cells. It is still very less. The total generation of electricity in India through wind power is just 900MW as against the total capacity of 20,000 MW.The country is generating about 23,800 MW of hydel energy. The data suggest that India can produce 22,500 million cubic meter of methane in the form of biogas, but the country is far from achieving this target. A plant of 900 MW installed capacity for harnessing tidal energy has been installed in Kutch during previous years. The power generating windmill turbines were installed in an area 160 km west of the western Indian city of Ahmadabad on September 8, 2009.Thus it is clear now that the country can become self sufficient in energy generation if research and innovations are continued with a strong will power.

The wind energy farm in Kutch. India

Wind Power Generation near Ahmadabad (about 160 km from the main city)

Solar Power Generation in India
( credit world press)

We will have to take up some strong steps towards becoming self sufficient in energy generation by raising it through non-conventional sources. Some of the strong steps may be raising the generation capacity, raising the efficiency in utilization, raising the efficiency in transmission, Energy Planning, Integrated Energy Planning Programmes, and Energy Management etc. The Energy Conservation Act was passed in India in 2001, and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency was organized under this Act. The bureau prepares guidelines in different sectors of generation and utilization of energy in the country. But, only the government efforts alone can not crack the nut. The generation of energy through non- conventional sources requires public initiation, public participation, and public support, and besides all- the public awareness. It is through the development of non-conventional sources of energy that we can save our fossil fuels along with saving our environment especially the atmosphere from the serious pollution threatening now at the global level.

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