*Inputs from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
In the past century, it has been seen that the consumption of non-renewable sources of energy has caused more environmental damage than any other human activity. Electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal and oil has led to high concentrations of harmful gases in the atmosphere. This has in turn led to many problems being faced today such as ozone depletion, global warming and climate change. Vehicular pollution has also been a major problem as well as buildings and houses guzzle energy which are alarming.
Under present scenario of sky rocketing price of crude oil and associated environmental problems renewable energy sources have become very important and relevant to today’s world. The focus of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is on development and promotion of renewable energy sources to meet the energy requirements of various sectors.
Wind, hydro, biomass and solar are the main renewable energy sources for grid interactive power. Globally, wind energy utilization is on an upbeat. Wind energy has posted, amongst all renewable energy sources the highest growth rates. Capacity addition is in the range of 1500 – 2000 MW per year over the past three years. India has maintained 4th rank in the world after Germany, Spain and USA. 1390 MW capacity addition this year has taken the overall contribution from wind energy to 7660 MW out of total contribution of about 11,000 MW to grid power from renewable. Power generation from wind energy has reached 8757 MW till 31st March, 2008.
The Ministry takes up Hydro-electric projects up to 25 MW capacity which have been categorized as Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects. At present, the Small Hydro Power Programme is being driven primarily by private investment. 162 megawatt small hydro power projects were commissioned in 2007 raising the cumulative achievement to 2180 MW. Main achievement in this area has been on canals of Karnataka and in hilly areas of Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Biomass has been one of the main energy sources for mankind since the dawn of civilization. Every year millions of tons of agriculture and forest residues are generated. These are either wasted or burnt inefficiently in their loose form causing air pollution. These wastes can be efficiently utilized for thermal use and power generation. 95 MW was produced from bio-mass/cogeneration (non-bagasse) and 100.11 MW has been produced from bio-mass gasifiers till 31.08.2008.Energy recovery from waste has reached 26.70 MW during the same period.
The Ministry has roped in industries for power generation. This is to meet their captive energy requirements, both power and heat energy. Twelve bio-mass co-generation projects based on rice- husk and others based on bagasse have been installed in paper mills and sugar mills in 2007. Small scale industries have also been included. A large number of biomass gasifiers were installed to provide power to small scale industries and for electrification of villages. Furnace oil replacement initiatives through thermal applications have started. Power generation from agro residues and plantations have reached 606 MW and bagasse co-generation has reached the level of 800MW till end of last financial year.
The Ministry is also promoting power generation from different types of urban waste which include municipal solid waste, cattle manure, vegetable market waste, slaughter wastes, liquid waste from distilleries, poultry litter and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). The cumulative achievement under waste-to-energy programme, both from Grid Interactive Renewable Power and Captive- Combined Heat and Power(CHP), is 81.95 MW till March 2007.
Remote Village Electrification Programme
The Remote Village Electrification Programme (RVEP) and Village Energy Security Test Projects (VESPs) reach out to villages who are unlikely to receive grid-connectivity. These villages are not only electrified but they also have improved chulhas, biogas plants based on dung/oilcakes or leafy mass, bio-fuel based pump sets etc., 400 villages and hamlets have been provided lighting during 2007, their by taking cumulative achievements to 4198 villages and hamlets in the country.
A large number of decentralized renewable energy systems such as 40 lakh biogas plants, 14 lakh solar photovoltaic systems producing 120MW, 70474 solar street lighting system, solar water heating systems with collector area of 2.30 million square meters, large number of biomass gasifiers for rice mills, bakeries and other industries etc., have been promoted under various schemes.
The Ministry has launched three new schemes namely Demonstration programme on megawatt size grid interactive solar power generation, Development of solar cities and Energy recovery from municipal and urban waste. The target for Demonstration programme on megawatt size grid interactive solar power generation is 50 MW during XIth Plan Period where each MW of solar power is likely to generate 25 to 40 direct jobs and upto 400 indirect jobs it is expected that private sectors will invest Rs. 1000 crore in this sector. 60 cities will be covered under the new initiative of Development of solar cities during XIth Plan Period. The Ministry will provide financial assistance upto Rs. 50 lakhs under various schemes. Total 5 projects will be taken up in Public Private Partnership mode under Energy recovery from municipal and urban waste initiatives in coming years.
A green building depletes the natural resources to the minimum during its construction and operation. Keeping in view the Indian agro-climatic conditions and in particular the preponderance of non-AC buildings, a National Rating system – GRIHA – has been developed, which is suitable for all kinds of buildings in different climatic zones of the country. The Ministry signed a MoU with TERI on 1st November, 2007 for launching a National Rating System GRIHA for all kinds of buildings in different climatic zones of the country.
Apart from providing financial support, the Ministry also plays a key role in providing technical back-up for promoting renewable energy systems and devices through its specialized technical institutions, namely Solar energy Centre (SEC) and Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET). The North East has been given a special focus for accelerated deployment of renewable energy systems and devices.
The Ministry celebrated a grand silver jubilee function at Vigyan Bhawan on 22nd November, 2007 on successfully completing 25 years of its service to the nation. President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil released four commemorative postal stamps on renewable energy on this occasion, along with a compendium titled “25 years of renewable energy in India”.
A development-cum-demonstration project for use of hydrogen (upto 30%) in CNG as a fuel for automotive vehicles (buses, cars and three wheelers) has been awarded to the society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), New Delhi, to get hands on experience on production, storage, transportation and utilization aspects of hydrogen as an automotive fuel. A MoU for implementation of the project was signed between Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, SIAM and IOCL. This is the first project to be implemented in public private partnership mode of funding in the area of hydrogen energy.
The Hindu - Opinion
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