Friday, April 1, 2011

Energy Security:Renewable Energy Sources-The Right Perspective

Electricity from renewable sources i.e. hydel, wind and solar is certainly the best option for any country on this globe, particularly for India as it has availability of vast quantum of these resources. The basic advantage in the use of these resources can be summed up as:
  • All three are eternal sources of energy
  • Clean pollution free energy generation
  • No consumable costs and saves scarce fossil fuel and carbon reserves
  • Least environment effect on global warming
  • Very low on logistics cost
The overall hydro, wind and solar power  potential available in  the country is of  the order of  8-10 lakh mw
( Considering only Thar desert area for solar power ). The same can grow considerably if we decide to make use of all our rail, road and canal corridors. India is actively considering Mega Manufacturing Hubs each of which will be spread over 2000 hectares covering an area of about 20 sq.kms. and a periphery of about 20 kms. Consider a 100 metre wide integrated rail / road corridor on this periphery which gives us an area of 2 sq. km carrying a solar power potential of 40 mw .
The hype created about nuclear energy as the only viable source to give India its energy security in future is a result of some vested interests and compulsions on the part of government and lack of professional integrity on the part of concerned technocrats. We are excellent scientists and technologists but when it comes to choosing between two or more available alternates we never have the courage and professional uprightness to go in for the best solution. In such matters petty personal gains and desire to further one's own empire and clout in the technical community take the front seat.
American and West European interest in selling nuclear power technology is quite understandable, for they will like to earn maximum from the technologies wherein billions of dollars have been spent and invested in research and infrastructure for commercial exploitation. They couldn't care less if these technologies are redundant today or better and safe alternates are available till such time they can force sell them to some one. We are planning to have about 20000 mw of nuclear power in the coming years. The costs involved are a mind boggling sum of Rs 2.4*10^12 i.e. 0.240 million crores as per 1995 prices. Through the same money, science, technology and relevant manufacturing facilities for wind and solar power generation will be developed and optimised and sold off to countries like us after 10-15 years. Incidentally setting up of a nuclear power plant involves a time period of more than 10 years.
The nuclear danger in Japan resulting out of earthquake and tsunami are a big wake up call  for everyone and let us respond in the same way as any well meaning citizen of a country will respond. Let us have Energy Security in a National Mission Mode. We have done wonders in the field of television penetration, mobile telephony, missile programme and Delhi Metro through such approach. We are working on UID project and let us have a similar approach to Energy Security problem also. These last two measures can in fact revolutionise the fate of our teeming millions in a decade