Renewable Energy Technologies in India

By Venkat Raj

Creating an environment conducive to promote renewable energy technologies is the need of the hour. Our country is blessed with plenty of renewable energy resources. Wind Energy, Solar Energy, Biomass, Geothermal Energy, Ocean Energy and the Energy from Wastes constitute the major alternative to the conventional sources. Though the Renewable Energy Scenario in India looks encouraging, we need to look into a long term strategy to manage the future energy needs. In managing the energy crisis, where do we stand and where are we heading to?

Research shows that an energy mix, with wind energy providing 30%, solar energy 20% and gas turbines (biogas and natural gas) a further 20%, is technically and economically viable.  It may soon be possible to imagine a scenario where most of the electricity we use comes from renewable energy sources. We will thus be able to prevent climate change by lessening the emission of greenhouse gases.

But we also need to understand that there are some conceptual hurdles that we have to overcome. Recent research reveal that all the carbon dioxide emissions, in combination with other greenhouse gases, from all the cars and trucks, has emerged as one of the primary causes of global warming.

We know well how global warming endangers human health and welfare. The switch from coal and other fossil fuels to greener wind-based energy will mitigate CO2 emissions, thereby reducing pollution. Even though wind power is mainly an energy resource that replaces fossil power generation, it can also be used for replacing existing power plant capacity.

Renewable Energy In India

Solar Cell Panel

In areas where wind power production is high during peak demand, wind power can be used to replace the fall in capacity by up to 40% of the installed wind power capacity. Wind energy might one day become a commonly used clean, renewable, viable source of energy for everyone to use, which would counter the environmental damage occurring from our current use of fossil fuels as our main source for energy.

In India, Solar Power systems are primarily used to cut down on energy costs that most households consume. Solar energy is a concept that excites researchers because of its ability to tap a resource that is so obvious. Though we have unlimited sunlight to tap, we have limited technology to use. Hence, more R &D needs to be promoted to enhance the technical potential of Solar Energy Generation. Turning Garbage into Energy is slowing being adopted in India. There are ways to draw energy from the garbage which we dispose off. Bio-gas also has the potential to generate electricity for homes and offices.

India has developed to a stage where it is generally accepted that renewable energy is the most substantial and sustainable solution to its future needs. Balancing mankind’s need for energy with the environmental cost to our planet is a major challenge. I think it is a clear fact that there will be demand, driven by population growth if nothing else, for large additional amounts of primary energy. Hence, we need to provide the new chemistry to support an evolving energy mix if we are going to produce much carbon-free power. Role of NGOs, Academicians, Journalists and Activists will be essential in creating more awareness in India about the renewable energy scenario!

The above article has been contributed by V.Venkat Raj, Director of  Centre for Media & Public Affairs, Chennai. Website
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