Frequent blackouts, especially during summer, indicate the need of an alternate source of energy. In 2012 India saw the biggest blackout, in the New Delhi-Kolkata stretch. On 30th and 31st July, the Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern power grids failed and disrupted life in 19 states and the Union Territories of India, affecting about 700 million people. It even interrupted the emergency services of railway, hospitals and buses.
Electricity consumption as well as the struggle to generate additional power has increased to manifolds because of growing population, industrialisation and economic development. But economic growth and industrialisation are challenged by the shortage of power supply. Hence, India needs to do something to fill the gap between the demand and supply of power.
Alternative energy sources for India
India does not lack in renewable energy resources such as sunlight, biomass and wind. Ours is the only nation in the world to have a dedicated ministry for the same, the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), which is now known as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The department is responsible for promoting renewable energy technologies, creating conducive environment for promotion and commercialisation of these technologies, resource assessment, extension, etc. India can definitely look towards using non-polluting renewable sources of energy. By doing so, it will not only meet the needs of the required power but will also create millions of jobs. India must think of wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal and biogas as alternate sources of energy.
The power generation from renewable sources is rising from 7.8% in Financial Year-08 to 12.3% in Financial Year-13. India is the fifth largest wind energy producer in the world. Rest of the energy is constituted by small hydro power, bio-energy and solar energy.
India is new to wind power, which started in 1990s, but within a short span of time, our country has become the fifth largest country in terms of total installed capacity of wind power. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal are the main states where wind power plants of different capacity have been installed. Out of total power of the country, 1.6% is generated through wind.
Solar energy is an inexhaustible source of energy available in abundance in India. Every year, India is showered with about 5,000 TWh of solar power. Power problem in India can be solved even by utilising a tenth of this available resource.
The Indian Solar Loan Programme is one of the most impressive programmes supported by the United Nations Environment Programme. It has also won the Energy Globe Award for Sustainability. Finance has been provided for more than 16,000 solar home systems through 2,000 banks in just three years under this programme.
The US-India Energy partnership program known as SERIUS (the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States) is another very impressive programme. SERIUS will create jobs, much needed power, and it will also be safe to the environment.
India also established the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in late 2009. Its mission is to produce 10% of energy from solar but it must play a greater role in this direction by taking some bigger steps.
Various human activities are leading to climate change. Hence, it is the responsibility of every nation to carry out specific tasks. India must find out alternate ways of energy sources. Instead of using hydrocarbons and coal, India must focus on the use of renewable energy. In its 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), the Indian Government has set a target of adding 18.5 GW of renewable energy sources to the generation mix, out of which 11 GW is Wind Energy.
India must shift towards using renewable energy from oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants. the government must formulate favourable policies for the generation of energy from renewable resources. People or community using renewable resources must be benefitted with some incentives or schemes to popularise the use. India must have a dedicated research and development centre to develop, promote and increase the use of renewable source of energy.