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                    At a time when we are aiming at the mission to inhabit the moon, it is a pity that we are still looking for sustainable source of energy when our known resources are going to end in the coming 25 to 40 years.

                    On our planet earth human beings are one of God's creatures that believe in living dangerously. Man takes from nature what suits him without a through for tomorrow, or the harm he does to nature that will eventually backfire on him and on the generations that will follow him. This is the message that the concerned environmentalists try to drum into the uncaring masses.

                    Energy is one such areas that takes out a lot from nature. The face of the earth is ruthlessly dug up for man's endless greed for Coal, petroleum and related gases. Let us conserve  them for if they are exhausted, we will all perish.

                    Energy is the engine of industrial development. It is needed for transporting farmers' produce to markets, children to school, and people to their jobs. It is needed to run hospitals, to feed malnourished and growing populations, to create industries that can compete globally, and to provide households with lighting, heating, cooking and refrigeration.

                    At present, the developed world consumes most of current energy production while the developing world struggles to meet its energy needs. It has been estimated that the developed world, which comprises 20 per cent of the planet's population, uses about 80 per cent of the energy produced globally. This unequal share of energy use among nations contributes greatly to environmental degradation.

                    Fossil fuel supply most of the energy consumed today. They are relatively concentrated and pure energy sources and easy to exploit and provide cheap energy. The breakup of energy consumed presently in the world is in the following ratio: oil 405%, natural gas 22.5%, coal 23.5%, hydroelectric 7%, nuclear 6%, biomass and other 0.7%. However, the reserve of fossils are limited and therefore a need is felt to explore and develop renewable sources of energy to meet with the ever growing demand of energy.

                    India ranks sixth in the world in total energy consumption and needs to accelerate the development of the sector to meet its growth aspirations. The country, though rich in coal and abundantly endowed with renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy has very small hydrocarbon reserves (0.4% of the world's reserve). India, like many other developing countries, is a net importer of energy, and more than 25 per cent of primary energy needs are being met through imports mainly in the form of crude oil and natural gas. The rising oil import bill has been the focus of serious concerns due to the pressure it has placed on foreign exchange resources and is also largely responsible for energy supply shortages. The sub-optimal consumption of commercial energy adversely affects and productive sectors, which in turn hampers economic growth.

                    The demand for power has been growing rapidly in view of the galloping economic development and steep population growth. It has, therefore, become indispensable in an economy to supplement the Conventional Energy Sources by Renewable sources of Energy in as much as they offer clean and green sources of energy and are available abundantly in nature.

                    It is well known that India's power sector is characterized by inadequate and inefficient supply. While installed power capacity has increased from a meager 1,362 MW to over 130,000 MV since independence, consumers still face frequent power cuts and fluctuating voltages and frequencies.  Much of the population remains unconnected to the public power system. System losses are high  throughout India's transmission and distribution networks and financial losses are more than U.S.$ 6.5 billion per year.

                    Operating performance is well below commercial standards.  Tariffs are distorted with a high degree of cross subsidy; and, on average, do not come close to covering the costs of service.  Low tariffs, however, do not often benefit the poor who largely lack access, especially in rural areas.  For example, while over 80 percent of villages are electrified, it is estimated that only about 55 percent of households have access to electricity.

                    As a mater of fact, India has sufficient energy sources like wind energy, solar energy, biomass and other forms of bio- energy, tidal energy, ocean-thermal energy and geo-thermal energy etc. 

                    Renewable Energy Sources are inexhaustible in nature and can be replenished with human effort at a lesser cost on a large scale basis.  Sources of energy in India can be improved chulhas, biogas plants, short rotation fuelwood tree species, biomass gasifiers, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic systems, wind farms, wind mills, biomass based cogeneration plants, small and micro hydel systems, power generation from the urban-municipal and industrial wasters, hydrogen energy and ocean energy.

(a) Wind energy

                    India now has the fourth largest wind power capacity in the world (after Germany, United States and Denmark).  Out of the total installed capacity of approximately 8,000 MW of grid interactive renewable power in India, wind power accounts for a major share-6,280 MW. However, there is more that remains to be tapped. Estimates put India's wind power potential at 45,000 MW.

(b) Bio Energy

                    Biomass is yet another important source of energy with potential to generate power to the extent of more than 50% of the country's requirements. India is predominantly an agricultural economy, with huge quantity of biomass available in the form of husk, straw, shells of coconuts, wild bushes and other material generated locally. With an estimated production of 350 million tons of agricultural waste every year, biomass is capable of supplementing coal to the tune of about 200 million tones producing 17,000 MW of power and resulting in a saving of about Rs. 20,000 crores every year. Biomass can be used in three ways- one in the form of gas through gasifiers for thermal applications, second in the form of methane gas to run gas engines to produce power and the third through  combustion to produce steam and thereby generate power.

(c) Solar Energy

                     Solar Power was once considered, like nuclear power, "too cheap to meter" but this proved illusory because of the high cost of photovoltaic cells and due to limited demand.

                    The other sources of renewable energy are geothermal, ocean, hydrogen and fuel cells. These have immense energy potential, though tapping this potential for power generation and other applications calls for development of suitable technologies.

                    In view of world wide demand for energy and concern for environmental safety there is need to search for alternative to petrol and diesel for use in automobiles. Ethanol produced from molasses or cane juice, when used as fuel will reduce the dependence on crude oil and help to curtail pollution. Further, technology is also being developed to convert different vegetable oils especially non-edible oils as bio-diesel for use in the transport sector. They are however in Research & Development stage only.

                    These are few thoughts  I wanted to share with you in this meeting so that more and more seminars of this nature can be held to highlight this problem and solutions in the energy sector and laws relating to energy.



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