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Renewable Energy: Way Forward By G. K. Ghosh

In order to perform work of any form there will always be need for energy of some form or other. Homo Sapiens during prehistoric era used muscle power since they had no knowledge to harness energy. First scientific development was invention of wheel and greatest invention of course was invention of fire. It was from this period onwards new and new inventions started changing the operations.

Man wanted to perform their work as easily as possible and wanted to lead comfortable life. Sun was source of great energy which ancient men used the way they could. It continues to be important source during future days too though applications may change.

Invention of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum changed the energy applications completely. But as we develop further we also realised its stock is limited and these sources damages our environment. With increased use we have damaged the environment so much that climate started changing at galloping rate. Nuclear energy or atomic energy is the latest and considered to be less polluting. But actually it is not so. Moreover its resource is also limited. It is unfortunate that when most of the countries discontinuing nuclear energy as one of the important source India starting afresh due to political reasons risking its citizens.

Renewable energy is here to stay its potential is large. But how are we proceed now? Technology is one thing – the market i.e., the level of demand, is the other.

Which companies, with their market and brand name successes, can be used as a benchmark? At the intersolar one can certainly learn from some of them, but can also see how things should not be done.

Forecasts of economic development in a crisis contain lots of guess work and are usually wrong, so what should one used to go on? The answer: knowledge of your own strengths and weakness and the opportunities and dangers within the sector. But how do we recognise these? Through trial and error. Tenacious further development is the order of the day, and not to let setbacks to hold you back. Work self - consciously on your own position, technology and what you can provide your customers. If you stick to the old wisdom of economies, which says that the yield should always be greater than effort involved, then calm further development with realistic expectations will soon bring about success.

It is universally known about contribution of India in development of renewable energy. Fact that Bio-gas was traditionally known as Gobar-gas itself a proof of contribution of India. It was in a place called Sodepur near Kolkata that the first standard Gobar-gas plant was installed in the premises of Khadi Ashram in the year 1934. Mahatma Gandhi visited this ashram being invited by well known Gandhian Satish Dasgupta. After independence after formation of Khadi & Village Industries Commission Gobar-gas program was carried forward by K.V.I.C., till Ministry of Non – conventional Energy, later renamed as Ministry of Renewable Energy took over.
Today we have more than million of bio –gas plants all over the country not only meeting part of domestic energy need but also organic fertiliser need to Indian agriculture. But greates lacunae in Bio – gas programme is they are not professionally managed. This source could have been one of the greatest eco-friendly and renewable energy source of the country and could have been bright example for the world to follow.

Visiting high altitude regions of North India is a great experience. Not only that the beautiful scenes around enchant us, but also give us lessons to follow. From Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh including Nepal and Bhutan enchants us. But topic here is renewable energy hence discussions must be limited to that extent. The region is blessed with natural waterfalls small and big. Apart from being important water sources people used these waterfalls for running wheels with traditional crushers attached to it that crushes wheat to flour or spices. These are locally known as Gharad. While the crusher is used once in a day or occasionally, the wheel moves round the day since waterfalls continue to pour water. Some scientists from Indian  Institute of Technology, New Delhi observed this  and started working with some N.G.O.’s of the region to work out on traditional Gharad. They designed standard Gharad and attached a generator to generate electricity. One Gharad, it is reported, if properly designed can meet electricity need of entire village and can contribute to the grid.

The boom in renewable energies will continue, but apart from environment, climate and some suppliers, not all will profit from this. Finding the right products requires a continuous new positioning in the market place through further development of one’s technology and market presence, while taking all economic requirements into account. Increasing efficiency provides a good interface between ecological and economic aims. The effective use of scarce resources, but without incurring prohibitively high risks and effect side effects, is the name of the game. It is expected that by 2020, electricity production from renewable energies in Germany will reach a share of 47% of gross electricity consumption. Not considering the subdued frameworks for the solar economy resulting from the current economic and financial crisis., the signs are that the boom will be able to continue. But, as the gold rush, not everyone will be able to stake claim. The suppliers of tools, as once the makers of spades for digging out nature’s treasure, stand a good chance of being on the winning side of things. However what is possible in Germnany may not be possible in India since Germany is capable of taking independent decision while India acts on overseas dictates and may have to nuke in spite of having environmentally clean resources.

Apart from economic opportunities for individual market participants, whether suppliers or on demand side, the expansion of renewable energies also benefits the general economy. Saving energy resources that were created over millions of years is economically sensible if short term uses such as light and heat can be generated at lower cost factor costs from renewable energies, especially as external costs such as environmental and climatic damage can be mitigated.

Commissioning of 2 MW, electricity generation unit in West Bengal run totally with solar energy is a welcome development. Though such units are found in Germany this is first of such unit in India. The Green Oscar winning former Director of Renewable Energy Ministry of West Bengal, S.P. Ganchowdhury founded a N.G.O. that took initiative to start such effort.

Close to Kolkata is the district of 24-Parganas – South which covers the famous Sunderbans, There are number of islands in the region including the famous Sagar island visited millions of Hindu devotees every year. Due to topography bulk of the area of the district is deprived of electricity connections. The region came to limelight recently due to devastation of cyclone known as Aila. Bulk of the people belong to backward classes and are mostly landless. Due to initiative by Ganchowdhury recently about a lakh of solar lanterns were distributed in the region covering those suffered after Aila.

In this region there is an organisation called Sri Ramakrishna Ashram with its head quarter its head quarter at Nimpith. The organisation runs Krishi Vigyan Kendra,Vivekananda Institute of Biotechnology besides number of schools and institutes besides helping poor with various assistance like health, employment and so on. Recently the organisation is planning to start an Energy Park that will help people of the region to get assistance of their energy need in accordance to circumstances and resources available in the region.

The other district near Kolkata is 24-Parganas – North. Half of this district is industrially developed while the other half is economically backward due to various historic reasons. Basirhat town is in the backward portion of the district known for poultry, pisiculture and production of jute, vegetables and paddy. Demography shows majority of them belong to minority and backward community. Seven Panchayats of Basirhat I block decided together to plan and implement sustainable program. They decided to form a Private Limited Company under P.C. Act by the producers. Name of on e of the Panchyat is PIFA which is adopted as common brand for all the products. Ultimate aim is to make the area totally sustainable with green products thus they started with organic farming. Twenty five entrepreneurs already started production of organic fertiliser and another twenty five are being trained for production of food products. various Government departments converged to assist the effort with technical know how from Agriculture University and Jadavpur university.

Entrepreneurs Development Institute, Gandhinagar, Gujarat has come forward to train up the entrepreneurs with all other components.

The model is now famous as PIFA model and being popularised as an ideal model. In energy front they are planning renewable energy as priority. While Organic Fertiliser and Vermi Composing is planned, it is also decided that all the feed to such pits must be routed through bio - gas plants so that at least domestic fuel need can be met. If it grows there is plan to think of generating electricity for local need or alternately producing Carbo tetra chloride commercially. Planning is also under process to instal facilities of Solar energy or exploiting possibility of wind energy. If PIFA model succeeds it will give us answer to combat climate change right from renewable energy, organic agriculture, eco-friendly products, crafts, eco-tourism and so on. It will be a great leap forward. – PIB.

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