Friday, August 24, 2012

Combating Electricity/Power Shortages - Solar & Wind Power - Rajasthan & Gujarat Models - Fast Track Solar / wind Power Generation - 2012 Planned Expo- Some Essential Dos & Donts


Long term solutions

Most states in India are experiencing Electricity shortage.

Many underlying factors have compounded this Problem in India.

India has no real shortage of Coal. But, Mining of Coal is not done efficiently. Gas-well drilling is proceeding slowly. Actually, we do not even know how much Gas we can really produce from within India. Water shortages make Hydro Power uncertain. Electricity from Nuclear sources is a huge, time-consuming and tricky affair. India’s record of inefficiency in managing even normal electrical generation Plants – must definitely be taken into account in planning any more Nuclear Power generation Plants.

All put together – India is clearly NOT ON A FAST TRACK MODE in becoming Power-sufficient and Power surplus. But, this must be our Goal. May be – it must be one of our Foremost Goals. We must achieve self sufficiency in Power Ultra-quickly. The cost of producing power from alternate source like Solar heat and wind power  may be Higher or Lower. But, compared to the production of all other useful things that we are losing in the absence of Power – this cost seems eminently worthwhile.

Life comes almost to a standstill – in the absence of Power, in any developing or developed country. For a country like India, which has land, water, Hills, people, minerals, and almost everything – except Power – availability of Power can transform the country into a surplus country in almost every field. Almost everything happens – and happens better – in the presence of sufficient Power availability. I do not think that our people or Politicians have sufficient realization – that INDIA can be an ECONOMIC SUPER POWER – just by concentrating on this ONE SECTOR – of Power generation and transmission. All other things will fall into place. So, that is the ONE SINGLE GOAL – to aim for by the People and the Governments.

India has some coal, some Hydro resources – to produce Power. These can and should be augmented – SUPER FAST. But, these take around 5 years or more for each Plant commissioning. GAS has – FLATTERED  only to  DECEIVE. It happens to the best of companies some times. And, it unfortunately happened to India and to RIL – in KG D6. We must march on – without sitting there.

In this context – comes the fastest method of Production – that is – solar and wind Power Generation. These are Nature friendly, inexhaustible, reasonably assured – and not that costly. We do subsidize agriculture, and that is agreed by Most as essential. Likewise, subsidize the production of Solar, wind and other renewable, nature friendly energy sources  – and they will pay us immensely, through their contribution to the overall Production fo ALL OTHER NEEDS OF THE COUNTRY.

India has ample solar heat in most places. Wind Power also is available in plenty right across our coastal line, on top of Hills, across deserts etc. These must be harnessed fully.

Solar Power, especially, is an unfailing source of Power in most places of India. Solar Power Production Technology is available in India. These technologies can always be improved and improved further. R&D in Solar and wind Power Technologies must be introduced by Government and Industry in some of our premier Science & technology Institutions on a Big Scale. We will need them for all time to come. This is one aspect.
The More pressing need of today is - Government of India and Governments of States must get into Public-Private-Partnerships for solar Power Production on a very large scale – as quickly as Possible.

Many power producing companies like Reliance Power and L&T  are willing to install large scale Solar Power plants, wherever, the State Governments are coming up with some Enthusiasm. Gujarat is one such enthusiastic state developing Solar Power through different Models. Gujarat is planning for close to 1000 MW or more. And – another such state is Rajasthan.

Recently – in western Rajasthan, the country's largest solar power plant with an installed capacity of 40 MW started producing electricity in March, 2012. This was installed by Reliance Power at Pokharan

Central Minister for new and renewable energy Dr.Farooq Abdullah, chief minister Of Rajasthan, Sri Ashok Gehlot and his energy minister Jitendra Singh were all there along with Sri Anil Ambani . Mr.Jitendra Singh said a big leap has been taken by the state in wind power generation. "State has started producing 1,900 MW wind energy," he said, adding that the state is set for a major national energy revolution through generation of power from alternative sources, which fortunately, are abundant in Rajasthan. He said, "I am happy that Rajasthan is pioneering this phenomenon with a total investment of Rs 160 billion." Dr. Abdulla said - the target is to produce 20,000 MW of solar power in the country by 2022. Well; these are some ambitious Plans that are in the making.

Dr.Abdulla’s Ministry web site has the following Targets :

Renewable Energy Programme/ Systems
Target for 2012-13
Deployment during
Total Deployment
Cumulative achievement up to 31.07.2012
July, 2012
in  2012-13
Wind Power
Small Hydro Power
Biomass Power
Bagasse Cogeneration
Waste to Power                     -Urban
Solar Power (SPV)

The Target for 2012-13 for solar Power is hardly 800 MW. The Target for Wind Power is considerably Higher at 2500 MW. The state-wise targets may throw up interesting side-lights, on which states are ACTIVE in Planning for their Power requirements and which states are suffering but not planning.

Some states (like UP) are installing solar Power Plants of considerably LESS CAPACITY  - like 2 MW, which do not seem to be economical at present. The Power Production cost seems to be much higher for such LOW CAPACITY PLANTS. Also, it will take ages to come to self sufficiency through this route.

Therefore, States with Power shortage must plan to implement higher capacity solar and wind power plants wherever feasible – at ULTRA SPEEDS – and come out of their Power shortages very quickly. A state like AP, which was once a power-sufficient state, is now reeling under extreme Power shortages. Ditto with Tamilnadu. There are many other states which have huge Power shortages.

All these State Governments must get into PPP model of implementing Solar and wind power plants – after finding out the MOST ECONOMICAL and Techno-efficient MODEL  available. The generated Power will get supplied through the available transmission Grids.

This said, supply of Grid Power by the states to small villages  for residential and agricultural use is not cost efficient – and it requires small, solar panels suitable for residential and Agricultural Purposes. Dr.Abdulla’s Ministry must co-ordinate with states and the companies producing them – to Upgrade the technologies, make them more cost efficient and subsidize them to residences in villages and to Farmers (especially ) for agriculture purposes – and arrange for Bank credit too for their Purchase. In the absence of such Power – agriculture is taking a Big Hit in many villages. The amount of food production lost due to lack of power is so immense that even 50% subsidy for the solar panels plus Bank loan for the Balance – seems worthwhile for Agricultural Purposes. The Central Ministry must seriously consider this alternative as a FAST TRACK POLICY OPTION.

The Central Ministry is planning to hold the 6th RENEWABLE ENERGY INDIA 2012 EXPO at Delhi (Greater NOIDA) from 7th to 9th of Nov,2012. This is a very welcome Effort.

But, all states must make their total preparation – to take full advantage of this EXPO – and strike DEALS with different Indian Companies – for Solar and Wind Power Production in their states. Will they? Will they do on their own accord- or- at least on the push of the Central Ministry?

Dr.Abdulla is a seasoned and veteran Politician and a very competent Administrator. So, our request to him is to make the BEST USE OF this Expo, to get all states to participate and take full advantage of this Expo.

We find that there are very Interesting conferences with carefully selected topics – on all the dates. There are provisions for Business discussions etc. Thus, the conference really looks very PROFESSIONAL.
Now- what can be the Negative aspects in respect of this Expo. We all know the famous Murphy’s Law, “what can go wrong-will.”

So, what can go wrong here? Or, what will not happen here, that must? These are the twin questions, Dr.Abdullah must pose to his Ministry and ask them find all questions and answers.

Foremost of all is - UPA has not been giving the Opposition Parties their due share – by making them participants in Governance. The makers of Constitution and the first Governments of India under Nehru had foreseen the need for this – and had made provisions for standing Committees, Public accounts committee, expenditure finance committee and so on – with Significant Role for the Opposition in the Country’s Governance. The Constituent Assembly gave respect to every Voter who voted – and every representative who is sent to Parliament and state Legislatures.

The spirit of Democracy is precisely that. Opposition Parties must also participate in Governance in some ways – as watch Dogs, as critics, as reviewers and so on. More importantly, they must look at Policies in the making, and put forth their ideas on making them Better. Many scams or scam-look alikes and furore on them could have been avoided in the last several years, if only such small, simple Gestures and steps were taken.

I would request Dr. Farook Abdullah, to invite the leaders of Opposition Parties as well, to participate in the discussions, ventilate their views, and participate in his Ministry’s success – and the Nation’s success. Let this process start energetically with this EXPO. Dr. Abdulla must make all possible efforts to ENSURE THEIR participation in the Conferences at the EXPO, and later in drawing out Plans. A lot of  Good-will will come to exist in Public mind towards  Dr.Abdulla, the Union Government and the Opposition leaders, who choose to extend their Co-operation. The country’s Politics should change to this Healthy direction.
Second, Dr. Abdulla must ensure – every state’s Participation. No State must get left out. Every state must discuss its Energy Plan in the Expo – at some conference on some day. Or, they must attend without fail and submit their Paper – which must get circulated to ALL CONCERNED – with an invitation to them to discuss the State Plan details with the states concerned after the Expo.

Third, All states must be requested to curtail some NON-PRODUCTIVE EXPENDITURE, such as Doles to some extent, and concentrate for 2 years, in making their respective states, ENERGY SELF SUFFICIENT. Energy is a concurrent subject – and Centre will be well within rights to ask states to allocate sufficient sums for this purpose.

Without Energy, there will be No production and no Growth  - either in Agriculture, or  Industry or, services. Every Industry would like to go to a Energy surplus state. FDI will come automatically. We don’t need to extend any special concessions. The need for Energy self sufficiency, the immense Benefits thereof and the means for such self sufficiency must be made known to ALL MEMBERS OF PUBLIC all over India – through News Papers, Radio and TV. This public awareness – will soon become state awareness and all states will feel enthused / compelled to get into the Act.

In summary, the Expo must create strong awareness of the need and the options for renewable Energy in the entire country – not merely among state players and Industry. The expo must result in all states enhancing their energy plans considerably – and taking them up on a war footing – cutting down any other non-productive expenditure. The Expo must also result in focusing on helping rural households and Farmers to get solar panels for residential and agricultural needs – IMMEDIATELY, partly through 50% subsidy and balance through Bank loans.

I do hope, Dr.Abdullah and his Ministry will respond to the need of the Hour – with clear focus and commitment. We wish the Expo all success.

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1 comment:

  1. Gujarat Govt’s focus on tapping renewable energy has led to sharp rise in the ability to generate energy (power) using wind energy in the last few years. According to official information, wind energy creation capacity in the state has increased a staggering ten times in just six years.
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