Sustainable energy has been defined as the sustainable provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable sources of energy include, solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy etc. 2012 has been declared as the year of sustainable energy. However India has suffered one of the worst energy crisis just a few days ago.
On Tuesday, the 31st of July 2012, India faced what has been described as the ‘world’s biggest blackout’, affecting one-tenth of the global population. 21 states and Union Territories suffered the power outage when their respective grids collapsed in quick succession. This event has brought focus on the fact that India is not able to meet its growing demands for energy, further worsened
by its ever-increasing population. India relies mainly on coal for its power generation. However coal supply is at an all time low, with many of its coal plants having even less than 7 days worth of coal stock.
India is the world’s fourth largest energy consumer. High prices of energy and government subsidies has forced India to rely on one of the cheapest means of energy- indigenous coal. However, with coal supplies dwindling, it is necessary for our country to come up with an alternative solution to her energy problem. This is where the importance of renewable sources of energy comes in. We should look not for an immediate short-lived solution, but for a long term source that ensures sustainable development. A few renewable energy sources that India has access to, include:
India has a total hydro energy potential of about 1.5 lakh MW of which about 20% is installed.
The wind power potential of India is about 45,000 MW out of which capacity of 8748 MW has been installed in India till 31st March 2008.
India has a potential of about 3500 MW from biogas. Other fast growing plants could be planned over a huge area, so that it provides biomass for generating power.
India is a tropical country and has many sunny days. According to estimates , 35 MW of power could be generated from 1 sq km. With such potential, solar energy is going to be the future.
Hence, in conclusion, it is important for us to understand the need for renewable sources of energy that not only cater to our needs but the needs of future generations as well. We should all do our part to ensure that the year of sustainable energy increases our awareness and makes a difference in the way we live our day to day lives. Renewable sources are the best sources as they are the most environmentally friendly sources of energy and also ensure job and energy security.
Nivedita, Member, Ecoclub