Thursday, September 21, 2006

Renewable Energy Holds Out Hope - Part Two

The worldwide wind turbine capacity has climbed to a whopping 60,000 megawatts during 2005. The industry has developed large and efficient turbines of 4 to 6 MW. The average cost of generation is working to as low as Rs2-3.25 (four cents to seven cents) per kilowatt-hour. The social benefit of pollution control by this source of energy is a bonus for the already competitive cost of power. India has vast stretches of land where optimum wind speed almost throughout the year is available for free. Instead of subsidising coal-based power, the subsidy can be given perhaps more liberally for wind power as that would kill two birds in one shot.
The other renewable energy which could be commercialised on a much higher scale is solar energy. Using solar cells or photovoltaics, global generation was merely 5000 MW during 2005. However, with the breakthrough in technologies of making cheaper photovoltaics, the cost of generation has come down to Rs9-11 per kwh - almost four times the cost of coal-based electricity. With an investment of just $100 (Rs4600), people in Kenya prefer solar power to conventional power. In India, the low cost photovoltaics should be mass-produced so as to reach rural areas and inaccessible terrains easily.Innovative ideas invariably get rejected by traditional thinking.
The bureaucrats, the whole political class and power consultants will have to change their mindset.Are they ready?

No comments: