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Energy for better living

Swaati Chaudhury |

The government&’s attempts to use renewable sources of energy for domestic purposes serve as a blessing in this era of global warming and climate change. Compared to developed countries like Germany, the average per capita consumption of energy in India is quite low. No industry is free from causing pollution or inflicting environmental damage. Presently, a plethora of discussions on solar energy are being held along with wind and biomass energy.

Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar, minister for environment, West Bengal, said, “West Bengal is a power-surplus state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has been the premier body in the eastern region to have initiated a project on solar energy.  Solar power has immense potential and is highly essential in operation theatres in hospitals to keep life-saving vaccines intact. We are trying our best to light up homes with the use of solar power in Bengal.”

Nearly 75 per cent of sponge iron industries are concentrated in and around Asansol. These emit a lot of noxious gases into the ambience, causing an alarming rise in the pollution level. “The state government would offer subsidy to sponge iron industries that employ the use of coal-based methane and the subsidy would be on offer in changing the boilers,” added Dastidar, at the Energy Forum 2015 hosted in association with Poland&’s Foundation Institute for Eastern Studies, Eastern Chamber of Commerce and Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata on 12 September.

Around 65 per cent of the demand in energy is catered from non-renewable sources of energy and only eight per cent from solar energy. KJ Nath, president, Institution of Public Health Engineers, said, “The prospect of utilising other forms of energy can mitigate the disturbing impact of climate change. Alternate sources of waste energy can be generated from biomedical wastes, agricultural, animal and human wastes. If the huge amount of human wastes produced is used in the making of biomass and bioenergy, then there can be a significant transformation in the energy resources but till today such expectations have not been met in the energy sector. The failure in commercialisation of waste energy is attributed to factors like lack of professional management and marketing.”

The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited has electrified around 543,000 houses that belong to the below-poverty line across 7,636 hamlets till today. It has set up an agenda to electrify all rural homes, including those of 130, 211 below-poverty line families in Cooch Behar and Jalipaiguri with the help of the state government.

Bengal has set a target to achieve a solar power output of 100 MW by 2017. SP Gon Chaudhury, solar scientist, commented, “The contribution of the eastern region in solar power is quite small since nearly 95 per cent of solar energy is concentrated in North India. The eastern zone has a huge density of population.”  The premier solar power plant came up in Asansol back in 2009. The use of more renewable energy can put a check on the coal sector and pollution can be abated. Uniform distribution of solar energy across the country is the need of the hour.