Come summer time and the woes of thousands of households in India increases manifolds as they brace for long hours of power cuts. Power-cuts in different states in India have become a regular feature as the states grapple with deficit arising from a gap in demand and supply. Production deficit apart, transmission losses and thefts too increase the maladies of authorities. Also to note is the extreme disparity as certain households have gobble power with appliances and air conditioners while those in the other extreme barely get adequate power supply!
With so many issues, what kinds of solutions are possible?
The writing is clear that power needs to be saved and energy needs to be generated from non-conventional sources. Non-conventional forms of energy such as solar and wind could gain importance in the days to come. Given the state of plenty with regard to solar energy in the country in some regions like Rajasthan, it would occupy center stage in the energy scenario in the country. Unfortunately solar as a form of energy has not seen the kind of adoption as anticipated. This could be due to Government policies as well as lack of proper framework to promote industries aiding manufacture of solar panels and semiconductors. One of the advantages of generation of power from solar would be decreased dependency on a non-renewable source like coal.
Given the large potential of solar energy and abundance in terms of its availability in states like Rajasthan, the region has already attracted investments for setting up of infrastructure leading to generation of power. This could connect those far flung villages which are not connected to the electricity grid in the country. As the generation from this form increases, economies of scales would be achieved which in turn would bring down the cost of generating power and make it viable for commercial consumption.
Apart from looking at solar from a plain power/electricity perspective, solar energy could be tapped in various forms. Within a household, it could result in reduced consumption of energy generated from conventional sources. These could be through the usage of solar cooker for cooking food, solar lamps for lighting and reading and solar vehicles for transportation. While the last option has some way to go, the first two are catching up slowly and steadily.
The road ahead is clear that energy is needed for growth with sustainability and thermal energy is not the answer for sure. The answer lies in tapping solar energy and understanding that future needs to be secured for generations to come and this could happen if we respect and use our natural resources judiciously.Image Courtesy: bulb on ur desktop by ~snmsnl