Renewable energy alone can save India

Dr Prodipto Ghosh, former secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, currently a special energy adviser with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), believes the future lies in developing renewable forms of energy.

Dr Ghosh, who played a key role in penning the recently released PMO report on climate change, believes: "Renewable forms of energy, including solar, wind and tidal, must be mainstreamed in order that they can substantially displace oil, gas and coal. Many renewable forms are already being used in niche applications such as street signalling, remote area power supply and village homes."

This turnaround can be best illustrated by the example of wind power. Thirty-five years ago, when the world began to look at wind power, it needed a great deal of government support. In the late 90s, when the global capacity of wind energy was increased to 65,000 megawatts, it became competitive with coal.

Since India receives a great deal of sunshine, the key question is how to make solar energy commercially viable, especially since only one per cent of India’s landmass would be required by solar PVs to meet our electricity needs. Dr Ghosh agrees but states, "A great deal of R&D is required to bring solar energy costs down. A strong government commitment to R&D, matched by an increasing scale of technology, will help kickstart this change."

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