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I had the fortune to meet the principal energy advisor to the Rio Tinto group, one of the largest mining companies in the world.
An interesting Frenchman, he mantioned many insights during the 2 hour meeting...the one I remember most is what he said about power consumption. He felt that the rate of increase in power consumption is the biggest problem we face today worldwide. He mentioned that in France, over 40% of the power consumed today were for new applications when compared to consumption 20 years back. His view was that people should not just be protesting against nuclear…
Take into attention,please. Each kWh of produced energy consumes about 100 litres (average estimation) of fresh water in existing conditions now. About exhaust gases I'm not talking.
Being a voracious reader of energy and environment issues, I have developed a strong desire to do something to contribute personally to the cause of environmental quality for the sake of my unborn future generations with a hope that they will fondly remember me for my sincere endeavours. I am anxiously looking for products that will reduce my energy bill and my carbon footprint. What I encountered in my search for carbon free journey is quite painful and at the same time if taken note of may provide the future roadmap for proliferation of large scale deployment of energy harvesting installations for solar energy which is the most regular and most prevalent source in India. By use of the phrase "large Scale", I want to point out the need for broad based public participation by having their own small installations in large numbers along with large size industrial/commercial installations since wide spread installations situated near the users will also help reduce the T&D load and losses and save the citizens from nightmarish black outs.
One of the easiest to deploy for households is solar water heating and hence I went for it first. Here what is worthy of notice is that while FMCG producers approach the customers proactively (aggressive marketing), the solar water heater manufactures are totally mute (passive marketing). They condescend to supply their products only if and when the customer approaches them. Neither the government nor the suppliers have made all techno-commercial information easily and repetitively available to customers.
I also started looking for LED lighting fixtures to replace the CFL bulbs which had replaced incandescent bulbs to bring down my electricity bill. While some advertisements do appear in this regard sporadically by a company called Lucifer, the products are not widely placed on the market. All that is available are some Chinese make battery based torches and reading lamps (dirt cheap). I am awaiting some supplier of LED light fittings to come and actively seek customers by displaying cost benefits of their products. No solar PV or micro wind manufacturer has till now advertised or approached eager individuals like me with their products and services.
While the government of India has declared a laudable target for proliferation of solar energy use it would be well advised to do the following:
* To extend its reach all over India, all power distribution companies need to be given quantitative time bound targets to put in place solar energy harvesting installations both in retail (individual houses) and commercial (all Industrial, commercial and government establishments) modes.
* They will be responsible for information dissemination, locating suppliers, fixing prices, devolution of subsidies, fixing attractive tariffs and complete hand holding for upkeep and utilisation of the systems (at least in retail) by coordinating with suppliers and O&M agencies.
* Let the customer be the focal point rather than he going from pillar to post in search of a solution.
* Along with the DISCOMs, the corporates too can take up the above activity as a part of their CSR for future generations.
- Kirit N. Naik
Even when there is a power outage I can now enjoy a hot water shower, thanks to solar water heater (day and night).