Green alternatives

Published: Friday 31 August 2001

-- Alternative energy sources are being promoted the worldover to replace polluting fossil fuels. For example, in many of the European countries it is mandatory for conventional power producers to purchase certain amount of renewable energy. More than 15 per cent of energy generated in the world comes from this ecofriendly sector. India has a vast potential for tapping solar energy, power from small hydroelectric projects, biogas plants and industrial and other waste plants. It stands fifth in wind power production in the world. Though India has made some strides, a sluggish bureaucracy and unfriendly policies of state governments have impeded the growth of the renewable energy sources. The Union government is yet to formulate a uniform policy on the green energy.

Alternative energy source or technologies

Unit Potential Achieved
Wind Power megawatt (MW) 45,000 1,267
Small hydropower (up to 25  MW) MW 15,000 1,341
Biomass power

Biomass gasifiers

Biomass congeneration










Urban and industrial     waste-based power MW 1,700 15.20
Solar photovoltaics MW per square kilometre 20 47
Solar water heating million square metre collector area 140 0.55
Biogas plants Million 12 3.1
Improved biomass cooking  stoves Million 120 33

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