Renewable interest

Despite its vast potential, India is yet to come up with a renewable energy policy

Published: Thursday 15 February 2001

india has the fifth largest wind power installed capacity in the world. Rajasthan has one of the world's largest solar energy potential. However, the long overdue renewable energy policy is still to see the light of day. In an effort to boost the use of renewable energy, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (assocham) organised a seminar on January 22, 2001, on the theme "Renewable Energy: has India finally arrived?"

The Union minister of non-conventional energy sources (mnes) , M Kannappan, came in for criticism from the participants for failing to come up with a policy. Defending the government, A K Mangotra, joint secretary to mnes, said that a "policy is not the only solution to problems," adding that the ministry was in the process of consultation.

Anil Agarwal, co-chair of the panel discussion and chairperson of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, expressed disappointment that environmental aspects were not touched upon though the topic of the seminar was renewable energy. "The driving force has changed from economy to environment, worldwide," said Agarwal, adding "the only way to bring down emissions is to move to renewable energy."

As most solar and wind energy equipment is imported, many speakers stressed indigenisation. "What we need is a strong scientific policy on renewable energy," said N K Bansal of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, adding that investment for research on renewable energy was still very low. Ravi Prakash Khemka of the Chennai-based Natural Energy Processing Company (nepc) wanted profit-making industries like the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (bhel ) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ongc) to allot 10 per cent of their profits for the development of wind energy.

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