"US should be liberal in transferring technology for clean energy": Dr Farooq Abdullah

"US should be liberal in transferring technology for clean energy": Dr Farooq Abdullah
Alka Pande

The new and renewable energy minister of India - Dr Farooq Abdullah - has said that the developed nations, especially the US, should have liberal policies for transfer of technologies for clean energy production in poor and developing nations, like India.

Advocating use of clean and renewable energy on mass scale to fight the challenges of climate change, the minister said the Indian manufacturers making solar panels, are exporting 85 percent of their products to the west because they are too highly priced for the consumption in the Indian market.

"The only way we can deal with the deteriorating climate, is by shifting our focus to alternative energy resources like sun and wind, which the country has in abundance and is available free of cost. But the challenge before the nation, is to make the alternative energy cost effective," he said.

The minister was speaking at a five-day environment and wildlife film festival which was inaugurated in the national capital Delhi, on Tuesday. The festival being organised by CMS (Centre for Media Studies) Vatavaran, will screen over 200 documentaries in the next four days. These film are made by national and international environment and wildlife lovers – who have raised issues relating to wildlife and environment.

Asserting on potential of natural energy resources in meeting the challenges of deteriorating environment, Abdullah said the solar mission was a challenge before the country. ``It has to have the viability for industrialists so that they can make money only then they will invest in it’’, he rued adding that ``after extensive investment in natural energies India would no more need to be subservient to countries that were supplying it gas and coal’’.

The minister said the ministry gives as high as 90 percent financial help to states for its schemes based on renewable energy resources, ``still, no state is showing interest in these schemes. On the contrary, the Chief Ministers of all the states are rushing for coal-based power station’’. The reason, he stated for this, is that coal based power plants are easy to set up.

"On the other hand everyone talks about clean energy. How can coal produce clean energy’?" the minister argued.

The renewable energy or natural energy resources can be helpful in rural electrification programmes and also for commercial and industrial usage. According to Farooq Abdullah, "In Ladakh, the army alone, uses diesel worth Rs 1,200 crore (Rs120 million) in a year. With the use of solar power, Rs 400 crore (Rs 40 million) could be saved, annually."

Some of the schemes and areas where Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is extending help to States and private investors:

Industrial and commercial applications:

- Biomass (non-bagasse) based co-generation and `waste to energy’ projects for rural electrification.
- Solar powered water heating system projects.
- Solar air heating / steam generation systems - for community cooking and for institutions etc
- Solar lights - for streets, hoardings etc.
- Akshay Urja Shops – for sale and after sale service of solar powered products.

Grid Interactive / off grid renewable power:
- Wind Power:
- Bio-power:
- Small Hydro Power: upto 25 MW capacity
- Solar Power

Alka Pande
(The author is a senior Journalist)

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