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India waiting for an energy revolution: Expert

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 3:

India is waiting for an energy revolution as it had witnessed the green and white revolutions impacting the country’s food and milk production in the past to ensure both economic development and environmental sustainability, an eminent expert said on Friday.
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“While India recorded the fourth largest energy consumption in the world, it was also the planet’s third most polluting country in terms of carbon dioxide emission as 75 to 80 per cent of its electricity was generated using fossil fuel,” Prof Prem Chand Pandey, Emeritus Professor, Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences at IIT, Bhubaneswar, said.

The global trend today was to evolve a zero carbon technology or carbon free energy generation for which India needed an energy revolution, Pandey said while speaking at the inauguration of the national conference on sustainable energy, micro and smart grid technologies organized by the SOA University.

The conference, sponsored by the Union Science and Technology department, was presided over by Prof Damodar Acharya, chairman, Advisory Board, SOA University.

Pointing out that the thermal generation of energy was polluting the atmosphere with serious climatic and environmental implications, Prof. Pandey said it was causing the rise in sea level and contributed to premature deaths in urban areas.

Pandey said since the pre-industrial era, the atmospheric temperature had risen by 2 degrees C which adversely threatened crop production thereby impacting food security.

He said that the National Action Plan on Climate Change had recommended that 10 per cent of the country’s total energy generation should be sourced from renewable energy by 2015 which should be raised to 20 per cent by 2020.

Pandey said the sources of renewable energy could be geothermal energy along with solar, wind and tidal energy.

Geothermal power being cost effective, reliable, sustainable and environment friendly, had the potential to help mitigate global warming if widely deployed in place of fossil fuels, he said.

India’s coastal states had the potential to harness wind energy and the country was expected to generate 20,000 MW by 2020. At present, the world had a total installed capacity of 3,20,000 MW of which 90,000 MW was in China alone.

Pandey said wind power was currently regarded as one of the most interesting subjects in the US with maximum fellowships in PhD and Post Doctoral Studies being on renewable energy.

Prof PK Dash, director (Research) at SOA University, Prof PK Nanda, dean (Research) and Prof PK Sahoo, dean of the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER), the faculty of engineering of the university, also spoke.