Our Future - Black Or Green?

Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 911 , Published on 08 January 2014

For years now, we kept on hearing how energy in this world which is being utilized by us is non-renewable and the need for renewable energy sources. The need to expand our renewable energy sources and move towards it but the questions is: Are we able to do that? We talk about sustainable future and how companies are moving towards making their supply chain green but on the other had consumption of coal is increasing day by day. Instead of reduction in dependency on it we are becoming more dependent on it. In India, as per the draft report of the Working Group on Coal & Lignite set up for formulation of 12th Five Year Plan, All India coal demand in the terminal year of XII Plan i.e. 2016-17 is projected as 980 million Tonnes.

The country’s estimated demand of coal assessed by Planning Commission is 772.84 million Tonnes for 2012-13. So according to government demand for coal is bound to increase and its increasing year over year. According to many sources, only 1-3rd of energy consumption is met by renewable energy sources and in that too hydro-power takes the lead. So is it so that there is not potential for increasing the consumption of renewable sources and making our future greener with low pollution air? Or we will continue to live in black polluted air produced by coal consumption.

In this article we will try to analyse where the dependency of coal is the most and will try to analyse how this dependency can be used. Also we will assess how renewable energies can be solution and despite of the awareness of it being a possible solution, why it has not been implemented widespread till now. So that at the end of this article we can we find whether we have a definite answer on whether our future will be black or green.

Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, njaj

First we need to analyse where maximum energy is consumed and it’s a well-known fact that maximum consumption is in producing electricity. According to ministry of coal, majority of coal is supplied to Power (Utilities) sector by Ministry of Coal as their demand for coal is the highest. So to reduce the consumption, 1st target has to be making power plants in India which are dependent on renewable energy rather than non-renewable. There are many hydro power plants and few solar power plants have also come up but the biggest problem faced is the lack of their cost efficiency. The cost of set up of such power-plants is very high and their efficiency is not according to expectations. But government and other private parties have to understand that it’s the only viable option for long-term gains and hence impetus has to be given to this sector if they want sustainable growth. Many private companies like ITC have understood this and have started moving in this direction. But many companies in Wind turbine power generation like Suzlon have not fared well and are going through lose. So a sustainable model is essential in this regard. Otherwise Black-outs like those of July 30th and 31st 2012 might become more frequent.

Currently India has a cluster of energy models and policies but they have not been productive. To make them sustainable involvement of stakeholders in terms of capital investment is essential. A Sustainable model where development of most suitable renewable energy form, whether it be solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas,biogas etc. must take place and should contribute to reducing the load on the grid. India has such vast supply of these natural sources that the major cost involved is only for the development of infrastructure for these plants. It can lead to be the most affordable energy for the entire nation, if economies of scale s achieved. Also to make these plants more efficient government should encourage innovative and efficient designs. This they can do by tapping the potential of young minds of engineers studying in various engineering colleges by having an annual competition for them. If an energy efficient design is found the designer can be suitably rewarded and participants can be encouraged by giving participating certificates. Also it will make the young talent take notice of this field and progress in this direction. If Power plants based on renewable energy are established, it can make India an energy independent nation and will help in reducing its concerning trade deficit. Also it has the potential to create millions of job which will further boost economy and make India a ‘Green Nation’.

Apart from these steps further dependency on coal can be reduced by minimizing usage of products and services which require coal as its ingredients. So energy efficient products as well as optimum usage of electricity from our side will go a long way in reducing the consumption. A lot of steps are taken by the government in this regard to make the user aware but only the realization of securing our future by going ‘Green’ will make those steps affective. For inspiring consumers to go green government as well as companies should market efficient products aggressively and government can further promote them by making these products being available at cheap prices by giving tax benefits. This combined efforts by government and private companies to come up with cheap innovative products will incline users to saving electricity and hence gradually lead to less consumption of coal. Steps have been taken in this direction but they need to be more frequent and concentrated to achieve the objectives in a short span of time.

If renewable energy is so beneficial and we all are aware of it, then why our country has not been able to increase the pace making its usage widespread. So it becomes imperative to identify these bottlenecks which are not letting India grow and become green at a rapid pace. According to a World Bank Study titled Unleashing the potential of renewable energy in India, there are 3 major types of barriers which are faced by India. They are financial viability, Support Infrastructure and Regulatory approval. I have already touched upon these earlier in brief but it’s important for all of us to gain deeper insights on it. According to the report, in financial viability category, India is plagued with problems like skewed financial incentives for facilitating investment in renewable energy, too many incentive programs, failure to develop least cost resources first and inadequate long-term funding sources. In Support infrastructure category, India has inadequate evacuation and access infrastructure, lack of good quality data and an under-developed industry value chain. Also in the third category, i.e. Regulatory approvals, it talks about the delays in clearance and approvals by the concerned officials, Long development cycle and the land acquisition issues. All these issues suggest that there is no short-term solution for them and a long-term strategy is needed to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. The World Bank report also has suggested solutions for these problems but it’s upon the government to make them feasible and implement them as soon as possible. Some of the key solutions given include creating national renewable energy fund to mitigate impact on utilities, catalyze R&D and supply chain innovations and investments and strengthen state nodal agencies and state regulators.

So if we know the benefits of going green, current bottlenecks in doing so and possible solutions for it than do we have the potential to make our future green or despite the awareness we will let it drift towards a black future. This article is a medium for making us aware about how we can shape our future but actual implementation lies in our hands. We all can contribute our bit, and make everyone aware so that our future is secured and looks greener. So its upto we to find a definite answer for the question on whether our future is black or green.

This article has been authored by Anshul Bansal from LBSIM, Delhi


• Infraline Energy, (2013), A Report on 3rd Annual Conference on Overseas Coal in India: Imported Coal to fuel India’s Economic, accessed on 8th October 2013.

• Indian Chamber of Commerce, (2012), The Indian coal sector: Challenges and future outlook accessed on 8th October, 2013.

• Darshan Goswami, 23rd July 2013, India’s Renewable Energy Potential Remains Untapped, renewableenergyworld.com, accessed on 9h October, 2013.

• Gevorg Sargsyan, Mikul Bhatia, Sudeshna Ghosh, Banerjee, Krishnan Raghunathan, Ruchi Soni, (2011), Unleashing the Potential of Renewable Energy in India, World Bank Study, accessed on 10th October 2013.


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