OST Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 14:
India should emphasize on ‘Clean and Green’ energy for sustainable development by generating power from alternate energy sources, both renewable and non-renewable, which are environment friendly and climate-resilient, said experts at a national seminar on “Environment and Energy-Challenges & Opportunities” organized here on Saturday.
Official data reveals that, renewable energy (RE) has a meagre share of 7.7% to the country’s gross energy consumption after nuclear energy, which stood at 2.9%. This is much less than the contribution made by thermal power (TP) units (64.6%) and hydro power (24.7%) in the total energy consumption in the country.
Though electricity is the prime source of commercial energy derived from TP sources, it is exposed to environmental hazards like water and air pollution, experts said on the occasion. High fly-ash content in the coal used in TP plants, besides generation of toxic materials like sulphur-dioxide (SO2) to the air and emission of dusts cause contamination of air and water, they added.
Besides, the inability on the part of coal-based TP plants to recycle no more than 35-40% of the fly-ash residues generated in the process poses a big threat to the environment, experts opined.
Also, TP units carry the risk of scarce resources like land to set up their plants with scarcity of key raw materials like coal and water adding to their woes. Besides, concentration of TP plants at common locations has led to absence of proximity to these resources. “Most of the power plants are located in the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda and Angul-Talcher belt causing proximity to these resources a key challenge,” said Dr N R Sahu, senior environment engineer of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
As per an estimate, a TP project requires 0.75 acre of land, 40 cum/sec water and 0.7 to 0.8 Tons of coal to generate 1 MW of power.
“The heat generated from the TP units lead to adverse climatic conditions as there is an annual temperature increase of around 2.4 to 3.7 degree Celsius and increase in annual mean rainfall of 23% besides rise in the sea level in a disaster-prone state like Odisha,” said a senior scientist working in the state forest and environment department, adding, “the state has witnessed 16 moderate to severe cyclonic disasters during 1971 to 2000.”.
Odisha is the first state to implement Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), 2010 which identifies 11 sectors more exposed to adverse climatic conditions, which include agriculture, fisheries and animal husbandry, forest, health, industry, mining, transport, urban planning, water, coast and disaster and last but not the least, the energy sector.
The state can get rid of adverse environmental impacts by focusing on clean and green energy which can be achieved by reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions through modern technology adoption, utilization of clean coal as fuel, efficient fly-ash management from TP plants, besides concentrating on producing alternate energy like grid-based wind power, solar power, harnessing bio-mass potential i.e. recovery of energy from waste and above all depending on the cheapest source of hydro-based power plants, an official from the Ministry of Environment and Forest said.
“Odisha should emphasize on conservation of energy through reduction of AT & C losses that will lead to 30-40% energy saving, besides universal access to clean coking fuel for pollution-free energy,” said Chief Secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra inaugurating the seminar in the morning, adding, “the demand-supply gap in energy sector should be addressed in the state with utmost priority.”