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Issues with renewable energy

It is easy to recognise the environmental advantages of utilising the alternative and renewable forms of energy but we must also be aware of the disadvantages.

One disadvantage with renewable energy is that it is difficult to generate the quantities of electricity that are as large as those produced by traditional fossil fuel generators. This may mean that we need to reduce the amount of energy we use or simply build more energy facilities. It also indicates that the best solution to our energy problems may be to have a balance of many different power sources.

Another disadvantage of renewable energy sources is the reliability of supply. Renewable energy often relies on the weather for its source of power. Hydro generators need rain to fill dams to supply flowing water. Wind turbines need wind to turn the blades, and solar collectors need clear skies and sunshine to collect heat and make electricity. When these resources are unavailable so is the capacity to make energy from them. This can be unpredictable and inconsistent. The current cost of renewable energy technology is also far in excess of traditional fossil fuel generation. This is because it is a new technology and as such has extremely large capital cost.

Rural Energy Programme for 11th Plan

Remote Village Renewable Energy Programme (RVREP)

The Government is implementing a programme for providing financial support for electrification of those remote unelectrified census villages and unelectrified hamlets of electrified census villages where grid-extension is either not feasible or not cost effective and are not covered under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. Such villages are provided basic facilities for electricity/lighting through various renewable energy sources. Small Hydro Power Generation systems, biomass gasification based electricity generation systems, solar photovoltaic power plants, etc., in distributed power generation mode may be used depending upon the availability of resources for generation of required electricity.

Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana

Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) is being implemented in Indian states mostly to provide benefits to households below the “poverty line” (BPL) through a free connection but chargeable consumption of power. The principal aims of RGGVY being implemented since 2005 are the following:

(1) Electrifying all villages and habitations

(2) Providing access to electricity to all rural households.

(3)Providing electricity connection to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families free of charge.

The scheme is being implemented in Indian states mostly to provide benefits to households below the “poverty line” (BPL) through a free connection but chargeable consumption of power.


Off-grid Renewable Energy for lighting/ captive power & thermal applications

A new policy framework has been put in place for rapid up-scaling of off-grid programmes in an inclusive mode. The programmes are now being implemented through multiple channel partners including renewable energy service providing companies, financial institutions including microfinance institutions, financial integrator, system integrators, industry and programme administrators.

In order to sustain satisfactory performance and generation of output in the envisaged energy forms, a flexible funding approach has been adopted with bouquet of instruments including support in the form of capital subsidy, interest subsidy, viability gap funding etc. This apart, the Government provides full financial support for undertaking pilot and demonstration projects through manufacturers and other organizations for demonstrating new and innovative applications of renewable energy systems.

The greatest potential area of off-grid relates to solar technologies. These include solar water heating systems, home lighting systems comprising solar lanterns, solar cooking systems, solar pumps and small power generating systems. Under the Solar Mission, it has been proposed to cover 2000 MW equivalent by 2022 which includes all the above, except solar water heating systems for which there is a separate target of 20 million sq. meters.

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