Time to retool our economy through renewable energy
recent budget in
vibrant and sustainable
Production of electricity via renewable resources can really boost the economy by providing much needed energy (an engine of development and growth) and jobs. Worldwide data suggests that renewable energy can provide more jobs per MW of electricity production as compared to fossil fuels or nuclear.
For example data from worldwide installations show that solar energy can provide 50-100 jobs per MW through photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal power production and hot water heating technologies. Similar data is for wind energy production whereas for power production from biomass (agricultural residues or energy plantations) the job creation potential is 1200-2000 per MW. This high number is because of biomass growing, harvesting, collection and delivering it to the power plant. Besides the high job potential, power production from agricultural residues will also give an extra income of Rs. 2,000-4,000/acre per year to the farmers by their sale to the power plant.
Normally for the well being of the soil it is necessary that most of the agricultural residues should go back to the soil. However in absence of any large-scale program of converting them into organic fertilizer they are normally burned in the fields as a means of waste disposal. This causes a loss of a valuable resource besides creating large-scale environmental pollution in rural areas. Hence a major national effort should be to incorporate these residues in the soil. Nevertheless it is safe to assume that around 50% of the residue may be available for power production. Thus 40,000 MW produced via biomass can create about 48 million jobs. With increased agricultural production this number will increase.
eleventh 5 year plan document
the power production from
renewables can create 50 million jobs in
Renewable energy like solar, wind or biomass is distributed in nature and hence allows construction of decentralized and modular power plants. Thus 20-40 MW solar, wind or biomass power plants can be constructed in a matter of couple of years as compared to fossil fuel or nuclear plants which take 8-10 years for completion. Modular nature of renewable power plants also allows rapid scaling up.
and biomass power plants are well-established technologies. Recently
thermal power plants running on concentrating collectors are becoming
and cost effective. The concentrated
solar energy heats a high temperature oil or molten salt which after
suitable heat exchangers produces steam for running the turbines.
about 1000 MW power in
should therefore thank President Obama
for reducing the H1B visas so that qualified engineers and scientists
Published as an Opinion piece in Sci.Dev.net, April 1, 2009.
© Anil K Rajvanshi. March 2009