BHUBANESWAR: While access to energy is crucial for economic development, the challenge before every nation is to meet the energy demand of the people at an affordable cost, said Prof Michael Greenstone from University of Chicago.
Speaking on ‘Energy security and innovative solutions to environmental challenges' at the eighth session of the Odisha Knowledge Hub (OKH) Lecture series here said there is a great variation in energy access and consumption pattern in various parts of the world.
While the per capital consumption of energy in USA is around 13000 kilo watt hour (kWh), in many parts of Europe and Germany the per capita consumption is around 5000 to 7000 kWh per annum.
On the other hand, there are countries like India with lower energy consumption. Even China per capita consumption (2700 kWh) is much higher than India with per capital energy consumption of 1400 kWh, he said.
In Odisha, he said, electricity access and consumption is comparatively better in comparison to many other Indian states. The per capita electricity consumption in Odisha is around 1200 kWh.
Acknowledging the fact that energy access is a major problem in many parts of the globe, Greenstone who is now Director of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC), University of Chicago said climate change due to excess burning of fossil fuel is the other area of concern.
While emphasising the need for universal access to energy, the energy expert said the efforts should be on to generate more clean energy at an affordable cost.
He offered three solutions to achieve energy security while causing less damage to the environment. He suggested that the conventional energy should be priced taking into consideration its full social cost and there should be more investment in innovations, research and development activities. An effective policy tool should be put in place through collaborative efforts among Universities and government departments.
He also emphasised on better pollution audit and research policy partnership.
"There is a large scope for collaboration between Government of Odisha and University of Chicago. The State Government has taken the right step in initiating the process through the methods of knowledge sharing. We will work together in future especially in the areas of energy and environment challenges," Greenstone told reporters.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan said, "We invited the professor to listen from him about the future of fossil fuel and how do they collaborate with various State Governments for addressing the challenges of energy and environment".