In the summer of 1774, when John Summer and Suetonius Grant Healty of the East India Company decided to embark on a journey of commercial exploitation with coal mining, little did they realise that their move to expand their operations would eventually result in the country exhausting its resources.
Soon, after independence, the five-year development plan was chalked out in order to increase coal production and efficiency.
In fact, at the previous Coaltrans conference, consensus of the forecast showed that the demand for coal will rise to 1.1 billion tonnes by the end of the current five-year plan in 2016-2017.
With the demand for coal skyrocketing over the past few decades, the nation is now left with no option but to be on the lookout for alternative ideas for power generation.
As a nation, we are now trying our level best to make a foray into geothermal, wind , biofuel, and solar in a much more efficient manner.
Energy from waste
Considering how the city has been facing a solid waste management crisis for years, several people feel that Bangalore is in dire need of an integrated waste management approach.
"Our cities are starved for space and water. This is why we hardly get to see conventional biogas plants in our cities despite their urgent need. For, not only do they require huge dedicated pieces of land and ample water but a lot of work goes into the infrasturcture. Given the rising costs of land, the economics go for a complete toss. Also, the conventional solutions, either biogas or composting are smelly and messy. So, what we need right now is an optimal waste-to-energy solution," said Ratnadip Bhattacharjee, CEO and director of ArrayTech Technologies Pvt Ltd.
He strongly feels that 'waste management' needs to be looked into, for not only can it contribute to this growing energy gap, but also put an end to the perennial issue of waste management.
According to him, the future lies in sustainable living.
"We have already started enabling bulk waste generators to have viable waste treatment solutions at their premises. Going forward, we aim to involve communities and give energy back to them. That will encourage them to segregate waste too. For this, we seek the support of local municipalities to showcase our first 'sustainable park'. The moment we demonstrate one such project, we are confident of other municipalities and wards replicating the same. So, the next step is our first such sustainable park for which we seek the support of our policy makers," said Bhattacharjee.
According to several statistics, India is staring at a grim energy situation with the energy demand supply gap of more than 10 per cent nationally and some of the states have 20 per cent deficit.
According to Mainak Chakraborty, Co-Founder and CEO of Green Power Systems, if we try to bridge this gap with conventional energy sources, we are looking at an environmental disaster.
"Solar energy solutions are often mistakenly perceived as costly and technically complicated. Future of solar lies in connecting with people and giving solar solutions which are technologically superior and not government-dependent.
We have to make people aware that we have economically viable solar solutions which can also help in sustainable existence. As far as solar integrators are concerned, we have some of the best products at affordable prices in the market today. Moreover, an efficient solar on-grid solution will always result in saving of power. There is heavy shortage of coal in our country. We will lose more green cover in the endeavour to get more coal. Such heavy reliance on conventional power plants is also increasing greenhouse emissions. This can prove to be disastrous," said Chakraborty, who will soon construct an office building that will run completely on solar energy.