Nov. 20, 2000 (M2 Communications)—The Minister for Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Shri M. Kannappan has said that renewable energy technologies have the capability of addressing the conflicting objectives of both development and reduction of Green House Gases (GHG) emissions.

These technologies may not be able to substitute or replace conventional energy in its totality. However, they were capable of supplementing conventional power and provide for the energy requirements of large sections of the population in developing countries.

The Minister said this while delivering the inaugural address, here today, at the Workshop on “Energy, Environment and Climate Change: Policy Issues for Sustainable Development in India in the 21st Century”.

Elaborating further, Shri Kannappan said that the supply and use of fossil fuels namely, coal, oil and natural gas are estimated to account for about 75% of carbon dioxide emissions, about one-fifth of methane and significant quantity of other gases. The industrial sector, barring power generation, accounts for one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions the residential and commercial sector too accounts for one-third while transport sector about one-fifth.

Energy related essential activities leading to economic development are thus largely responsible for GHG emissions.

In the international scenario on climate change, the Minister said, it has now been accepted that the developed countries will have to reduce their GHG emission levels. Also the developing countries needed to be helped both technologically and financially so as to adopt modern technologies that were energy efficient and less polluting. As regards the environment, the developing countries like India were faced with a conflicting task of generating huge amount of energy to sustain the development by using less polluting technologies.

Speaking on the Indian scenario, the Minister said India despite its low level of per capita income the need for economic growth and the consequential energy input was immense. About 40% of energy demand in India today is met through sources such as biomass, cow-dung and wood. The present cumulative generation capacity in India was around 96000 MW with 71% being contributed by thermal sources, 25% by conventional hydropower, 2.5% from nuclear sources and the rest 1.5% from renewable sources. The demand for electricity is growing by 8% annually.

The Minister also emphasised the need to select appropriate technologies and economic models and polices which were conducive to the people living in rural areas. India today, presented a situation where only 86% of the villages had access to electricity and only 31% of the rural-households use electricity.

Most of these areas were far-flung and had low load densities. Policy formulation could not ignore this reality if development was linked to raising the quality of life of the people.

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