Energy is an essential input for the industrial development. Energy is produced from commercial sources like coal, petroleum, hydroelectric schemes as well as from non-commercial sources like cowdung, fuelwood and agriculture wastes. Per capital consumption of commercial energy is something used as an index of the economic advancement that a country as attained. India’s per capita consumption of commercial energy, however, is very low. It is only one eight of the world average.
Commercial energy accounts for a little over half of the total energy used in the country, the rest coming from non-commercial sources. Share of agriculture in commercial energy consumption has risen rapidly over the past two-and-a-half decades.
Energy generation and environmental conservation are the twin issues arising from exploitative interaction of man with natural resources. Report of the International Energy Agency contains a simple but remarkable statement: “Investment in energy conservation at the margin provides a better return than investment in energy supply”.
Now, what do mean by this? This means that conservation of a unit of energy is cheaper and environmentally more desirable than to generate an additional unit. For, it is estimated that generation of every additional kilowatt for one hour of energy requires an investment of Rs. 7,000 to 12,000 in the form of new energy generation equipments.
Excessive utilization of coal and oil for generation of electricity leads to the multiple problems of acid rain, and rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. There are also political and economic implications like the increasing tension in the Persian Gulf, which is the major petroleum exporting area, and failing international competitiveness. All these threaten to strangle the world economy in a stagnation. Let us see how some steps taken to resolve these complex problems have tangled the issues further.
To reduce dependence on oil for generation of electricity by burning...