Place : Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar Speech Date :3-10-2011
- Very impressed to know the Danish government has set a goal to be completely independent of fossil fuel by 2050- Gujarat too believes in such initiatives and realizing them.
- Gujarat first State to develop a 500 MW Solar Park in the Country. Part of Gujarat’s commitment to green and renewable energy.
- How to conserve energy more important than how to create it.
- My book, ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s response to Challenges of Climate Change’ lists simple ways in which energy can be saved- one example being in ground water irrigation.
- Gujarat is one of the four Governments in the world which has a separate department for Climate Change. Also to build a ‘solar city’, a first of its kind.
Mr. Freddy Svane, His Excellency the Ambassador of Denmark, other friends from the Royal Embassy of Denmark, friends from the Danish industry, My colleagues from the State Government, Ladies and Gentlemen !
I am very happy to be part of this important seminar jointly organized by the Danish Government and Government of Gujarat. This is a very important moment in the history of renewable energy sector. It marks the coming together of Denmark and Gujarat. Denmark is the global leader in wind power. Gujarat is emerging as global hub of renewable energy. I am very impressed to know that the Government of Denmark has set a goal of being completely independent of fossil fuel by 2050. Gujarat too believes in setting ambitious goals and realizing them.
Gujarat is the first State to develop a 500 MW Solar Park in the Country. Blessed by the nature in the form of strong radiation, Gujarat has huge potential in solar energy. If only 0.1% of Gujarat’s land is set aside for solar energy, the potential is 10,000 MW of solar power! In wind energy too, we are strategically placed, with a long coast line of 1600 Km. Blending the nature’s gift with human endeavour, Gujarat is committed to Green and Renewable Energy.
Friends, to my mind, the issue of how to generate renewable energy is a secondary one. The primary issue should be how to save energy in an environment of ever increasing energy needs. And let me tell you, it is possible. It is also possible to live a quality life even by consuming lesser energy. It is possible to produce more, both in agriculture and industry, by consuming lesser. This issue has become important in view of Climate Change. We must organize our life styles and production cycles in a way that we save energy.
More and more consumption will not help us to come out of the vicious cycle of Carbon emission. I have listed some thoughts on this in my book on climate change which is titled as ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s response to Challenges of Climate Change’. In this book, I have listed somesimple ways in which energy can be saved. For example, we have brought a paradigm shift from ground water irrigation to surface water irrigation by constructing thousands of minor irrigation structures.
Very simple measures like farm ponds and check dams have saved energy from drawing ground water. On the other hand, it has brought up our groundwater levels. With participation of people, we have constructed half a million such water harvesting structures. We have also popularized drip and sprinkler irrigation to save water and thereby save energy. We have widely resorted to use of energy efficient devices in Government buildings. A small initiative like forming the Child Energy Guardians (Bal urja rakshak dal) to create awareness has gone a long way in saving energy.
The second important issue is: how to save energy in transporting it. You are aware that a sizeable portion of the energy is required in transporting the means of energy. It has a cost; it has further environmental impacts. And en route there are losses too. Learning from our experience in conventional energy, let us develop technologies and devise systems so that the losses are minimal. We cannot reverse the clock of human civilization. Rather, we have to produce energy in a more decentralized way so that it does not need to be transported or transmitted.
We have to set up such technologies and processes which are sustainable. I am glad to say that recent thinking on Renewable Energy is addressing many of these issues. Producing solar power on roof tops, in fields, solar powered devices and gadgets are examples of such solutions where not only we produce renewable energy but we produce in a decentralized way.
Thus, when we talk of Renewable Sources of Energy, it is not enough to tap hitherto untapped sources. We must talk of a total shift in the entire chain of energy management- the way energy is produced, transmitted, distributed, transported and consumed. Whether it is non renewable energy or renewable energy, we must focus on efficiency in generation, transmission and distribution. Today, our focus is on making the generation of renewable energy cheaper.
But tomorrow even if we get a break-through in technology and are able to produce cheap renewable energy, the need to optimize its management across the chain still remains.
Friends, the place where we are sitting today is being developed as a ‘Solar city’. Gujarat is the first state in the country to introduce the concept of a solar city. Government of India has announced Gandhinagar as the Model Solar City.
Further, we have signed Power Purchase Agreements for almost 1000 MW of Solar Power. In wind power, with an installed capacity of 2255 MW, we are contributing more than 4500 million units of electricity. Thus, we are saving more than 3 million tonnes of coal & avoiding carbon dioxide emission of 4.5 million tones every year. We have created a conducive environment for this sector through our comprehensive Solar and Wind Energy Policy.
Gujarat also has a strong potential of biomass energy and is exploring it in a focused way. We have also taken definite steps to tap the potential of tidal energy.
Friends, our commitment to Renewable Energy is a subset of our commitment to address the issue of Climate change. I have been saying that it is an issue of ‘Climate Justice’. It is a part of our concern for the future generations. It is a part of our concern for the poor and the less privileged who are the worst sufferers of climate change.
Gujarat is one of the four Governments in the world which has a separate department for Climate Change. We have dedicated Rs.36 billion for this issue.
But we want to do better. We want to be the best not only in harnessing for present day needs, but also in conserving them for future. I am quite sure that this seminar will suggest new ways to promote investment, technology innovation and transfer in these fields.
It is very important to exchange views and ideas to make this world a better place to live. The debate is no longer on why renewable energy. It is only on how to do it in an efficient and economic way. I am sure this gathering will through more light on the way forward. You will be doing a great service to the humanity. Because the whole world is looking for right answers to many right questions in this field. I wish you all the very best.