Energy and silver bullets

Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar on why [land-intensive] renewable energy may not solve India’s power crisis

Renewable energy is land-intensive. This has been highlighted dramatically by biofuels: diverting part of the US maize crop to fuel sparked a doubling of world food prices. The energy needed by a modern economy is enormous, and — given current technology — cannot be based mainly on land-intensive renewables.

Nuclear energy advocates will say ‘‘I told you so.” But nuclear energy, too, faces formidable land problems. India’s nuclear power plants are running at half capacity for want of uranium. Opening new uranium mines in Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya is a top security priority, but has been stalled for years by protesting villagers. They have heard of deformed babies in villages surrounding the existing Jaduguda mines, and do not trust government assurances that mining in the two new locations will be safe.

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  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On September 8, 2008 at 1:26 am

    swami at most times confuses me. what he’s suggesting may fill around 1% of the countries energy needs at best. india is expected to demand mega watts of energy in six digits by 2020. nuke energy is expected to cover it by five digits at the most.

    surely, this is normal considering we were in isolation for more than 30 years. nuke energy is expected to rise by 70% by 2020 which is not a bad sign at all.

    it would be crazy in our part if we were to bet everything towards nuke energy. development of alternative energy sources will continue at testing level at the least. don’t really know whatever happened to that mandatory decision by the govt. of maharashtra for industries to build wind or solar plants to fulfill there energy needs by 4%.

  • goliath0825  On September 8, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Hello Swami,
    Bio-fuels will not answer any questions. If anything it will just creat more problems. As you already see the first problem is higher food cost. We need to look at wind, solar, and water. The water is one that we can make energy from more ways than one. We all need to work together on becoming less dependant on our fossil fuels. There is clean energy out there!


  • aristotlethegeek  On September 8, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Swami is not talking about generating nuclear power. He simply says that “green power” faces tremendous opposition from those who own land because it requires a lot of land. He gives the example of concentrated solar power and says that a project with 1000 MW power generation capacity will require about 10000 acres of land (CSPs in the Mojave desert). Singur saw a bloodbath over 400!

    We need plenty of power and some environmentalists don’t understand the problem – they recommend green for green’s sake, and that won’t work properly – at least not in India.

  • goliath0825  On September 8, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Then homeowners take stock and use there land to supply there part. If any community would bond together you wouldnt have to a 10,000 acres, divide it out through the people of the land and have only a few hundred acres devoted to create a surplus supply. But the key is getting everybody on the same page, realizing that depleting fossil fuels is the cause of higher cost, all the way to the grocery store. If we would stop consuming our fossil fuels, and take a different aproach we could possibly even stop global warming. Maybe our ice caps will come back.

  • goliath0825  On September 8, 2008 at 11:29 am

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