Of late, there have been almost daily reports about power shortages, even in the Capital. To survive and thrive in a globalised society, a developing country needs to construct, collaborate and clean up.
India is an emerging player in this fast-changing world and, therefore, it has to upgrade the quantity and quality of its infrastructure. The peak power deficit is now 13%. Even sunny Rajasthan that should have abundant access to solar power is facing shortages.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), in its annual load Generation balance (LGB) report, has cautioned the state regarding power deficit in the coming months. The report released last month has estimated a total deficit of 7% in demand and supply of electricity in the state for 2011-12.
The increasing use of technology-driven applications has become necessary. When it comes to technology, Japan can be a wonderful partner.
Earlier this year, Japan announced that it was planning to make it compulsory for all new buildings to come fitted with solar panels. Given the still expensive nature of solar technology, this might not yet be an immediate solution on a pan-India basis.
However. appropriate technologies can be developed to reduce the use of diesel generators where the public grid remains elusive.
With conventional sources of energy depleting, India is waking up to the need for tapping into its huge renewable energy pools. With the announcement of the National Solar Mission, India has taken a step toward utilising these pools.
But India’s solar power technology know-how is still in its nascent stage; Japan can lend a helping hand in boosting that know-how to the next level. Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Develo-pment Organisation is considering testing state-of-the-art, next generational smart grid micro grid technology for the use of solar energy in industrial parks.
India should cooperate with this technology transfer to reduce the use of diesel-based power generation.
The future for India looks bright in terms of solar energy. This country experiences almost 300 days of sunshine in most regions. It has the resources and the will; now it needs the knowledge. Japan can provide that knowledge.
Collaboration in this sector would be fruitful for both countries. While Japan can provide the methods, India can provide the mind power to adopt those methods for its own conditions. The National Solar Mission aims to create this potentially powerful synergy.
The saying goes that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Yokkaichi asthma is named after the highly polluted city in Japan of the 60s and is caused by sulphur oxides. Burning diesel for power will cause the same problems here. Alternatively, India can take a lesson from Japan’s history and preempt such health hazards.
In turn, Japan will gain a global trading partner that is an emerging powerhouse. Shining examples exist in present day Kitakyushu, Yokkaichi and Yokohama. An energetic Indo-Japanese alliance could truly be a win-win situation.
(Ashok Ashta is general manager with Hitachi. The views expressed by the author are personal)