Energy planning plays a dominant role in the development of a region. Western ghats provide a variety of ecological niches and of resources, but are under threat of deterioration due to short term perspectives and narrow sectoral approaches in planning process through indiscriminate pursuit of developmental activities. Deterioration of the fragile eco system through deforestation, soil erosion has impact both at local and at global level. This necessitates promotion of conservation activities and the application of environmentally sound technologies. The procurement of energy is also responsible in varying degrees for much of the ongoing deforestation, loss of vegetation and top soil. While energy availability is a determining factor for agricultural productivity, the traditional use of agricultural residues for energy production leads to soil impoverishment. The current inefficient energy use in various sectors is certainly responsible for detrimental impacts throughout the environment. Hence sound policy and management decisions must involve three elements: economics, environment and energy. These elements must be considered in the search for ways to improve current energy supplies. Primary energy demand can be reduced substantially, while maintaining a given level of energy services through higher end-use efficiency, higher transport and conversion efficiencies. The best hope for environmentally benign energy supplies is to tap the renewable sources like small or modest scale hydro power, distributed wind systems, solar energy etc. Finally the approach should involve improved energy planning and decision making. The need is for an integrated energy planning framework that encompasses economic, environmental and energy factors taking into consideration energy supplies (through various means), demand considerations and a detailed look at how energy is being used. Pricing, taxation, subsidies and investments are major tools that can be used judiciously to channel energy production and utilization toward cheaper and more environmentally sound options. Improvements in conventional energy systems provide only a temporary measure that will buy time to perfect the renewable energy systems needed for reliable large-scale power generation and fuel production. Need for incorporating principles of ecologically sustainable development through integrated renewable energy approach which utilises different resources such as solar heat, wind, biomass and falling water to satisfy various needs in a region are discussed in this paper.
The State of Karnataka depends mainly on hydroelectricity. Exponential growth in population coupled with mechanisation of agriculture, industrial growth and acute rainfall shortage resulted in a serious power crisis in the state in recent years. This necessitated the promotion of alternative sources of energy like solar, wind, micro hydel plants etc. About 100 to 200 MW of electricity can be generated from wind, 225 MW from potential micro hydel sites, 1000 MW from biomass process and solar energy has unlimited possibilities.
Key Words: Sustainable Development, Renewable energy, Ecologically sound energy planning, Integrated renewable energy approach, energy conservation, kilo watt hour (kwh), million units (million kwh), thermal efficiency, specific fuel consumption
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