Skip to main content

Govt's tall claims on renewable energy 'not supported' by plan of action, timeline

By Shankar Sharma* 

Many of the opinion pieces, official claims, and sponsored articles, being noticed recently in our national media, can be said to suffer badly from the absence of a holistic view of true welfare of all sections of our society on a sustainable basis.
One article says: "While as a country we have been responsibly meeting our commitments to fight climate change at the same time we have been using our domestic resources prudently to ensure availability and affordability of energy."
It is too tall and an irrational claim to state that we are prudent enough in using domestic resources efficiently and responsibly. The overall efficiency in the energy sector, especially in the electricity sector, is woefully inadequate; consequently our natural resources are facing serious crises; the pollution/ contamination of air, water and soil are pretty bad; and our country is known as one of the top three carbon polluters.
It is deeply unfortunate that in all such opinion pieces, the calamitous impacts of the societal level pursuit of the ever increasing demand for materials and energy, which is obviously a consequence of the GDP growth rate paradigm, have never been discussed or even mentioned.
It is also true that on the other hand, if we care to provide adequate focus to harness the enormous potential of our renewable energy sources in decentralised mode, these concerns will come down by vast margins. But we are continuing to waste our meager resources on fossil fuels, nuclear fuels and dam based hydro power.
Despite numerous reports/ studies on the non-viability and on the lack of efficacy of carbon capture and storage (CCS), many such plants are being encouraged globally thereby indicating a bias towards avoidable corruption.
CCS technology has come to be known as hugely costly; it consumes vast amounts of energy; and there is no guarantee that it will effectively bring down the carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning to an acceptable level. Let us hope that India will not be duped into such false claims on CCS.
The tall claims and projections about the renewable energy installed capacity in the country is not supported by a clear plan of action and a diligently prepared timeline, and seem to be based mostly on focus towards large scale power parks, whereas the honest efforts to involve various sections of our society to harness the enormous potential of our renewable energy sources in decentralised mode will not only minimise the budgetary burden of government, but will also provide immense direct/ indirect benefits to the country.
Ministers are exhorting women to increase participation in RE, but much of damage to natural resources is caused by wrong policies
Let us hope the element of corruption is not the reason why our authorities are insisting on large scale power parks.
It is amusing and also unfortunate that our ministers are reported to be exhorting the women to increase participation in Renewable Energy (RE) sector and steer India's Energy Transition towards Net Zero, whereas much of the damage to our natural resources can be attributed to the wrong policies of the government in energy/ electricity sector.
If the primary focus of the Union govt. shifts to harnessing the enormous potential of our renewable energy sources in decentralised mode, India's energy transition towards Net Zero becomes smooth and also gets hastened.
It can be stated as a minor consolation for the environmentalists that Union minister RK Singh is reportedly warning of climate crisis and urging investment in green energy. At least one Union minister seems to be serious about the credible threats of climate change; although the inadequacy of the required policies/ actions by the Union government. in that context can be seen as blataly visible.
Much larger quantum of investment in green energy can come if the primary focus of the Union government shifts to harnessing the enormous potential of our renewable energy sources in decentralised mode; and not in large size RE power parks.
For the environmentalists in the country, it seems funny that, whereas, various ministers in the government keep asking the people to focus on preserving natural elements, such as wetlands, rivers and forests, it is the unsubstantiated policies, plans and actions of the Union government to encourage numerous "developmental projects" which are leading to the destruction/ accelerated erosion of these natural elements.
The Union government should make it an uncompromised policy to protect and enhance the ecological potential of the existing wetlands and rivers, but also bring into practice the critical elements of LiFE in all the activities of its own departments and agencies. People will automatically be interested to follow such practices.
And there are many media houses in the country which are too happy to carry articles/ opinion pieces providing irrational/ unsubstantiated advocacy on nuclear power, despite the continued failure/ silence by every one of the associated agencies to provide satisfactory clarifications to multiple concerns raised by civil society groups/ individuals.
And so also is the blind faith of our authorities in pumped storage projects, without ever substantiating on the various associated direct/ indirect costs to our society, and on credible and attractive alternatives available to our country.
So the mostly useless/ irrational focus of our national debates continues, whereas the vulnerable sections of our society continue to suffer.
*Power & Climate Policy Analyst



Avoidable Narmada floods: Modi birthday fete caused long wait for release of dam waters

Counterview Desk  Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has accused the Sardar Sarovar dam operators for once again acting in an "unaccountable" manner, bringing "avoidable floods in downstream Gujarat."  In a detailed analysis, SANDRP has said that the water level at the Golden Bridge in Bharuch approached the highest flood level on September 17, 2023, but these "could have been significantly lower and much less disastrous" both for the upstream and downstream areas of the dam, if the authorities had taken action earlier based on available actionable information.

Biden urged to warn Modi: US can declare India as worst religious freedom offender

By Our Representative  During a Congressional Briefing held on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Nadine Maenza, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), has wondered why the Biden administration should raise issues of mass anti-minority mob violence  -- particularly in Haryana and Manipur -- with Modi. Modi should be told that if such violence continues, the US will be “compelled by law” to designate India as one of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom, she urged.

From 'Naatu-Naatu' to 'Nipah-Nipah': Dancing to the tune of western pipers?

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  Some critics have commented that the ecstatic response of most Indians to the Oscar for the racy Indian song, “Naatu-Naatu” from the film, “RRR” reeks of sheer racism, insulting visuals and a colonial hangover. It was perhaps these ingredients that impressed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one critic says.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Asset managers hold '2.8 times more equity' in fossil fuel cos than in green investments

By Deepanwita Gita Niyogi*  The world’s largest asset managers are far off track to meet the  2050 net zero commitments , a new study  released by InfluenceMap , a London-based think tank working on climate change and sustainability, says. Released on August 1, the Asset Managers and Climate Change 2023 report by FinanceMap, a work stream of InfluenceMap, finds that the world’s largest asset managers have not improved on their climate performance in the past two years.

Evading primary responsibility, ONGC decides to invest Rs 15,000 crore in sick subsidiary

By NS Venkataraman*  It is reported that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will infuse about Rs 15,000 crore in ONGC Petro-additions Ltd (OPaL) as part of a financial restructuring exercise. ONGC currently holds 49.36 per cent stake in (OPaL), which operates a mega petrochemical plant at Dahej in Gujarat. GAIL (India) Ltd has 49.21 per cent interest and Gujarat State Petrochemical Corporation (GSPC) has the remaining 1.43 per cent.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Sales, profits of Indian firms 'deteriorate', yet no significant increase in cost pressures

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad's (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), a monthly exercise, has said that while cost perceptions data does not indicate significant increase of cost pressures, sales and profits of the Indian firms have deteriorated.

'State-sanctioned terror': Stop drone attack on Adivasis, urge over 80 world academics

Counterview Desk  A joint statement, “Indigenous Peoples’ Un-Freedoms and Our Academic Freedom: A Call for Solidarity”, endorsed by over 80 signatories, including international academics, activists and civil society organizations, as well as diasporic Indian academics and researchers, working with Adivasi (indigenous) communities in India, has made an urgent appeal to prevent future drone bomb attacks by the Indian state on Adivasi villages.