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Suitable policy perspectives on environment, energy: Bureaucrats, politicians hesitant

By Shankar Sharma* 

Two news items below indicate how late or hesitant our bureaucrats and political leaders in arriving at suitable policy perspectives on energy and environment, despise multiple recommendations from around the world since many years. The small consolation is that they may have realised the folly of their continued policy on BAU scenario, although incalculable damages have already been heaped on our environment, and hence on our people.
"International opinion" and "environmental concerns . . . make expansion of coal-based thermal generation beyond a limit, an infeasible option," ; "If India does not take urgent steps to set up local manufacturing capacity of battery energy storage systems, imperatives of our energy transition would lead to huge imports from China,"
“We are neither considering nor are we planning to set up to set up new thermal plants in the state. We are content with the existing number of thermal plants.."
A number of individuals and civil society groups have been advocating strongly since more than 10 years for our power sector to move resolutely away from fossil fuel dependency to RE based scenario ably supported by energy storage battery system. But it is only now that our "wisemen" seem to be awakening to the harsh realities of the energy sector.
And in Karnataka the multiple coal power plants, which have bene set up during the last several decades, can be termed as a sort of cruel joke on its people, because the state has no coal reserve within its borders, and is one of the most water stressed states in the union, and despite the well known fact that coal power plants demand enormous quantities of fresh water. The state has no option other than going for renewable energy; that is if our bureaucrats and political leaders choose to think rationally in the overall interest of the state.
Can we say "better late than never"? Can we also hope that our bureaucrats and political leaders will start listening to the sane views from different directions on these sectors/ issues, and start diligently considering them?
Power & Climate Policy Analyst



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