Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wind Energy, Yes - But Can We Do it Decently?

I do believe that wind energy will be an important part of moving to a sustainable energy supply for India. Yet, it is not binding on us that we do it in as gross a manner as possible. The picture below shows that we are going about it in the same mindless manner that we go about installing conventional power generation capacity. We should not remain in this blissful state of deluding ourselves that just because we are installing wind (or solar) that there will be no impacts.

Photo From MoEF Publication on Sustainable Development

In fact, wind and solar, if installed on the same scale as conventional energy will also have huge impacts. Sure, these may be less serious than drowning hundreds of villages in a dam, or spreading coal ash all over the place, but the key thing is that there will be impacts – social, environmental and others.
Coal Ash Dump in Odisha - Note Location Close to Water Body

So when pushing for sources like wind, we should avoid making the same mistake we have made with conventional sources – go about as if there are no impacts, or worse, don’t bother about the impacts because they are to be faced by some one else, someone who is economically and politically weak. The story of what Enercon Wind Farms project is doing in Kalpavalli region in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district is an example of this, and a pointer to what can happen. See the Kalpavalli story in Down To Earth at

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