Call to set up Urja Park in AP
Nellore: Today, the focus is on renewable energy. Though we have big wind farms, solar plants,biomass and mini hydel projects, the common man is not aware of the benefits of renewable energy.
Decentralised renewable energy and simple systems like solar cookers (both box type and parabolic),wind chargers,solar roof top panels, micro hydel plants, energy conservation in lighting, small biogas plants etc.can bring in rural prosperity.
Most of human activity consumes fossil fuels. Their extensive use leads to undesirable consequences such as global warming and environmental pollution. In recent decades, these two problems have become the most important challenges to governments and societies.
On the other hand is the global challenge of how to ensure affordable and sustainable energy supply. Renewable energy sources and energy efficiency improvements have the potential to provide the energy needed for human and economic development without harming the environment. To balance the energy need and clean environment, we need renewable energy parks.
They are some kind of ecological thematic parks which have been proposed to educate people and raise public awareness about clean energies. For example, there is an excellent Urja Park in Raipur, capital of Chattisgarh.
The Urja Park, named after the late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is in the heart of the city. The park has exquisite landscape and boating facility. Science lovers visit the park as it has a science center, which has displays on the use of different forms of energy.
Naresuan University in Thailand has an energy park: The School of Renewable Energy Technology (SERT) that was established in 1995. As an autonomous institute, SERT is working on renewable energy technologies to meet the energy demands of developing countries in South East Asia and to promote the industrial applications of renewable energy.
SERT offers professional training programmes at both masters and doctorate levels. It does research on new approaches to generate renewable energy and identify feasible areas in Thailand where the renewable energy technologies could effectively be utilized.
In this regard, I suggest to AP Chief Minister to seek Central assistance through Ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources to set up a top class Urja Park in a city like Nellore or in the upcoming capital Amaravathi.
(The author is a renewable energy expert and the 1994 winner of
Seattle-based Margaret Noble Foundation award)