The three-day Renewtech exhibition and conference in Mumbai sought to answer questions if renewable energy can be made affordable for the masses and meet our electricity requirement.At a time when the Indian government has set an ambitious programme for the deployment of renewable energy products and systems, the Renewtech India 2011 exhibition and conference was held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon (E), to promote the utilisation of renewable energy sources and throw light on this important topic.Over 35 speakers from India and overseas made presentations at the conference and some of the topics were financing of renewable energy projects, conversion of waste-to-energy, new hybrid combination solar plants, tidal and geothermal energy, manufacturing of solar cells in India and wind energy projects.In the session on 'financing of renewable energy projects', Sanjay Mandavkar, ED, Infrastructure Banking, YES Bank, said, "We are heavily dependent on thermal sources and as of now 64 per cent of capacity is in thermal. Almost 80 per cent capacity comes from the state sector of total installed capacity of 167,000 MW. Still the country faces peak power shortages of around 12 per cent. The per capita consumption is low i.e., 700 KW (2009) while the world average is 2,300 KW. So there is scope for development of the power sector."Commenting on equipment shortages, he said, "We want to add almost 1 lakh MW every two to three years to meet our growing requirements. In terms of financial closure, larger projects require huge amounts of debt so if a project of 4,000 MW requires Rs 16,000 crore of debt, that is again a challenge, i.e, mobilisation of debt, since the stakes are larger."On the final day of the conference, Dr Ritesh Arya, hydrogeologist and groundwater consultant in the Himalayas while speaking about geothermal energy said, "In 2009, an experiment was conducted in Iceland and they encountered magma at 6,900 feet. While measuring the temperature, they found that the superheated steam was 400o C and capable of producing 25 MW. So that is the energy from magma. The potential of this form of energy in India is 10,000 MW as per the Geological Survey of India."In the session on tidal and wave energy, Professor Kanitkar, Head, Green Energy division, Enviro Abrasion Resistant Engineers said, "The level between high and low tide (about eight metres in some parts of India) is taken advantage of to generate tidal energy and to run turbines. The oldest tidal energy plant, which generates 250 MW of energy, is in France at La Rance. Recently, a proposal was signed in India with a UK company, Atlantis, to produce a plant of 50 KW, which will later be enhanced to 250 KW."Speaking of its potential, he said, "A wave of 1 metre height and 1 metre width contains about 20 KW of energy and we have about 5,000 km of seashore along the Indian coastline-Maharashtra alone has over 550 km of shoreline and Gujarat over 1,000 km. So we have enough potential in the sea in the form of waves."Renewtech proved to be a meeting point for the renewable energy industry where distributors, importers, systems and solution integrators, government officials, consultants and students from across India visited the show. The conference on its part sought to answer questions whether renewable energy can be made affordable for the masses and meet their major electricity needs. It surely renewed our interest in renewables.
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