What are the Non-Conventional or Renewable Sources of energy?

Top-priority is being accorded by the Government to promote renewable sources of energy so that alternative to the fast exhausting non-conventional sources of energy are found. Use of non-conventional sources of energy can be made in the same manner as conventional sources. In this connection, Government established on 6 September 1982, Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources:

This department is a part of Ministry of Energy. The department found the following non-conventional sources of energy in the country.

1. Bio-Energy:

This type of energy is obtained from organism or organic matter. It is of two kinds:


(a) Bio-Gas:

It is that source of energy which is obtained from Goober Gas Plant by putting cow-dung into the plant. Besides producing gas this plant converts goober into manure.

It can also be used for cooking, lighting and generating of electricity. Under the national programme of bio-gas, 23.59 lakh bio-gas plants had already been established ending 1999-2000. They produce more than 225 lakh tonnes of manure, about 1,628 large community or institutional bio-gas plants have been established in the country.

(b) Bio-Mass.


It is also a source of producing energy through plants and trees. The purpose of bio-mass programme is to encourage afforestation for energy, so that fuel for the generation of energy based on gas technique and fodder for the cattle could be obtained. 5.6 MW capacity for the generation of bio-mass energy has been installed.

2. Improved Chullahs:

In December 1983, National Improved Chullahs Programme was initiated. These chullahs save lot of fuel, besides they are smokeless. Thus with the use of less fuel more energy is produced. These chullahs have gained enough popularity among rural communities. It is estimated that an improved chullah saves 700 kg of fuel every year.

3. Solar Energy:

Solar energy refers to that which is produced by the light of the sun.

(а) Solar Thermal Programme:


Under this programme, solar energy is directly obtained. Light of the sun is converted into thermal power. Solar energy is used for cooking, hot water, distillation of water, drying of the crops, etc. In 1999-2000, solar energy was being used over an area of 3.4 lakh sq. meters. In 1999-2000, there were 3.1 lakh solar cookers in use.

(b) Solar Photovoltaic Programme:

Under the programme photovoltaic cells are exposed to sun light as a result of which electricity is generated at the meeting place of two substances. Photovoltaic cells are those cells which convert light of the sun into electricity. By the year 1999-2000, under this programme light was provided to 975 villages and colonies.

It is used for street lighting, community light system, T.V. system, water pumps, domestic lights, etc. A Solar Power Station is being installed at Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

4. Energy from Urban Wastes:

Urban waste is also used for the generation of power. In Timarpur (Delhi) a power station of 3.75 MW capacities has been set up to generate energy from the town refuge.

5. Wind Power Development Programme:

Under this programme energy is generated by harnessing wind power. About 2,756 wind-pumps were established for irrigation purposes. Wind-power operated power houses were set up in seven states. Their generation capacity was 1000 MW. 710 MW wind power has been generated in private sector. India has second place in wind power energy generation after U.S.A.

6. Programme for Alternative Fuels for Surface Transportation:

Under this programme, motor transport is operated by renewable source of energy in place of petrol or diesel. Some D.T.C. buses in Delhi are being run by alcohol and battery. It saves conventional energy and is also environment friendly.

7. Urja Gram:

Under this programme, energy needs of the villages are met by such locally available resources. Most of these systems are based on community Bio-gas equipment. The programme has thus far been implemented in about 406 villages.

8. Programme for Alternate Fuels:

Motor vehicles using mixture of ethanol (alcohol) are being successfully operated. Battery operated buses are also being successfully operated in Delhi. In order to develop renewable energy sources, Indian Renewable Energy Development agency was formed in 1997. It sponsors and finances research projects on energy.