India is an agricultural country where majority of population lives in villages. The most of the energy, which utilized in India, is, primarily obtained wood, agricultural wastes, animal dung.
However, most of the energy consumed in urban areas is obtained from coal, oil, natural gas, hydro-electricity and nuclear power. Energy resources are of two types:
These energy resources are mostly biomass based which are available in unlimited amount in nature. This is because these, energy resources are renewed over a relatively short period of time. These resources are firewood, (obtained from forests plant), biomass (obtained from agricultural wastes) animal dung, wood energy, solar energy, water energy (obtained from hydroelectric power) and geothermal energy etc. Indian renewable energy potential are summarized.
These energy resources are available in limited amount and besides, they develop over a longer period. When used in unlimited manner, these energy resources are exhaustible. The examples are coal, mineral oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. These sources are organic in nature and are called fossil fuel.
Fossils fuels account for 90% of the world production of commercial energy. On the other hand, hydroelectric and nuclear power account for only 10% of the production.
Man is only a part of energy flow in nature. With the passage of time human energy needs, are rapidly increasing. The expansion of energy sources has been related with agricultural and industrial development. However, the energy resource is not able to cope with the demands at the present time. Part of such at problem is association of energy resources with the environmental problems.
The energy sources are mainly of two types:
Major sources of energy of this type are the followings:
Coal is regarded as our most plentiful and useful fuel. Coal is formed by the transformation of layers and layers of decomposed vegetable and animal matter under the combined effect of heat and pressure of earth. Coal deposits are in abundance and are distributed over the various parts of the world. Soviet Union, China and United States contain about 80% of the world’s total coal resources.
(b) Oil and Natural Gas:
Sedimentary rocks containing resource of plants and animals are the main source of mineral oil. The regions which are rich in mineral oil are USA, Mexico, USSR and the West Asian Region.
Natural gas forms same way as oil. The two usually occur together, other as gas dissolved in oil or lying in the oil accumulations inside earth’s crust. It consists mainly of methane and is accompanied by amounts of oxides of carbon as well as other inflammable gases like ethane and propane.
(c) Thermal Power:
Hydroelectricity is obtained from water (renewable sources). But these thermal power plants use coal, petroleum and natural gas to produce thermal electricity. It is polluting and exhaustible electricity, whether thermal, nuclear or hydro, is in most versatile form of energy.
(d) Firewood (Fuel Wood):
It is a fact that about 70% of firewood demand pertains to the rural areas. Firewood obtained from chullahs results into waste of wood, forest and environmental degradation and health problems.
Water energy is renewable energy source and obtained from water to flow water from a high. Hilly areas and high lands areas are suitable for this purpose. In India, the potential of small hydropower is estimated about 10,000 MW. Hill regions of India, particularly the Himalayan belts are endowed with rich hydel resources with tremendous potential. Small hydropower is a reliable, mature and proven technology. It is non-polluting and does not involve setting up of large dams or problems of deforestation, submergence and rehabilitation.
(f) Nuclear Power:
The nuclear energy of the atoms has been harnessed by fission reactor, fast breeder reactor and nuclear fission reactor. Amongst these nuclear fission reactor is the most powerful and produces enormous energy for during ships and generating electric power.
Coal, mineral oil and natural gas etc are nonrenewable but their use is associated with environmental pollution problems. Also large- scale utilization atom of wood may ultimately lead to deforestation.
Accordingly the following sources of energy are being given preference to be used.
(a) Solar Energy:
Solar energy of sun lights is highly potential renewable resource. It is estimated that solar energy equivalent to over 15000 times the world’s annual commercial energy consumption reaches the earth every year. It is non-polluting helps in lessening green house effect. Solar energy can be utilized through two different routes, 1 as solar thermal rout and solar electric route. It does not cause any pollution. Solar thermal devices such as solar cooker, solar water/air heater, solar dryers have been developed.
(b) Wind Energy:
Wind provides cheap and pollution free energy. Part of the problem is that wind is rather a local phenomenon and is very much unpredictable in most places. Wind energy can be converted into mechanical and electrical energy. Since air flow from warmer to cooler regions, this causes what we call winds and it is these airflows that are harnessed in windmills and wind turbines to produce power.
Wind power is not a new development as this power in the form of traditional windmills-for grinding corn, pumping water; sailing ships have been used for centuries. The basic wind energy conversion device is the wind turbine. These turbines are generally of two types- vertical axis wind turbines and horizontal axis wind turbines depending upon the rotation of axis. Wind electric generators (WEG) convert kinetic energy by using rotor, gearbox and generator.
India has been rated as one of the most promising countries for wind power development with an estimated potential of 20,000 MW. India ranks fifth in the world in wind power generation. There are 208 wind potential stations in India.