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Aug 1, 2016

Renew to Live Anew

Savvy Soumya Misra

In December 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would generate 175 Gigawatt by 2022, through Renewable Energy. The target announced at the Climate summit in Paris was a part of India’s comprehensive strategy to combat climate change i

The critics called the targets ‘ambitious’. For instance, of the 175 GW, the lion’s share of the target  100 GW  is set for solar energy. At present, India’s solar capacity is 5.8 GW and world’s total installed solar power capacity in 2014 was 181 GW.  In order to meet the lofty target, India’s solar capacity will have to grow at an average of over 15 GW per year as against the current annual growth of 4 GW ii

Perhaps, Prime Minister announced the target keeping in mind the Smart Cities Mission, one of his pet projects. One of the talking points of Smart Cities is Smart Energy i.e. co-generation and generation of Renewable Energy. The Mission’s guidelines insist that 10 per cent of the Smart City’s energy requirement, in the next five years, be met through solar energy; rooftop solar being the key. 

Of the 100 Smart Cities, 60 will be developed as solar cities; 50 have already prepared their master plan. According to presentations made by the MNRE, GoI, the government will ‘provide assistance to urban local bodies in assessing their present energy consumption, future demands, preparing Master Plans for energy savings, and generation through renewable energy installations and energy efficiency measures’.  

Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha (one of the focus states of Oxfam India), is on the list of 100 Smart Cities. And it is also one of the 50 cities, which have developed their solar city master plan. Bhubaneswar is one of the two tier II cities in Odisha. Between 1951 and 2011, the city's geographical area has expanded five times while its population has risen 50 times. The population density of the city has gone up from 638 persons per square kilometre in 1951 to 6205 in 2011. Its population growth is higher than the state's average urban population growth rate iii

As the population expands, so will the energy demands -Bhubaneswar’s projected energy demand for 2022 is 11.3 lakh kWh; in 2012 it was 7.21 lakh kWh. According to the solar city master plan, prepared by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and ICLEI, the energy demand in the capital between 2013 and 2018 (at the highest growth rate) would be 1570.10 MU iv(million units). This means that 151.01 MU, during this period, would be the 10 per cent reduction goal. 

Based on estimates and subsequent calculation in the Master Plan, ‘a reduction through RE initiatives in the city renders an aggregate reduction of 110.34 MU over five years with a substantial contribution towards this reduction from commercial (17%) and residential (29%) sectors’. Further, it adds, ‘The savings in energy brought about by energy efficiency programs is 80.33 MU over the same 5 year period with major contributions from initiatives undertaken in residential (25%) and industrial (6%) sectors. With targeted projects like installation of solar water heaters and replacement of DG sets with PV systems, the city can potentially achieve the prescribed target well within 5 years v ’.

The writing is clear on the wall. Energy needs will have to be met through sustainable and renewable sources and it should begin in the residential areas of the city. Households, in Bhubaneswar, are the second highest consumers of electricity (41%); the highest, 47%, energy is consumed by the commercial sector followed by Industries (11%) and Municipality (1%). Apart from the government’s initiative, changes will have to be brought at the household level. 

Oxfam India along with other NGOs like Climate Parliament, Practical Action, Youth for Social Development and Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC) is kick-starting its campaign on Renewable Energy “Renew to Live Anew” in Bhubaneswar. During the Campaign, that will run upto October, Bhubaneswar will see a host of awareness and advocacy activities to engage the middle class and youth. Visits by youth volunteers, interactive street plays, signature campaigns and a solar cart model are few of the highlights planned for the Campaign. 

The campaign aims at sensitizing and engaging with the urban middle class and the youth, the largest consumer segments of household energy. Renew to Live Anew is not just about converting consumers to prosumers i.e. producing the energy they consume but it is also about creating awareness about energy efficiency at the urban household level and strengthening citizen forums to hold government accountable for prioritization of pro-poor energy solutions in government climate and energy commitments. 

If Renewable Energy is that Superhero that will fight climate change, reduce emissions and save the planet, it is time to put our weight behind this Superhero.  

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ihttp://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/pms-address-at-the-inauguration-of-the-indian-pavilion-at-cop21-paris/?comment=disable (as viewed on July 28, 2016)

iihttp://www.wri.org/blog/2016/05/india-charts-roadmap-achieve-ambitious-solar-targets (as viewed on July 28, 2016)

iiihttp://populationfoundation.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/WASH-Fact-n-Factors-Bhubaneswar.pdf  (as viewed on July 28, 2016)

iv 1000 Megawatt of energy consumed for 1 hour is 1 Million units 

vDevelopment of Bhubaneswar Solar City-Final Master Plan; Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability; Supported by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Government of India, New Delhi

 

Written by: Savvy Soumya Misra, Research Coordinator, Oxfam India

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