Energy: Sketch of Present Scenario, Sustainability Goals and Possible Future Directions by Dr. Rudrodip Majumdar

Location and Date: 
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 04:00 pm, Seminar Hall, Second Floor, DESE-CESE Building


India’s energy demand rose by 4% in 2018 compared to the average growth of 2.3% seen worldwide. This growth was led by coal (power generation) and oil (transport). IEA has reported rise in worldwide energy-related emissions to a historic high level of 33.1 Gt CO2. Although, the mitigation of CO2 is a responsibility, yet wishing away coal from Indian scenario is very difficult, as it is central to India’s political economy. But MNRE has started focusing on various alternative sources, viz. nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy and bio-energy. However, each source comes with its own pros and cons. Following the Paris agreement, India plans to introduce of 175 GW Renewable Energy by 2022(100 GW Solar,60 GW Wind). However, increasing share of variable generation (VG) sources affects affordability of electricity, as well as, grid stability, in the form of variability and intermittency leading to ramping issues. Moreover, the dominant and prevalent solar PV technology suffers from the lack of a definite solar panel waste disposal policy, while potential leaching of traces of toxic components impacts environmental health negatively. On the nuclear energy front we need to solve the problem of radioactive nuclear waste productively, by employing high burn-up, efficient Molten Salt Reactors. Nuclear energy should be further complemented by the solar thermal technologies (STT) by enhancing its effectiveness through the development of energy storages.


Recent research efforts indicate the PCM-based storages (LHTES) and thermochemical storages as the promising solutions. Looking towards the future, India should also concentrate on the completely clean nuclear fusion energy technology (ITER). Additionally, biofuels need to be encouraged to reduce emissions and dependency on the imported oils. However, development of suitable indigenous feedstock is important to avoid unnecessary conflict with the food security and resistance arising from public perceptions.