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Solar, wind power could soon run cars, light up homes

Sep 12, 2007 08:25 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Thermal and Hydel energy can't meet your energy needs and that's why there is all the fuss about nuclear energy. But what about looking beyond nuclear energy as well? What prevents power generated by wind or solar energy from running our cars, and lighting our homes? It’s the gaps in research and lack of incentives to the manufacturing sector that’s responsible, according to the industry. That's why the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced a Special Economic Zone exclusively for this. “The Commerce Ministry and Government of India have launched SEZs everywhere to increase the products, to encourage people to come. That is why we thought that we should have the SEZ exclusively for the renewables, whatever equipment that'll generate power will be put there,” says New and Renewable Energy Minister, Vilas Muttemwar. Five states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh - have approached the Ministry for hosting the SEZ that would operate as a public-private partnership. Once the SEZ comes up, it could become a hub for alternate energy sector. Already, the use of solar thermal systems in urban, industrial and commercial applications is being promoted through concessional lands. “We need to have major technological missions in these areas. This is what we had recommended in our energy policy committee report,” says Member, Planning Commission, Kirit Parikh. If Research and Development in the development of renewables is an area of concern with energy experts, the manufacturing sector also looks forward to some incentives. “I think the SEZ is a good concept because then the SEZ becomes like a hub. It becomes like a cluster where shared information around renewable energy space becomes feasible. Will we become manufacturers of some of these areas as a result of the tax benefits of an SEZ?" asks Dr FICCI Secretary, Amit Mitra. Substituting your energy sources with clean fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help prevent global warming. But as a developing country, it’s a challenge of balancing our development and environment. Now that the land is there for renewables, what the country needs and waits for is - a technological breakthrough.