Powering a Greener Future

Bangalore, November 22, 2014: At the 3rd Fraunhofer Innovation and Technology (FIT) platform, organised in Bangalore on Saturday, international energy experts are betting big on the prospects of renewable energy sources in the near future.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Reuter, Managing Director, Nordwest, Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology, said India is a huge market for wind energy and that efficiencies are improving with larger turbines and rotors. Though transporting huge blades in India is a challenge, he said they can be overcome through improved technologies.

Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, Group Chief Technology Officer, Tata Sons, said India needs to double its generation capacity in a ‘clean way’. India’s requirements were varied, from urban to rural pockets, and that ‘mini-grids’ would be practical and feasible considering geography, demographics etc.

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) said one of the answers to India’s energy generation woes is to look at centralised and decentralised generation. Technological innovations are essential to make solar and wind energy systems not only cost competitive but also reach out to larger sections of the society.

Dr. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University, said there is a huge spread of technologies in India on a wide spectrum of efficiencies – from highly efficient to highly inefficient and there needs to be standardisation. The potential to bring about efficiencies along the value chain is high and they can be realised through incentivisation.

Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber, Director, Fraunhofer Institute for Social Energy Systems, talked about energy trends in Germany wherein 30 per cent of grid is by renewable and the plan was to scale it up to 80 per cent.

Ms. Anandi Iyer, Director, Fraunhofer Office India, who moderated the panel discussion said in the last 10 years there has been considerable investment in renewable energy, yet there is a long way to go to power a greener future.

Indo-German partnerships in energy sector looking bright

Bangalore, 22 November, 2014: Addressing the inaugural  plenary session on ‘Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in India’, organised as part of the 3rd Fraunhofer Innovation and Technology (FIT) platform on ‘Powering a Greener Future’, The Deputy Consul General of German Consulate, Bangalore, Andrea Christ today said that the partnership in the energy sector between India and Germany would be further strengthened in the near future and that the Indo-German Energy Forum was looking at enhancing cooperation in areas such as energy efficiency, reliability, investments etc.

Ms. Christ mentioned Germany’s Energiewende (energy transition) programme which had set goals of using less energy and the right energy, in its bid to cut carbondioxide emissions by 80 to 95 per cent by 2050.

Energiewende, she said, has an ambitious goal of using 80 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2050 and to ensure that by 2022 the last switch off of a nuclear power plant takes place. “We are very well on track to achieve the 2025 milestone of 35 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources. In 2012, the share of nuclear energy was 20 per cent, while renewable energy had gone up to 25 per cent. Wind and solar energies would become price competitive in about 10 years. “The more renewable you use, the more competitive it becomes.”

‘Fraunhofer culture’ in India needed

Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and currently the DAE Homi Bhabha Chair at BARC, said India had to bring in ‘Fraunhofer culture’ if it had to translate research efforts into outcomes that positively impacted society at large. There was need for graded partnership between academia and industry. For competitive product development, India needs to look at the model of Indian academia-Indian industry-labs abroad wherein institutes such as Fraunhofer could be capable mentors.

Speaking about India’s gigantic energy requirements, Dr. Kakodkar said there was urgency to shift away from fossil fuel and look at thorium and solar energy. “We do not have many choices and green energy future is inevitable.” The future energy requirements would be met by wind, solar, thorium, fusion, biodegradable solid waste management, fission thermal reactors, fission fast reactors and thermal.

India’s additional energy need is the largest in the world and India currently imported 34 per cent of the energy. The import bill for oil and coal is growing at an estimated 18 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) and to meet the energy requirement by 2031-32, it would cost the exchequer Rs. 200 thousand billion for oil and another Rs. 200 thousand billion for coal. “From where will we find the money for imports.”

Blueprints for photovoltaic scalability

Prof. Dr. Eicke Weber, Chairman, FIT Platform, underscored the benefits, besides environmental, of wind and solar energy compared to nuclear power plants. The cost of power from a nuclear plant, as per a recent study in the United Kingdom, was 10 cents per kilowatt hour, while wind and solar energy was around 6 to 7 cents per kwhr.  The photovoltaic industry which was presently at 40 gigabit would expand to 100 gigabit by 2020 and 300 gigabit by 2035. “We are right at the beginning of the development. We need gigabit scale of photovoltaic industries,” he said and added that Fraunhofer Institute could provide the blueprints for photovoltaic production as 18 Fraunhofer Institutes were involved in energy systems.

Dr. Leena Srivastava, Co-Chairperson, FIT Platform and Vice-Chancellor of TERI University, said with 60 per cent of coal and oil being imported, it was time to accelerate renewable energy sources to meet energy demand. In the last 10 years, India had added 75,000 MW of conventional energy and the scale of expansion had been accelerated by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to generate 100,000 MW of solar energy in the next five to six years.

Fraunhofer involved in over 100 projects in India

In her welcome address, Ms. Anandi  Iyer, Director, Fraunhofer Office India, outlined Fraunhofer’s footprint in India and said about top 30 Indian companies were associated with the Institute and that over 100 projects were at various levels.

Giving a few examples, she mentioned that three Fraunhofer institutes were associated with a large Indian original equipment manufacturer towards ‘light weighting’ programmes and the partnership with BHEL on setting up a 500 MW solar energy plant through backward integration. Research and innovation were keys to technological developments and Fraunhofer was at the forefront and one indicator was that every day two patents are registered.

Dr. Raoul Klinger, Director, International Business Development, Frauhofer, Munich, said with the new government in place in India, the opportunities to expand bilateral relations in research, energy and other sectors with Germany had opened up further.

Smart Cities to hook up renewable energy sources

Bangalore, 22 November, 2014: The refrain at the 3rd Fraunhofer Innovation and Technology (FIT) platform on ‘Powering a Greener Future’ organised in Bangalore, was that ‘Smart Cities’ had to look at renewable and sustainable energy sources and that all planning had to revolve around that.  

Mr. Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, Coordinator Smart Energy Cities, Fraunhofer ISE, said ‘Smart Cities’ are going to be engines of growth and that India should adopt a low energy path, aiming high GDP at low energy demand.

The benefits of renewable energy sources were many including reduced import dependency; stabilised energy prices; local added value; creation of jobs and mitigating climate change. Though renewable energy sources at present were expensive, he was confident that it would come down considerably in the near future.

India, he said, had planned during the 12th Five Year Plan 36 GW of renewable energy, increasing from 12 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020 and this called for huge investments, planning and policy enunciations. ‘Smart Cities’ should shift to ‘smart metering’, ‘smart grid’, decentralised distribution etc.

Dr. A.Ravindra, former Chief Secretary of Karnataka Government and Chairman, Centre for Sustainable Development, said that the challenges in creating ‘Smart Cities’ in India included scarcity of resources; social-digital divide; financing; high cost of technology and governance. The corner stones for  ‘Smart cities’ are inclusive growth, affordable and sustainable.  An important aspect he said is leadership and that the country had got so in Mr. Narendra Modi and it had to happen at state and city levels.

Mr. Sanjay Chaudhary, Associate Vice President, Corporate Development Centre, Siemens Technology and Services, Mr. Hariprasad Hegde, Senior Vice President & Global Head, Operations, Wipro and Mr. Ravinder Pal Singh, APJC Head, Software Enabled Services, Cisco Systems, gave industry perspectives on developing ‘Smart Cities’.