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.