Background

  1. Historical perspective
  2. Gujarat: The Renewable Energy Potential
  3. Gujarat:  Racing towards a Sustainable Tomorrow

1. Historical perspectiveTop


GEDA (Gujarat Energy Development Agency), one of the premier organizations and a forerunner in India has been working in the field of renewable energy development and energy conservation. GEDA is shouldering the responsibility of  a state nodal agency (SNA) for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources (MoNRE) and the state designated agency (SDA) for Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). 

GEDA has played a pioneering role in the development of a long-term renewable policy and implementing of sustainable energy programmes across the state. GEDA’s challenge has been to make the renewable energy and energy efficient technologies economically and commercially viable. GEDA was catalytic in the formation of the Commission of Additional Sources of Energy (CASE) in 1981, which later became the Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES) in 1982 and a full-fledged Ministry- MNES (Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources) in 90s, which is now the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy).   The model was then replicated to establish similar state nodal agencies in other states through out the country.

The renewable energy promotion and popularization programmes in the state have crossed the over 3 decades of untiring efforts and pioneered several sustainable initiatives; many of which are the country’s first. GEDA has virtually been the crucible, the melting pot of ideas to ‘check out’ renewable sources of energy as alternatives to conventional fuels. The convenient green-n-clean actions in these direction and milestones achieved have set the pace for Renewable Energy Development in India.

Gujarat: Pioneering Role

In the minds of the people of Gujarat, GEDA and the Surya Cooker (Solar Cooker) are synonymous.  In fact, GEDA was commonly known as the Surya Cooker Office.  This is because the Surya Cooker was the first renewable energy-based consumer product to be offered to the public in late 1979 to an enthusiastic reception.  The Surya Cooker was a radically novel cooking concept that revolutionized our understanding of energy by introducing a renewable energy alternative - cooking without a fuel. Significantly, Surya Cookers were first developed in the country at Agricultural Tools Research Centre (ATRC), Bardoli in Gujarat synonymously freeing from the slavery of conventional fuels.  The National Solar Cooker Promotion Programme was subsequently launched in 1982-83 by the central government in the rest of the country.

In many ways the Surya Cooker has been a “prototype” programme providing several important designs, development and marketing insights that have been critical for the promotion of later Renewable Energy technologies. The programme stumbled after the initial euphoria and success, as several marketing bottlenecks surfaced. A consistent and rigorous effort to keep in touch with the pulse of the market was made. This included soft studies to gain insight into the potential cooker market with regard to factors affecting the purchase decisions, user feedback fora and product R&D. GEDA consistently endeavoured to tackle marketing and promotion problems in keeping with the changing economic scenario.

GEDA was awarded the prestigious National Award for the Overall Best Performance in Popularizing Solar Cookers under the National Solar Cooker Promotion the Programme for the 10 Five Year Plan Period on November 22, 2007. The Award was conferred by Her Excellency Hon’ble President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil on behalf of  the MNES, Government of India.  The Award is proof that GEDA has continued to maintain its leadership position in Solar Cooker Promotion The award is proof that GEDA has continued to maintain its leadership position in Solar Cooker Promotion since past 5 years. Earlier, GEDA received Best Performance Awards for Solar Cookers for the years 1997-98, 1998-99, 2000-01 and 2001-02. GEDA is the only nodal agency that has won three consecutive awards for the overall performance in promoting and popularization solar cookers. Its contribution has been acknowledged nationwide with awards and honours, especially its innovative add-ons such as the publication of the country’s first Solar Cookery Book, the Solar Cooker Patrika for cooker users and demonstration programmes at various event and melas and fairs.

    Some of the crucial components for the successful promotion of renewable energy technologies are:
  • Assessment of energy needs,
  • Technology assessment and demonstration
  • Assessment of biomass resources
  • Research in technology, product and market development through applied research, field trials and soft studies
  • Localization of programmes and effective grassroots penetration by networking with NGO’s and other local institutions
  • Developing a manufacturing base to aid commercialization of renewable energy technologies
  • Strengthening commercial distribution channels to make NRSE products available to consumers as of- the- counter- devices
  • Developing a network of users to gather vital feedback for effective programme/technology development
  • Building a renewable energy resource centre and maintaining a state-of- the-art knowledge bank
  • Information, promotion, training and education packaged to take energy ideas to the vast and varied base of energy consumers.
  • Reaching out through the school energy education programme

In this scenario, it is certainly in our economic self-interest to employ renewable energy technologies.


2. Gujarat: The Renewable Energy Potential Top


In energy terms Gujarat’s hydel potential is limited and the thermal power plants are dependent on coal hauled from 1500 km away.  Gujarat is one of the forerunning industrial states in the country

planned capacities, and long-term goals reveal a realistic annual growth of 10.5% up to 2020 (see Fig. 1). The resultant installed capacity by 2020 is calculated at 34,861 MW annually generating 198,500 MU of energy.

In environmental terms Gujarat has an inadequate forest cover, serious problems of soil erosion/degradation, water logging and expanding wastelands.  It is plagued by water shortages and sinking water tables, salinity and salt ingression.

On the other hand, Gujarat is rich in renewable energy resources – 300 days of sunshine, Rann of Kachchh where the land is endless and the sun’s heat relentless, good winds along its 1600 km long shoreline, scope for energy plantation in its vast wastelands, waste to energy options that harness bio, agro and industrial–waste. In this scenario, it is certainly in our economic self-interest to employ renewable energy technologies.

Gujarat : The Renewable Energy Potential

Source Resource Energy Generation/Saving Potential
Sun Solar Radiation 300 days
5.6 -6.0 kwh/m­­­­­­­­­­­­2 / day
3 x 1014   kWh
Biomass 24 million tones 900 MW of electric power could be generated to meet energy requirements of almost all villages in Gujarat.
Biogas 200 lakh cattle population
(Dung avaible at 70% collection efficiency)
Could generate 5.6 million cubic meter of biogas per day to cater cooking gas to 2.8 million families or generate electric power equivalent to 933 MW
Biogas Energy
Plantation
67 lakh hectare wasteland Could yield 67 million tones of Biomass which can sustain power generation to the order of 15000 MW
Wind Coastline and hilly regions 5000  MWe
Tidal Gulf of Kachchh
Gulf of Khambhat
9000 MWe 
9000 MWe
Energy
Conservation
  23%

3. Gujarat:  Racing towards a Sustainable Tomorrow Top


Perhaps the greatest realization is the need to reposition renewable not as alternatives out to oust/replace conventional energy sources, but to stress their potential as sustainable sources of energy, appropriate for specific needs – with some very crucial added advantages fundamental to our survival and healthy development that caters to:

  • Protecting our natural resources on which the livelihoods of a large number of people depends;
  • Checking climate change, which is likely to have a serious impact on the region as a whole and on water-related problems in particular; and to
  • Fostering sustainable development for human welfare.

GEDA (Gujarat Energy Development Agency)’s   role   to provide “energy alternatives” has been succinctly described here to exemplify the ‘unlimited potential’ of renewable sources of energy.  However, it romanticizes the abundance of renewable sources of energy as a ‘free-forever’ source that has been  tapped for decentralized energy use and for small, large and mega-scale renewable energy power generation or  energy substitute projects. They have contributed to rural development, generated grassroots employment, boosted agricultural productivity, improved the productivity of rural artisans, alleviated the drudgery of women, conserved scarce fossil fuels, promoted energy efficiency in domestic, agricultural, industrial, commercial and transport sectors and played a significant role in protecting the environment and halting the serious consequences of climate change.

The constant challenge has been to find an innovative strategy to move from the theoretical potential of renewable sources of energy to the success its implementation in the field.

GEDA therefore, aims to provide a platform to utilization of sustainable energy (renewable energy and energy efficient) technologies on mass scale to make them techno-economically and socio-culturally viable in the context of Gujarat’s energy scenario.

     Our efforts, therefore, concentrate on the initiation of change from energy deprivation and dependence to energy autonomy through the increased use of renewable energy sources through and ensure energy efficiency. Over the years, GEDA has evolved a unique multi-pronged, multi-disciplinary approach to seek solutions for various aspects of programme planning and implementation.

    The key areas of intervention are:
  • Demonstration schemes for new and emerging technologies
  •  
  • Socially oriented schemes for under-privileged communities and underdeveloped/ eco-fragile regions
  • Commercially oriented schemes for market and business development

GEDA has been instrumental in introducing various new technologies for mass use through design of several innovative programmes, involvement of reputed NGO network, implementation strategies and promotional initiatives. GEDA’s programmes have provided basic energy to the remote tribal and rural areas. They have contributed to rural development, generated grassroots employment, boosted agricultural productivity, improved the productivity of rural artisans, alleviated the drudgery of women, conserved scarce fossil fuels, promoted energy efficiency in domestic, agricultural, industrial, commercial and transport sectors and played a significant role in protecting the environment and reducing carbon  emission levels.

Subsidies offered to users in the initial demonstration phase were as high as 100% to gradually reducing the subsidies form 75% - 25 % and today users have been weaned away from subsidies. Currently no subsidy is available for commercially-ready technologies, whereas 75 –50% subsidies are available for institutional applications that need support to make them economically viable in the user context. It is worth noting, here that a similar policy decision has been made by the MNRE to commercialize renewable energy devices. Some schemes such as Improved Chulhas and Solar Lanterns have been withdrawn as centrally supported subsidy programmes.

Today with strength of 60-odd professionals that includes technical and supporting staff, GEDA has over 3-decades of result-oriented experience. Over this period, it has completed several pioneering renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and programmes that have demonstrated the techno-economic viability of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.