Let there be light, from renewable energy

June 6th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) On a winter day, it gets dark at 3 p.m. in Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himachal Pradesh. It’s winter seven months a year and usually there’s no electricity from the grid. The way out - a combination of solar and wind powered generators that have lit up two villages for the first time. There’s no electricity from the grid in forest-surrounded villages of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh either. But there are plenty of Karanj trees growing wild or there’s Jatropha planted on wastelands. Fruits of both yield fuel to run electricity generators.

Ladakh is known for its pristine air, but not its capital Leh, where diesel generators pollute the evenings with noise and fumes. The solution lies in a group of geothermal springs nearby, if electricity can be generated from it as they have done in Iceland.

There’s an office building in Bangalore for which the management pays 71 percent less in power bills as the architect maximised the natural light and fresh air that got inside. A builder in Bangalore has made an apartment complex on the same principles.

These little glimmers of hope featured in four documentary films produced as part of the UK Environment Film Fellowships (UKEFF) 2007 and screened here Thursday evening to mark World Environment Day.

“A Light Burns” by Miriam Chandy Menacherry traces the development of electricity generation in the Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh villages using Karanj and Jatropha seeds.

“In their Elements” by Inder Kathuria shows how the solar-wind hybrid system is bringing electricity to the two Lahaul-Spiti villages and the difference this is making to the lives of the residents.

“The Future Beneath our Feet” by Praveen Singh explores the untapped geothermal energy resources of the country, focussing on Ladakh.

“Building a Green Future - now” by Sashi Sivramkrishna showcases the green buildings and the work that has gone into them.

All four films show projects that merit replication.

British Acting High Commissioner Creon Butler said at the screening: “The films provide a glimpse of the immense possibilities that await us in our quest for alternative energy sources. They look at the way green buildings, geothermal energy, solar-wind hybrid systems and bio-diesel from locally grown oil seeds have changed lives.

“With sky-high crude oil prices and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming, the time is now ripe to tap these energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.”

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