New Delhi. Ms Vandana Chavan MP, member of the Climate Parliament group in the Indian Parliament, has called for a ‘Green/Renewable Energy Cell’ in the Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD), to focus on the needs for the utilization of the renewable energy sources in urban areas.
According to Ms. Vandana Chavan, the integration of renewable energy in schemes and programs of the Ministry of Urban Development is more imperative than ever, in order to meet rising energy demand in India. Accordingly, the MOUD should plan renewable energy interventions and components in its programmes and schemes in coordination with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Ms Chavan laid our her concerns in a detailed letter to Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development. With India urbanizing at an unprecedented rate, some 600 million Indians will be living in cities by 2030, up from 290 million as reported in the 2001 census. According to reports, in 2011 the per capita annual average domestic electricity consumption for urban areas in India was nearly three times of the per capita consumption in rural areas. In order to meet this demand, innovative and comprehensive renewable energy programmes that can be launched in order to ensure sustainable development of the existing and upcoming cities.
Ms. Chavan outlined the specific areas and programmes in which renewable energy applications are possible. According to the MP, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small & Medium Towns (UIDSSMT), Smart Cities Programme, and the North Eastern Region Urban Development Programme (NERUDP) are some of the important government programmes where renewable energy must be integrated.
India’s increasing dependence on oil imports for meeting the country’s rising energy demands is placing the future of the country's energy security at risk. As several programs and schemes currently being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) have tremendous scope for renewable energy inclusion and promotion, Ms Vandana Chavan also suggested that additional resources should be sought from Asian Development Bank (ADB) or other appropriate international organisations for incorporating a component on renewable energy development under the North Eastern Region Urban Development Programme (NERUDP) scheme and this should be implemented in coordination with MNRE. The ministry should also undertake capacity building and skills development of central and state government officials in charge of urban development programmes for planning and implementing the integrated energy and development programs and should assess in detail the funds required for renewable energy incorporation under different schemes.
Only substantial amount of scaling up of renewable energy systems, along with conventional systems can help us achieve these goals in a sustainable manner.