Worldwide, natural resources have invariable been instrumental in triggering off most wars and conflicts. Energy insecurity, accentuating population, climate change and unsustainable consumption lie at the heart of these conflicts. According to UN, global energy needs will double every 15 years, far exceeding the rate of world population growth. As per estimates, in future 20–25 years, half of the world’s population would have trouble finding enough energy supplies. With the growing concern for energies, the critical issue lies in the judicious and rational usage of them. Today, over 80–100 nations, representing almost 75 percent of the world population, are suffering from what has been called “Medium To Severe Energy Shortages” – with problems being the worst in South East Asia and Europe. Back home in Kashmir we are all witnessing the ‘Energy Void’.
Some prominent oilmen insisted that high energy prices simply will take us back to the 1970s. This is a strongly thought, because if history repeats itself, the same prescriptions should cure the problem. In 1970s nations diversified their energy supplies, consumers conserved and prices came down. But at present, unfortunately, the landscape of the energy sector has changed fundamentally. Reverse supplies are tighter in all segments, while resources move concentrated. The world seems is facing the future with a truly “Energy Crisis Threat” – a time when our systems are less effective. Witness our ‘Collective Impotence’ in the face of collapse of world-trade talks, the failed War on terror, the Darfur crisis, and the economic meltdown. And as energy has become a survival issue, we need to look forward towards how societies have the potential to be “Energy Independent Societies”.
The integrated energy policy presents a roadmap for managing the rapid growth for world which is necessary if all the world citizens are to live fulfilling and satisfying lives – realising their full potential, their aspiration and their dreams for the development and happiness. Development of Photovoltaic Cell Technologies (PCTs), first used to power spacecrafts, could bring a vast expansion in the use of solar power as energy. The use of solar collectors should increase manifolds. New Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFBs) should replace incandescent. Fuel wood plantations, bio-gas plants, wood gas fires based power plants, bio-diesel and ethanol should be promoted. Let’s look at the emerging world energy alternatives that are best suitable for our own state of Jammu and Kashmir that are renewable and are showing good response worldwide.
Wave and Tidal Energy
The technologies enable us to meet a large proportion of our energy needs through renewable, non–polluting sources of energy. Moreover, the opportunities for introducing such technologies will grow with increasing energy efficiency.
Providing energy from giant windmills has been successfully established in many places across the globe. The costs of wind – generated electricity are now just about competitive with the costs of conventional power. In mid 1990s wind-turbines produced mere about 10 percent of the electricity generated by Pacific Gas and Power, and now it has increased to about 70 percent.
For obvious reasons, Solar Energy appears to be the natural choice. As nature has blessed us with plenty of sunshine we should tap this abundant and inexhaustible source of clean energy. Let’s face the facts. A solar photovoltaic device produces electricity on a bright sunny day only between 9am and 3pm. Why not store it?
Bio Fuel Energy
The diverse but intense focus on ‘energy technology’ will likely have wide effects. New ways to find or develop conventional energy are certainly showing results. One of the most intriguing possibilities is coming from the application of biology and genetic engineering to energy problems.
There is no magic wand that will bring the energy crisis to an end overnight. In order to achieve Energy Independent Societies, we need forward-looking leadership and financial commitment in the public and private sectors; congregational action; and hard work of the scientific and engineering institutions - what can be called ‘Energy Sustainability’ - for the future ‘Energy Revolution’. The opportunity to move towards a ‘Less Destructive Society’ – where people have greater control over their lives and where one person’s wealth does not come about by impoverishing others is there for us to take. Around the world, oil as an issue has been accorded as an: “Energy Propaganda” – at times with assorted military adventures. The emerging markets and the developed nations are busy ‘Engulfed in the Oil Game’ in their efforts to sustain growth that is under hard stress after the western-born economic meltdown. Lastly, the world needs to ask itself the question: “Exactly how much is it willing to fight over the critical resources of energies, so that Human life can sustain?”
(From RK Archives)