In this eighth edition of the Renewable Energy (RE) newsletter, RE team brings you detailed research on the environmental impact of renewable energy. Two reports have been published in the last quarter detailing the issues around the growing adverse impact of renewable energy projects on the environment. Our report Green Norms for Small Hydro Power provides detailed analysis of hydropower projects in Uttarakhand and Karnataka and the report Green Norms for wind power provides detailed analysis of wind power projects in India.
Conferences on Renewable Energy
Green Norms for Small hydro power
Small hydro power plants (with capacity less than 25 megawatt) have grown at a rapid pace across India. In the last seven years, one plant has been sanctioned every week. They are promoted as ‘green energy’. But without proper environmental regulations, they cause major ecological impacts.
CSE organized a conference in Dehradun to discuss the environmental impacts of these projects, specifically in Uttarakhand, and how to combat them without hindering the growth of the sector. The notion is to utilize the hydro power potential in an ecologically sustainable manner. There should be guidelines and norms put in place so that there is much needed balance between environment and development.
Green Norms for Wind Power
India is the only country in the world with sizeable wind power installations but very little green norms to manage its environmental fallouts. Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) data since 1980 reveals that 3,932 hectares have been diverted for wind power, without any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. The pace of forest land diversion for wind projects has increased manifold during the last seven years.
CSE organized a public meeting in Pune to release and discuss its report “Green Norms for Wind Power”. It was attended by stakeholders including civil society groups, wind power experts, industry and government officials. The conference focused on making the wind power development in the country sustainable and free of any negative impacts.
Workshops on Renewable Energy
Scaling up renewable energy based micro/ mini grids for rural electrification in India
In the last few years, mini-grids have largely been developed by independent developers, non-governmental organizations and social businesses using external funds, and notable projects by state governments. CSE organized a workshop (Workshop on Scaling up Renewable Energy based mini-grids for Rural Electrification) in collaboration with Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA), to identify the business model/ policy framework that would help in rightly incentivizing this sector.
The workshop included a field visit to few notable remote villages in the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary which engaged the participants into understand the operation model employed by CREDA. The consultation insisted on the view that urgency is required from the government in order to scale up the setting up of mini-grid projects in the country. The participants unanimously agreed that correct financial incentives coupled with good transmission infrastructure at the tail end of the grid are the need of the hour.
Environmental Impact Assessment Training for Wind Power Projects, Pune
The objective of this programme is to enable stakeholders to understand the likely impacts of the project and allows them to make sound decisions during various stages of project development. CSE’s two day training programme held in Pune on 29 – 30, August, 2013, addressed the need for an EIA for wind power projects covering the environmental and social impacts associated with the sector. The workshop also briefed the participants on applicable policy, guidelines, and legal provisions for the wind power sector in India. It detailed stakeholders on how to prepare a Environmental Management Plan for wind power projects.