- Recently, a report named Renewable Energy and Land Use in India by Mid-Century suggested that careful planning today can maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of India’s history-making energy transition
- It was released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) which examines issues related to energy markets, trends and policies.
- It’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.
- India will use significant stretches of land by 2050 to install renewable energy generation capacities.
- Around 50,000-75,000 square kilometres of land will be used in 2050 for solar energy generation and for an additional 15,000-20,000 sq km for wind energy projects.
- In India, electricity generation has to compete with alternative uses for land such as agriculture, urbanisation, human habitation and nature conservation, unlike Europe or the US.
- Properly managed renewable generation can co-exist with other land uses, and, unlike coal-based power, it does not fundamentally change land during use or following its ultimate decommissioning.
- The resulting land cover changes, including indirect effects, will likely cause a net release of carbon up to 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (gCO2 / kwh).
- The amount of carbon release will depend on the region, scale of expansion, solar technology efficiency and land management practices at solar parks.
- Land use for renewable energy may put a pressure on a variety of ecosystems. Generally the terms zero impact areas, barren land, unused land or the official designation of wasteland imply that such areas have no value.
- Open Natural Ecosystems (ONE), classified as wastelands, covered around 10% of India’s land surface.
- The largest stretches are found in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
- However some of these have the “highest densities and diversity of large mammalian fauna” and also support livelihoods of local populations.
- Earlier the Supreme Court directed all power lines of solar power units passing through Great Indian Bustard habitats in Rajasthan and Gujarat to be laid underground – as the overhead transmission lines could threaten the endangered species.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT