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When wind is owned by a Village : The barriers in RE

24 May

The district of Satara, Maharashtra, India has its skyline dotted with wind-turbines. It seems endless, as the train winds down the hilly tract, twisting and turning in its way. Every-time I saw them, a little smile use to creep up my lips, thinking how glorious is the renewable energy story in this state. The state at present is facing severe drought and the cause is attributed to the Wind turbines which is driving the clouds away! Reading the article in the DNA newspaper I could only wonder at the lackadaisical pace of the government in controlling such rumours from spreading. I had heard similar tales in the state of Rajasthan too.

And then there is a policy of wind tax! It is reported that each village council under whose land the installed wind turbine fall, demand Rupees 94,000 per MW annually ! The government has issued a notice that it must pay minimum Rs 15,000/ MW.  I wonder if Wind RE will never be able to supersede  thermal energy price any time soon with this type of barriers. What intrigues me most that I have never heard Government paying fishermen any tax, while extracting Oil from off-shore rigs. Because by that logic, and even more so the waters belong to the fishermen and oil/gas leaks actually kill and loss can be directly and scientifically measured.

English: Schematic diagram of a modern horizon...

English: Schematic diagram of a modern horizontal-axis, three-bladed wind turbine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What worries me most is, as people slowly recognise the potential of these as revenue earners for the rich investors, the lack of coherent policy from successive governments to uplift the poor, would manifest into misdirected anger towers these RE power plants. Compound that with unschooled workers in coal/oil agencies who wrongly think, due to lack of information, that very soon oil / coal would lose out to these clean energy  and fearing loss of job, vent their frustration. In a country where it is rumoured that an MLC was against a mini hydro-dam because once “electricity” is removed from the water, it would be useless for the paddy fields as its energy has already been sucked out; we may be staring at massive protest against any future RE projects. And this would be playing right into the hands of the coal/ oil lobby, who may exploit the situation to their advantage. With the World economy in doldrums, and people worried about their immediate needs, a spark of protest in any corner of any country against Wind power could have a domino effect, driving out a potential bridge solution for abatement of Climate change.

But, as the saying goes – “there is no smoke without fire”; it must be probed with complete transparency, if the farmers where compensated well for their land or duped into selling cheap by citing it as useless barren land. No land is useless, which is proven by the tall wind-mill standing on it and “barren” should not have been made a case, because one was not purchasing it for farming, so that argument should not have been put at all !The Government too should use its collective intellect (tall order at times) to define the word “barren” when it is to be used for installing Wind or Solar power. Because, sooner than later the people who are mostly poor villagers; and protecting their interest is supreme in every political parties manifesto; would become wise of the fact and then their protest would be legitimate, even if it takes the ludicrous form of asking a “solar tax” by the logic of the sun falling on their village area!

As for the present Wind technology is facing the heat and just because of the unscrupulous few, a wonderful RET should not be held hostage and the international RE community and especially the Wind RET industry should come up with credible and easy to understand,scientifically proven and approved by the UN messages which advertise the pros and cons of this technology.Else they will be accused  by more people of stealing their wind and driving the rain clouds away !

 

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2 responses to “When wind is owned by a Village : The barriers in RE

  1. designospiree

    July 19, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    Hi, Thanks for this informative blog. Am curious to know about the implications of private small-scale wind turbine possibilities (mostly built by home owners or co-operative housing society) in India especially Maharashtra and Gujarat if you are aware. I am not even sure this is possible to do in India? Thanks

     
    • Oyeta936

      July 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      There are already many players in small-scale wind turbines, both in Maharashtra and Gujrat. However, I won’t be able to tell you if home owners would like to build it themselves. Perhaps, if one goes the Rural electrification route there may be a scope. But it would involve the government machinery, which is excellent in parts but not too responsive as a whole.

       

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