Investigate potential of geo-thermal fields in J&K: Ansari5 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
LEH: Mentioning that there is a technical potential to produce about 10,000 Mega Watts of geothermal power in the country, Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari today said that geothermal power can significantly change economic situation and living standards of the people. Addressing scientists, academicians and scholars after inaugurating a 3-day International Conference of 'Geothermal and other Energy Resources of Ladakh; Technological and Business viability' jointly organized by the Institute of Energy Research and Training and The Business School, University of Jammu in collaboration with MPRG University College London (UK), Mr Ansari fully supported the view that technology and human ingenuity would lead us to newer sources of energy as also to better utilization of existing sources and qualities. He said, 'it is a recorded fact of history that all civilizations depended for survival and prosperity on their ability to access energy in sufficient quantities in the form of food and fuel. The advancement of the past two centuries highlights this truism'. Mr. Ansari said exploiting Geothermal Energy is not new to humankind. Ancient Romans built elaborate complexes in areas where they came across hot water springs. 'In our own country, hot water springs were traditionally used for religious and the IITs, especially at Puga valley in Ladakh and Tatapani in Chhattisgarh', he added. The Vice President further said that though India has been one of the earliest countries to begin geothermal projects way back in the 1970s yet geothermal energy has not emerged as a significant renewable energy option in the country. The preference, instead, he said is for wind energy and solar energy presumably on account of their easy availability, lower initial investment and proven technology. Mr Ansari said that it is estimated that there is a technical potential to produce about 10 thousand megawatts of geothermal power in the country. From the point of view of electrification of rural and remote areas, the Vice President said that there is even greater potential in terms of the impact of geothermal power where even small projects of 5 kilowatts can significantly change the economic situation and living standards. The Vice President said that the national mission to ensure energy security thus propels us to look seriously at new and renewable energy options with a focus on grid interactive and distributed renewable power, rural and urban applications, and industrial and commercial applications of such renewable power. Regarding heat flow and thermal gradients, he said that India has several geothermal provinces characterized by high heat flow and thermal gradients, subsequent to the oil crisis of the 1970s, the Geological Survey of India generated data of resources assessment for over 300 hot springs in the country. Mr. Ansari said that the Puga valley geo-thermal field in Jammu and Kashmir has been estimated to have a temperature of 240 degree centigrade at a depth of 2000 meters. This makes evident its potential and said he is confident that this conference would debate ways and means of involving all stakeholders to make this the first viable and operational geo-thermal power plant. He hoped that the regulatory and policy environment Governing renewable energy in general and geo-thermal energy in particular would evolve, to enable us to realize the existing potential in Ladakh and deploy it for the public good. The Minister for CAPD, Qamar Ali Akhoon in his address, said that the recommendations of this conference would go a long way in promotion and development of Non Conventional energy in Ladakh. He said that Ladakh is gifted with rich resources of non conventional energy like geothermal, wind and solar energy and said the need of the hour is to exploit all these properly for the development of the region and welfare of the people. Referring to present power scenario of Leh district, Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora said that the whole district Leh has been electrified either from the hydel project or from diesel project and other non-conventional energies. He said that Leh district is moving forward speedily towards development with people’s participation in every developmental process Chief Executive Councillor of LAHDC Leh, Chering Dorje said that tapping of non-conventional energy would tremendously contribute for over all development of this region and strongly urged the Central as well as State Governments for initiating measures on Puga Geothermal project and other renewable energy. The Vice Chancellor University of Jammu, Prof. Varun Sahni expressed that there are three compelling reasons to hold the Conference. The first one being, the fragile environment of Ladakh, therefore the need to shift for other sources of energy. Second, being the technology to develop the energy sources and finally the business perspectives in this globalized world. He further emphasized that there should be an amendment in the jurisdiction of the Universities wherein The University of Jammu can establish a campus as a centre for excellence which would provide an industry - academia interface for the students at Ladakh. Prof Neelu Rohmetra, Director, The Business School while presenting the formal vote of thanks talked about the academic-graduation scenario in the University of Jammu, wherein two disciplines science and management have joined hands to explore, innovate and think out of the box together in an inter disciplinary mode. Prof. G. M. Bhat, Head Department of Geology and Director IERT gave an outline of the Conference. Delegates from Institutes and Universities from India and abroad including University College London, Durham University, Cambridge University, Eni Mlan, Razer Technologies, USA, Getenergy Limited, London, EGI, University of Utah, Geological Survey of Western Australia, Geological Survey of India, LNG, Bhilwara, , PWC, India, MNIT-Jaipur etc. are participating in the conference.Besides, the faculty members of both departments of Geology and The Business School will make formal presentations on the Conference theme cutting across disciplines. Dr Alka Sharma,Associate Professor, The Business School conducted the proceedings.