Renewable Energy Needs Commercialization, Socialization: Arun Ranjit

Nearly two billion people in developing countries are exposed to air pollution inside their homes from burning fuel-wood, crop residue, or dung with inefficient and poorly ventilated cook-stoves, reported the World Health Organization.

Indoor air pollution is the fourth largest health risk in the world’s poorest countries and, every year, an estimated 2 million people die from illnesses linked to the air pollution caused by household cooking and heating practices.

Thus, renewable energy plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When renewable energy sources are used, the demand for fossil fuels is reduced. Unlike fossil fuels, non-biomass renewable sources of energy (hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar) do not directly emit greenhouse gases.

Modern energy (also referred to as commercial energy) is widely defined to include electricity and processed gaseous, liquid and solid fuels. An important characteristic of modern energy is that it can be converted efficiently to provide energy services such as lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration, mechanical power, communications, etc.

In contrast, traditional fuels (wood, charcoal, agricultural residues and animal dung) are primarily used for cooking, heating and in some cases lighting.

Renewable resources are often located in remote areas, thus, it has generally been more expensive to produce and use than energy produced using fossil fuels. The use of renewable sources is also limited by the fact that they are not always available.

Though Nepal is a second largest in hydro powers in the world after Brazil but this small tiny nation of the South Asia located in between world’s two giant nations China and India has still been facing “never ending” power crisis since long time. Energy scarcity is one of the major headaches for the Nepali people and the government. Nepal is still been unable to produce even the amount required to satisfy the people’s basic needs of lighting and heating.

Nepal does not have any known reserve of fossil fuel in the country. In such an environment, the development of non-conventional renewable resources like solar, wind, biogas, biomass and geothermal technology provides an immediate solution.

The demand and supply of energy generated from renewable resources such as solar, micro-hydro and biogas is gaining momentum as over 15 percent of the total population in the country now use them for lighting and cooking purposes.

With the installation of renewable and alternative energy sources could achieve energy equity where the poor and rural communities living in harsh topographical region will have access to clean energy source for lighting and cooking purposes.

Currently, around 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Although renewable energy is pollution free and its input is mostly available locally, the development of renewable energy technology is still in its nascent phase because of the higher installation cost. However, with advancement in technology and subsidy provided, the cost advantage of fossil fuels over renewable energy has been decreasing.

The majority of the population in rural Nepal still does not have access to basic energy services and they cannot afford commercial fuels such as LPG gas or kerosene. In places where natural resources such as the sun, wind and water provide potential sources of renewable energy. Even though hydropower has been considered as a key energy resource for economic prosperity.

Wind is still one of the unharnessed energy sources in Nepal. Its countrywide potential has not been assessed yet. The hot rocks beneath the surface of the earth and the sun in the sky is possible to make use of this geothermal energy (in Greek it means heat from the earth).

Nepal has a huge hydropower potentiality with approximately 40,000 MW. However, Nepal has developed only approximately 600 MW of hydropower. Therefore, bulk of the economically feasible generation has not been realized yet. Although bestowed with tremendous hydropower resources, only about 40% of Nepal’s population has access to electricity. The development of hydropower will help to achieve the millennium development goals with protecting environment, improving socio-economy status.

The electricity demand in Nepal is increasing by about 7-9% per year. Thus, it has clearly shown the need for storage projects. Hence, cooperation between the neighboring countries is essential for the best use of the hydro resource for mutual benefit.

In another hand, South Korea was the world’s ninth-largest energy consumer in 2014, according to a report of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015. Korea is one of the top energy importers in the world and relies on fuel imports for about 97% of its primary energy consumption because the country lacks domestic energy reserves. South Korea ranks among the world’s top five importers of liquefied natural gas, coal, crude oil, and refined products behind Japan.

Despite its lack of domestic energy resources, South Korea is also a home to some of the largest and most advanced oil refineries in the world. It’s highly developed economy drives its energy consumption and economic growth is fueled by exports, most notably exports of electronics and semiconductors.

As of mid-2015, South Korea has sixth-highest nuclear generation capacity in the world. Fossil fuel sources account for nearly two-thirds of South Korea’s electricity generation, while nuclear accounts for 30%. But coal consumption in South Korea resulted to be the fourth-largest global coal importer.

As time changes into modernization, energy sector reform must also be designed to draw upon lessons in making effectiveness and creation of checks and balances against abuse of authority, in transparency and in accountability. Countries must find ways to harmonize necessary aspects of energy sector reform and seek to ensure that energy policy is serving the needs of the public. The success of energy sector reform is enhanced when the public perceives it as legitimately arrived at and implemented with an ongoing concern for fairness and justice.

In this regard, the Energy Conference and Exhibition 2015 to be organized by Korea Energy Management Corporation with the support of Korea’s Ministry of Trade Industry & Energy in Seoul next month (November 17-20, 2015) will be a milestone in the development and modernization of the energy issue where over 400 companies with approximately 1,000 people will interact on the issues like energy efficiency improvement, energy & environment, renewable energy, leading energy policy & technology to find the way for the betterment of the energy’s commercialization to socialization.

With this event, energy sector reform might offers broad support to robust economic growth creating opportunities for participation, accountability and transparency for the economic transformation process.

Modern energy access, however, is not a guarantee for poverty reduction or economic development. The quality, reliability and affordability of electricity and fuel services all impact the degree to which individuals, enterprises, and communities can make use of the energy to which they have access.

Capacity building, institutional support, and technical assistance must accompany energy access provision so that developing country citizens, businesses, and economies can capture all of the benefits of modern energy supply ensuring the full benefit of access to realization of commercial energy.

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