Greenpeace activists put up a caricature in front of the Vidhan Sabha in Delhi, questioning Chief Minister Shiela Dixit's power strategy in April. © Greenpeace/Sudhanshu Malhotra
Earlier this year, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit promised the people of Delhi that they will have uninterrupted power supplies – her commitment was 24/7 power. Now, as temperatures in Delhi rise above 45 degrees her words ring hollow as many in Delhi suffer power cuts, clearly showing the huge limitations in the current power supply and electricity distribution. As the summer continues – this is set to get worse.
Sitting here, in my Delhi office, we're desperately trying to ensure the computer server room stays as cool as possible. But it gets worse for people with no supplies for hours in the city. Across Delhi as people suffer in temperatures that are higher than normal, Dikshit's unfulfilled empty promise is exposed as a pure electioneering tactic that bears little relation to the truth of the serious power problems faced by the people in Delhi and across other cities in India.
The real issue here is not so much the empty promises of a Minister simply looking for reelection but more importantly, the fact that various administrations have failed the people of Delhi; they have not put in place the policies and measures needed to provide adequate, reliable and sustainable power.
It does not have to be like this, there is an answer to this unending problem. The solution is using the very source of energy, that will never run out, and that is the SUN. As in many cities across the world – including London which is not well known for the amount of sun it receives – communities have realised the advantages of using their roofs as independent power sources. In many places, residents can actually earn money from selling the excess electricity they generate back to the grid.
Coal is not able to deliver the power needs for the people of Delhi or elsewhere. We have seen the corruption rife in this industry and in the government. We have seen the damage caused to communities, their health and livelihoods. And we all know that the cost of this power just keeps on going up.
Solar power is available NOW, it is permanent, clean, independent and cost effective. We can re-power Delhi by Switching on the Sun. It is time we told the Chief Minister and all the politicians 'enough of your empty promises', 'enough of your dirty coal', 'we demand solar power on our roofs'.
To find out how Delhi failed on its RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) click here:
Ask Sheila Dikshit To Switch On The Sun for Delhi. Sign the petition here
Paul Horsman is a Climate & Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace International.