In the sweltering heat of Delhi and the constant fear of power cuts, Greenpeace activists took a powerful message to the Delhi Power Minister Haroon Yusuf on the morning of May 15. In a peaceful protest, they wheeled in a set of solar panels in front of the Minister’s residence and then chained themselves to it.
15 May 2013
Greenpeace activists and the solar panels outside Power Minister, Haroon Yusuf’s residence. © Greenpeace/Sudhanshu Malhotra
The activists were protesting against Delhi's dismal performance on its renewable energy targets as highlighted in the Greenpeace report, 'Powering Ahead with Renewables: Leaders and Laggards.' The activists were violently removed by the police but their persistent demands ensured a meeting with the Minister himself. He was noncommittal on a timeline for a strong policy on renewable energy. However, he did agree to forward the Greenpeace report and recommendations to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) for future action.
The set of solar panels displayed a message urging the power minister to "Switch on the Sun". But that was not their only use. The 2.3 KW panels can light up Power Minister Haroon Yusuf home meeting most of its energy needs. The activists handed over the solar panels to the Minister to emphasise that he should look at using solar energy to power Delhi's homes and commercial establishments by installing them on rooftops. The Minister reluctantly accepted the solar panels from the activists after the meeting.
15 May 2013
The Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the set up to ensure the solar panels were not just whisked away by the police before their demands were met. © Greenpeace/Sudhanshu Malhotra
Anand Prabhu Pathanjali, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace India says, "The Power Minister has no plans to deal with the electricity crisis. Despite holding the power portfolio, he has hardly enunciated on how he intends to deal with the gap in demand and supply of electricity in the Capital. In our report we have highlighted how Delhi has completely ignored its renewable energy targets under the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) mechanism. Meeting renewable target could have staved off the power-cuts that residents in various colonies in Delhi are facing."
The Greenpeace report that was given to the Minister underlines the performance of all the states on their renewable energy target under the RPO mechanism. Introduced by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, the RPO mechanism guides state electricity regulatory bodies to set targets on renewable energy supply in the existing energy mix.However, compliance under RPO is not mandatory and hence only 7 out of 29 states have met their targets. Delhi achieved only 0.01% of its 3.4% target showing a serious lack of political will.
15 May 2013
Power Minister, Haroon Yusuf with Greenpeace Campaigners. The Minister was noncommittal on a timeline for a strong policy on renewable energy.
Pathanjali adds, "Greenpeace believes that renewable energy is the key to energy independence and access to quality electricity supply in all the areas of Delhi. The government should earnestly take steps to improve its performance on the use of renewable energy in the national capital to deal with the increasing demand and uncertain supply from conventional sources."
This summer the Delhi government can make history. It can face the energy crisis and power deficit in Delhi by initiating strong fiscal and policy measures to promote renewable energy. If Delhi implements a strong renewable energy policy it will benefit the entire country, not to mention the people of Delhi. It can set a positive example to the 22 other states who did not meet their RPO targets. Now will the Minister Haroon Yusuf make good use of his solar panels and urge the rest of the government to generate a lot more green energy?
You can help win this campaign and urge the Delhi government to go Renewable. Visit, http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/What-We-Do/Energy-Revolution/Delhi-can-switch-on-the-sun/No-power-cuts-for-Delhi/