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decentralise diːˈsɛntrəlʌɪz/ verb
to disperse (something) from an area of concentration
renewable rɪˈnjuːəbəl/ noun
a natural resource or source of energy that is not depleted by use, such as water, wind, or solar power.
“a shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy”
power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.
When these three words are put together, they create an idea of energy independence, sustainability and a promising future for India. So, let’s deconstruct in 5 steps what Decentralised Renewable Energy means and what it is capable of!
#1 We are literally burning the remains of dead animals, yikes!
Fossil fuels are as old as the word fossil suggests. What can be more old-fashioned than literally burning the remains of a prehistoric plant/animal to generate energy? Profit-driven companies are mindlessly digging out all the coal, oil, and gas; leaving the planet seriously damaged. It is not a matter of when the fossil fuels will run out – which they could if we keep digging out and burning them. The point is that ecosystems on Earth may run out of life if we continue to burn fossil fuels and release carbon.
#2 Produce your own energy, lessen demand for fossil fuels
Decentralised renewable energy systems like installing a small solar plant on your rooftop, encourage us to lessen our demand for electricity and consume it wisely and efficiently. Do you know India comes 3rd on the list of top 20 countries in energy consumption in the world! The rest of the world isn’t making extra ordinary efforts either. You’d agree that India, with the world, needs to not only phase out fossil fuels and shift towards 100% renewable energy but also reduce our energy consumption.
#3 A shift to 100% renewable energy is a no-brainer
Most parts of India have 300 – 330 sunny days in a year, which is equivalent to over 5000 trillion kWh per year – more than India’s total energy consumption per year! If you’re not sure how significant that figure is, let me tell you – it’s incredible! Solar energy does NOT come with the following baggage, as coal does:
- Mass-deforestation (we’re talking tens of lakhs of trees wiped off to open each coal mine)
- Severe damage to wildlife and ecosystem
- River pollution, soil pollution, and air pollution
- Human lives (people who mine that coal and burn it for us, it’s a high-risk job)
- And, of course, the indisputable repercussion – climate change
On the other hand, solar energy pretty much brightens everything up! Recycling sector is expanding concurrently, and modern technology is progressing fast, allowing mined components to be disposed or reused safely.
#4 Personal energy independence and life of dignity for every individual
Decentralised renewable energy means no costly large-scale infrastructure, efficient energy usage, and more importantly – energy security, i.e, no fluctuating energy cost. It’s more practical and immediate since there’s no loss of power in transmission.
#5 It’s a world and a life we dream of
India is yet to develop the energy infrastructure to power the entire country and therefore has an opportunity to build the infrastructure of the future. Not to mention the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’re lessening your carbon footprint on a daily basis and making the world a better place! Oh and it becomes quite easy to predict your electricity bill: It’s nothing! DRE solutions can truly ensure India’s energy transition trajectory is sustainable.
Manjari Sharma is a Digital Engagement Campaigner at Greenpeace India.