Tuesday, July 31, 2012
600 million people without power, stranded transportation systems, and general chaos. This was the state of affairs in Northern India, where eight states lost power for upto 12 hours. The reason? Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana, apparently overdrew power from the grids in the Northeastern states.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued notices to ministers in charge in the concerned states. In the meantime, however, the reality is that millions of people and innumerable services, including performance of surgeries, were postponed. The massive power failure, dubbed as the world's largest to date, underlines India's energy problem. This year, a poor monsoon, has not only translated into soaring heat, but also increased energy use from hydropower sources that are likely facing serious strain. What is India to do?
At least one opinion suggests fracking. The nuclear energy option, of course, is under serious consideration. Of course, while these solutions may in theory address India's energy problem, the elephant room in the room--global warming--should not be ignored. If scientific predictions of a warmer planet unfold, it is not simply sufficient for India (or any other nation for that matter) to only explore energy diversification. It should synthesize energy diversification with potential climate impacts, especially the best energy source required to adapt to vagaries of the climate.