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EarthCare Books and Shaymoli organise organic market evenings. GO!

Toxic Leather.
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Today's waste, tomorrow’s shortage
Wanton wastefulness is leading to depleted or vanished resources. GO!

RE in India
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been implementing comprehensive programmes for the development and utilisation of various renewable energy sources in the country. As a result of efforts made during the past quarter century, a number of technologies and devices have been developed and have become commercially available.
As against the estimated 80000 MW renewable energy based grid connected power generation potential in the country, so far only about 6000 MW installed capacity has been realized, giving vast opportunity for exploitation of renewable energy sources for power generation. The renewable energy based power generation capacity presently constitutes 5% of the total installed capacity in the country for power generation from all sources.

The country is aiming to achieve upto 10% of additional installed capacity to be set up till 2012 to come from renewable energy sources.

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Alisha Seddon, EarthSmiler
I have a dream, and it's green.
RE:Energise the World!
Seva Kendra's first major eco-seminar concentrated on renewables, especially solar, in which it has ample experience in showcasing, especially at its Tangra, Kolkata, headquarters.
Seva Kendra Calcutta, the Church-run NGO whose large, grid-linked solar roof was reported on EarthSmiles.net earlier, (it has since been further expanded!) has been pushing Renewables, especially solar, as a transformative and emancipating tool for Bengal’s poor.

On July 5, 2014, the organisation conducted “RE:Energise ” a state-level seminar on renewable energy; opportunities and challenges. After a warm address by SKC Director Rev. Dr. Franklin Menezes, the chief Guest, Ms. Rosemarie Hille, (Deputy Consul, German Consulate Kolkata) shared her country’s views and achievements towards transforming to clean, renewable energy. Germany’s Energiewende (energy transformation), as this plan is known as, is to shift from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewables. Conceived as early as in the eighties, it became policy in 2000.

With 2011 Fukushima disaster, German chancellor Angela Merkel, scrapped nuclear power extension and closed seven reactors. Germany must – and hopefully, will, now meet its green energy goals with renewable alone. Greenhouse-gas emissions are to be cut from 1990 levels by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Delinking economic growth from energy consumption will be a key to the success of this transformation.

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Ms. Rosemarie Hille talks about Germany's Energiewende in her address.
A special address by Professor Dr. A.K. Ghosh of Centre for Environment and Development (CED) followed, where he shared interesting titbits, such as the fact that Indian nuclear plants only contribute 3% of the total generated energy! Nuclear is not the best suited for us, claimed Dr. Ghosh, as we have to depend on a “cartel” of 8 suppliers for fuel – all of whom will quickly pull the plug at their whim. Also India has a poor safety and disaster management record... and accidents could be disastrous. Also, there is no easily available information available how or where India disposed of her toxic nuclear waste.

Dr. Ghosh also stressed the importance of micro hydel along with solar, as the answer to India’s need for energy. While micro hydel projects had far less environmental impact and human displacement than mega projects, it is also more efficient. Grid linked solar was another the way to go, as it could also do away with the need to store energy locally. The Government should also amend the law to make solar roofs mandatory for new buildings, felt Ghosh.

After a short break, the keynote was delivered by Professor Dr. S.P. Gon Choudhury, the solar pioneer of India. While the country has abundant opportunities for renewable energy – good sunshine, abundant rivers – we are still tied to fossil fuel. In fact, we are even importing coal from countries such as New Zealand to meet the demand of our plants. Prof. Gon Choudhury explained in detail about solar generation and how net metering and incentives to generators could see solar use take off. He also shared that a project in West Bengal with the British government would start a scheme incentivising rooftop generation with a target of 100MW initial generation. This project would kick off in Kolkata by Puja 2014.

The professor also gives some other interesting facts – renewables have already surpassed nuclear in terms of installations! And in a populous country like ours, solar employed 17 persons against 5 in a thermal electricity plant – a good thing. Post lunch there were presentations by industry players, such as Mr. Subhendu Roy of Vikram Proener Projects, and Saikat Roy Choudhury, Director at GPTronics Private Limited. Both lead companies which are players in the solar sector.

Mr. Sujan Pandit of WBREDA spoke on current and predicted trends in Solar PV development and economic prospects of the same. Dr. Salil Kumar Sahoo, a scientist from Vivekananda Institute of Biotechnology, SRAN, spoke on the innovations in bio gas and other alternatives his institute has successfully worked on, while working to develop an innovative model of energy service for the people of the Sundarbans, in West Bengal.

Seva Kendra Calcutta will also be inaugurating their water harvesting system on July 12, at the same campus. Rainwater claimed will be used for all the needs of a pavilion there.