Balancing act

  • 14/06/2003

Balancing act Ineptly. One word that describes the way Indian industry produces and gobbles energy. And because it is inept, it gobbles more than what is necessary. The end result: more pollution.

This, in essence, is the problem with the use of energy in India. Total energy consumption in India is climbing at a rate of 5.5 per cent per annum; and industry is the largest consumer. Between 1990-2001, for every additional Rs 1,000 in its national income, India consumed about 0.023 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) of energy. Compare this energy intensity to that of some developed nations: 0.002 in Switzerland, 0.0035 in the United Kingdom and 0.0052 in the US.

In terms of the environment, this high energy intensity, that has remained unchanged for the last two decades, means more pollution. Coal, which accounted for 55 per cent of India’s total energy consumption of 202 million TOE in 1999-2000, disgorges 100-125 million tonnes of fly ash annually. Nearly 90 per cent of this residue is dumped as slurry in ash ponds

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