Thursday, September 27, 2012

The frozen warriors

Small rooftop wind generators are being increasingly installed in many cities in India. But the issue is that wind speeds are below required rates in most places. Surprisingly the subsidy given by MNRE places no criteria as to which zone the installations are permitted in. Geographically, experts say that hardly 10% area is suitable for wind machines as wind power is proportional to cube of velocity. A 1000 watt machine designed for 12 m/sec velocity generates less than 100 watt at half wind speed of 6m/sec and ceases to generate at 4 m/sec. They remain like battle showpieces perched on housetops!
What is the solution in such a scenario? Why can’t the state renewable development agencies offer consultancy solutions to households opting for such units? Instead of rushing to pitch in and go self-reliant in every which way, people need to be educated on what is the best locally available resource. Witness the recent scramble in Bangalore to segregate waste at source, and the resultant mandate on large apartment blocks left high and dry to do composting of wet waste independently.  The situation could have been avoided if citizens were prepared in advance. Should PV panels be placed on rooftops? What are the maintenance conditions? Do manufacturers bother to educate buyers? What the sensitive citizen needs today is not to be confronted with a wide array of possible solutions but a consultant giving wise choices. Like with everything else, one size does not fit all and each case presents a new possibility.

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