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Workshop on Energy Finance - Day 1 - June 3, 2018

Session I: Introduction -Energy & role of energy in human society

In this video, Mr. Soumya Dutta, PAIRVI, speaks about the fundamental forms of energy - solar, nuclear, tidal and gravitational - and about renewable and non-renewable energy and their impacts. He traces the history of different forms of energy and its connections with privatization of energy, including the advent of coal as a primary source of energy. He also covers a few important points on energy policy and the fact that electricity is considered the primary source of energy. In India, the per capita energy consumption is roughly around 680 Kg of oil equivalent, out of which only 16% is consumed as electricity. He also expresses his views on the Government giving importance to electricity and water as forms of energy but not food, which is the primary source of energy. He briefly touched upon the impact of coal-based thermal power plants on air, soil, agriculture, humans and overall on our environment.

Session II: Energy transition to alternative energy sources

  • Mr. Soumya Dutta talks about two major developments that will help attain sustainability in the energy space, one is transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable, and the second one is rehabilitation/reestablishment of millions of workers involved in the fossil fuel industry.
  • No ecosystem works without energy in circulation. So, we should stop being anthropocentric in our energy discussions and solutions. For that, we should know about the total availability of energy in the ecosystem and the necessary amount of energy needed by all the other species in the ecosystem. This demand from our side is steadily rising due to increasing population and consumerism, whereas the supply from nature is reducing due to shrinking land.
  • He gives examples of why it is important to transit from fossil fuel to renewable as well as from high energy consumption to low energy consumption. Fossil fuels and nuclear energy have an inbuilt capitalistic nature, whereas solar, for example, is perfectly amenable to decentralized power generation and utilization as an individual can buy solar panels and install it in their homes and enjoy advantages of renewable power. We are standing on the verge of the next energy revolution and thus this opportunity should be used well.

Session III - Various technical aspects around energy projects in Tamil Nadu

  • Mr. Vetriselvan, Poovuzhagin Nanbargal, spoke about the damages around the Kalpakkam and Koodankulam nuclear power plants. He also voiced his opinion regarding the urgency to move towards renewable energy to achieve sustainable development.
  • Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, CAG, explained the steps for pre- and post-environmental clearance in the ‘Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. As citizens, it is our responsibility to study the impact caused by an industrial plant. Every commissioned thermal power plants should adhere to certain monitoring and compliance rules and regulations. He explained the lacunas associated with the same.
  • Mrs. Jesu Rethinam, Coastal Action Network, speaks about the effort taken by Coastal Action Network to oppose Sethusamudram project in six districts during the public hearings, the impact of 11 thermal power plants in Nagapattinam, and the Sagarmala projects.

Session IV

"Case study of Cheyyur Plant Viability of the project, IEEFA report on tariffs and environmental risks”

Mr. Nityanand Jayaraman spoke about the proposed Ultra Mega Power Plant in Cheyyur and its impact on the environment and livelihoods of the communities in the vicinity of the project. Cheyyur, located in a coastal zone, has certain important landforms such as the sand dunes, which have the capability to reduce the speed of storms and block salt winds coming into the village. These aspects make Cheyyur an eco-sensitive area. The project proponent has failed to take this into consideration. Mr. Jayaraman gave a year-wise investigated report of Cheyyur Thermal Power Plant.