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Experts advise energy mix for N-E

Speakers at the NICT 2012 in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Oct. 5: A judicious mix of conventional and alternative sources of energy will take the region on a growth path, experts said at a panel discussion on Alternate Energy as a Solution to Power Crisis in the Northeast at the NICT which concluded here today.

Participating in the discussion, A.K. Saikia, secretary of SECONE, an organisation working for the energy sector, said the region had great potential for alternative sources of energy but to harness them, proper government policy and support of the people was a must.

SECONE was formed in 2009 by energy sector organisations at the behest of former Assam governor S.C. Mathur to improve the energy scene, both conventional and alternative, in the region.

Saikia, who has worked in senior positions in Oil India Limited, spoke on the energy status of the country and its high dependence on fossil fuels.

Moving on to non-conventional source of energy, he said the market for solar energy was growing rapidly in the country under the ambitious government project, Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. From a negligible presence in the utility sector, the country today has an installed capacity to generate more than 50MW of solar energy and over 2,000MW is under various stages of implementation.

The Northeast does not have any large solar power plant yet with all the existing ones being of less than 25kW. “The main reason for such low generation is less number of sunny days in the Northeast,” he added.

M.K. Chaudhary, the additional director of Assam Energy Development Agency, said there are two types of energy sources — renewable, which can be replaced faster than it is used, and non-renewable, which is used faster than it can be replaced. He said by 2030, there would be a crisis of energy sources in the world, primarily because of the huge population rise, which is eating into the energy sources.

Giving an overview of the solar, wind and biomass energy scenario in the region, Chaudhary said several solar energy projects were being executed by the agency in Assam, ranging from electricity for rural houses to running a hospital in Karbi Anglong. That the region does not have much solar intensity is a disadvantage, but if the Centre gives incentives, companies will come to invest in the region, he added.

The installed potential of wind energy in the Northeast is 53MW, which is low compared to other states in the country, he said.

The last session of the day was on Visions for an IT-enabled Secure State. Speaking on Cyber Security — Threats and Concerns, B.J. Srinath, senior director, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), under the ministry of communications and information technology, said cyber crime had evolved into a set of highly specialised criminal products and services that was able to target specific organisations, regions and customer profiles and evade present-day security controls. He said enterprises using information technology need to balance four requirements simultaneously — making sensible investment, compliance with legal requirements, facilitate business with secure access to information and IT resources and keep intruders at bay. “An improperly managed and vulnerable IT infrastructure can upset the balance,” he added.