To meet the fast growing energy demand in the long-run, solar and nuclear power will have to be explored simultaneously, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar has said.
“Almost 20-30 years from now the demand for electricity is likely to increase by almost 7-8 times. In that scenario we will have to see which resources will be sustainable and the answer clearly is solar and nuclear,” said Kakodkar.
“Can you do with one and ditch other…the answer is no. You will have to have both (solar and nuclear) of them simultaneously to meet the energy demand. So, working on both together is a perfect thing to do. This will solve our energy requirement over a period when other resources will be exhausted,” he said.
The Narendra Modi government has set an ambitious target of 1,00,000 MW of solar power.
The current installed capacity of solar is 3000 MW while 21 nuclear reactors are operational with an installed capacity of 5,780 MW.
Currently, state-run NPCIL has five reactors under various stages of construction or commissioning totaling 3,800 MW capacity and the government has set a target of increasing it three times by 2023-24.
“The Modi government is taking initiatives in the right direction and I hope we will be able to achieve the target,” Kakodkar said.
Currently, the country is seeking to conclude a civil nuclear cooperation pact with Japan, negotiations for which started in 2010.
Besides, both India and the US are likely to discuss cooperation in civil nuclear energy when US President Barack Obama arrives in New Delhi later this month to attend the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest.
Kakodkar also emphasised that government needs to encourage use of solar thermal technology for setting up large capacities.
“We do not have much technology know-how in the solar photovoltaic space. There are only few domestic players who have expertise in this field, but there are many companies who have the capabilities in solar thermal.
“If we have to indigenise solar energy we will have to encourage domestic manufacturing. This will ensure investments in the sector will be spent more in the country than outside,” he said.