By Ahmad Adil
NEW DELHI (AA) – India can address the problems of rising power demand, and can save millions of dollars by greener energy transition in public health infrastructure, a group of experts said.
A report “RE-Powering Health Sector for Future-Ready Jharkhand,” jointly prepared by India’s eastern province of Jharkhand along with the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) and Power for All, envisages solarization of the health sector that can save $70 million for the state exchequer.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, Satyam Abhishek from the Center for Environment and Energy Development, an environment and energy expert group, said the focus of the report is on a greener energy transition in public health infrastructure and "to boost the effectiveness and reliability of the health care delivery systems to people in need, to close that gap."
The solarization of the health sector can save nearly $70 million and tons of carbon emissions can be avoided through Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE), according to the report.
DRE is a system that uses renewable energy to generate, store and distribute power in a localized way.
The primary objectives, Abhishek said, were to assess the DRE potential in Jharkhand's health sector and create an enabling framework for extending the use of DRE as a sustainable energy source in Jharkhand's health institutions.
- Decentralized Renewable Energy
Abhishek, who is also the author of the report, said by finishing the survey in the state, they found DRE solutions can address the problems of rising power demand, and provide reliable and quality power supply throughout the state of Jharkhand especially in challenging geographical terrain, heavily forested areas, and isolated locations of hamlets where reliable grid electricity is a challenge.
"Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) systems can supplement Jharkhand's expected 175 MW power demand in the health sector alone, taking into account the systems' design flexibility," he said.
He, however, said it is necessary to operate and maintain the infrastructure and solarize it. "Only then can we anticipate a sustainable future that provides the most essential services to those in need," said Abhishek.
The Indian government officially maintains that because of sustainable development goals, India's power generation mix "is rapidly shifting towards a more significant share of renewable energy."
"Today, India is the world's third largest producer of renewable energy, with 40% of its installed electricity capacity coming from non-fossil fuel sources," the government said in a statement in September.
It said India committed to a 40% share of power generation from non-fossil fuel sources at COP21 in Paris in 2015. “We have achieved this target a decade ahead of the 2030 timeline," it said.
- Strong policy framework
Abhishek said that accelerated deployment of renewable energy to strengthen healthcare centers and recalibrate the public health infrastructure is the need of the hour in the country.
He said that given the topographic fragility of many rural and remote areas, DRE-powered health centers, such as solar PV (photovoltaic) systems, could be a "potential solution for energizing health care" in India.
Abhishek emphasized that to ensure people receive improved health services, there must be a strong policy framework for integrating health and energy, as well as for creating an environment that takes into account current problems, structural gaps, and priorities via the lens of energy access.
At COP26, India announced it will reach net zero by 2070 and it has an ambitious climate action plan after the enhancement of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). To contribute to India's objective of becoming net zero by 2070, carbon neutrality and decarbonizing various sectors are essential, Abhishek noted.
"Our studies show that in Jharkhand, DRE can help with the transition to a sustainable energy source and save close to 0.4 million tons of CO2 over 25 years. This is the same amount of carbon that 5.9 million tree seedlings would store over 10 years," said Abhishek.