Our top feature this month on EcoWorld is an in-depth report on India’s hydroelectric power by Avilash Roul entitled “India’s Hydro Power.” Within this article the reader is provided a comprehensive survey of India’s current hydroelectric generating capacity, their potential hydroelectric capacity, as well as the current plans India has to develop more of their potential hydro power. Also within this article is detailed analysis of the pros and cons of hydroelectric power development in India.
The purpose of this post is not to restate what is within Roul’s lengthy report, but to provide a forum for comments and debates on this topic of vital importance. As we note in our introduction to the story “for India to produce half as much energy per capita as members of the European Community, its overall energy production would need to quadruple.” Can this challenge be met? Should this challenge be met? We would say yes to both of these rhetorical questions, but then the question becomes how?
Hydroelectric power, nuclear power, biofuel, and fossil fuel all offer significant solutions towards increasing India’s energy production, but none of them are without serious concerns. Other alternatives considered greener are not without drawbacks; photovoltaic and solar thermal, our favorite alternatives, are going to take a long time before their installed base begins to take on a serious share of overall energy production. Does India have that long?
Should India develop all of its hydroelectric potential? Should India develop any of its hydroelectric potential? How can India’s compelling need for more energy to fuel economic growth be balanced with humanitarian and environmental concerns, as well as the need to preserve individual rights and the democratic process that is one of India’s greatest assets?