We are living in the age of science and everything is changing at an alarming pace. Keeping that pace in mind, we have seen a gradual shift and development in the procurement of power from conventional sources to non-conventional sources. One of the biggest transitions in terms of power generation has been seen in the solar sector. Solar power in India is growing at a blistering pace. But one such Union Territory (UT) of India that lags behind is Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
J&K as a UT needs much more reforms, especially in the power sector as there is a peak shortage of electricity during the “Darbar Move”. Not only this, there is a huge dependency on the power sector by residential, commercial, and industrial consumers. Even the rural electrification scheme excludes hamlets and they act as an important part of the geography of J&K. The annual power reports, that are being published by bigger agencies specifically in Jammu and Kashmir over the last four years in presence of the local government are quite ambiguous. The various power departments and corporations of Jammu and Kashmir are answerable to this issue.
On the one hand, J&K is still struggling with the problems of Internet availability, clean and reliable energy access, and improving human development indicators and on the other, there is environmental pollution and ecological disturbances, which are also interacting and reinforcing with each other. This is best reflected in our energy sector. Such issues can be tackled by taking into account various renewable energy sources that are biomass, hydropower, wind energy, and solar energy.
Jammu and Kashmir are highly dependent on hydro energy. But they fail to acknowledge the fact that hydro energy has its repercussions such as endangering the lives of humans and animals and it is high time to shift the focus from hydro to other sources that are abundantly available in Jammu and Kashmir. The whole UT of J&K has an unmatched Solar potential of 111.05 GWp (National Institute of Solar Energy), which is the second-largest in India after Rajasthan. The total installed capacity of grid-connected solar rooftop systems in J&K stands at only 6.34 MW (MNRE Annual Report, 2019).
Even the local agencies such as JAKEDA (Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency) have time and again failed to disseminate information among locals regarding the same. Not only this, JAKEDA was previously involved in many scams which were reported time and again but no strict actions were taken. They need to offer a strong and effective policy regime and active involvement of local agencies to achieve such targets and bring radical change t the UT. Therefore, there is an emergent need for clean energy access given the issues of climate change, health, and poverty in Jammu and Kashmir by making people more and more aware of it and various alternative technologies that are already available in the market. And it is sad to know that JAKEDA has no policies for Wind Energy.
Although, they do have policies for Solar energy they are far behind when it comes to its diffusion at a large scale. We all are aware that there are different political priorities and agendas as per the regions but the Government at the Central level are in full support and espousal of renewable energy project as they have to reach green energy targets. They urge the project developers to initiate such projects in their regions.
Hence they are always at the forefront in unlocking the green targets. However, local ownership is possible at each of the layers of provision (state, non-state and local) and is deeply political and contested. Various financing mechanisms are available for people who wish to go for renewable energy specifically, Solar energy. The use of renewable energy is the need of the hour not only because it is a clean source of energy but because the future predictions by various analysts suggest that the coal market will surely crash and there will be a huge surge in renewable technologies.
It is preferable to invest in such technologies as it affordable, gives you independence from the archaic conventional sources of energy production, financial gains, and environmental sustainability at the cheapest rates. Going for a clean source of energy at this stage by the rural and urban population of Jammu and Kashmir will help them in establishing a source of emission-free lightening system at their homes which will lead to performing basic activities of the day thereby reducing the burden on conventional energy systems and improving the financial conditions of power distribution companies in the long run.