Development of alternate sources of energy, especially from renewable sources like solar, wind, tidal and biomass energy, is the need of the hour, said Mathew T. Thomas, MLA.

The MLA was inaugurating a one-day workshop on alternate sources of energy at Mar Athanasios College for Advanced Studies (Macfast) at Thukalasserry near Thiruvalla on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by the Macfast School of Biosciences in connection with the National Science Day celebrations.

The MLA said the State was facing a 10 per cent increase in its annual electricity demand. Out of the 1500 mw of electricity deficit, 950 mw is derived from the central pool. He said it was high time the State opted for alternate energy sources in the backdrop of the difficulties it faced in expediting various hydro-electric projects owing to environmental issues.

Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, Chairman of Pushpagiri Group of Institutions, presided the inaugural function. Fr Pradeep Vazhatharamalayil, college principal; Dr C. Balagopalan, School of Biosciences Dean and Dr Jose Paul, academic advisor, also spoke.

Separate technical sessions on solar energy, wind and tidal energy and biomass energy were held as part of the workshop.

Dr K.P. Vijayakumar from Cochin University of Science And Technology; Ms V. Kamala Devi, scientist attached to Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), and Dr V.B. Manilal, scientist at NIIST, led the panel discussions. A demonstration programme on the working of solar power plant installed at Macfast was also carried out during the workshop.

Solar plant

A 30 kw roof-top solar power plant was recently installed at the Macfast campus to produce 4,50,000 units of electricity on an yearly basis with a view to meet the annual power demand of the institution.

Fr Vazhatharamalayil said the power plant has been installed with the support of the Union Ministry for Non and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and ANERT. Macfast also offers technical consultancy services to small and medium enterprises as well as domestic requirements on installation and managements of solar projects as part of its efforts to promote renewable energy projects in the State, he adds.

The workshop provided a common interactive platform for scientists, students, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from academia, industry and the general public. The programme was sponsored by Kerala State Council For Science, Technology And Environment.