Special Correspondent

Conservation, management of energy critical: Vaithilingam

Puducherry. Conservation and management of energy are critical, Industries, Agriculture and Power Minister V Vaithilingam has said. Inaugurating a three-day training programme on financing Energy Efficiency Projects for bank officials here on Thursday, Mr Vaithilingam said that Puducherry offered good scope for tapping renewable sources of energy. He felt that the long coastline available here could be used for establishing windmill projects and urged the programme organizers to study the idea's feasibility.

The programme was organized by the New Delhi-based Winrock International India (WII) and the Bharatiya Vikas Trust (BVT), in collaboration with Indian Bank.

The Pondicherry Power Corporation in Karaikal was generating power catering only for the ten percent of the total requirement. The plant was generating (utilizing natural gas) only 33-megawatt power. Mr Vaithilingam said that the Puducherry Government had succeeded in establishing a solar pond on the premises of the Pondicherry Engineering College. He said that with commercial establishments consuming more power than industry, there was every need to promote energy efficient projects and banks could make assistance available through soft loans and lower rates of interest. He promised that the government would respond to the action plan the organizers would present at the end of the current training programme.

The Managing Trustee of BVT, K. M. Udupa, who presided, said that 500 bank executives were trained last year in the propagation of the necessity of energy efficiency schemes. He stressed the need for new technologies to redress the shortage of power in villages.

Assistant General Manager of Indian Bank (Puducherry Circle Office) N. Sambasiva Rao, the Lead District Manager of the bank J.Chandrasekaran and the Programme Officer (Energy and Environment) of WII Rajeev Ralhan were among those who spoke.

Senior Programme Officer (Energy and Environment) of WII P. Ramesh Babu Guptha said that the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) of the Union Non-Conventional Energy Sources Ministry was operating the World Bank line of credit to finance projects for energy efficiency and conservation. WII had conducted a series of training programmes associating bankers.

He said that when energy costs were reduced through conservation measures the profit levels in industries would improve. He said that banks could serve as an effective key to finance energy efficiency projects in the country.

Around 30 officials of banks are taking part in the programme.