Shantipada Gan Chowdhury is an untiring person. He heads the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA), established in Kolkata in 1993 with the objective to explore promoting alternate renewable energy resources, such as solar, small hydropower, biomass, wind, etc.
Ever since it came into being, WBREDA has pioneered harvesting and usage of renewable energy, mainly in far-flung areas of the state, where either electricity hasn’t reached or its supply is very erratic.
It goes to GanChowdhury’s and WBREDA’s credit that hundred thousand families of West Bengal are now using electricity derived from Sun, Biomass, Wind etc., and in rural areas of the state, 150 thousand families are using bio-energy for cooking purpose.
More recently, WBREDA is in news for collaborating with Bengal DCL for the latter’s solar housing complex, India’s first, in New Town, Kolkata. Aptly called Rabi Rashmi Abasan, each house in the project will generate 2kW of power from solar tiles on the roof for its own consumption and feeding the surplus into a common grid. The picture below (image courtesy) demonstrates the concept clearly.
Solar energy planned at Rabi Rashmi Abasan: Clean, abundant, renewable
And now, in a new beginning for the city, Gan Chowdhury’s WBREDA and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are jointly working to install street lights at Indira Park on the maidan, Mollar Bheri at Salt Lake, Patipukur, Lake Town and along Jessore Road (see this story).
Solar lights don’t come cheap. Each costs Rs.35,000 and the entire project will result in a cost of several crores. The plus point is maintenance cost is very low and of course there’ll be big savings on account of non-usage of commercial electricity.
Initial cost being so high, it remains to be seen if these private and public initiatives really succeed. If indeed they do, it’ll usher in a new future for clean energy, which is renewable too.