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German team to gauge West Bengal’s green potential

According to reports, the state is in the process of collaborating with the German state of Hessen to tap the latter’s expertise in the field of renewable energy use. As a first step to build the tie-up, a 12-member delegation led by Lucia Puttrich, Hessen’s minister for environment, energy, agriculture and consumer protection, will arrive in the city on Wednesday to gauge how the city is exploring its infrastructure to tap solar power and renewable energy.

On Wednesday, the delegation will visit the Arka-IGNOU Community College of Renewable Energy to observe how energy is being tapped from renewable sources. They are also scheduled to meet the state power minister and his department officials at Writers’ Buildings later in the day.

“The team, led by the minister of energy, will include their people’s representatives. They are coming to gauge how the city and the eastern region of the country is doing to develop renewable energy. They will do a research work on this and meet us to discuss areas in which they can collaborate with us,” said renewable energy expert S P Gon Chaudhuri, who is also the chairman of the renewable energy college.

The team will also take a look at how the college is functioning. “We have installed a wind energy generator on the rooftop of our college and they will have a look at how it functions. The team will also visit a private engineering college nearby that has installed a solar panel,” Gon Chaudhuri added.

The renewable energy policy of the state declared earlier this year made it mandatory for high-rise buildings to install solar panels on their roofs. More recently, with technical assistance from the renewable energy college, civic bodies of Kolkata, Durgapur, Howrah and Siliguri are including provisions in building laws that make it mandatory to install solar water heaters in all multi-storied commercial establishments, including hotels and hospitals.

Current trends show that electricity tariff is on the rise whereas the cost of renewable energy is decreasing. For example, electricity tariff has risen to Rs 6 per unit from Rs 2 per unit in 2000 while the cost of generating a unit of solar power declined to Rs 7-8 from Rs 24 over the last decade. Experts also feel that tapping wind energy can boost power generation to a large extent. “Many are showing interest in installing rooftop solar panels, which is an encouraging sign,” Gon Chaudhuri said.

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