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India can lead in harnessing solar and wind energy: Ignacio Campino

According to reports, Dr Ignacio Campino says India can lead the way in harnessing non-conventional energy sources, stressing “new solutions” to resolve environmental issues. The director of Hamburg-based Desertec Foundation, Campino spoke to Srinand Jha on the sidelines of the HT Leadership Summit.Excerpts:

Your focus has been on using desert areas as an energy resource.

Quite true. 1% of solar energy generated in desert areas can meet the energy requirements of the entire mankind. There is a huge potential in this area.

How do you look at the recent initiatives of the Indian government to harness non-conventional energy?

India can actually lead in harnessing solar and wind energy.

The conventional energy lobby is powerful and big – said to be a $300-trillion business. There are also cultural issues involved in changing people’s mindsets and persuading them to use of renewable energy sources…

These issues are complex. We are not fighting against the conventional energy sector, but trying to persuade people that renewable energy is more sustainable.

Everybody needs development that comes through the use of conventional energy. But this is damaging the climate.  I don’t know how the change in mindsets will come about. But it is certain that all stake-holders need to come together to find new solutions to the emerging crisis.

How do conventions/conferences such as the HT Leadership Summit help? What are your takeaways?

It has been exciting to be here and have the opportunity to interact with other experts. I also had the chance to interact with a group of young Indian entrepreneurs – many of whom want to experiment with renewable energy.

The climate or energy debate invariably gets entangled in the developed nations versus developing nations argument. Your comments…

If corrective steps are not taken, developing nations will come to face the same problems that developing countries are facing today. Imitating the West won’t help developing nations.

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