Maria Paatero-Kaarnakari, Senior Vice President for Fortum Asia delivered a key note address at the Power Industry Conference at the Le Meridien in New Delhi in August. In the address she spoke of Fortum’s vision about a future Solar Economy and how that relates to the challenges and development of the Indian power sector
Fortum’s vision of a Solar Economy means that we believe that it is both necessary and possible to make a transition from traditional and finite energy sources, high emissions and low efficiency towards a solar economy of infinite and zero-emissions energy production and high resource and system efficiency. This vision of a Solar Economy is not something that will happen overnight, it is a long term investment in a way forward, where step-by-step progress is made as technology and society develops.
The current energy production forms are quite likely to be utilised until they are no longer financially feasible or the power plants have reached the end of their life cycles. During this development, advanced energy technologies will become important, including for example highly energy efficient combined heat and power, CHP. With biomass as fuel, CHP is a crucial step towards a Solar Economy.
In the future Solar Economy high resource and system efficiency will be the key, and the sun will be the primary source of our energy production. This does not mean only solar energy, but a combination of different energy sources that derive their energy from the sun; hydropower, ocean power, wind power, bio fuels from residues, and of course direct solar energy.
“India is no different from the rest of the world regarding the efforts required to meet its energy challenges. Population growth and urbanisation development, changing consumer habit, and the need for a better standard of living, increasing scarcity of natural resources, and increasing emissions are all present in India, but amplified due to the already vast population in a global comparison. Access to energy is the key enabler for providing for better living conditions and for the development of societies and industries”, Maria said in her address. “Every region and every country has its unique challenges that need to be addressed according to the conditions and prerequisites of that area, but every region and every country has the possibility of taking steps in the right direction no matter where they currently are on that path”.
The response from the audience and journalists was very positive as many of the key features of Fortum’s vision fits very well into India’s current challenges and developments in the power sector. The message from Fortum was also echoed in many of the other debates and discussions at the conference.
“Fortum believes in the Indian story. As a first step towards a solar economy in India, Fortum is assessing opportunities to invest in combined steam and electricity production, CHP within industrial clusters. Located next to the users CHP production in an industrial cluster considerably increases the security of supply, as well as reducing the need for very costly and mostly diesel-run, high emitting back-up power or production losses due to industrial process failures. By focusing on their core operations, customers can reduce their operational costs, optimise the use of their land and capital, increase efficiency by focusing on their core competence and operate with an overall more sustainable production process, including fuel and waste handling”, Maria commented on Fortum´s aspiration in India.
”India continues to need to add massive capacities to its installed energy production base every year in order to meet the challenges of growth. India also possesses enviable reserves of renewable energy in the form of solar, hydro, biomass and given its long coastline, wave energy, too. All this, together with the need and consequently opportunity to invest in a clever way in the power grid makes the concept of solar economy so much more relevant and valuable for this country”, Maria concluded.