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Pondicherry University to study environmental impact of renewable energy sources


‘The project would subject to scrutiny the belief that renewable energy sources are clean and eco-friendly’

‘The project would subject to scrutiny the belief that renewable energy sources are clean and eco-friendly’

Pondicherry University will lead an Indo-U.S. study on the environmental impacts of renewable energy sources.

According to a press note from the University, the unique aspect of the project was that it would subject to scientific scrutiny the widespread and deeply entrenched belief that renewable energy sources are clean and eco-friendly, compared to conventional energy sources such as fossil fuels.

Gurmeet Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Pondicherry University, formally launched the Indo-U.S. project, which will go beyond looking at adverse environmental impacts of renewable energy installations, and suggest measures to minimise potential harm.

The study, which received a funding of ₹35 lakh from the Divergent Paths Foundation, the U.S., will be carried out by S.A. Abbasi, Emeritus Professor and Tasneem Abbasi, Assistant Professor of Pondicherry University, who have led pioneering work on different aspects of sustainable technologies.

Not totally clean

According to the University, the researchers have been among the first in the world to discover and record that renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, among others were not as totally clean and eco-friendly as they are believed to be. Further, their work had shown that when used to generate power at scales of several megawatts, as coal-fired and hydel power plants do, the negative impacts (of alternative energy sources) can be very substantial.

The team has led studies showing that on the basis of per megawatt power generation, small hydro power plants cause more environmental damage than large hydel plants, which runs contrary to the prevalent belief that small hydro was eco-friendly, while large hydro projects damage the environment.

Through another study, the scientists contended that large-scale deployment of wind energy would not only cause other forms of adverse environmental impacts but also affect the climate, the press note said.



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