Bioenergy is one of the primary sources of fuel in India. The energy utilization in Karnataka considering all types of energy sources and sector wise consumption revealed that traditional fuels such as firewood (7.440 million tonnes of oil equivalent -43.6%), agro residue (1.510 million tonnes of oil equivalent -8.85%), biogas, cow dung (0.250 million tonnes of oil equivalent -1.47%) accounts for 53.20% of the total energy consumption in Karnataka. In rural areas the dependency on the bioenergy to meet the domestic energy requirements are as high as 80-85% (Ramachandra et a!., 2000b). The production and use of biogas for domestic purposes can drastically reduce the depletion of natural resources like forests, which are otherwise the prominent and traditional source of energy for cooking and lighting. It removes dependence on forest and enhances greeneries leading to improved environment.
Kolar depends mainly on non-commercial forms of energy. Non-commercial energy constitutes 84%, met mainly by sources like firewood, agricultural residues and cowdung, while commercial energy share is 16%, met mainly by electricity, oil, etc. Availability of animal residues for biogas generation gives a viable alternative for cooking, lighting fuel and a useful fertiliser. Biogas technology is gaining additional upwind through new subsidy programmes for market incentive and development of renewable energies. Biogas potential in Kolar district is good (>60%). Analyses reveals that the domestic energy requirement can be met by biogas option in 301 villages in Kolar district for more than 60% population, 363 villages for 40-60% population, 1025 villages for 20-40% population and 1656 villages for less than 20% of the population. However to support the present livestock population fodder from agricultural residues is insufficient in these Taluks, which could be augmented by growing fodder crops during non-agriculture seasons. Various alternatives for improved utilisation of bio resources and to enhance bioresource stock in a region are fuel-efficient stoves, biogas, energy plantations, etc.
I thank the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Indian Institute of Science for financial and infrastructure support to carry out this study. I am grateful to Dr. H.N. Chanakya for useful suggestions during discussion. I thank Kolar district authorities for providing the data required for the analysis and the co-operation during field investigations