Energy utilisation in rural industries in Karnataka
Ramachandra T.V.
Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - 560 012.

Karnataka's Energy Scene

Karnataka does not have any coal deposits. It gets its coal from external sources. Electrical energy for Karnataka was purely hydro, but with the commissioning of the Raichur thermal power station, it also gets electrical energy from coal. The other major source of commercial energy - oil - is also not available in Karnataka. Hence the main source of commercial energy for the state comes from hydroelectric plants. These plants have large reservoirs to store rainwater throughout the year, the dams being built in prime forest areas thereby submerging sizable areas of forest. It is shown by a study that we can obtain a comparable quantity of energy from forest biomass instead of water from the submerged areas. An ideal solution would be to go in for a set of peaking power plants with minimum storage, which utilises rainwater during the monsoon period and supplemented by firewood-based thermal power plants.

It can be seen that Karnataka State depends both on commercial and non-commercial forms of energy [3]. Non-commercial energy provided over half the supply from sources such as firewood, agricultural residues, charcoal and cow dung. Commercial energy provided the rest, mainly through electricity, oil and coal. Table 1 lists the energy sources meeting the demand for energy during the year 1990-91.

The largest single source is firewood. Electricity represented over half the commercial energy demand for 1990-91. Agro wastes are also used for energy purposes. The total share of industries in energy demand is around 44%. The state generated 12,430 million units of electrical energy in 1990-91. Irrigation pumpsets used 36.26% of total electrical energy. This was followed by heavier industries with a share of 34.34%, domestic lighting 15.35%, light industries 9.90%, commercial lighting 2.23%, public lighting 1.24% and others (0.68%).

The present study mainly concentrates on the energy use pattern study in rural industries in Karnataka State, India, by collecting secondary data from various government agencies and conducting a primary survey of a sample at Kumta taluk in Uttara Kannada District.

Table 1 Energy in Karnataka during 1990-91 (in million tons of oil equivalent).
Source Demand (mtoe) % share
Coal 1.005 5.81
Kerosene 0.445 2.57
Oil (HSD, LDO, etc) 2.014 11.64
LPG 0.130 0.75
Electricity 4.510 26.06
Commercial Energy Total 8.105 46.84
Agricultural Residues 1.510 8.73
Firewood 7.440 42.99
Biogas, Cow dung etc 0.250 1.44
Non Commercial Energy Total 9.200 53.16
Total Energy during 1990-91 17.055 100.00
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