Integrated Renewable Energy System - Perspectives and Issues
Pramod S. Dabrase and Ramchandra T.V. *
Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore –560012


Today's crisis in the field of energy supplies, environmental control, population increase, poverty and shortage of food and materials are closely interrelated. It is gradually realised that they demand a holistic, systematic and integrated approach to deal with. Now we see that a 5 % yearly increase in the use of energy not only points to fuel depletion, but is also a main cause for increase in pollution level and related disasters. Too many ambitious single-purpose plans are made with little or no regard to the interdependent short and long-term social-economic and environmental effects, which has caused concern over the arising global environmental issues.

Population increase, pollution, hunger and shortage have clearly demonstrated the limits to growth. Resource limitation today demands their judicial use, which otherwise threatens to its end. The visual effect of the shortage we have already started picturing in terms of limited reserves of coal, oil, and gas which may last only for 197, 40, and 56 years respectively.

Integrated Renewable energy system discussed in this paper aim at mix of possible renewable energy sources taking in to consideration sector-wise energy demand along with socio-economic and environmental aspects of energy use. Use of energy, whether renewable or non-renewable and its effect leads to different kinds of arguments in terms of its effect on environment, social cost and economic viability. Solar energy when considered on human scale is renewable and is environmentally acceptable, but its use is still in primitive stage in many parts of the country mainly because of economic barriers. Likewise, biomass energy is being used in many forms all over the world, but the most needed eco-friendly forms are still in premature stage in most of the world.

Can we become self-sufficient in energy, fully protect our environment, help feed the world, and assist in economic development, all at the same time, and yet slow our growth and retreat to a smaller and fairer share of the world's raw material? These are the questions to be answered if we need to achieve sustainable development in real term. And the solution to these questions lies in integrated approach to our planning in all the spheres.

The present paper highlights the perspectives and some issues related to integrated renewable energy system. Though the global issues related to renewable energy are discussed here, the paper concentrates on the issues, which are more directly related to developing country like India. Extensive survey has been carried out in Kolar (a dry district in Karnataka State) so as to cover domestic, agricultural and industrial sector to know their energy related details. The study shows that bioenergy caters about 84% of the domestic energy needs. This study shows that the present use patterns is non-sustainable and planning of regional energy lacks integrated approach. Thus, even though the bioenergy is a renewable resource, because of vast gap between rate of consumption and rate of regeneration has led to unsustainability. The factors, which directly and indirectly affect the use and promotion of energy sources in the area, are discussed in detail.

Citation : Pramod S. Dabrase and T.V. Ramachandra, 2000. Integrated Renewable Energy System - Perspectives and Issues. Millenium International Conference on Renewable Energy Technologies, 9 - 11 Feb 2000, IIT, Chennai.

* Corresponding Author :
  Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, INDIA.
  Tel : 91-80-23600985 / 22932506 / 22933099,
Fax : 91-80-23601428 / 23600085 / 23600683 [CES-TVR]
E-mail :,,
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