Tax dirty energy, give us the money: Suzlon chief


New Delhi : Those producing energy by using “dirty” coal and “dirty” diesel should be taxed for it and the money given to those generating and using clean energy, says the head of India’s largest wind power equipment manufacturer Suzlon.

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“We cannot continue to depend on subsidies,” said Tulsi Tanti, chairperson and managing director, Suzlon Energy, during a session on Fuelling India’s Future: Will it be Green and Nuclear? at the 24th India Economic Summit, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Economic Forum here Monday,

Pointing out that “99 percent of the energy consumption is damaging to the environment”, Tanti said: “Therefore this consumption should be taxed.”

He proposed that the penalty so collected be given to those generating and using clean energy. That list would include Suzlon.

Panelists at the session unanimously agreed that green and nuclear is the only way forward to meet India’s energy requirements in the years to come.

Clean technologies such as nuclear, bio fuels, wind and solar need an increased focus to ensure energy security for India, concluded the panel. According to the panelists, solar energy has the potential to get energy to the remotest village in India and replacing the costlier, more inefficient grid power.

The panel also debated the idea of developing a structure of incentives by imposing costs on those harming the environment by using energy produced by “dirty” coal and “dirty” diesel.

Addressing the session, Tejpreet Singh Chopra, president and CEO, GE, India, said: “Carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power are the lowest… There is no doubt that nuclear power will dominate India’s energy future.”

Over the last three years, technology development has reduced the risks attached to nuclear energy with safety norms having improved, added Chopra.

Highlighting the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Nicholas Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, India Observatory, London School of Economics, said: “The world needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions to two tons per capita by 2050 and India would need to do the same. Therefore India needs to look ahead now.”

He said that while India has a strong policy on climate change, implementation would be tough. “But the path is full of opportunities.”

While highlighting the critical issues plaguing India’s energy sector, Chairman, Sun Group, Nand Khemka said: “India has two basic problems – energy deficit and energy inefficiency. India needs clean thermal and nuclear energy.” He further emphasised the need to improve the efficiency of the entire value chain in power generation.

Sustainability, both from the economic and climate change perspective, is an important aspect of the future sources of energy. Dwelling on this aspect, Adil Zainulbhai, managing director, India, McKinsey & Company, said: “For any source of energy to be sustainable in the future, it should not be dependent on subsidies.”

He added that solar energy had huge potential in India and investments must be made in developing solar technologies.

It is expected that India would need to generate 800 giga watts of energy by 2030, which according to McKinsey estimates would still leave a demand supply gap. The only way forward would be to develop innovative green and nuclear solutions to the energy issue, emphasised the panelists.