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Power Resources

Power resources of a country are essential economic resources that are obtained naturally. Coal, petroleum and natural gas, hydel power and nuclear power are sources of power. Energy is needed for driving machineries in industries, fuel in the transport sector, provide light and heat for domestic and industrial use. Firewood and dried cow dung cakes are the most commonly used sources of energy in rural households. These traditional sources of energy are facing shortages at present. Depletion of forest cover is creating a shortage of firewood, and use of cow dung for making cow dung cakes consumes organic manure which could have been used in agriculture.

Energy resources are classified as

  1. conventional sources
  2. non-conventional sources
  1. Conventional sources of energy include firewood, cattle dung cakes, thermal power sources such as coal, petroleum and natural gas as well as hydroelectric power.
    Coal is a fossil fuel found abundantly in India. Thermal electricity is generated from burning coal. There are over 300 thermal power plants in India. A large number of thermal power plants are situated in the Chotanagpur Plateau region, which is the most important area of Gondwana coal deposits. Talcher in Orissa, Bokaro and Chandrapura in Jharkhand, Durgapur, Mejia and Santaldih in West Bengal, Korba Super Thermal Power Plant in Chattisgarh are some of the major thermal power stations. Major thermal power units are situated in Harduaganj, Panki in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Faridabad, Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Ramagundam in Andhra Pradesh apart from several units in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Neyveli in Tamil Nadu has the lignite-based thermal power plant.

    Petroleum and natural gas are fossil fuels which provide energy in thermal power stations. India does not produce substantial amount of petroleum and natural gas to meet the demand. As a result, India has to import about 65 per cent of its requirement of petroleum and natural gas. Thermal power stations are situated near oilfields or ports through which crude oil is imported. Bongaigaon thermal power plant in Assam, Trombay and Uran in Maharashtra, Ahmadabad in Gujarat are examples. Crude oil needs to be sent to oil refineries for refining the impurities and extracting various products such as kerosene, petrol, diesel, paraffin wax etc. In India, the petroleum refineries are located at Digboi, Numaligarh, Guwahati and Bongaigaon in Assam, Haldia in West Bengal, Barauni in Bihar, Koyali and Jamnagar in Gujrat, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Chennai and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, Mangalore in Karnataka and Kochi in Kerala, Panipat in Haryana.

    Hydro-electricity is a renewable resource and is generated by the energy of running water. All the major multipurpose river valley projects have hydroelectric power stations associated with them. Some of them are located in the Damodar Valley Project, Bhakra Nangal Project, Tata hydroelectric power plants at Kopili, Bhira and Bhivpuri in Maharashtra. The northeastern states have a tremendous potential to produce hydel power. Shivana Samudram falls on the Cauvery river in Karnataka has been harnessed to produce hydroelectricity. Pykara project in Tamil Nadu, Mahatma Gandhi Project at the Jog Falls on Sharavathi river in Karnataka, Sabaragiri and Idikki Projects in Kerala, Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam projects in Andhra Pradesh are some of the hydel power projects in India.

    Nuclear energy is the source of generating energy using radioactive nuclear minerals such as uranium, thorium, plutonium and berilium. Coal and petroleum are non-renewable resources which are fast getting depleted, and there is a need to develop alternative sources of power. India has developed the technology of producing atomic energy from uranium and thorium which are available in Jharkhand and Rajasthan. Monazite sands in Kerala are rich in thorium. The first nuclear power plant in India was set up in Maharashtra at Tarapur. The other nuclear power plants in India are at Ranapratap Sagar in Rajasthan, Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, Kaiga in Karnataka, Kakrapar in Gujarat, Narora in Uttar Pradesh, etc. There are several nuclear power plants under construction.
  2. Non-conventional sources of energy are solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, energy from bio-gas, etc.
  • Solar energy is a major source of power in villages of India, apart from being used widespread in urban areas. India’s location in the tropical zone has been the most favourable locational advantage for the generation of solar power. Large quantities of solar energy are produced in Barmer in Rajasthan. The largest solar power plant is located at Madhapur in Gujarat.
  • Wind energy is generated in areas where high velocity winds are used to turn turbines and generate electricity. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Orissa have a very high potential for generating wind energy. Nagercoil and Jaisalmer are known for wind energy production.
  • Tidal energy is generated from ocean waves. Areas along the Gulf of Kutch and Khambat in Gujarat are ideally suited for wind energy. A tidal energy station has been set up in Sunderbans in West Bengal.
  • Energy obtained from hot springs is called geothermal energy. Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh is noted for generating geothermal energy. India has over 300 hot water springs.
  • Biogas energy is obtained from urban waste, farm waste and animal waste. It is mostly used for domestic use. It supplies energy in rural areas to a great extent.

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