India’s citizens and policymakers cannot be trusted to choose their own energy sources, according to American and European anti-nuclear and anti-hydro extremists. India proudly announced at the United Nations 2015 Paris Climate Conference that it would produce 40% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by the year 2030. Nevertheless, activists – primarily white, wealthy, and European/American – are preventing India from developing the only reliable zero-carbon energy sources the nation can afford; nuclear and hydro power.
Hydro power dominates India’s renewable, zero-carbon power production. India produces more power from hydro than wind and solar combined. Reining in carbon dioxide emissions in the rapidly developing nation, however, would require more new zero-carbon power facilities than hydro can provide.
Speaking at a Natural Resources Defense Council press conference at the Paris Climate Conference, India’s Additional Secretary Susheel Kumar pleased climate delegates by pledging India would substantially ramp up its carbon-free power production during the next two decades. Kumar asserted that if India could do so despite its lack of wealth relative to Europe and America, then Western democracies should pledge to meet the same 40%-by-2030 commitment. Kumar also urged Western democracies to help other developing nations follow India’s path.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
During a question-and-answer session at the conclusion of his remarks, Kumar noted that most of India’s new zero-carbon power would come from nuclear facilities. Wind and solar power are too expensive to provide more than a small portion of India’s power needs, Kumar explained.
Nevertheless, the Hindustan Times reported last week that anti-nuclear and anti-hydro activists from foreign countries are impeding India’s zero-carbon promise.
“In contrast to the intermittent nature of renewables like solar and wind, hydro and nuclear power can be used both to cover the electrical base load and for peak load operations. Yet hydro and nuclear power face increasingly strong headwinds,” the Hindustan Times observed. “Activist NGOs — many foreign funded — have made it difficult for India to build large dams, blighting the promise of hydropower. It is virtually certain that India (which generates more power from wind alone than from nuclear) will slip badly on its 2030 target to produce 12% of electricity from atomic sources.”
“More broadly, India’s energy conundrum has been compounded by unrealistic targets, embrace of carbon-reduction goals at a time when Donald Trump was vowing to take America in the opposite direction, and inability to stem disruptive NGO activism,” the Hindustan Times added.
The Times explained how ramping up nuclear power in India is difficult enough when coal and natural gas prices are so low. Adding activist opposition to the mix might just be the death knell of India’s carbon-reduction pledge.