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Integrated Regional Energy Planning - Concepts & Approach :

The central theme of the integrated energy plan would be to prepare an area based decentralized energy plans to meet energy needs for subsistence and development of alternate energy sources at least cost to the economy and environment. Centralised energy planning exercises cannot pay attention to the variations in socioeconomic and ecological factors of a region which influence success of any intervention. Decentralized energy planning is in the interest of efficient utilisation of resources. The regional planning mechanism takes in to account various resources available and demand in a region. This implies that the assessment of the demand and supply and the intervention in the energy system which may appear desirable due to such exercises must be at a similar geographic scale. In this regard, the District is accepted as the appropriate planning level. Kolar District, Karnataka State is chosen for carrying out present study. Planned interventions to reduce energy scarcity can take various forms such as (a) energy conservation through promotion and use of energy efficient stoves for cooking and water heating, compact fluorescent bulbs in place of ordinary incandescent bulbs, (b) supply expansions through energy plantations and (c) alternatives - renewable sources of energy such as micro/mini/small hydro power plants, wind, solar and biomass based systems. Ecologically sound development of the region is possible when energy needs are integrated with the environmental concerns at the local and global levels. For this purpose an integrated planning framework is necessary . 

The use of DSS (Decision Support Systems) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for energy planning in developing countries is not as well established in large government agencies; however there are few research centres where hydrological and watershed assessments are being studied. Apart from these, energy planning in India is not an integrated activity. Various government agencies dealing with different resources, considers only the demand and projects the energy demand over a period of years without taking in to account efficiency of utilisation, scope for conservation with technology improvement, exploiting renewable sources.

In this situation, there is a need to develop integrated energy plan taking in to account spatial variation and seasonal variation in resource availability, energy demand etc. Apart from these, we attempt to consider decision structure, levels of decision making and implementation strategies in the regional energy plan.

Survey carried out in 133 villages in Kolar district (covering all taluks, 2500 households) reveals that level of energy consumption and adoption of energy efficient technologies depends on

(a) level of education of end users of energy, 
(b) land holding and finally to some extent 
(c) community (our population is diverse, and there is a need to map all these 
aspects). This endeavor helps to 

(1) Identify hydel sites for electricity generation in a decentralized way, 
(2) Assessment of potentials of wind, solar resources
(3) Agro-ecological zonation helps in demarking degraded land, which helps planners to take up energy plantation to meet the fuel and fodder requirement of the region, 
(4) Spatial mapping renewable energy sources and sector-wise energy demand, 
(5) Resource - demand balancing (modelling)

This paper presents a conceptual design for energy system which could meet demand of all sectors in the region. The proposed design would in principle, supply enough energy for a sustainable development of a region. The energy planning endeavor involves finding a set of sources and conversion devices so as to meet the energy requirements/demand of all the tasks in an optimal manner. This optimality depends on the objective; such as to minimise the total annual costs of energy or minimisation of non local resources or maximisation of system overall efficiency. Factors such as availability of resources in the region, task energy requirements impose constraints on the regional energy planning exercise. Thus, the regional energy planning turns out to be a constrained optimisation problem. This exercise describes an optimum energy allocation based on Integrated Energy Planning Approach for Kolar District and make a satisfying energy allocation plan for the year 2005, 2010 and 2015. Integrated energy planning developed based on Decision Support Systems (DSS) approach is flexible, adaptable, ecologically sound and gives an optimal mix of new renewable/conventional energy sources.

Regional Integrated energy plan (RIEP) is a computer assisted accounting and simulation tool being developed using Visual Basic and MS Access to assist policy makers and planners at district level in evaluating energy policies and develop ecologically sound, sustainable energy plans.

Energy availability and demand situation may be projected for various scenarios (base case scenario, high energy intensity, transformation, state growth scenarios) in order to get a glimpse of future patterns and assess the likely impacts of energy policies.

Integrated regional energy plan (Fig 1) serves several purposes:

1. As a Database:
Demography (population during 1941-1991)
Natural resource (land use, land cover, forest types, wastelands, agriculture- crop types, production, yield, irrigation details, horticulture-crop types, residues. 
Plantation -area, type (social forestry programme)

2. Maintains energy information: data entry, data append, edit, unit conversions, querying, data retrieval, generation of reports, generation of graphs, link to spatial maps (district/taluk/village)

3. Forecasting tool: to make projections of energy supply and demand at 5 years interval

4. Policy analysis tool: simulates and assesses the effects of alternative energy Programmes (technical economic, environmental effects).

5. Bibliography: (Abstracts of papers published in journals) and energy database of other regions.

6. Links to various energy sites: (URL of prominent sites dealing with energy and environment).

7. Assessment of Renewable energy potential, supply status of commercial sources of energy: (electricity, oil, kerosene, etc.), Estimation of energy demand of various sectors and techno economic and environmental assessment of alternatives.
Kolar depends mainly on non commercial forms of energy. Non commercial energy constitutes 84%, met mainly by sources like firewood, agricultural residues, charcoal and cow dung, while commercial energy's share is 16%, met mainly by electricity, oil etc.
The largest single user of bio energy is the domestic sector, followed by industries. Increased shortage of wood fuels have forced many users to shift to substantial use of agricultural residues. Bio energy users are faced with limited options of accessible and affordable fuels.

8. Environment Technology Database: (resources, technology, environmental aspects, bibliography)

Energy resources database (renewable and non renewable), energy demand database (sector wise), environmental database, data aggregation, data analysis (energy scenarios, techno economic analysis) and integrated plan are the various modules being incorporated in the Integrated Regional Energy Plan. The energy scenarios module along with energy demand, transformation, techno-economic and environment module are used (in integrated module) to perform an integrated energy-environment planning exercise for a region (village / blocks/ taluk / district / state). Environmental database is used automatically calculate environmental impacts of energy scenarios.
Scenario analyses aids in creating a picture of the current energy situation and estimated future changes based on expected or likely plans and growth patterns. Base case or business-as-usual is based on present population growth, industrialization, agricultural energy requirement.

It also helps in developing policy scenarios with alternative assumptions such as 

(1) Transformation - through introduction of energy efficient devices such as 
fuel efficient stoves, improved furnaces, boilers, dryers, compact florescent 
lamps etc.
(2) Projection based on high energy intensity (such as rapid 
industrialization with an energy demand increase of 20%)
(3) Projection based on state averages (growth in household, industry, 
agricultural and commercial sectors)
(4) Introduction of renewable energy technologies (solar, hydro, bio 
energy etc.) and agro forestry (conversion of wastelands with locally 
accepted species). 

Data aggregation allows for coordinated planning at more than one spatial level. Such as energy scenario can be developed at village level and then aggregated to the taluk / district level. 
Techno-economic analyses provides technical and economic viability of alternatives. This Programmes draws upon the analytical methodology of "life-cycle" analysis. For each energy sources and technology option it also traces energy inputs and environmental impacts.
Integrated module integrates energy supply and demand analysis with energy scenario Programmes and provides a full range of optimal policy alternatives in a common framework. This enables the policy maker / decision makers to examine the critical relationships between supply and demand, land use, bio resource issues, environmental sustainability and economic development.
The environmental database provides a comprehensive summary of data on the environmental consequences of energy use and production. This database would be linked to the energy scenario programme to provide information on the environmental impacts of energy alternatives.