| Energy Utilisation in Karnataka: Part-III Small Scale Industries Sector |
Energy has become an important need in our life. Our primary needs for energy - for heat and light to sustain life on earth are obtained from the sun. Here we concern ourselves about the acquired needs of man for energy. The day, he "invented" fire he "invented" an acquired form of energy with its uses. He started multiplying the uses - drying clothes, cooking food, making implements, transportation etc. Initially his energy requirements were met mostly from human and animal forms and to some extent from wood. As the environment was having abundant quantities of wood, this fuel was considered a free commodity (in economists' terminology) like air and water.
But a minor leap in energy use started after the first wave - agriculture and a major leap after the second wave - industrial revolution. Once the wants of man increased, there were secondary requirements of energy - for industrial production. Industrial development mainly concentrated on the objective of improvement of "quality of life" - by inventing machines to do activities done by man and animals and to do newer activities. This effected a shift in energy from animal to fuel. Some examples are textiles, transportation (steam engines) etc. As technology proceeded at a faster pace to conquer various problems of mechanisation, energy consumption rates started to gallop. One of the major objectives of "quality of life" is convenience - convenient and easy way of doing things. Market economics was totally based on value addition and it treated many energy resources as free resources assuming infinite availability of such resources like fire-wood, coal etc. These strong concepts aided in generation of more energy intensive technologies. Increased rate of growth in population and increased use of energy cumulatively led to crisis situations in resources.
Energy is a complex, process because it is possible to convert it into different forms, transport it, store it in some form and use it in various end use modes in innumerable number of places. An energy system consists of three components;
I) Generation system - energy resources are converted into a transportable form like electrical energy in centralized systems and gas and steam in decentralized systems;
II) Transport/transmission system - energy forms transported from place of availability/generation to places of use;
III) Distribution system - distribution and uses in end use activities.
In the case of a decentralized system, all these three activities may not be present. Energy resource is transported directly to place of use and used in a suitable end use device. Before the advent of large scale technologies, decentralized systems were the only mode of energy use. Some of the examples of decentralized systems are;
i) use of firewood for domestic needs (of cooking, water heating etc.), for small industries like brick kilns, hotels, tobacco curing, sericulture, small foundries etc;
ii) use of steam in textile, chemical and other industries;
iii) use of diesel/petrol in vehicles for transportation;
Because of convenience, ease of maintenance, diversity of usage and reduced cost of operation, energy production became centralized. Electrical energy is one form easy to transmit and is produced in distant hilly areas with good hydro potential which is used in urban areas. This further spurred centralization. In developed countries, most energy forms are in the centralized form except transportation.
Let us now look at another picture of energy - mainly from the angle of resources and consumption patterns.