In the current century, energy saving and management is the need of the hour. A keynote address by Winfried Kretschmann,Minister President of the State of Baden-Württemberg was given to an audience of students, professors as well as international delegates on the 27th of January at IITB. The talk consisted mainly of Mr. Kretschmann explaining the energy scenario in the State of Baden-Württemberg and also of the many initiatives taken up together by the Indian and German governments in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Mr. Kretschmann is a German politician and has been Minister President of the state of Baden-Württemberg since 12 May 2011. The focus of Mr. Kretschmann party has always been on ecological, economic, and social sustainability and Mr. Kretschmann himself has wide personal popularity in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Mr. Kretschmann has been vocal about climate change policies and has, along with other International leaders, signed a number of climate change agreements and commitments towards reducing emissions and better regulatory norms. He also ran on a platform that called for shutting down nuclear power plants in Germany amid a surge in support for the anti-nuclear movement following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.
Mr. Kretschmann's seven day tour included visits to a number of solar and wind energy initiatives in the state of Maharashtra. His talk included mentions of his visit to wind farms in Maharashtra and pointers on the development of smart cities designed around humans to make facilities like energy, water and transport more efficient. He drew a comparative between the traffic problems faced by the people in a city like Mumbai and those in Germany's hilly regions where a person can end up spending 60 hours a year stuck in traffic! Suggesting using navigation systems as well as ridesharing as alternatives, he also touched on the topic of climate change and the risk of floods, droughts as well as unbalanced monsoons if climate change continues to prevail. Citing advancements in technology and research as the only way out, he appreciated the research work going on at IITB in various sectors of renewable energy management and pushed for a platform for sharing of knowledge and development of ideas between German and Indian students. He emphasized the need for cooperation amongst nations and the fact that protectionism and shutting of borders for research slows down economic as well as social growth.
Calling on the words of our Prime Minister Mr. Modi, Mr. Kretschmann ended his address by stating that international cooperation as well as a free trade economy is a must in the energy sector since it can protect a nation's natural resources, strengthen social exchange as well as help in the mixing of cultures, helping the students of today become global citizens of tomorrow.