"Over the years I have had many an occasion to attend conferences and seminars pertaining to the subject of energy. To the best of my recollection, however, none of these were focused on geothermal energy," said Vice President Ansari.
"The default, perhaps, can be attributed to our lack of sufficient awareness of this form of energy. Even the Kirit Parikh Report of August 2006 on Integrated Energy Policy did not seem to dwell on the matter," he added.
The Vice President said the subject of energy is compelling, even fascinating, asserting that it is a recorded fact of history that all civilizations depended for survival and prosperity on their ability to access energy in sufficient quantities in the form of food and fuel.
"The advancement of the past two centuries highlights this truism. By the same token, anxiety about continued and continuous access to energy in requisite quantities has resulted in irrational reactions ranging from overt pessimism to undue optimism," said Vice President Ansari.
"Many years back the Russian astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev propounded his theory about stages of civilizations based on their access to three energy sources. He categorized the latter as planetary, stellar and galactic. Others have calculated that our own planet has up to now only reached the 0.72 level in the first, planetary, category and may take a century or two to marshal energy resources on a planet-wide scale," he added.
Vice President Ansari said that the technology and human ingenuity would lead India to newer sources of energy as also to better utilization of existing sources and quantities.
"I personally would lean on the side of optimism and therefore support the view that technology and human ingenuity would lead us to newer sources of energy as also to better utilization of existing sources and quantities. Hence the relevance of today's gathering," said Vice President Ansari.
"Exploiting geothermal energy is not new to humankind. Ancient Romans built elaborate complexes in areas where they came across hot water springs. In our own country, hot water springs were traditionally used for religious and medicinal baths. This desire, to harness for use the enormous reservoirs of energy stored underneath the earth's surface, has been strengthened by the advancement of technology in our times," he added.
The Vice President further said the national mission to ensure energy security thus propels us to look seriously at new and renewable energy options with a focus on grid interactive and distributed renewable power, rural and urban applications, and industrial and commercial applications of such renewable power.
"The Himayalan region is one of the most promising geothermal areas. It contains about 100 thermal springs and falls in one of the most tectonically active zones. In the 1980s, the first pilot binary five kilo watt power plant was successfully operated by the Geological Survey of India at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, which proved the power producing capability there," said Vice President Ansari.
"The Puga Valley geo-thermal field in Jammu and Kashmir has been estimated to have a temperature of 240 degree centigrade at a depth of 2000 meters. This makes evident its potential," he added.