New national institute

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Funded by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources (MNES), the autonomous Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy (NIRE) at Jalandhar in the state of Punjab is expected to be ready to serve the wind industry within three years. With its foundation stone laid last month the institute will focus on research and development activities in hybrid and integrated systems, wind, hydro, solar and in solving energy needs in rural areas. While NIRE is responsible for training and human resource development, analysts say the choice of location away from Delhi and other metros is bound to "put off skilled people from joining it." Research and training on renewables is already fragmented in India and the aim of NIRE was to co-ordinate these activities, says Ajay Mathur of the Tata Energy Research Institute. He would like to see all India's renewables research organisations, such as the Solar Energy Centre and CWIT, under one umbrella to avoid duplication of projects. The NIRE facility sprawls over 75 acres and will cost an estimated $8.6 million to complete.

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