Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Large industries to go green in a small way soon

Large industries in the State are being advised to install solar power systems for at least two per cent of their power consumption.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) will soon issue an advisory to this effect.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, environment minister B.V. Ramana said that common areas, kitchens and other areas could be lit through solar power. “This would take some pressure off the grid and help the companies to reduce their carbon footprints,” he said.

Similarly, the Board will also direct industries classified as highly-polluting or water-consuming to set up reverse osmosis plants for tertiary treatment of waste water being let out after being treated by effluent treatment plants or sewage treatment plants.

This would help reduce withdrawal of ground water. There are around 40,000 industries in the State. This would also be applicable to large apartments, hotels, IT companies and other high-rise structures. “We will make it mandatory in stages,” Mr. Ramana said.

The minister, speaking after a regional review meeting, said the Board had 34 district offices that looked after the processes of providing consent to establish and to operate to industries. The Board was presently looking at the number of industries being covered by each district office and if the number was too high, additional offices may be set up, he said. Of the 233 highly-polluting industries in the State, he said, so far 97 industries had been connected to the Care Air Centre of the Board, which continuously monitors online the emission stacks of these industries. “We have set a deadline of December 2012 for the remaining industries to get into the system,” he said.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Solar power for 25 government schools, 10 hospitals

NEW DELHI: The Delhi environment department has identified 25 government schools and 10 government hospitals that will get independent solar power systems.
The pilot project is looking at generating 500kW of power through rooftop solar photovoltaic cells under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Environment secretary Sanjiv Kumar said the department had sent a proposal to the union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) and was expecting financial support from it under the off-grid decentralized scheme. "If the project is approved, MNRE will finance 30% of the cost and the rest of the expenditure will be borne by the Delhi government," he said.

According to officials, Delhi does not have much scope in renewable energy and, therefore, rooftop solar projects are the only viable option.
"Due to severe shortage of open space, even solar panels are not such a convenient option for the city so we will have to use whatever space is available. In that scenario, even small projects like this one are a positive step. This project will also not fully meet the requirement of each establishment but will form a small part of it. Hence, it will be fully utilized by the identified establishments and there will not be anything extra to feed into the grid," said a source.
Officials said each of the government schools would get a 10kW panel while the hospitals will get a 25kW panel each. The school and hospital projects will cost Rs 6.75 crore each, bringing the total cost to Rs 13.14 crore. "If MNRE approves the project, it will assist us to the tune of Rs 3.8 crore. We should get the approval in another month or so and will be able to finalize the project soon after that. From that point, it will take us eight-odd months to set up the panels and start producing power," said an official.
Officials said the project would be executed by the energy department of the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) named DSIIDC Energy Ltd.
Some of the hospitals that have been shortlisted for the project include Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, Deen Dayal Upadhay Hospital, Jag Pravesh Chandra Hospital, Guru Nanak Eye Centre and Dr Jagjivan Ram Hospital.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Agartala to be Northeast India's first solar city

Agartala: To reduce dependency on conventional energy, the Tripura government Wednesday announced ambitious plans to make Agartala a 'solar city', replacing at least 10 percent of usual power use by solar energy.

"Agartala city would be the first 'solar city' in northeast India within the next few years," Tripura's Urban Development Minister Manik Dey said after inaugurating a 50 kilowatt solar power plant at the Agartala Municipal Council head office here. 

He said: "Solar power is the sustainable and viable energy for both cities and remote areas. Electricity crisis would not be solved in the country unless we use non-conventional energy like solar power in a big way." 

An official of the Agartala Municipal Council said a master plan of Rs.452.32 crore has been undertaken to make Agartala a 'solar city'. The union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) would bear 90 percent of the cost and the remaining would be borne by the Tripura government. 

As part of the master plan, solar hot water systems would be installed in all hotels, nursing homes, school hostels, government circuit houses and bungalows, hospitals and health centres, tourist lodges, temples and the governor's residence. 

According to the official, the Agartala solar city project is part of MNRE's plan to turn 60 Indian cities into solar cities. 

"The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Authority (TREDA) and urban development department, in association with MNRE, would implement the ambitious scheme," the official added. 

The city's street lights and other lights in public places would also be operated on solar energy. 

"Theft of battery and solar panel is a major problem facing the authorities in implementing the solar electrification programme," Tripura's Science, Technology and Environment Minister Joy Gobinda Debroy said. 

The minister said 700 hamlets and 50 villages in remote areas in the northeastern state have already been provided solar energy, benefiting more than 35,000 families, mostly tribals. 

"Solar energy would also be provided to hundreds of more remote villages in the state under the remote village electrification (RVE) scheme during the current financial year," the minister said. 

According to Debroy, through the TREDA, 80,000 solar lanterns have been distributed among poor people residing in urban as well as rural areas in Tripura. Over 66,000 small and medium hot water plants have been installed across Tripura. 

"To popularise 'solar energy', lakhs of specially-designed 'solar caps' and 'solar torches' would be distributed among students in the state," he stated. 

Of India's 60 proposed solar cities, eight cities have been identified in the northeastern region by MNRE. 

The cities include Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Agartala in Tripura, Guwahati and Jorhat in Assam, Aizawl in Mizoram, Imphal in Manipur and Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

7 Million Electric Cars by 2020

India is jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.
Yesterday, India's National Council for Electric Mobility (yes, that's a real thing), announced that it has adopted a new plan that calls for between six million and seven million electric vehicles. This is an incredibly aggressive target, and one that will not easily be reached.
Although I applaud India for taking the appropriate steps to electrify personal transportation, the country definitely has an uphill battle ahead.
First of all, President Obama was hoping to get just one million electric cars on US roads and highways by 2015. That's not going to happen. Pike research has suggested the US won't hit that mark until around 2017. It's nothing to shrug off, but certainly a reminder that electric vehicles are still in the earliest stages of development, and it will take some time before price reductions enable a more rapid acceleration in sales.
Also worth noting is India's grid – which I suspect is not prepared for even half of India's electric vehicle goal. That's not to say India's grid won't be able to handle as many as seven million electric cars one day. But in less than eight years? I'm suspicious of that.
There are some upsides though. For one, as India's middle class grows, so will the demand for the cars that we take for granted here in the US. To shift to newer, cleaner technologies early on will make it easier to transition along the way. If the end-game is to reduce petroleum use in personal transportation, electric cars are the way to go.
It also looks like the government is ponying up a few billion to facilitate R&D while putting a charging infrastructure in place. Since India's is really starting from the ground up here, it is likely the government will coordinate charging stations with grid upgrades. This could definitely cushion some of the pain that's going to come from rebuilding the nation's grid.
To be honest, I can't say I expect India to get six million or seven million electric cars on the roads in eight years. And I highly doubt these vehicles will meet the same safety standards as we have here in the US and in Europe.
Still, if India can pull off just one third of its target, it will be a pretty amazing accomplishment that will only further validate the role electric vehicles are going to play in the future.

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Editor's Note: From solar and wind to geothermal and biofuels, Green Chip readers want to know which renewable energy resource will take over where fossil fuels leave off. The answer is...all of the above!
There is no one single solution to today's energy crisis. However, the combination of all viable renewable energy resources, coupled with energy efficiency, conservation and smart grid development will not only lead us to energy independence and a cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure — but also to what will soon prove to be the greatest investment opportunity of the 21st Century.