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Renewable Energy

No climate for cleantech

Issue Date: Nov 15, 2011
What is the outlook for developing countries in getting clean energy technologies transferred to them at a reasonable fee? Will intellectual property rights (IPR) over green technology to mitigate the impact of climate change prove to be a tough barrier? Can poor nations hope to compete with the developed world in bringing such technology to the market? A clear idea of the challenges that lie ahead was available in a speech made by a top American official at a recent conference on clean energy policy in the US, points that have a major bearing on the green future of the developing world. Reproduced below are some of the key points enunciated by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.

Sri Lanka commissions first solar power plant

Author(s): Malaka Rodrigo
Issue Date: Sep 15, 2011
Marking a milestone in renewable energy, Sri Lanka, has commissioned its first solar power plant. It will add 500 kilowatt to the National Grid and generate 2,300 units of electricity daily. The power plant located in Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka will cater to electricity needs of over 3,000 rural families. The annual power generation is expected to be 839,500 kilowatt hours.

Microcredit scheme for solar lighting system

Author(s): Ruhi Kandhari
Issue Date: Sep 13, 2011
Saroj Devi's family of six used to spend over Rs 900 every month to buy kerosene for lighting the three lamps in her house. Their village, Lala Teekar, in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh has two rivers passing by and is often called the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of Moradabad. This is because the only access to the village—a narrow rickety road—closes during monsoons, cutting off access to the village.

Renewables lose favour

Author(s): Joel Kumar
Issue Date: Aug 15, 2011
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission proposes to lower the trading prices for renewable energy certificates (REC). Industry people in a hearing on July 19 lamented the move would affect renewable energy capacity addition in the country.

Is REC an albatross for power distribution utilities?

Issue Date: Jul 4, 2011
Since the launch of the scheme last year, the government is buoyant on the renewable energy certificate (REC) market to increase the capacity of the sector. But given that the scheme is market-based, it hinges on the fragile commitments by states to meet their renewable energy purchase obligation (RPO) target. Their failure to source the committed amount of energy from renewable sources would mean REC mechanism would be just another all-bark-and-no-bite scheme of the government.

An exercise in flippancy

Issue Date: Jun 30, 2011
In December 2009, just before the disastrous climate conference at Copenhagen, environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced a voluntary and unilateral emissions reduction target for the country. He committed a 20-25 per cent reduction in the emissions intensity of the country’s GDP by 2020 below the 2005 levels. A month later, the Planning Commission constituted an Expert Group to prepare a strategy for low-carbon economy.

Energy market glitch

Issue Date: May 31, 2011
The newly launched renewable energy certificate (REC) market has been witnessing a flurry of activity. Governments, regulators and project developers are upbeat, and the first trading day in March 2011 hit the ceiling price. Though the subsequent session was subdued, stakeholders are optimistic that the new market can quicken the harnessing of renewable energy potential of the country, which has been sluggish so far. But REC is not a magic wand to achieve clean energy goals and it could have problems.

Get on the ray

Author(s): C L Gupta
Issue Date: May 15, 2011
The book under review comes in the wake of the launch of the National Solar Mission, which intends to use grid-connected solar power to meet its ambitious target. Till recently, solar energy was considered a roof top option both for power and heat. Integration of solar power into the national grid will require new protocols.

Wind break ends

Author(s): Ruhi Kandhari
Issue Date: May 15, 2011
Wind energy has been the poster child of India’s renewable energy programme. Data released by the government shows the staggering pace at which wind farms have been added across the country. But most of them deliver only a fraction of their generation potential, according to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). This is due to use of obsolete equipment. The electricity regulators now want to discipline this errant child—no tax holidays, and payment subject to performance. But this is likely to happen if the industry agrees to the new direct tax code, which withdraws sops to the industry.


Issue Date: May 15, 2011
Why Scientists Are Missing I agree with the editor that India’s scientists have retreated in silence (‘Indian scientists: missing in action’, March 15-31, 2011).
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