Tag Archives: renewable energy

Making electricity uses up the most water!

The power sector has a large impact on the amount of water consumed.

ElectricityCertain processes in coal power plants require large amounts of water. In India, most of these power plants are installed in coastal areas. These plants draw ocean water, desalinate it and bring it to the required quality of water for the turbines and then re-use it.  The wastewater that exits the plant is supposed to be taken far into the ocean, (around 2km from the edge and very deep), so that the water can mix in easily over a period of time. Unless we manage the exit water very carefully, it can result in extensive pollution and have a detrimental impact on marine life.

When a large coal power plant or a nuclear power plant is set up, a prerequisite is providing a large amount of water round the clock, year after year. This lessens the availability of natural water resources to those who are dependent on it. Governments and engineers don’t warn us that if human beings start using large quantities of water, the other species of the animal kingdom that are dependent on water will be deprived of it. There is a slew of both nuclear and coal power plants coming up, with no protest on this threat that is real.

Current scenario in the Power sector

About 700,000 MW of new power project proposals are in various stages of application at the Ministry of Environment.  Prayas, an organization working on initiatives in Energy, has calculated that the total amount of additional water required for these new projects, if they are created, can provide fresh water for around 150 million Indians and can meet 9-10% of agricultural requirements or about 25 million tonnes of food grains annually in India. India is already water stressed. So the question is:Should we continue building these large power plants?Or should we look for alternatives to meet these energy needs?

The InstalledHow do we first understand the ‘demand for electricity’ that is projected by the Government?These are based on date from the past, estimates of the deficits of the present and extrapolations into the future.How legitimate are these projections? Can decisions involving money at a million dollars to a mere MW and with incalculable damage that each such MW wreaks as havoc ecologically, be permitted to be made without public consultation? Can the brutality of closed-door decision-making inside government corridors be continued any more?  The needs for a common man are basically for lighting or probably charging his cell phone, or for a mixer/ grinder in the kitchen. There is no legislation to stop homes in Gurgaon that are now centrally air-conditioned. Night-time sports, 24-hour shopping malls … can we continue the insanity?

The GovernmentIndia’s efficiency is one of the worst in the power sector with respect to international practices. Power Ministry and Planning Commission data show that if India’s efficiency was maintained at the power sector’s international best practice level, it can give virtually about 35-40% more power within the existing infrastructure.

There is really no shortage of power at the moment. By taking the efficiency to the international best practice level, you will indirectly reduce the additional demand for electricity and in turn reduce the number of power plants required.

What are the alternatives currently available?

Sunlight is one of the best sources of renewable energy available. If sunlight is tapped in the most effective way, it will not require any water. The water footprint of technologies such as biomass and wind energy is minimal. And India being a tropical country, there is a huge potential.

What is the solution?

First, we need the right to information on how we can manage our requirement of energy without having an impact on these natural resources. We urgently need to transform our thinking. Efficiency improvement, energy conservation and demand-side management are the three major areas that need focus.

More professional groups should be involved in the energy movement.Authorities and government officials and policy makers usually detest any such public engagement and discussion. And individuals would not have the perseverance without the support of groups aligned and committed. How can organizations rally behind such a struggle to keep the balance between natural resources and energy footprint?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CII initiative to help renewable energy producers find consumers

CII initiative to help renewable energy producers find consumersAn initiative of CII (Confederation of Indian Industry)-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre to serve as a forum connecting renewable energy producers and large power consumers has been rolled out across the country in view of the good response to the pilot project launched a year ago in Bangalore.

The decision to expand the activities of the Green Power Market Development Group of the centre is significant, both from a perspective of pushing for more use of renewable energy as well as emerging as a voice echoing issues of concern to both the customers and producers.

One of the tasks before the group, by showcasing the benefits of its efforts in rest of the country, is to impress upon the Tamil Nadu government the importance of encouraging third party sale of power by abolishing cross subsidy and transmission charges. Moreover, with the integration of the southern power grid to the national grid such measures would go a long way.

Noting that sale of power to third party was permitted across the country, except by Tamil Nadu, Chairman, Renewable Energy Council, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Ramesh Kymal said renewable energy producers should be offered the benefit of open access as prevalent in other States.

Following the launch in Bangalore, the initiative facilitated renewable power agreements for around 100 MW between producers and several companies, including ACC, Coca Cola, and Infosys. With the programme extended across the country two weeks ago, the Green Business Centre was looking at a target of 500 MW.

Moving forward, the centre would like to offer a range of services, including templates of power purchase agreement, something that many consumers in Karnataka suggested, Mr.Kymal said in an interaction here on Thursday. CII’s Indian Green Building Council Executive Director S. Raghupathy added economies of scale were good when buyers approach the producers as a group.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: