RE from Germany
India, one of the biggest markets for alternative energy technologies, is looking towards Germany for technological assistance and knowledge transfer in the field of renewable energy, especially for rural electrification and grid integration. German companies, which have the largest solar market worldwide, are keen to enter India with their solar thermal, photovoltaic cell and concentrated solar power products as well as facilitate transfer of technology through workshops and training under India’s National Solar Mission. With the Government of India announcing a goal to cover 10 per cent of its energy demand with renewable energy by 2012, solar power has become the future in the country which houses over 15 per cent of the world’s population. The carefully calculated feed-in-tariffs fixed by the Central Electricity Regulation Commission (CERC) has for the first time made application of solar technologies economically viable in India. Germany, which has an installed capacity of over 6000 mw of solar power, can further help in bringing down costs of installing solar power and other renewable energy projects in India. The Germans are offering products and technological support in industries like solar thermal energy systems generally used to heat domestic water supplies as well as heat detached and semi-detached homes. Unglazed plastic absorbers, used to heat swimming pools, air collectors used for drying agricultural produce and evacuated tube collectors used to transfer thermal energy to solar circuits are some of the other products on offer. For India, a key German technology for making photovoltaic cells, would be extremely beneficial. This system enables sunlight to be converted directly into electrical energy – a blessing for rural electrification projects, if it is cost-effective. Small, decentralised power grids or mini-grids set up by using photovoltaic cells can supply electricity to everything from individual buildings to several small towns. German companies are offering battery-supported photovoltaic island systems to provide uninterruptible power supply for countries with unstable, overloaded power grids like India. A long term cost-effective version of an off grid electricity supply via island system would be a combination of photovoltaic systems with wind farms and hydropower plants, and if necessary, generators powered by diesel or bio-fuels.
Excerpts from: ‘India looking to Germany for assistance in renewable energy technologies’; One India; May 7, 2010
India – Global RE Powerhouse
India is tying up with leading foreign players for absorbing cutting edge technology and skills to emerge as an export powerhouse in the field of renewable energy. “Not only do we wish to export renewable energy technology to the developing countries but in the years to come, also to markets in the developed world,” Minister of New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said in an informal interaction with media in the World Future Energy Summit. Apart from wind, solar and biomass, geothermal energy will get a boost through foreign tie ups as Iceland has promised support in developing geothermal energy in India, which will be especially applicable in remote mountainous areas including Ladakh. Wind energy alone contributed to 11000 MW to the national energy pool, and as India looks for sources beyond oil and gas, a potential of around 1,00,000 MW has been identified from wind, biomass and small hydro sources. Also, the recently launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission has set an electricity production target of 20,000 MW by 2022. Biomass, which is a carbon neutral fuel source, has potential to yield 16,000 MW of power. Small hydro projects of less than 25 MW capacity can generate 15,000 MW.
Excerpts from: Aneja, Atul. ‘India to emerge as global renewable energy powerhouse’; The Hindu; January 20, 2010
Rajasthan Solar Pump Project
Rajasthan government is coming up with a Rs. 515 crores solar water pump project to cut down on its power expenses. It will install 10,000 solar water pumps in the first phase to save nine crore units per annum. The State has sent a proposal to the centre for its approval under the National Agriculture Development Scheme. The State has already invited expressions of interest from solar pump set manufacturers. Around 10 manufacturers have shown interest in supplying solar pump sets in the rural areas. The solar pump sets are attached to the water source. Solar panel of the pump converts the solar energy into electrical power, which runs the motor to pump water. A 5 HP solar water pump set will save 25 units of power every day. Under this project, farmers in water-scarce areas will be asked to install solar water pump for irrigation. There are two types of pumps. The cost of 2 HP solar water pump is Rs. 4 lakhs while a 5 HP pump costs Rs. 10 lakhs. Farmers will get 80 percent subsidy on the cost of the pump while the state government will provide them loan on remaining amount at the interest rate of 5 per cent.
Excerpts from: PTI. ‘Rajasthan Govt. to roll out Rs. 515 cr solar water pump project’; The Hindu; May 14, 2010
Ecobody for RE Boost
Greenpeace India has made an appeal to all political parties of Bihar to include campaign for ‘development of renewable energy’ in its poll manifesto for providing energy needs of the rural population of the State. Experts also feel that Bihar needs an energy revolution now and decentralised renewable energy can fuel that change. Greenpeace believes that a resurgent Bihar can chart an alternative development pathway by developing a state based regulatory framework to encourage utilisation of renewable energy through a renewable energy law. The new law should be drafted with proper and wide consultations to ensure robustness of the policy. Political parties should promote Decentralised Renewable Energy (DRE) to deliver quick, quality and breadth of access of energy to communities which will help inclusive growth and development of the people of Bihar. The state is looking to expand its power production via investment in large thermal power plants and hydro projects. However, these projects will take time to be implemented and till then Bihar’s growth would continue to be effected by crippling power shortages. There is a huge energy deficit – an average per capita consumption of 75 units compared to the national average of 613 units – with little prospect of plugging it through traditional methods. Bihar is left with almost no energy after bifurcation of Jharkhand. In West Champaran district, Husk Power Systems are using biomass gasification to generate electricity from rice husk, has over 30 power plants already, and 30 more in production.
Excerpts from: Chaudhary, Pranava K. ‘Eco body for renewable energy boost in state’; Times of India; Aug 24, 2010
Solar Energy Project
In order to systematically harness solar energy, students of BIT, Mesra, along with students of Harvey Mudd College, California have undertaken a joint project to develop a solar energy storage system. The students’ team will develop a mechanical system for harnessing and storing solar energy so that this energy can be preserved for long and used when required. The project is being undertaken under the Global Clinic Programme of Harvey Mudd College, which facilitates such research works for undergraduate students, thus providing them with an opportunity to work on real life engineering issues that is both relevant and important for the society. The clinic programme is so named because it provides real life experiences to engineering students, in a manner similar to the clinical experience provided to medical students. This apart, it is also aimed at developing in the students the perspective and skills required to function effectively in a global context. The conventional energy is aiding pollution and adding to global warming. Also it is non-renewable energy, which is pushing the scientist fraternity to look for sustainable methods of harnessing renewable energy. The project of the BIT, Mesra, and Harvey Mudd College is thus being looked upon as an effort in this direction. “After the completion of the project, the students’ team will present their work before the experts in BIT, Mesra, sometime in May next year,” said K G Pande, co-ordinator of the project at BIT, Mesra.