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Renewable Energy For India

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I am starting this thread on Renewable Energy for India. There are pros and cons for topic.

To start of I am pro-Renewable Energy for India. This is major strategic initiative to kick the habit from Coal/Oil based products. Coal and Oil based products are major polluters contributing to tonnes of CO2 emission per year. India is currently producing around 70% of its energy from Coal based plants.

The current initiatives in renewable energy are a) Wind b) Jatropha biodiesel c) Solar Energy d) Ocean Tidal wave energy.

Wind is a well established technology and depends on the wind map of the country. The current estimates for Wind are around 60,000 MW on land. Offshore there is more potential.

Solar Energy is promising since India gets a lot of sunshine throughout the year. Some experts estimate that the Solar Energy Shone on India is sufficient to power its energy needs. The major stumbling blocks are solar to electric conversion are costly (though recent advances in California put it a grid parity cost, i.e. cost have come down to the same level as other conventional energy on a per unit basis).

One promising use for solar is home water heaters. This is not very expensive and people with independent homes can avail of this technology today. Lots of home have solar water heaters on their rooftops, the sun heating small tubes of water in a glass planel and hot water collected in an insulated tank. For those days that do not have sunlight an in-line heater element heats up water. So on balance, for a majority of the time people can enjoy hot water. Commercial establishments like laundries and hotels can make use of solar water heaters.

Coming to the issue of electricity from Solar there are various other alternatives that produce electricity. One instance in Seville, Spain uses reflecting mirrors to heat a liquid that runs an engine to produce electricity. This technology is being pursued by PG&E in Southern California for a 500 MW + plant. I believe that the best way to mitigate energy use is to have individual homes with Solar energy. During day time they can produce electricity returned to the grid and during night they take back from the grid. The savings could be substantial and conventional systems can augment deficit power.

India is also looking to increase its Nuclear Energy program.

Here is con argument from dis.agree

you cannot just shutdown & bring up coal based plants on a daily basis. they run for long durations and provide base load power. i am surprised you say that india has highest potential to reap solar energy. i am yet to see any decent paper on this.

while operational cost of solar power is near zero, it is highly capital intensive. there is still some distance to go from technology perspective. thin films is the most promising technology. it's efficiency is low but it compensates through lower capital needs. but even that on a levelized cost perpective is about 3-10 times expensive in western countries (at locations with good insolation levels). this however depends on discount rates used. you will not find indian banks lending at such low 5% interest rates. best you could hope for now is 10%. solar technology is still unproven & i doubt any serious bank would lend at all. you need equity but indian investors expect a much higher roi and so large scale solar projects would be financially unviable in india.

your view that oil imports benefit sheiks, while mainstream, is not free market thinking. they export oil and import other stuff. it is just a globalized economy. and that way we can argue against solar & wind energy as well. we are dependent capital intensive technology that are more expensive than fossils: usa for solar & europe for wind.

we definitely need to move away from coal, oil & gas. i am not saying this because of global warming of which i have reasons to be skeptical, but because oil production has started to decline for a few years now. gas too would follow very soon and coal possibly in next 2 decades. so, we must look at alternatives - nuclear & wind is the best short term option and in medium-long term solar.

indian government does not have that kind of money to subsidize such renewable energy. in any case, best way to get this done is to leave the markets to function freely. if state electricity boards allow/simplify sale of such power produced by independent producers directly to consumers and allow them to enter into long term contracts, i am sure we would soon see more such renewable energy generation.
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A lot of research is happening on using algae as a source for bio-fuel....I saw a program in PBS where they showed algae has 100 times or more potential than corn as source of bio-fuel....and they best thing with algae is that they dont require fresh water

But still cost to manufacture when compared to fossil fuel is much much higher...someday algae can be a great source...

But not sure it is carbon neutral though....(at any rate it is much greener than fossil fuels)
What would be % of renewable energy mix in India

Total power/energy = 130 GW

Wind = 10 GW
Solar = < 0.5 GW
Hydro = 25 GW
biomass = 1 GW ??

assuming hydro to be renewable we are close to 30% which is not bad when we compare to developed nations
This gives the more accurate picture from the ministry of power

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_of_India_by_installed_power_capacity

renewables+hydro+nuclear is at 33%...1/3 of total power

I am trying to visualize what will be the scenario at 2020...a lot of countries have goals set for 2020 and 2050...2050 is too far fetched to have a decent prediction...

at a minimum of 10% growth...we will be at 400 GW by 2020...

of which we have plans for
20 GW of nuclear
45 GW of wind ( think that is the total potential of the country unless we have offshore or newer technologies...)
20 GW of solar...(dont think that is achievable....unless we have far cheaper infrastruture)

still we wont be at 50% renewable....at 400 GW we will be emitting same amount of greenhouse as China today or USA in the nineties...
According to Wikipedia, the ~10GW of Wind Energy in India represents 3% of the total electricity output. That will put the total at over 300 GW. Not saying that Wiki has accurate #s.
Agreed. Energy saved is energy produced. However it is highly unlikely we will have all these overhaul done in the next decade.

Most scientists agree that we (world) has to peak carbon emissions by 2020...if we are still increasing in emissions after that we will have irreversible consequences...

One promising technology is rooftop solar and wind power. Egypt a developing country with very similar climatic conditions like us and is a world leader in rooftop solar.

We have achieved something similar with water harvesting...Though the comparison is not correct there are some parallels. Water harvesting in homes and buildings have greatly improved water tables and reduced the dependency on centralised water supply....

if only we can achieve something like that for electricity !!!
I think this linear expansion of power is a wrong assumption. The world has to think in terms of reducing per capita power consumption. Excessive use of power needs to be rethought. Already, modern buildings are converting to LEED goals with the idea of reducing power consumption. LED lights can drastically cut down incandescent light bulb power consumed in households. Efficient strategies for energy conservation includes better insulation, design for ambient light, use of alternate energy sources (including solar) at the unit level and all of these strategies goes towards reducing central monolithic power. Low power should be the norm for the entire spectrum of modern appliances too. Dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves, refrigerators, electric appliances all require an overhaul in terms of power consumption. If man can live frugally we can solve most of the daunting issues that confront modern mankind.
No Funds Allocated for Clean Energy, Climate Change Mitigation in the Budget

I did not see anything related to funds allocation for renewables in the budget. All our goals seem too long term to be taken seriously.
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