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Renewable Energy For India

284133 Views 1355 Replies 146 Participants Last post by  New Projects Tracker
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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KHADODA, India — Solar power is a clean energy source. But in this arid part of northwest India it can also be a dusty one.

Every five days or so, in a marriage of low and high tech, field hands with long-handled dust mops wipe down each of the 36,000 solar panels at a 63-acre installation operated by Azure Power. The site is one of the biggest examples of India’s ambitious plan to use solar energy to help modernize its notoriously underpowered national electricity grid, and reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants.

Azure Power has a contract to provide solar-generated electricity to a state-government electric utility. Inderpreet Wadhwa, Azure’s chief executive, predicted that within a few years solar power would be competitive in price with India’s conventionally generated electricity.

“The efficiency of solar technology will continue to increase, and with the increasing demand in solar energy, cost will continue to decrease,” Mr. Wadhwa said.

Two years ago, Indian policy makers said that by the year 2020 they would drastically increase the nation’s use of solar power from virtually nothing to 20,000 megawatts — enough electricity to power the equivalent of up to 15 million modern American homes during daylight hours when the panels are at their most productive. Many analysts said it could not be done. But, now the doubters are taking back their words.

Dozens of developers like Azure, because of aggressive government subsidies and a large drop in the global price of solar panels, are covering India’s northwestern plains — including this village of 2,000 people — with gleaming solar panels. So far, India uses only about 140 megawatts, including 10 megawatts used by the Azure installation, which can provide enough power to serve a town of 50,000 people, according to the company. But analysts say that the national 20,000 megawatt goal is achievable and that India could reach those numbers even a few years before 2020.

“Prices came down and suddenly things were possible that didn’t seem possible,” said Tobias Engelmeier, managing director of Bridge to India, a research and consulting firm based in New Delhi. Chinese manufacturers like Suntech Power and Yingli Green Energy helped drive the drop in solar panel costs. The firms increased production of the panels and cut costs this year by about 30 percent to 40 percent, to less than $1 a watt.

Developers of solar farms in India, however, have shown a preference for the more advanced, so-called thin-film solar cells offered by suppliers in the United States, Taiwan and Europe. The leading American provider to India is First Solar, based in Tempe, Ariz.

India does not have a large solar manufacturing industry, but is trying to develop one and China is showing a new interest in India’s growing demand. China’s Suntech Power sold the panels used at the Azure installation, which opened in June.

Industry executives credit government policies with India’s solar boom, unusual praise because businesses usually deride Indian regulations as Kafkaesque.

Over the last decade, India has opened the state-dominated power-generating industry to private players, while leaving distribution and rate-setting largely in government hands. European countries heavily subsidize solar power by agreeing to buy it for decades at a time, but the subsidies in India are lower and solar operators are forced into to greater competition, helping push down costs.

This month, the government held its second auction to determine the price at which its state-owned power trading company — NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam — would buy solar-generated electricity for the national grid. The average winning bid was 8.77 rupees (16.5 cents) per kilowatt hour.

That is about twice the price of coal-generated power, but it was about 27 percent lower than the winning bids at the auction held a year ago. Germany, the world’s biggest solar-power user, pays about 17.94 euro cents (23 American cents) per kilowatt hour.
Hi guys,
I have noticed empty spaces between wind mills. Is it possible to utilize that space to place solar panels, so that the project would become a hybrid source of power. Is there any technical problem in doing this?
Not sure what the exact spacing is between windmills, but you do need space for maintenance trucks & workers to be able to come to the windmills - especially if you have to replace one of the blades etc.

Even the photos of that giant solar panel farm puzzles me. Not sure how you would get to the centre if you need to replace a panel.
India's grand solar plans threatened by ugly US trade spat

Should trade wars and protecting local jobs get in the way of clean energy?

That's the dilemma before India – and the world – at the moment. Desperately short of power, but with an average of 300 sunny days a year, India is aggressively pursuing solar energy. Its national solar programme, the grandly named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (named after India's first prime minister) plans to generate 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022. But an ugly trade spat with the US may frustrate India's efforts to go solar.

In February this year, the US asked the World Trade Organisation for dispute consultations concerning the "domestic content" requirement of the solar programme. Domestic content is a loaded phrase in international trade. What it means is that India requires solar energy producers to use locally manufactured solar cells, and offers them special subsidies. This allegedly violates WTO principles that require countries to treat both foreign and domestic goods equally.

This isn't India's first move to protect local companies. In November 2012, India began anti-dumping investigations against Chinese, Malaysian, and US firms, following complaints by Indian manufacturers of solar cells that cheap Chinese imports were hurting their business. US and Chinese imports can be brought into the country tax-free, but Indian manufacturers have to pay duties on raw materials to make the same products.

H.R Gupta, chairman of Indosolar, one of the companies that filed the complaint, says: "Local manufacturers are not getting any business, and the solar industry is doing very poorly because of lack of orders." Many local manufacturers have stopped production, or are operating at far below normal capacity. In a press conference last week, the Indian Solar Manufacturer's Association flayed lack of support by the government.

But it isn't just Indian companies that are worried. Twelve influential green organisations, including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Action Aid USA and Friends of the Earth, have urged the US to withdraw the complaint, and called for a compromise that allows India to build a solar economy. In a strongly worded letter, the groups pointed out that India's domestic solar industry is critical to global efforts to tackle climate change. The groups also expressed dismay at the idea that climate policy might be determined by trade wars rather than climate science.

Things got worse. The 60-day consultation ended on 7 April, and with no sign of a compromise, the US may now ask the WTO to resolve the complaint. India, meanwhile, is not taking things lying down. On 17 April, it retaliated by asking the US to justify trade restrictions in its own renewable energy projects, arguing that incentives offered to U.S. companies to use local labour make it equally difficult for Indian companies to enter the US.

In this tit-for-tat game, what's certain is that the environment will be the loser. The Obama Administration is committed to strengthening the American clean energy sector and preserving the millions of jobs it supports," said US trade representative Ron Kirk in a statement back in February. A fine sentiment, except when jobs come up against lives. India currently burns a phenomenal amount of coal, which kills tens of thousands prematurely every year. With no viable alternative energy sources, more coal plants are on their way.

But forget India for a moment. Can climate change worldwide be resisted, as long as India continues to burn coal at this pace? Unlikely. As green groups have pointed out, behemoths such as India and China need to have every tool at their disposal to make the difficult shift to clean energy. The globe is teetering on the brink. Block India's fledgling solar industry and you may just push the country over, and take the rest of the world with you.

It gets almost three-quarters of its electricity from coal, and has 39 new coal-fired power plants under construction. It digs up and burns more of the stuff than any other country except China. And it is coal’s loudest advocate internationally: at last year’s climate conference in Glasgow, it was the skunk at the garden party, blocking efforts to phase out the fuel most responsible for global warming.

This soot-smeared intransigence, however, distracts from a dramatic countervailing trend. While his underlings defended coal, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, made a series of pledges in Glasgow that, if kept, will make his country a green-energy powerhouse. The most eye-catching was the promise that India would achieve “net-zero” emissions of greenhouse gases (ghgs) by 2070—meaning that any emissions that had not been eliminated by then would be offset in some way.
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