RSS

Tag Archives: Government

CDM -the Scam & the Redemption


In the absence of any monitoring system under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism or CDM (see box), DNA has found that several large projects in India that have been declared green and sustainable under the scheme are not only polluting the local environment but were also established by violating various environment laws. However, because of their status, these firms are permitted to sell carbon credits in the market, earning huge revenue in the process. These are the paragraphs from a superb investigative Journalism by DNA corespondent -Gangadhar S Patil.

In his article, Carbon Credit Fraud: How big firms faked green to mint gold he goes on to say – High cost and uncertainty ensure that many genuinely clean and sustainable projects fail to attain CDM status. These projects, handled by small-time developers, fail to attain CDM status because of the high cost involved in the application and verification process. Even if they manage to pass these hurdles, they don’t earn enough carbon credits to attract real traders in the market.

What Mr. Patil, infers is more horrifying than just the manipulation of the scheme to amass wealth, it is down-right criminal, if true.

Absorptions bands in the Earth's atmosphere cr...

Absorptions bands in the Earth’s atmosphere created by greenhouse gases and the resulting effects on transmitted radiation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are firms deliberately overproducing greenhouse gases (GHG) for the sole purpose of destroying them in order to earn revenue through the sale of carbon credits under the clean development mechanism or CDM scheme? The first indication is the fact that an analysis of the total carbon credits issued to projects across the globe, including India, shows that over 50 per cent of the total carbon credits issued until July 2012 were for the destruction of a deadly greenhouse gas called HFC-23 (Hydro Fluoro Carbons-23). It is 11,700 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and is created during the manufacture of HCFC-22, a gas used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

In comparison, renewable energy projects like wind, solar and biomass, together, account for less than 30 per cent of the total carbon credits issued in India; the figure is 20 per cent for the world. The CDM scheme allows firms manufacturing HCFC-22 to earn huge carbon credits by destroying its by-product, HFC-23. Since the cost of producing HCFC-22 is lower than the revenue generated by the sale of carbon credits issued for destroying HFC-23, it is possible that HCFC-22 is being manufactured solely for the purpose of destroying its by-product and earning carbon credits instead.

English: Greenhouse Gases

English: Greenhouse Gases (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second red flag is the fact that despite a sharp fall in the price of HCFC-22 due to supply exceeding demand and steep global economic recession, the production of this GHG has continued to remain at the same level…….Experts are not clear about what is happening to the excess HCFC-22 produced. Some believe that companies could be stocking it; others believe it is being clandestinely released into the atmosphere. As a result, there is no actual reduction of greenhouse gases though the total number of carbon credits issued is huge.

The last sentence would and should give shivers to any right thinking person. However, with the Country governance is doldrums due to the impact of one scam to another, the latest being coal; the knee-jerk reaction the government took this week in boosting the economy would not only impact the rudimentary Sustainable practices, it can erode it completely, with some  corporates muscling in their agenda of “growth” at the cost to the ecosystem.

carbon-Credit-Card

carbon-Credit-Card (Photo credit: charlesfettinger)

Today the greatest unrest is because of Energy requirement, which comes from fossil fuel and with Coal hitting the scam list, it would be difficult for the government to allow mining ( unless strong-arm tactic are used) and feed the critical requirement of the industries. Thus importing coal would gather steam. Which in no way helps in abating GHG, just reduces pollution at ones own door. The second being LPG, now it is well documented that Oil corporations are bleeding due to subsidy, but to stem the flow what is required is imagination not short-term solution.

Further, the increase in LPG price and the cap in its domestic use, would spawn another scam /corruption which now is a default setting among us.

And to stay in governance the Government would be very tempted to turn a blind eye on the misdeeds. So what must be done to balance “growth” and come out of the log-jam which is called “policy paralysis”?

As always, each problem has sustainable solutions; we only need to find them and in this article through the use of CDM.

In a recent debate, to the current situation at TIMES NOW TV, one of the guest in the Panel quoted – ” Darkness is not opposite of Light but the absence of light”.  Resonating the sentiment I would say that the failure of the CDM policy is not the failure of the idea, for the idea in itself is the original “Green Business Idea”  under which heading I have written many a blog and today I rest my arguments with the link to a series of those which directly point to a solution. What is required is to make the system a little more fool-proof. And to this extent the media, with its depth of reach should partner those who walk the path towards sustainability.

It is well documented, that traditionally in India the debt of the Father is paid by the Son. Horrific tales of the Bonded Labour are known to many. But if it’s a sad tale, it also has an opposite side. The side which investors in CDM and the Banks need to see; the honesty of the grass-root citizens of India. Unlike corporate frauds, they pay their debts. At times with their lives.

The Indian as opposed to the pseudo (westernised) Indian, always has paid respect to Nature and if one takes any religious festival of India, Nature is given due importance. In my earlier article Disconnect from ones culture is the root cause of Global Warming & Disconnect from ones culture is the root cause of Global Warming;Part-II Killing Trees; I have tried to document this aspect within the limited knowledge I could gather.

Further, I believe that the concepts which I have attempted to project through many of the articles termed Green Business Ideas, and especially – Renewable Energy – Empowering Women & Saving Forests; Green Building Ideas:Using Solar panels as roofing sheet instead of asbestos. All have the potential to earn CDM benefits. We can call them CER or REC; the money can be international or national but it must be available at the grass-root level. And at the level where innovations make a difference.

Greenhouse gas intensity in 2000 including lan...

Greenhouse gas intensity in 2000 including land-use change. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While we still need to rip the bowels of our Mother Earth, to feed our insatiable needs, we can actually limit them by creative thought; Green Business Ideas: Solar Panels can save water in the fields for farmers.This very act alone would save thousands of petro-dollars and improve the fiscal  deficit. While at the same time creating millions of jobs in the service and allied industries of the Solar market. While the above thoughts look at the Indian grass-roots, the middle class too can benefit and its mental outlook can be changed with Green Business Innovation : Offices can now print on a E-paper and save forest.;Green Business Ideas: Carbon Credits opportunities in Green Townships.But these too, need the support form the UNFCCC and the Banks which traditionally look at large caps and easy return; which lead to the fraud in the first place.

While the present Mumbai city many not have enough roof-space to generate its own electricity, by making laws for future re-developments and up-coming townships (Green Business Ideas: the missing LEED/GRIHA credits can help boost economy worldwide.) a great amount of job creation and by that default wealth can be generated. The crisis of energy can be tackled and that should be the goal.

Within a span of 10 years, should Sustainable building methods become norm, the government can further cut its fiscal deficit by increasing the energy tariff to what it should be, while encouraging CDM benefits for the common person. The concept is addressed somewhat in Green Business Ideas – Applying Solar OPEX model on Green Buildings will make Grid parity easy.

 The government in its first avatar of UPA-I started well in the path towards sustainability; but partisan politics and myopic views of both the political and corporate masters have not helped in boosting the concept which it came out with (Green Business Ideas : India should promote NSM & NMSH to make NMEEE a success)What it must do is lend its ear to the citizens, who always care for good governance and will stand as a solid wall of support if the benefits from CDM flows directly towards them, instead of becoming another profit-making tool for the unscrupulous corporate entities.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rio+20 – the Green Initiative.


The statement from Paul Simpson, CDP’s Chief Executive Officer reads;

….. as we approach the Rio+20 Earth Summit, which will focus heavily on how to account for the way businesses use the planet’s natural capital. Investors and corporations are becoming increasingly aware of the extent to which their value chains are influenced by natural resource constraints which lead to increasing price volatility and risk of business interruption. CDP has pioneered a global disclosure system that helps businesses understand and value the current and future impacts from a changing climate and natural resource scarcity, as the world seeks to move towards a sustainable economy.

Forests provide essential ecosystem services that underpin our well being and economic prosperity and their destruction contributes around 15% of global carbon emissions. The issues of energy, climate change, water and forests should not be considered in isolation as all are inextricably linked. Having this information in one place will encourage and facilitate joined up thinking on the subject.

Making climate finance an effective driver of sustainable development, is now the most important subject that needs a through discussion, it was observed at the side events in the run up to Rio+20 Summit – on the 13th June that, Climate finance could become a powerful driver of sustainable development. By supporting mitigation, adaptation and capacity building, it can help build the governmental, social, economic and physical infrastructures needed to achieve poverty reduction and green economy growth. However, without concerted efforts to strengthen the governance of climate financing, these goals will remain elusive.

Presently climate money is channelled through a complex network of public and private institutions, where decision-making can be opaque and unaccountable, and independent oversight absent or under-funded. This heightens the risk of policy capture, mismanagement or corruption; all serious impediments to the Rio+20 agenda. Fiduciary standards such as those espoused by the GEF represent an important attempt to safeguard climate financing against abuse. Transparency, accountability and ethics are fundamental. But what are the challenges to implementing and enforcing these safeguards? And what are the best practice scenarios we can learn from?

The Rio+20 conference comes at a critical time in the development of climate finance governance. This year the global Green Climate Fund will enter into operation, once key decisions are taken over its governance structures. In 2012, OECD countries will also have to deliver on outstanding fast-track climate finance commitments, meaning billions of US dollars should enter circulation before December. Given the potential volumes involved and the relatively untested nature of its institutional framework, climate finance must be treated as a new and emerging challenge’, distinct from development aid. The Rio+20 outcome document currently under negotiation is missing this link.

World leaders have a chance at Rio+20 to stop subsidizing fossil fuels to the tune of nearly $1 trillion and make an important dent in reducing global warming.

English: CSR approaches CSR framework

English: CSR approaches CSR framework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above statements which I have gathered together, shows that there is a lot of movement towards actually having a GEF which can make the desired positive change towards climate change. But what is most important is to have CSR mandatory, in India we are having a lot of buzz around the Government proposal of making CSR mandatory with both FICCI and CII opposing it. Before we understand in depth the reason for this opposition, let us put on record that nearly 16% of the top 100 listed companies in India are already having an  CSR policy in place.

Now how many from the 16% are actually into People -Planet -Profit the 3 bottom line, which should make the baseline of any CSR is not known.

Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility

Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility (Photo credit: Geoff Livingston)

Corporate will do anything in which they see value. So when we speak of  CSR, and CDP would be seen as such; we must be able to actually gauge which corporate is actually  utilizing Community resources, and giving back to the People and Planet over and above what it must. Because more often than not, the mandatory obligation such as rehabilitating the project affected people, say from a mining site or a hydro-power project is passed on as CSR.  So the danger lies in the CDP being used for market study of a corporate to understand its future business plans and passed on as CSR.

Another, danger is that we are already seeing a lot of commitment  based  on absent funds, especially in relation to solutions which have a direct bearing to climate change. There are Governments which in one hand declaring a financial crisis and on the other hand committing Millions for Climate change mitigation. How are both possible ? At Rio+20 we must keep our hearing sharp to understand fact from fiction.

Having said that, we all know that Peoples are interested in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. And this may be somewhat possible even without “money” as we understand the term. My suggestion would be that policy makers around the World can sit down and list product and process which they have in excess and find a system to barter that advantage with other Nations who have a deficit of the same. Thus some of the commitments which otherwise would have required money and man-power can be overcome. The idea is to look at “profit” from all-together different perspective and thus give a new meaning to the “triple bottom line”.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MayDay…Earth Calling…!


1st May – International Labour day is also the raising day for the State of Maharashtra, India. On this day it became officially one of the States in the Union of independent India, post British Raj.  Maharashtra attained statehood on 1st of May, 1960 when the then state Bombay state was divided into two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the basis of different languages, Marathi and Gujarati,under the Saurashtra re-organization act.

On this 1 May evening, as an invitee to the Governor House in Mumbai, I had the good fortune to hear his excellency the Governor of Maharashtra speak, before felicitating the Padma Bhusan and the Padma Shree from the State. The  third and the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. Among the regal settings and protocol, what struck me most was what our Governor spoke, especially about food and water. Touching the subject of Climate Change on such an important day, he underscored the thinking of the State as well as the Government of India, which had mooted the NAPCC a few year ago.

Yet, are we doing enough ? And in time ? The answers to my thoughts as I sat in the regal “Durbar” Hall came to me in today’s DNA news paper. Where a few headings stood out –

NABARD‘s lies on restructuring process; The National Bank on Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) set up to finance agriculture and rural development, has been giving evasive replies to specific questions raised by the Union Finance ministry and the Parliament…. showing that in the primer organisation set up by an act of parliament in 1981, all is not well. Then in the following pages were more grim news –

5 more Vidarbha farmers commit suicide; according to a farmer advocacy group, the total number of suicides by farmers has reached 332 in the four months of 2012.And then a news from the legislative assembly –

Congress MLAs: Government blind to eastern Maharashtra drought; CM urged not to ignore the situation in Vidarbha and Marathwada. And then in the business page a story ran –

India’s Consumer story is ticking well; The result of Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Dabur and Godrej hold out hope because the aam aadmi (Hindi for – common person) is doing his bit to keep the engine of the economy ticking.

What I found ironical is how can such diverse report be published in the same day, talking of the common person in such diverse perspective, one of hope and the other of gloom? What is then to be believed? Are the business predictions which speak of India’s resilient and resurgent economy correct or the fate of poor farmers and the sceptre of drought and famine in the State of Maharashtra incorrect?

In my opinion here lies the danger, the danger of many of us not being able to listen to the distress calls of “Mayday” by both the common person and mother Earth. Because, lulled as many would be from the report of the stellar performance and statements from the captains of industry; the result they hold is more holistic than any region specific. Therefore the bountiful opportunity say the consumers and people of the state of Gujrat project is not necessarily the picture which the poorer and deeply distressed states both in terms of governance and vagaries of climate may project. But this will never get reflected in any Corporate pie-chart or graph; simply because such graphs have not been created, which can project such complex problems in one go. Because had it been so, then the very companies such as Unilever , Godrej and the rest who are truly trying to be Climate responsive would have been measured in their response.

But due to this inaccuracy the message that reaches out to the vast majorities of common persons, who are not affected by famine and drought, is that everything is fine and we can continue to consume and pollute and live irresponsibly. And this most true for those who are live in the mega cities. And it is the mega cities; in which all the political and corporate masters reside and usually keep it insular from all problems should be most afraid. Because when ( “IF” – is a very remote chance) the last chain in the socio-environment snaps, the cascading effect of food and water crises would effect the mega cities most.

We all know that drought is a condition which occurs in absence of water which can not always be attributed to absence of monsoon. I may not be an expert on water but reading about it since I was a school student, I can deduce a very simple fact that, water management is the solution. Monsoon is a natural cycle and it has never failed to arrive in the Indian sub-continent even once in the last 10 years at least. So, if we still face drought in Maharashtra then it is the fault of our governance and utter failure of implementing proper water management solutions.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To understand this, one only needs to pause and look around, such as the city of Mumbai. It does not have a single lake within the town barring the Powai lake, which does not hold sufficient water to feed the total populace, so water comes from outside the city.  All its food comes from miles away. It does not even have  housing colonies, where homes have kitchen -gardens. Or a well from which non-polluted drinking water can be drawn. These were long paved over, and trees cut down. In the tree census report of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), it was reported that there is 1 tree for every 9 men in this city of Gujrat. According to the global ratio of total trees per person, there should be 61 trees per person. If this is true, then Mumbai would perhaps have a fraction of a tree per person. And it is an established fact that trees hold ground water and also help reduce heat island effect. Trees are also source of food.

Tough Work, Maharashtra

Tough Work, Maharashtra (Photo credit: Michael Foley Photography)

Therefore in an eventuality of a consecutive wide-spread drought in Maharashtra, the city of Mumbai would be toast. And I do not mean only the heat.With scarcity of water and food, it is but obvious that to supply the very same to the city, the administration would have to deny some to the rural populace. What that can lead to is best left aside, while we earnestly look for solutions. The solutions we require are simple. Climate responsive laws need to be implemented, not just printed and tabled in the assemblies.

But if the answer to it is we are still facing drought in-spite of  implementation of all the recommendations,then Climate change is already staring at us and bringing with it the devastation foretold.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Renewable Energy is viable..period.


The preamble

The power of raw sunshine at midday on a cloudless day is 1000 W per  square meter. We can turn this raw power into useful power in four ways:

1. Solar thermal: using the sunshine for direct heating of buildings or water.

2. Solar photovoltaic: generating electricity.

3. Solar biomass: using trees, bacteria, algae, corn, soy beans, or oilseed to make energy fuels, chemicals, or building materials.

4. Food: the same as solar biomass, except we shovel the plants into humans or other animals.

David JC MacKay

With the run-up to Rio+20 Summit and the UNEP driven Future Cities program the use of RE especially Solar becomes more and more important.

With the tremendous pressure all Nations are facing over Environmental Impacts from their citizens, who are getting more and more aware about the disasters non-sustainable living; Bangkok would be a very recent example; RE in all form would have to be accepted and assimilated main-stream. Let there be no confusion that the Economy of the world are driven by three basic needs from time immemorial – Food, Clothing & Shelter. I will deal separately the issues of Energy -Water in detail later.

Food – Requires energy, from plantation to processing to cooking.

Clothing – Textile industry are considered one of the high energy usage sector.

Shelter – About 40% of GHG (green house gas) comes from building related activities.

In many countries Sustainable Building design have been adopted in form of BREEAM, LEED, IGBC etc. Nations have committed to the UNFCCC agenda of keeping the world temperature from rising another 2°c. All that requires tremendous dedicated effort from all sectors.

And most importantly, busting the myth of negative Return on Investment (RoI) put forward by the fossil fuel industry.

The Argument

In my opinion, if the home I live in sinks under the sea because I refused to pay a little more now to avail RE sources for my energy needs over coal/oil, I don’t think myself much of an economist.

An economist is a person who plans for the welfare of generations to come, albeit his own. Given the fuel lobbyist are pandering to this very self agenda, however there is a small flaw – their path would just sink the landmass; not much of an economic playing field will be then left, for the future generation !

Having said that, let’s see if we can still make a case of RoI with using RE in its present economic form. Today the cost of generation of power is “compared to” the cost of generation of power via fossil fuel. This in itself is a flawed argument. As I’m not an economist, my examples would be simple. Also I would perhaps not be 100% accurate in my assessment.

Now to begin with my theory – Fossil fuel has been used as a primary source of energy since man learned to control fire; however it was during the industrial revolution with the advent of steam engine did the consumption of fossil fuel jump exponentially. But if documents are researched, energy from fossil fuel driven carts would not have been cheaper than horse driven carriages in the then predominantly agrarian era. Neither was flying over ship when its time came!

It was only by economy of scale that these things became “cheaper”. Also because they became popular, flying though costlier than travel by ship saved time, thus the merchant could do more business within the allotted time, than waste more of it via land/sea travel. So even if flying (even today) is costlier than sea/land travel, the business person calculates his RoI in the form of time saved! Now if for some reason the venture fails, then the RoI becomes bad. So for a successful business person air-travel is good RoI and for the other bad! So in lay-man terms RoI is a subjective matter. It depends on what is the datum of your argument. I have as yet to see any person who buys a fuel guzzling car ever calculate RoI. Therefore RoI is a concept which needs to be researched better.

Further warming up to this argument, how does one say that the cost of generation from Thermal power is cheaper than Renewable Energy? Does it factor in the destruction – ecological, social & physical (pollution leads to host of diseases)? Moreover, it can but consumed only once. You burn the coal or oil, it would not come back to you, and you can’t replenish it via any natural process. It can be argued that the paradigm of Business is different from literally logic which perhaps is what I’m professing. However with “Eurocracy” in serious danger perhaps all business models need to be restructured.

The Solution

Now, having vented my exasperation on the fossil fuel lobby’s clever wining technique, let us dwell on the subject of improving the reach of Sustainable energy production. Just as any new technology in its infancy faces teething trouble, so is the RE industry.

Amongst all, Solar is the most promising and perhaps therefore faces most challenges. Its plant efficiency factor is very low, it uses large surface area and the present technique of trapping the solar rays are perhaps cumbersome. But given dedicated research and analysis, it is perhaps the best bet. Because there are two things one can bet his last dollar on, the Sunshine and the Breeze. As long as the Earth is there these two would be available for sure.( so would geothermal & wave, but that’s another story) Having understood that, what can we do to make this industry stand on its own? For that we would need changes in mass thinking. Once that is achieved the political class would seal the deal.

To change the mass thinking we need to bring RE into their everyday lives. In India we have the Prime Minister driven Nation Action Plan on Climate Change. Through these the Government is trying to make at first the 9 Industry sectors energy efficient. However the Building Industry is untouched at the moment. Even then if amongst the 9 sectors (Aluminum; Cement; Chlor-alkali; Fertilizer; Iron & Steel; Pulp& Paper; Power; Textile & Railways) have role of the Building industry; as each need their HQ and other Administrative blocks for operations.

 If 10% of energy use for these industries on their above mentioned assets is made mandatory along with offsetting another 5% of energy use by their respective employees residence, we will begin with a massive program, which will truly bring in the scale required to make RE viable. Most importantly, it would act as a compromise. A compromise between the Government who would want NMEEE and PAT to be viable as soon as possible and the said Industrial sectors which is putting forth their argument of the trails & tribulations.

India should lead the SAARC nations in providing  Solar -RE for its rural and most importantly Tier-II, III & IV towns and cities. This is because, availability of roof-top to pattern of consumption; is complementary to each-other. That is, most of the residential buildings are single owner 1-3 storied buildings with ample roof and land area. Along with it the residents are yet to be “spoilt” by the crass consumerist life-style which the mega-cities of India have taken to, in its quest to become more “western”. They by default consume less energy and this itself becomes an advantage to put small systems on their roof-tops to amply fulfill their energy needs.

Already most countries are familiar with “Green Building” concepts through LEED / GRIHA / BREEAM etc. Energy efficiency is becoming important to sustainable living and the concept of “Green Power” is getting introduced by these rating systems. Here too through local legislation or voluntary CSR 25% of a residential complex (min 100 flats) power needs could be through Solar PV. This would translate to the power consumed by the lift, gate/boundary lights and other common space lighting. Though the need for space to power the demand may not get fulfilled by the roof-tops alone, innovative and practical ideas are available! In sustainable terms if say each & every society of say, a city like Mumbai, more importantly the affluent districts in the city adopt the Solar roof-top solution the State of Maharashtra can better manage its Energy problems.

Translate this concept to New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore or Hyderabad and we can already see RoI of solar extremely practical.

Perhaps it can also inspire other countries to love Ra – the Sun God, as Civilization did when it began its journey!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Green Business Ideas :Bombay can produce 2MW / day of Electricity by just adding Piezoelectric tiles on railway stations.


While better building designs are happening all over the world, what puts India & China apart from the other BASIC countries is the sheer population. A lot of predictions are happening that the per capita emission from India & China would be more in the coming years than its polluting friends the EU, USA, Canada, Japan and the rest.

It requires a serious leap of faith as how would India, which although called an Emerging Nation could ever have a per-capita emission of 20 ton CO2e when most of rural India still burns a kerosene lamp and that  amount to around about 2 watts of light, and that  too only for 4 hours as the fuel even though heavily subsidized, is still costly for them. One has to however, agree that the megalopolis of India namely Mumbai (Bombay) & Delhi followed by Bangalore, Hyderabad,  Chennai, Kolkata and other class I & II cities are catching up to the consumerist character, without moderation in its run up to be known as advanced and “happening” Cities. And here there could be a danger of the citizens catching up to their EU / US  counterparts in matching the CO2e emission, in the nearest future.

So, what does the Indian cities have which the American / European cities don’t? Which is usually a bane but in this instance can be turned into a boon? Simple – mind-boggling population. If we only tap the Urban population traveling in suburban trains we can do wonders in reducing CO2e. Let me take a little more time to explain how.

The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the oldest in Asia, it was founded in 1867. It is owned by Indian Railways and is operated by Western Railways and Central Railways. With a length of 303 km, It has highest passenger density in the world, 6.3 million people daily travel by the Suburban railways, within Mumbai & its suburbs. I bet this population would be more than many countries.

Now imagine if we can place Piezoelectric tiles in all the suburban station? Just at the entry point?  Lets do some simple calculation.

Let say an average person, weighing 60 kg, will generate only 0.1 watt in the single second required to take two steps across the tile of size 2 feet x 2 feet. So if we multiply population by the watt produced;  6000000 x 0.1 = 600,000 watts.

This would be around 600 KW of electricity generated per day.

We would off-course need more than just one tile, this is just to explain the logic. And a minimum of 2 MW per day could be generated from the suburban stations alone. All that would be required is to understand the cost factor and incentives from the Government, to initially popularize it.

Now if we increase the scope of the tile and use it in malls, hospitals, sub-way entrances the City would start to generate a decent amount of energy, which can then be used to power the street lights and common lights. As it would become more and more popular, India would perhaps start manufacturing this locally and soon having piezoelectric door mats at the entrance of lobbies in housing societies around the City. Or perhaps China, with its superb business acumen start manufacturing and selling them in India and other South East Asian countries.

The most beautiful thing about this invention is its portability. Once adapted to Indian conditions,  various State Governments could create a program along with reputed NGO’s to  carry out them in remote village schools. The power generated by Human feet can really empower and revolutionize India and even African, South East Asia and Latin American Nations.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Renewable Energy – Formula for Cheaper Hospital bills and Cleaner Air


Hospitals require enormous amount of energy to run. No hospital which take care of critical illness can have even for a moment not have power supply .  So  the light bulbs, fans and small exhaust and most importantly those plug points holding the mobile chargers. Yes! the Mobile charger, though individually does not amount too much power load, when multiplied a few 1000 times it matters! And trust me no ward waiting upon a patient  in the hospital wants his Mobile battery to be out of charge! These along with Computers care clubbed into the LDP, while the Air-conditioners, Di-humidifiers and filtration plants along with hot-water boilers is connected to the HDP. In engineering terms used in my country we say LDP & HDP ( light and heavy-duty power  ). And above all the breathing apparatus, operation theater machinery are  critical activities that can’t be stopped even for a Milli second. Therefore hospitals are designed with huge diesel generators for back up power.

Diesel generators ( even the “greenest” one ) belch fumes and make noise. What could be more ironical than Health Care which is supposedly to remove pollution ( as all disease can be termed ) form the Human body is perhaps inadvertently becoming party to Climate Change. This I’m sure no self-respecting and thinking Health care professional anywhere  around the World would want.

Renewable Energy can be the Messiah  for this, yet it is too costly today for all well-meaning Health Care institute to afford. And Government subsidy is not the answer. Because subsidy is not sustainable unless it has a practical back-up plan. So what can be done ? The answer in my humble opinion is simple. Take it to the people.

Everyday there are thousands of patients who visit hospitals and are cured of their malaise; thankful for a new lease of renewed life many donate to charity, some donate to the hospital. If this simple idea is taken forward and ( with a clear and transparent with proper accountability – especially for India ) each patient were to be asked to donate say between 1% to 10% of the total Hospital fee as Renewable Energy Cess, within a span of say 5 years almost all Health Care Units would perhaps become near self-sufficient in their daily requirement of Energy.

And why would the public pay up ? Simple again, convert each persons donation  into some kind of equity, so every time s/he visits and pays the RE cess, s/he becomes a partner to the energy plant. Now as the energy plant would reduce the overall energy bill the hospital pays over time, an expense it passes on to its consumer ( read patient ) the patient should benefit through a rebate on his/her bills! It’s a win-win situation for all. And it could be  modeled on other service industries too !

The State/Country benefits; the consumer & hospital benefits and most important  the Earth Breaths a little better !

True the problem of space for installing Renewable Energy Plant near the Hospitals may not be possible to solve at most time, this is where the Government subsidy should focus. To wheel in the power created by the RE power plants afar, through its established Grid and not charge the hospitals for it.

It would be also freeing up the traditional Grid power supply and thus create a ‘surplus’ for the Government to supply power to other areas and help Emerging Nations to develop further and for Developed Nations the idea could help in reducing their GHG emissions.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s Better Building Initiative – a lesson for India


Some where in February 2011 President Obama of the USA, lauched the Better Building Initiative. He laid out his vision for winning the future by investing in innovative clean energy technologies and doubling the share of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Alongside that effort, the President is proposing new efforts to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings across the country. Tax breaks, grants and loan guarantees will be among the initiatives to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 20 percent in the next ten years. The President’s Better Buildings Initiative will make commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, and other commercial buildings. This initiative builds on USA’s investments through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and its  continued commitment to passing the President’s proposed “HOMESTAR” legislation to encourage American families to make energy saving upgrades in their homes. Improving energy efficiency in  buildings can create jobs, save money, reduce USA’s dependence on foreign oil, and make its  air cleaner.

In India we started practising LEED about 6 years ago and in the last 2 years also developed the National rating for Energy Efficient Buildings – GRIHA. We were perhaps the first few who understood the importance of Climate change and ratified the Kyoto protocol. In a poll on awareness about global warming, India has a rating of above 50%. Yet the USA which has not signed the Kyoto protocol and perhaps is one of the biggest polluter would surpass and excel India in its effort to make Climate resilient cities.

Simply because of the failings of our political class. The seer arrogance and blinkered approach it has towards any fresh ideas and its tendency to pat itself on the back on presumed achievements. The Government talks of creating world-class cities and hardly any original thought is applied, confusing and dogmatic approach is taken towards any town-planing which stifles growth and  breeds corruption.

If the Government chooses, it can make an effort to redevelop our cities in the same lines of President Obama, and give a new lease of life to our overburdened metropolises and at the same time create new job opportunities.The 12th JNNURM Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Missionis on the anvil and serious thought on these lines must be given if we wish to create a safe and economically vibrant country.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,