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Thypoon Haiyan – the teardrop of an Angry Earth.


With Haiyan….the pain of understanding what is to further unfold has gripped me as it would have those who have spent countless hours in convincing and making aware the world on the dangers of Climate Change and have seen too little happening on the ground.

When I wrote the article Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”., a year has passed on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and the World has experienced Planet Earth’s invite – Danse Macabre,

Worldwide Natural Disasters List – has grown manifold. To create the desired impact, I have listed each and every disaster which hit India. From January to September 2013. The list contains countries listed from A to Z and all have a similar story. Readers are free to horrify themselves and I hope at the end of it start doing something about it.

The Planet is running out on time.

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

The chairman of the United Nations’ climate panel has warned the world to act on global warming to avoid passing “on a lousy, spoilt and defiled planet” to future generations.Rajendra K Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), spoke out as typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines causing hundreds of deaths and widespread destruction. While Pachauri said it was not possible to blame any single disaster on the steep rise in carbon emissions, the increased frequency of extreme weather events was consistent with scientific predictions.

And yet we have a World which considers itself smart with “leaders” expert in “Realpolitik”.

Ah! the shame and the futility of intellect can never be more stark….

MOSCOW, Oct 3

Arctic Oil Production Could Begin Later This Year As Russia’s Gazprom Prepares To Tap Reserves: Gazprom has announced that it is on track to begin oil production this year at the Prirazlomnoye Arctic oil project that has ignited protests from environmental groups over the dangers of possible oil spills.

“As was envisaged, production is expected to start by the year-end,” Gazprom Neft Shelf, a unit of Gazprom, said in an email to Reuters – the first public remarks by the company since Greenpeace activists tried to scale the production platform at Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil project last month.

On Wednesday Russia charged Greenpeace activists with piracy for their demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, which the Kremlin sees as a key to Russia’s future prosperity.

Arctic offshore oil and gas development is crucial for Russia, which relies on hydrocarbon sales for more than half its budget revenue. The Ministry of Natural Resources puts the offshore oil resources at 100 billion tonnes, which would be enough to satisfy global demand for 25 years at current consumption levels……..

WASHINGTON,June 25, 2013

President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan, which calls for an end to public financing for new coal plants overseas, has raised our hopes for a cleaner and safer future … We believe the best way to ensure development is through low carbon growth — not new lignite fired power plants … We therefore ask the U.S. state department to lead a new U.S. Government effort to identify clean alternatives to a proposed coal fired power plant in the country that can be supported by the World Bank Group…..(more)

BANGKOK, 14 October 2013

A National Resilience Award to inspire local leadership to build safer communities launched last week in the Philippines……..UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Senator Loren Legarda unveiled the initiative on the same weekend in which Typhoon Nari left at least 13 people dead in the northern provinces of the Philippines; a reminder of the urgent need to strengthen resilience in the Philippines….At least 750,000 people were affected before the typhoon made its way out into the South China Sea towards China and Viet Nam.(more)

Firefox_Screenshot_2013-11-10T10-02-34.172ZWarming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased….

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971……..

Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system. – Excerpts from SREX report by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);the leading international body for the assessment of climate change endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Typhoon Haiyan: More than 10,000 feared dead in Philippines; 600,000 evacuated in Vietnam

TACLOBAN/HANOI: A super typhoon that destroyed entire towns across the Philippines is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, authorities said on Sunday, which would make it the country’s deadliest recorded natural disaster…..The scenes in Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, and other coastal towns were reminiscent of a tsunami aftermath, with concrete slabs the only part of many homes remaining, vehicles flipped over and power lines destroyed……The Philippines endures a seemingly never-ending pattern of deadly typhoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and other natural disasters….

It is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Dear Friends and Colleagues, in this session we shall try to find areas of synergy for society in its quest for living in a sustainable environment. I will not preach about Global Warming. Experts on Climate change have already spoken on them and Mother Nature has been politely ( Yes! Hurricane Sandy & Katrina, Cyclone Phailin and Typhoon Haiyan are but a polite nudge; if one understands the tremendous force Earth holds in its bosom)  reminding the Human Civilization on how fragile and pompous is its claim to be the most intelligent and mighty animal on Earth.Civilization is battered, but is yet to come to its senses.Society was always in synergy with Nature it has always been sustainable and one with the Environment. Until the time when we thought it more prudent to follow a culture and life-style alien to our very ethos. When we started considering, without proper thought to design and build, to trade and commerce, to act and think what someone else considered fashionable. While the intelligence lies in following what is good; irrespective of region or nation from where it might have originated. in the past 100 odd years we have behaved like college kids, who would wear any dress which would be trending at the time, irrespective of it suiting or not.We in our pursuit of narrow self-interest forget that with every new technology we adopt, without indigenization it could be detrimental to Sustainable practice, when looked at from the perspective of the Millennium & Sustainable  Development Goals, (as it does not factor at times, of creating jobs or preserve the ecosystem but, deny that opportunity altogether.)

The rate at which we are destroying greener pastures without stopping to think how we can improve the very cities we live in will eventually lead us to situations which almost all of us are very familiar with.

And it is not just the greed of the people directly involved in that event but perhaps all of us sitting in far away plush offices and homes. If we look into ourselves we all have the self-righteous belief that it is only the elected representatives and the administration which is responsible for all things that is required to run a civilization.

Honesty and discipline can’t be selective.

From following simple traffic rules and building by-laws to complex environmental issues; the so called innocent common man is rarely honest when it comes upon himself to follow those rules.

There could be many of us who must know a neighbour who has an endangered turtle in his/her fish tank but don’t even bother?

Tigers are killed because some humans believe that eating parts of them would be beneficial. Trees in tropical and rain-forest are chopped because some in south Asian cities  believe that having a golf course could help turn their brown skin a bit more white and western  (albeit a little brown).

Tree logs are smuggled because without a polished Burma Teak floor, a style statement can’t be made about how rich the man is.

The Panda is near extinct because without fine paper to write upon the CEO can’t work. Without having a printed email, she/he can’t decide coherently.

The fashion conscious can’t be seen wearing the same dress & accessories twice.

But to arrest that we must delve deep into ourselves to find a solution. Unless we understand that each individual reading  this and those outside, whizzing past their window, without any knowledge or interest of what is transpiring within; come together,  we would be facing a calamity so terrible that World War-II would pale by comparison.

The onus is on us to change our life-style. While not one climate scientist or environmentalist suggest that we go back and live in caves; if there would be no irrational demand, exploitation beyond rationale can’t happen.

Even the choice of a petrol/diesel guzzling Car, the fetish of using every cosmetic which boast of all the fruits and vegetables which a hungry third world Nations never gets to eat creates the vicious circle where armed guards swoop down from helicopters to arrest those who were in their own way trying to arrest the slide to climate chaos!

History has always proven that Civilization takes a turn when there is mass movement. But that mass movement finds legitimacy when the elite partake to make the change; therefore it is for those who understand the dangers of unsustainable living create opportunity and solutions which the mass can relate to.

We must nudge the common man in relating every-day events to the Climate Change and how we can adapt if not mitigate the consequence of global warming, the threats of which is already manifest – the drama of Danse Macabre which Mother earth has started playing with regular shows, each more intense or frequent than the last.

A bigger disastrous calamity may befall if steps are not taken; every day, every moment, by all at the micro-level which is catalysed by sound policy at the macro level by the Nation, thus help in making those micro level changes easier for people to adopt and benefit from.

We must understand that Food-Clothing-Shelter will always come in the same order of precedence as it has from time immemorial.

The first necessity after any disaster is Food & Water; Clothing and Shelter….it must be remembered.. always!


 

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Sustainable Development Goals – the grassroot barriers


With all the talk we do about environment protection, safe deposing of toxic substance and circular economy, this recent advertisement actually shows us how shallow the words on environment protection are and how the Corporate world would still love teach the “developing” countries and the “third world” countries what it knows best – Destruction.

This Kohler-Co-Boom-Crash-Bang advertisement makes me cry out in despair. And another by the scooter manufacturer Hero, in their latest product Hero Maestro, proudly displays the IQ of the advertisement company, whose creative could think of the story board  where a parody is made out of a rare bird watching (connecting to nature) and bringing it down to the frivolous. While the former advert is a complete anti-thesis to all  talk about austerity and balanced consumption. It is a slap on the face of the  authors and followers of the Sustainable Development, Millennium Development and the Inclusive Wealth Report. While a free world has a right to express itself and  individuals should live a life-style of their own choosing; the time for vulgar extravagance which directly impacts nature must be curbed.

That such large companies who should know better the impact of visual medium on the minds of the audience is a telling report on the rot of the human race and the failure of us collectively to educate our children and ourselves on the dangers of Climate Change and the impact of Global Warming. Before the Rio+20 summit of the UNFCCC, I had made an appeal in form on an article that the United Nations, CAN International, Green Peace International and other Climate change forums like the CIICESD, WBCSD should create advertisements to create awareness. –UNFCCC – A Little Advertisement can help save Earth.

In three days time I would be using my printer for the last time. The reason is that Lexmark the company could not create a mark of its own in India. An absolutely perfect, 5-in-one printer is junk for want of ink cartridges!  The manufacturers do not have a mechanism in place to take back goods for recycle. And with all the hype on  the mechanism for Reuse – Recycle – Renew  is just as nascent as it was when the concept dawned. No company likes to standardize products such as ink of a printer, because they want only to sell their own goods. And the government too is a mute spectator to this tamasha!

Being the LEED / GRIHA  consultant, I believe in walking the talk. Using energy-efficient products, using public transport as far as possible. In effect the Reuse – Renew – Recycle is our core practice. So I went to the store from where I had purchased it and asked if there is any exchange offer, or would they at-least take it for proper recycling. The answer was a resounding No!

Next, I went to Lamington Road, the famous electronic bazaar of Mumbai. It is from here all electronic trade for India happen. ” My friend, if you wish you can leave the printer with me”, said my friend; an electronic goods trader and repair shop owner. ” Every month I sell junk I will sell this too.” he said. However he warned me that he was doing this as a favour and I should not expect any money on it. I know he was telling the truth, I tried selling a few cellular phones I own. Having bought them at an average price of Rupees 18,000 each, the total price offered by a second sale shop was Rupees 500 ! And I bought them in the year 2010 AD!!

As you can see from my personal experience stated above, and I’m sure there would be similar resonance from like minded individuals; there is absolutely no incentive in recycling. And the rich ( who consume most) would rather destroy a perfect home to build another, rather than even pause for a minute to think about the homeless, the needy or the poor. And that is exactly why the larger corporations and the advertisement companies should all the more take the responsibility and initiative to educate the masses on the merits of recycling. And initiate actions through business forums to standardize products which is needlessly complicated.

For, example I can insert my SIM card into a tablet, a 4-G cell phone or even the 1st generation cell phone and it would work. But when it comes to brand I still choose one over the other. That perception will always stay. All said and done there is a Brand loyalty. Ask Apple or Google or Microsoft.

If Kohler is listening then here is what I would have done the advertisement –  a perfect home being dismantled and being given away to the homeless or an orphanage, while building a new one around a tap.

Yes! it’s just a tap, when one turns it provides water, and for those living in the suburbs of some of the famous megalopolis in India; foul and dirty municipal water – Not Milk and Honey. So please grow up.

And  as a LEED/ GRIHA consultant, after watching this advertisement it would be difficult to recommend the product for any Green Building project.

 

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Future Energy – Which are the three finalist ?


a collage about renewable energy. see at the s...What would be the best Sustainable Energy solution, if we can finally change over from the current set of energy options we have today? That it would be a renewable and clean energy is obvious, but which among the ones would it be? With various opinions and expert advise, the common persons tends to get confused. However, it would finally be the common person who would finally choose the Energy Next.  It is therefore important to make them aware from  a holistic point of view about all the Energy Mix that is available and help make a informed choice, because the Earth as we know today, hurtling towards cataclysmic GHG induced Climate Change, does not have the luxury of time to learn from mistakes any-more.

Conventional Energy – the total conventional energy field of Nuclear, Coal, Oil and Gas is considered cheaper than the Renewable and Alternative Energy which are being advocated. I am not discussing Hydro, neither Macro nor Micro, because with the pitiable state of Water in the World, having enough for irrigation and drinking would be a challenge in itself. And nobody in there right mind would like to build another huge dam, without inviting controversy. And for the smaller ones, finding a fast flowing stream close to civilisation is difficult.  Perhaps one must also tread with caution when we look at the total boutique of Alternate and Renewable Energy source and not take things at face value.

We will explore through this article each form of energy and do a comparative analysis of the pro & cons. And in the most simple way possible.

1. Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world’s energy and 13–14% of the world’s electricity. Although now considered conventional due to the time frame it has been around, Nuclear technology is both an alternative energy as well as a renewable energy. Nuclear fusion and nuclear fission are two different types of energy-releasing reactions in which energy is released from high-powered atomic bonds between the particles within the nucleus. The main difference between these two processes is that fission is the splitting of an atom into two or more smaller ones while fusion is the fusing of two or more smaller atoms into a larger one.

Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and IAEA, contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions. It’s more environmentally beneficial solution since it emits far fewer greenhouse gases during electricity generation than coal or other traditional power plants.

Opponents, such as Greenpeace International and NIRS, believe that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment. Radiation isn’t easily dealt with, especially in nuclear waste and maintenance materials, and expensive solutions are needed to contain, control, and shield both people and the environment from its harm.

2. Coal, is composed primarily of carbon along with variable quantities of other elements, chiefly hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams.

Proponents, Coal could be the world’s most attractive fuel in years to come thanks to the methods of coal purification which are resulting in more cleaner coal, removing sulphur and other dangerous elements. Coal is not only burned directly, but it can also be transformed into liquid or gas form. Its claimed that liquefied or gasified coal burns cleaner, meaning less air pollution.Coal is one of the world’s most plentiful energy sources. Compared with other energy sources, such as oil and natural gas, coal is inexpensive. It has been a useful resource for human consumption throughout history. It is primarily burned as a fossil fuel for the production of electricity and/or heat, and is also used for industrial purposes such as refining metals. Coal, a fossil fuel, is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide.

Opponents, Coal usually has a negative impact on environment, mining can damage ground and surface waters and when coal burns as the fuel it releases CO2 which is the main greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The soft coal, which many power plants burn, contains sulphur. When the gaseous by-products are absorbed in clouds, precipitation becomes sulphuric acid. Coal sometime also contains radioactive material. A coal-fired power plant may also emit some radiation into the air, and is one of the largest worldwide anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide releases.

3.Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds,  it is a fossil fuel.

Proponents, Due to its high energy density, easy transportability and relative abundance, oil has become the world’s most important source of energy since the mid-1950s. No other energy source can move vehicles with greater speed at longer distances than oil. Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics wax, sulphur, asphalt ; the 16% not used for energy production is converted into these other materials.

Opponents, Oil may contribute to global warming in its production and use by releasing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Burning oil releases extra carbon dioxide, that has been stored in the earth for millions of years. This is disrupting the natural carbon cycle. It also causes strong localized effects. CO, NOx, and particulates damage local ecosystems and directly impact life expectancy (think smog, asthma, etc). Separating and refining oil takes a lot of energy. Oil exists as a mixture of hydrocarbons with traces of sulphur and other compounds. For useful products to be separated from crude oil, it must be treated with “thermal cracking,” an energy-intensive process that separates and reforms different hydrocarbons based on their boiling point.

4.Natural Gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, with up to 20 percent concentration of other hydrocarbons as well as impurities in varying amounts such as carbon dioxide. Natural gas is widely used and is an important energy source in many applications including heating buildings, generating electricity, providing heat and power to industry and vehicles and is also a feedstock in the manufacture of products such as fertilizers.

Proponents, Widely used, contributes 21% of the world’s energy production today. Used extensively for power generation as well as heat.Cleanest of all the fossil fuels. Burns quite efficiently. Emits 45% less CO2 than coal. Emits 30% less CO2 than oil. Low levels of criteria pollutants, (e.g. SOx, NOx) or soot when burned. Can be used as an automotive fuel. Burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel
No waste (e.g. ash ) or residue to deal with. Lighter than air, safer than propane which is heavier than air. Can be used to makes plastics, chemicals, fertilizers and hydrogen.

Opponents, Emits carbon dioxide when burned. Contains 80-95% methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Additionally, there are significant environmental risks associated with “fracking”. Water pollution due to run-off of fracking chemicals. Water can also bring up adsorbed underground toxins including arsenic. GHG footprint of shale gas greater than coal over 100 year time frame.
Fracking has been linked to earthquakes.

The most important fact of Coal, Petroleum and Natural Gas that they are a finite source. And with the World Human population growing to 9 Billion strong, finite source of Energy would soon divide the World into haves and have nots. Wars have been fought for less. Of Nuclear as far as attracting controversy, it can be considered the champion.

So that brings us to the New age energy mix, one one hand is the Alternative Energy and on the other Renewable Energy.While RE is in itself an alternative energy source to the conventional energy, I would still elaborate it so that the common person does not get confused by the smart use of words. Let me explain.  The definition for alternative energy is found thus –Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels.

Say the undesired consequence from coal fired thermal power plants is sulphuric acid rain, so can the alternative be, oil fired power plants or wood is used as fuel ? They would not have the same “undesired consequence” of  the replaced fuel but bring in some other equally undesired results such as decimation of the rain-forest. Or instead of ‘fracking’ the gas,  extraction of Gas Hydrates is propagated as the next alternative. The problem related to it I have already dealt with and can be read via the link. Then there are some alternative energy source, like bio-fuel which presently at a nascent stage to really make an impact. And that too has its own set of problems. One would require vast land mass to cultivate the cash-crop and other  than it having the potential of destroying indigenous plants of the region, it would also require large security to keep it safe from natural disasters and man made mischief.  One may also  consider Nuclear, but unless the science fiction cold fusion becomes a reality, the present form has its own set of disadvantages. Therefore one must pause at the explanation for Alternative fuel which says “undesired consequences of the replaced fuels.

Corporations with vested interested use these very languages to confuse the common person in accepting solutions which are not truly beneficial but can be presented as such till the problems it creates becomes endemic and the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

The bitter truth is there are no real solutions to the problem at present, all the solutions which are being presented are lets say – “bridge solutions”. Although I  am a self declared fan on all Renewable Energy source. (even Nuclear, if its safety can be guaranteed ; unlikely in the present understanding of the technology), the fact can not be denied that for manufacture and transport and assembly of the New Age renewable energy machines, we still need to use mineral and machinery which can not be considered to be “clean”. This we must bear in mind while advocating for the RE technology. Therefore it is imperative that we back the right technology, lest “the sacrifice” we need to make in terms of environmental damage, to create the ultimate clean technology leaves us with no room to manuvere.

This brings us to the Gen Next solution of Renewable Energy. Let’s see how they stack up.

Krafla Geothermal Station.

Krafla Geothermal Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.Geothermal Energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. At the core of the Earth, thermal energy is created by radioactive decay and temperatures may reach over 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5000 degrees Celsius). Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth’s geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.

Proponents,Once produced, geothermal energy is nearly completely non-polluting. Geothermal power plants are relatively inexpensive to operate. The energy is technically renewable and can be used as direct power source. These power plants are environmentally friendly and leave few carbon footprints. Fossil fuels are not needed to bring geothermal power plants on-line.  Geothermal energy (geothermal power) is a vast, renewable, clean, green, low carbon energy source that can be converted to electricity, and used to condition building environments. Improved technologies have the potential to access vast untapped sources of geothermal energy estimated to contain 50,000 times the energy of all oil and gas resources in the world. Geothermal energy requires no combustion; its energy already exists as heat. Capital costs for geothermal installations are lower than for comparable-size fossil or nuclear-fueled plants, and once a plant is built, there are no fuel costs.Where resources are abundant and accessible, geothermal power is already an energy bargain, usually less expensive than electricity generated by coal and nuclear plants It is flexible in its applications. It is well-suited for integrated industrial use – producing electricity, process steam, and heat for a a variety of industries and agricultural activities in a single region. There are no major economies of scale in production; small generating modules can be added one at a time as local development and need dictate.

Opponents, Technology only makes geothermal energy available from certain regions on the planet. Initial drilling costs are expensive and the process is complex.Geothermal energy requires a wide area. It needs to have a massive area in order to lay the pipes and to build the power plant itself. Studying an area if there is enough geothermal energy source is costly. Geothermal energy plants have the possibility to cause earthquakes. It is not viable in areas where geothermal heat is not abundant. Geothermal characteristics change with the area, so exploration is not easy. Geothermal turbine efficiency is comparatively low due to the low temperature and pressure of steam input. Overall plant efficiency is estimated to be about 15 percent less than that of a fossil-fuelled plant. Possible environmental dangers posed are land subsidence; production of waste water with high mineral content; release of noxious gases, such as hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and boron into the atmosphere, and large amounts of water vapour; and noise produced are substantial. Initial construction cost is expensive.

© Guerito 2005

© Guerito 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.Wind Energy, Wind is the movement of air across the surface of the Earth, from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. The surface of the Earth is heated unevenly by the Sun, depending on factors such as the angle of incidence of the sun’s rays at the surface (which differs with latitude and time of day) and whether the land is open or covered with vegetation. Also, large bodies of water, such as the oceans, heat up and cool down slower than the land. The heat energy absorbed at the Earth’s surface is transferred to the air directly above it and, as warmer air is less dense than cooler air, it rises above the cool air to form areas of high pressure and thus pressure differentials. The rotation of the Earth drags the atmosphere around with it causing turbulence. These effects combine to cause a constantly varying pattern of winds across the surface of the Earth. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using: wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships. ‘Wind Energy’ is the kinetic energy of air in motion.

Proponents,Wind energy is a green energy source. Wind energy is friendly to the surrounding environment, as no fossil fuels are burnt to generate electricity from wind energy.  Wind Power is free and in abundance in certain areas. The Wind Speeds are always higher on the shoreline, at the top of a hill, and in places free of obstructions. Wind Power does not generate “Pollution”, or radioactive waste. It does not consume any of the non-renewable resources such as coal, natural gas, or oil. Wind Power can generate enough energy for large numbers of people. By using larger turbines connected to an electrical grid it allows people the benefit of wind power without owning their own wind system. With new technology, the cost of a residential wind power turbines have decreased significantly while increasing in their efficiency. Small Wind Turbinesgaining some traction – While Wind Turbines are not generally used in distributed form, it is possible to now use small wind turbines being built by a number of companies to power small establishments.It is reported that costs have decreased well over 60% since the 1980’s. Wind power has no hidden costs, and it has become more cost-effective with each new round of technological advancements. It is a “permanent energy”. Wind turbines take up less space than the average power station. Windmills only have to occupy a few square meters for the base, this allows the land around the turbine to be used for many purposes, for example agriculture. Another advantage of wind energy is that when combined with solar electricity, this energy source is great for developed and developing countries to provide a steady, reliable supply of electricity. The offshore Wind Energy sector has the advantage of no land usage,no noise problems and the wind is much better leading to higher load factors. The costs are currently higher but in the future are expected to come rapidly come down. Wind power may be used to provide electricity to individual homes or other facilities on a self-reliant basis, with no need for fuel or other materials to be supplied. If a natural disaster severs power lines, residents with windmills will not lose their supply of electricity. The wind will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, Wind is unpredictable and the availability of wind energy is fluctuating. In many areas, the winds strength is too low to support a wind turbine or wind farm.Wind energy is therefore not suitable as a base load of energy source . This is why wind turbines have to be used together with other renewable or even non-renewable to meet the power demand. Another of the disadvantages is that they can be damaged in thunderstorms, partially because of their tall, thin shape. The website of the US National Lightning Safety Institute indicates that most damage to wind turbines is caused by lightning. This is more of a problem in warmer parts of the world, where they are frequent.Wind turbines generally produce a lot less electricity than the average fossil fuelled power station, requiring multiple wind turbines to be built in order to make an impact. The noise pollution from commercial wind turbines is sometimes similar to a small jet engine. Wind Turbines can sometimes use large amounts of land if not properly planned and built.The construction of roads to access the wind farms etc also takes up some land. Environmentalists express concern about the loss of trees, because the large turbines require turbulence free wind and also  for bird life as they can intrude on birds migration flight path.

3.Wave Energy, Wave power is the transport of energy by ocean surface waves, and the capture of that energy to do useful work,for example; electricity generation, water desalination, or the pumping of water (into reservoirs). Machinery able to exploit wave power is generally known as a wave energy converter (WEC).Wave power is distinct from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. Different regions of the earth’s surface receive different amounts of heat from the sun – the polar regions, for example, receive less sunlight than equatorial regions. This uneven heating creates differences in air temperature and pressure that cause wind. Winds blowing out at sea cause waves to form; these waves travel across the ocean surface and break on shores and beaches around the globe. In many areas of the world, the wind blows with enough consistency and force to provide continuous waves. There is tremendous energy in the ocean waves. Wave power devices extract energy directly from the surface motion of ocean waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface.

Proponents,Wave Energy does not produce any GHG emissions or cause air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels unlike coal,oil or gas.This makes them very attractive as a source of cheap,non carbon dioxide producing electricity. Wave Energy does not require any fuel like most other sources of energy. Wave Energy Generators can be installed in various sizes with as little as 1 MW.This is not possible for other energy forms which require a minimum large size such as Coal,Nuclear etc. Compared to wind,wave energy has a major advantage. The air that drives the turbines  is about one thousands less dense than the water just below the ocean surface. The energy that can be harnessed and used in electricity generation is parallel to the density of the medium. This means  that wave energy could be harnessed at much lower speeds.The amount power in that comes in waves is huge.  The energy density is typically around 30-40 kW for every meter (3.2 feet) of wave along the shore. Further into the ocean 100kW for every meter may be achieved. Waves are hardly interrupted and almost always in motion. This makes generating electricity from wave energy a reasonable reliable energy source ( when  compared to solar and wind). Wave energy source ultimately comes from the heat energy that is emitted from the sun. Thus will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, strong ocean storms and salt water corrosion can damage the devices, which could increase the cost of construction to increase durability and/or cause frequent breakdowns. This especially holds true with the increased complexity of the devices. Sea life could be harmed or have habitats disrupted or displaced by the operation of the devices or the mooring of the devices. The potentially larger footprint of ocean-dwelling device farms could reduce shipping channels and fishing and recreation areas. The movement of Attenuators or Point Absorbers or intake and movement of water in the OWC and Overtopping devices could produce a loud, constant noise. This noise is unlikely going to be significantly louder than the waves would make on their own.

4.Solar Energy, Solar Power, as the term is commonly used, applies to energy systems that produce energy directly from sunlight. Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.

Proponents, All forms of solar power are extraordinarily clean and abundant. They produce zero pollution when operating. Well suited in also providing power in home or single building applications, such as rooftops of home owners, office buildings, etc. This reduces loss of power in transmission from utilities. Ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid. Very efficient in a large area of the globe, and new technologies allow for a more efficient energy production on overcast/dull days. The technology is proven by its ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid. A prime example of this is in space, where satellites are powered by high efficiency solar cells.  Small solar power systems are easily installed. Solar energy systems can be used in solar heating water systems, photo voltaic solar systems, solar home heating systems and solar home cooling systems. Its scalable & portable to be used in products like calculators, flash-lights, camping lanterns, attic fans, pond heaters and racing car kits. They are silent and have no moving parts. It is the most reliable form of energy -The sun rises daily, without fail. Will exist until the end of the sun. About 5 billion years.

Opponents, Solar energy is only able to generate electricity during daylight hours. Although there is a variety of options for storage, the most obvious is batteries, which are quite expensive. The weather can affect the efficiency of solar cells. Pollution levels can affect a solar cells efficiency. Low efficiency, requires large surface areasSolar panels take up quite a bit of roof space and there are reported problems from glint and glare.

The above completes the complete energy mix available to Humankind of the 21st Century. But it also opens up more questions than answers as to which would be the final energy medium to be declared the Champion. To find the answer we must explore a bit more.

The two essential components of all generators on the power grid are dispatch-ability and reliability. Dis-patchability means that generators can be started when operators need them, any time day or night, regardless of weather conditions and Reliability means that a generator will, virtually every time it’s fired up, produce constant, controllable power exactly as required by the power plant operator.  The electrical grid system, run through conventional power works not because every piece of equipment is one hundred percent reliable, but because there are hundreds of components with a large amount of reserve output capability (back-up) that work together to form one, very large, reliable system. The modern electrical power grid is designed and managed to operate 99.9% of the time with less than a 2% variance in voltage, regardless of the load swings placed on the system. The new age renewable energy systems need to match up to this.

Now if we bring in Geo-thermal and wave technology, the former was never considered as a major source of energy by many nations, not because it does not have potential, but because it is limited to a great extent by geography, and even where it may be present in abundance, it can not be totally green because the basic method of extraction is drilling, which is similar to fracking and can have similar problems and hazards.

Lets look at Wave Energy. There are many forms of this technology.But none are having the ability to produce large amounts of power yet. But if you look at the one devised by Palamis which I wrote in my earlier article it holds a lot of promise. Yet it too is not completely dis-patachable or reliable. High waves are not always a constant feature and vary from on geographical location to another, therefore reliability would require customisation depending on which part of the globe it is to be installed.

Wind power also  isn’t completely dis-patchable; it can’t be started unless the wind is blowing. Solar power also can not be produced in absence of sunlight.  Wind power also fails the reliability test because, even when the wind is blowing, it rarely blows at a constant speed. Wind tends to blow in gusts with an ebb and flow that makes wind generated power difficult to control. Solar too faces the uncertainties of weather. Also Solar insolation is not the same throughout the globe.

So as of now there seems to be no ‘perfect solution’ in sight, unless we combine the three, Wind – Wave – Solar. In an article some time back I had written about the benefits of Wind-Solar and Geothermal, while keeping Wave power separate in another article. But if you combine the three, the probability that at any given time one would be producing power can not be discounted. However, the problem therefore would be how to calibrate the power generation between the maxima and minima. Therefore breakthroughs in energy storage technologies is required to change this in the future. Already lot of work is being done, but it is not a ready solution yet.

But learning for Humans is a continuous process and I too have learnt that the Final winners for ENERGY NEXT would only be the combined strength of all the three. TRI -RE. ( pronounce – tree )

The most important advantage is that all the three energy is renewable and cannot be depleted. As long as the sun heats the earth and winds drive ocean waves, we will never run out of wave energy either. Fossil fuels, by contrast, are replenished so slowly by natural processes that for are essentially non-renewable. Once we run out of fossil fuels, we won’t have any more. If the tri-energy combine proves practical, it might help to replace fossil fuel combustion as a source of electric power. To do this we must look towards the sea, away from visual horizon, to take the aesthetics in mind and more power extraction, yet closer to the coast – for minimizing it from natural hazards and easier transmission. (The moorings can act as artificial reefs, thus attracting fish and other plant life, while keeping the deep-sea trawlers away. ) And complementing the loss in transmission by creating relay system using which ever technology among these  is appropriate for the geographical place, thus minimizing the impact on land surface area.

Yet, they would be the ‘bridge solutions’ till the science fiction Nuclear Cold Fusion happens and can be packaged as fuel cells. Perhaps its time for  WBCSD to think of Vision 2075 and look at all the Green Energy Combine.

Courtesy to :wikipedia, energy-consumers-edge, nuclearpowerprocon, ehow, energyformankind, energy-green, energyinformative, clean-energyideas, greenworldinvestor, renewablesguide, hubpages, windturbine, ocsenergy,  idebate, gentle-earth, earth911, greenfuture. 

 

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Insurance Agencies will be the best Advocates for Climate Change Abatement in near Future.


 

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green in...

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green indicates countries that have ratified the treaty; Dark green are Annex I and II countries that have ratified the treaty; Grey is not yet decided; Brown is no intention of ratifying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The effect of Climate Risk on Business would perhaps be an important agenda for  discussions by Nations at the UNFCCC’s Rio+20 summit. As more and more damage to property, once predicted becomes reality the seriousness of addressing the issue would perhaps be more stronger in this CoP 17. But we all know of Nations which are still reluctant to be a part of the KP2 ( Kyoto Protocol ) or any other sensible treaty. Under this scenario, although it might sound a little unconventional, I think the champions for sustainable living would be the Insurance companies. For they have the most to lose when disaster strikes.

And for insurance companies in India, it would be worse. Let us understand this in perspective.

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis (Wikipedia)

In Japan post Fukushima people are learning to become Sustainable as reported in this article from WRI. The “Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST)” is a smart choice, which I hope will be followed by others around the World. That a disaster of this magnitude was needed for Japan to think differently is sad. Natural calamity no one can predict with absolute accuracy, but one can always learn from the collateral damages and not repeat the same mistakes. Japan, the only country which  has experienced the horrors of Nuclear Bomb, to have chosen Nuclear Energy   which nearly brought back the potential of a similar scale of disaster;  reminds me of a Quote which was under the entry arch of my School, which said in  old English  –

He who knows, that he knows not; is a Child – Teach him

He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him

He who knows not, that he knows not; is a fool – Shun him

He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him

I will put Japan under  my quote above – He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him. And I thank the Japanese people from all sane Humankind for having woken up from its slumber. (hopefully TEPCO too).

But today my story is not about Japan, neither about Germany which post Fukushima has closed down their Nuclear plants to be part of my quote above which says – He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him.

This article is purely focused on India and its brethren who fall under the quote – He who knows, that he knows not; is a child -Teach him.

Before I carry this forward – I would make it very clear that I am proud to be an Indian. But not proud of its present political class. Under which general administration and ordinary living has suffered to such an extent that corruption has become norm. Corruption does not have to be financial all the time. Not adhering to simple traffic rules is also corruption. Having political arrogance where saner and cautious advise are not heeded to is also corruption. Every-time I see the video on Fukushima disaster, I watch with wonder the fantastic discipline the Japanese people had, even at the face of the disaster. That speaks volumes for the quality of administrative discipline and strength of character.

I live in Mumbai and within the second high risk zone of 75 KM. If one looks at this map  from Green Peace, which points to each Nuclear Plant on this planet, zooming in on India and clicking on the yellow dot will make ones mouth go dry.  Should disaster strike, we do not even have an exit route from Mumbai. Just one bridge connects the island of Mumbai close to the suburb of Chembur, called the Vashi bridge. No hovercraft, no steamers – no ferry service. God forbid if disaster strikes the isle of Mumbai, the mass exodus which would be more of a mob, will kill more than the disaster itself in the first 24 hours. And we have many more Nuclear plant sites. And unplanned growth all around.

I am not against Nuclear Power, I am against the possibility of facing the havoc of Nuclear disaster, should climate change creates situations where storms and tsunami become more and more prevalent. It is one thing to have death and destruction of a generation due to natural calamities, while it is completely different to suffer for generations from Nuclear fallout, which may happen due to damaged caused to a Nuclear facility in an earthquake / tsunami.

While I have pointed out the possible danger of a Nuclear accident, this article is about all the calamities and its resultant effect India shall face, due to effects of Climate change. While it is true, that India has come up with some super positive steps like NAPCC. We have much to accomplish, along with the whole World, while the time is running out. The Stern Review predicts that unless the World changes into low-carbon development from the high-carbon economic model we all currently follow, climate related disasters would increase and its mitigation could cost 20% of the World GDP, year on year post 2020. For densely populated India, which is also a growing economy, many new insurance instruments hereto not applicable are becoming norm. From simple insurance of remembering your important numbers to more complex health, property and corporate ones. Climate induced calamities would bring in untold economic loss.

This naturally brings into fore the insurance companies which need to compensate for losses which would occur. The year 2011 disasters, which occurred  world over,  is covered in this video and it gives one an idea of the scale of economic loss and the compensation which needed to be doled out. If such occurrence happen again and again as is the forecast, it would leave may Insurers penniless, which they would naturally not let happen. Therefore they would do what some have already done – CDP signatories are the banks, pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and foundations. With USD 78 trillion, it has and will have lot of influence as time progresses to steer Nations into more sensible Sustainable life style. In time regional groups and sub-groups would be formed amongst local insurance players, all with the agenda of abating climate change and this would reach to the very grass-roots of society.

In my opinion, once again Ecology would be rescued by Economy, which ironically has been one of the principal cause for the human induced disasters we face today.

 

 

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Green Business Ideas – Applying Solar OPEX model on Green Buildings will make Grid parity easy.


The Economy is on a slowdown due to negative growth in all sectors in India. Some of it can be attributed to the Global mayhem. To be honest, it could be seen as  a good news. Especially for the Environment and advocates for Sustainable living. World over, humans follow one simple rule. When the going is good, why bother to stop and listen to saner voices ? However, post the Stern Review & SREX report, thing seem to be going towards a better direction. The road to Rio+20 may turn out to be a happy one, should this downtrend in economy continue till the Rio summit, as more and more Economists would advocate to overhaul the present Crony Capitalist model and turn it into Eco-Capitalism and the benefits of Green Business would come to fore. Although the RET (renewable energy technology) industry would wish me luck, most trade guru’s would laugh at my opinion. It would be challenging to prevent a roll back on gains made till date, at Rio+20. As because this is precisely the argument which would come forth -‘The World economy can not afford to go Green’, would be their argument laughing at any new idea brought forth. But they were also laughing at various other predictions of world-class economists and other saner voices before the Lehman Brother episode. It is the most foolish presumption and many, far more intelligent than me, would also agree.

The World Economy needs a review. A fresh approach, when unprecedented Climate change threatens all; institutions like CAN-International, Green Peace, WRI  and all others must grow and spread their influence of good-sense across Nations.  In the UNFCCC‘s Durban summit their stellar performance was evident in getting something out of nothing at all.

America has come up with a new way of conducting Business – ” Benefit Corporation“; I loved the word and the meaning therein – A company for profit of self through Sustainable practices benefiting the environment and  thus the community as a result. And Europe; when unprecedented economic hardships threaten the fabric of society they have come of with wonderful thoughts like  OPEX -Solar. With German and French companies leading the way. Their presence in India will be felt soon.

In my avatar as a Energy Efficient Building consultant, popularly known as Green Building consultant, (and fashioning my firm as a “benefit corporation” henceforth) crossing that last hurdle of having Renewable Energy or Green Power installed, which is not Solar Thermal but Solar PV always proves to be a challenge. While exploring potential in other RE formats, other than wind, has not truly taken off yet.  This led me towards a Green Business Idea. Solar PV in OPEX RE format in all  Certified Green Buildings projects .

India practices two certification programs. One is GRIHA, born out of the NAPCC’s  Mission on Sustainable Habitat and guided by the international think tank TERI. The Eight stated missions of NAPCC is the best hope of India standing tall in the Climate change negotiations at UNFCCC. GRIHA takes into account the Union governments commitment to sustainable habitat across all sections of society both Urban and Rural.

The other is by the business people for the people. CII’s  indigenous version of USGBC’s LEED. Guided by IGBC from its headquarters in Hyderabad, India’s first LEED Platinum Certified building, various certification programs have been dished out.

Both rating system have many common goals but with divergent approach. Let us first identify the common ground each rating possesses with regards to RET   ( renewable energy technology ).

Under Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment one requires –

Commitment: Meet energy requirements for a minimum of 10% of the internal lighting load (for general lighting) or its equivalent from renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, fuel cells, etc). Use renewable energy sources in buildings to reduce the use of conventional/fossil-fuel based energy resources.

Commitment: Ensure that a minimum 50% of the annual energy requirement for heating water (for applications such as hot water for all needs, like for canteen, washing, and bath rooms/toilets, except for space heating) is supplied from renewable energy source.

Under Indian Green Building Council we have many subdivisions, but energy from RET is more or less common, let’s briefly look at the various certification programs and what they say on RET under LEED.

LEED India NC Rating :

7.5%  RE onsite Assess the project for renewable energy potential including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and bio-gas strategies. When applying these strategies, take advantage of net metering with the local utility.

Green Power Demonstrate that the company has installed green power equivalent to 50% of the total energy requirement of the building, anywhere in the country. This investment should come because of the rated building and should be 50 % of the building consumption.

LEED India CS Rating:

1 -35% RE onsite Engage in at least a 2-year renewable energy contract to provide at least 35% of the core & shell building’s electricity from renewable sources, as defined by the Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e Energy product certification requirements. Supply a net fraction of the building’s total energy use (as expressed as a fraction of annual energy cost) through the use of on-site renewable energy systems. Use on-site renewable energy systems to offset at least 1% of the building energy costs. Substantiate the project’s compliance on this aspect by expressing the cost of energy produced through renewable sources as a percentage of the building’s total energy cost, annually.

Green Power Demonstrate that the company has installed green power equivalent to 50%of the total energy requirement of the building, anywhere in the country. This investment should come because of the rated building and should be 50 % of the building consumption.Estimate the energy needs of the building on annual basis. Install green power plants in the country, which meets the 100% of the total energy requirement of the building. Green power is derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, or low-impact hydro sources.

Green Homes Rating:

On site RE Install renewable energy systems for at least 5% of the total connected load of the building.

Green Township Rating:

On Site RE Install renewable energy systems to generate power through solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-gas, biodiesel or any other forms of renewable energy so that their installed capacity is at least 20% of the annual energy consumption in areas under the developer’s scope.

Green Power Demonstrate the project has invested in off-site green power for at least 50 % of the total annual consumption in areas under developer’s scope. Estimate the energy needs of the project on annual basis. Install off-site green power plants which meet at least 25 % of the total energy requirement of the project. Green power can be derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, or low impact hydro sources.

Green SEZ Rating :

On Site RE Install renewable energy systems to generate power through solar, wind, bio-mass/ bio-gas, or any other forms of renewable energy for at least 5% of the annual consumption (in  developer’s/ co-developer’s scope).

 Green Power Demonstrate the project has invested in off-site green power for at least 25% of the annual energy consumption in developer’s scope for at least 2 years. Estimate the energy needs of the building on annual basis. Install green power plants offsite which meet the 25 % of the total energy requirement of the building. Green power can be derived from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydro power plants, etc.,

Green Co Rating :

 On Site RE both Electrical & Thermal To develop concrete action plan for increasing the share of renewable energy generation / utilization of the company. Install on-site renewable energy systems to generate electrical energy through solar, wind, biomass, bio-gas, bio-diesel, or any other forms of renewable energy and / or generation of thermal energy (expressed as an equivalent of electrical energy) to cater to the total energy requirement of the company. Availability of renewable energy resources is to be assessed and feasibility studies conducted before deciding on on-site installations. Green power can be sourced from solar, wind, bio-mass, bio-gas, bio-diesel or small hydro sources or any other accepted sources of renewable energy.

As one can see, the potential of bringing in RET was enshrined, it was only the crazy economics we all follow that makes RE unaffordable. Frankly I could never understand this business of applying RoI selectively. I have argued this in my earlier post in detail, so I will concentrate more on the Green Business Idea here.

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

In OPEX -SPV or operational expense on solar photo voltaic; the RESCO (renewable energy service company) is contemplating  to sell the power generated, directly to the client instead of routing it though the established Energy distribution companies as was mooted in the NVVM Scheme . Although the generation through SPV is still costly, the RESCO are looking at covering part of their expense via the REC Schemeand raise money through standard market driven investments. Hoping to breakeven through economy of scale. A bold move which needs to be lauded, yet treated with caution.

Lets now examine the advantages and pitfalls the model has.

OPEX Solar would create the economy of scale which any venture requires. This  I recommend, should happen by attempting to pick up the lowest hanging fruit. That is by becoming the Utility provider to the Green Buildings which are already registered in India. As shown above almost all the certification types require RE or Green Power. As the commitment is already made to build green and with the criteria already in place, the RESCO’s  effort remains only to do the math and give a viable PPA model.

As the rating covers almost all sectors the foot-print is huge. However, in each of the ratings there would be possibilities and problems unique to it.

Let us start with Green Homes –

Residences are the lowest hanging fruit. Already a firm  “Mera Gao Power” providing roof-top model at a very economical rate to rural India which the large power utilities find unfeasible. {Large Hydro dams and Thermal Power  plants are set up displacing 100’s of villages; that they find the very same villages resettled ( if at all ) beside it, to be too remote to be provided power with, is perhaps a unique Indian policy many of us with low intelligence find hard to understand.} However what has been the curse now can be a boon to the villages and RESCO’s especially the ones which can provide power in OPEX model. Simply because the Carbon Credit it would generate over and above the REC would not only make this system of business viable, it will create a resurgent India. Perhaps this can be done in other countries too.

Now what if this is brought into the residential blocks within town & cities?Many face power-outages during summer. It would work perfectly against the diesel abatement policy India has in place.  But if roof-top Solar is provided in OPEX model, the problem could be administrative. How would the RESCO collect the tariff, should a housing society not pay its utility bill on time, or a member fails to pay his/her utility bill ? Would the RESCO have the authority and immunity from harm / legal persecution the Municipal authorities have, to initiate disciplinary action? The same problem could be from commercial centres too.

Further, large housing societies need high amount of power, however the present solar PV modules have low plant efficiency thus require large amount of space and are heavy too. Therefore the required amount of power may not get generated via-roof top and off-site green power may be needed.

In this the problem is open access to the grid, which the state owned power utility companies find difficult both in business model and technically to provide. In some states like Gujrat it has been allowed, others are to follow soon.

The problem of electrical transmission over long distance is the “drop” it faces, ie., some power is lost in transit, due to simple laws of physics. Whereas this loss can be calculated and that much extra power fed at the supply end to compensate it in case of traditional power supply, for Solar PV it becomes a problem because currently the technology is dependent on Sunshine and therefore erratic to precisely pin down how much power would be generated per minute. This creates problem for evacuation and  steady stream of transmission. Perhaps when grid parity does take place, the investors could use the model devised by Gemasolar in Spain to store the extra  power and compensate the loss in transmission. Or other innovations would make this possible.

The other problem is should a RESCO sell a PPA model to a client which is off-site and wheels the power to the client, during planned load-shedding by the Municipal authority / State power company; the transmission would not happen. Banking that power is a economic solution but not technically sound because the client had agreed to the PPA ( power purchase agreement ) precisely to avoid power outages and avail the benefits of Diesel abatement.

Another issue is the time frame. Not many would like to sign a PPA of 25 years for roof-top models or even offsite because all business policies are dynamic in nature. Requirements change over time. Planing for 10 years can be done with reasonable permutation combinations, but not having flexibility for 25 years would be a non-starter for some sectors. Next, vintage of technology. No one would like especially when the investment is not theirs to be stuck with an asset which does not perform optimally with time. When I wrote another article on Solar PV, as how to make cheap solar power, I was just learning about OPEX solar, but some of the ideas given there could come to the rescue for OPEX solar.

Overall OPEX Solar model is here to stay and I already have plans to propagate it as much as possible to make this World a better place to live in.

Note: Courtesy to the owners of the images posted in this blog.

 

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A Few Sustainable Life style the Gen-Next should work on.


On 10th September, 2005, Gordon Brown said the high price of fuel posed a significant risk to the European economy and to global growth, and urged OPEC to raise oil production. Again, six months later, he said “we need . . .more production, more drilling, more investment, more petrochemical investment” (22nd April, 2006).

However,one of his more recent initiatives, namely
the promotion of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is a good part of a plan for getting off fossil fuels.

Electrification of most transport is a path to a safe  and long future of Human kind and the future of this World. The faster more Nations understand and adopt it the better it would be for the reduction of pollution in the local context and Global Warming in the long run.

However, Electric or Hybrid vehicles alone can not solve the problem which threatens us towards Extinction. For that we have to look into the life-style of the modern human closely and discuss chapter & verse. Through this book I’ll try to open up the discussion to peers and readers so that by Rio+20 enough noise is created by it to warrant discussions, but most importantly make the youth of today sit up and look for the answers, as its they who would shoulder the burden of the past generations mistakes.

Let’s begin by listing some of  the symbols of modernity –

1. Soap;

Until the early 1900’s, much of the soap used was made at home. Fats from cooking and butchering were saved until there was enough to make a batch of soap. This all changed in 1916 when a shortage of fats (a main ingredient in soap) occurred during World War I. As an alternative was needed, enterprising companies developed the first synthetic soaps called detergents.

In 2008 Greenpeace showed the World how Unilever the maker of beauty soap Dove was systematically destroying the rain-forest of Indonesia. By planting hectare after hectare of palm-oil plants which provide the basic ingredient for the soaps. The Orangutang – a monkey species unique to that part of the world is in the verge of extinction. And in the process the complete rain-forest. Which would lead to further disturbance in the delicate Climate balance of the world.

Lets understand how –

When scientist choose an animal for conservation, say the Tiger, the project by default saves the complete Eco-system of that area. A carnivore like the Tiger requires to kill and eat. Its prey are the herbivore like Deer etc. Now the Deer/ Buffalo would need grass/vegetation and lots of it as the population ratio between a Tiger & Deer as a rough guess would be 1:100. Now, for a good vegetation we would require the right bio-diversity. From the Earthworm to the Birds, each have a specific role to play; from pollination to digestion of decayed leaves which then releases precious Nitrogen vital for plant growth.

So when you save a Orangutang or a Tiger you are directly saving the whole Eco-system, alternately when we hear about the danger of extinction of such primary species, you can bet your last dollar that the complete habitat destruction of millions of  plants and animals have already taken place.

We can not live our life without soap, but can we find an alternative way to produce such products ?

2. Toilet Paper;

This is a life – style which needs serious thought, lets look into the source of paper for the toilet paper –

“Tissues, toilet paper, and other disposable products are responsible for unspeakable destruction of ancient forests around the world. And, in today’s New York Times, tissue maker Kimberly-Clark (K-C) has probably given us a bit more information than they meant to about the extent of the destruction they’re causing despite their green claims.” …the company used 3,113,000 metric tons of virgin fiber in 2005, an increase from the 3,067,000 metric tons of virgin fiber used in 2004,…this amounts to over 435,820 metric tons of Boreal pulp used by Kimberly- Clark in a single year,…they’re cutting down ancient boreal forest, a 10,000-year-old ecosystem. Blogpost by lindsey – February 26, 2009 at 12:01 ( Green Peace USA ).

Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper.  “While the paper industry often touts plantations as the solution to creating an ongoing supply of virgin pulp and fiber, these monocultures often displace indigenous plant and animal life, require tremendous amounts of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and soak up large quantities of water.  the  World Watch magazine.

Although I would not like to comment on the matter of which is better, washing with water or swiping with a piece of paper; for me water wins hands down when it comes to the three R’s of sustainability – Re-cycle, Re-use & Re-new. And with this I am not just talking of saving just the 10% of the 270,000 trees but all of it which require a serious look and determined practice of the 3 – R’s mentioned.

3 Plastics ;

Today, plastics frequently replace most traditional materials such as wood, metal, glass, leather, paper and rubber because they can be lighter, stronger, corrosion resistant, very durable and a better insulator. These properties often make plastics more economical to use than other materials. They are used throughout industry and business; they influence the way we dress, the way we enjoy ourselves and the way we live. Many plastics have become household names – nylon, polyester and so on… Plastics can be produced from oil or gas that has undergone chemical processing, and consists of synthetic polymers. Certain types of plastic are suitable for packaging (25% of the US plastic
production – 37% of the European plastic production), others for building and construction (22% in US – 20% in EU), and others for toys and medical stuff (13% in US – 9% in EU), transportation (5% in US – 7.5% in EU), furniture (4% in US – 3.5% in EU), electronic stuff (4% in US – 7.5% in EU) etc.

As is evident from the above paragraph, the modern Human is surrounded by plastic. In fact I’m able to write this article on my lap top which is also made of plastic component and the optic fibers which connects me to the world-wide web would also be a form of plastic.

Crude oil is used in plastic making as main raw materials. 1 litre of petrol (0.76 kg) needs approximately 0.9 kg of crude oil, with 1 kg crude oil counted for 44 MJ/kg. Considering that the crude oil production report does not consider the oil used for plastic making and the oil used as energy in plastic plants (what is improbably), the net heat generation is 0.6 1014 kWh to 2000 and 0.77 1014 kWh to 2004. Considering the worst case of energy consumption versus different plastic making, i.e. PP energy consumption, the net heat generation is 0.46 1014 kWh to 2000 and 0.59 1014 kWh to 2004.  The net heat generation from the use of crude oil in plastic making is roughly 0.4.1014 kWh from 1939 to 2000. It corresponds to 1.3% of the missing heat and contributes to 0.5% of the global warming. Its contribution is about the same magnitude than the gas flaring, less than the impact of nuclear power, and more than coal fires. ( http://www.ltu.se/cms_fs/1.5035!/plastics%20-%20final.pdf )

As one can see that the impact to global warming is more than coal, however the point I would like to make is that is derived from Crude oil. At the end of 2010, world proven crude oil reserves stood at 1,467,012 million barrels, of which 1,193,172 million barrels, or 81.3 per cent, was in OPEC Member Countries. ( http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/press_room/179.htm )

If we continue to follow the life-style we have without finding alternatives we would be using up this reserve to continue making plastic, electricity, gas for our automobiles and with each liter used increase the level of Green house gas.

Only with the above 3 examples I have tried to show how the modern Human is creating immense pollution, I’ve yet to document our use and extraction of Metal, Cement and other daily use materials which are so common and easily available that one hardly spends time to understand the enormous festering wound it is creating on the bosom of Mother Nature.

What is required from the Gen Next is a firm approach towards understanding the dangers they are inheriting and mend the ways with some short-term compromise to the life-style for a long Sustainable Future! It would not be easy but it would also not be impossible for Man is an inventor. And when it’s very own existence as a being comes into danger, he will and must adapt.

 

 

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