Archive for ‘renewable energy’

04/01/2017

India’s double first in climate battle – BBC News

Two world-leading clean energy projects have opened in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

A £3m industrial plant is capturing the CO2 emissions from a coal boiler and using the CO2 to make valuable chemicals. It is a world first.

And just 100km away is the world’s biggest solar farm, making power for 150,000 homes on a 10 sq km site.

The industrial plant appears especially significant as it offers a breakthrough by capturing CO2 without subsidy.

Built at a chemical plant in the port city of Tuticorin, it is projected to save 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year by incorporating them into the recipes for baking soda and other chemicals.

Here’s how it works:

The plant operates a coal-fired boiler to make steam for its chemical operations.CO2 emissions from the boiler’s chimney are stripped out by a fine mist of a new patented chemical.

A stream of CO2 is fed into the chemicals plant as an ingredient for baking soda and other compounds with many uses, including the manufacturing of glass, detergents and sweeteners.

Zero emissions

The owner of the chemicals plant, Ramachadran Gopalan, told a BBC Radio 4 documentary: “I am a businessman. I never thought about saving the planet. I needed a reliable stream of CO2, and this was the best way of getting it.”

He says his operation has now almost zero emissions. He hopes soon to install a second coal boiler to make more CO2 to synthesise fertiliser.

The chemical used in stripping the CO2 from the flue gas was invented by two young Indian chemists. They failed to raise Indian finance to develop it, but their firm, Carbonclean Solutions, working with the Institute of Chemical Technology at Mumbai and Imperial College in London, got backing from the UK’s entrepreneur support scheme.

Their technique uses a form of salt to bond with CO2 molecules in the boiler chimney. The firm says it is more efficient than typical amine compounds used for the purpose.

The plant is projected to save 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year

They say it also needs less energy, produces less alkaline waste and allows the use of a cheaper form of steel – all radically reducing the cost of the whole operation.

The firm admits its technology of Carbon Capture and Utilisation won’t cure climate change, but says it may provide a useful contribution by gobbling up perhaps 5-10% of the world’s emissions from coal.

Lord Oxburgh, former chairman of Shell, and now director and head of the UK government’s carbon capture advisory group, told the BBC: “We have to do everything we can to reduce the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels and it is great news that more ways are being found of turning at least some of the CO2 into useful products.”

Solar farm

Meanwhile, the nearby giant Kamuthi solar plant offers a marker for India’s ambition for a rapid expansion in renewables.

The world’s largest solar farm at Kamuthi in southern IndiaIt is truly enormous; from the tall observation tower, the ranks of black panels stretch almost to the horizon.Prime Minister Modi is offering subsidies for a plan to power 60 million homes with solar by 2022 and aims for 40% of its energy from renewables by 2030.

For large-scale projects, the cost of new solar power in India is now cheaper than coal. But solar doesn’t generate 24/7 on an industrial scale, so India has adopted a “more of everything” approach to energy.

The firm behind the solar plant, Adani, is also looking to create Australia’s biggest coal mine, which it says will provide power for up to 100 million people in India. Renewables, it says, can’t answer India’s vast appetite for power to lift people out of poverty.

Will India stick to its renewables promises with Donald Trump as US president?And questions have been raised recently as to whether India will stick to its renewables promises now President-elect Donald Trump may be about to scrap climate targets for the US.

At the recent Marrakech climate conference, China, the EU and many developing countries pledged to forge ahead with emissions-cutting plans regardless of US involvement. But India offered no such guarantee.

Some environmentalists are not too worried: they think economics may drive India’s clean energy revolution.

Source: India’s double first in climate battle – BBC News

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02/11/2016

India to launch clean energy equity fund of up to $2 billion – sources | Reuters

The Indian government and three state-run firms will jointly set up an equity fund of up to $2 billion for renewable energy companies to tap into to help New Delhi meet its clean energy goals, two government sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Private and public companies will be able to dip into an initial amount of more than $1 billion starting next fiscal year, said the sources with direct knowledge of the decision taken after a meeting of government officials more than a month ago. India’s government hopes the Clean Energy Equity Fund (CEEF) will attract pension and insurance funds from Canada and Europe.

Around $600 million of the initial pool will come from the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, under the finance ministry, and the rest from state entities NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, according to one of the sources.

The sources declined to be named as they are not authorised to talk to the media. Officials at the finance ministry, new and renewable energy ministry, NTPC, Rural Electrification, and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of raising India’s renewable energy target to 175 gigawatts by 2022, more than five times current usage, as part of the fight against climate change by the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter and to supply power to all of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

The program will depend on getting as much as $175 billion in funding with 70 percent of that likely in bank loans and the rest as equity, the sources said.

The government reckons loans are not a problem but providing equity to investors may be difficult due to uncertainties over returns, one of the sources said.

“As we expand our clean energy capacity, there may be a shortage of equity next year,” said the source. “Private equity is seen as risky in India but if the government itself creates a fund, that gives a lot of confidence.”

India’s clean energy push was set back earlier this year when U.S. solar company SunEdison filed for bankruptcy. The company is now looking to secure partners to see through its planned India projects.

Nevertheless, companies are still keen to invest in clean energy.

Japan’s Softbank Corp, Taiwan’s Foxconn and India’s Bharti Enterprises have pledged to invest about $20 billion in India’s renewable sector. Global solar giants like First Solar Inc, Trina Solar Ltd and Fortum are also expanding their presence.

Source: India to launch clean energy equity fund of up to $2 billion – sources | Reuters

07/06/2016

Indian solar power | The Economist

NARENDRA MODI, India’s prime minister, visits America for three days this week for talks with Barack Obama. Climate commitments may be one of many topics discussed. Six months ago 187 countries agreed to cut pollution through pledges for the UN climate talks in Paris. The deal adopted there was stronger than many expected, but much remains to be done. Even if countries manage to do all they offered, global warming will likely be held to around 3.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures. Conversely, the Paris deal aims overall to ensure warming does not exceed 2°C.

Unlike America and China, the world’s two largest polluters, India did not pledge a future reduction in aggregate emissions. It offered instead to reduce the intensity of its emissions—the amount of pollution per unit of economic output—by around a third by 2030 as measured against 2005 levels. Its greenest promise was to install 175GW of renewable power by 2022 (most of it solar). This is an enormous undertaking. In 2014, for example, the world’s entire installed solar capacity was 181GW.

The Modi government says the plans are “ambitious but achievable”. The country’s total installed solar power capacity now comes to 5.8GW; to meet its targets it will need to speed up from adding around 4GW a year to adding more than 15GW instead.

Mr Modi believes solar power is the “ultimate solution to India’s energy problem”. Of 250m households in India, 56m do not have access to electricity. The majority are in rural areas where off-grid solar installations, suitable for single homes or small clusters of buildings, could prove particularly helpful.

India’s solar programme is a good way to assess how seriously countries are taking the Paris agreement—particularly given India’s huge population and increasing economic heft. Mr Modi’s moves will illuminate the state of climate diplomacy.

Source: Daily chart: Indian solar power | The Economist

03/02/2016

China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China‘s newly installed wind power capacity reached a record high in 2015 amid increasing efforts from the government to boost clean energy.

The new wind power capacity jumped to 32.97 gigawatts last year, more than 60 percent higher than 2014, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said on Tuesday.

Wind power generated 186.3 terawatt hour of electricity in 2015, or 3.3 percent of the country’s total electric energy production, data showed.  (Editor’s note: worldwide average is 4% – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power)

Promoting non-fossil energy including wind power, China is in the middle of an energy revolution to power its economy in a cleaner and sustainable manner. The government aims to lift the proportion of non-fossil fuels in energy consumption to 20 percent by 2030 from present around 11 percent.

China’s energy mix is currently dominated by coal.

However, the NEA warned of the suspension of wind farms in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Jilin. The phenomenon occurs in the early stage of wind power capacity construction due to the mismatching of new installation and local power grid.

Source: China’s new wind power capacity hits record high – Xinhua | English.news.cn

18/04/2015

Apple Grows its Own Solar Farms in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Call it savvy public relations or plain good investing, but Apple is becoming a solar-power developer in China.

News Thursday that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is partnering with SunPower., a major U.S. solar-panel maker, to build two solar power plants in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, highlights Apple’s attempts to offset its growing carbon footprint in China, where it is expanding at a rapid pace.

Although financial terms weren’t disclosed, SunPower said Thursday that Apple will co-own the projects, which have the combined capacity of 40 megawatts.

Apple has previously said it wants to be carbon neutral everywhere it operates, but that admirable goal is considerably absent in China, where the bulk of its products are made. Until now, unhappiness over air pollution mainly has been directed at the Chinese government, but Apple — already under fire over labor and customer-support issues –could become a major target. Initiatives like these could go a long way toward making sure its image in China remains favorable.

Apple tends to be financially involved in clean-energy projects only when they provide electricity for its operations. Apple and SunPower, for example, have partnered together in the U.S. to develop six solar power plants, all of which provide at least some power to Apple’s facilities.

In this case, however, Apple’s solar plants are being built in Sichuan’s remote Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefectures, far from Apple’s corporate offices, retail stores or manufacturing partners. The region is known for its rolling grasslands, where herders take yaks and sheep to graze, and where multi-colored Tibetan prayer flags are strung up along the slopes of hills.

In an interview on Thursday with China’s official Xinhua news agency, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said the solar plants will be located in grasslands primarily used for raising yaks. Ms. Jackson, who was previously head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Apple will take care to minimize the impact of construction on the environment. An Apple spokeswoman said Friday in an email that Apple and its local partners won’t use cement to install solar panels or dig trenches for wires during construction.

Apple has been expanding quickly in China as it attempts to go after the country’s burgeoning middle class. The company currently has 21 retail stores in mainland China and hopes to double that number by the end of next year. Although Apple’s latest efforts to produce clean energy in China might be a drop in the bucket when compared with amount of fossil fuels consumed by its manufacturing partners, Ms. Jackson told Xinhua that the company hopes to lead by example for its more than 330 suppliers.

Apple’s latest projects join a wave of new solar farms under construction in western China. Solar-panel makers, Chinese policy banks and other clean-energy developers are all piling into the business after China revived its solar industry amid the country’s ambitious targets to add as much as 18 gigawatts of solar-power capacity by the end of this year.

via Apple Grows its Own Solar Farms in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

14/03/2015

China’s greener energy efforts help global carbon emissions stall after almost 40 years of gains | South China Morning Post

China burned less coal and generated more electricity from renewable sources last year, which helped halt the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector.

China burned less coal last year and generated more electricity from renewable sources to help halt the global rise in  carbon dioxide emissions. Photo: Reuters

Emissions of carbon dioxide were flat at 32.3 billion tonnes last year, as they were in 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA)  reported yesterday.

It ended steady gains over the past four decades except in years with an economic downturn.

“This is both a welcome surprise and a significant one,” IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said in a statement.

“This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today.”

The IEA, which is based in France, and advises governments of developed nations, said the halt in emissions growth was linked to greener patterns of energy consumption in China – the top carbon emitter ahead of the United States – and in developed nations.

“In China, [last year] saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal,” it said.

via China’s greener energy efforts help global carbon emissions stall after almost 40 years of gains | South China Morning Post.

15/02/2015

Modi calls for innovation in renewable energy – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for innovation and research to develop renewable energy to provide affordable electricity to every household.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet meet in Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Inaugurating the first Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet (RE-Invest), Mr. Modi called for collaboration between the 50 nations with abundant solar power to develop technological solutions.

Stating that the role of energy in development was very important, he said, “We want to increase speed and at the same time scale new heights of development and one of the sectors is energy.”

“We are focussing on renewable energy not for laurels but to lighten homes of the poor and bring a change in their lives,” he said. “We have ponds, can we think of solar panels on top of these ponds? We need to think of innovative ideas.”

He said the cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic cells has come down from Rs. 20 per unit to Rs. 7.50 and research and innovation can help bring it down further.

Hybrid power generation involving solar and wind energy should be encouraged as it will help save on transmission and power evacuation infrastructure cost, he said.

Mr. Modi also called for developing domestic manufacturing of renewable energy equipment to create jobs.

Conserving energy, he said, is the need of the hour.

via Modi calls for innovation in renewable energy – The Hindu.

06/02/2015

Companies set to back huge India solar expansion | Reuters

India could start installing 20,000 megawatts of solar power capacity as early as April after companies pledged to support the government’s drive for clean energy, an official told Reuters.

A worker cleans photovoltaic solar panels inside a solar power plant at Raisan village near Gandhinagar, in Gujarat, February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

Details of the plan, which has drawn commitments from U.S., German and Chinese companies, will be announced on Friday, said Upendra Tripathy, secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

“We have got commitments from very established industry, both foreign and domestic for next year,” he said in an interview at his office.

Foreign companies will be allowed to decide where they manufacture the required equipment, he said.

via Companies set to back huge India solar expansion | Reuters.

07/12/2014

India plans 5-fold increase in clean energy – Businessweek

India said Friday it was optimistic the world would reach an agreement to curb climate change, but said its actions would be focused on boosting its renewable power capacity five-fold rather than on cutting carbon emissions.

With hundreds of millions still mired in poverty and without access to electricity, India cannot afford to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the expense of economic growth, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said before leaving this weekend for U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru.

“Our growth cannot be compromised,” Javadekar said. “Poverty needs to be eradicated immediately. Poor people have aspirations. We must fulfill them. We must give them energy access. We cannot and nobody can question on this.”

He said he was optimistic industrialized nations would agree to shoulder more of the burden to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, given that they had been polluting with fossil fuels for decades before developing nations.

“That is the just regime,” he said.

The recent U.S.-China pact announcing new targets for fossil fuel use marked a positive step toward establishing this sort of equality, he said. In that pact, the U.S. said it would aim to bring down its per-capita emissions from about 20 tons while allowing China to raise its 8-9 tons per capita so that both reach a level of about 12 tons by 2030.

“They have accepted the differentiated responsibility and the need of time for growth,” Javadekar said.

India had already pledged to reduce its emissions intensity — how much carbon dioxide it produces divided by its GDP — rather than promising to cut overall emissions. However, Indian officials and scientists say it could easily go beyond the target set in 2009 of cutting emissions intensity by 20-25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

India’s preference for the per-capita emissions calculation also ignores the fact that around 400 million Indians still have no access to electricity at all, while hundreds of millions more are lucky to get a couple of hours a day. Experts worry that as India’s population continues to grow beyond 1.2 billion and more people become wealthy, its share of global emissions will skyrocket.

via India plans 5-fold increase in clean energy – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

India to Double Renewables in Energy Mix, Minister Says – Businessweek

India plans to more than double the share of renewables in the mix of fuels it consumes, an effort to reduce the dominance of coal.

Renewables such as solar and wind may account for 15 percent of India’s energy supply in the next five years, up from 6 percent currently, said Piyush Goyal, a government minister in charge of power, said at a conference in New Delhi.

“While coal will continue to dominate our energy mix for sometime, we are taking steps to protect the environment,” Goyal said today. “Neither India nor the world has the luxury of time when it comes to protection of the environment.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to speed up clean energy deployment in India as it tries to attract more than $100 billion of investment for the industry in the next four years. At present, coal generates 60 percent electricity in a nation that suffers from chronic blackouts.

The minister reiterated his previously stated view that renewables can’t count on government subsidies for too long. He said the industry should focus on convincing banks to make funding for projects as easily available as loans for cars.

Modi’s administration reintroduced a tax break for the wind industry earlier this year. Goyal said he hopes those will help turbine installers add 8 gigawatts of capacity every year, a level that would make India one of the biggest wind markets in the world.

India plans to require power purchasers and generators to include renewable energy in their suppliers and will penalize those that don’t, he said.

India will host a renewables conference from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17 to encourage growth in the industry.

via India to Double Renewables in Energy Mix, Minister Says – Businessweek.

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