Saturday, August 2, 2008

Some More Interesting Links

It is always refreshing to see more and more information about efforts in the field of renewable energy come out - with more people working in this area, something decent cannot but be in the offing. Ecogeek talks about an Indian Green community in Kolkata: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1948/83/ There is also an excellent analysis in easy to understand terms of the problems with the pricing of electric cars (and no, I don't mean quadricycles like the Reva G-Wiz) at: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1939/

There is also the matter of using sewage to power homes. There have been experimental gas collection centers at some bus termini in Tamilnadu from what I have read in the Indian media but there has been no systematic attempt at using human poop to do anything useful. In a country of 1.2 billion people squeezed into an area a third the size of the USA, this could be a fantastic idea. If the governments of the various states and the centre offered the use of toilets free to the poor, then this would also make the country vastly cleaner. Check out the Ecogeek Link: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1931/77/

Finally, an interesting New York Times piece on the Pickens Plan: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/opinion/27friedman.html?_r=2&ref=opinion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin Yes, he is planning to show fossil fuel the fist. Life is good!

2 comments:

Mohanakrishnan B said...

Very refreshing and interesting articles on your blog. Curiously there was an editorial on India`s energy crisis in todays `Deccan Chronicle`. But there was little more than a paragraph. The papparazzi seem to have even lost interest in the nuclear deal and what is happening at the NSG.
Just like the ancient Romans who believed that the people need the circus to keep them occupied, Indian newspapers devote themselves to the lives of the jetset and glitterati and of course the latest rage, the Olympic games.
The editorial did make a few points though. For one India would have to invest about US$600 billion in the power sector if they are not to face severe shortages by 2015.
Its wishful thinking to expect the Government to build public toilets and throw them open to the poor. Public toilets are for the above poverty line crowd who can pay, but who neither need or use them often anyway. For the BPL(below poverty line)there is always the road.
A few months ago the Corporation of Chennai who regularly attempt to turn Chennai into Singara Chennai introduced a few rules. Spit, litter,defecate,urinate at your own risk for you will be fined.
For a few days they worked with vim and vigour and challaned some people. Four months have passed and nothing has changed. Singara Chennai is not so Singaram. Not surprising really, for within a few days of the law being passed, I spotted a traffic constable spitting on the street.
Coming back to the energy crisis,Chennai has been having powercuts for an hour daily for the last one month. TamilNadu has resorted to buying power from places like Chattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir. Tirupur home to the Hosiery and Garment industry has taken a beating. I was speaking to the manager of one of the firms and he told me that one of the biggest problems facing the weavers is a shortage of power. The second is the influx of imported garments from Pakistan and China.
Small scale units have been forced to close down due to lack of orders and lack of Government support.
Most of the workers have been laid off and have returned to their villages.
Suzlon Energy is one of the pioneers in setting up windmills in India. They have more than 50% market share. They have also built windmills in North America, Europe, China and Africa. They have a presence in 20 countries worldwide.
Suzlon is in the process of developing Asia’s largest windpark in Dhule, Maharashtra with a capacity over 1,000 MW when completed. But will this be enough?

Mehul Kamdar said...

Thanks, Mohan, for a detailed piece on what is happening in Chennai. Frankly, I am not in the least bit surprised. There are several ways in which we could save about 30% of the energy that we use - India has been making solar powered rice cookers for more than thirty years now but hardly any subsidies exist for them. These things last forever even though they are somewhat expensive. Thinking back to my childhood, I can imagine how many tens of thousands of RUpees my parents could have saved had they bought one of these when they frst became available, because there would have been that much less LPG gas used. We now have very effective solar powered water heaters being made in India but, again, how many people actually install them in their homes? And this is in a country with some of the best sunlight available in the world . . .

Indian journalists are not even aware of a lot of the technical details. Unfortunately, no one cares and that is why there is no discussion in the public arena about this. Worst of all, I think it is a sad thing that Indians are content with taking matters lying down. If people were more vociferous about these problems and of the severe mismanagement that is going on as far as the energy sector is concerned, there would be some action. As things stand, there is nothing that is likely to happen until time and circumstances deal the country a kick in the backside.