(2) Write a paragraph explaining why and how your country is using one particular (most important or interesting (e.g. Osmotic Power Plants in Norway) source of renewable energy to generate electricity (or other, e.g. fuel). Answer 2: The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) estimates that there is a potential of around 90,000 MW of renewable energy for the country, including 48,561 MW of wind power, 14,294 MW of small hydro power and 26,367 MW of biomass In addition, the potential for solar energy is estimated for most parts of the country at around 20 MW per square kilometer of open, shadow free area covered with 657 GW of installed capacity. Currently Indian Renewable energy sector is dominated by Wind energy. The major development in this sector has been in past 10 years. In 2002 the installed capacity in India was merely 1700 MW which rose to 12000 MW till June 2010. When the development of this sector started in India, there was no direct competition by other sectors as: ď‚ˇ ď‚ˇ ď‚ˇ
Solar energy was quite expensive Biomass power was dominated by sugar producing industries because of trouble-free supply chain management, and OTEC and Geothermal sectors were unexplored
Owing to early push by the government, wind energy sector became very popular among investors. Following are the major reasons for the vast proliferation of this technology as compared to other renewable energy resources: 1. Huge wind potential in the country The estimated potential in India for wind energy is about 48561 MW of which approximately 12000 MW has been installed till now. Still about 75% of the potential remains untapped. 2. Huge incentives/tax-rebates provided by the Indian government Some of the key initiatives by the government to promote this sector were accelerated depreciation, income tax holidays, capital subsidies, banking and wheeling of electricity and third party sale of power. 3. Availability of established indigenous technology Companies such as Suzlon, with their unique business plan were able to lure investors in this sector. These companies installed big wind farms and allowed investors/tax payers to own part of the wind farm in the form of wind turbines and enjoy huge rebates on income tax. These companies also provided end to end solutions in this sector which attracted clean energy investors. 4. Short Gestation Periods: The short gestation periods for installing wind turbines, and the increasing reliability and performance of wind energy machines has made wind power a favored choice for capacity addition in India. Also, the air circulation in coastal areas across different parts of the country makes wind power an attractive proposition for captive as well distributive power generation in the country.
5. Economic viability As compared to other renewable technologies, Wind energy was the most economically viable clean energy investment in the past, but this scenario is changing as other technologies are receiving attention from the government. 6. Devoid of rapid and adverse fluctuations in market economics: With zero fuel cost, wind energy is not only cheap but also is not subject to price variation due to increase in cost of input fuel. Unlike the fossil fuel based power plants, the operating costs of a wind power plant are comparatively lesser than the fossil fuel powered plants which are susceptible to change in fuel prices. The cost of money (or say interest on capital) is the main cost component for production of wind energy. Once the capital along with interest is recovered, the only other cost component towards Operation & Maintenance (O&M) is rather nominal. 7. Long term benefits: Due to high capital costs and low capacity utilization factor involved, cost of wind energy is high initially and quite low subsequently. As compared to this characteristic, the cost of fossil fuel based energy is low initially but rises perpetually due to (inevitable) increase in cost of fuel and O&M expenses
However, government is now trying its best to consider the potential in a multitude of alternate energy sources like Wave energy, tidal energy, OTEC and Geothermal, apart from the conventional sources like Solar energy, mini-hydro and biomass. Not only this, India has recently come up with an ambitious the US19 billion dollar plan to have installations of 20GW by year 2020, which would comprise of power generation utilities based on Solar PV and Solar Thermal technologies. Such initiatives from the governmentâ€™s side will help India become energy independent and reduce its consumption of fossil fuels for power generation.
(3) Write a short text about â€œWhat are the biggest potentials concerning renewable energy production in your country and what obstacles hinder a higher degree of their use now or in the future?â€? (e.g. dominance of other energy sources; decision makers do not foster these ideas (for what reasons?)). Answer 3: Overall we see a positive trend in the engagement of renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind power towards the power generation capacity of India. As per the last five year policy Plan for the country, the outlay for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy increased by 61 per cent from US$ 139.4 million in 2009-10 to US$ 224.8 million in 2010-11.This clearly indicates the heightened importance accorded to policy implementation in this sector by the government authorities. Also, the government has facilitated action by private individuals and corporations, institutions and public bodies in promotion of renewable energy through financial incentives and technology support
Following are the renewable energy sectors that have huge potential in India, but they are yet not developed:
1. Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal Owing to India’s location between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, it has a huge solar potential. It is the brightest sector in terms of the Government’s promotion through its policies. The most recent being the 19 billion dollar plan to have installations of 20GW by year 2020. The solar mission may not live up to the expectations due to un-clear policy framework, lack of government’s ability to subsidize, un-availability of efficient technology. But with government’s ambitious targets and technical & economic development in this technology, there is huge scope in the solar energy field in India. 2. Geothermal: India, doesn't have too much of this resource (around 10000 MW), whatever little it does possess part of it is said to be sacred, so difficult to exploit for power generation. The Geological Survey of India, did conduct some preliminary research on the potential of this technology and found out some 300 sites but unfortunately most of them have a temperature below 100 degree Celsius, making it less viable for power generation, however, it could certainly be exploited for some other purposes like drying, pisciculture, milk pasteurization etc. using the Binary cycle method. With high survey costs (around 1/3rd of total project cost) and expensive equipment cost, it is still too expensive and until now nothing has come up in this field in India, mostly because of the cheap power through coal based technologies. But the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) claims to be supportive if such a project comes up. 3. Wind: Nothing much left to be exploited on a larger scale. Major on-shore areas with high wind potential have already been exploited. As a matter of fact, government had to change its policies owing to huge economic exploitation in this sector. Initially, government used to give tremendous subsidies/tax-based incentives on the capacity, i.e. more the capacity of your farm, more were your incentive. As a result of which, although India today has installations of about 10000 MW of wind turbines with very less Plant load factors. Therefore now, government has shifted its policies from installation based incentives to generation based incentives. 4. Waste to energy: Waste is one sector which has a humongous potential in a county like India. Rapid urbanization and industrialization throughout India represent another source of nonconventional energy. An estimated 50 million tonnes of solid waste and approximately 6,000 million cubic meters of liquid waste are generated annually in the urban areas of India. Good potential exists for generating approximately 2,600 MW of power from urban and municipal
wastes and approximately 1,300 MW from industrial wastes in India. The reasons for under development of this sector has been improper segregation and supply chain, early failures of some government plants, lack of governments push for segregation of waste at its point of generation.
Apart from these afore-mentioned technology-specific roadblocks, some generic ones too have played or are believed to play a spoil-sport in the near future, towards the implementation of these renewable technologies: 1. External and internal political compulsions Agreements with countries such as the US and France on nuclear power may see an increased shift to nuclear power generation in the future due to political compulsions. Also, the larger capacities associated with thermal, gas based and hydro power may mean greater focus on increasing capacities from these sources of power generation 2. Lack of proper understanding of newer renewable technologies- Growth in technologies such as waste to power and solar energy has been hampered by a lack of understanding of the value chain at implementation levels. Awareness levels of how to harness energy from these sources has to be increased to facilitate greater efficiency in the adoption of these technologies. 3. Corporate pressures around sticking with existing technologies- While some major Indian corporate have taken initiatives ( eg state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) in generating power from new and renewable sources, most of the private sector investment in the power sector in India is concentrated towards using fossil fuels based technologies. Considering the influence of the private sector in shaping government strategy, it is likely that the private sector focussed on fossil fuel based technologies may leave the development of the new and renewable technologies to the public sector. Consequently, innovation and therefore technology effectiveness may suffer due to lack of interest from the major private sector firms.