Tag Archive | renewable energy projects

India: bringing the Sun down to Earth

“More than 1.2 billion people who speak 21 different tongues live in the immense area that extends from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, covering three million square kilometres”

A country with myriad facets, also in the energy field. Its needs are increasing to support its growth, but, at the same time, there will be a 1.1% production surplus in 2016-2017, because the distribution network cannot keep pace with recent generation capacity increases. Some 240 million Indians still lack access to electricity.

A solar mission to “make in India”

In 2010 India launched a National solar mission, whose aim is not to reach the sun, but rather to bring it down to Earth by connecting 100 GW of solar PV capacity to the grid by 2022.

“For India, renewables are not only clean energy, but also competitive costs and providing electricity where there is a lack of it”

– Norberto Cuenca, Head of business development Enel Green Power South Asia

Also contributing to the ambitious goal of achieving a 40% renewable share by 2030 is “make in India,” a campaign promoted by the government to attract companies, investment and technologies.

India is set on becoming a global hub for best-in-class practices in 25 industries, including automotive, clothing, infrastructure and food. However, in order for domestic production to make this quality leap, it needs a lot of energy.

Watchwords: competitiveness and innovation

In India, renewable energy is dealing with a tumultuous development, in which domestic producers and large global companies are engaged. ‘Sustainability and innovation are two key factors to competing in a big market that thinks big,’ says Cuenca.

Enel Green Power began operating in India in September 2015, when it bought the majority share of BLP Energy, a local utility company with three operating wind farms totalling 172 MW in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The growth prospect is huge, just like the needs that energy can meet, from rural electrification to smart grids for megacities or industry.

“The distinctive trait of many tenders for the construction of new renewable plants is precisely the demand for innovation by the competing companies”

Using big data for the efficient management of wind farms or embedding storage systems into solar PV fields are no longer the exception, but increasingly common practices.

For a country that will have 315 million more urban inhabitants by 2040 – equivalent to the amount of people presently living in the USA – clean energy and innovation are a vital need.

How to convert US to 100 percent renewable energy

It’s technically possible for each state to replace fossil fuel energy with entirely clean, renewable energy, experts say. A new report is the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

The new plan calls for no more than 0.5 percent of any state’s land to be covered in solar panels or wind turbines. The upfront cost of the changes would be significant, but wind and sunlight are free. So the overall cost spread over time would be roughly equal to the price of the fossil fuel infrastructure, maintenance and production, authors say.
Credit: © kuzmafoto / Fotolia

One potential way to combat ongoing climate change, eliminate air pollution mortality, create jobs and stabilize energy prices involves converting the world’s entire energy infrastructure to run on clean, renewable energy.

This is a daunting challenge. But now, in a new study, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and colleagues, including U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi, are the first to outline how each of the 50 states can achieve such a transition by 2050. The 50 individual state plans call for aggressive changes to both infrastructure and the ways we currently consume energy, but indicate that the conversion is technically and economically possible through the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies.

“The main barriers are social, political and getting industries to change. One way to overcome the barriers is to inform people about what is possible,” said Jacobson, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and at the Precourt Institute for Energy. “By showing that it’s technologically and economically possible, this study could reduce the barriers to a large scale transformation.”

The study is published in the online edition of Energy and Environmental Sciences.

Jacobson and his colleagues started by taking a close look at the current energy demands of each state, and how those demands would change under business-as-usual conditions by the year 2050. To create a full picture of energy use in each state, they examined energy usage in four sectors: residential, commercial, industrial and transportation.

For each sector, they then analyzed the current amount and source of the fuel consumed — coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables — and calculated the fuel demands if all fuel usage were replaced with electricity. This is a significantly challenging step — it assumes that all the cars on the road become electric, and that homes and industry convert to fully electrified heating and cooling systems. But Jacobson said that their calculations were based on integrating existing technology, and the energy savings would be significant.

“When we did this across all 50 states, we saw a 39 percent reduction in total end-use power demand by the year 2050,” Jacobson said. “About 6 percentage points of that is gained through efficiency improvements to infrastructure, but the bulk is the result of replacing current sources and uses of combustion energy with electricity.”

The next step involved figuring out how to power the new electric grid. The researchers focused on meeting each state’s new power demands using only the renewable energies — wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and tiny amounts of tidal and wave — available to each state.

They analyzed each state’s sun exposure, and how many south-facing, non-shaded rooftops could accommodate solar panels. They developed and consulted wind maps and determined whether local offshore wind turbines were an option. Geothermal energy was available at a reasonable cost for only 13 states. The plan calls for virtually no new hydroelectric dams, but does account for energy gains from improving the efficiency of existing dams.

The report lays out individual roadmaps for each state to achieve an 80 percent transition by 2030, and a full conversion by 2050. Jacobson said that several states are already on their way. Washington state, for instance, could make the switch to full renewables relatively quickly, thanks to the fact that more than 70 percent of its current electricity comes from existing hydroelectric sources. That translates to about 35 percent of the state’s all-purpose power if Washington were 100-percent electrified; wind and solar could fill most of the remainder.

Iowa and South Dakota are also well-positioned, as they already generate nearly 30 percent of their electricity from wind power. California, which was the focus of Jacobson’s second single-state roadmap to renewables after New York, has already adopted some of his group’s suggestions and has a plan to be 60 percent electrified by renewables by 2030.

The plan calls for no more than 0.5 percent of any state’s land to be covered in solar panels or wind turbines. The upfront cost of the changes would be significant, but wind and sunlight are free. So the overall cost spread over time would be roughly equal to the price of the fossil fuel infrastructure, maintenance and production.

“When you account for the health and climate costs — as well as the rising price of fossil fuels — wind, water and solar are half the cost of conventional systems,” Jacobson said. “A conversion of this scale would also create jobs, stabilize fuel prices, reduce pollution-related health problems and eliminate emissions from the United States. There is very little downside to a conversion, at least based on this science.”

Jacobson said that if the conversion is followed exactly as his plan outlines, the reduction of air pollution in the U.S. could prevent the deaths of approximately 63,000 Americans who die from air pollution-related causes each year. It would also eliminate U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases produced from fossil fuel, which would otherwise cost the world $3.3 trillion a year by 2050.

An interactive map summarizing the plans for each state is available at http://www.thesolutionsproject.org.


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Materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length