Thursday, April 27, 2017

Solar cheaper than coal in India

India’s solar power prices may be set to fall below those of thermal (coal) energy.
This is based on an expected cost of around Rs2.90 per unit for the solar power projects at Bhadla in Rajasthan that have received 51 bids. This price is less than the average rate of power generated by the coal-fuelled projects of India’s largest power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at Rs3.20 per unit.

Read the article on livemint here

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nuclear Fusion?

So, I wrote about the case of nuclear energy in my last post. Right after posting that, I came across this article on Forbes which makes the case for Nuclear Fusion as the future of energy. There are some compelling arguments made:

1) Fossil fuels are pretty abundant as of today but they will not last forever. Based on which report you believe, there is a definite end date to those. We can not generate more coal, oil or natural gas. Once it is over, the party is over and we better have an alternative ready by then.

2) While the fossil fuels are not over and we are using them, they REALLY pollute the environment. And we are not just talking about global warming. There are other concerns too - like polluting the water table and other hazards to people by the dangerous nature of their processing.

3) That brings us to the alternative sources of energy like sun, wind etc. They are inconsistent at best. Imagine days when wind is not blowing enough to power the turbines and sun is shy as well. How do you get continuous energy to run your cities? Battery technology is not portable enough and the sheer size of the battery power required to run cities on these downtime (when alternative energy is playing hide and seek with you) is unimaginable. The infrastructure support to get a wind farm or a solar farm ready doesn't come without its own side effect as well.

4) We covered nuclear in the context of nuclear fission but there are NIMBY concerns with that (not in my backyard). Nuclear fission involves taking heavy and unstable radioactive material and splitting them into smaller (also radioactive) elements and the process release energy. However, nuclear fusion (that's what happens inside sun) doesn't involve any radioactive material at all. We are talking about light and stable elements like Hydrogen and Helium here.

5) It's not exactly been done before to have nuclear fusion in a controlled environment but some possibilities have emerged and we need to invest more in this field to make major advances which can make this a candidate for our future source of energy. 

Read the article for more details (LINK)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Coal Free in 10 Years

Friday (21 April, 2017) was the first ever working day without coal in UK since the industrial revolution. Now, that's an amazing feat! Who would have thought of that?

That has been the main driver of reduction in CO2 emissions in UK.

They are targeting to be totally coal free by 2025...

Catch the full report here:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Case for Nuclear

Nuclear Energy is probably the most least understood source of energy, marred with all sorts of saefty and political connotation.

Nuclear power provide 11% of world's power without any carbon dioxide emissions. This is coming from 440 commercial power nuclear reactors operable in 31 countries. About 60 more reactors are under construction. For the last 15 years or so, total capacity has stagnated, otherwise we would have been at 20% mix by now. Some countries have done really well like France which gets 75% of its energy from nuclear.  (SOURCE)

Some of the accidents reltaed to nuclear power has caught world's attention. The world has been host to three major nuclear power generation accidents: Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011. The fatalities in these accidents are statistically insignificant compared to, let's say, driving. In US along, there were 32,000 traffic accident deaths in 2013 and everyone still is driving.

Read this article to learn more about the case for nuclear. Simply fascinating how it compares Nuclear with all sorts of things and makes a solid case.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

European Union on Track to Meet Energy Efficiency Targets by 2020

The Second Report on the State of the Energy Union states that the European Union as a whole has continued to make good progress on delivering the Energy Union objectives, in particular on the 2020 energy and climate targets. It has already achieved considerable reductions in energy consumption. If Member States' efforts continue, the European Union is on track to reach its 2020 energy efficiency targets.

See the report here:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Singapore's Approach to Alternative Energy

Singapore is a small country with a total area of about 720 sq km but it's quite a powerhouse when it comes to harnesing its resources. The way it has emerged from a third world country to an economic superpower in a short span of 40-50 years is commendable.

So, what is Singapore's plan for harnessing renewable energy?

A lot of renewable energy is not really available here.

As per this source,

  • Commercial wind turbines operate at wind speeds of around above 4.5m/s but the average wind speed in Singapore is only about 2m/s.
  • Singapore’s relatively narrow tidal range and calm seas limit opportunities for commercial tidal power generation. Much of our sea space is also used for ports, anchorage and shipping lanes, which limit the application of ocean energy technologies.
  • Hydroelectric power cannot be harnessed, as Singapore does not have a river system with fast flowing water throughout the year.
  • We do not have geothermal energy sources.
  • Our small physical size (715.8 sq km), high population density and land scarcity limits our potential for sustainably-grown domestic biomass. It also constraints the safe deployment of nuclear power in Singapore

  • Singapore's high average annual solar irradiation of about 1,500 kWh/m2 makes solar photovoltaic (PV) a potential renewable energy option for Singapore. However, we face challenges to the use of solar energy in Singapore. We have limited available land for the large scale deployment of solar panels. In addition, the presence of high cloud cover across Singapore and urban shading poses challenges such as intermittency.

    Read the rest of the article here

    The adoption of solar PV systems in Singapore continued to accelerate in 2015. Grid-connected installed capacity of solar PV systems sharply increased from 26 MWac in 2014 to 46 MWac in 2015. This increase was driven by 305 new installations in 2015.

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    Clean affordable power for all - in India

    Solar power tariffs appear to be on a free fall in India, finding a new floor at a tariff of Rs 3.15 per unit quoted by Solairedirect in the auction for state-run generation utility NTPC's 250MW at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

    This beats the previous low of Rs 3.30 per unit tariff, on a basic bid of Rs 2.97 a unit for the first year, quoted in February for the first unit of the 750MW Rewa solar park in Madhya Pradesh.