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India Environmental News Compilation, July 17th - 23rd, 2012

Amrita Batra

Posted July 24, 2012

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Goa Forest and Environment to Help Implement Rio +20

“Rio+20 India Programme will be undertaken in Goa in co-ordination with the office of Alina Saldanha, the state minister of forest and environment. Rio+20 is the short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 - 22 June 2012. The state ministry of forest and environment will coordinate with the Rio+20 Indian programme which consists of consists of a certification program for schools in India, corporate workshops and Rio+20 India summits. The aim is for students from schools, colleges and student associations to drive the summit discussions and commitments across the state and country- leading to Rio+20 India Declaration.”

(The Times of India, 7/20/2012)


India Solar Mission: US, EU, Japan Pile Pressure to Remove Domestic Content Clause

“India's major trade partners-the US, the EU and Japan-have stepped up pressure to remove local content requirement clause in the ambitious national solar mission project and manufacture of certain electronic products. However, New Delhi is preparing to defend its policies strongly at the World Trade Organization right till the dispute panel level. "There is a possibility that US may launch a formal dispute against India, especially for the domestic content clause in the National Solar Mission, but we will fight it," a commerce department official told ET.”

(The Economic Times, 7/20/2012)

Why Solar Panel Manufacturers Are Finding it Tough to Stay On in the Business

“It is a curious paradox. Though more and more solar energy is being produced in India - installed capacity rising exponentially from just 20 megawatts (MW) in 2009 to 980 MW by April 2012 - domestic solar panel manufacturers are in the doldrums. Just a couple of years ago, they were riding high. But now they hardly get any orders. All those setting up solar power plants prefer to buy their equipment overseas, especially from China.”

(Business Standard, 7/22/2012)

US Loans for Indian Firms Making Solar Facilities in Rajasthan

“The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorised loans totalling $57.3 million to two Indian firms to finance the export of American solar panels and ancillary services to India. The solar panels, which are manufactured by First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Arizona, will be used in the construction of solar photovoltaic plants in Rajasthan, the Bank announced Wednesday.”

(The New York Daily News, 7/19/2012)

India Can Boost Clean Energy Target at Minimal Cost, Panel Says

“India, the world’s fourth-biggest energy consumer, can increase renewable power purchase targets for distributors at minimal cost, a panel of regulators said. Clean energy utilities such as wind and solar farms will add enough capacity to allow state distribution companies and private operators Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. (RELI) and Tata Power Co. (TPWR) to buy as much as 11.4 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017, the government said today in a statement, citing a study by top electricity regulators.”

(Bloomberg News, 7/20/2012)

Each State to Have Solar City Soon

“The ministry of new and renewable energy has initiated the development of solar cities. The programme has been designed to encourage urban local bodies to prepare a road map to guide their cities in becoming 'renewable energy cities' or 'solar cities'. The Solar City programme aims to consolidate all the efforts of the ministry and address the energy problem of the urban areas in a holistic manner.”

(The Times of India, 7/22/2012)

Pilgrim Centres go Green by Adopting Solar Energy

“India’s pilgrim centres attract visitors from across the globe all year round. These centres, with large community kitchens, cater to the visiting devotees with a variety of food. And now, they have gone green too, using solar energy rather than the traditional methods. The Saibaba Ashram at Shirdi in Maharashtra commissioned its solar cooking system in 2009. The kitchen complex of the Ashram has 73 parabolic dishes to capture the sun’s rays to run what is touted as the world’s largest solar cooking system. It cooks food for 50,000 devotees every day.”

(The Hindu, 7/19/2012)

Rajasthan Adopts New Wind Power Policy

“The Rajasthan Government has adopted a new wind power policy to facilitate installation of wind energy plants of 3,000 MW capacity during the next three to four years and promote private investments in the sector through a slew of incentives and concessions. State Energy Minister Jitendra Singh said here on Thursday that the Government-owned power discoms would purchase electricity from the plants at the rates decided by the Power Tariff Regulatory Commission while the investors would be free to sell electricity to any other institution.”

(The Hindu, 7/20/2012)

Environmental Governance and Compliance

Power Sector Sweating Over Environment Ministry’s Draft Rules

“The ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) has proposed new rules, applicable from January 2014, which are seen as imposing conditions too tough to be met by the power sector. The new rules make it mandatory for thermal power plants located beyond 500km of the pit head (dedicated source of coal) to use coal with calorific value of at least 4,000 Kcal/Kg, or put in place specified clean technologies. The latter option may lead to a change in the basic structure of the plants itself, which those running power units say is an impractical proposal. If implemented, the new rules are bound to burden generation companies with higher costs.”

(The Times of India, 7/23/2012)

Clearances Halt at Forests Ministry on Panel Information

“A large number of mining, roads and defense projects are being delayed because the government hasn’t formed an advisory panel that looks into forest clearances. Some 35-40 projects are held up because the committee, which advises the environment ministry on proposals related to use of forests for industrial purposes, hasn’t been constituted after the previous panel’s term ended on 28 May, a ministry official said, requesting anonymity.”

(Live Mint, 7/22/2012)

Health and Environment

Need to Give Farmers an Alternative to Bt Cotton: Maharashtra

“Bt cotton may have taken almost 99% area under cotton cultivation in Maharashtra but, looking at the diminishing profit margins, the state government is planning to evolve other options to the genetically modified variety of the crop. The government feels it will reduce cultivation cost and increase profitability and sustainability of the crop for the farmer.”

(The Times of India, 7/22/2012)

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