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India Environmental News Compilation, August 20th - August 27th, 2012

Amrita Batra

Posted August 31, 2012

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Ministry Objects to Panel’s Climate Draft, Funds Proposal

“The Environment Ministry has asked the Planning Commission to re-write the entire chapter on climate change in the 12th Five Year Plan after the ministry found key portions of the draft at variance with the country’s climate change goals and established stand on related matters.  Sources said Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has written to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia highlighting the objections. The ministry has also sent its own version of the chapter in portions where it desires the changes incorporated.”

(The Indian Express, 8/25/2012)

Environment Ministry Writes to Plan Panel, Asks it to Rework Climate Change Chapter

"The environment ministry has asked the Planning Commission to revise the 12th five-year plan climate change chapter and realign it with government's existing domestic and international climate policy. The ministry shot off a letter to the plan panel miffed with the draft that had suggested new goals for India's climate policy in breach of existing redlines.  In its letter to the Planning Commission, the environment ministry said the chapter was drafted ignoring the report of the inter-ministerial steering group set up specifically for the purpose and its contents "amount to prejudging India's negotiating position on climate change in international fora and her political responsibility at the global level"."

(The Times of India, 8/24/2012)

India’s Diesel Subsidies Stoke Emissions, Choke Clean Alternatives

“India’s high subsidies for polluting fuels like diesel and kerosene place a heavy burden on public finances and are compromising investment in clean energy alternatives, while removing them would hurt the poor less than commonly believed, researchers said this week.  In 2011-12, the fuel subsidies, together with the losses made by state-owned oil companies on the sale of regulated fuel, totalled 1.4 trillion Indian rupees ($27.7 billion), notes one of three new reports on the subject.  In India, under recovery - the gap between international petroleum prices plus refining and marketing costs and the amount earned from selling fuel at a lower, fixed price - has increased by more than 75 percent from 2010-11 and is three times the level in 2009-10, the study from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) adds.”

(Reuters AlertNet, 8/21/2012)


 Are U.S. Thin Film Deals Killing Solar Module Manufacturing in India?

“As solar manufacturers battle it out under cutthroat pricing conditions, accusations of unfair competitive tactics against particular countries have become common. Of course, the most well-known conflict pits the U.S. - specifically, the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM) - against China, which, according to a ruling earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Commerce, provided illegal subsidies to its PV manufacturers and allowed them to flood the U.S. market. The latest controversy, however, paints the U.S. as the aggressor rather than as the victim. India's Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a research and advocacy organization, claims the U.S. is "killing" India's domestic PV manufacturing industry.”

(Solar Industry Mag, 8/21/2012)

Satisfying India’s Thirst for Power Could be Nation’s Biggest Challenge

“Like China two decades ago and the United States in 1950, India stands on the cusp of transformational economic and social change, a jumping-off point at which the demand for electricity is about to explode.  Its economy and population are among the fastest growing in the world, and it has ambitious and energy-intensive plans to develop its infrastructure and industrial base. But business leaders are crying out for uninterrupted power supplies, and a third of India’s population is not even connected to the national grid.”

(The Washington Post, 8/22/2012)

Time to Shed Obsession for Coal as Future Lies in Renewable Energy

“(….) According to Planning Commission, the average cost per unit from solar power plant comes to about Rs10-13 per unit, which is four times the cost of power generated by a thermal power plant. In such a scenario it becomes very difficult to increase the share of solar energy in the basket of electricity generation for the country.  However, the notion that renewable energy is expensive needs to be challenged. Wind energy is already competitive with fossil fuel energy in some parts of India. Even the cost per unit of generating power using solar energy is showing a downward trend.  Data from Bloomberg shows that the investments in clean energy in India received is now worth $10.3 billion in 2011. This is an increase of nearly 52% from the previous financial year. India is also the most favoured nation for foreign investment in the renewable sector and accounts for 4% of global investment in clean energy.”

(Daily News & Analysis, 8/25/2012)

Model Solar City Plan in Final Stage

“After a few fits and starts, the city is all set to become a model solar city. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has finalized the master plan and submitted it to the Central government. After Chandigarh, Nagpur will be only the second city in the country to achieve the distinction.  Following a call from the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane gave a presentation of the plan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Wardhane told TOI that the MNRE has suggested a few changes which needs to be incorporated and the plan resubmitted.”

(The Hindustan Times, 8/25/2012)

Telcos Can Save Rs.80,000 Crore by Using Renewable Fuel Source

“Telecom companies can save up to Rs 80,000 crore over the next eight years by replacing diesel with a renewable energy source to power towers, says a report released by NGO Greenpeace on Tuesday. "With an ambition to be diesel free by 2020, 12.5 percent of these towers need to be retrofitted (with renewable energy source) every year...Telecom companies average savings would be Rs 10,000 crore every year that adds up to nearly Rs 80,000 crore over the 8 year period," the report said.  It added the government will be able to save subsidies of around Rs 273 crore every year from reduction in use of diesel.”

(Zee News, 8/28/2012)

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