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India Green News: Budgeting for Energy Needs, Government committed to domestic solar manufacturing

Grace Gill

Posted March 16, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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March 1-15, 2013 

India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India.

Energy

Government mulling club of nations to promote exchange of solar technology, says Union minister Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: India is looking forward to establishing a club of nations blessed with sufficient sunlight and harness energy to promote solar power as a substitute to the conventional form of energy, Union minister Farooq Abdullah said in New Delhi on Monday.

Addressing an energy conference organised by the ASPEN Institute, the Minister of New and Renewable Energy also said his ministry is planning to add another 1300 megawatt worth of solar energy projects to the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission by the end of this year. "We intend to -very shortly- create a club. A club of countries that god has given maximum sun and start thinking how we help each other in trying to get solar energy," he said.

Abdullah said the club will promote exchange of solar technology among the countries to end their dependency on conventional forms of energy. In reply to a question he said the club will also be able to look after the needs of companies operating in this area and will be able to act as a nodal agency to formulate further policies.

(CNN/IBN, 03/12/2013)

Under JNNSM Govt. Committed to Promote Domestic Manufacturing in Solar Energy

Following the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, (JNNSM) in 2010 the domestic manufacturing capacity of SPV cells and modules has increased from about 200 MW to 2000 MW.

One of the important objectives of the JNNSM is to promote domestic manufacturing in solar energy sector and certain domestic content requirements were made mandatory in various schemes of JNNSM Phase-I. The Government has also extended the benefits of excise duty exemption on finished products and of concessional customs duty on raw materials and equipment required for manufacturing, to encourage domestic industry. 

(Press Information Bureau, Gov’t of India, 03/11/2013)

Renewable Energy gets Priority

Rajahmundry: With power generation in conventional process failing to meet the needs due to different reasons, the onus fell on the renewable energy sector in AP.

The state government on its part has set the target at 2,000 MW generation with active association and participation of ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).

For promotion of the renewable energy, the government has sanctioned Rs 60 crore at state-level. Of this, Rs 50 crore is being given towards subsidy for promoting the use of pumpsets for ground water extraction with solar power.

(Deccan Chronicle, 03/10/2013)

Taking energy efficiency to the market

Like in many developing countries, the Indian energy policy is confronted by the challenge of balancing between four competing objectives: i) sustain economic growth through powering industrialisation; ii) increase energy access for the poor; iii) enhance energy security; and iv) reduce carbon emissions. Recognising this challenge, India has prioritised energy efficiency measures and set up the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE), one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The underlying rationale is that energy efficiency measures not only can support domestic developmental priorities, but also can yield climate co-benefits. The mission - adopting market-based approaches to unlock energy efficiency opportunities - has launched two flagship initiatives, viz. Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) and Market Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MTEE).

(Business Standard, 03/07/2013)

India contemplates new funding model for solar mission despite budget deficit fears

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has today said that a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) model has been "envisaged" for the second phase of the country’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). National budget deficit concerns are, however, throwing the viability of the program into question.

Unlike the first phase of the JNNSM, which relied on a reverse auction model to select solar projects, the second phase of the solar mission is likely to adopt a VGF model, which would see one time or short term capital assistance supplied. That is, if there is funding available.

According to the latest information, the second leg of the JNNSM is scheduled to start this June. However, on the back of India’s ballooning budget deficit – said to have reached 8 to 9% of GDP – and the Indian government’s delayed announcement of funding for the second phase of the JNNSM, concerns have been voiced that 2013 might not see any funding allocated at all.

(PV Magazine, 03/07/2013)

New initiatives in green energy on the anvil: Farooq 

Promising new initiatives in the field of green energy, Union New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah today expressed hope that the Budget proposals will allow his ministry to ensure that electricity reaches people who do not have access to it till now.

"I am happy with the Budget. We have got sufficient fund and they have promised to give more help once we are done with the complete utilisation of the given money," Farooq said.

He was addressing around 150 students from Jammu and Kashmir who met him at his residence here under a youth exchange programme 'Watan Ko Jano.'

Farooq said "this year we are going to take new initiatives related to our ministry which we are planning to make public very soon so that people who do not have access to the electricity may get it".

(Business Standard, 03/02/2013)

U.S. - India Cooperation

Solar issue: India, US to hold talks in Geneva on March 21

India and the US will hold consultations under the aegis of WTO on March 20-21 in Geneva on American allegations of discrimination against its products by New Delhi’s national solar mission.

“We have fixed March 20-21 for consultations. Our team will leave by March 18th,” a senior official in the commerce ministry told PTI.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry Sudhanshu Pandey will lead the team. He will be accompanied by two lawyers, director level officials, officials from NTPC, the official added.

Last month, the US had filed a complaint in the WTO that alleging discrimination by India’s national solar mission against American products. The US Trade Representative (USTR) had alleged that India’s programme appears to discriminate against US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use locally manufactured cells and by offering subsidies to those developers who use domestic equipment. It is also alleged that forced localisation requirements restrict US exports to India markets.

(The Hindu Business Line, 03/14/2013)

Health

Indian coal power plants kill 120,000 people a year, says Greenpeace

Environmental group's report on pollution in the country warns emissions may cause 20m new asthma cases a year

India's breakneck pace of industrialisation is causing a public health crisis with 80-120,000 premature deaths and 20m new asthma cases a year due to air pollution from coal power plants, a Greenpeace report warns.

The first study of the health impact of India's dash for coal, conducted by a former World Bank head of pollution, says the plants cost hospitals $3.3-$4.6bn (£2.2-£3.1bn) a year — a figure certain to rise as the coal industry struggles to keep up with demand for electricity.

The Delhi and Kolkata regions were found to be the most polluted but Mumbai, western Maharashtra, Eastern Andhra Pradesh and the Chandrapur- Nagpur region in Vidarbha were all affected.

The study, which took data from 111 major power plants, says there is barely any regulation or inspection of pollution. "Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved, and millions of asthma attacks, heart attacks, hospitalisations, lost workdays and associated costs to society could be avoided, with the use of cleaner fuels, [and] stricter emission standards and the installation and use of the technologies required to achieve substantial reductions in these pollutants," said the report. "There is a conspicuous lack of regulations for power plant stack emissions. Enforcement of what standards [which] do exist, is nearly non-existent," it says.

(The Guardian, 03/10/2013)

For more news on the issues we care about, visit our India News archive or read our other International blogs.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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