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India Green News : Government strides in solar and renewable energy investment, health impacts of pollution in cities

Grace Gill

Posted February 4, 2013

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

January 1 - 31, 2013

Energy

Bucks for Green Energy

In a pre-budget exercise, the Climate Parliament group of Members of Parliament asked the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram to incorporate a series of financial measures for renewable energy in the Budget 2013-14, so that the targets set in the National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) and in the draft 12 Plan document, presented recently to the National Development Council, are met fully.

(The Hindu, 01/20/2013)

Expensive Loans Dim the Prospects for Renewable Energy in India

India, a country blessed with enormous reserves of renewable energy, pays up to 32 percent more for electricity from solar and wind than the U.S. or Europe because projects are so expensive to finance, according to a report.

A joint study by the Climate Policy Initiative and the Indian School of Business issued in December found that a combination of high interest rates and unclear government policies make the electricity from a clean-energy project carry a premium of 24 to 32 percent compared to a similar project in the West. Expensive clean energy makes it more likely that India will end up building its 21st Century energy infrastructure with coal, which would lead to higher carbon emissions and worsen the problems of global warming.

(Forbes.com. 01/23/2012)

Welspun commissions 15 mw solar project in Rajasthan

NEW DELHI: Welspun Energy, India's biggest developer of solar projects, today said that it has commissioned a 15 mega-watt solar project in Rajasthan ahead of schedule.

The 15 MW solar PV project is first of the 3 projects totalling 50 MW that the company's subsidiary had won in Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission's second batch of projects.

(The Economic Times, 01/22/2013)

Resource crunch could delay second phase of National Solar Mission

NEW DELHI: The second phase of the national solar mission could get delayed due to lack of government finance for the upcoming projects. "Government investment is not flowing in, so execution of the next phase will get delayed," said a top official at ministry of new and renewable energy.

For the second phase of the solar mission, ministry has decided to go for 'viability gap funding (VGF)' model for the solar power projects. Out of 3,000 mw, for which the reverse bidding will happen in June this year, 2,500 mw will be funded via VGF. Under this option, bidders would bid for VGF requirement in Rs/mw and the bidder with minimum VGF requirement would be selected. Balance 500 mw will be bundled with conventional power like the first phase.

(The Economic Times, 01/28/2013)

Environmental Governance

India committed to sustainable energy for all

DUBAI: India is committed to sustainable energy for all and it stands among the top five nations of the world in terms of renewable energy capacity, Indian Ambassador to the UAE said today.

Speaking at the 3rd session of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) being held in Abu Dhabi, Ambassador M K Lokesh said that the country has an installed base of over 26,000 MW, which constitutes 12.5 per cent of the country's total power generation capacity, representing an almost 400 per cent increase in the past five years alone.

"Renewable energy sector in India is now seen as significant player in the grid connected power generation and an essential player for energy access. Investment in renewable energy sector grew by 25 per cent last year and amounted to nearly USD 3.8 billion," he said.

(The Economic Times, 01/14/2013)

Health 

How urban heat islands are making India hotter

It is bitterly cold in Delhi. A bone-chilling wind has left temperatures below 3C (37F), the lowest since records began in 1969, and at least 100 homeless people are said to have died.

But temperatures in the mega-city that is now home to an estimated 18 million people can be expected to rise to a sizzling 46C if there is a heatwave in May, and the city is often unbearably hot by the time the monsoon arrives at the end of June.

Now, Indian government-backed research shows that both Delhi and India's biggest city, Mumbai, are becoming "urban heat islands", with significantly different climates to their surrounding rural areas.

(The Guardian, 01/08/2013)

Air Pollution in Mumbai Doubles

MUMBAI: The heavy fog enveloping the city during early mornings is an ominous indicator of Mumbai's deteriorating air quality. Official readings since mid-January evidence that owing to cooler weather and bustle of vehicles and construction, the pollution levels have surpassed the standard limits by two-fold.

According to Mumbai Pollution Control Board logs, pollution levels particularly nitrogen oxide (NOx) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) have been exceptionally pernicious the past few days. On January 16, for instance, SPM shot up to as high as 286 micrograms per cubic metre. On January 6, NOx was recorded at 211 micrograms per cubic metre.

(The Times of India, 01/25/2013)

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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