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India chooses all of the above with Natural Gas, Iranian Oil and Solar

Grace Gill Qayoumi

Posted April 15, 2013

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March 30-April 11th, 2013

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

Climate Change

India readying to take on absolute emission reduction cuts

NEW DELHI: India is preparing to take on absolute emission reduction cuts under the new global climate compact to be signed in 2015. As part of the preparation, the government is likely to commission four studies including one assessing by when India's emissions will peak in absolute terms.

The year when India's emissions trajectory peaks before it starts to dip is expected to influence the date from when the government will be ready to take on a cap in absolute terms on greenhouse gases under the 2015 agreement.

The government is also expected to commission a report on how the principle of equity would be embedded as a formula in the way emission reduction targets are distributed between different countries. In a third study, it would look to shape its own version of what the global agreement should look like. On the domestic front, the government is likely to look at what specific actions may be required by different ministries and industries to reduce emissions as part of its voluntary agenda.

(Times of India, 4/10/2013)

Hundreds of Bangladeshis getting killed at border with India

BHOMRA, BANGLADESH—The 2.4-metre-high barbed wire fence, double-walled in places, runs through lush rice fields, narrow canals and tall trees. Every hundred metres or so, there is a manned lookout. Guards also patrol on foot, guns in hand. Around them, farmers work, sowing and weeding.

It is formidable and menacing. It is the border between Bangladesh and India.

For decades, Bangladeshis easily traversed the border, seeking better jobs and a better life. In fact, Bangladesh was part of India until the British-led partition of 1947. Sometimes the border passes through villages, even buildings. Many houses have a front door in one country and a back door in the other.

About six years ago, worried about illegal migration, India began fencing the 3,800-kilometre border in earnest. Boat patrols were launched for the approximately 500 kilometres of border along rivers and deltas.

No one is sure how many Bangladeshi migrants are illegally in India. Estimates range up to 10 million, a figure Bangladesh says is greatly exaggerated.

But the number is growing. Drastically changing weather has made low-lying land uninhabitable and left many Bangladeshis with no place to go. The country’s cities are already bursting.

Experts predict about 250 million climate change refugees worldwide by mid-century. Of those, 20 million to 30 million are expected to be in Bangladesh. Many will head to the border.

India wants to keep them out.

(The Toronto Star, 4/1/2013)

Rise in minimum temperature hits Kerala hard

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unlike in north India, where there is no respite from summer and the mercury just keeps soaring, the atmospheric temperature in the state used to remain constant almost throughout the summer months. Not anymore.

The temperatures, even in the hilly areas of the state, have risen by a degree above normal while the minimum temperature has risen by three-four degrees in some districts in the past four days.

Meteorologists point out how the summer showers that occurred in several districts had brought down the temperature at least temporarily. "The minimum temperature in Kochi came down by three degrees on Wednesday just because it received summer showers on Tuesday,'' said K Santhosh, director of India meteorological department.

He pointed out that the minimum temperature too has risen sharply in several districts and this also meant that the soil remains relatively hot even in the night. "The state is used to intermittent rains that keep the soil moist and act as a natural coolant,'' he said.

(Times of India, 4/11/13)


India to host 4th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in April

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 4th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting on April 17 which among other things would assess the steps being undertaken by various countries to pursue green initiatives.

Energy ministers from 23 countries, including US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, will come together in the national capital from April 16 to 18 to review the progress of clean energy initiatives, an official statement said.

Besides the ministerial meeting, the event will also host the Clean Energy Innovation Showcase, panel discussion on participation of woman in Clean Energy, Awards for the Super Efficient Appliances etc.

(The Hindu, 3/29/2013)

US Exim Bank provides $9 m loan for export of solar panels

The Export Import Bank of the US has provided a $9 million loan to a California-based firm to export thin-film solar panels to India that was used in the construction of an 11.6-MW power project in Rajasthan.

In a statement, the Bank said Miasole, a solar-energy company in Santa Clara, California, has exported thin-film solar panels to a solar photovoltaic project in Rajasthan, with the support of a $9 million direct loan from it.

The Indian borrower, Sai Maithili Power Company Private Ltd, a single-purpose solar company formed by KSK Energy Ventures, used Miasole’s high-efficiency, thin-film PV solar panels in the construction of an 11.6-MW (DC) solar PV project in Rajasthan, it said.

(The Hindu Business Line, 3/27/2013)

Clean energy investments in India down 53% at $6.3 billion in 2012

NEW DELHI: In just one year, investment in clean energy initiatives in India has gone down by 52.7% reaching $6.3 billion in 2012, which was what wind market alone attracted in 2011.

The investment in wind, however, was reduced to half in the absence of any incentive scheme. Solar business comprising both power production and equipment manufacturing is suffering due to poor policy enforcement.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, investment in the solar energy sector grew by 90% in 2010 to reach $5.2 billion in 2011, but it came down drastically to $1.7 billion in 2012.

Experts don't see significant improvement in investment this year. "We might expect investment in the range of $7-9.5 billion in clean energy, as the second phase of solar mission is supposed to start this year," said Ashish Sethia, country manager-India, Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

(The Economic Times, 3/28/2013)

Fracking Debut Nears in Boost to Reliance, ONGC: Corporate India

India will allow explorers including Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) to produce shale oil and gas for the first time as Asia’s second-biggest energy consumer seeks to cut reliance on imports.

Under a new policy aimed at boosting domestic output of fossil fuels, companies will be allowed to extract oil and gas from shale rocks in more than 250 blocks the government has already given out, said Vivek Rae, the top civil servant in the oil ministry. The new rules will allow ONGC, the nation’s biggest, to start shale output almost immediately and in “substantial quantity” in about three years, Chairman Sudhir Vasudeva said.

India, which currently doesn’t allow exploitation of shale rocks, is trying to emulate the U.S., where a boom has reinvigorated industry and is leading the world’s largest economy toward energy independence.

(Bloomberg Businessweek, 4/1/2013)

Germany to give India euro 1 bn loan for green energy development

BERLIN: Germany will provide India a soft loan of euro 1 billion (Rs 71 billion) for strengthening the transmission system of renewable energy in several states, a top official said on Wednesday.

The loan will be used for developing a “renewable energy corridor", the official added.

"We are hopeful of signing the agreement tomorrow (Thursday)," said Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah.

Abdullah, who is part of a delegation led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that arrrived here Wednesday on a three-day visit, said the deal would be signed after the second round of inter-governmental consultations between the two countries here Thursday.

Officials said cooperation in green energy would be one of the focus areas of discussion when the prime minister meets German Chancellor Angela Markel Thursday.

(Times of India, 4/10/2013)

‘NCEF plans to give low-cost loans for renewable energy’

The National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), set up in 2011 by taxing coal production, will soon provide low cost loans to investors in renewable energy, said Alok Srivastava, joint secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on Wednesday.

Currently, the installed capacity for renewable energy in the country is around 25,000 MW and high rates of interest for loans are seen by investors as an obstruction to the development of renewable energy sources. Loans are currently given at 12 per cent interest and investors want this percentage reduced to around 8 per cent.

“NCEF funds will come to us (MNRE Ministry) as grants. We will use these funds to provide loans at reduced rates of interest. Fifty per cent of the project funding can be obtained from these funds and the rest from banks. This will reduce the overall rate of interest,” Srivastava said on the sidelines of Indo-US joint regional workshop on renewal energy.

(The New Indian Express, 4/11/2013)

Green Groups Urge U.S. to back off Indian Solar trade case

(Reuters) - U.S. environmental groups are pressing President Barack Obama's administration to back off a World Trade Organization case against India they say threatens the ability of the world's second most populous country to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

"We're really worried about this proliferation of trade cases on renewable energy," Ilana Solomon, trade representative for the Sierra Club, said in an interview on Thursday.

"With the climate crisis upon us, governments should have every tool at their disposal to incentivize renewable energy" and cut use of fossil fuels, Solomon said.

(Reuters, 4/4/2013)

John Kerry to visit India in June to spur nuclear energy commerce

New York: US President Barack Obama is sending secretary of state John Kerry, Washington's new top diplomat to India to expand strategic cooperation and iron out the issues stalling the actual implementation of the India-US civil nuclear energy deal.

During his visit, expected to take place in mid-June, Kerry will also co-chair the Indo-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and try to push nuclear energy commerce.

“US, sources said, is keen to finalise the early works agreement on nuclear reactors and settle the liability issue so as to clear the decks for actual nuclear commerce to begin,” reported the Daily Mail.

During his visit, Kerry will also co-chair the Indo-US strategic dialogue with external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and try to push nuclear energy commerce. Reuters

(First Post, 4/5/2013)

India will not cap oil imports from Iran: Govt Officials

NEW DELHI: India is unwilling to impose restrictions or cap its oil imports from Iran, and will continue its energy ties with Tehran as long it gets a "good deal" and logistic support, even as one national insurance companies has stepped in provide reinsurance for oil imports from Iran staving a crisis for now, senior government officials told reporters on India's energy strategy.

New Delhi's reiteration of continuing oil imports from Iran comes even as crude oils imports from Iran has been slowing down in view of the US pressure to bring down trade ties with Tehran. India imported 12% of its oil requirement from Iran. India's stand on energy security comes even as it assumes increased significance in the foreign policy and trade relations. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, back from the BRICS summit a month ago, is on his way for an inter-government conference with Berlin.

(The Economic Times, 4/11/13)

Environmental Health & Governance

Pollution not under control as centres ill-equipped

GURGAON: Getting a Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate for your vehicle in Gurgaon is easy, thanks to hundreds of PUC certification centres, with zero rejection rate, running under the aegis of the transport department.

When this correspondent spotted a PUC booth at the fuel station near Botanical Garden in Gurgaon, he inquired about the process to get a certificate. A man on duty said just park your vehicle in front of the booth as he needs to click a picture of the registration number plate.

Without even checking the vehicle's registration records, he asked, "Gaadi ka model number kya hai?" On this correspondent said he did not remember exactly, may be 2004 or 2005. The person on the other side said he was mentioning 2004 in the certificate and then he typed something on his computer.

(Times of India, 3/30/2013)

Indian states fight over river usage

MAGIZHI, India — MAGIZHI, India —Valan, a rice farmer in a starched white shirt and sarong, walked along the bone-dry canal bed next to his village in the state of Tamil Nadu as though it were a road. The canal should have been full from last June until the end of the year, he said, but it stood dry, except for one month in which unexpected storms flooded the canal and destroyed his crops.

In the past, “we could just use the rainwater,” said Valan, who like many Tamils has only one name. “But the rains are becoming more unpredictable, so certainly the river is becoming more important.”

Valan was referring to the Cauvery, a 475-mile river that supports farmers in three southern Indian states. After the poor monsoon last year, the river became the subject of a bitter legal battle that drew in the nation’s Supreme Court and ended only in February with a federally mandated water-sharing deal between Karnataka, the state in which the Cauvery begins, and Tamil Nadu, its downstream neighbor.

(Washington Post, 4/2/2013)

India's largest copper smelter ignites toxic debate

TUTICORIN, India (Reuters) - Housewife A. Puneeta was washing dishes on a foggy Saturday morning when suddenly her throat began to burn. Coughing hard and struggling to breathe, she rushed into the street to find her neighbors running, haphazardly, in panic.

"First people said there was a gas leak, and then someone said Sterlite seemed to have opened up something, and that's the cause of the throat burning," said Puneeta, 32, who is married to a fisherman in this port town near the southern tip of India.

She was referring to Sterlite Industries, a unit of London-based Vedanta Resources, which operates India's biggest copper smelter a few miles away, and which has been shut by authorities despite the firm denying the smelter was to blame for the emissions in the area on March 23.

(Reuters, 4/9/2013)

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

This compilation of the India Green News was authored by Kristina Johnson.



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