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India Green News: Spotlight is on India for its renewable and clean energy plans; Ahmedabad preps for annual heat wave with its new Heat Action Plan, WTO trade dispute shows no sign of slowing down

Grace Gill

Posted April 30, 2013

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April 18 - 26, 2013

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

 Energy

Bidding system revealed for phase II of India’s solar mission

The second phase of India’s national solar policy will offer a new form of reverse bidding to install 750MW of solar capacity, the government has revealed in a draft policy.

This new form of reverse bidding requires the developer to quote the amount of money needed to construct the project to qualify for so-called viability gap funding (VGF) rather than quoting the electricity tariff to be paid by the electricity company as had previously been the norm.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has established the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to administrate the provision of VGF. The VGF will be offered to project developers who demand the lowest amount of funding by SECI in order to make the project “viable”.

(PV Tech, 04/22/2013)

India to show world way on 'star-rated' green homes 

Time is not too far when you would be living in a 'five or three-star home', certified by the government recognizing its energy efficiency. The Indian Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the ministry of power, has developed the star rating programme for buildings which is based on the actual performance of a building in terms of its specific energy usage in kilo watt hour per square metre a year.

As per the programme, office buildings are given ratings from 1-5 star based on their energy efficiency.  Soon, this is likely to be applicable for homes too.  The rating is as per the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) by BEE. 

During last week's Clean Energy Ministerial, India indicated the future course of the programme. Energy ministers from 23 nations took part in the fourth CEM.  "India hinted at moving towards giving star rating for homes, to boost green building efforts," said an official.

Recently, the Godrej Bhavan in South Mumbai captured attention through its green initiatives, there by cutting its electricity costs by 28%.

(The Business Standard, 04/22/2013)

India Focus on Clean Energy Capacity 

India targets to double its renewable energy capacity in the next five years, as a step ahead to increase its energy consumption efficiency.

“It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25, 000 MW in 2012 to 55, 000 MW by the year 2017,” said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, in his inaugural address at the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in New Delhi on April 17.

The strategy would include exploiting non-conventional, clean energy sources, like solar and wind power, and energy from biomass.

India’s 12th Five Year Plan recognizes the importance of evolving a low carbon strategy and envisages an expanded role for clean energy sources in order to achieve sustainable growth.

“We have set ourselves a national target of increasing the efficiency of energy use to bring about a 20 to 25 percent reduction in the energy intensity of our GDP by 2020,” he said.

(Epoch Times, 04/19/2013)

First Ever Global Electric Vehicle Outlook Released At Clean Energy Ministerial In New Delhi 

Energy ministers from 23 of the world’s leading economies met to discuss challenges and solutions around advancing clean energy technologies at the 5th Clean Energy Ministerial, or CEM, in New Delhi, India from April 16 -18. The CEM, launched in 2010, brings together governments representing 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment with the goal of accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies.

This week in Delhi governments and the private sector discussed smart policies and technical solutions to increase low-carbon energy, expand the reach of energy, and advance energy efficiency building on 13 CEM initiatives to achieve these goals.

The first ever Global EV Outlook by the IEA was also released at the CEM showing promising progress on the development of electric vehicles. Between 2011 and 2012, EV passenger car sales more than doubled to more than 180,000 vehicles today. EVs, however, only represent 0.02 percent of total passenger car supply, indicating a need for further international cooperation to advance clean energy vehicles.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative that includes 15 member governments has a goal of global deployment of at least 20 million passenger car EVs by 2020.

(Climate Progress, 04/18/2013)

Delhi fails to draw upon clean energy 

NEW DELHI: When it comes to meeting renewable energy targets, the capital is among the worst performers. A report released by Greenpeace and Infraline Energy on Monday - which compares the strides made by 29 states to increase the share of renewable power in the total supply - shows Delhi's lack of ambition on this front. This is despite having a per capita consumption that is almost twice the national average.

According to the report, Powering Ahead on Renewables: Leaders and Laggards, Delhi met 0% of its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) in 2012, while Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Karnataka overshot their targets. Twenty-two states did not measure up.

(The Times of India, 04/23/2013)

Health

Ahmedabad preps for heat wave

Ahmedabad in Gujarat has become the first city in South Asia to have a heat wave warning system. But will it make a difference in very high temperatures?  The city had a severe heat wave in May 2010, when temperatures went up to 47 degrees Celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit) and the normal death rate doubled on the hottest days.

In response to soaring temperatures, a heat action plan was developed by the local government, the Indian Institute of Public Health and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-governmental organization based in New York U.S.

It launched earlier this week with the aim of warning the public of an approaching heat wave, and of sharing tips on how to cope with it. The average temperature in May in the Ahmedabad is 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit).

“What this provides is a road map for what an orderly response would be in Ahmedabad,” said Frances Beinecke, president of NRDC.

The heat warnings advise people to rest from physical activity during a heat wave and seek shelter, but this could be difficult for the vast number of people who in India work outdoors doing manual labor.

(The Wall Street Journal, 04/18/2013)

Ahmedabad gears up to fight heat attack

AHMEDABAD: With the launch of the Heat Action Plan, Ahmedabad became the first city in the South Asia to introduce a warning system to fight extreme heat. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) joined hands with health and academic groups to introduce this plan. The plan includes spreading public awareness regarding heat-related risks, providing special training to medical and community workers and building an inter-agency network which can deal with heat waves in emergencies.

The municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, Guruprasad Mohapatra, said: "The Heat Action Plan is capable of saving lives when the next dangerous heat wave hits the city." The AMC has already started working on the plan. Heat stress and heatstroke lead to dire health consequences and many people lose their lives every summer. The director of the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Anjali Jaiswal, said: "The situation has worsened due to climate change over the past few years. By building awareness, training professionals and implementing a coordinated heat plan, Ahmedabad is armed to fight against the scorching heat wave."

Talking about the unique plan, a senior scientist from the NRDC, Kim Knowlton, said: "Ahmedabad is leading the way among South Asian cities, setting an example for other cities and regions facing the health risks of a warming climate." Ahmedabad's Heat Action Plan is based on thorough scientific research conducted by these health and academic partners.

(The Times of India, 04/17/2013)

Environmental Governance

Developed nations must share climate change burden: PM

As part of his opening remarks at the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said industrialised countries should take a large share of the steps to mitigate climate change, in line with their greater share in global emissions.

Global strategies to address climate change must be based on “equitable sharing” of the burden of mitigation and adjustment, Singh said. “On any principle of equity, industrialised countries have to bear a large share of the burden. They are historically responsible for the bulk of the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions, and this alone suggests greater responsibility,” he added.
 

(The Business Standard, 04/18/2013)

MoEF violates its own rule, approves thermal power plant in polluted area 

The environment ministry has violated its own regulation to grant approval to a mega thermal power project in highly polluted Korba district of Chattisgarh, resulting in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) canceling the approval.

The tribunal also hinted at a possible scam in the ministry in granting clearances by stating that somehow the project proponent - Dheeru Powergen Private Limited --- knew in advance of the ministry's moratorium on highly polluted industrial areas including in Korba.

The ministry on 13, January 2010 had imposed a moratorium in different industrial areas for high pollution levels including Korba, which was ranked fifth most polluted place in India. The moratorium on Korba still continues.

(The Hindustan Times, 04/22/2013)

U.S. - India Cooperation

India to get LNG from the U.S 

NEW DELHI, April 25 (UPI) -- India's largest natural gas importer has signed a supply agreement to receive liquefied natural gas from the United States.

The deal calls for Houston's United LNG to supply a minimum of 4 million tons of LNG a year to India's Petronet for 20 years via the Main Pass Energy Hub in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is Petronet's first U.S LNG supply off take agreement.

Qatar's RasGas has been India's sole long-term supplier of natural gas, with two contracts for a total of 360 billion cubic feet, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

"As both a reliable and low cost LNG supplier, the USA is now the world's prime target to secure LNG, and this agreement with United is another big step forward to meeting India's growing demand for clean energy," Petronet LNG Managing Director and Chief Executive A.K. Balyan said in a release.

(UPI.com, 04/25/2013)

India’s grand solar plans threatened by ugly US trade spat

Should trade wars and protecting local jobs get in the way of clean energy?

That's the dilemma before India – and the world – at the moment. Desperately short of power, but with an average of 300 sunny days a year, India is aggressively pursuing solar energy. Its national solar programme, the grandly named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (named after India's first prime minister) plans to generate 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022. But an ugly trade spat with the US may frustrate India's efforts to go solar.

In February this year, the US asked the World Trade Organisation for dispute consultations concerning the "domestic content" requirement of the solar programme. Domestic content is a loaded phrase in international trade. What it means is that India requires solar energy producers to use locally manufactured solar cells, and offers them special subsidies. This allegedly violates WTO principles that require countries to treat both foreign and domestic goods equally.

(The Guardian, 04/23/2013)

Climate Change

Decline in migratory birds coming to India

New Delhi: There has been a decline in the number of migratory birds arriving in India due to habitat loss and wetland pollution, the government today informed Lok Sabha.

"...Except Nordmann's Greenshank, all other species have been observed to be declining in Asia including in India. The decline in the number of migratory birds is mainly due to hunting, trapping in the migratory routes, habitat destruction, pollution of wetland through domestic sewage, pesticides and fertilizers," it said in a written reply.

The Minister said select scientific institutions funded by the Central and state governments, state forest departments and NGOs working for wetlands and migratory birds have been monitoring the status of these long distance migratory birds in India.

(ZeeNews, 04/22/2013)

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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