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Indian Leaders Call for More Support and Planning Around Renewables, Climate Change

Grace Gill Qayoumi

Posted May 7, 2013

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April 27th- May 6th, 2013

Climate Change

India represents only 8% rise in global energy-related carbon emission: Report

This is one battle where India has an upper hand over China. India was responsible for only eight per cent increase of the global energy-related carbon dioxide emission in 2000-10, while China represented 68 per cent, according to a Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) report.

"Though India is better placed, it needs some real policy level intervention from the government. It should focus more on renewable space," said David Nelson, senior director, CPI. However, the report adds that in India, as with China, most new power generation since 2000 came from conventional sources, though the past decade saw exponential growth in renewable energy generation. During the 10 years from 2000, India's wind energy capacity grew by 1,250 per cent.

Even though renewable electricity in China grew 661 per cent from 2000 to 2010, these sources still only produced the equivalent of 0.68 per cent of electricity from conventional sources by the end of that period. India is planning to double its renewable energy capacity from 25,000 Megawatt (Mw) in 2012 to 55,000 Mw by 2017. "With more units in place, sources like solar energy would become more cost-effective. India can surely reap long-term economic benefits of low-carbon development, without sacrificing short-term growth," believes Nelson.

(Business Standard, 5/6/2013)

MGNREGS could help fight climate change: govt study

A new government study on Tuesday said that the world’s biggest job guarantee programme - Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)- has helped conserve natural resources and is an effective tool to fight climate change at the ground level.

The study by Indian School of Sciences, Bangalore, based on research in four drought prone states - Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan - shows the UPA government’s programme has resulted in improved ground water levels and improved availability of water for irrigation.

"It is possible to conclude that that MGNREGS works have contributed positively to the ground water level in the study villages, despite continued expansion and extraction of ground water," the report said.

It also added that works such as check dams, percolation tanks and de-silting of water bodies have contributed to an increase in areas irrigated by borewells and open wells, potentially leading to increased and sustained crop yields in most of the villages in the study area.

The survey conducted as part of the study also said the programme has increased drinking water supply in the villages because of increase in number of water bodies developed under the employment programme.

The study also found land development works under the programme has contributed in improving soil fertility in 72% of agriculture areas resulting in some improvement in production. Soil organic matter or carbon content is a very important indicator of soil fertility and land productivity, the report said.

The government’s use of manpower under the programme for afforestation, reforestation and horticulture had a positive impact in 31 of the 40 villages, where the study was done. Its exact impact was not known as trees have not reached their fruit bearing stage.

The study also said that MGNREGS works related to water and land development have been shown in this study to have contributed to generation of environmental benefits such as ground water recharge, increased water availability for irrigation, increased soil fertility, reduction in soil erosion and improved tree cover.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had said that agriculture would be worst affected by climate change in South Asia, especially India, and had asked countries to adopt policies for climate change mitigation.

The institute suggested that the programme should focus more on protection of natural resources, maintenance of assets created and empower the village bodies - gram sabha - to monitor the works undertaken under the programme. Once that is done, the study said, the programme could protect poor and marginalised from impacts of climate change.

(The Hindustan Times, 4/30/2013)


Global equity investors turn to India for green projects

India is becoming an attractive destination for global private equity investors who are strengthening their funding strategies in the renewable energy space, particularly in emerging markets. This is because opportunities in other markets have plateaued in the past few years.

Industry observers say India’s renewable energy space is witnessing significant uptake from quite a few big North American pension funds and Japanese postal funds.

Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-founder of Mercom Capital Group, said: “Most of the venture capital funding is going into technology companies. Active project acquirers included investment funds, independent power producers, utilities and pension funds.”

“The global funds are eyeing India because the return on investment in those markets has reached a plateau in the past few years. Cash-rich Japanese postal funds were also eyeing opportunities in India’s renewable energy sector, preferring it over other growth markets like China and Russia given the local complexities in doing business with these two countries,” said Hemant Sahai, Managing Partner of HSA Advocates.

(The Hindu, 5/2/2013)

Renewable energy sector draws $500 m investments this year

MUMBAI: The renewable energy sector in India, led by the wind energy segment, is seeing a rebound in investment with around five deals worth $500 million (approximately Rs3,000 crore) being sealed in 2013. In contrast, there has not been a single deal in the conventional energy segment.

"Investors are shying away from conventional energy due to policy uncertainties and lack of fuel linkage. While the government has been flat-footed on thermal energy, it is encouraging renewable energy, making the sector attractive for investors," said Vish Narain, partner at global private investment firm TPG.

In March, an affiliate of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) sealed a pact to invest $150 million in Greenko. The deal, the only $100-million-plus deal so far in the year, will enable Greenko to expedite its wind power projects. India plans to double its renewable energy capacity to 55,000 MW by 2017 to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel.

In the past few years, the wind energy sector has prospered even as other sectors have missed targets due to sops such as generation-based incentives (GBI) and accelerated depreciation (AD). The government rolled back both incentives in April 2012 only to reintroduce GBI, which gives independent power producers monetary benefit on every unit generated in April 2013.

(The Economic Times, 5/1/2013)

Indian states miss renewable energy targets: Greenpeace

Twenty two out of 29 states in India have failed to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) targets which lead to loss of more than 25% electricity that was expected to be generated from renewable energy sources in 2012, said the recently released report ‘Moving Ahead with Renewables: Leaders and Laggards,’ prepared by Greenpeace with its research partner Infraline Energy.

The national capital, Delhi, has stood out as worst state in this respect as it has virtually no renewable energy in it supply chain. Other states which are at the bottom are Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

While, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, along with Meghalaya, Nagaland and Uttarakhand are the top-five high-performing states in meeting their respective RPO targets.

(The Hindu, 4/29/2013)

‘Generation-based incentive crucial for wind energy growth’

The wind energy sector is hoping the Central Government announces the details of the generation-based incentive soon to encourage investments.

The Government has committed to reintroduce the incentive for wind energy generators in the Central budget. But the details of the policy and the effective date are yet to be announced. The incentive is crucial for wind energy growth, according to Ramesh Kymal, Chairman, Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association.

Similarly, the Centre should also ensure the State electricity utilities conform to the renewable purchase obligation – ensuring that they procure a predetermined percentage of electricity from renewable sources, he said.

(The Hindu, 5/4/2013)

Environmental Health & Governance

Heat-related health woes on the rise

With the summer months beckoning and temperature already spiking, experts are worried that there will be more and more people suffering from heat-related diseases. A recent survey by the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) found a detailed correlation between deaths in various parts of Ahmedabad and the high temperatures. The study found that between May 1 and May 19 when the temperature was around 43 degree Celsius the number of deaths per was 100-150 while on May 20 and 21 when the temperature peaked 46.5 degrees there were 510 deaths in two days.

The study found that most casualties were slum dwellers, older people, youngsters and outdoor labourers. Based on the results and analysis, the team from IIPH helped Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) devise a heat action plan.

(, 5/3/2013)

Toxic waste sites detrimental to health in India: Research

WASHINGTON: Toxic waste sites in India with elevated levels of lead and chromium are causing disease, disability and even death, leading to loss of healthy years of life among people, according to a new research.

The scale of the problem is comparable to that of other major public health issues such as malaria and outdoor air pollution, it added, also affecting the unborn fetus.

The study titled 'The Burden of Disease from Toxic Waste Sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2010,' which focuses on individuals living near 373 sites located in these three countries, was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

"Lead and hexavalent chromium proved to be the most toxic chemicals," said the study leader, Kevin Chatham-Stephens, MD, Paediatric Environmental Health Fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

"They have caused the majority of disease, disability and mortality among the individuals living near the sites," he added while presenting the findings today at the Paediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Washington DC.

(Times of India, 5/5/2013)

Waste of an idea in South Delhi

It was Delhi government’s Eureka moment of sorts when a waste-to-energy plant at Okhla started functioning in January 2012. Billed as one-of-its-kind plant in India, it was supposed to burn 1,300 tonnes of garbage a day, half of what 70 lakh people in 104 wards in South Delhi produce daily, and generate 16 MW of electricity.

Fifteen months on, though the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has allowed the Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Company to run the plant, it remains mired in controversy over environmental reasons.

Reports filed by an expert committee and a local commissioner appointed by the National Green Tribunal have said the plant is causing pollution. The tribunal, which is hearing a petition filed by residents of Sukhdev Vihar, seeking closure of the plant, will decide its fate.

Gopal Krishna, convener, Toxics Watch Alliance, said, “The plant releases harmful dioxins into the air. Delhi’s waste, largely because of poor segregation, is not fit for burning.”

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the New Delhi Municipal Council are supposed to segregate wet waste for composting, pick out recyclables and send to this plant only non-hazardous, dry waste. But this hardly happens; the job being left to “illegal” rag-pickers.

(The Hindustan, 5/2/2013)

US-India Cooperation

US-India summit to focus on stimulating technology, trade

WASHINGTON: The fourth edition of US-India Energy Partnership Summit, to be held here later this month, will explore possibilities of stimulating technological cooperation, mutual trade and development in energy sector.

Jointly organised by TERI and Yale University, the two-day summit scheduled on May 13-14, will be addressed by former US Vice-President Al Gore, India's National Innovation Council chairman and adviser to the PM Sam Pitroda, Indian ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao and TERI president RK Pachauri, among others, organisers said on Wednesday.

"Recent developments in the US, including exploitation of shale gas reserves and other technological achievements, along with India's efforts in the field of renewable energy provide a unique opportunity to work closely together in solving their respective energy problems and enhancing energy security for the world as a whole," Pachauri said.

(The Times of India, 5/2/2013)

India says US cannot point fingers on local input norm

In a move to counter the US gripe against compulsory local sourcing for solar projects, India is digging up cases where American states have mandated domestic sourcing.

At a meeting earlier this week of the WTO Committee on Trade Related Investment Measures, India said water utilities in many US states — South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia among others — have made domestic sourcing of ductile iron pipes and fittings compulsory for use in water projects.

New Delhi’s charges come two weeks after it sought clarifications from the US at a WTO subsidies committee meeting on local content requirements in renewable energy programmes in Michigan, California and Texas.

India’s arguments can play a decisive role in the case the US has lodged against India at the WTO for making it compulsory for all investors in programmes under the National Solar Mission to buy some of the inputs locally.

“It is appalling that the US has raised a dispute against India for local content mandate when it has been using it for so long in multiple areas. New Delhi has patiently prepared its case against all such instances and will now fire from all sides,” a Government official told Business Line.

(The Hindu, 5/2/2013)

Technology, energy  new  drivers  of  India-US ties: Nirupama Rao

Washington: With the cooperation between India and the US bilateral issues remaining on track, aspects like technology and energy have become new driving forces in the ties between two countries, Indian ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao has said.

Rao, while addressing an audience, here, expressed hope that the Obama Administration would soon give approval for the export of US natural gas to India.

Technology is very much a driver in this relationship, especially high technology. I’m talking of strategic trade, trade concerning such areas as civil aviation, biotechnology, space sciences, nanotechnology,” Rao said.

“And all this I would argue should, if I have a wish list for the future, become infused with much greater dynamism than they have been in past. So we have to focus our efforts and intensify the work we need to do in these areas,” she said.

(LiveMint, 4/30/2013)

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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