Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Renewable Energy Holds Out Hope - Part One

India is in a Catch-22 situation as far as its burgeoning power needs are concerned. Already facing power shortage, India is racing against time to install additional power capacity of 60,000 MW during the Eleventh Plan to meet the accentuated appetite of the economy poised for quantum leap to become a super economic power. Most of the sources for additional power are coal-based plants. They spew a staggering 0.25 kilogram of carbon for every kilowatt-hour power generated. The Kyoto Protocol has fixed a ceiling of 450-550 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as higher presence would result in further global warming.
The 'carbon credit' introduced as an incentive in emission trading imposes fine on those who fail to meet the condition and reward those who succeed in controlling carbon dioxide emissions. Out of 850 coal-based power projects coming up in USA, India and China, it is feared that very little would be achieved by way of controlling carbon dioxide emissions. If these projects are fined for polluting the atmosphere, the cost of power would willy-nilly go up further from the average rate of Rs2-3 (4 to 7 cents) per KWH.
The crisis may be overcome by shifting focus from the conventional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. In the recent years, renewable technologies have dramatically improved in performance and affordability in wind turbines and solar cells making them viable alternatives rather than mere R&D showpieces.
Please read Part Two to learn more.

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