Varied interests in the energy and power sector viz., CDM, carbon rating, Monitoring & Evaluation, Energy Management, Rural Development; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy related matters; Demand Side Management (DSM), Energy Audits, Distributed Power Generation (Biomass, Wind,Solar and Small Hydro), Participatory Management.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Fuel consumption up 4.4%, oil imports down 40%

Fuel consumption up 4.4%, oil imports down 40%

New Delhi: Mirroring slowdown in the economy, India's fuel consumption grew by a bare 4.4 per cent in December with diesel sales recording the lowest expansion rate in the current fiscal.

Petroleum product consumption rose 11.6 million tons in December as against 11.12 million tons a year ago, according to the latest data available from Petroleum Ministry in New Delhi.

Diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, recorded a 1.5 per cent growth at 4.43 million tons. "This was mostly due to dealers reducing upliftments and keeping low inventory in anticipation of a price cut," an official said.

Low freight traffic with railways, a major consumer of diesel, and not-so-encouraging agriculture scenario also contributed to the low growth rate.

Petrol demand grew 5.5 per cent to 929,300 tons.

Slowdown in demand also reflected on crude oil imports, which fell 40 per cent to 6.85 million tons in December.

Maintenance shutdown at some public sector refineries led to a 60.3 per cent lower crude imports by PSU firms at 2.98 million tons, while private imports were almost unchanged at 3.86 million tons.

Petroleum product imports were down 21.4 per cent at 1.632 million tons with naphtha being the most imported fuel at 5,53,000 tons (14.3 per cent growth).

Exports also declined 12.3 per cent to 2.58 million tons with diesel shipments fall 18.4 per cent at 1.08 million tons.

"While PSU exports (at 8,28,400 tons) are in line with trend in current year, private exports (at 1.75 million tons) were the lowest in December," the official said. "Total export volume lost up to December 2008 was 2.7 million tons of which PSUs lost 2.03 million tons."

During April-December, fuel consumption grew four per cent at 98.22 million tons with diesel sales expanding by 9.6 per cent to 38.18 million tons.

Petrol demand increased 7.8 per cent to 8.28 million tons, while LPG sales was up marginally by 1.4 per cent to 8.99 million tons.

Crude oil imports in the first nine months of the current fiscal was up 1.9 per cent to 92.93 million tons. Petroleum product imports, however, dipped 13.4 per cent to 14.63 million tons with inward shipment of diesel rising by seven per cent to 1.95 million tons.

Oil product exports dipped 9 per cent to 26.93 million tons. Diesel led the charged with 8 per cent fall at 9.99 million tons

Gopinath S Bangalore
91 80 2669 8211
91 99161 29728

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Case for Early and Engaged Public Outreach for Wind farms!

They're Saying What About Wind Farms? The Case for Early and Engaged Public Outreach

Steven Sullivan
GEOS Global, LLC
Marion Trieste
GEOS Global, LLC
Peruse a magazine, turn on the television or surf the web and it's likely you'll see them: wind turbines used as a sign of progressive thinking in everything from banking ads to car commercials. National surveys show overwhelming public support for increasing wind power. Governments are demanding utilities obtain more of their power from renewables. Yet spend time on the ground actually working to get wind farms permitted -- as we do -- and you see a different picture emerge.

At a local public hearing we attended not long ago on whether to permit a proposed wind farm in upstate New York, a woman stood up and related the following story. She said that she had recently attended a public forum where a man from the Midwest had stood up and told how a dairy farmer he knew had agreed to have a wind turbine sited on his land. He said that the farmer had originally been very supportive of wind power, but that after the turbine was commissioned, he noticed that his cow's milk production had dried up.

At the same time, this farmer's elderly father, who lived with him, developed symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. Angered at this dual misfortune, and positive it was the turbine's fault, the farmer grabbed his ax and went outside and chopped in two the line that carried the turbine's electrical energy to the power grid. To his great relief, the man reported, the farmer found that cutting off the turbine caused his cows to produce again and his father's Parkinson's symptoms to nearly completely subside.

Not to be trifled with, the man said, the wind energy company that was originally so friendly to the farmer, brought him to court and forced him to allow the power line to be re-connected to the turbine. At this, the farmer's father's symptoms returned and his cow stopped giving milk. It was a tragic story. The woman who related all of this concluded by saying that this episode was but a glimpse of what was to come if the town approved the proposed wind farm before them.

What seems like an outrageous story morphed through the repeated telling not dissimilar from the children's game "telephone," is in fact the type of misinformation we hear more and more often these days at project permitting events. Seeing nodding heads at these types of tall tales can be sobering when you are trying to get a wind farm sited.

Another disturbing development in the field is a soon to be released book self-published by a pediatrician who posits to scientifically expose the evils of wind farms. While the book claims to be 'peer reviewed' by other doctors, the book is more anecdotal than scientific in nature. A quick review of the 'research' by anyone with even minimal familiarity with statistics or medical research reveals that no base case was established, no causality between wind farms and any health risks is proven, and the area 'studied' falls outside the training of the author and the expertise of the peer reviewers. Notwithstanding this lack of scientific rigor, stories about the forthcoming work are already appearing in the news media across the country and giving people pause about supporting wind projects near them.

Mark Twain once observed: a lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth has time to put its pants on. As public outreach professionals who have worked on siting more than a dozen wind power projects since 2003, we are increasingly witnessing rumors and misinformation such as referenced above winning the race of public opinion and stunting or killing the development of many wind farms. Aside from tight financing markets and unavailability of turbines, public opposition based on misinformation is clearly one of the major fatal flaws facing wind farm developers today.

Even more troubling than the random individuals who parrot bad information, is a growing national cadre of organized, technologically savvy, anti-wind organizations who amplify and disseminate misinformation to meet their own agenda of preventing the development of wind power. Wind power opponents have networked over the years to achieve an anti-wind power "movement" and appear nationwide at symposiums on wind power. Their voice pressures town boards to oppose projects.

President Obama has called for a doubling of U.S. renewable energy production within the next three years. However, despite the many benefits of wind power, people still have many misconceptions, ranging from wildlife impacts to human health issues which have been spread by the anti-wind groups. Confounding the problem is the fact that most people have very little understanding of how we get our electrical power today and what the impacts are from traditional means of electric generation. This emerging dynamic of individuals and groups opposing wind farm development, and public misunderstanding about the benefits and impacts of wind power, is the Achilles heel which could cause us to stumble in our renewable energy mission.

Many of the easiest sites for projects have been 'picked over' and now developers must further penetrate areas that are either remote and face transmission challenges, or are relatively densely populated and face siting opposition. So how are we to achieve our aggressive goals of siting another 20,000 megawatts of wind power during the next three years when available locations dictate that wind farms will need to be sited closer and closer to populated areas? The answer is early and intensive outreach and education programs.

In many instances, how a developer communicates with the public most directly impacted by a wind farm will make or break the success of that project. This is particularly true in most of the highly populated regions of the country. Based upon our experience in the field with wind farm development, we have distilled the following principles on which effective outreach efforts must be built.

  • Start Outreach and Education Efforts Early Within the Development Process. New ideas and technology take time for people to synthesize and digest. Commencing outreach and education efforts early within the development cycle significantly increases the odds of public support for a project.

  • The Public Must Be Educated about Electric Systems. It's hard to convince people that renewable energy is superior when people don't even understand potential drawbacks of our current energy system. It is imperative to proactively educate people on the basics of electricity, and sources of power before discussing the economic, energy and environmental benefits a project offers a community.

  • Describing Life Cycle Impact of Energy Sources Generates Enthusiasm for Green Power. Here is where the public receives education on efficiency, climate change, extraction costs, and energy security. Engaging public health and environmental professionals is the best way to highlight the effect of different energy generating activities on local habitat and well being. After fostering trust, conversations around energy security and the long term benefits of renewable power projects on a town's economy have a greater impact.

  • Myth Debunking. Often the reasons communities are resistant to host renewable energy facilities are based on rumor and not fact. Common objections include the perception that the intermittency of a power source requires the addition of an equivalent amount of dispatchable back-up generation to the grid. The threat to birds is a common fear that is often grossly exaggerated. However, overcoming these barriers is necessary to gain traction on the benefits including raising the economic base of a town, providing school tax revenue, saving local farms and even preserving property values.

  • Public Awareness and Educational Efforts Must Utilize Local Advocates. Engaging local stakeholders from the bottom up increases attendance at and the efficacy of outreach efforts including bus tours, open houses and public education forums. Key success factors for grassroots outreach hinge on identifying local advocates early on and empowering them to foster support.

Gopinath S
+91 99161 29728

Friday, January 23, 2009


Solar energy can light up India's villages!

'Solar energy can light up India's villages'
21 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST
 Print   Email   Discuss  Share  Save  Comment Text:
Stuart Irvine, director, Centre for Solar Energy Research, North Wales, tells Narayani Ganesh that efficient and affordable third generation solar
technology could help reduce our dependence on polluting fuels:

What is third generation solar technology?

The I-Gen cells were of crystalline silicon, fairly high-cost, manufactured in relatively small volumes. The II-Gen cells had higher efficiency, whether made of thin wafers or silicon. The III-Gen has more complex, integrated devices that can reduce reflection and capture more of the solar spectrum by using one or a combination of optical methods. They have a wide range.

What is the cost component of solar energy?

Cost components are photovoltaic (PV) modules, power electronics and installation. One-half of the total cost you pay would be the module cost. The rest is spread over the balance of the system including cabling and connectivity. As with any renewable energy option, solar power is not the cheapest of options; as production increases, however, the costs tend to decrease. The biggest adopter of PV solar energy is Germany. They have an established feed-in tariff system for a number of years now and it costs less because of economies of scale. India's ministry of renewable energy is introducing a similar scheme to provide electricity grid connection to solar energy suppliers. You need to have a mix of renewable energy resources so that you don't depend on any one source of electricity.

Are large land areas required to install PV modules?

It depends on the location. In Europe, PV modules are fixed on south-facing roofs. The UK Centre for Solar Energy Research has a facade of 1,000 square metres. Germany has installed solar panels on roofs of industrial buildings measuring up to 10,000 sq metre each. China and India are now becoming manufacturing centres. A company in Kolkata, for instance, is working on an innovative technique to make PV modules with thin film made with cheaper, compound material to increase conversion efficiency. A UK-based company is to soon market a new type of portable plastic solar cell as low-cost mobile phone charger.

How can solar energy be stored?

There are two kinds of storage as far as solar energy is concerned: on-grid and off-grid. In the UK, it's largely the on-grid that's important. The DC electricity produced by PV modules are converted to AC in the grid. There's two-way energy traffic. The building will supply electricity to the grid during the day and buy from it in the night. This is called feed-in tariff system. In India, there are different variations of the scheme. If you have large tracts of unproductive land that gets sunlight, it's attractive from a seller's viewpoint because you can feed energy to the grid and get paid for that without having to buy back.

Off-grid needs battery storage. This is important in India where you have the rural electrification scheme; solar energy can light up India's villages. Solar energy would charge batteries that are then used to power lighting, television sets and refrigerators. Solar energy-charged batteries would be for high-efficiency lighting purposes and for other low-power domestic requirements.

Gopinath S
+91 99161 29728

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Great indian wedding

The Great Indian marriage




Gopinath S


My nephew got married recently in Bangalore. Can I say it was in south indian style? Over the years, we, belonging to older generation, have matured. The youngsters are educated and have travelled around the world much more than us. We have seen enough of 'The great Indian wedding' on the small screen. The city itself breeds cosmopolitan culture. So how can we lag behind other cultures? How much have we changed can be gauged by the mixture of various cultures in the marriage ceremonies planned these days.


The boy is tamil speaking and the girl is telugu speaking and both of them know enough kannada and hindi to converse between themselves. The marriage ceremony was preceded by pandal pooje and sumangali prarthane for the welfare of the newly weds in true karnataka style. The invited sumangalis and their families were served sumptuous breakfast and lunch.


After lunch session, there was 'mehendi', in gujarati style, with all the women folk sporting artistic designs on their hands. In the background was lilting hindi music from the CDs for the yet-to-be married boys and girls to dance on the floor in front of their elders. Poor husbands had to feed their respective spouses for dinner as the wives were busy drying off their painted hands with lime water. Not to mention, the wedding girl was getting mehendied with special effects on her feet and hands and the boy was totally engrossed in seeing her. It is believed that the girl's hands had english letters from the boy's name written clandestinely and the boy was made to look for his name on her craftful hand.


The marriage reception is totally westernised with the bride fully decked up after going through a thorough make up for 3 hours. The groom himself had a 'facial' done for almost 1 hour. The couple started off the reception by walking down the aisle, as in a church, along with their parents. The stage was elaborately decorated with flowers, drapes, flower pots and other props. The couple, on reaching the stage, exchanged garlands and rings. Given a chance, they would have kissed as well. The poor guests had to wait in a long queue to wish the new bridal couple after they settled down in their plush seats. But, they were treated to latest hindi pop songs over the blaring speakers, so they don't hear what their neighbours spoke.


Next day early morning is the day for real hindu marriage. The boy decides to take sanyas and goes on 'kashi yatre' with a twig in his hand when the girl's parents meet him half way and offers their only daughter in marriage to him. He relents, but agrees; receives sandals and umbrella as gifts and agrees to sit on the swing along with the girl to receive blessings from the parents and their kith and kin. The lilting music of C Rajagopalachari in tamil, Kurai onrum illai malai moorthy kanna (there is no grievance, oh lord of hills), plays behind to welcome the occasion.


Having agreed to marry the girl and lead a family life, the boy ties the nuptial knot around the girl's neck while she sits on her father's lap. That is when the drum beats reach a pinnacle inviting attention of all elderly guests to bless the wedded couple in their holy union. The boy and the girl, now declared husband and wife, go around the sacred fire seven times, to proclaim that they will be together for the next seven generations. They are also made to take oath in the presence of fire god that they will be together in times of both peace and adversity in their lives ahead. The nadaswaram musicians play carnatic music in kannada, telugu and tamil in the background for the benefit of guests.


The groom now brings his wife into 'his' house, for the first time after marriage, when she is made to topple a pot filled with rice, coconut and mango leaves, wishing for a house filled with bountiful crop all the time. What better song than the dasa krithi in kannada, bhagyada lakshmi baramma (welcome to you, dear goddess of prosperity, lakshmi), to befit the occasion? All the guests depart for a happy sumptuous meal. That culminates the hindu rituals for marriage.


Back to 21st century. The newly married couple is off to the registrar's office to register their marriage, probably for getting visas to go round the world. And, off they go on a honeymoon to an undisclosed destination! The hapless parents and guests are left gaping at each other. Needless to mention, the whole 3-day marriage ceremony is captured in the videos by professional photographers, for posterity, and for the absentee guests to witness the celebrations. This beautiful admixture can happen only in India! So, why create tensions between different languages and cultures?


Gopinath S Bangalore
91 80 2669 8211
91 99161 29728