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, September 24, 2009


Renewable biogas provides clean, affordable energy for rural households in Nepal

Renewable biogas provides clean, affordable energy for rural households in Nepal

Biogas runs on manure and water, fed through a mixer, and produces a clear, bright flame.
  • The Nepal Climate Change conference concluded that technology should be utilized towards development.
  • Many households in Nepal lack electricity and use traditional energy sources.
  • Biogas is a clean, renewable, and sustainable source of energy.

September 21, 2009 - Many ideas were exchanged during the Climate Change Conference held in Kathmandu on August 31, 2008. One of the conclusions that were reached in the Final Statement was that clean technologies should be developed and transferred with a view to ensure green development. One example of this has flourshed in Nepal, where access to affordable and environmentally sustainable energy in remote mountainous areas is scarce. 

Most households use traditional energy sources for cooking and heating, such as firewood or agricultural residue, and only 14 percent of the population has access to electricity. The high demand for firewood has caused problems such as deforestation, soil degradation, and flooding. Firewood also takes a disproportionately long time to collect and its use results in indoor air pollution, which can diffuse across the home and affect every member of the family.

Biogas Support Program

Since the early 1990s, the Government of Nepal (GoN) with donor support has been promoting the construction of biogas plants as a way to bring cleaner, more affordable energy to rural households.

"Biogas plants convert animal and human waste into a clean source of cooking fuel – thereby removing the need to use wood, dried dung, and fossil fuel based sources of energy," explains Karin Kemper, Sector Manager for Social, Environment and Water Resources in the South Asia Region. "The biogas byproduct can also be used as a natural fertilizer to increase agricultural yields."

Despite a decade-long conflict and political uncertainty caused by regime change, Nepal's Biogas Support Program has achieved impressive results. It is now in its fourth phase (BSP-IV), and has helped to construct over 200,000 biogas plants since inception.

To help scale up BSP-IV, the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA), a Bank-administered global program, has provided a US$5 million grant that will subsidize construction of an additional 37,000 plants, mainly in more remote and inaccessible areas where construction costs are higher and the population is poorer.

GPOBA made its first payment of $592,200 to the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) on Nepal in July 2009 for successful delivery of 4,772 independently verified new biogas plants built in calendar year 2008.

This support for expanded use of biogas is consistent with the Bank's interim strategy for Nepal, which focuses on fostering peace and economic development, including through more equitable access to services.

"The project builds on Nepal's impressive track record with mainstreaming biogas plants as a practical and affordable solution to energy problems in rural areas," says Susan Goldmark, Country Director for Nepal. "This is a small but important step in improving the lives of rural Nepalis."

Innovative Financing Mechanism

The Bank is part of a unique partnership supporting BSP-IV that involves the GoN, bilateral donors, GPOBA, and the Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF) which is purchasing carbon emissions reductions from bundles of previously constructed plants.

"This is the first program to combine carbon finance and output-based aid (OBA), both results-based mechanisms which tie payments to actual verified achievements," explains Patricia Veevers-Carter, GPOBA Program Manager.

The scheme involves public and private partners, including AEPC, the NGO Biogas Sector Partnership Nepal (BSP-Nepal), and private biogas construction companies. GPOBA subsidizes biogas plants with a capacity up to 8m3. The subsidies are paid after independent verification that the plants are being continually used. Beneficiaries are able to receive assistance from several microfinance facilities operating in the country and are responsible for operating and maintaining the plants, built to last 20 years, thus ensuring ownership and sustainability.

Benefits for the Households

For Jeremy Levin, Senior Technical Specialist in the South Asia Region and TTL for both the GPOBA and CDM projects, "This project brings many benefits to rural households, the most important of which is access to a clean, modern energy source." He lists others, including:

• Improvements in health for women and children because of reduced exposure to indoor air pollution.
• Economic savings due to reduced household expenditure on cooking and lighting fuels.
• Time savings as less time is needed for gathering firewood, cooking, and cleaning.
• Improved sanitary conditions, as more households are connecting latrines to the biogas plants, thus increasing production.
• Improved soil fertility when bio-slurry is used as a fertilizer.

"The successful promotion of this renewable source of energy is a powerful example of how climate change mitigation projects can deliver significant on-the-ground benefits to the people who need them most," Levin adds.

Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Maldives aims for action behind words on climate change

Maldives aims for action behind words on climate change

EU urges G20 to hand billions to poor nations for climate fight
EU leaders on Thursday put pressure on the United States and other rich nations to provide at least five billion euros of "fast-start" money next year to help poor nations tackle climate change. The call came as European heads of state and government held a summit in Brussels aimed at forging a joint position ahead of the G20 summit of major and developing economies in Pittsburgh next week.

"The G20 should recognise the need to fast-start international public support for addressing urgent climate financing needs in developing countries," the EU leaders agreed in a statement. The European Commission estimates that five to seven billion euros annually will be needed in the 2010-2012 period until a more long-term "financial architecture" is put in place, hopefully, at a UN climate conference in Copenhagen later this year. The commission says that the annual figure needed to help developing nations combat and deal with climate change will hit 100 billion euros (147 billion dollars) per year by 2020.

"It's time for a wake-up call to world leaders on climate," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt, who presided over the Brussels summit. The United States and the rest of the world are not doing enough to tackle climate change at a time when "the world has a fever," he said. "We really need to step up, stop the acting and start delivering action. "The negotiations are going too slowly. The (emissions) reductions targets presented by different countries are not enough for us" to meet a target to keep global warming at no more than two degrees Celsius above historic levels, Reinfeldt told reporters. EU heads of state and government agreed in their summit statement that "the climate is changing much faster than expected. The risks posed by climate change are real and can already be seen."

Therefore it is vital to reach an ambitious global agreement at UN climate talks in Copenhagen, the 27 heads of state and government agreed. British Prime Minister Gordon said the 100-billion-euro figure had been his proposal. He dismissed reluctance on the part of France, Germany and others to fix global climate aid targets saying: "You cannot get a climate-change deal without an agreement on finance." Eastern European member states are also keen to talk first about how funds will be distributed within the EU. The European Union prides itself on being at the forefront of the climate fight. The 27 nations have committed to reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, from 1990 levels. At Copenhagen they will be seeking a global deal for 30 percent cuts.

by Staff Writers
Male (AFP) Sept 18, 2009
White sand and crystal clear water that laps around the Maldives draw thousands to the islands every year, but in the waves lie the seeds of the country's possible destruction.

The archipelago is on the frontline of climate change in a way that few other countries can claim and its unfortunate position has made it a vocal campaigner and, it hopes, a role-model in the battle against global warming.

In 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

Over 80 percent of the country's land, composed of coral islands scattered some 850 kilometres (550 miles) across the equator, is less than one metre (3.3 feet) above mean sea level.

Ahead of a climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, where the world's powers hope to agree a new pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the country is preparing to make a loud case for hasty action.

"The best we can do is to tell the world that what is happening to us can happen to you tomorrow," says Maldives Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam. "The big countries must see their future reflected through us."

The government of the nation of 1,192 low-lying coral islets has even been thinking aloud about buying a "homeland" in Australia or in neighbouring India or Sri Lanka for its 330,000-strong population.

Mohamed Nasheed, a young, former journalist elected as president last year, hopes this will not be necessary.

"Our core point is that there is hope. We can reverse the situation. I think it is very important for people to realise that we are not fighting a losing battle," he told reporters at his sea-front office in the capital Male, in an interview earlier this month.

Seeking to set an example, Nasheed has set goals to turn the Maldives into the first nation to be carbon neutral by 2020.

The 200 inhabited islands in the Maldives want to switch over to solar and wind-driven generators and authorities hope to drastically reduce the number of motorcycles that choke Male's narrow streets.

While details of the plan remain vague, officials are keen to showcase their new eco credentials.

Nasheed says he wants luxury tourist resorts to take the lead and he is offering tax concessions for renewable energy schemes.

The Soneva Fushi resort, half an hour by sea plane from Male, is setting up the first major solar energy project in the Maldives next month. The resort hopes to harness a tenth of its electricity from the sun.

Soneva Fushi which has 60 villas with daily rates that run into thousands of dollars is tapping deep sea water to work air conditioner chillers.

"We have demonstrated that luxury and minimal environmental impact are compatible," environment manager at Soneva, Enka Hofmeister, told AFP during a recent visit.

In Male, however, the challenges for a country that wants to be an environmental trailblazer can be seen in the traffic-clogged streets of a city where 130,000 live in one square mile (2.5 square kilometre).

During monsoon rains, sewers are overwhelmed and the streets flood; pollution is thick from the thousands of motorcycles and hundreds of cars that buzz up and down its narrow paved streets.

"Dealing with the transport sector will be a challenge for us," acknowledged Aslam, who is also the minister in charge of transport.

"We have moved to a motorised culture in the past two decades and it will be difficult to get back on bikes."

Aslam and Nasheed agree that their green initiatives are unlikely to have an impact on slowing global warming and saving the Maldives, but they hope their moves could demonstrate the seriousness of the problem.

"We might be very small, insignificant and with very few people, but we feel climate change is not just an environmental issue," Nasheed said. "What we are doing (by example) is advocacy, to get our desperate message across."

In December 2004, the country had a brief taster of how it felt to be under water when the Asian tsunami struck, leaving a trail a destruction. Several islands have since been abandoned because they are considered unsafe.

It is hoped here that the Copenhagen meeting, where ministers aim to craft a post-2012 pact for curbing the heat-trapping gases that drive global warming, will help avert a much slower but more significant submersion.

Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728

Monday, September 21, 2009


India says ready to issue non-binding emissions cut

Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:19am EDT

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* Minister says greenhouse gas target to be voluntary

* Move on climate targets is "nuanced shift"

* Binding emissions targets remain unacceptable

* Minister says India doing more than many rich nations

By Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, Sept 17 (Reuters) - India is ready to quantify the amount of planet-warming gas emissions it could cut with domestic actions to fight climate change, the environment minister said on Thursday, but will not accept internationally binding targets.

Jairam Ramesh's comment marks a shift in the position of India, which is under no obligation to cut emissions and is trying to reach out to rich nations by underscoring the actions it is taking to fight global warming.

The stand is likely to strengthen India's stance at crucial negotiations in Copenhagen in December on a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges 37 developed nations to cut emissions by an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Talks are currently deadlocked on the question of levels of emission cuts to be taken by rich countries and developing nations. Rich nations will also have to come up with billions of dollars in aid and green technologies for the poor.

"We do not see a problem in giving a broad indicative number on the quantity of (emission) reduction as a result of our domestic unilateral actions," Ramesh told Reuters.

The emission reduction would not take the shape of legally binding targets open to outside scrutiny. Neither would it form a new negotiating position for India.

The minister described the new stand as a "nuanced shift" in India's position aimed at calling the bluff of rich countries which want growing economies such as India to take emissions targets because it is among the biggest polluters.


Developing countries, which do not have to reduce emissions and need only undertake adaptation steps under international obligations, say they can not limit economic growth needed to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Yet, India says it is taking steps not only to adapt to climate change but also limit and reduce emissions, primarily through domestic actions such as increased use of renewable energy and more efficient use of energy.

Ramesh said last week India was also willing to draft national legislation on voluntary aspirational emission reduction targets. India, where about half a billion people do not have access to electricity, said this month its greenhouse gas emissions could double or more than triple to 7.3 billion tonnes by 2031. But its per-capita emissions would still be below the global average.

Despite the mitigation steps, many in the West still see India as intransigent.

"India is not the one holding up the negotiations," Ramesh said.

"We have no historical responsibility for the present (climate) mess nor do we have any commitment to reduce emissions. Yet we are doing more than many other countries which created this problem and are bound by international law to take targetted emission cuts."

"The shift is in the atmospherics of the negotiations," he said, referring to India's increasing efforts to be seen as doing more than enough to help seal a deal in Copenhagen. (Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728

Friday, September 11, 2009


Can charred coconut keep Maldives from submerging?

by Candace Lombardi


(Credit: Invest Maldives/Republic of Maldives)

The Republic of Maldives has signed a partnership with a tech company to develop biochar for its soils, both parties announced this week.

Biochar, a method of carbon capture and storage, is typically produced by heating biomass in a kiln until it turns into a manmade charcoal. That biochar can then be buried to enrich soil for agriculture. In some cases, biochar can be used as fuel.

The deal with U.K.-based Carbon Gold is part of the Maldives' plans to be carbon-neutral by 2020.

With the help of Carbon Gold, the Maldives will manufacture biochar from woody biomass, including coconut shells, for use in its own soil. As part of the deal, Carbon Gold will also launch an informational campaign directed at Maldivians on the benefits of using biochar rather than imported fertilizers to enhance soil quality for agriculture.

"The Maldives is already adversely affected by climate change so I warmly welcome this relationship with Carbon Gold. Biochar has a crucial role in helping us achieve carbon neutral status as well as providing an economic and environmental boost to our people," Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed said in a statement.

Though not a very powerful player on the global carbon stage, the Republic of Maldives is significant for being at the front line of climate change. If the Earth warms and seas rise as predicted, scientists believe the Indian Ocean archipelago country will be the first to go under water.

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. E-mail her at She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728