Climate Change

March 16, 2011

Fukushima Disaster – Tepco Battles Damaged Nuclear Cores and Exposed Fuel Rods,Spent Fuel Pool Boiling,New Risks from Rising Temperature at Reactors 5 and 6,GE under fire for faulty Mark1 Design

The situation at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant continued to be desperate as new fires and explosions rocked the nuclear plant.The utility which owns and operates the Nuclear Reactors Tepco said that the containment structure may have been damaged as smoke was seen from top of one of the reactors.70% of the Fuel Rods at Nuclear Reactor 1 and 33% at Reactor 2 have been exposed.This means that these fuel rods are not being cooled and may be melting leading to increased radiation poisoning hazards.New Fire broke out on the morning of 16th March at Reactor No.4 and containment chamber at Reactor 2 is damaged from Reactor 2.The problems at the Nuclear Plant seems to be increasing with no solution in sight.What is worse is that the 2 reactors No.5 and 6 which have been dormant all this time have all seen their temperature .increasing.Temperatures in the spent fuel rod cooling pools of the shuttered No. 5 and No. 6 reactors were rising as of 7 a.m. today to about 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit)
March 15, 2011

Why the Japanese Nuclear Accident should result in Huge Boost to Solar Energy

This Nuclear Energy Disaster in the Age of Twitter and Facebook will vehemently increase the opposition to the setting up of big Nuclear Plants.The Radiation Leak and subsequent health hazards will make it impossible for a Nuclear Reactor to be located except in very remote areas like the Sahara Desert.NIMBY protests are going to almost kill the Nuclear Industry in the next decade at least in democracies.The Nuclear Industry will take a long time in establishing its trust amongst the citizens.Without Nuclear Energy,the other major forms of Renewable Energy ,Solar and Wind Energy have to gain.Already Switzerland and Germany are deferring the planning and extension of Nuclear Energy.Other countries are putting safety reviews.Note the costs of environment regulation and nuclear waste disposal are already quite high.This will make new nuclear plants uneconomical as they are already facing huge cost overruns . Ask Areva in Finland and Constellation in the US.
March 15, 2011

Advantages of Tidal Energy – Many Pros but High Investment a Big Con

Tidal Energy is a niche form of Renewable Energy with less than 500 MW of Electricity Capacity worldwide.Tidal Energy generates less than .001% of the worldwide electricity generation as the Technology of this Alternative Energy is still quite immature.However numerous companies are researching ways to develop Tidal Energy as it offers almost unlimited potential at low costs and with no pollution.Tidal Wave Energy has not seen much commercial success except the almost 45 year old Tidal Wave Power Plant in France.South Korea is planning to build a number of Tidal Power Plants though the rest of the world has not given it much though.Here are the Top advantages of Tidal Energy.
March 14, 2011

Japanese Nuclear Meltdown Effect – Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY)

The Japanese Nuclear Plant Explosions would have sent shivers down the throats of everyone living near Nuclear Plants.Note Japanese Nuclear Plants are thought to be one […]
March 13, 2011

Tidal Wave Energy – Quick Guide to Costs,Investment and How Tidal Generators Produce Tidal Power

Tidal Waver Energy is still an immature technology with most of the plants built around the world being pilot/demonstration ones.However Tidal Wave Energy holds big potential though it is still a decade away from reaching large commercial scale just like Algae based Biofuel and other forms of Green Technology.Tidal Wave Energy essentially works by converting the energy generated by tidal waves into electricity energy.Tidal Generators are used to convert energy from tidal energy into a more useful form.Here are the following ways Tidal Generators are involved in producing Tidal Power.
March 13, 2011

Disadvantages of Wind Power – A Rebuttal as the Selfish Delay Wind Farms to Death

Wind Power has come under attack in the USA focused around the Cape Wind Project off the eastern shore.The project which was conceived over 10 years ago has not managed to still build the Wind Farm due to countless number of lawsuits filed for myriad reasons most of which are quite groundless.However some of the reasons have some solid facts behind the opposition to Wind Energy.Note Wind Energy unlike other forms of fossil fuel energy should have much less opposition however it is not so.Unlike Coal,Gas and Oil Energy it does not lead to increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and contribute to pollution.It does not lead to deaths of hundreds of miners each year nor has the danger of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown leading to death and disability of thousands.It also does not have the drawback of massive ocean pollution leading to an ecological disaster.However there are still protests against building of Wind Power Capacity and this article examines them in details.At the outset let me mention that advantages of Wind Power far outweighs the Disadvantages.
March 13, 2011

Pros and Cons of Wind Power,Turbines and Farms – The Advantages outweighs the Disadvantages

The Pros of Wind Energy far outweighs the Cons of Wind Power leading to massive amounts of wind power capacity being installed in almost every part of the world.Wind Power already generates majority of the electricity in countries like Denmark and almost 1/5th in countries with proactive renewable energy policies such as Spain,Germany and Portugal.Wind Power has great potential in USA,China and India which are driving the growth of Wind Power in the world.South America particularly Brazil are also showing strong interests in building up wind farms in the country.The recent increase in the price of oil and the dangers of Nuclear Energy further emphasize the importance of Wind Power Energy.
March 9, 2011

Costs of Biomass Energy and Biomass Plant Invesment – Wide Range

The Costs of Biomass Energy Production fall in a very wide range because of the wide variety of feedstock it uses.The costs of biomass energy also depend on the distance of the feedstock from the biomass power plant.Great distances lead to the biomass plant being unfeasible.Also some forms of Biomass are more expensive than others.Urban Waste and Waste Wood are some of the cheapest forms of biomass available.Similarly,Biomass plants also can be built over a wide range of investments.Co-generation plants or CHP plants are the cheapest biomass plants while standalone biomass plants which can use a variety of feedstock are quite expensive in nature.Note unlike solar and wind power,the investments in power plants based on biomass are not fixed.Some of the technology like boilers and turbines for generating biomass energy are common industrial equipment.The costs of a biomass energy can also depend greatly on how the feedstock is procured,managed and used up by a biomass plant.A good manager of a biomass plant is very important to lower running costs of a biomass plant.
March 9, 2011

List of Major Biomass Power Plants in the World – Scale Increasing

Biomass Power Plants are increasing rapidly as the costs of fossil fuels go up and the need for renewable energy is increasing.Biomass Power is attractive because of its clean character and supplies a large portion of the energy needs in rural communities.With advancements in gasifier technology and energy conversion,biomass power plants have become quite popular.Biomass Power Plants are increasing in scale from around 20-50 MW to more than 100 MW as the technology has advanced quite a bit.The only problem for these large plants is securing feedstock for these power plants and storing them.Biomass Energy has a number of advantages over conventional forms of energy and depending on the feedstock cost can be generated at prices on par with fossil fuels.Biomass Energy also leads to higher energy security as biomass is almost always secured locally.
March 9, 2011

Ten Advantages of Biomass Energy – Oldest Alternative Energy Form gets back in vogue

Biomass Energy is highly under-appreciated as a renewable source of energy despite being the most important source of energy during most of human history.Till the 19th century biomass energy used to account for 70% of the world's energy consumption and still accounts for around 10% of the world consumption.In developing countries the share of biomass energy is still quite high at 30% and it is the major source for energy for rural and backward communities.Biomass primarily consists of
March 8, 2011

India's Major Construction/EPC/Infrastructure Companies (L&T,HCC,IVRCL,NCC,JP,Gammon)- Facing Tough Times Temporarily?

India is set to see a massive infrastructure capex cycle over the next decade as the existing infrastructure fails to support India's massive population.$500 Billion is expected to be spent in India's next 5 year plan with expenditure concentrated on roads,railways,ports,water,power,transportation etc.Capital Goods,Construction and Real Estate Companies will benefit hugely from this capex cycle.A Number of Companies have been raising capital from the Indian Stock Markets as India requires massive amounts of capital to fund its ambitious growth plans. Here is the list of top construction companies in India on the basis of their tie-ups with their international counterparts, technological advancements, generating money from the market to trigger their expansion plans and for establishing an entire township in the wastelands and making it the hottest commercial destination.Note Infrastructure companies in recent days have taken a massive beating falling to their 2008 Lehman lows.This is due the the numerous scams hitting the country,delays due to land acquisition,high interest rates and slow execution.However the long term potential of these construction/EPC companies in India remains excellent due to the massive investments.
March 7, 2011

List of Coal Mining Companies/Stocks in India – A Great Buying Oppurtunity

Coal Demand in India is surging as the power companies set up thermal power plants at an astounding rate to triple the power capacity over the next decade.Soaring Coal Prices have already made the Global Electricity Prices shoot up and its probably going to increase more in the coming decade.China is the world's largest producer and consumer of coal accounting almost for the 50% of the world's output at 3 Billion Tons.India is far behind at 400 million tons but will fast catch up given the prodigious rate of power plant building that is happening.The Environment is probably going for a toss as India has allowed "No-Go" Forested Areas to be mined.This plus China and India are importing more and more coal from Australia,South Africa and the USA.The recent looking in Australia saw coal prices shoot up alarmingly.Coal India the world's largest coal producing company recently increased the coal price from its shockingly low price leading cement makers and utilities to raise prices more than 5-10%.While its strange for a green blog to recommend coal stocks,the opportunity does exist over the next 10 years till renewable energy comes to grid parity and policymakers don't come to their senses.Here is a list of coal stocks/companies in India .Note there are not many major private coal companies as in the early 1970s, all privately owned coal producing companies were nationalized under the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act.
March 6, 2011

Telecom Towers in India (GTL,Indus,Viom) Put Lipstick on the Diesel Pig – How Government can Prod them to move to Renewable Energy

India has around 300,000 Telecom Towers around the country , a large portion of which is not connected to the electricity grid.Another large portion does not have access to reliable electricity implying they have to install backup power systems in order to run without interruptions.Diesel Generators have been the choice of telecom operators despite their high carbon imprint.This is because of the ease of buying and installing diesel generators as well as the lower fuel costs as the government in India heavily subsidizes diesel.Note India's Fossil Fuel Subsidies have led to hundreds of distortions in the economy.Corruption,Pilfering,Adulteration is carried out on a large scale due to government subsidies.In fact a senior government official was burnt alive by the Kerosene Mafia a direct outcome of this subsidy policy.But that is a separate issue.
March 3, 2011

Power Transmission for Renewable Energy in India to be Funded by Coal Tax

India may uses the planned $500 million to $1 Billion in Coal Taxes it expects to generate every year to build transmission lines for renewable energy.Note one of the main impediments for renewable energy is the lack of transmission capability on part of utilities to move clean energy from remote areas to urban demand centres.USA faces an acute problem in this regard and faces a massive debate on how to fund the power grid from windy areas to cities.India too faces a problem in this regard as renewable energy plants mainly wind and solar are to built in remote locations.Note India's Power Grid is very inadequate as large parts of the country lack electricity due to lack of distribution networks.
March 3, 2011

Advantages of Solar Energy – Declining Cost the Biggest One

Solar Energy is the only form of Energy whose costs are continuously declining compared to other forms of Energy.This is one of the biggest advantages of Solar Power over other renewable and non-renewable forms of energy.Solar Energy costs have declined by over 50% in the last 2-3 years even as Coal,Oil,Gas and other Energy costs have gone up.While Wind Energy costs have declined in the last year the overall trend is increasing as the costs of copper and steel go up.This is one of the main reasons why solar energy demand has gone up by 150% in 2010.With solar costs going down by another 10% each year over the next few years,expect Solar Energy to grow at a further fast rate in the future as well after growing at 50% CAGR over the last decade.Here are some of the advantages of Solar Energy over other non-renewable energy forms
March 1, 2011

Electic Vehicles in India get boost through duty cut,however no Support for Public Transport or Oil Bill Reduction

India's Transport Policy is an unmitigated disaster with traffic congestion frequently killing people.The lack of roads and traffic planning has made transport in Indian cities a daily monstrous headache for commuters.The use of modern transport which does not cause pollution and reduces congestion is the need of the hour.The government seems to be moving slowly in that direction.While MNRE had announced a capital subsidy for Green Transport earlier,the Finance Minister cut excise and custom duties on Green Vehicles as well.India's Union Budget did not have much for the Green Industry except a piffling Rs 200 crore fund for the environment and the cuts of duties for EVs.
February 28, 2011

Can South Korea use "Green Ships" to Topple China from No.1 Shipbuilder Position

South Korea is one of the biggest shipbuilders with major companies like Daewoo,Hyundai Heavy and Samsung.However its being beaten down by the low cost Chinese companies which are using cheaper capital and lower labor costs to press their advantage.South Korean Shipbuilders have been trying to diversify into offshore wind energy in order to safeguard their revenues.However they face tough competition in this renewable energy sector as well from incumbent wind turbine compaeis as well as Chinese WTG companies like Sinovel,Goldwind and others.Now the South Korean government is helping them with a 300 billion won research fund.This fund will be used to do R&D into building of "Green Ships" which are becoming the new growth segment.
February 18, 2011

Leading GHG emitter and Biggest Coal Exporter Australia Kills Most Green Program using Floods Excuse

Australia is the biggest exporter of coal in the world and one of the leading emitter of GHG emissions.Its huge mining industry generate tons of carbon and earns billions for the Australian Treasury.However despite its leading role in global warming,Australia has almost no subsidies for green energy.The federal government has conveniently used the recent Queensland Floods to cut off a number of Green Programs such as Green Car Innovation Fund, Cleaner Car Rebate Scheme, the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships and Solar Flagships, the Solar Hot Water Rebate, Green Start Program, Solar Homes and Communities Plan.The Solar Flagships Program which was supposed to generate around 1 GW of Solar Energy has also been killed.Note Australia generate 92% of its electricity from Fossil Fuel which is quite high compared to other developed countries.
February 16, 2011

Decreasing Renewable Energy Prices should continue to boost Green Growth as Peak Oil Nears

Solar Panel Prices have decreased at a jaw dropping 50% in the last 2 years and will probably decrease 10-15% more in 2011.That is an astounding number given the increasing energy and electricity prices being faced around the globe.Though solar energy is costlier than other forms of energy,it starts on a low base.With 2010 solar growth pegged at more than 100% and 16 GW of solar panels installed,Solar Energy is starting to become more mainstream.Like Solar,the entry of Chinese players has decreased the cost of Wind Energy as well.Despite increasing input steel and copper prices,wind turbine prices have declined.Stiff competition amongst Chinese WTG companies has made the price of a Wind Turbine go as low as $600,000-700,000 in China.This has brought a depression in prices in other places in the world as well.
February 15, 2011

India's Environment Ministry bows to King Coal – Allows Mining in "No-Go" Forested Areas

India's Environment Ministry Jairam Ramesh has been portrayed as the devil incarnate by the industrial lobbies as he has struck down various billion dollar realty, mining and power projects.First it was Vedanta's mining project in Orissa,then the Lavasa township in Pune and then power projects in Andhra Pradesh.While some of these infrastructure projects should go ahead with modifications,it has brought some regard for the environment.While some of the projects like the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant in Maharashtra were given the environmental go-ahead despite serious concerns raised by TISS and local citizens,the trampling of ecology by the corporate lobbies seems to have been curtailed.However India's growing economy and its massive energy needs cannot be kept at bay for long.
February 15, 2011

Does India need a Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Plant by Toshiba and NTPC

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) has been mooted as one of the main weapons against climate change.With little alternative to Coal based power generation,CCS is touted as a temporary solution.However CCS as a global warming solution is like putting lipstick on a pig.The technology for CCS remains immature at best and even the biggest users of coal,the Chinese utilities have ruled out using CCS before 2015.Though big pilot projects have been announced in Australia,USA and UK,CCS is not a serious option as far as dealing with climate change.This however has not prevented companies from playing in this area.Toshiba is the latest company to join the CCS fray hoping to set up a 5 MW pilot plant in JV with India's biggest power utility NTPC.
February 10, 2011

Why is China using Cyber Warfare as an Instrument of Peacetime State Policy ?

China has repeatedly cropped up in the news for cyberattacks on various governments as well as large multinational companies.While the Chinese government has denied responsibility for these cyberattacks,the evidence continues to grow as large reputed organization have blamed hacking on Chinese origin IP addresses.Note South Korea,USA and India have blamed China for cyberattacks on government computers.Growing cyberwarfare from China has made India start a cyberattack centre of its own reflecting the serious growing nature of these attacks.The recent Stuxnet virus attack on nuclear plants of Iran has been also been blamed on a Chinese attack on India gone wrong.Note cyberattacks are not considered of very serious nature in today's geopolitics and has deniability.This has probably made China to continue with cyberwarfare on countries considered hostile to its interests.
January 25, 2011

India's Misguided Fossil Fuel Subsidy root cause of Mafia Growth

India's Fossil Fuel Subsidies have led to a massive growth of the petrol and diesel mafia in the country.India gives subsidies on diesel,kerosene and cooking gas through its state owned petro/gas companies like BPCL,IOCL,HPCL etc.These subsidies have been given for a long time and have led to the growth of a parallel black economy in these products.They not only lead to capital misallocation but also to the massive illegal profits for a few.It is a well known fact that all petroleum pump owners adulterate petroleum ( which power most of the cars) with subsdized diesel and kerosene.This massive racket earns millions of dollars (if not billions) for a network of company officials,pump owners,government bureaucrats and politicians.The mafia is so strong and powerful that it thinks nothing of burning alive a senior police official.The racketeers are so rich and well connected that despite common knowledge nothing gets done about it.
January 12, 2011

Global Green Investments increases by 39% in 2010 despite Copenhagen Failure

Asset Financing for utility grade projects accounted for $128 billion while a substantial amount was also raised for Green IPOs notably Enel Green Power,Goldwind,Datang,Longyuan etc.The figure does not include M&A figures not that there were any big bang acquisitions though a number of M&A activities took place in the Smart Grid space.Government individually ramped up the subsidies for Green Industries despite a failure to arrive at a meaningful global agreement to reduce carbon emissions in the Copenhagen Meet.Most of the investments tool place as countries increasingly jockey for the top spot in the emerging Green Industry.Conglomerates like Samsung,GE,Mitsubishi,Siemens have made Green Industry the focus of their management focus and investment leading to the astounding 39% growth.Note Green Advocates have said that $500 billion in annual investments will be required by 2020 to restrict carbon emissions to a tolerable level.
December 7, 2010

Fossil Fuel Rich Russia against Bird Killing Wind Energy Industry

Russia huge huge wind and solar energy resources with gigawatts of potential.It also has great geothermal energy resources as well however most of them are not developed at all.There is no significant support for Renewable Energy Resource as well with Green Energy capacity in low double digits (15 MW of Wind in 2006).With Putin calling Wind Turbine hazardous to birds and causing Environmental Problems,It looks like Russian Leadership will not change its Fossil Fuel Centric Policy any time soon.While Middle East Countries are dead against Climate Change efforts,they are developing Nuclear Energy and some Renewable Energy for exporting more Energy.However Russia does not even want to do that despite being a leader in Nuclear Energy.
December 7, 2010

Millions of Impoverished Ragpickers unlikely Mascots of Fight against Climate Change

Ragpicking is a developing and poor country concept alien to developed countries of the West busy bickering over responsibility over carbon emissions.Millions of people in India […]
December 4, 2010

Solar Energy in China – New Subsidies More Posturing for Cancun than Game Changing

Note China has not passed a solar feed in tariff despite expectations amongst solar companies for a long time.China is a solar equipment leader with 60% of Solar Panel Production taking place in China.However 98% of the panels are exported making trading partners angry.High cost Europeans and Japanese companies have been almost driven away from the global solar market unable to compete with the Chinese solar majors.Solar Energy Demand in China is still minuscule compared to the world.Soaring Coal Prices,insufficient energy supply and carbon emissions have made China think of investing a trillion dollars into green industry.Solar however has not found sufficient love despite 280 MW national auction for solar projects.Wind Energy has grown exponentially in China and now accounts for 50% of the world demand.If the same thing were to happen to Solar Energy,the China's Solar Demand would grow by 20 times.
December 3, 2010

Soaring Coal Prices Increasing Global Electricity Rates making Green Energy more Lucrative

Coal Prices have started to increase in the international market alongwith other commodities like wheat,sugar,corn,gold,copper etc.But unlike other commodities,Coal has a disproportionate effect on Energy Prices.Note Coal is the principal supplier of top energy consumers like China,USA,India,Germany etc.The cheap price and abundance of coal has made it the fossil fuel of choice for generating electricity.The Technology for mining,processing and using coal to generate energy is well developed and cheap.This is the main reason for Coal's growing use despite its reputation as the Dirtiest Form of Energy.Coal Mining also regularly leads to hundreds of deaths even in developed countries like USA and New Zealand.However Growing Carbon Emissions due to Coal and its Supply Shortages has resulted in looking for alternative forms.Clean Coal Technology and CCS are looked upon as means to try and improve the carbon footprint of Coal.However the CCS Technology remains immature and expensive as of now .
December 3, 2010

Can the Chinese Trillion Dollars Resurrect the Faltering Global Renewable Energy Industry

Renewable Energy has faced a very bad year in 2010 at least in terms of stock prices.The failure of the Copenhagen Climate Meet in 2009 and the complete indifference towards the Cancun Meet in Mexico has made the Green Energy Sector one of the worst performing ones.Wind Energy has been the worst hit with falling gas prices and falling subsidies with USA and Europe the worst hit.Other sectors like Solar Energy and Biofuels have not got much love from the markets either.In fact major financial insitutions have sharply reduced their Renewable Energy Holdings with Short Interest Rising to a Record High amongst Green Companies like American Semiconductor,Jinko Solar etc.However despite the ascendancy of the Republicans in USA and the cold shoulder given to climate and energy bill,this might mark a bottom for Renewable Energy
November 22, 2010

7 Reasons Why the Climate Change Meet in Cancun,Mexico will Fail

Climate Change in the last year has faced one hit after another which should culminate in the failure of the Cancun,Mexico talks which is to start on November 29.Note there are not many expectations from the Cancun Climate Change negotiations in sharp contrast to the Copenhagen Talks in 2009.Despite the global attention and expectations from the Danish hosted Climate Meet,Copenhagen was a total disaster putting Global Warming in the Backburner despite more and more evidence of the massive global harmful effects.In the recent year,the Fossil Fuel Lobbies have been trying to discredit the very agency in charge of spearheading the war against Global Warming.They have been largely successful with global polls revealing a distinct cooling towards Global Warming Efforts.China despite huge investments into Clean Technology is emitting more Carbon Dioxide while USA has completely given up its Global Leadership on the most pressing World Problem.Here are the Reasons why the Cancun Climate Change Talks would fail.