Renewable Energy in India

 

by Aurora Silva

India’s government has a bold goal for deploying renewable energy: 175 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity by 2022, including 100 gigawatts of solar power. The country has a history of promoting renewable energy and a rapidly growing portfolio of solar and wind projects, but meeting the solar target alone will require a growth rate equivalent to doubling India’s installed solar capacity every 18 months. It will also require a clear understanding of the three factors that drive energy demand in India (access, security, and efficiency); new federal and state policies and incentives; innovative financing for capital investments estimated at $100 billion or more; and additional funding for manufacturing, training, and job creation. Project developers will have to grapple with the cost and availability of land, grid connections, and backup power. To meet the electricity needs of the poor and encourage rural entrepreneurship, India’s energy policies should aim for a mix of grid— connected and decentralized renewable energy sources. Continue reading

Urban Transportation: Energy Consumption

by Aurora Silva

More than half of the global population now lives in towns and cities. At the same time, transport has become the highest single energy-consuming human activity. Hence, one of the major topics today is the reduction of urban transport demand and of energy consumption in cities. This article is focused on the whole package of instruments that can reduce energy consumption and transport demand in Belgrade, a city that is currently at a major crossroad. Belgrade can prevent a dramatic increase in energy consumption and CO2 emissions (and mitigate the negative local environmental effects of traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and air pollution), only if it: implements a more decisive strategy to limit private vehicles use while its level of car passenger km travelled is still relatively low, does not try to solve its transport problems only by trying to build urban road infrastructure (bridges and ring roads), and if it continues to provide priority movement for buses (a dominant form of public transport), while at the same time developing urban rail systems (metro or light rail transit) with exclusive tracks, immune to the traffic congestion on urban streets. Continue reading

Switzerland’s Transition to Sustainable Energy

by Aurora Silva

Switzerland has a long tradition of using nuclear energy. With no reserves of coal, oil, or natural gas of its own, the country had to turn to other sources to meet its energy needs. As a result, a nation of only 8 million people— a bit larger in population than the state of Massachusetts— has five nuclear power plants, making Switzerland one of the top seven nuclear-powered nations on the planet on a per capita basis. Another telling statistic is that nearly 40 percent of Swiss electrical generation comes from nuclear power. To give a sense of what that proportion means, only 19 percent of US electricity is generated from nuclear power. The burning of coal has been of almost no consequence in Switzerland’s total energy mix for the past 50 years—in sharp contrast to the United States, where 44 percent of the nation’s electricity comes from coal. The country’s famed train and trolley systems are all electric, with the energy to power them coming nearly entirely from a combination of hydro and nuclear power. Continue reading