India Green News: Star Ratings for Industries & More

Star Power: Industries in Maharashtra to Now Get Ratings Based on Emissions; India Extends Transmission Charge Exemption for Solar Projects; Impact of BS VI Rollout on Indians Victim to Hazardous Air Quality

A power station lit up on the shore of a waterway at night

The coal-fired Sabarmati Thermal Power Station in Ahmedabad

India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India.

June 23 – June 29, 2017


Star Power: Industries in Maharashtra to Now Get Ratings Based on Emissions

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) launched a new star rating program for air pollution on June 5, 2017–World Environment Day. The program uses smoke-stack emissions data that MPCB is already collecting. But, since sampling results are not very comprehensible to the general public, MPCB is turning these pollution readings into an easy-to-understand Star Rating.

Under the new scheme, industries are rated based on the density of fine particulate pollution coming from their smoke stacks. The best performing industries receive five stars. Those with the highest density of emissions receive only one star. Industry, government and the public can then log onto the MPCB website to access the report cards for plants in their area.

India is making headway to ambitious goals for clean energy, such as solar and wind power. Between 2017 and 2040, India will account for 15% of the estimated $10.2 trillion global investment in power generation. As these technologies get better and cheaper, the costs of going green have fallen…

(Hindustan Times – June 26, 2017)

"Cool Roofs" Can Beat High Heat in Homes

New Delhi: With India too facing the effects of global warming with abnormally high temperatures, simple and low-cost ‘cool roof’ measures may bring relief to the people, say experts.

“Simple steps such as painting roofs with lime-based whitewash, adding tarp-like coverings, or white ceramic tiles, can help bring down roof surface temperatures by 30 degrees Celsius and also reduce indoor temperatures by three to seven degrees,” New York-based advocacy Natural Resources Defence Council’s (NRDC) director of India programme Anjali Jaiswal said.

She said the innovative low-cost cool roof projects in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad cities, piloted this year, were a great success.

Climate experts say 13 of the 15 hottest years in India have been recorded since 2002, with the highest temperature recorded in 2016. This summer, parts of India have experienced abnormally high temperatures in March and April…

(Telangana Today – June 23, 2017)


India Extends Transmission Charge Exemption for Solar Projects

In a bid to push solar power tariffs even lower and incentivize as many states as possible to procure electricity from large-scale solar power projects through long-term agreements, the Indian government has extended a crucial incentive linked to interstate transmission of electricity.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy recently announced that solar power projects commissioned by 31 December 2019 will be exempt from paying interstate transmission charges. The initial deadline to avail this exemption was 30 June 2017.

The exemption is critical for states planning to procure electricity from projects located in others. Several companies are also looking to procure electricity from solar power parks.

The lowest solar power tariff in India currently stands at Rs 2.44/kWh which is cheaper than 92% of the operational coal-based power plants in the country…

(CleanTechnica – June 23, 2017)

India Interstate Charge Waiver Prompts New 750 MW Solar Tender from SECI

The maturation of India’s solar market continued at speed this week following two seismic announcements that have served to complement one another and further grease the wheels of PV development.

The decision earlier this week by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to waive interstate transmission charges for solar power was welcomed by the industry, and has prompted the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to tender an additional 750 MW of PV capacity at the Bhadla Solar Park.

According to Mercom Capital Group, SECI has disclosed that the capacity to be tendered will supply the state of Uttar Pradesh, but will be installed at the Bhadla Solar Park, which is located in Rajasthan. With the removal – at least until 2019 – of charges for sharing solar power across state boundaries, SECI can now take advantage of Rajasthan’s exceptional solar irradiation and abundance of land to supply Uttar Pradesh…

(PV Magazine – June 23, 2017)

India's solar power capacity to be 22 GW by March: Goyal

India's solar power generation capacity would nearly double to 22 GW by the end of current fiscal and more wind power auctions would be conducted in the coming months, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

India has set ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar energy and 60 GW of wind power capacities by 2022.

"Solar Power generating capacity would be around 22 GW by the end of this fiscal (from over 12 GW at present)," Goyal told reporters here after releasing a report on integration of renewables in the electricity grid.

On wind power, he said: "The auction has already been conducted for 1 GW where tariff has come down to Rs 3.46 per unit (earlier this year). One tender for another 1 GW is also in process, which would be completed soon. The bidding activity would also continue in coming 3-4 months and it would get the same encouragement as in case of solar."

(Times of India – June 29, 2017)

Indian Railways to Install Rooftop Solar Panels on 250 Trains

Some of the world’s most polluting cities may be found in India, but the country’s government, as well as private corporations, are working hard to transition the economy into a more sustainable one. Indian Railways, for instance, is installing flexible solar panels on 250 local trains. The intention is to reduce fuel costs and benefit the environment while lowering the company’s own emissions to meet government standards.

The railway has not yet decided which trains will receive the solar panels but has floated the money to install the systems, which will be used to power lights and fans on the trains. According to The Economic Times, companies selected through the process will need to install flexible solar panels and battery systems on six trains. Following a two-month trial period, large-scale implementation will take place. The initiative is expected to give another boost to India’s rapidly growing renewable energy program, especially since the trains would primarily run in areas where tracks have yet to be electrified…

(Inhabitat – June 23, 2017)


Impact of BSVI Rollout on Indians Victim to Hazardous Air Quality

To combat the potentially harmful effects of PM2.5 and other contributors to air pollution, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the Indian government is working in partnership with automotive and fuel industries to take a bold step in advancing its clean-air agenda and aligning India more closely to global environmental goals by implementing a new national emission standard, Bharat Stage (BS) VI.

With these regulations, set to go into effect in 2020, India will be better positioned to overcome its high PM2.5 levels. BS VI will consolidate every Indian city under a single, unified emissions standard for all major on-road vehicle groups on an accelerated timeline. Starting April 1, 2017 entire country is covered under BS IV standards BS VI is now set to take effect four years ahead of schedule in 2020, bypassing a national roll-out of BS V.

BS VI regulations are likely to reduce potentially dangerous NOx emissions by 25% in petrol-engine vehicles and by 68% in diesel-engine vehicles. Particulate matter emissions have been anticipated to decrease drastically – by over 80% – in diesel-engine vehicles…

(Financial Express – June 28, 2017)

By 2050, India Will Need New Delhi-Sized Landfills to Manage Disposal: Study

Owing to poor waste management practices, a staggering 88 square km of land will have to be dedicated for waste disposal through landfilling by 2050, nearly equal to the area under the administration of New Delhi Municipal Council, a PwC-Assocham study has revealed.

The study has recommended the government to accord industry status to the country’s waste management sector to provide it regulatory adherence with a dedicated monitoring and compliance cell.

At present, most of the waste in India is dumped without proper treatment.

“This will eventually render the land unfit for any other use for as long as a half century before it can be stabilized for other uses,” said the report…

(Hindustan Times – June 25, 2017)

Compiled by Henry Ruehl

Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the India Initiative or of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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