India Green News: 'More serious action required than talks': India on climate change; India to electrify every home by December 2018 using solar, storage and LEDs; Pollution regulator to double continuous air quality monitoring stations in India
India Green News is a selection of news highlights about environmental and energy issues in India.
September 21 – September 28, 2017
India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday urged the developed nations to take part in the climate change process more actively and help others through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing.
Referring about the recent natural disasters that took place across the globe, Sushma said that more serious action is required than talks on the issue of climate change.
"The developed world must listen more carefully than others, because it has more capacities than others. It must help the less fortunate through technology transfer and Green Climate Financing - that is the only way to save future generations," she said while speaking at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here….
(Outlook – September 23, 2017)
Nearly two-third of the India’s terrestrial ecosystems is not resilient to drought, a new study has revealed. It also says that inability of ecosystems to tolerate water-limited conditions may pose a serious challenge in terms of carbon sequestration, crop production, and food security.
The study by Ashutosh Sharma and Manish Kumar Goyal of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati was published in international journal Wiley: Global Change Biology earlier this month. It facilitates understanding of how ecosystems in different regions of India respond to hydro-climatic disturbances like droughts.
For the study, the researchers compared the response of terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP) to hydro-climatic disturbances in India at different scales (at river basins, land covers, and climate types) to examine the ecosystems’ resilience to such adverse conditions. NPP is defined as the net amount of carbon assimilated by plant by taking photosynthesis and respiration into account….
(LiveMint – September 27, 2017)
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has launched a new program to electrify every willing household in the country by 31 December 2018, using solar, energy storage batteries and LED lighting.
The Rs.163 billion (US$2.5 billion) ‘Saubhagya Yojna’ scheme is aimed at both rural and urban households.
While data from a 2011 census (SECC) will be used to help identify un-electrified households, any homes without power not covered under the SECC census will also be eligible on payment of INR500 (US$7.65). More than 80% of the program’s budget will go towards rural households, with the rest set for urban homes.
The Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been appointed as the nodal agency to implement the scheme throughout the country….
(PVTech – September 26, 2017)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has enlarged its support of clean energy transmission projects in India by obtaining co-financing from multilateral development bank Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
ADB was already financing India’s Green Energy Corridor projects, which seek to transfer energy from renewable energy rich states to major power demand centers such as the mega cities of Mumbai and other regions. This original support included two US$500 million loans to build and upgrade inter-regional grid systems between the western and southern regions, and high voltage transmission lines and substations in the northern region to help distribute wind and solar generation.
Now ADB, with AIIB backing, is funding 400 kV transmission components in Tamil Nadu to connect at Pugalur with the long-distance grid systems already financed by ADB….
(PVTech – September 28, 2017)
India's focus on renewables has pushed green bond sales to a record high of $3 billion this year, doubling from the year ago, as investors with dedicated funds prefer India over China, where funds aimed at green power have less strict norms of use.
Sebi stipulates select sectors, including renewable and sustainable (wind, solar, bioenergy), clean public transportation, waste energy, recycling of water, bio-diversity that qualify as green or environment-free projects.
Sebi has issued no specific instructions on the quantum of green bond proceeds usage, these sectors account for nearly 100 per cent utilization of funds in purely environment free projects in India. On the other hand, Chinese regulator the National Development and Reform Commission (NDFC) allows issuers to use up to 50 per cent of bond proceeds to re p a y bank loans and invest in general working capital, a report by the Climate Bonds Initiative and China Central Depository and Clearing Company said. Internationally, at least 95 per cent of proceeds must be linked to green assets. Some China project types like “clean coal,” fossil fuel power stations, select hydropower projects would not be considered green by international standards….
(Economic Times – September 26, 2017)
The second-ever wind energy auction in India reaped encouraging results with nearly twice the capacity allocated as offered, and at record-low tariffs.
Earlier this year, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) floated a tender to set up 500 megawatts of wind energy capacity. This was the first wind energy auction organized by a state after the central government, and many state governments, moved away from the feed-in tariff regime.
The Indian government, through the Solar Energy Corporation of India, offered 1,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity through competitive bidding. SECI allocated 1,050 megawatts of capacity at ₹3.46/kWh (6.8¢/kWh), which is lower than any feed-in tariff on offer across the country….
(Clean Technica – September 25, 2017)
New research carried out by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland has found that India will have the capacity to operate on a fully renewable electricity system by 2050.
Conducted as part of the Finnish Solar Revolution research project and the Neo-Carbon Energy research project, the report simulation suggested India could meet electricity demand using solar energy and batteries.
The simulation also incorporated the use of seawater desalination and synthetic natural gas solutions.
LUT professor Christian Breyer said: “Given India's burgeoning electricity demand, the persistent supply demand gap, and summer shortages and outages, solar photovoltaic (PV) prosumers will have a crucial role in enabling the country's transition to a fully sustainable energy system….”
(Power-technology.com – September 27, 2017)
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND AIR POLLUTION
The Central Board of Pollution Control (CPCB) will double continuous air quality monitoring stations from 86 in to 179 by the end of the year.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee is also boosting air quality surveillance in the capital by setting up 20 additional monitoring stations in Delhi by October-end, acting on directions of the National Green Tribunal.
India has 683 manual monitoring stations across 300 cities and towns. By contrast the continuous monitoring systems are spread across 104 cities and towns.
The equipment for continuous monitoring costs around Rs 2 crores including the cost of operation and maintenance for 5-10 years. By contrast conventional monitoring equipment costs only around Rs 1 lakh, according to industry sources….
(Hindustan Times – September 22, 2017)
Millions of unemployed rural youth in India will now be trained in environment-related subjects under the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM). India’s top pollution watchdog, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has decided to train youth in skills such as municipal waste management and maintenance of air pollution equipment, which it believes would greatly enhance employment opportunities.
For the last nine years, India has been trying to create a pool of 50 million skill-trained and efficient workers. Although the government abandoned the 50 million target recently, the National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives high priority to the NSDM….
(LiveMint – September 22, 2017)
In a major decision, the union environment ministry notified the new Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017 on Tuesday which prohibit a range of activities in wetlands like setting up and expansion of industries, waste dumping and discharge of effluents.
Environmental experts, however, are unhappy as they felt the new wetland rules seriously weakens the existing regulations.
The new rules will replace the 2010 version of the rules. The draft of the Wetland Rules was first presented by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in April 2016. But they were severely criticized by conservationists who had alleged that the draft rules don’t mention anything about a national regulator and don’t list specific activities prohibited in these ecologically sensitive areas….
(LiveMint – September 28, 2017)
Compiled by Laasya Bhagavatula
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.