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Friday, September 30, 2011

Shifting “Energy Production” Burden

It is indeed no big secret that energy requirements in India are taking a steep path. There is pressure created from the staggering growth of our country and not to forget the growing population as well. Time is such that it demands a shift of burden of energy production to much cheaper and eco friendlier technology. Although India is the 5th largest producer of wind energy, there is still requirement for further developments. On the other hand scarce resources and carbon emission are adding fuel to the problem of energy production. Greater reliance on renewable technology offers huge socio, economic and environmental benefits. India at no way lacking in potential, here’s a proof of that

Technical potential
Installed capacity
Grid connected

Bio power (agro-residues)
Wind power
Small hydro power (up to 25MW )
Large hydro power (larger than 25MW)
Co generation BAGASSE
Waste to energy
Total grid connected
Distributed generation

Bio-power co generation

Bio mass gasifier

Waste to energy

Solar PV power

Agro generators/hybrid system

Total distributed renewable

Source: WEC 2009, Mercados, 2010.
Shifting trend shows positive signs
Solar- The landscape for solar innovation is wide open in India. If PM is to be quoted “India will develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power our economy and to transform the lives of our people”.
Domestic firms such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Central Electronics Limited, Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited, Moser Baer PV Technologies, Tata BP Solar India, Signet Solar and Astonfield Renewable Resources dominate the solar market in India.
Above example clearly demonstrate Indian innovation progress in energy sector. Such developments are based upon smart policies and their adaptation in production process and distribution. With new players entering the solar energy market it is a huge burden divider. It is estimated that as many as 600 companies are involved in the solar panel market globally, with as many as 60 new companies joining each year since 2000.
Bio fuels- A jatropha project led by Indian Railways could lead to 44,000 jobs for Indian farmer. With 5,000 diesel locomotives consuming over 580 million gallons (2 billion liters) of high-speed diesel annually, they anticipate saving between 29 to 116 million gallons (110 to 440 million liters) depending on the proportion of biodiesel used. The Railways intend to use land they already own along existing tracks, and have identified about 356,000 acres (44,000 hectares) out of a possible 1.5 million acres (190,000 hectares) for use. Estimates on the yields that can be expected from jatropha or karanj cultivation vary from a low of 1 ton of biodiesel per acre to 2.5 tons per acre (0.4 tons to 1 ton per hectare). However, cultivation practices and economies of processing needs to be strengthened before large scale commercialization are possible. 
Nuclear- India presently has 17 nuclear power plants with a total generation capacity of 4,120 MW. These have been operating at much less than potential, it’s not surprising that the World Energy Outlook 2007 estimated India’s generating capacity from nuclear energy would reach only 17,000 MW by 2030. Nuclear policy revision and patenting of innovations is required to cater the demand of energy in future.
Wind- Indian Company Suzlon is the largest wind energy company in Asia and the third largest in the world. Major orders in recent years have included customers like Horizon Wind (400 MW) based in Texas, PPM energy (400 MW) based in Portland, Oregon and Edison Mission Group (630 MW) based in Irvine California. The U.S. accounts for over 50% of suzlon’s global sales.
Such is the market of renewable energy in India is that if Economic Times article is to be believed, it says the market for clean energy in India is growing and such projects are estimated to have attracted private investments of around USD 4 billion in 2010. Foreign investments are a huge tool to strengthen any economy and India is gaining from such investments.
These innovations and trend is a positive sign and will contribute immensely to safeguard our degrading environment, conserving natural resources, providing employment and most importantly bridging the gap between demand and supply of energy, which in turn will lead to reduced prices also.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Inclusive Growth: A Challenging Opportunity

Inclusive growth means the pace as well as the pattern of the economic growth. Either pace or pattern alone cannot portray itself as inclusive growth. Inclusive growth is a loud call and need of the hour. In our hurriedly growing economy, mid way point we’ve realised that, are the economic paybacks shared equally? Does everyone have equal access to them?

Here comes the challenging opportunity, for the government, businessmen, service sector and broadly every citizen. The dare of creating ample amount of opportunities to the poor, backward class and for the population which is fighting to get electricity, struggling for access to water, one who needs to travel 100 km to see the doctor if he/she gets sick. It is to be noted that in developing economies, more than half of the total work force of 2.6 billion is employed in the informal sector (in India the population is 92% of workforce) with unfavourable working condition. Unemployment especially in youths is in the range of 40 % to 70%, with close to 1 billion people suffering from malnutrition, 2.7 billion people not having access to proper sanitation and clean drinking water, around 125 million children not going to school. The above does clearly indicate that a certain section of society have been deprived of the opportunities in sharing the fruit of growth.

Growth is important, but higher economic growth rate does not, by themselves bring inclusiveness or reducing inequalities. This is something to be noted by the policy makers. The current plan is to increase spending on health care, education, skill development, and infrastructure which is something which leads to inclusive growth. The challenge for govt. is that, whether they are able to prevent leakages of their investments or not. Certainly and sadly though they are unable to prevent leakages of funds, which in return is dismantling the whole structure of policies and expected outcomes. The goals set by MDG’s for 2015, which will provide inclusive growth is off track. All the goals are lagging behind which surely indicates the lacklustre delivery system.

It is for the private sector as well to look for inclusive growth. It will widen their market. Producing cost effective products will lead to expansion of sales. There were only 5.07 million telephone users in 1991, and today in 2011 the no. of mobile phone subscribers are 851.70 million. It is for the simple fact that a mobile phone is available at as cheap as RS 700. It has empowered a large section of society, infused communication for all and has increased connectivity. Many more products like mobile phones are required. There is a huge market. Moving on to a contrasting example, only 38% of scheduled commercial banks are located in rural areas and only 40% of the total population in country has bank accounts. Private sector needs to come up with new innovative ideas which are a huge opportunity for them.

India must look at some alarming indicators. Agriculture in India employs 57% of the total population which in turn contributes to only 16% of the total GDP. Problems of agricultural sector must be seriously addressed in order to attain inclusive growth. Agricultural sector is acutely suffering from land and water management, research and technology deficit, market deficit, skill deficit and so on. The solutions to these problems will benefit the 57% workforce which is visibly a huge section of society in India.

 Health and education delivery system needs to be strengthened to fight regional, social and gender disparities. It will initiate spending on health and education.

Regional disparities must be taken into consideration, Punjab boasts of per capita income of RS 16,679 where as Bihar has per capita income of RS 3557. Regional development policies need to be implemented with an efficient workforce to reduce the gap.

Rapid degradation of land, water and other natural resources must draw an effortless attention; it will require a change in consumption pattern from each level i.e. personal and public.

Inclusive growth is a challenge which needs to be faced now, ignoring it can be fatal. Inclusive growth does not necessarily lead to slowing down economic growth but what inclusive growth demands is strengthening of our socio, economic and political system for better distribution of our achievements. Wide disparities are definitely a challenge to deal with, at the same time it is an opportunity for everyone to tackle with the challenge and turn it to gold dust.

Please visit this link, AIMA summit on the above topic in New Delhi