Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, Total and others are being alleged to have suppressed information related to climate change and funding studies and researches, which debunked global warming and climate change. These giant organizations make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits every year through oil and gas sales. Their massive empires would come under threat, if climate change due to humans was found to be true. These companies used their massive power to thwart the fight against climate change, endangering the entire human race. It is a known fact that these companies have been advertising for years to make climate change look like a conspiracy theory, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Carbon emissions have pretty much reached the point of no return and scientists are predicting that the world temperature will increase by more than 2%, even if the recent INDCs are implemented. For years, these companies have lobbied the governments not to do more about global warming, despite it being one of the biggest threats to mankind. The Koch brothers who owe their wealth to the oil and gas industry have been at the forefront of making global warming look like a nutcase theory. But with global public opinion becoming stronger against climate change, these companies are now facing investigations from the NY public prosecutor’s office for not acting against the research.

Also read the list of Oil & Gas Companies in India.

Due to their massive energy R&D, these companies have been leaders in alternative energy in the past. The main advances in geothermal and solar energy were made by companies like Chevron and BP. But these companies never put their money into these technologies, as it would threaten their bread and butter oil and gas business. They have also never put in serious money into green technologies like biofuels. Now these companies will be investigated to check whether they never acted on their findings on climate change. The CEOs of these companies would have suppressed the findings for business as usual, even through the whole human race faces an existential crisis. It has been known for years the oil and gas transnationals care two hoots about climate change and they have used their money power to silence the warnings about climate change. But with problems now growing acute, things cannot be pushed under the carpet anymore. Its time these companies face comeuppance for their past misdeeds.

List of Institutes/ Agencies under MNRE

MNRE has six different institutes to manage six different aspects of renewable energy – solar, wind, bioenergy and hydropower. These six institutes under MNRE to promote renewable energy in India are:

1) Solar Energy Center

Established in 1982, SEC is a body under MNRE to develop solar energy and its related technology in India. Its functions include various aspects right from the utilization of solar energy as a resource to the successful implementation of solar energy into various technologies and applications. It also provides training in the solar energy field and testing, standardization, performance evaluation, monitoring and data evaluation.

Read on GWI Pros and Cons of Solar Energy.

2) C-WET

C-WET or center for wind energy technology was established in Chennai for wind power development.

Read on GWI Pros and Cons of Wind Power

3) SSS NIRE

Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy is established in Kapurthala Punjab to monitor the Biomass energy in the country. The institute undergoes various research and development, training, testing and standardization of bioenergy in India. The main objective of SSS NIRE is to test the feasibility and usability of biofuels, bioenergy and synthetic fuels in different forms (solid, liquid and gaseous) to be used for transportation and different portable and stationary applications.

Read on GWI Advantages of Biomass Energy.

4) AHEC

Alternate Hydro Energy Center  was formed in 1982 in Roorkee and deals with the promotion of Small Hydropower projects. It also deals with the feasibility of developing such small hydropower projects in conjunction with the other renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biomass. The main function includes the designing and and execution of small hydro projects and it also provides additional services like technical support, consultancy services and refurbishment of old projects.

Read on GWI Uses of Hydropower Energy.

5) IREDA

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency is a non banking financial institution formed for providing term loans for renewable energy projects in India.

6) SECI

Solar Energy Corporation of India is a non-profit making Company registered under Companies Act India 1956. It has its office in New Delhi and functions to promote solar energy in India. The current projects of SECI includes implementation of JNNSM phase II policies and projects, to oversee solar thermal installations and run pilot power plants, implementation of grid connected Solar Roof-Top scheme and solar power plants and related research and development.

source: MNRE

Policies for Renewable Energy Trading

Twelve of the most notable types of policies that have promoted renewable energy worldwide are given below:

1. U.S. Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978

PURPA required utilities to purchase power from small renewable generators and co generators – otherwise known as independent power producers (IPPs) – through long-term (10-year) contracts, at prices approximating the avoided costs to the utilities. These avoided costs represented the marginal costs to the utilities of building new generation facilities, which could be avoided by purchasing power from the IPPs instead.

2. Electricity Feed-in Laws

The electricity feed-in laws in Germany and similar policies in other European countries in the 1990s, set a fixed price for utility purchases of renewable energy. For example, in Germany starting 1991, renewable energy producers could sell their power to utilities at 90% of the retail market price. The utilities were obligated to purchase the power. The law changed in 2000, when pricing became based on fixed norms unique to each technology, which in turn were based upon estimates of power production costs and expectations of declines in those costs over time. Other countries in Europe with renewable electricity feed-in laws include Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

3. Competitively bid Renewable Resource Obligations

The United Kingdom tried competitive bidding for renewable energy resource obligations during the 1990s under its Non-Fossil-Fuel Obligation (NFFO) policy. Under the NFFO, power producers bid on providing a fixed quantity of renewable power, with the lowest- price bidder winning the contact. With each successive bidding round (there were four total), bidders reduced prices relative to the last round. The UK abandoned the NFFO approach after the fourth round of bidding in 1997. Other countries with similar competitively-bid renewable resource mechanisms have included Ireland, France, and Australia.

Read on GWI Advantages & Disadvantages of Renewable Energy.

4. Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS)

An RPS requires that a minimum percentage of generation sold or capacity installed be provided by renewable energy. Obligated utilities must ensure that the target is met, either from their own generation, power purchases from other producers, or direct sales from third-parties to the utility‘s customers. Typically, RPS obligations are placed on the final retailers of power. At least twelve U.S. states have enacted an RPS, ranging from 1% to 30% of electricity generation. In Europe, the Netherlands has been a leader among RPS initiatives. Dutch utilities have adopted an RPS voluntarily, based on targets of 5% of electricity generation by 2010, increasing to 17% by 2020. Other countries with RPS-type regulatory requirements include Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

5. Renewable Energy (Green) Certificates

Renewable energy (green) certificates are emerging as a way for utilities and customers to trade renewable energy production and/or consumption credits in order to meet obligations under RPS and similar policies. Standardized certificates provide evidence of renewable energy production, and are coupled with institutions and rules for trading that separate out renewable energy attributes from the associated physical energy. This enables a paper market for renewable energy to be created independent of actual electricity sales and flows. Green certificate trading is gaining ground in the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Australia, and the United States. Europe embarked upon a test phase of an EU-wide renewable energy certificate trading system during 2001 and 2002.

6. Cost Reduction Policies

A number of policies are designed to provide incentives for voluntary investments in renewable energy by reducing the costs of such investments. These policies can be characterized into five broad categories. Policies can:
i) Reduce capital costs up front (via subsidies and rebates)
ii) Reduce capital costs after purchase (via tax relief)
iii) Offset costs through a stream of payments based on power production (via production tax credits)
iv) Provide concessionary loans and other financial assistance
v) Reduce capital and installation costs through economies of bulk procurement.

Many examples of these policies exist in individual U.S. states, several countries in Europe, India, and Thailand.

7. Public Benefit Funds

In the United States, public funds for renewable energy development are raised through a system benefits charge, which is a per-kWh levy on electric power consumption. Similar levies exist in some European countries for fossil-fuel-based generation. The funds collected in this manner serve a variety of purposes, such as subsidizing the cost difference between renewable and traditional generating facilities, reducing the cost of loans for renewable facilities, providing energy efficiency services, funding public energy education, providing low-income energy assistance, and supporting research and development.

8. Market Infrastructure Policies

A variety of market-facilitation policies are used to build and maintain renewable energy market infrastructure – the capabilities, institutions and rules which underlie a market – including design standards, sitting and permitting requirements, equipment standards, and contractor education and licensing. Policies may also require that market participants have local on-the ground presence (or joint-venture type requirements).

9. Net Metering

Net metering allows a two-way flow of electricity between the distribution grid and customers with self-generation. When consumption exceeds self-generation, the meter runs forward, and when self-generation exceeds consumption, the meter runs backward. The customer pays only for the net amount of electricity used in each billing period, and is sometimes allowed to carryover net electricity generated from month to month. Net metering in effect allows customers to receive retail prices for their self-generation. At least 38 U.S. states now have net metering laws. Net metering is also common in parts of Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and allowed by at least one utility in the UK. Thailand is one of the few developing countries to have enacted net metering laws.

Also read about List of Top Renewable Energy/Green/CleanTech Companies in India which are Publicly listed on GWI.

10. Transport Biofuels Policies

Biofuels mandates and tax policies in Brazil, the United States, and Europe have accelerating development of biofuels. Biofuels mandates require a certain percentage of all liquid transport fuels be derived from renewable resources. Tax policies may provide tax credits or exemptions for production or purchase of biofuels. Brazil has long mandated blending of ethanol with all vehicle fuels sold in the country, as well as the availability of pure ethanol fuels at service stations. India has recently mandated blending in some states. The United States has several policies, such as a federal ethanol tax credit and an Iowa mandate that government vehicles use ethanol-blended fuel. Many European countries utilize small amounts of biodiesel blended with conventional diesel, and some, like France and Italy, also provide tax incentives. Germany provides tax exemptions for pure biodiesel.

11. Emissions Trading Policies

Policies to reduce power plant emissions, including NOx, SOx, and CO2, have the potential to affect renewable energy development. Many emissions-reduction policies create allowances for certain emissions (representing the right to emit a certain amount of that pollutant). Credits made available to renewable energy generators can offset these allowed emissions and can be sold by renewable energy producers at market value to other electricity generators who must comply with emissions limits.

12. Renewable Energy Targets

Several countries have adopted or are proposing national renewable energy targets. The European Union collectively has adopted a target of 22% of total electricity generation from renewables by 2010, with individual member states having individual targets above or below that amount. Japan has adopted a target of 3% of total primary energy by 2010. Recent legislative proposals in the United States would require 10% of electricity generation from renewables by 2020. China and India are the first developing countries to propose renewable energy targets. India has proposed that by 2012, 10% of annual additions to power generation would be from renewable energy; China has a similar goal of 5% by 2010. Other countries with existing or proposed targets are Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand. In addition, a group of countries from around the world placed increased attention on renewable energy targets at the U.N. World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002.

Solar and Clean energy is the need of the hour. These are energy efficient and eco-friendly ways that help greatly in energy conservation and are also cost effective. Hence the importance of quick and intelligent availability of Industry News. These websites provide timely reporting and analysis of useful data, which help the Industry executives, professionals and investors at large. Listed below are few of my favorite Solar and Clean Energy websites:

1) AltEnergyStocks provides original research on alternative energy, renewable energy and clean technology companies. The website is categorized into Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Biofuel, Energy Efficiency, Smart grid, efficient Vehicles, alternative Transport, Cleantech news, Mutual Funds and ETFs. This website provides useful information to investors who are looking to invest in alternative energy and cleantech stocks.

2) Cleanedge Was founded in 2000, and provides research and advisory services in the clean-tech sector. It provides data, expert analysis, and comprehensive insights in the U.S. clean-energy marketplace. Its Cleanwatch is free e-newsletter about clean tech.

3) CleanTechnicaWas founded in 2008, is a clean news website covering Clean power, Transport, Energy efficiency, Economy. This website emphasizes on solar power, wind power, energy efficiency, and clean cars.

4) Earthtechling – is an online publication focusing on cleantech and green technology and the recent news in these sectors. It focuses primarily on Green building  and transportation, renewable energy and green living. It was started in 2009 and has its base in Portland, Oregon. Nino Marchetti is the founder of Earthtechling. The exciting part about this green website is that it has a separate section for Green products and lifestyle, which features new inventions and product description of any new green launch in he market and gives an insight about how to live Green.

5) GreenchipStocks Started in 2004, Greenchipstocks has helped investors in providing information on Solar and other Renewable enrgy sectors. This website provides news and timely reports on everything from solar, wind, and geothermal to natural gas, electric cars, and smart grid technologies.

6) Greentech Media is a news and research website which provides timely research and analysis on emerging green and clean technologies. Greetech Media was founded in 2007. It also provides customized research and consulting services in the field of Solar, Smart Grid, enterprise energy solutions, wind energy, biofuels, batteries and storage, finance and VC, and policy throughout these sectors. GTM also provides a platform for industry professionals and companies to come together by conducting various events & conferences.

7) IMS Research – Founded in 1989, IMS Research is the leading provider of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry. It provides very good information on PV and Smart Grid Market Research. They have offices in Europe, the US, China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

8) Lux Populi – is the Lux Research analyst blog. Lux Research was founded in 2004 as a spin-off of venture capital firm Lux Capital. Lux Research is an independent research and advisory firm providing strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. The chief technology areas covered are Solar components and systems, Smart grid and grid storage, Electric vehicles, Alternative fuels, Energy electronics.

9) PV-Tech is a very good comprehensive website providing news on solar PV supply chain globally. PV tech mainly deals with solar cells, modules, thin films and utility-scale power plants. In addition to news and in depth timely analysis, PV Tech also provides Product reviews, Project analysis of various solar products and projects globally. It also provides a synopsis of the upcoming global solar events to be held around the globe. The thing I personally like about the website is that PV Tech gives a country wise tariff chart for Rooftop, ground based and BIPV modules.

10) Renewable Energy Focus This website is categorized into Bioenergy, energy efficiency, energy infrastructure and storage, geothermal, green building, photovoltaics, hydropower, wind power, tidal energy, Solar heating and electricity.

11) Renewable Energy WorldStarted by a group of Renewable energy professionals in 1998, RE world today is one of the largest green websites covering Renewable Energy News, products and technology overview. This website also showcases the renewable energy events calendar. It has different sections dealing with Green Companies, products, which is very convenient for customers looking for information. The Renewable Energy White Papers are easily accessible, downloadable documents which are available to anyone in need.

12) SolarBuzz Provides news and comprehensive reports on the Solar Industry since 2001. In addition to the aforesaid, it also provides consulting services, analyst services and data services to its clients. It was acquired by the NPD Group, the world’s leading global provider of retail market research, in March 2010.

13) Solarplaza – was founded in 2004 and is engaged in organizing solar PV conferences and solar PV trade missions. It also runs a free daily solar industry newsletter SUN. It engages in connecting manufacturers and investors with solar PV developers and strategic consultancy.

Government Websites

1) American Solar Energy SocietyEstablished in 1954 and is a nonprofit organization. It focuses on solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies in the U.S. and also publishes the SOLAR TODAY magazine.

2) Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) – is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Inc. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

3) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) – invests in clean energy technologies. It focuses on energy efficiency – home, building, vehicles and manufacturing; renewable energy – solar, wind, biomass, water and geothermal; and its funding & research.

4) National Renewable Energy Laboratories – Has more than 35 years of experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy. NREL is the national laboratory of the US department of Energy, office of energy efficiency and renewable energy operated by the Alliance of Sustainable energy, LLC. Its divisions focuses on Photovoltaics, wind, biomass, renewable electricity and US renewable energy technical potentials.

5) Solar Energy Industries Association – is the national trade association in the U.S. It is engaged in providing U.S. and international policy, research and polls, business and financing trends, and more. It features news, events and jobs on the website.


 

Fossil Fuel

Fossil fuels have been an oldest source of energy for mankind. Fossil fuels, as its name suggest, were formed from the organic remains of prehistoric plants and animals which got buried under the earth’s surface millions of years ago. A major portion of world’s electric power is generated using them. Since 1900, the world’s consumption of fossil fuels has nearly doubled every 20 years.

The utilization of fossil fuels has enabled large-scale industrial development and largely supplanted water-driven mills, as well as the combustion of wood or peat for heat. The modern world greatly owes its technological and mechanical progress to fossil fuels. However, the irrational consumption of fossil fuels has led to several problems all over the world.

Though fossil fuels were present in abundance under the earth surface in three forms: Coal , Petroleum and Natural Gas, but over the last few decades, the over using of fossil fuels has led to diminishing their reserve.

Also, the burning of fossil fuels causes environmental pollution. This has been a major concern with the usage of fossil fuels worldwide. Many environmental protagonists think burning of fossil fuels posses’ serious threat to environment.

In this article, we have taken an overview of the various advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels.

Advantages of Fossil Fuels

Due to their abundance and ease of using fossil fuels are far superior to any other method of generating electricity. The various advantages of using fossil fuels are :

  • High Calorific Value: Fossil Fuels have very high calorific value. Thus, burning 1 gm of fossil fuel releases tremendous amount of energy. Therefore the energy produced by fossil fuels is greater than that produced by an equivalent amount of other energy resource.
  • Ease of availability: The reservoirs of fossil fuels are pretty easy to locate with the help of advanced equipment and technology.
  • Lower Cost: Since fossil fuel like coal are found in abundance. They are used in most power plants as it reduces the production cost to a great extent. Petroleum is the most predominantly used form of fossil fuels for all types of vehicles.
  • Ease of Extraction: Fossil fuels are easier to extract and process, hence are cheaper than the non-conventional forms of energy like solar power.
  • Ease of Transportation: Transportation of fossil fuels that are in liquid or gaseous forms is very easy. They are simply transported through pipes.
  • Construction of power plants that work on fossil fuels is also easy. Power Plants that make use of fossil fuel can be constructed in almost any location. This is possible  as large quantities of fuel can be easily transported to the power plants.

Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

Although fossil fuels have been preferred source of energy till now, but there over usage and other issues with burning of fossil fuels raises a question about the prolonged use of fossil fuels. Here are some disadvantages of Fossil fuels:

  • Diminishing Reserves: Although, oil, natural gas and coal are found in abundance in nature, the alarming rate at which they are being consumed has resulted in depletion of their reserves. Also, it takes millions of years for the hydrocarbon chains to form from organic remains. So it is impossible to replenish them.
  • Presence of GreenHouse Gases: The burning of fossil fuels release greenhouse gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide etc., which are capable of damaging the ozone layer.
  • Emissions of Harmful Gases: Harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides are produces sue to burning of fossil fuels. These gases are responsible for acid rain, which has spelled disaster for the ecology.
  • Ecological Imbalance: The zealous over-exploitation of fossil fuels has endangered the environmental balance in some areas. The hunt for newer reserves has led to the destruction of the natural habitat of certain flora and fauna. Also mass scale of coal mining has jeopardized the lives of several mine workers.
  • Rising Cost: The depletion of reservoirs has made the extraction of fossil fuels an expensive affair. The fuel prices are likely to rise in the near future.
  • Risks involves in transportation:  Leakage of some fossil fuels, such as natural gas, crude oil can lead to severe hazards. Hence, transportation of these fuels is very risky. The British Petroleum (BP) oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf area caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries.
  • Global Warming: Fossil fuels have contributed in more than one way for global warming; this has led to many environmental activist and thinkers continuously opposing its usage.

Also Read about:

Coal Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Biofuels

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles as an Industry is having severe growing pains with a number of EV producers like Think, Smith and others running into severe financial problems. Battery makers like A123 Systems, Valence Technology are facing survival questions as well, as their main customers the EV producers fail to generate significant volumes. Now Battery Swapping Business Better Place too is in danger as its chief Shai Agassi has resigned as CEO and Board Member. Note Better Place had managed to get good momentum signing deals with governments in Denmark and Netherlands. They had also roped in big automakers as partners. However the huge amounts of capital needed to build in battery swapping stations required big pockets and staying power. For a startup that was always going to be difficult given that returns from Electric Vehicles were going to be far into the future. Shai Agassi had built up a brand based on his own networking and charm somewhat similar to Elon Musk of Tesla. When such a high flying founder leaves a startup, the chances of success become quite dim.

Green Industry in Upheaval

These days the only thing you hear about in the Green Industry is Bankruptcy or companies on the verge of insolvency. The problem is not related to the only sector, but afflicts the entire Green Industry with companies across Solar Energy, Wind Power, Energy Storage, Biofuels going out of business. The reasons are common and the results are also the same. In fact most of the stories related to massive job losses and how the companies have lost hundreds and millions of public and private money, led to ultimate failure. While the A123 , the most well known energy storage company is staring at a liquidity drought and desperately trying to survive, another company Valance Technology operating in the same sector has filed for bankruptcy. Valence develops rechargeable batteries based on lithium ion and polymer technology, has suddenly declared bankruptcy unable to weather the severe industry downturn.

Another energy storage company Beacon Power which used an innovative flywheel technology to store electricity had gone bankrupt earlier in the year. In fact the famous green investor, Vinod Khosla had said that he did not expect A123 Technologies to survive.

Guardian

Shai Agassi, the pioneer of electric vehicles, has severed his connections with Better Place, the company he founded, casting a pall over the prospects for the green technology.The Israeli entrepreneur was said to be involved in a dispute with Better Place, which specialises in the charging infrastructure for electric cars. He has now stepped down from the board after resigning his chief executive role last week. Evan Thornley, formerly head of Better Place’s Australian operations, has replaced Agassi as chief executive. Idan Ofer, the chairman, said it was “a natural point in the company’s evolution to realign for the second chapter”.

Also Read about  Solar Power Charging Stations and Electric Cars – A Complete Green Transport Solution on GWI.