Hydroelectric Dams have disadvantages which are quite different from those of other forms of renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal or nuclear energy. Hydro Power in small sizes which is constructed keeping nature in mind has almost no drawbacks, however the big Hydro Power Dams have some sizable problems. Some of these are tail risks with enormous risks such as earthquakes which can cause massive destruction. Though there has been no concrete evidence that massive hdyro dams result in seismic activity, studies have indicated that the correlation exists between massive hydro projects and earthquakes .Note most of these cons can be corrected but are not done so in the interests of massive investments and development of the economy. Note the disadvantages of hydroelectricity has been overcome by the massive benefits of hydel power resulting in the massive capacity building of hydro power globally particularly in China.

Disadvantages of Hydroelectricity

1) Environmental, Dislocation and Tribal Rights – Large Dam construction especially in populated areas leads to massive Tribal Displacement, Loss of Livelihood and Religious Infringement as potentially sacred Land is occupied by the Government.

2) Wildlife and Fishes get Affected – The Fishes are the most affected species from Dam Construction as the normal flow of the river is completely changed form its river character to a lake one. Submergence of land also leads to ecological destruction of the habitat of land based wildlife.

3) Earthquake Vulnerability – Large Dam Construction has been linked to increased propensity of Earthquakes. Massive Earthquakes in China and Uttarakhand in India were linked to the building of Massive Dams in these countries.

4) Siltation When water flows it has the ability to transport particles heavier than itself downstream. This has a negative effect on dams and subsequently their power stations, particularly those on rivers or within catchment areas with high siltation.

5) Tail Risk,Dam Failure – Because large conventional dammed-hydro facilities hold back large volumes of water, a failure due to poor construction, terrorism, or other cause can be catastrophic to downriver settlements and infrastructure. Dam failures have been some of the largest man-made disasters in history. The Banqiao Dam failure in Southern China directly resulted in the deaths of 26,000 people, and another 145,000 from epidemics.

6) Cannot be Built Anywhere – This disadvantage of Hdyro Energy is present with other forms of Energy as well. Some forms of Energy are just better suited to some places. For example you can’t build a nuclear plant on top of an earthquake prone region, you can not build a wind farm near the Dead Sea etc. Hydro Energy can only be built in particular places though enough of those places exist globally.

7) Long Gestation Time – The time to construct a large hydro power project can take between 5-10 years which leads to time and cost overruns.

Summary

Hydroelectricity because of large Dam construction can have massive risks if not designed and maintained well. It also leads to ecological damage and affect human rights which any large industrial project entails. Large Dam construction is being opposed heavily in many of the developing countries where human rights is not given enough weight. However hydroelectricity is very useful, non polluting source of energy if designed and constructed appropriately.

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Coal Mines in Indonesia,Australia,Africa and North America are selling like hot cakes as Indian,Chinese companies as well as mining conglomerates like Rio Tinto,Vale,BHP Billiton fight to secure raw materials.Note India and China are consuming huge amounts of coal to power their thermal plants.While China consumes a monstrous 3 billion tons,Indian demand is rising at more than 10% a year though on a smaller base.Coal is the cheapest form of power despite its polluting and health hazardous affect.Though Coal Plants in Developed countries are becoming much more expensive to build due to taxes and opposition by environmental groups,there is no stopping their furious growth in countries like China and India.Though India too faces some environmental opposition,massive ultra mega power plants with capacity of 4000 MW are getting built by new Indian private utilities

With domestic coal production rising at a snail’s pace,these companies are racing to secure coal supplies at whatever price they can get.Steel companies too are hungry for coal as it forms a major component of their product.Lanco Solar,Adani Power,Reliance Power,Tata Power,Tata Steel,Coal India have all bought or are in the process of buying coal mines and coal companies in foreign countries.Australian and Indonesian miners are minting top dollar as competition hots up with Rio and BHP Billtion also using thier massive cash hoard into play.Australian coal mining company Whitehaven Coal is the latest to put iself on the selling block with a price tag of more than $3 billion.More than 20 companies are set to be looking into entering the tendering process.

$3.2bn Australian miner: AV Birla to join race

The $29-billion Aditya Birla Group is set to join the race to buy Australian coal mining company Whitehaven Coal.Close to 20 players — including the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and consortia of Korea Resources Corporation and Daewooand China’s Shenhua Energy and Yanzhou Coal — are believed to be interested in the company.

Only half of them are likely to be selected for the formal bid-level discussions starting next month.But at a time when global coal prices are rising due to shortages, acquiring coal assets has become a strategic option for trading purposes as well.Whitehaven has interests in tenements covering 427 sq km in New South Wales.

The company also operates a coal handling and preparation plant and a rail loader.

Whitehaven has four open-cut coal mines — Rocglen, Sunnyside, Tarrawonga and Werris Creek — which produce around 1.5 million tonnes a year.

The Canyon mine is undergoing maintenance and has not produced since July 2009. Another coal mine, Narrabri North, was supposed to start producing in 2010, but did not.

Soaring Coal Prices Increasing Global Electricity Rates making Green Energy more Lucrative

Voracious Surging Coal Demand in India and China Defeats Climate Change Mitigation Efforts

India’s Environment Ministry bows to King Coal – Allows Mining in “No-Go” Forested Areas

List of Coal Mining Companies/Stocks in India – A Great Buying Oppurtunity

Indian Private Power Companies jockey for the Biggest Utility Position

India’s Economy is being hampered in its growth trajectory by lack of infrastructure which is leading to supply side problems.India  suffers woefully from a lack of roads,electricity,ports etc. and almost a trillion dollars is going to be spent in the next few years as demand outstrips supply.India’s Machinery and Capital Goods Industry is set to capitalize on this strong growth and is already seeing massive orders which are 2-3 years worth of their annual revenue.While the stock valuations of the capital goods equipment manufacturers has come down a bit from the heavy days of 2008,they are still quite high reflecting the strong growth potential.India’s Engineering Industry is also composed of a number of smaller manufacturers that export light engineering equipment worth several billion dollars mostly to developing countries.India’s Machinery Sector is composed of a mix of government owned and private companies as well as the giant capital goods MCN conglomerates like Areva and others.Here is a list of the major Indian equipment manufacturers.

India’s State Owned Companies

BHEL- with a market cap of around Rs. 94,000 core,  is the largest engineering & manufacturing enterprise in India.The state owned giant is a capital goods colossus and has the biggest marketshare in the electricity producing equipment industry.The company has also been ramping up its international operations. It earned a revenue of Rs. 90,000 crore with a net profit margin of 15% (Dec ’10). BHEL’s operations are organised around three business sectors, namelyPower, Industry Including Transmission, Transportation and Renewable Energy – and Overseas Business.

Bharat Electronics Ltd( BEL) – This is another state owned companyestablished by the Indian Government to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian defence services. $3 billions is  the market capitalization of this company which has shown impressive stock price appreciation.One of the best ways to play the Indian Defence Sector.. The company also produces consumer products like  Electronic Voting Machines, Solar Powered LED-Based Traffic Signal Lights, Simputers and Set Top Boxes.BEL offers contract-manufacturing services for both domestic and international customers. The revenue earned in Dec ’10 was Rs.1,400 crores & Net profit margin was 12%.

BEML – The company was also known formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited was established as a Public Sector Undertaking for manufacture of Rail Coaches & Spare Parts and Mining Equipment. The Company has a market capitalisation of  $500 million  & earned revenues of Rs. 3,500 crores (2009-10) with a net profit margin around 8% (Dec’10). Its three major Business verticals viz., Mining & Construction, Defence and Rail & Metro.

Foreign Companies

Siemens – German Conglomerate Siemens with annual 20 Billion Euros in revenues is fast expanding in the Indian market.The company is looking to delist from the Indian market which has a $6 billion listed subsidiary.Siemens is like ABB,Alstom not only a leader in electrical equipment but also in Lighting (OSRAM),Green Building Solutions,Energy Transmission and Distribution

ABB – ABB, the European Giant which was formed by merger of Asea and Brown Boveri in 1989 .The company which generated over $30 billion in revenues in 2009 with a roughly 10% Net Profit Margin is a leader in Power Systems,Network Management,Electricity Transmission and Distribution.Like Siemens,ABB is looking to delist its Indian arm from the Stock Market.All MNCs are looking to ramp up their Indian operations to take part in the growth as developed world faces low to no growth due to the GFC.Infrastructure is a particularly lucrative sector with an estimated  $500 Billion required over the next 5-10 years.

Areva – This French owned Nuclear Giant has a market cap of around $1.2 billion in India and earned a revenue of Rs.1,300 crores with a  net profit margin was 6% in Dec ’10. The company operates mainly in the  transmission and distribution solutions to improve network stability and make electricity available everywhere. The major products are Substation equipment, such as high and medium voltage transformers, circuit breakers, disconnectors and instrument transformers.Network management, protection and control solutions.It also provides Network consulting and Asset Management

Alstom Projects – Another Foreign Subsidiary ,Alstom in India has operates  in engineering, manufacturing, project management and supply of power generation equipment with a market capitalisation of $800 million It also has a significant presence in the transport sector in India providing railway equipment and technology solutions.  The revenue generated was Rs. 350 crores & the net profit margin was around 4% in Dec’10.Alstom’s major industrial presence in India has become a platform for exports, producing equipments and systems for large projects for the power sector.

General Electric has also a major presence in the Indian markets alongwith others though it is not listed on the Indian markets

Indian Private Companies

Larsen & Toubro – L&T which is one of the largest companies in India with diverse interest across sectors like construction,real estate,technology,capital goods equipment etc. is one of the highest quality companies as well.The company has made a plan to spin off its divisions into separate listed companies as its size has become too unwieldy.One of the best quality construction companies in the country,it possesses skills which other companies don’t.The company also has high corporate governance standards and is professionally managed.L&T is the second biggest engineering company in India with a total value of $20 billion.

Suzlon Energy –  Suzlon,the Indian Wind Turbine making company has languished in red ink since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.The company started by Tulsi Tanti in 1995 was a shining example of Asian CleanTech with a 10% global marketshare and ranking amongst the top 5 Wind Turbine Makers .Suzlon buoyed by its success had bought controlling equity stakes in Turbine Gears producer Hansen Transmission and European Wind Turbine producer Repower.With the 2 biggest markets of USA and China dominated by domestic players,Suzlon has become a shadow of its former self.The company continues to operate at a below breakeven level despite order book improving slowly.RePower is a bright spot with a good order book and gaining strong traction for its larger turbines.It has a marketcap of ~$2 billion which gives it an enterprise value of ~$2.75 billion.

Crompton Greaves – is fast growing private company present in electrical, industrial and consumer products and solutions .  The revenue as on Dec ’10 was Rs. 1,400 crores & Net profit margin was 13%. With a market cap of $3.5 billion, the company has a  diverse portfolio of products, from high-end power and industrial equipments and solutions, to consumer products and home appliances.CG is present in  three business segments, viz. Power Systems, Industrial Systems and Consumer Products.

Thermax Ltd. – Another major private company like Crompton and Greaves,Thermax provides a range of engineering solutions to the energy and environment sectors. The company has a market cap of around $1.5 billion and produces  a range of boilers and thermal oil heaters, energy chillers and exhaust gas boilers. Thermax is also a major manufacturer of energy efficient and environment equipment such as biomass boilersT.hermax has formed technology partnerships with global majors, like Babcock & Wilcox (USA), Kawasaki Thermal Engineering (Japan), Balcke Durr (Germany), Eco-Tech (Canada) and Georgia Pacific (USA).The company earned revenue of Rs. 1,200 crore with a net profit margin of 8% (Dec ’10).

Lakshmi Machine Works Ltd. – LMW has a market cap of $500 million and a  major manufacturers of the  of Textile Machinery. LMW has 60% market share in the domestic Textile Spinning Machinery Industry. It earned a revenue of Rs.490 crores with a net profit margin of 9% (Dec’10).LMW’s Global presence has grown over the years, with a market presence not only in developing countries, but also in Europe. The only company in Asia outside Europe to manufacture OE products for Mikron of Switzerland.

Havells India – This company is one of the largest electrical and power distribution equipment manufacturer with products covering the entire gamut of household, commercial and industrial electrical needs. It has a market cap of $900 million. Havells owns  global brands like Crabtree, Sylvania, Concord, Luminance, Linolite, & SLI Lighting. The company generated revenues of Rs. 700 crores with a net profit margin of 8% (Dec’10).

Other major private companies are Usha Martin,Praj Industries,Punj Lloyd,BGR Energy etc.

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  7. L&T and BHEL biggest Gainers as India to Levy 10% Import Duty to Stop the Flood of Cheap Chinese Power Equipment
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What is Tidal Renewable Energy

Tidal Energy is one of the many forms of Renewable Energy like Solar,Wind and Geothermal Energy.Tidal Energy is derived from the movement of Waves or Tides due to the Gravitational Attraction of the Earth and the Moon.Tidal Energy is a form of Gravitational Energy which can be used to do Work or be converted in other forms of Energy.Tidal Energy is still an immature technology with advancements in Tidal Energy not as rapid as other forms of Renewable Energy.

Tidal Renewable Energy is a niche form of Alternative Energy with less than 500 MW of Electricity Capacity worldwide.Tidal Renewable Energy generates less than .001% of the worldwide electricity generation as the Technology of this Alternative Energy is still quite immature.Tidal Renewable Energy is still an immature technology with most of the plants built around the world being pilot/demonstration ones.The older ones based on Tidal Barrages are also very few in number with the Tidal Power Plant in Le Rance in France the only major operating Tidal Power Plant in the World.Tidal Barrages however are facing major headwinds due to high capital costs and long gestation periods.The newer Tidal Renewable Energy Technologies like Pelamis and Seagen hold big potential though  still a decade away from reaching large commercial scale just like Algae based Biofuel and other forms of Green Technology.

Tidal Wave Energy is still in its baby phase with the technology not developed far enough to make it a real alternative to fossil fuel energy.However like solar and wind power 20-30 years ago,Tidal Wave Energy can still develop to become a major form of alternative energy.

Uses of Tidal Renewable Energy

  1. Tidal Electricity – Like other forms of Energy,the main usage of Tidal Energy is in the generation of Electricity.Tidal Energy is being used in France to generate 240 MW of Tidal Electricity at very low costs.
  2. Grain Mills – Tidal Energy has been used for hundreds of years.Just like Wind Mills,Tidal Energy was used for the mechanical crushing of grains in Grain Mills.
  3. Provide Protection to Coast in High Storms,Prevent Flooding etc – Tidal Barrages can prevent Damage to the Coast during High Storms and also provide an easy transport method between the 2 arms of a Bay or an Estuary on which it is built.Tidal Barrages can also prevent flooding,seperate saline water from sweet water and increase the depth of the estuary.

Advantages of Tidal Renewable Energy

  1. Renewable,non-Polluting and Carbon Negative – Tidal Energy is completely renewable,does not lead to any pollution of the air and does not lead to any carbon emissions like Fossil Fuels
  2. Predictable – Tidal Wave Energy is very predictable as the Tides rise with great uniformity.Other forms of Renewable Energy like Solar and Wind Energy are intermittent in nature.
  3. No Fuel – Tidal Power needs Water for Generation of Electricity in its catchment area.It does not need fuel like Thermal,Gas or Oil Powered Power Stations
  4. Low Costs – Once a Tidal Energy Power Plant starts running,its costs are extremely low.The biggest Power Plant in France run by EDF works at 1.5c/Kwh which is lower than either nuclear or coal energy which are the cheapest forms of power
  5. Long Life – A Tidal Barrage has a very long life of around 100 years which is much longer than that of even Nuclear Power Plants.

Disadvantages of Tidal Renewable Energy

  1. High Initial Capital Investment – Tidal Barrages require massive investment to construct a Barrage or Dam across a river estuary.This is comparable to construction of a massive dam for Hydro Power.This is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of this technology
  2. Long Gestation Time – The cost and time overruns can be huge for Tidal Power Plants leading to their cancellation just like that of the Severn Barrage in the UK.Many of the Tidal Power Stations like the gigantic Plant being planned in Russia will never come to fruition because of the very long gestation time.
  3. Effect on Marine Life – The operation of commercial Tidal Power Stations has known to moderately affect the marine life around the Power Plant.It leads to disruption in movement and growth of fishes and other marine life.Can also lead to increase in silt.Turbines can also kill fish passing through it.

Economics of Tidal Renewable Energy

The newer forms of converting Tidal Energy into Electricity are still in the demonstration stage to really form an idea about the economics of Tidal Power.The older form like Tidal Barrages are few and far between.The high capital cost has killed most of the Tidal Barrages in the drawing stage itself.The Le Rance is the only major >50 MW Tidal Barrage in the world and it has performed at extremely low costs.However the huge investment required removes private capital from the equation and government too have been reluctant to invest despite the very low running costs of the Tidal Plants.

 

1 ) Rance Tidal Tidal Power Plant is the world’s first and the most famous Tidal Power Plant in the world.The 240 MW power plant is located on Rance River,Brittany,France and was started almost 45 years ago.The Tidal Power Station is run by French state owned electricity giant EDF .

2) Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Plant is North America’s only power station and is located in Nova Scotia,Canada with a 20 MW power capacity.This Tidal Power Plant is built on the Bay of Frundy was built in 1984.The power plant operates on the same principle of tidal barrage and it has also faced issues of damage to river and marine life.

3) Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant unlike other Power Plants is already being constructed and with a capacity of 254 MW will be the biggest Tidal Power Plant in the world when completed.The plants is located in South Korea.The cost of the plant is estimated to be between $300-400 million which compares quite favorably with other forms of energy .

Summary

Tidal Power is an extremely good source of Renewable Energy,however the practical limitations of location,high investment and lack of technology advancement has made Tidal Energy a negligible source of Power globally.While some countries like India and South Korea have Tidal Power Plants in the planning stage,UK has killed the Severn Tidal Power Station because of high capital investments.

Uses of Tidal Energy

Tidal Energy is one of the many forms of Renewable Energy like Solar, Wind and Geothermal Energy. Tidal Energy is derived from the movement of Waves or Tides due to the Gravitational Attraction of the Earth and the Moon. Tidal Energy is a form of Gravitational Energy which can be used to do Work or be converted in other forms of Energy. Tidal Energy is still an immature technology with advancements in Tidal Energy not as rapid as other forms of Renewable Energy. While esoteric and path-breaking approaches are being developed to harness the freely available renewable wave and tidally energy, the full commercial development is still some way away. On the other hand, Tidal Barrages is a mature technology through its development too has been slow because of high investment and long building time. Here are the uses of Tidal Energy.

Tidal Electricity – Like other forms of Energy, the main usage of Tidal Energy is in the generation of Electricity. Tidal Energy is being used in France to generate 240 MW of Tidal Electricity at very low costs. There are other smaller plants in operation in Canada, China and Korea as well.DOE has located 40 places in the world where the differences between the low and high tides are big enough to generate commercial levels of Tidal Electricity. Note the Power generated from Tidal Energy is reliable as Tides are uniform and predictable in nature.

Grain Mills – Tidal Energy has been used for hundreds of years. Just like Wind Mills, Tidal Energy was used for the mechanical crushing of grains in grain mills. The movement of Turbines due to Tidal Energy was used in the crush Grains. However, with the advent of Fossil Fuels, this usage of Tidal Energy has become quite low.

Energy Storage – Tidal Energy can also be used as a store of Energy. Like many of the hydroelectric dams which can be used a large Energy Storage, so Tidal Barrages with their reservoirs can be modified to store energy. Though this has not been tried out, with suitable modifications Tidal Energy can be stored as well though costs may prove to be high.

Provide Protection to Coast in High Storms – Tidal Barrages can prevent Damage to the Coast during High Storms and also provide an easy transport method between the 2 arms of a Bay or an Estuary on which it is built.
Summary
The biggest and main use of Tidal Energy is in the generation of Electricity and most of the research is being done towards this end. Tidal Electricity is cheap, long-lived and non-polluting in nature. It has benefits over solar and wind power in the sense that it is predictable in nature and also has a higher load factor. The other usage of Tidal Energy is pretty low compared to Geothermal Energy which is primarily used for Heating Purposes.

Tidal Wave Energy

Tidal Wave Energy is still a very niche technology with tidal barrages generating most of the electricity in a few power stations. Most of the tidal power plants using the modern tidal turbine technology are still in the pilot phase and generate negligible power. Tidal Energy has many advantages and disadvantages with the cons of massive investments and long gestation time winning over the many pros of Tidal Power.

Note Tidal Energy is a favorite for scientists and has been for a long time due to the almost limitless potential. Like Geothermal Energy, however Tidal Energy is stuck in a low growth phase and faces a real possibility that it may not be anything but an esoteric source of Energy. Tidal Energy shares many of the same problems as Geothermal Energy does despite Geothermal Energy having a much longer history. Both of these Renewable Sources of Energy lack Big Companies and the sexiness of Solar or Wind Power. Here are is the list of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Tidal Energy.

Tidal Power Pros

  1. Renewable, non-Polluting and Carbon Negative – Tidal Energy is completely renewable, does not lead to any pollution of the air and does not lead to any carbon emissions like Fossil Fuels.
  2. Predictable – Tidal Wave Energy is very predictable as the Tides rise with great uniformity. Other forms of Renewable Energy like Solar and Wind Energy are intermittent in nature. The electricity supply is much more uniform and reliable in case of Tidal Power.
  3. No Fuel – Tidal Power needs Water for Generation of Electricity in its catchment area. It does not need fuel like Thermal, Gas or Oil Powered Power Stations.
  4. Low Costs – Once a Tidal Energy Power Plant starts running, its costs are extremely low. The biggest Power Plant in France run by EDF works at 1.5c/Kwh which is lower than either nuclear or coal energy which are the cheapest forms of power.
  5. Long Life – A Tidal Barrage has a very long life of around 100 years which is much longer than that of even Nuclear Power Plants. The long life implies that the life cycle cost of a Tidal Energy Power Plant becomes very low in the long term.
  6. High Energy Density – The Energy Density of Tidal Energy is much higher than that of other forms of Renewable Energy like Wind Power.
  7. High Load Factor – The Load Factor for Solar and Wind Energy ranges from 15-40% which is quite low compared to Fossil Fuel Energy. Tidal Energy has a load factor of almost 80% which is equal to that of Thermal Power.

Tidal Power Cons

  1. High Initial Capital Investment – Tidal Barrages require massive investment to construct a Barrage or Dam across a river estuary. This is comparable to construction of a massive dam for Hydro Power. This is perhaps the biggest disadvantage of this technology.
  2. Limited Locations – The US DOE estimates that there are only about 40 locations in the world capable of supporting Tidal Barrages. This is because this Tidal Energy Technology requires sizable Tides for the Power Plant to be built. The limited number of locations is a big hurdle.
  3. Effect on Marine Life – The operation of commercial Tidal Power Stations has known to moderately affect the marine life around the Power Plant. It leads to disruption in movement and growth of fishes and other marine life. Can also lead to increase in silt. Turbines can also kill fish passing through it.
  4. Immature Technology – Except for Tidal Barrage, the other forms of Technology generating Tidal or Wave Power are quite immature, costly and unproven.
  5. Long Gestation Time – The cost and time overruns can be huge for Tidal Power Plants leading to their cancellation just like that of the Severn Barrage in the UK. Many of the Tidal Power Stations like the gigantic Plant being planned in Russia will never come to fruition because of the very long gestation time.
  6. Difficulty in Transmission of Tidal Electricity – Some forms of Tidal Power generate power quite far away from the consumption of electricity. Transportation of Tidal Energy can be quite cumbersome and expensive.
  7. Weather Effects – Severe Weather like Storms and Typhoons can be quite devastating on the Tidal Power Equipment especially those place on the Sea Floor.

Summary

Tidal Energy like all other forms of Energy suffers from both advantages and disadvantages. The Tidal Energy phase of development has made the Cons outweigh the Pros unlike other Renewable Energy forms like Wind and Solar Energy. However innovative methods are being developing to harness Tidal and Wave Energy which might prove to be a game changer and move Tidal Energy into the mainstream Energy Industry.

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