Yojana May 2019 Harnessing Sustainable Energy (Part-2) (Download PDF)


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Current Energy: Ocean current is ocean water moving in one direction. This ocean current is know as Gulf Stream. Research focuses are on two types of PTEC technologies to extract thermal energy & convert it to electric power: closed cycle & open cycle.

Image of Current Energy

Image of Current Energy

Image of Current Energy

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

  • Research focuses are on two types of PTEC technologies to extract thermal energy & convert it to electric power: closed cycle & open cycle.

  • In closed cycle method, a working fluid, such as ammonia, is pumped thru a heat exchanger & vaporized. In open cycle system warm surface water is pressurized in a vacuum chamber & converted to steam to run turbine.

Image of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Image of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Image of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

Geothermal Energy

  • Geothermal Energy is a mature renewable energy technology that has a potential to provide clean & reliable energy for power generation & direct heating/cooling.

  • Geothermal Energy can be utilized for both electric power production & direct heat applications including Ground Source Heat pump (GSHP) for space or district heating, generating hot water for domestic/industrial use, running cold storages& green house, horticulture, etc.

World Scenario

Total Installed Capacity for Geothermal Power is around 13.5 GW.

Indian Scenario

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) w/CSIR-National Geo physical research Institute (NGRI) carried out preliminary resource assessment for exploration & utilization of geothermal resources in 1970s& 1980s in country.

  • There are around 300 geothermal hot springs in India.

  • Promising geothermal sites for electric power generation are Puga Valley & Chummathang in Jammu & Kashmir, Cambay in Gujarat, Tattapani in Chhattisgarh, Khammam in Telangana & Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.

  • Promising geothermal sites for direct heat use application are Rajgir in Bihar, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, Surajkund in Jharkhand, Tapoban in Uttarakhand & Sohana region in Haryana

Image of Dry Steam Power Plant

Image of Dry Steam Power Plant

Image of Dry Steam Power Plant


There are three types of geothermal power plants:

Dry Steam Plants

Which use geothermal steam directly. Dry steam power plants use very hot ( > 235) steam from geothermal reservoir.

Flash Steam Plants

Which use high pressure hot water to produce steam. Flash steam power plants use hot water ( > 182) from geothermal reservoir.

Binary Cycle Plants

  • Which use moderate temperature water (107 to 182) from geothermal reservoir.

Other thermal applications:

  1. Space/District Heating
  2. Geothermal Heat Pump/Ground Source Heat Pumps
  • Geothermal heat pumps use a system of buried pipes linked to a heat exchanger & ductwork into buildings.

  • These heat pumps function as both air conditioning & heating systems.

Image of Binary Cycle Power Plant

Image of Binary Cycle Power Plant

Image of Binary Cycle Power Plant

Image of Ground Source Heat Pump

Image of Ground Source Heat Pump

Image of Ground Source Heat Pump

Future Roadmap

  • Projects for space cooling & industrial process heating using GSHP technology may be supported thru subsidy preferential thru subsidy, preferential tariff from power companies as technology is energy/water efficient.

Biogas- A Story Untold

  • India is heavily dependent on expensive imported oil & gas imports as well as coal for meeting its energy requirements, it definitely makes more sense to look at alternative resources.
  • Waste to Energy programme propagated to recover energy in form of Biogas/BioCNG/Power from urban, industrial & agricultural wastes gains importance.
  • About 184 Wastes to energy plants based on urban, industrial & agricultural wastes have been set up in private sector w/an aggregate capacity of 315.24 Mweq.
  • Biogas can be used for transport fuel. In fact, oil refining & marketing companies have got into action to make it a reality.
  • Compressed Biogas (CBG) has potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, & cattle dung, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.
  • Called Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT), it is expected to benefit vehicle-users as well as farmers & entrepreneurs.
  • CBG can be produced from various bio mass/waste sources, including agricultural residue, sugarcane press mud, distillery spent wash, cattle dung & sewage treatment plant waste.
  • Other waste streams, like rotten potatoes, dairy plants, chicken/poultry litter, food waste, horticulture waste, forestry residues & treated organic waste from industrial effluent treatment plants (ETPs) can be used to generate biogas.
  • CBG has potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial & commercial uses in coming years.
  • There are multiple benefits of converting agricultural residue & cattle dung into CBG on a commercial scale:
  • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions & pollution
  • Additional revenue source for farmers
  • Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy & employment
  • Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
  • Reduction in import of natural gas & crude oil
  • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations

Driving a Green Transition for Environment

  • India has its own vision for electric mobility: as a member of eight- country Clean Energy Ministerial, a high level forum to promote clean energy policies & programmes, India aims to achieve a 30 per cent electric vehicle penetration by 2030.

    Going electric for environment

  • According to National Green Tribunal (NGT), vehicular emission is one of major sources of India’s urban pollution.
  • Electric vehicles have zero tail pipe emissions, simply because they do not use an internal combustion engine (ICE).
  • India can reduce 64 per cent of energy demand for road transport & 37 per cent of carbon emissions by 2030, by pursuing a shared, electric & connected mobility future.
  • Coal based thermal power generation today meets 70 per cent of India’s power needs.
  • Coal is bane of India’s energy value chain from an environmental point of view, along w/pushing out airborne emissions of poisonous particulate matters, into air.
  • India’s coal fired power plants are most dangerous when it comes to their health impact.
  • Evs still have lower GHG emission than a conventional, internal combustion engine powered vehicle.
  • ICE vehicles convert maybe a fifth of petrol’s energy to drive power.
  • Convectional energy, . Whether derived from coal or petrol/diesel, is always going to be more inefficient than electricity generation for EV use.
  • National Mission on Transformative Mobility & Battery Storage, which encourages setting up large- scale, export competitive integrated batteries & cell manufacturing giga plants in India thru a Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP).

How is India enabling eclectic transition?

  • Increasing public consciousness on adverse health effects of air pollution combined w/robust policy framework for Evs has translated to emergence of a fast growing private sector ecosystem.
  • India’s e-mobility sector is taking cues, insights, knowledge from global counterparts, & adapting best practices to an India context.

India’s Conundrum: Aligning Emission Mitigation w/Development

  • India & China accounted for 55 per cent of non OECD emissions, w/China contributing to 44 per cent & India accounting for 11 per cent in 2017.

    What makes India’s current energy transition unique?

  • In initial years of national planning following India’s independence, primary focus was on socio- economic development & energy policies focused on supply adequacy & infrastructure development.
  • In years that followed energy sector witnessed a gradual transition away from traditional use of biomass to modern energy forms like coal & petroleum products.
  • India’s Eleventh (2007 - 2012) & Twelfth Plan (2012 - 17) % broad vision & aspiration of a faster, sustainable, & more inclusive growth & priority to environmental sustainability was explicitly mentioned.
  • Key elements of India’s current transition story need to relate w/enhancing efficiency in energy system to dampen growth in future energy requirements & to simultaneously transition towards cleaner energy forms, wherever feasible, to reduce ensuing emission.
  • Accordingly, we are now witnessing era of transition to new renewables like solar & wind energy.
  • India had set out its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets for 2030, Which broadly have three main targets, viz:

    1. Reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by33 per cent 35 per cent from 2005 levels.

    2. Achieving 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity based on non fossil energy sources, contingent on international transfer of technology & low cost finance.

    3. Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 - 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent thru additional forest & tree cover.

  • Out of three main NDC targets, first two relate w/energy sector which not only indicates importance but crucial role that this sector needs to play in achieving India’s emission reduction.
  • Based on analysis of several energy sector scenarios developed by TERI as part of a study, three most relevant areas that could contribute to energy sector decarburization include energy efficiency improvements, power sector decarburization thru renewables like solar & wind, & increased electrification of end uses as power sector gets increasingly decarbonized.
  • Role of energy efficiency as a key element of India’s sustainable development path can be easily understood since whatever energy reduction is achieved,
  • Maximum scope for energy efficiency rests in industrial sector (specifically iron & steel, & micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) ), followed by transport Sector (thru shift of mobility from road to rail & vehicular efficiency improvement), commercial sector (specifically shops & malls) & residential sector (space conditioning & lighting).
  • Renewable such as solar power is a “win- win” option for India given abundance of sunshine in country & rapid development of solar technologies that has resulted in a rapid plummeting down of renewable based electricity costs in recent times.
  • Shift to electric vehicles is contingent not only on improvements in battery technology, but on systematic overhaul of infrastructure to meet charging requirements etc.
  • While issue of intermittency of renewables has been addressed globally by natural gas playing a role in balancing power, India could maximize utilization of its existing fleet of coal based plants on short term to support transition to renewables in power sector.
  • While technological choices & solutions exist for India’s energy transition, there exist several challenges that would need to be addressed via suitable policies & measures, keeping India’s socio- economic context in mind.
  • Adoption of some efficiency measures may require Behavioural changes apart from purely technological solutions, & therefore necessitate ways to motivate consumers to shift to such options thru innovative business models & strategies.
  • Adoption of renewables at larger scales would need to be complemented w/grid Improvements to handle higher share of intermittent/variable power.
  • First cycle of Perform, Achieve & Trade (PAT) scheme directed towards improving energy efficiency in designated units across eight major industries of India over achieved its target.
  • While solutions have emerged at pilot scale to find substitutes for Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) used in aviation sector, & to fuels used in shipping & solutions are still not readily available for large scale transitions.
  • Employment considerations are critical considering changes in both fuel & technological choices that India may witness in coming years.
  • While new technologies, like renewables, may promise employment generation there might be job losses in other sectors, like coal sector.
  • In India, employment at Coal India, world’s largest coal producer, has fallen by around 36 per cent, from 511,000 workers in 2002/03 to 326,000 in 2015/16.

Climate Change: Challenges & Opportunities

  • India has already been experiencing impacts of 1 warming. It was evident in Uttarakhand, Chennai, Srinagar, Malin, & more recently on Kerala & north east India, heat waves of past summer & uneven rainfall across country w/floods affecting some regions & very severe drought conditions facing many parts of country.
  • Scientists working on IPCC special report, Global Warming at 1.5, conceded that w/o a rapid & appreciable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, world was on a path to temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius in twelve years that is by 2040.

India In A Warming World

  • As a relatively poor country that is vulnerable to climate change, India will be among those most aversely affected if warming exceeds1.5.
  • Impacts even at 1.5 warming is considerable- intensified droughts & water stress, heatwaves, habitat degradation, & reduced crop yields.
  • Overall impact of climate change on water resources will manifest as a rise in floods droughts.
  • India’s heavily populated 7,500 km long coastline will mean that a sizeable population will be affected by sea- level rise & resulting coastal flooding.
  • Cities such as Mumbai & Kolkata too would be under threat.

Acting On Climate Change

  • In 2008, India launched National Action Plan on Climate Change. Eight missions solar energy, energy efficiency, forestry, sustainable habit, water, agriculture, Himalayan ecosystem, & developing strategic knowledge for climate change- form core of multi pronged, long-term & integrated strategies for addressing climate change.
  • These plans comprising programmers in sectors such as health, industries, disaster management, tourism & coastal development are focused on reducing green house gas emissions & adapting to climate change while addressing broader development goals.
  • India has committed to increase share of non fossil fuel power generating capacity to 40 per cent of its installed total power capacity by 2030.
  • As of February 2019, non fossil fuel sources- based installed capacity accounted for 36.3 per cent of country’s total power generation capacity of 350.16GW.
  • An analysis by Australia based think tank Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) finds that India is likely to achieve its energy capacity & emissions intensity goals by 2020, that is a decade before deadline of 2030 it set in its NDC.
  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warming holds true particularly for large economics w/limited resources such as India.
  • Rising temperatures will disproportionately affect disadvantaged & vulnerable populations thru food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost live hood opportunities, adverse health impacts & population displacements.
  • Global Resources Outlook 2019, by International Resource Panel, a United Nations Environment- sponsored science body, reports that global extraction & processing of material resources biomass, fossil fuels, metals, & non metallic minerals contributes to more than 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Climate change will require economy wide transformation. India will need to make dramatic changes across spectrum energy, transportation, urban & agriculture systems.
  • It will require investing in human capital, innovation & research & development.
  • Climate change is about rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, extreme weather events.
  • It is a much more. It is about changing way we consume & produce. It is about creating more sustainable economies. ‘
  • And for a country such as India, filling backlog of development in a climate constrained world poses a real & immediate challenge.

Forests & Water Conservation & Sustainable Development

  • Similarly, expansion of road network in higher reaches or upstream areas has caused extensive landslides & erosion & has caused irreparable damage to perennial water streams.
  • These factors have influenced ecological functioning of world’s major water bodies & in turn destroyed various freshwater systems.
  • Water crisis will lead to health crisis, & women unduly while taking away their considerable time from work family care & causes loss of economic opportunities.

Forests, Water & People Interconnections

  • Forested tracts not constitute catchment of rivers & their tributaries they harbor their headwaters.
  • Forests absorb rainfall & snow melt & also slow runoff, reduce soil erosion, improve water infiltration rates, recharge aquifers, thus exhibiting sponge effect.
  • Forests therefore undoubtedly play a critical role in well being & proper functioning of hydrological cycle.
  • Since forests are storehouse of biodiversity, these play an equally important role in globule cycling of carbon, oxygen & other gases influencing earth’s atmosphere.
  • Forests play a significant role in climate mitigation. Climate change is altering forest’s role in regulating water flows & influencing availability of water resources.

Forests-Conservation Values

    Topping Forest Catchment Potential:

      1. Construction of Mulla Periyar dam on Periyar River in Kerala so as to divert water eastwards Presidency & creating a large lake (26 km).
      2. Forests surrounding lake & entire lake area now constitute Periyar Tiger Reserave (PTR).
      3. Diverted water augmented small flow of Vaigai River & brought notable changes in thirsty area & ensured sustainable livelihoods by way agriculture production.
      4. Protection to high altitude oligotrophic lake, Marsar & divers forests (500 km) in mid slopes constituting catchment of Dagwan River so as to ensure clean water supply for city of Srinagar & J& K.
      5. Similar initiative was taken to provide ensured water supply to Shimla town during colonial time.
    • A small forest patch (10.15km) located 8 km east of Shimla constituted an important forested catchment w/dense Deodar forests & Ock forests was leased to Shimla Municipal Committee in 1878.
    • Forest was declared a Protected Forest & finally notified as Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary.

      1. Tansa dam on Tansa River in Thane district was opened in 1892.

      2. Tansa dam is located within Tansa Sanctuary & forested catchment serves as sponge & continues to provide water recharge even after withdrawal of monsoon.

    • Forests management & water Conservation

      Policy & Legal Framework

    • State Forest Department (s) & trained manpower were created.
    • SFDs are custodian of forests &wildlife.
    • Constitution of India Article 48 A provides a clear mandate of State to protect environment.
    • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 is umbrella legislation for protection of all aspects of environment.
    • Issue of pollution & water quality falls primarily under Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
    • Indian Forest Act, 1927, & Forest (conservation) Act, 1980 are primary legislations governing forests; while Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 & biological Diversity Act, 2002 are significant from perspective of biodiversity, intellectual property right, & access & benefit sharing.
    • Paradigm Shift

    • About 25 per cent of country’s geographical area is covered under divers forests including ‘Trees Outside Forests’.
    • India has established an impressive network of protected areas & presently Pas (Protected Areas) represent nearly 5 per cent area of country.
    • Contribution to Sustainable Development

    • Forests ecosystems significantly contribute towards UN Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals which reflect complex & interrelated nature of social, economic & ecological well being parameters.
    • SDGs related to water (SDG 6) & land (SDG 15) explicitly acknowledge linkages between forests & water.
    • SDG 6 & SDG 15 have strong interconnections w/targets of other SDGs & thus, approaches adopted towards ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, effective & efficient use of water resources would not only contribute to other SIDGs but would ensure sustainable overall development & fulfilment of global commitments.
    • - Published/Last Modified on: May 16, 2019


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