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Tuesday 22 April 2014

DoT pushes green policy for telecom sector

According to reportsaiming to adopt green policy in the telecom sector, the Department of Telecom (DoT) set a 2019 deadline for service providers to reduce carbon emission from mobile networks by 17 per cent.
The roadmap to encourage green energy in the telecom sector, prepared by the DoT, says at present 80-90 per cent of power requirements for rural towers are met by diesel generator sets, each of which consumes 8,760 litres of diesel a year if it runs eight hours a day. It is estimated that 5.12 billion litres of diesel is consumed by telecom towers annually, and total emission due to this is around 10 million tonne of carbon dioxide.
Of the total 7.42 lakh mobile telecom towers in the country, around 3.5 lakh in rural areas run mostly on diesel generators. The DoT wants these towers converted to green energy sources like solar, biomass or wind.
To be precise, the green telecom policy requires mobile operators to migrate 75 per cent of all cell towers in rural areas and 33 per cent in urban areas to hybrid power by 2020.
However, many telecom companies have expressed their inability to adopt green energy technology due to huge expenses, and have been demanding viability gap funding (VGF) as a pre-condition to invest in green energy technologies.
In attempt to push telecom companies to invest more in green energy technology, now DoT plans to provide easy bank financing, by way of softer interest rates and longer loan tenures, since telecom towers enjoy infrastructure status. Telecom tower companies will also be eligible for higher overseas borrowing limits, lower import duties and excise exemptions on telecom infrastructure equipment, said a DoT note.
Apart from reducing carbon emission, the government also wants to reduce the consumption of diesel by telecom towers, which is companies purchase mostly from the open market, sources in the DoT told Deccan Herald.
The DoT last year engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Indian unit to examine the techno-commercial feasibility of powering some 3.5 lakh mobile towers with alternative energy sources. Once the DoT receives the report, it is likely to announce sops for telecom firms to reach the government target in adopting green energy standards.

Saturday 12 April 2014

FICCI opposes move by states to curb open access in power sector

It has been reported that FICCI strongly opposes the recent move by States to curb competition in the power sector by invoking Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003 and restricting open access.
These, of course, are not rare incidents and to a certain extent expected in view of the approaching elections. Once again, instead of provisioning for sufficient electricity to meet consumer power demands, States have decided not to pursue the spirit and provisions of the Act. What is unfortunate is that even after 11 years, the implementation of the Act continues to remain a challenge.
Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General of FICCI, said that “Open Access to the transmission and distribution network is the cornerstone of the Act, which was meant to unshackle the power sector by fostering competition, transparency, efficiency for the ultimate good of the consumer as well as the sector.”

Today, over 2400 consumers and more than 200 captive generators across the various industry and commercial segments including steel, aluminium, textile, glass, automobile, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, commercial complexes, malls, educational institutions, group housing societies are leveraging open access to optimise their costs.
Competition in power supply is critical for commercial as well as social growth of the nation. FICCI would like to reiterate certain imperatives for bringing in competition in the real sense:

1. The States must realize that the open access is an opportunity and not a threat.

2. Segregation of content and carriage, both structurally as proposed in the most recent amendments to the Act initiated by the Ministry of Power, and operationally, will go a long way in implementing open access and ushering in the much-needed transparency.

3. Strengthening of Section 11, as also proposed in the most recent amendments to the Act, is vital in order to prevent its misuse by the States. The term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ mentioned inthe Statute must be defined and usual shortage of power should not qualify under this provision.

4. Implementation of a road map pertaining to the reduction of cross-subsidy surcharge as proposed under the Act must be pursued with alacrity.

5. On the operational front, there is need to streamline and expedite the process of securing clearances for open access. Instituting a centralized electronic open access registry is one of the possible solutions for reducing time taken.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Solar PV in India. Can it replace fossil fuels

Solar Photovoltaic technology is now a commercially matured technology. Skeptics still argue if it can be a game changer and drastically replace fossil fuels if not eliminate them completely.

Let us look at some interesting numbers

  • Crystalline Silicon Solar PV technology capital cost has reduced in price by 60% over the last 3 years. From a grid based incentive price of Rs. 18 per unit to the current rates of Rs. 7 per unit, this more than shows the trend in PV pricing with benefits of scale
  • Around 14 Lakh MW can be installed in an area less than half of Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. By standard numbers that  produce around 2000 TWh ie around twice of India's requirement.
  • The catch here ... sun is only during the day. And we still dont have enough economical tech to store so much energy. So the only thing that stops us from going completely solar more than anything else is lack of a safe, economical and proved storage technology for the grid.
Please write back your views ... we would like to discuss