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Akshay Urja Diwas: Why renewable energy is important

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By Nithin Sridhar

In 2004, the government decided to observe 20th August as “Akshay Urja Diwas” or “Renewable Energy Day” in order to increase awareness about renewable energy. It was subsequently celebrated in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Today, on 20th August 2015, let us revisit the basics of renewable energy and dwell on its importance.

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What is renewable energy?

In the high-school, most of us would have studied that energy and energy sources can be broadly classified into renewable and non-renewable energy. The energy which is derived from sources and get exhausted over time is called as “non-renewable energy”. Example: power generated using coal as fuel.

On the other hand, the energy generated from sources that remains non-exhaustible and hence does not deplete with usage is called as “renewable energy”. Example: power generated using sun light. The sun does not deplete with usage, but the coal does. Renewable basically means “renewed” or “replenished”.

What are the sources and extent of the usage of renewable energy?

Sunlight, wind, and water-falls are the major sources of renewable energy. Other sources include tides, waves, and geo-thermal heat.

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According to Renewables 2014 report, in 2012 the contribution of renewable energy to global final energy consumption was around 19%. The division of renewable energy consumption was: Traditional biomass (9%), non-biomass heat energy (4.2%), Hydropower (3.8%) and power generated from wind, solar, geothermal etc. (2%).

In India, the total installed capacity of grid interactive renewable power as on 30.03.2014 was 31,692.18 MW. Out of that, Small Hydro Power contributed 3803.7 MW, Solar Power: 2631.96 MW, Wind Power: 21136.40 MW, Biomass Power: 4013.55 and power generated from waste contributed 106.58 MW.

Why renewable energy is so important?

The most important advantage of using renewable sources of energy is that they are renewable. Hence they can be used always without the fear of depletion. Further, increased dependence on renewables, would mean decreased dependence on exhaustible sources like coal and oil. This in-turn will not only result in preservation of natural-resources but also will decrease political and economic conflicts and wars that are fought over owning the exhaustible sources.

Another important advantage in using the renewable sources is the reduction of air and water pollution and optimal usage of naturally available resources with minimal side effects. The coal-based or gas-based thermal power plants are one of the major sources of pollution. By decreasing the dependency on coal, gas, etc. these pollutions can be restrained. This will in-turn help in reducing the release of greenhouse gases and hence help fight global warming and climate change.

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Use of renewable sources of energy will also prevent any damage to life and property through nuclear disasters as happened in Fukushima Nuclear Power plant in Japan. If the cost of producing electricity from renewable sources drops further, then they may become more widespread and in-turn help in stabilizing energy prices.
At an operational level, production and maintenance in a renewable energy plant are much easier than in, say, thermal or nuclear power plants. The risks associated with an on-site job is also lesser. Also, the renewable energy systems are more resilient and reliable energy systems.

Therefore, in spite of having some constraints in using renewable energy sources (for example, they are not available in the same degree throughout the year), attempts must be made to increase the installed capacity of renewable energy systems and slowly the energy reliance should be shifted from exhaustible and polluting sources like coal to non-exhaustible and non-polluting sources like sunlight.

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Chinese Scientists create ‘Intellectual Suit’ for Wireless Detection and Monitoring of Health Indicators

The suit, via wireless transmission, can send signals to a cellphone, a computer, or even to a doctor's computer a thousand miles away, so a person's health can be monitored anytime and anywhere

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intellectual suit
A new wireless body suit designed by Chinese scientists may be able to monitor temperature, ph level and other health indicators and send the details to mobile devices. Will that mean an end to physical visits to the doctor? Pixabay

Beijing, October 24, 2017 : A group of Chinese scientists have developed an intellectual suit which are fitted with large-area textile sensors that can detect temperature, ph levels, pressure and other indicators showing the health status of a person.

At the third International Conference on Nanoenergy and Nanosystems in Beijing, Wang Zhonglin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, introduced the invention, reports Xinhua news agency.

The intellectual suit, via wireless transmission, can send signals to a cellphone, a computer, or even to a doctor’s computer a thousand miles away, so a person’s health can be monitored anytime and anywhere, said Wang.

The conference, organised by the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, is one of the most influential in the field of nanoscience and energy.

This year it focused on topics such as nanogenerators, self-powered sensors and systems, piezotronics, piezophototronics, energy storage and self-charging power systems. Over 700 scientists from more than 30 countries attended the conference that ended on Monday.

Wang also mentioned “nano tattoos”. These stickers on the arm, which can be shaped as a pattern much like a tattoo, will be able to administer drugs into a patient’s veins, providing a private and painless way of injection for diabetics.

“Scientists have made prototypes of all these gadgets at the institute’s technopark. They are expected to hit the market in two to three years,” said Wang. (IANS)

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Exclusive: Documentary ‘The Absent House’ talks about the Need of Sustainable Development

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‘The Absent House’
A still from the documentary ‘The Absent House’
  • The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS Vatavaran at India Habitat Centre
  • The documentary is based on how Fernando got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminister Fuller and built a house that has no roof
  • In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment 

June 29, 2017:

Is there a need at all to show some accountability for sustainable development? How will it affect the modern world? Well, needless to say, we have to do lots to save up resources for the future generations and not wasting them. NewsGram got in touch with CMS Vatavaran on the film “The Absent House”.

What is sustainable development?

Well, sustainable development is one such form of development that consists of usage of energy resources that can be used again and again without harming the environment so that the planet can be saved for the future generations to come. The term sustainable development came into being when people understood the fact that the resources they are using are not environment-friendly and they need to save the planets for their future generations to come and perish on this planet just like we did.

Nowadays, a lot of discussions are going on for sustainable development in India and CMS Vatavaran is one such foundation which works for the environment. It showcased its documentary film ‘The Absent House’ from the annual film festival at the India Habitat Centre on 19th June 2017. The film is based on the Puerto Rican architect Fernando Abruna Charneco who made his home without roofs and giving priority to our very own mother nature. People called him crazy for being a visionary on the making a house without a roof but they didn’t understand the purpose behind it but when they understood about the project, many people have started considering him as a true visionary towards climate change.

The documentary is based on how Fernando Abruna Charneco got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminster Fuller, who invented the Dymaxion Car and Geodesic Dome. The house that Fernando built has no roofs but that is for the room to be properly ventilated and being lit most of the time. So that is would not be wasting energy. He also made the house in a way that it doesn’t require any water or electricity. All the water is stored from the rainwater and the electricity is supplied by the sun so that the resources do not contribute to pollution of the environment. Even the toilets are water free so that the water isn’t wasted.

In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment by sustainable development and can leave the earth and resources for the future generation.

The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS vatavaran who is going to host their 9th edition of CMS vatavaran film competition and the organisation CMS (Centre for Media Studies) is a non-profit development research and facilitative think tank which works towards responsible governance and equitable development.

– Reported by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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India along with others moving towards centre stage of clean energy transition: Clean-energy leadership begins in China

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Solar panels absorbing sunlight. Pixabay

China, May 30, 2017: There is a new reality in clean energy. The world’s major emerging economies — including China, India, and several others — are moving to the centre stage of the clean energy transition. By betting heavily on energy efficiency, on wind, solar and other renewables, as well as other less carbon-intensive technologies, these countries are increasingly leading the way.

This is the significance of the top-level meeting of energy ministers from the world’s biggest economies in Beijing next month. The fact that representatives from fossil-fuel producers like Mexico and Saudi Arabia will join renewable-energy pioneers like Denmark and Germany for a top-level meeting in China is not a coincidence. We are witnessing a global consensus that the key to energy transition will reside with decisions made in emerging economies.

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There are many reasons to stand for clean energy today. These can range from reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also battling the scourge of air pollution, improving energy security by reducing the dependency on fossil fuels, diversifying supply, creating high-tech jobs or fostering innovation. As such, approaches to clean energy will vary from country to country.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), all of the projected growth in energy demand in the next 25 years will take place in emerging and developing countries. This means that implementing the right kind of policies and technologies will be critical to ensure stable supplies as well as meeting desirable environmental outcomes.

The good news is that this is happening. India was the first country to set comprehensive quality and performance standards for light emitting diodes (LEDs), and it expects to save as much as 277 terawatt-hours of electricity between 2015 and 2030, avoiding 254 million metric tons of CO2 emissions or the equivalent of 90 coal-fired power plants.

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Another upshot is that by committing to these new clean technologies, countries like China are helping drive down costs for the benefit of the world. China is now the undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion worldwide, and the IEA forecasts that by 2021, more than one-third of global cumulative solar PV and onshore wind capacity will be located in China.

Recently announced renewable projects have broken new records, with power purchase agreements for several onshore wind and large solar PV farms now below $50/MWh.

As clean energy is increasingly driven by the emerging economies, global political leadership in advancing clean energy will be increasingly shared. This is precisely the function of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which was created in 2010, and whose goal is to form a partnership that brings together major industrialised and emerging economies to focus on clean energy technologies and policies, reduce environmental impacts, and ensure reliable and affordable supplies.

Our timing is critical. Action by the 25 CEM members, representing 90 per cent of global energy investment and 75 per cent of global emissions, is crucial for making the world less carbon-intensive than today.

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In Beijing, our focus will be to provide a collaborative environment to tackle these challenges in areas ranging from transportation, buildings to the power sector. Our governments will seek to increase electric mobility, with a target to reach 30 per cent of the new vehicle fleet by 2030. The recent announcements of the Indian government will go a long way towards this end. Another challenge for CEM governments will be to increase EV charging providers by a factor of 10 in the next five years. Other priority areas include improving efficiency in buildings, which account for nearly a third of all energy consumption and 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

In the power sector, the CEM is seeking to move away from the coal-or-renewables paradigm. Coal was the fuel of the last 100 years, and renewables will likely be the dominant fuel of the next century for many countries. At the same time, we must recognise that so-called dispatchable power plants — including thermal generation — are key for many countries to ensure energy security during the transition to a cleaner energy system. And so, the Beijing meeting will launch new work to address this challenge.

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To succeed, this energy transition will require the full backing of industry. This is why the CEM includes top-level executives from companies involved in all aspects of the energy field who offer a unique on-the-ground perspective and ultimately determine where investments end up going. They are often the first to recognise what drives clean energy uptake.

This is a unique time for the CEM, which is entering a new phase of cooperation and growth in our short history. The world of energy is changing. Facts on the ground unequivocally point to the key role of emerging economies in clean energy. Come the meeting in Beijing June 6-8, we are likely to see this reflected in the leadership of the CEM. (IANS)