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Belgium is set to use wind energy to power trains

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Brussels: Belgium has launched an ambitious project to power 170 trains by wind energy — and the first seven of the planned 25 turbines entered service on Saturday, local media reported on Sunday.

Sudpresse newspaper group said turbines will be built along the main rail line from Leuven to Liege, generating enough power for every high-speed and local train using the line.

The number of trains to be covered by the wind energy project represents about five percent of the country’s total rail traffic, Belgian rail-track operator Infrabel said.

Belgian broadcaster RTL reported that once all 25 turbines are operating, they are expected to produce 35,000 megawatt hours — enough energy to power 10,000 homes. About two-thirds of the produced electricity is needed for the rail line and the surplus will be added to the domestic electricity supply grid.

Philippe Van Troeye, production director at Belgian energy firm Electrabel, told reporters on Saturday: “Wind energy, like solar power, is intermittent, but it will play a more and more important role in our energy provision in the future.”

(IANS)

(Photo: openrtn.wordpress.com)

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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)

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Google aims to secure enough Renewable Energy to meet all of its Electricity needs throughout the World

Google is aiming to secure enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs

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Technology Giant Google. Pixabay

San Francisco Dec 7, 2016: Reduction of environmental pollution is a major concern of the entire world today. In an effort to do so, Google has taken a major step in its quest to reduce pollution caused by its digital services that devour massive amounts of electricity.

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In the beginning of next year, Google is aiming to secure enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs throughout the world.

The initiative is of enormous significance since the internet company has the ravenous appetite for electricity to power its offices and the huge data centres that process requests on its dominant search engine, store Gmail, YouTube video clips and photos for more than a billion people.

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According to PTI, nearly 13 data centres and offices of Google consume about 5.7 terawatts of electricity annually, which is nearly the same amount as that of entire San Francisco, where more than 800,000 people live and tens of thousands of others come to work and visit.

Although, this is not an easy task and cannot be accomplished any sooner relying solely on the wind, and solar power for its operations. The complicated way of arrangements of power grids and regulations around the US and rest of the world makes it quite difficult.

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Google instead believes it is now in a position to offset every megawatt hour of electricity supplied by a power plant running on fossil fuels with renewable energy that the Mountain View, California, company has purchased through a variety of contracts.

About 95 percent of Google’s renewable energy deals come from wind power farms, with the remainder from solar power.

Gary Cook, senior energy campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace said nearly 20 other technology companies also have pledged to secure enough renewable energy to power their worldwide operations.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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Toy Train Stories: Darjeeling adds three more steam engines to its list of rides

Tourists get to relive the romance of British era steam engine after Darjeeling Himalayan Railway decides to add three additional pairs of toy trains

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Train toy Darjeeking. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Darjeeling adding three pairs of toy trains to compliment its Himalayan beauty 
  • At present, only six pairs of the British-era steam engine are being run in the town
  • However, it should be noted that the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway has of late been facing many challenges in the form of frequent landslides during rainy seasons

Guwahati, September 1, 2016: In cheering news to those planning a vacation in Queen of Hills, Darjeeling, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has decided to introduce three additional pairs of toy trains between Darjeeling and Ghum in the world famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UNESCO World heritage Site.

Chief Public relation officer of the NFR, Pranav Jyoti Sharma said on Wednesday that the additional three pairs of trains will be started from September 10 this year to enable tourists to relive the romance of British era steam engine hauled narrow gauge railway tracks without much hassles.

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At present only six pairs of tourist trains are being run between the six km stretch from Darjeeling and Ghum and return.

“With this introduction scheduled to be operational from September 10, there will be nine pairs of toy trains playing on the 6 km distance between Ghum and Darjeeling. All the three new trains would be hauled by steam Locomotives which have a high heritage appeal among tourists,” he said.

Three of the current six pairs are hauled by steam engine while the rest three are being hauled by Diesel locomotives, he added.

Sharma further said that NFR has recently refurbished as many as 14 narrow gauge coaches by which the seating capacity of these coaches has also been increased to as many as 28 seats from existing 12, 14 and 16-seater coaches.

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“Such refurbishment and restoration has been very difficult because Narrow Gauge rolling stock is no longer produced and spares, component etc. are also not easily available. With each diesel locomotive hauling three coaches and steam loco hauling two, these 9 trains will haul as many as 21 coaches during the peak season catering to the large festive season rush,” Sharma added.

It may be mentioned here that DHR has of late been facing many challenges in the form of frequent landslides during rainy seasons especially in the portions near Paglajhora and Tindharia. Preservation and conservation of this railway which has been recognized as an asset and accorded World Heritage Status by UNESCO is a task being undertaken by NFR in right earnest. (IANS)

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