Tag Archives: india

Wind is cheaper than coal? — Fact checking this statement

The other day I heard in passing, “wind is now cheaper than coal.” If true, this symbolizes the holy grail of renewable energy. It would mean that a turning point for not only cleaner energy, but global warming, climate change, pollution, foreign oil dependence, and more.

To fact check this, I pulled up the top 20 results from Google and narrowed them down to the below articles (most were duplicates pointing at these 5 stories).

Not at all definitive but it does give you an idea of the state of the industry. Just keep in mind that the prices may or may not include subsidies or tax breaks, which can drastically change the costs quoted below.

 

Jul 2012 - In India, wind is cheaper than coal in Indi (w/out subsidies) (Bloomberg Business)

The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India for the first time as improved turbine technology (from GE) and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its competitiveness, Greenko Group Plc (GKO) said.

 

Mar 2012 – In Michigan wind is cheaper than coal (American Wind Energy Assoc.)

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) recently issued a report that finds that electricity generated from renewable energy sources, at an average cost of $91 per megawatt-hour (9.1 cents/kilowatt-hour), is almost one-third cheaper than the cost of electricity from a new coal-fired power plant ($133 per MWh, or 13.3 cents/kWh).

Further, the report notes, “The actual cost of renewable energy contracts submitted to the Commission to date shows a downward pricing trend.

 

Feb 2012 – In California, prices doubled in the first decade of 21st century, since 2011 are dropping to parity with natural gas (SF Gate)

The price of renewable power contracts signed by California utilities more than doubled from 2003 through 2011 but has now started to plunge…

The cost of buying electricity from a new natural gas power plant…(in 2011) ranged from 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour to 12 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the length of the contract…The cost of renewable power from wind and solar facilities averaged between 8 and 9 cents per kilowatt hour.

 

Nov 2011 – Investigation of Bill Clinton’s claim that wind/solar are cheaper than nuclear (Politifact)

  • Conventional Coal – 94.8 (dollars/MWh)
  • Wind – Onshore – 97
  • Nuclear – 113.9
  • Solar – Photovoltaic – 210.7
  • Wind – Offshore – 243.2
  • Solar – Thermal – 311.8

Source: DOE’s Energy Information Administration

 

Nov 2011 – Google retires its initiative RE

It’s not clear here if Google feels this is already won and moving on, or if they have had enough and are quitting. One thing is certain, Google invested nearly a billion dollars ($850 million) in renewable energy last year.

This initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts.

 

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The Sikh’s have their own ferocious martial art – Shastar Vidiya – among the oldest in the world

Yesterday, after hearing a lot about the shooting at a Sikh temple, I spent some researching what the Sikh’s are. A fascinating people in many respects, one which is on the verge of extinction, the Sikh Warrior.

I poked around a bit and learned that the Sikh’s once had a great empire in India. It existed for a few centuries, with a great army, until two bloody wars with the British empire left them subjugated. It is during this time that the famous Sikh warrior came about, both as native Sikh fighters and as fighters in the British army after their defeat.

Apparently, they were so fearsome that the British had to outlaw various aspects of their culture. One of those was their martial art, Shastar Vidiya, a fighting form thought to be older than any Chinese and Japanese form. And, by outlaw, I mean anyone caught practicing will be put to death.

Today, this martial art is all but extinct. Only one master remains and he is hoping to pass on the martial art before it dies out. Ironically, he is British and hoping to convert British Sikh’s.

Here is an excerpt from The Independent:

 

Surrounded by hostile Hindu and Muslim empires who were opposed to the emergence of a new religion in their midst, the Sikhs quickly turned themselves into an efficient and fearsome warrior race. The most formidable group among them were the Akali Nihangs, a blue-turbaned sect of fighters who became the crack troops and cultural guardians of the Sikh faith….Astonished by the ferocity and bravery of the Akali Nihangs, the Punjab’s new colonial administrators swiftly banned the group and forbade Sikhs from wearing the blue turbans that defined the Akalis.

 

The full article - Ancient but deadly: the return of shastar vidiya.

 

 

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Be Informed: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

Sikhism, the world’s fifth most popular religion, emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India. It was founded by Guru Nanak, a non-practicing Hindu who was against rituals and praying to idols.

It is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others.

Doing good deeds is important for you to be with God after death, says Raghunandan Johar. Sikhs believe that if you don’t live a life full of good deeds you will be reborn and repeat the circle of life and death.

At a typical gurdwara (temple), the doors open up at 6 a.m. for prayers. A formal service includes the singing of hymns and a team of leaders who have studied the faith reciting from the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s holy scriptures. That book, more than 1,400 pages long, includes writings from Sikhism’s 10 gurus as well as writers from other religions.

Most Sikh men don’t cut their hair and wear turbans and beards. Many American Sikh women dress like other Westerners or wear the salwar kameez, a traditional north Indian garment of a long shirt and loose-fitting pants.

 

Learn more: CNN - Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

 

 

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Forget the BRICs it’s the CIVETS now – the new developing world

The past decade was all about the BRICs, the massive economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which kicked off at the beginning of the new century, boomed and are now slowing like the rest of the developed world. Taking their place is a new group of fast-rising economies promising businesses outsized returns.

The next decade could belong to the CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – whose rising middle class, young populations and rapid growth rates make the BRICs look dull in comparison.

Hardly emerging economies anymore – China is the world’s second largest economy and Brazil will take seventh place this year – that their pace would slow down was inevitable.

Now more connected by trade to the developed economies, the BRICs are feeling the same slowdown effects as the developed economies.  And, in the case of China and Brazil, they are also wrestling with the strains of their rapid ascensions. Real estate bubbles, currency control issues and hyper-wage inflation are sending global companies elsewhere for growth.

Brazil is forecast to grow a mere 3% this year. China, while still targeting a strong GDP growth rate of 7-8% in 2012, is well off its double-digit rates of the past decade. Russia, meanwhile, which can’t kick its dependency on oil exports and endured the retrograde re-election of Vladimir Putin, may grind out 3.2% growth this year. India is also slowing, with a GDP target of 6.9% growth in 2012, a sharp decline from its 2010 pace of 9.6%.

The CIVETS, meanwhile, are at the lift-off point…

 

Keep readingThe decade of the CIVETS

 

 

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Africa is experiencing the biggest falls in child mortality ever seen

Child mortality in Africa has plummeted, belying the continent’s “hopeless” reputation.

The chart below shows the change over the most recent five years in the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.

Sixteen of the 20 have seen falls, but the more impressive finding is the size of the decline in 12: more than the 4.4% annual fall needed for the world to achieve its millennium development goal of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015.

The top performers, Senegal and Rwanda, now have rates the same as India. It took India 25 years to reduce its rate from around 120 child deaths per 1,000 births to 72 now. It took Rwanda and Senegal only about five years.

Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, calls this “the biggest, best story in development”.

 

via Economist Daily Chart

In 2012, broadband will be in 678 million homes

We are truly in the age of the internet, or rather the Dawn of the Internet Age, as the number of internet connected homes approaches a billion.

The stats on broadband and wi-fi in homes:

According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, 25 percent of all “households” worldwide now have Wi-Fi networks set up. In terms of adoption, South Korea tops the list of the 17 countries the firm researched, at 80.3 percent — followed by the UK, Germany, France, and Japan. The US comes in at 61 percent, while India is at the bottom with only 2.5 percent.

The firm predicts that by 2016 worldwide household adoption of Wi-Fi will reach 42 percent.

More from the report:

By the end of 2012, 678 million households worldwide will be connected to the internet via broadband — a 8.5% increase from 2011. Of these 678 million broadband households, 492 million households (73% of broadband households) will use a wireless router to create to WLAN, or Wi-Fi home network. Asia Pacific will have the highest number of Wi-Fi households in 2012, representing nearly 38% of global Wi-Fi households.

via The Verge

Indian Institute of Technology – spins off a start-up, EnNatura, working on green ink

BY 2017 printing presses around the world will lap up 3.7m tonnes of ink, worth some $18 billion. Most of it will contain hydrocarbon-based solvents resulting in emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), an undesirable by-product of the manufacturing process. But not all. EnNatura, a company spun out of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi has created a formula for making ink that is environmentally friendly.

In the creation of ink, the current “mixture is spiked with petroleum distillates…EnNatura’s proprietary resin chemistry does the same thing using castor oil, a natural purgative.”

Other companies, especially in America, make biodegradable ink. But most use petrochemicals to clean the resin from printing plates once the printing job is complete, which defeats the purpose. EnNatura, by contrast, employs a liquid concentrate made from a surfactant, a substance which, when mixed with water, eats into the resin and scrapes it off the printer.

via The Economist

 

What’s more exciting about this, the new environmentally friendly ink or the fact that India is creating this kind of start-up?

Vivek Express – new train connects India over 2,600 miles in 83 hours

A fascinating new podcast for travelers/adventurers talks about the Vivek Express which starts in the far North East of India and travels all the way to the southern tip. It has 52 stops, takes 83 hours, and travels over 4,200 kilometers.

It is the 8th longest train in the world. The cost to ride is $50 and the perfect inexpensive way for Indians, and tourists, to see the huge country.

Learn more about it from The Economist podcast on iTunes (6-minutes), or via the still-shot version below.