Recent Climate Change

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2017-11-23 / HFE Team

Time to Take (Climate) Action

It is said that if you want to understand anyone’s true intentions, your focus shouldn’t be on their words, but on their actions. Each year the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) organizes a Conference of Parties (COP) to discuss the roadmap for climate change prevention with all the nations of the world. Whether the effort will bear fruit remains to be seen.

To recap, at COP21 in Paris in 2015, a single agreement uniting the entire world in an effort to tackle climate change came to life. Its goals are:

  • To keep global temperatures well below 2°C above pre-industrial times and limit them even more, to 1.5°C
  • To limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil, and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between the year 2050 and 2100
  • To review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • For rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.

This blueprint needed to be followed up with action points – breaking down what every country needs to do in order to prevent rise in global temperature and curb carbon emission. This is what COP22, held in Marrakech, Morocco, was all about. Or at least it was supposed to be.

Termed the implementation COP, the 22nd Conference of Parties seemed to revolve around the election of American President Trump to power. Given his position on the issue, everyone wondered what his pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement would mean for the rest of the nations. Nonetheless, the nations continued to ‘stand united’, the overarching sentiment being that the agreement is bigger than any one nation.

Cut to the recently concluded COP23, in Bonn, Germany. Both India and the US shared their Country Statements on the penultimate day of the conference, reinforcing their stance. German President Angela Merkel said that the historic climate agreement must remain ‘irreversible’, although she’s yet to answer when Germany will fully exit coal.

On one hand, it is being said that the US exit from the Paris Agreement is not going to impact global policy on renewable energy. On another, it is believed that ‘without an ambitious commitment from the US, the Paris Agreement will neither be equitable nor ambitious.’

While nations make up their minds on whether the US has a significant role to play or not, climate change continues. Action to prevent climate change is being taken, no doubt. However, its intensity will suffer, if words from world leaders are anything to go by.

Getting down to brass tacks, the gradual push towards renewable energy now needs to be expedited. Effective policy changes, costs agreeable to renewable project developers, and government subsidies are the way to go. All our efforts towards preventing climate change have to eventually come down to these things.

We shouldn’t focus on words. It is called Climate ‘Action’, after all.

Contributed by HFE Team.

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2017-09-28 / HFE Team

India and Climate Change

One of the most evident effect of climate change in today’s world is the recently recorded warmest April in 2017 since 137 years! India’s contribution is noticeable as the 4th largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter and is projected to grow 85% by 2030. The first step against climate change is to acknowledge it and India has implemented major renewable energy-related policies to keep a check on it.

To start with, wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years, mainly spread across the South, West and North regions in the country. And by the end of 2015, India had the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.

Smart Cities Mission is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.

Solar energy in India is a fast developing industry and its popularity is rising day by day!

Wind power is also another major renewable source of power that India is already exploring and its result will manifold in the coming years.

With a global standpoint to lead the green change, India is working towards achieving the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme.

Solar pumps are cost-effective, environment-friendly and India is on the right path in utilizing its technology across the nation for a zero carbon footprint, especially for the agricultural sector.

India’s ambitious aim to install 160 GW of renewable energy by 2022 will have a positive impact on the country’s jobs market.

With a goal to install ~3 GW by 2020, we are committed to realize the green dream for India and the world as a whole. Are you ready to be a part of this revolution?

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2016-01-27 / Webmaster

Renewables at the forefront post COP 21

It’s not very often that the entire global community shares one common concern and decides to act upon it. And when that happens, it is a landmark moment that draws commitment from almost every country. Climate change has impacted every continent and for almost 2 decades now, diplomats from the United Nations have been working towards creating an agreement that convinces countries across the world to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions and thereby restrict the implications of climate change.

In early December 2015, for the first time 195 participating countries at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 held in Paris, reached an agreement to address environmental challenges faced by all nations. The most prominent takeaway was reducing the dependence of fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse emission levels to limit the rise in global temperature to below 2°C, over pre-industrial times. A common line of argument in the Paris Agreement is that developed countries should take the lead with economy-wise reduction targets while developing nations should aspire to cut emissions over a period of time, taking into account their need for development.

Renewable energy critical to India’s growth story

A fast-developing nation, India, will need more energy in future and there is a prevailing uncertainty over its energy usage patterns and technological changes. Traditionally, international agreements drive domestic actions in countries. The Paris Agreement will result in mandatory procedures being set in and iterative processes adapted across countries, leading to greater shifts towards a low carbon future.

India has asserted to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by a third from its 2005 levels by 2030. Renewable energy emerges as a major potential gainer to achieve this intention, as India’s target is to have nearly 40% of its power from renewable sources by 2030 from the existing 13%.

The government’s ‘Make in India’ drive, too, nudges the need for renewables. This ambitious vision cannot succeed without 24×7 power supply to all including industrial units across the country. At the moment, uninterrupted power supply is a far cry with less than normal capacity utilization of thermal power plants. The availability of energy is bound to have a rippling effect on the manufacturing sector that will create jobs for the 13 million youth population entering the job market every year. The government also recognizes that foreign investors will be reluctant to enter the territory, unless the infrastructure related bottlenecks are resolved – energy being a primary concern.

The need for renewable energy spreads across sectors and several government programme’s. 100 Smart cities, for instance, can not be developed with out renewables. Harnessing solar and wind to power these smart cities will not only reduce the burden on conventional energy sources and the power grid, but also make way for a low carbon future. Buildings account for 40 per cent of the world’s energy consumption. A smart building that uses smart technology like rooftop solar or wind has the potential to save up to 40 per cent of the energy use.

Promising times ahead

Beginning last year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced plans to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. This includes 100 GW of solar energy at the cost of $ 100 billion, 60 GW of wind energy, 10 GW in bio-fuel plants and the remaining in small hydel. These ambitious targets have made India a fast growing market for photovoltaics.

Hero Future Energies (HFE), part of the Hero Group, supports this vision and aims to be a major contributor and a partner towards achieving the goal of boosting power generation through clean energy resources. With a cumulative installed capacity of over 260 MW allready commmsioned and 300 MW under construction for this year across wind, solar and rooftop solar projects across 10 states in India.

The ongoing efforts initiated by the new government at the Centre has raised India to the third position outstripping Germany in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) released by Ernst and Young (E&Y) in September 2015. RECAI measures the attractiveness of renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities among countries.
For the clean energy sector, this is an opportune time with the government promoting its usage on a grand scale. It is therefore important that all stakeholders to capitalize on this and help push India’s growth trajectory even higher.

COP 21 key takeaways

  • 195 countries adopted the agreement, with 188 countries submitting their voluntary climate action plan ahead of the summit.
  • Rise in global temperature to be limited to below 2°C, over pre industrial times and to limit to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by end of 2100.
  • $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.
  • Progress will be reviewed every five years.

Contributed by Rahul Munjal, Founder & MD, Hero Future Energies

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2016-02-06 / Webmaster

Are emissions really dwindling forever or for now?

We live in interesting times. It’s a widely known fact that there exists a direct relationship between economic growth rate and rate of emissions – high growth brings with it greater atmospheric pollution as well as worsening climate problems. However, contrary to perception, for the first time in four decades, we have seen a halt or a marginal decline in CO2 emissions that are not akin to economic downturn. Termed as ‘decoupling’, the global carbon emissions actually went down in 2015, before peaking in 2014. The International Energy Agency (IEA) confirms that though the global economy surged by 3.1%, global emissions were restricted to 32.1 billion metric tons in 2015 indicating a marginal downturn from about 32.3 billion metric tons in 2014.

Deciphering ‘decoupling’

So what does this ‘decoupling’ signify and what are its implications? Energy is considered to be the lifeline of any developing economy and the prosperity of people is highly dependent on it. Though this can certainly save the human community from the imminent climate disaster and place us in the safety zone, many economists suggest that this is just a fluctuation and not necessarily a peak. Several studies indicated that the peak could occur within a decade from now. So if we assume that we are the peak of fossils, the result would be progressive depletion. A balance needs to be maintained in ‘phasing out’ the fossils to ‘phasing in’ the renewables over a period of time.

Lower emissions

The main factors attributed to this lower emission observed include better efficiency from existing resources, a greater uptake of renewable energy and China cutting back its use of coal significantly on account of economic slowdown. Roughly, China produces a quarter of the emission that results in global warming. It is also proactively encouraging and promoting the use of alternative energy to check air pollution. Similarly, the availability of cheap natural gas has nudged the use of coal in power production in US. These two global powers are the major emitters of CO2.

A different perspective

Another school of thought points out that the marginal reduction only means that the flow of CO2 in the atmosphere is getting reduced. However, in reality, the levels of CO2 gets accumulated in the ecosystem over a period of time. We have enough stock accumulation added every year, irrespective of emissions rising or remaining flat, risking a higher possibility of awful things in future including runaway climate change.

A task to be achieved

A study echoes that, so far we have emitted a cumulative 1465 gigatons of CO2. Ideally, we must not release over 1000 gigatons to stand a good chance of holding global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. So at current levels, there exists an equal opportunity to hold the climate below 2 degree C. The use of twin energy and natural gas boom could be a force multiplier to have a favorable global outcome through reduction of accumulation. India could be an active participant in this global reduction due to its large renewable target aimed at altering the primary energy mix.

The global growth rate has more of less stagnated over the past few years. Likewise, China has pledged to reduce emissions of major pollutants in the power sector by 60% till 2020 along with simultaneously promoting cleaner alternatives of energy. It has sharply lifted its wind power targets to 250 GW and quadrupled the previous solar targets by 2020. How will the world react, if the global economy is back on track again? Will it rebuff this decoupling trend and again show-up the direct relation between two variables – growth and emissions? Are we all geared up to handle such a situation and control the emissions?

While India is responsible for just 2.1% of the renewable generation capacity existing globally and taken such a herculean task, the hope is that it is not delivered at the cost of our development.

Contributed by Rahul Munjal, Founder and Managing Director, Hero Future Energies

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