Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Use of Clean Energy

As the Copenhagen climate change summit gets underway, India is facing the reality of being a major polluter in the world mainly because of extensive use of coal as source of energy for its economy. Pakistan, on other hand, relies more heavily on natural gas for energy and uses very little coal, in spite of having large deposits of it in Sind province. South Asia is among the regions that will be most heavily affected by climate change.

At 8 feet below sea level, Pakistan's financial capital Karachi shows up on the list of world's mega-cities threatened by global warming. Other South Asian cities likely to come under rising sea water in the next 100 years include Mumbai, Kolkata and Dhaka.

However, it's not just the big cities in South Asia that will feel the brunt of the climate change. The rural folks in India are already seeing rising crop failures, increasing poverty and frequent farmer suicides.

Both India and Pakistan are investing in green energy projects. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Asian Development Bank are contributing a total $660 million to a $2.2 billion program to develop renewable energy projects in Pakistan.

Pakistan is now using domestically and exporting CNG kits to various countries including China, Brazil and Italy. Almost 2 million vehicles on the country's roads have dual fuel options with Suzuki having the highest in quantity. Here's a report from last year about India significantly lagging Pakistan in clean energy and CNG usage:

India is way behind Pakistan in terms of its gas pipeline network, with the neighboring country’s network stretching around 56,400 km against its 10,500 km, connecting only 20 cities compared to Pakistan’s 1,050, industry body Assocham said.

Pakistan’s pipeline density, at present is 1044 km/mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meter per day) per day compared to 116 km/mmscmd of India, Assocham said in its paper on gas sector "A Comparison between India and Pakistan".

The neighbouring country has created a 31,000 km distribution network to serve its domestic and commercial consumers in large locations, against the 11,000 km network that have so far been build in India to serve the needs of its consumers in limited pockets, the report said.

While Pakistan has nearly 1,600 CNG stations, India has 380. The gas throughput in Pakistan is 38 mmscmd per day as against 8.5 mmscmd gas in India.

The number of gas customers and vehicles running on CNG in Pakistan is about 19 lakh and 15.6 lakh respectively, while in India the number is 5.50 lakh and 4.60 lakh.

“The gas availability in Pakistan is undoubtedly quite large, compared to India but given the imports of gas and even its domestic availability in India, its pipeline network is extremely poor and the main reason attributed for the low and limited pipeline network in India is because this sector has been thoroughly regulated which has now been opened for competition,” Assocham president Venugopal Dhoot said.

The paper added that since the pipeline network in India does not reach out to most of the potential demand centres, a number of industrial projects, which would ideally run on gas, have to depend on much more costlier and more polluting alternative fuels.

“Thus the unmet gas demand in India is probably much higher than what is reported,” he said, adding India, “at present has only one major cross country pipeline in the form of Hizira-Bijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline and there is estimated to be considerable unmet demand even in the states serviced by this pipeline”.

With the increased availability of gas, the country needs to gear up quickly to meet the increased requirement of cross country as well as regional and local downstream gas distribution networks, he said. — PTI




Here's another story from Dawn on the use of coal in India:

A thin coat of coal dust covers everything from trees to houses in Korba, a coal mining town in central India which lies at the heart of the country’s struggle to balance economic growth with climate change concerns.

The air is heavy with smoke and dust spewing out of numerous mines and power plants in a region that powers hundreds of factories in the country’s industrial west and lights up millions of homes.

Although India has announced a new climate plan which identifies renewable energy such as solar power as key elements,

Coal remains the backbone of energy supply in a country where almost half the 1.1 billion population still has no electricity.

‘Coal-fired power will stay for the next 20-25 years at least,’ said R.D. Sonkar, chief engineer at one of Korba’s many thermal power stations.

‘Look at the high cost of solar and wind energy. Can we afford? Power from renewable energy will have to wait, I think.’

As the world meets in Copenhagen for crucial negotiations on a global pact to fight climate change, part of the debate will be on how developing countries such as India tackle the use of fossil fuel without hampering their growth.

India, the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter though still low on per-capita emissions, is under pressure to cut pollution to battle climate change while demand for power increases as its middle class clamours for more cars, TVs and housing.

India set a goal on Thursday for slowing the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, saying it was willing to rein in its ‘carbon intensity’ — the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per unit of economic output — by between 20 and 25 per cent by 2020, from 2005 levels.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Climate Change Worsens Poverty in India

Climate Change Impact on Karachi, South Asian Megacities

Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Syeda Hamida of Indian Planning Commission Says India Worse Than Pakistan and Bangladesh

Doing Business Rankings of Countries

Global Slowdown Hurts India's Wind Turbine Giant

Renewable Energy in Pakistan

The Wind Blog

Renewable Energy Businesses in Pakistan

Global Wind Turbines Market

Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technology

Renewable Energy for Pakistan

Pakistan Policy on Renewable Technology

Sugarcane Ethanol Project in Pakistan

Community Based Renewable Energy Project in Pakistan

18 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a 2007 story from Dawn News about Pakistan topping Asia in CNG stations:

RAWALPINDI, June 8: Pakistan has become the first in Asia and third in world after Argentina and Brazil in terms of housing over 1,450 CNG stations while 1,000 more are under construction and the sector has attracted investment of Rs60 billion creating 60,000 jobs across the county, reveals the Economic Survey launched here on Friday.

It states that in 1999, there were only 62 CNG stations in the country with only 60,000 CNG-converted vehicles which increased to 1,450 in 2007 while the vehicles using gas has switched over to 1.4 million to date.

Major cities in the country including Karachi, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad are rapidly phasing out diesel vehicles in favour of CNG buses for intra-city transportation.

The survey says that the government was boosting CNG sector in a move to overcome vehicular pollution and was encouraging gas sector as cleaner alternative for improving ambient air quality.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has so far issued more than 5,700 provisional licenses for the establishment of CNG stations across the country while the government is providing incentives regarding purchasing of new CNG vehicles.

It says that the government’s millennium development goal (MDG) target for number of vehicles using CNG was 920,000 whereas the current figure was 1.4 million and had achieved the target in advance.

Despite increasing the number of CNG stations across the country, the content of sulphur in air due to the use of high speed diesel was one per cent as against the target of 0.5 to 0.25 set in the MDG for 2015.

The Economic Survey has also acknowledged that absence of public transport service in major cities and the increasing number of private cars was deteriorating air quality and recommends proper transport service for these cities.

Elaborating the government’s policies on environment, the survey reveals a horrific situation of atmosphere in both urban and rural areas of the country saying that the National Environment Action Programme (NEAP) started in 2001 was aimed at coping with these concerns.

WATER AND SANITATION: According to the survey, the country’s current supply of water was just a little over 1,000 cubic meter per person which puts Pakistan in the category of ‘high stress’ countries.

“In the light of growing population, rapid urbanisation and extended periods of drought, an additional 48 billion cubic meter water would be required to meet the demands of agriculture and country’s economy by 2011,” it adds.

The excessive withdrawal of ground water has made 70 per cent tubewells pumping hazardous water and was a source of contaminated drinking water.

LAND: Out of the total land area of 79.6 million hectares, only 16 million hectares are suitable for irrigated farming in the country which is not satisfactory according to the survey.

About 5.2 per cent of Pakistan’s land area is covered by forests whereas both environmental and economic standard necessitate that country should have at least 20-25 per cent area under forests.

The economic survey has identified a number of challenges faced to government over the improvement of environment and has acknowledged the ambient air and water quality in the country.

shazia said...

Awesome post. I love stuff like this.

Regard
http://www.pakistanjobs.pk

Anonymous said...

India is doing a lot on solar energy. Bit late in the game compared to CHina, but still putting lot now. This has been well reported in NYT and other mags.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126113318816996975.html

How long will it take for Pakistanis to do something similar.

50 yrs,
100 yrs,
200 yrs ?????

regards

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "How long will it take for Pakistanis to do something similar."

There are many renewable energy projects from solar to wind currently underway in Pakistan.
The Pakistani government has set a target of 10 percent of energy to come from renewables by 2015.

Please follow the related links in my post to learn more about them.

Anonymous said...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126090748287292467.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from blogger Sean-Paul Kelly's piece "Reflections on India" published earlier this year:

If you are Indian, or of Indian descent, I must preface this post with a clear warning: you are not going to like what I have to say. My criticisms may be very hard to stomach. But consider them as the hard words and loving advice of a good friend. Someone who's being honest with you and wants nothing from you. These criticisms apply to all of India except Kerala and the places I didn't visit, except that I have a feeling it applies to all of India, except as I mentioned before, Kerala. Lastly, before anyone accuses me of Western Cultural Imperialism, let me say this: if this is what India and Indians want, then hey, who am I to tell them differently. Take what you like and leave the rest. In the end it doesn't really matter, as I get the sense that Indians, at least many upper class Indians, don't seem to care and the lower classes just don't know any better, what with Indian culture being so intense and pervasive on the sub-continent. But here goes, nonetheless.

India is a mess. It's that simple, but it's also quite complicated. I'll start with what I think are India's four major problems--the four most preventing India from becoming a developing nation--and then move to some of the ancillary ones.


Then Kelly goes on to mention pollution, lack of infrastructure, big bureaucracy and rampant corruption as India's biggest problems.

Low Cost Energy said...

This is great. More countries should follow this example and use environmentally friendly sources of energy, which are also low cost, by the way.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are "Reflections on India" published by an American traveler-blogger:

First, pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)

The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: roads, rails and ports and the electrical grid. The electrical grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India. Wide swaths of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. With out regular electricity, productivity, again, falls. The ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of longshoremen and the like. Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand, much less Western Europe or America. And I covered fully two thirds of the country during my visit. There are so few dual carriage way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of, and if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced. A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older. Everyone in India, or who travels in India raves about the railway system. Rubbish. It's awful. Now, when I was there in 2003 and then late 2004 it was decent. But in the last five years the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travelers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses. At least fifty million people use the trains a day in India. 50 million people! Not surprising that waitlists of 500 or more people are common now. The rails are affordable and comprehensive but they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like Sadhus in an ashram the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the overutilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit. Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia, Israel and the US I guess.

Riaz Haq said...

Power sector has been holding Pakistan back in recent years. Here's BMI assessment of energy sector prospects:

The new Pakistan Power Report forecasts Pakistan will account for 1.37% of Asia Pacific regional powergeneration by 2013, with a stable theoretical generation surplus before the country’s substantialtransmission losses are taken into account. BMI’s Asia Pacific power generation assumption for 2008 is7,093 terawatt hours (TWh), representing an increase of 3.2% over the previous year. We are forecastingan increase in regional generation to 9,099TWh by 2013, representing a rise of 28.3%.

Asia Pacific thermal power generation in 2008 totalled an estimated 5,570TWh, accounting for 78.5% ofthe total electricity supplied in the region. Our forecast for 2013 is 6,999TWh, implying 25.7% growththat reduces the market share of thermal generation to 76.9% - thanks largely to environmental concernspromoting renewables, hydro-electricity and nuclear generation. Pakistan’s thermal generation in 2008was an estimated 62.8TWh, or 1.13% of the regional total. By 2013, the country is expected to stillaccount for 1.13% of thermal generation.

For Pakistan, gas is the dominant fuel, accounting for 47.5% of primary energy demand (PED) in 2007,followed by oil at 30.7%, hydro-electric energy at 12.9% and coal with a 7.9% share. Regional energydemand is forecast to reach 4,859mn tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) by 2013, representing 24.9% growthfrom the estimated 2008 level. Pakistan’s estimated 2008 market share of 1.52% is set to ease to 1.45%by 2013. The country’s estimated 2.5TWh of nuclear demand in 2008 is forecast to reach 5.0TWh by2013, with its share of the Asia Pacific nuclear market rising from 0.49% to 0.75% over the period.

Pakistan is ranked third behind India in BMI’s Power Business Environment Rating, thanks to itsrelatively high level of renewables (mostly hydro) generation and healthy power consumption/energydemand growth prospects. Several country risk factors offset some of the industry strength, but thecountry is in a good position to keep clear of Malaysia below.

BMI forecasts Pakistan real GDP growth averaging 3.98% a year between 2009 and 2013, with the 2009estimate at 2.50%. The population is expected to expand from 161mn to 177mn, with per capita GDP andelectricity consumption increasing by 20% and 11% respectively. Power consumption is expected toincrease from an estimated 81TWh in 2008 to 99TWh by the end of the forecast period, which provides arelatively stable theoretical generation surplus (before transmission losses, etc.), assuming 4.3% annualgrowth in electricity generation.

Between 2008 and 2018, we are forecasting an increase in Pakistani electricity generation of 59.2%,which is mid-range for the Asia Pacific region. This equates to 27.2% in the 2013-2018 period, up from25.1% in 2008-2013. PED growth is set to increase from 19.1% in 2008-2013 to 25.8%, representing49.9% for the entire forecast period. An increase of 49% in hydro-power use during 2008-2018 is a keyelement of generation growth. Thermal power generation is forecast to rise by 52% between 2008 and2018, with nuclear usage up 380% from a low base. More details of the long-term BMI power forecastscan be found at the end of this report.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan leads the world in the number cng vehicles and cng stations. Now, a report says that Landi Renzo Pakistan will export CNG Kits:

In Pakistan, Italian CNG kits manufacturer Landi Renzo, which commenced its assembling operations there in 2007, is planning expansion of production to enhance deliveries to growing export markets. Currently annual production exceeds 45,000 units. Corrado Storchi, External Relations Manager for Landi Renzo, confirmed the reports to NGV Global News, adding that “South-West Asia and South America are very important export countries for us”, with shipments also being made to China, Far Eastern and European countries.

Storchi confirmed that Landi Renzo has over 90 percent market share of CNG kits in Pakistan. It supplies to Indus Motors for Toyota and Daihatsu cars and Pak Suzuki Motor Company for its range of cars and vans, and other dealers and wholesalers.

Storchi also confirmed a report by The News that Landi Renzo intends to gradually increase the percentage of locally made components, currently at 20% but with the possibility of building to 100% as full quality and safety requirements are satisfied. A testing laboratory has been set up in Karachi, where all components are tested prior to assembly.

In the report, Landi Renzo Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Alberto Barbiery apparently warned that the safety and quality of the CNG kits, manufactured in Pakistan or imported, should be only installed by registered and certified dealers. Landi Renzo will soon launch an awareness campaign about safety and precautions regarding CNG kits.

Barbiery also encouraged the take-up of natural gas in the currently largely unexploited heavy duty vehicle market. “If heavy vehicles convert to CNG, the country would save precious foreign exchange being spent on diesel imports and environmental pollution would be reduced,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Petroleum is seeking tenders to develop oil and gas resources in Pakistan, according to Oil Voice:

Exploration in these licenses is expected to convert conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources in to reserves. There are stratigraphic traps, tight gas, shale gas etc.
----------
Dera Ismail Khan Block Overview:
The block lies in the Suleiman Foredeep with Sargodha High in the East, Khishor & Marwat Ranges in the North, Suleiman Foldbelt in the West and the Zindapir anticlinorium in the South. The development of Suleiman Foredeep is related with an uplift of the Suleiman Range, which is believed to be related to early and late Tertiary inversion of extensional and trans-tensional basins along the northwest margins of the Indian continental plate.
-------------
The block contains the stratigraphic play at Eocene and Paleocene levels. The Sembar Formation (Cretaceous) is the proven source rock in the nearby Dhodak & Salsabil Gas Fields, which lies in the Gas window in the West of D. I. Khan block. The primary reservoir targets are the Stratigraphic pinch out of Habib Rahi Limestone (Eocene) and the truncations of Lower Ranikot Formation (Paleocene). The Secondary target is the Pab Sandstone (Cretaceous). The seal is comprised of Intra Eocene Shales and the Shales of Chitarwata Formation (Oligocene) above the Base Oligocene unconformity. The Lower Ranikot and Pab Sandstone are the proven Gas/Condensate reservoir in the Dhodak and Salsabil Gas Fields.

The Kamiab-1 well (Amoco, 1974) drilled in the East encountered the significant Gas shows in the Lower Ranikot Formation.
--------
Sirani Block Overview:
The Sembar Formation (Lower-Cretaceous) is the proven source rock in the area. Sands of Lower Goru Formation (Lower Cretaceous) are producing in nearby fields and have good reservoir quality. Shales of Upper Goru & intraformational shales provide the seal. Tilted Faults Blocks are expected in the Block.
• Four leads identified on vintage seismic data. New seismic likely to yield more leads
• Proximity to the producing Badin Oil fields to the west
• Possibility of finding additional leads in southern marshy area where no seismic data has been acquired. Good shows encountered in some wells in the block
• Nearby existing infrastructure
• Low cost drilling operations as minimum problems are expected.
• Early production through Extended Well Testing (EWT)

Naushahro Firoz Block Overview:
The Naushahro Firoz block lies in a zone with a proven petroleum system from different reservoirs. The Zamzama gas condensate discovery (2.3 Tcf and 12 MMbo)) from Late Cretaceous Pab sandstone lies to the west and Sawan gas discovery (1.5 Tcf) from Lower Cretaceous Lower Goru sandstone lies to the East of the block. Sui Main Limestone (SML) of Eocene age is a proven reservoir in a number of discoveries (over 2 Tcf reserves) located in the north of the block. The reservoir quality of SML is also proven by the Sagyun-01 well drilled in the block and wells drilled in the surrounding area. One lead and a possibility of another lead identified at SML level on sparse vintage data.
-----------
Jungshahi Block Overview:
The Jungshahi block lies to the east of two gas discoveries. An untested surface lead is separated from a gas field by a broad syncline. The Block is close to the Kitchen area. Untested surface anticlines are present in the block. Proven reservoir rocks of Paleocene and Cretaceous are present. Significant gas shows have been observed in Lower and Upper Ranikot formations in the wells drilled in the block. The Block is located close to an existing gas pipeline / infrastructure and commercial hub at Karachi. Early production is expected through EWT.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan improves incentives in new tight gas exploration policy, according to platts.com:

Pakistan has approved a new tight gas exploration policy with improved incentives as compared with its 2009 policy, to overcome the country's gas shortfall and attract foreign investment, a petroleum ministry official said Wednesday.

Under the new policy, exploration companies will be offered 40-50% higher prices for the gas compared with the $4.26/Btu price announced in Exploration and Production Policy 2009.

Companies which succeed in recovering gas from tight fields within two years will get 50% hike over the 2009 price and if it takes more time they will get only a 40% hike on the 2009 price.

Besides, the leases for the fields will now be for 40 years instead of 30 in the 2009 policy, the official said.

Even with the improved prices for the tight gas to be paid to the exploration companies, it is estimated that Pakistan will have to pay a maximum of $6.5/Btu for the gas compared with $12.3/Btu for gas imports.

"It [tight gas] is a more feasible option for the economy as even after giving additional incentives the cost of gas available will be less than imported gas and there will be no burden on the foreign exchange reserves for additional imports," Umer Bin Ayaz, a research analyst at JS Global Equities in Karachi, said.

Tight gas is typically stuck in very tight formations underground -- trapped in hard rock or in a sandstone or limestone formations that are unusually impermeable and non-porous.

As exploration is more difficult and the technology required more expensive, companies do not typically go in for exploration until given attractive incentives.

The country's supreme decision-making body, the Council of Common Interest, chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani Tuesday evening approved tight gas policy, a government statement said.

The country had a potential 40 trillion cubic feet of tight gas. Separately, Pakistan's current recoverable gas reserves stand at around 27 Tcf.

Pakistan now faces a gas shortfall of 1-1.2 Bcf/day.

Meanwhile, the government is working on plans to import 3.5 million mt/year of LNG to tackle its energy crisis.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's David Brooks of NY Times on "shale gas revolution" in America:

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb even the most wondrous gifts.

A few years ago, a business genius named George P. Mitchell helped offer such a gift. As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history of energy innovation, Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition to extract natural gas from shale. The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has paid off in the most immense way. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.

John Rowe, the chief executive of the utility Exelon, which derives almost all its power from nuclear plants, says that shale gas is one of the most important energy revolutions of his lifetime. It’s a cliché word, Yergin told me, but the fracking innovation is game-changing. It transforms the energy marketplace.

The U.S. now seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, which is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. This cleaner, cheaper energy source is already replacing dirtier coal-fired plants. It could serve as the ideal bridge, Amy Jaffe of Rice University says, until renewable sources like wind and solar mature.

Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.

Chemical companies rely heavily on natural gas, and the abundance of this new source has induced companies like Dow Chemical to invest in the U.S. rather than abroad. The French company Vallourec is building a $650 million plant in Youngstown, Ohio, to make steel tubes for the wells. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York will reap billions in additional revenue. Consumers also benefit. Today, natural gas prices are less than half of what they were three years ago, lowering electricity prices. Meanwhile, America is less reliant on foreign suppliers.

All of this is tremendously good news, but, of course, nothing is that simple. The U.S. is polarized between “drill, baby, drill” conservatives, who seem suspicious of most regulation, and some environmentalists, who seem to regard fossil fuels as morally corrupt and imagine we can switch to wind and solar overnight.

The shale gas revolution challenges the coal industry, renders new nuclear plants uneconomic and changes the economics for the renewable energy companies, which are now much further from viability. So forces have gathered against shale gas, with predictable results.

The clashes between the industry and the environmentalists are now becoming brutal and totalistic, dehumanizing each side. Not-in-my-backyard activists are organizing to prevent exploration. Environmentalists and their publicists wax apocalyptic.

Like every energy source, fracking has its dangers. The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but rogue companies have screwed up and there have been instances of contamination.

The wells, which are sometimes beneath residential areas, are serviced by big trucks that damage the roads and alter the atmosphere in neighborhoods. A few sloppy companies could discredit the whole sector...........


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/brooks-the-shale-gas-revolution.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=brooks&st=cse

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on India benefiting from plummeting prices of solar panels and solar energy:

Over the last decade, India has opened the state-dominated power-generating industry to private players, while leaving distribution and rate-setting largely in government hands. European countries heavily subsidize solar power by agreeing to buy it for decades at a time, but the subsidies in India are lower and solar operators are forced into to greater competition, helping push down costs.

This month, the government held its second auction to determine the price at which its state-owned power trading company — NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam — would buy solar-generated electricity for the national grid. The average winning bid was 8.77 rupees (16.5 cents) per kilowatt hour.

That is about twice the price of coal-generated power, but it was about 27 percent lower than the winning bids at the auction held a year ago. Germany, the world’s biggest solar-power user, pays about 17.94 euro cents (23 American cents) per kilowatt hour.

India still significantly lags behind European countries in the use of solar. Germany, for example, had 17,000 megawatts of solar power capacity at the end of 2010. But India, which gets more than 300 days of sunlight a year, is a more suitable place to generate solar power. And being behind is now benefiting India, as panel prices plummet, enabling it to spend far less to set up solar farms than countries that pioneered the technology.

In its solar power auctions, moreover, NTPC is not creating open-ended contracts. The last auction, for example, was for a total of only 350 megawatts, which will cap the government’s costs. The assumption is that the price of solar power will continue to decline, eventually approaching the cost of electricity generated through conventional methods.

Most Indian power plants are fueled by coal and generate electricity at about 4 rupees (7.5 cents) per kilowatt hour — less than half of solar’s cost now. In this month’s auction, the recent winning bids were comparable to what India’s industrial and commercial users pay for electricity — from 8 to 10 rupees. And solar’s costs are competitive with power plants and back-up generators that burn petroleum-based fuels, whose electricity costs about 10 rupees per kilowatt hour.

“At least during daytime, photovoltaic panels will compete with oil-generated electricity more than anything else” in India, said Cédric Philibert, a senior analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris. “This comparison is becoming better and better every month.”

In addition to the federal government, several of India’s states like Gujarat, where Khadoda is located, are also buying power at subsidized rates from solar companies like Azure Power.

Analysts do not expect India’s solar rollout to be problem free. They say some developers have probably bid too aggressively in the federal auctions and may not be able to build their plants fast or cheap enough to survive. Consequently, or because their bids were speculative, some developers are trying to sell their government power agreements to third parties, analysts say, even though such flipping is against the auction rules.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/business/energy-environment/in-solar-power-india-begins-living-up-to-its-own-ambitions.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Riaz Haq said...

It is official: India has the world's most toxic air, according a news report in The Hindu:

In a study by Yale and Columbia Universities, India holds the very last rank among 132 nations in terms of air quality with regard to its effect on human health.

India scored a miniscule 3.73 out of a possible 100 points in the analysis, lagging far behind the next worst performer, Bangladesh, which scored 13.66. In fact, the entire South Asian region fares badly, with Nepal, Pakistan and China taking up the remaining spots in the bottom five of the rankings.

These rankings are part of a wider study to index the nations of the world in terms of their overall environmental performance. The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia's Center for International Earth Science Information Network have brought out the Environment Performance Index rankings every two years since 2006.

In the overall rankings — which takes 22 policy indicators into account — India fared minimally better, but still stuck in the last ten ranks along with environmental laggards such as Iraq, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. At the other end of the scale, the European nations of Switzerland, Latvia and Norway captured the top slots in the index.

India's performance over the last two years was relatively good in sectors such as forests, fisheries, biodiversity and climate change. However, in the case of water — both in terms of the ecosystem effects to water resources and the human health effects of water quality — the Indian performance is very poor.

The Index report was presented at the World Economic Forum currently taking place in Davos, where it's being pitched as a means to identify the leaders and the laggards on energy and environmental challenges prior to the iconic Rio+20 summit on sustainable development to be held in Brazil this June.


http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/article2837739.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Businessweek story on South Korean company building 300 MW solar plant in Pakistan:



CX Solar Korea is leading a group that signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to build a 300-megawatt solar farm that will require an investment of as much as $900 million.

The group plans to start a 50-megawatt installation near Quetta in southwestern Balochistan province that will use a combination of crystalline silicon and thin-film panels to see which perform best, said Moon-sok Choi, chief executive of CX Solar, a Seoul-based project developer.

The group expects to build 300 megawatts by 2016, Choi said. The power will be sold under a 25-year contract, with details still being negotiated, Choi said in an e-mailed response to questions.

CX Solar is in talks with panel suppliers, including Bernin, France-based Soitec SA (SOI), which makes Concentrix photovoltaic panels, Choi said.


http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-16/south-korean-group-plans-900-million-pakistan-solar-farm.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on 300 MW solar power project in Pakistan:

QUETTA:

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Balochistan government and CK Solar Korea for installing a 300 MW solar power plant near Quetta, Provincial Secretary Energy Fuad Hashim Rabbani said on Saturday.

The project will cost around $900 million and will be completed by 2016, he said, while addressing the media.

Rabbani said the government has procured 1,500 acres of land in Khuchlak and Pishin on lease. “This project will help overcome the shortfall of electricity in Balochistan,” he added.

The project will provide green energy particularly in areas where is no conventional electricity option, the energy secretary said.

“Currently, the local population of targeted areas are using kerosene lanterns, which is hazardous to the health and non-economical due to the intermittent price hike,” he remarked.

He said that electricity to medical facilities such as hospitals, Basic Health Units and installation of solar street lights were amongst major benefits of the project.

“The government is planning to install 20 solar powered water pumps in 10 districts of Balochistan for water supply schemes,” Rabbani said.

Responding to a question, he conceded that farmers were suffering due to long hours of load-shedding and assured that steps would be taken to provide electricity to the farmers.

He said that work on Loralai-DG Khan 220 KV and Dadu-Khuzdar 220 KV power supply lines would be completed next year.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/529000/solar-power-plant-balochistan-govt-inks-deal-with-korean-firm/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian story on possible end of CNG as fuel for cars:

When Pakistan first started promoting compressed natural gas to the nation's motorists in the 1990s, the alternative to petrol seemed like a wonder fuel.
Getting motorists to convert their cars to run on cleaner, cheaper gas would cure urban pollution and lower demand for the imported oil that was gobbling the country's foreign currency reserves.
Car owners loved it and today 80% of all cars in Pakistan run off compressed natural gas (CNG), according to the Natural and Bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA), a European lobby group. Only Iran has more gas cars running on the road.
But as the country struggles with a chronic gas shortage, Pakistan's 20-year CNG experiment seems to have been thrown into reverse gear.
The government has introduced strict rationing. And there have even been discussions about shutting down thousands of gas stations for the whole of thewinter. "CNG is finished in Pakistan," said Owais Qureshi, the owner of a handful of once lucrative gas stations in Rawalpindi. "I'm not going to invest any more money in it."
It has been years since he has been legally allowed to sell and install CNG conversion "kits": essentially large gas cylinders that are placed in the boot of a car to feed the engine. The system allows for cars to still be able to use petrol instead, if required.
Although CNG is popular with an estimated 2.8m motorists in Pakistan, according to the NGVA, the increasingly scarce resource is also in demand from other sectors – including the country's factories and for domestic use.
"The government has been left with little choice but to put a lid on it because there simply isn't much gas left," said Farrukh Saleem, an economist. "It has been a massive policy failure because the government actively promoted CNG knowing full well that natural gas reserves would not last beyond 25 years."
Successive governments heavily subsided CNG, ran schemes to encourage car conversions and dished out licences to political allies to build gas stations.
But abandoned stations are now a common sight around the country. So too are queues of hundreds of motorists waiting to fill their cars on Wednesdays – the last remaining day of the week in many places on which CNG is legally allowed to be sold.
This weekly ordeal for CNG users is compounded by a chronic lack of electricity, the other aspect of Pakistan's energy crisis. And because electricity is needed to run the gas compressors used by CNG stations car re-filling grinds to a halt during the many power cuts.
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"All over the world countries are promoting CNG but in Pakistan they are killing it off," said Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, chairman of All Pakistan CNG Association.
"If we don't have enough gas we should import LNG [liquid natural gas]."
Pakistan, however, has failed to build the infrastructure needed to import large amounts of gas from overseas. A legal challenge by Pakistan's activist supreme court killed off one scheme to build a massive LNG terminal in Karachi.
The other lifeline for Pakistan's CNG supply is a controversial, multi-billion dollar pipeline to import natural gas from Iran. But Pakistan lacks the cash to build its half of the pipeline and the US has warned that completing the project would be in breach of US economic sanctions imposed on Iran.
Even as natural gas is being touted elsewhere in the world as a great alternative to petrol, soon it may be a mere memory in Pakistan.
Paracha fondly recalls the grand opening of the first CNG station in Karachi, which was built with foreign aid money. "It was the start of a revolution," he said. "Before CNG came you could not see the sky in the cities because the air was so polluted."


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/25/cars-pakistan-compressed-natural-gas-rationing