Friday, August 29, 2008

there was an article in hindu businessline , telling the lukewarm response to solar projects in tamilnadu. this is surprising and clearly shows that tneb (tamilnadu electricity board) is turning the heat on producing more energy from renewables. i wrote a letter on this to hindu. it is below.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 10:08 PM
Subject: tamilnadu electricity board should follow pacific gas and electric utility example in renewables

dear hindu,
i want to bring attention to your article at

solar and solar thermal is being promoted in big way in california. the california utility pacific gas and electric (pg&e), which has a mandate to get 20% of electricity from renewables by 2010, is ramping up big time on solar and solar thermal energies (apart from wind and geo thermal sources).

i want to highlight the recent deal that pg&e signed 2 deals 2 weeks back bringing total of solar energy production to 800mw. one technology of 550mw is via thin film technology by optisolar, a san francisco bay area based firm and another 250mw is photovoltaic based technology from sunpower corp, another san francisco bay area based firm. infact the 250mw solar power project perhaps is the single most biggest pv based solar plant in entire world.

switching angles, nano solar that provides solar energy via thin films out of copper indium gallium selenide materials is ramping up close to 1000mw of production to cater to upcoming projects ( pg&e has already signed a contract of 900mw with brightsource energy to generate power via solar thermal route.

pg&e is cleverly looking at a bucket of technologies to satisfy the 20% energy goal. one thing to note that is solar energy calls for subsidies either via tax credit or power purchase agreements, but with massive scalability in upcoming years, solar energy should come much closer to grid parity thereby reducing subsidies significantly.

needless to add sir, that coal and nuclear energies are also subsidised either in form of environmental disasters due to coal mining, global warming, dangerous nuclear radiation and toxic waste storage apart from many other fiscal incentives like SEZ's. and also many coal thermal plants being proposed in coastal regions are severely opposed by many coastal area sections including fishermen.

tamilnadu electricity board should tieup for knowledge sharing and skills in solar electricity area with utilities like pg&e so that we can also one of the leaders of renewables. if we go the pg&e route, needless to say that many thousands mega watt of electricity can be produced by non polluting solar and solar thermal and this can be a huge boom in jobs creation/safeguarding our environment/getting carbon credits/being a world leader in fighting climate change.

will tamilnadu electricity board steps upto the challenge or will they be going the same route of polluting coal and dangerous nuclear roads. the choice is clear and it is renewables, for in renewables (along with green building technologies and conservation campaigns) we can safeguard our land and environment for our future generations.


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