Renewable Energy Essay – This one of the best essays on ‘Renewable Energy’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Renewable Energy
- Essay on the Introduction to Renewable Energy
- Essay on the Sources of Renewable Energy Available in India
- Essay on the Importance of Renewable Energy
- Essay on the Potential and Present Status of Renewable Sources of Energy in India
- Essay on General Forecasts in Relation to Renewable Energy for the Next Decades
- Essay on the Commitment of Government Regarding Renewable Energies
- Essay on Summary and Conclusion: Could India meet all Energy needs with Renewable Energy?
Essay # 1. Introduction to Renewable Energy:
The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources- such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
The sun’s heat also drives the winds, whose energy, is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun’s heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power.
Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bioenergy.
Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It’s the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn’t occur naturally as a gas. It’s always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity.
Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth’s internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean’s tides comes from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth.
In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there’s the energy of the ocean’s waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can be used to produce electricity.
Do you know what renewable sources of energy are and why we should think of these alternative energy sources?
In the past century, it has been seen that the consumption of non-renewable sources of energy has caused more environmental damage than any other human activity. Electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil has led to high concentrations of harmful gases in the atmosphere. This has in turn led to many problems being faced today such as ozone depletion and global warming. Vehicular pollution has also been a major problem.
Therefore, alternative sources of energy have become very important and relevant to today’s world. These sources, such as the sun and wind, can never be exhausted and therefore are called renewable. They cause less emissions and are available locally. Their use can, to a large extent, reduce chemical, radioactive, and thermal pollution. They stand out as a viable source of clean and limitless energy. These are also known as non-conventional sources of energy. Most of the renewable sources of energy are fairly non-polluting and considered clean though biomass, a renewable source, is a major polluter indoors.
Essay # 2. Sources of Renewable Energy Available in India:
We know where the non-renewable energies – coal, oil and gas – are located and how these fuels are transported, combusted, and the power transmitted throughout the country over the power grid. Now, let’s look at the renewable energies – hydro, solar, wind and biomass – and see where they are found.
(a) Solar Energy:
Because of its location between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, India has an average annual temperature that ranges from 25°C – 27.5°C. This means that India has huge solar potential. The sunniest parts are situated in the south/east coast, from Calcutta to Madras. Solar energy has several applications; photovoltaic (PV) cells are placed on the roof top of houses or commercial buildings, and collectors such as mirrors or parabolic dishes that can move and track the sun throughout the day are also used. This mechanism is being used for concentrated lighting in buildings.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells have a low efficiency factor, yet power generation systems using photovoltaic materials have the advantage of having no moving parts. PV cells find applications in individual home rooftop systems, community street lights, community water pumping, and areas where the terrain makes it difficult to access the power grid.
The efficiency of solar photovoltaic cell with single crystal silicon is about 13% – 17%. High efficiency cell with concentrators are being manufactured which can operate with low sunlight intensities. India has an expanding solar energy sector; 9 solar cell manufactures, 22 PV module manufactures, and 50 PV systems manufacturers. Therefore, technology resources exist in country and a growing market would lead to job growth in country.
(b) Wind Energy:
India is surpassed only by Germany as one of the world’s fastest growing markets for wind energy. By the mid 1990s, the subcontinent was installing more wind generating capacity than North America, Denmark, Britain, and the Netherlands.
The ten machines near Okha in the province of Gujarat were some of the first wind turbines installed in India. These 15-meter Vestas wind turbines overlook the Arabian Sea. Now, in 2006, there is an installed capacity of 4,430 MW; however, ten times that potential, or 46,092 MW, exists.
Advantages of wind power:
(i) It is one of the most environment friendly, clean and safe energy resources.
(ii) It has the lowest gestation period as compared to conventional energy.
(iii) Equipment erection and commissioning involve only a few months.
(iv) There is no fuel consumption, hence low operating costs.
(v) Maintenance costs are low.
(vi) The capital cost is comparable with conventional power plants. For a wind farm, the capital cost ranges between 4.5 crores to 5.5 crores, depending on the site and the wind electric generator (WEG) selected for installation.
The essential requirements for a wind farm:
An area where a number of wind electric generators are installed is known as a wind farm.
The essential requirements for establishment of a wind farm of optimal exploitation of the wind are the following:
(i) High wind resource at particular site.
(ii) Adequate land availability.
(iii) Suitable terrain and good soil condition.
(iv) Maintenance access to site.
(v) Suitable power grid nearby.
(vi) Techno-economic selection of specific turbines.
(vii) Scientifically prepared layout.
Wind energy generation has limitations which will influence the extent and type of role it will ultimately play in overall generation of electricity in India.
Limitation of a wind farm:
(i) Wind machines must be located where strong, dependable winds are available most of the time.
(ii) Because winds do not blow strongly enough to produce power all the time. Energy from wind machines is considered “intermittent,” that is, it comes and goes. Therefore, electricity from wind farms must have a back-up supply from another source.
(iii) As wind power is “intermittent,” utility companies can use it for only part of their total energy needs.
(iv) Wind towers and turbine blades are subject to damage from high winds and lighting. Rotating parts, which are located high off the ground can be difficult and expensive to repair.
(v) Electricity produced by wind power sometimes fluctuates in voltage and power factor, which can cause difficulties in linking its power to utility system.
(vi) The noise made by rotating wind machine blades can be annoying to nearby neighbours.
(vii) Some environmental groups have complained about aesthetics and avian mortality from wind machines.
The hydroelectric power refers to the energy produced from water (rainfall flowing into rivers, etc.). Consequently, rainfall can be a good indicator to investors looking for a location to implement or build a new hydroelectric power plant in India.
Most hydropower plants are situated in regions of the major rainfall. The dominant annual rainfall is located on the north/eastern part of India: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, and also on the west coast between Mumbai (Bombay) and Mahe.
India utilizes twelve primary hydroelectric power plants:
Bihar (3), Punjab, Uttaranchal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh (2).
(d) Biomass Energy:
Biomass includes solid biomass (organic, non-fossil material of biological origins), biogas (principally methane and carbon dioxide produced by anaerobic digestion of biomass and combusted to produce heat and/or power), liquid biofuels (bio-based liquid fuel from biomass transformation, mainly used in transportation applications), and municipal waste (wastes produced by the residential, commercial and public services sectors and incinerated in specific installations to produce heat and/or power).
The most successful forms of biomass are sugar cane bagasse in agriculture, pulp and paper residues in forestry and manure in livestock residues. It is argued that biomass can directly substitute fossil fuels, as more effective in decreasing atmospheric CO2 than carbon sequestration in trees. The Kyoto Protocol encourages further use of biomass energy. Biomass may be used in a number of ways to produce energy.
The most common methods are:
(iv) Anaerobic digestion.
India is very rich in biomass. It has a potential of 19,500 MW (3,500MW from bagasse based cogeneration and 16,000 MW from surplus biomass). Currently, India has 537 MW commissioned and 536 MW under construction. The facts reinforce the idea of a commitment by India to develop these resources of power production.
Following is a list of some States with most potential for biomass production:
(i) Andhra Pradesh (200 MW).
(ii) Bihar (200 MW).
(iii) Gujarat (200 MW).
(iv) Karnataka (300 MW).
(v) Maharashtra (1,000 MW).
(vi) Punjab (150 MW).
(vii) Tamil Nadu (350 MW).
(viii) Uttar Pradesh (1,000 MW).
Essay # 3. Importance of Renewable Energy:
Renewable energy is important because of the benefits it provides.
The key benefits are:
1. Environmental Benefits:
Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies.
2. Energy for Our Children’s Children’s Children:
Renewable energy will not run out. Ever. Other sources of energy are finite and will someday be depleted.
3. Jobs and the Economy:
Most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports. Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the United States, frequently in the same state, and often in the same town. This means your energy dollars stay home to create jobs and fuel local economies, rather than going overseas.
Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies developed and built in the United States are being sold overseas, providing a boost to the U.S. trade deficit.
4. Energy Security:
After the oil supply disruptions of the early 1970s, our nation has increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies instead of decreasing it. This increased dependence impacts more than just our national energy policy.
Essay # 4. Potential and Present Status of Renewable Sources of Energy in India:
According to the 11th New and Renewable Energy five-year plan proposed by the government of India, from 2008-2012 the renewable energy market in India will reach an estimated US $19 billion Investments of US $15 billion will be required in order to add the approximately 15,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the present installed capacity. The government of India has planned a subsidy support system of approximately US $1 billion in government funds. This amounts to adding renewable energy capacity at 1 Watt per US $1, with potential subsidy support of US $0.07/Watt.
The Indian government has also set specific targets for renewable energy; by 2012 it expects renewable energy to contribute 10% of total power generation capacity and have a 4-5% share in the electricity mix. This implies that growth in renewable energy will occur at a much faster pace than traditional power generation, with renewables making up 20% of the 70,000 MW of total additional energy planned from 2008-2012.
From 2002 to 2007, there was 3,075 MW of renewable grid-tied power planned, but the actual capacity addition exceeded 6,000 MW by 2006. A large share of this was the result of exceptional growth of wind energy in India. Wind energy is expected to add more than 10,000 MW of additional capacity by 2012, followed by small hydro (1,400 MW), co-generation (1,200 MW) and biomass (500 MW).
In the past five years, the government of India had withdrawn subsidies for grid-tied solar power because its costs were not considered viable. Plans for a 140 MW Integrated Solar Combined Cycle plant at Mathania, Rajasthan were cancelled after an unfavorable technical and commercial review.
But recently this sector has experienced a turn-around, with new technologies and manufacturing capacity in India (See Scaling up Solar in India). With the success of grid-tied solar electricity in other countries, and new state-level initiatives for feed-in tariffs, the outlook for this segment is now positive. The government has set aside US $50 million to subsidize solar power when its costs match those of small hydro.
Financial assistance is available in various forms, such as direct installation subsidy, feed-in tariffs, tax rebates, and low interest loans. Increasingly Indians are seeing a shift away from subsidizing installed capacity and towards subsidizing power generation with feed-in tariffs and tax rebates. For example, for wind energy there is an income tax exemption for 10 years, 80% accelerated depreciation, sales tax exemption, and excise duty exemption.
Preferential tariffs are being worked out at the state level. While the new framework for supporting renewable energy generation is evolving, most of the direct subsidy has thus far been designed for installed capacity.
Projects in the states in northeastern part of India and the hill states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal currently receive the best support, with subsidies there 20% to 50% higher than in other states of India. Some of the highest direct subsidy rates have been announced for installation of grid-tied wind and small hydro, and off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. The present subsidy for 1 MW grid-tied wind is $625, 000 and for 1 MW grid-tied small hydro its $375,000. See the chart below for more information.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has identified renewable energy R&D as an important factor for developing this sector. R&D subsidy is 100% of a project’s cost in government R&D institutions, and 50% in the private sector. The R&D subsidy for the private sector may be enhanced for initial stages of technologies that have longer time-horizons.
Subsidy support is for firms with majority Indian stake. Firms with foreign majority stake can take advantage of subsidies if they have local Indian partners or if the R&D they provide is at lower costs and in shorter time than R&D provided by firms in India. Foreign firms can also receive R&D subsidy support in exceptional cases when the larger national interest is evident and is served by that firm. Many Indian firms have foreign R&D collaborations or financial stakes in foreign R&D firms.
In the past a significant proportion of allocated funds have gone underutilized, possibly due to lack of availability of suitable projects and procedural delays. One area of concern is the lack of bankable projects in bagasse-based cogeneration and urban waste-to-energy space. In these cases, 50% of the direct subsidy amount will be given upfront, with the other half being distributed after the completion of the project.
With maturing technologies and integrated business models in renewable energy business, the suitability of projects is likely to improve, resulting in higher utilization of available government funds and faster market growth. This has been the case of wind energy in India. Integrated installation, operations and repair contracts are common in the wind energy business. This has provided a viable and investor-friendly business model.
Thin-film solar production is expected to lead to the development of PV-based electricity generation. Technologies in the wind, bio-mass, waste-to-energy and small hydro markets are at the venture capitalist stage, waiting for funding to begin commercialization and scaling up of their projects.
Policies at state and local levels, like feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, technical training, financing mechanisms and revenue recovery can go a long way in building a successful renewable energy market in India. Improvements in energy efficiency can reduce recurring cost of energy using technology that is often priced even higher than the cost of renewable energy. This will make investments in this sector attractive.
Building renewable energy infrastructure also requires mapping the natural resource base. In a continuing effort to build the information infrastructure for renewable energy, GIS (geographic information systems) mapping of renewable sources will continue with government funding.
In addition, classification and rating of potential location sites is considered a strategically important area. To realize the estimated total potential of 85,000 MW of renewable energy in India, keeping renewable energy business in sync with international standards is important. Therefore, equipment-related subsidies and incentives are often made contingent upon meeting international standards.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India has also provided funds for town and city level renewable energy planning. This local information infrastructure, comprising of local awareness, urban design, laws and smooth functioning processes, is an important step towards integrating renewable energy into economic life, and improving power delivery in the last kilometer.
In addition to improving investment opportunities, this may also bring about greener, better designed and less polluted cities. With the expected growth in this sector, the availability of technically trained personnel may become a hurdle for further growth in the coming years. Thus, an opportunity exists for educational and training institutions to introduce new courses, curricula, and training for students to work in this emerging job market in urban and rural areas.
In recent years, India has emerged as one of the leading destinations for investors from developed countries. This attraction is partially due to the lower cost of manpower and good quality production. The expansion of investments has brought benefits of employment, development, and growth in the quality of life, but only to the major cities. This sector only represents a small portion of the total population. The remaining population still lives in very poor conditions.
India is now the eleventh largest economy in the world, fourth in terms of purchasing power. It is poised to make tremendous economic strides over the next ten years, with significant development already in the planning stages. This report gives an overview of the renewable energies market in India. We look at the current status of renewable markets in India, the energy needs of the country, forecasts of consumption and production, and we assess whether India can power its growth and its society with renewable resources.
Essay # 5. General Forecasts in Relation to Renewable Energy for the Next Decades:
Around the world, a growing number of nations have recognized the economic, social, and environmental benefits of renewable energy and are enacting tax incentives and other policy measures favorable to renewable technologies.
In Germany, Japan, Spain, and a handful of other countries, clear government commitments to renewable energy and strong, effective policies have overcome barriers and created demand for these technologies, leading to dramatic growth in renewable industries and driving down costs.
(a) The Position of India in the World Potential Renewable Energy:
Thanks to its location and geography, India enjoys abundant potential to all of the renewable energies.
(b) The Electricity Consumption and Generation Forecasts of India as Part of the Emerging Economies:
Growth in net electricity consumption is expected to be most rapid among the emerging economies of the world, including India. According to the EIA, the annual average increase will be about 4.0 percent from 2002 to 2025.
Emerging economies are projected to more than double their net electricity consumption, from 4,645 billion kilowatt hours in 2002 to 11,554 billion in 2025. The projected growth in net electricity consumption for emerging market economies is driven in large party by gross domestic product (GDP) and population growth assumption.
Because of the links between reliable electricity supply, GDP growth, and living standards, many of the nations with emerging economies are attempting to increase access to reliable electricity supply.
(c) Projected Energy Consumption of India for 2030:
Currently, 45 percent of households in India do not have access to electricity. New legislation has set a target of electrifying all households by 2010. As in the past, the ongoing challenge in providing electricity is the ability of the poor to pay. India announced plans in March, 2005, to continue subsidizing electricity consumption for rural and poor households that use less than 30 kilowatt hours per month.
Essay # 6. Commitment of the Government Regarding Renewable Energies:
India is one of the countries most involved in developing the use of renewable energies and is trying to make the opportunity for investors more attractive than costly.
(a) Financing Sources and Incentives:
To promote renewable energy technologies in the country, the government has put in place some subsidies & fiscal incentives. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency has been set up under Ministry for Non-Conventional Energy Sources and is a specialized financing agency to promote and finance renewable energy projects.
Following is a short list of new measures:
(i) Income tax breaks.
(ii) Accelerated depreciation.
(iii) Custom duty/duty free import concessions.
(iv) Capital/Interest subsidy.
(v) Incentives for preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPR) and feasibility reports.
More details are as follows:
a. 100 percent income tax exemption for any continuous block of power for 10 years in the first 15 years of operations.
b. Providers of finance to such projects are exempt from tax on any income by way of dividends, interest or long-term capital gains from investment made in such projects on or after June 1, 1998 by way of shares or long-term finance.
c. Accelerated 100-percent depreciation on specified renewable energy-based devices or projects.
d. Accelerated depreciation of 80 percent in the first year of operations.
e. Interest rate subsidies to promote commercialization of new technology.
f. Lower customs and excise duties for specified equipment.
g. Exemption or reduced rates of central and state taxes.
Ministry for non-conventional energy sources mix of fiscal and financial benefits:
(i) 2/3rd of the project cost subject to a maximum of Rs. 2.00 crore per 100 KW for procurement of modules, structures, power conditioning units, cabling etc., to the implementing agency. The balance cost on land, extension of grid lines, transformers, civil works, foundation and erection and commissioning, etc., is met by the implementing agency.
(ii) Up to Rs. 1.0 lakh for the preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the grid interactive SPV power projects.
(iii) 2.5 percent of its share of project cost, subject to a maximum of Rs. 5 lakhs for performance evaluation, monitoring report writing, etc., to the State Nodal Agency.
(iv) Interest subsidy of up to 4 percent to Financial Institutions including IREDA, Nationalized Banks etc., for captive power projects of maximum capacity 200 KW by industry.
(b) Environmental Legislation:
2001 Energy Conservation Act:
(i) Focus on energy efficiency.
(ii) Standards and labelling.
(iii) Designated consumers requirements.
(iv) Energy conservation building codes.
(v) Energy conservation fund.
(vi) Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
2003 Electricity Act:
(i) Combined several existing pieces of legislation.
(ii) Intended to accelerate growth of power sector.
(iii) Targets additional 10 percent from renewable by 2012 (1000 MW/year capacity).
(iv) Competitive market-based.
(v) Features include:
a. National Electricity policy.
b. Delicensing of generation and captive generation.
c. Public ownership of transmission companies.
d. Open access in transmission.
e. Freedom for distribution licenses.
f. Establishment of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions.
g. License-free generation and distribution in rural areas.
Provisions and activities impacting the power sector:
(i) Elimination of ceiling on foreign equity participation.
(ii) Streamlining the procedure for clearance of power projects.
(iii) Establishment of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.
(iv) Formulating an action plan to set up the National Grid.
State reforms impacting the power sector:
(i) Unbundling the State Electricity Boards (SEB) into separate generation, transmission and distribution companies.
(ii) Privatizing the generation, transmission and distribution companies.
(iii) Setting up independent state electricity regulatory commissions.
(iv) Making subsidy payments for subsidized categories of customers by state governments.
(v) Making tariff reforms by state governments.
(vi) Enabling legislation and operational support extended to the SEB/utility.
(vii) Improving operations of SEBs, particularly with regard to better management practices, reduction of transmission and distribution losses, better metering and reduction of power theft.
Essay # 7. Summary and Conclusion: Could India meet all Energy needs with Renewable Energy?
India is a nation in transition. Considered an “emerging economy,” increasing GDP is driving the demand for additional electrical energy, as well as transportation fuels. India is a nation of extremes. Poverty remains in areas with no energy services, while wealth grows in the new business hubs.
Coal fired generation currently provides two thirds of the generation capacity, and hydropower supplies the other third. Yet, India is blessed with vast resources of renewable energy in solar, wind, biomass and small hydro. In fact, the technical potential of these renewables exceeds the present installed generation capacity.
Unique in the world, India has the only Ministry that is dedicated to the development of renewable energies; the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. This bodes well for the acceleration of renewable development throughout the nation — both to meet the underserved needs of millions of rural residents and the growing demand of an energy hungry economy.