threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Birmingham couple become model for living a low-carbon life

There are many people across the country who have already cut their carbon emissions down to near zero.  Some of them are featured in an Observer article this week:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/04/carbon-cutting-zero-emissions-eco-warriors-damaged-world

Among them are Chris and Harriet Martin from Birmingham,UK.

Martins

Harriet and Chris Martin in their back garden: behind them you can see solar panels on their pergola

Harriet Martin is quoted as saying, “My husband Chris and I are Quakers. Eleven years ago, we downsized to a semi-detached house in Bournville. To make our new home energy efficient, we insulated as much as we could – even under the floorboards. We installed double glazing and put solar panels on a pergola in the garden. In total, we’ve reduced our home’s carbon emissions by 85%. We open the house to show people what we’ve done.

Our diet is now 60% to 70% vegan, and the remainder vegetarian. We grow a lot of our fruit and vegetables on our allotment. We eat seasonally and I bake my own bread.

Even though we own a car, we rarely drive and try to walk as much as we can or take the bus. We avoid flying, preferring to travel by train. We mend our clothes and furniture. When I feel I need to buy something, I try to get it from a charity shop, borrow it from a neighbour or ask for it on Freecycle or Freegle, where people advertise things they want to get rid of.

We bank with Triodos Bank. It costs us a few pounds each month, but it means we know our money will be used for ethical and sustainable purposes, not fossil fuel exploration or companies.


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Solar Panels: the majority of the UK public want to install them

A survey, reported in The Guardian has shown that more than half of people in the UK would install solar panels on their homes, if there was Government support on the cost of installation.  62% said they wanted to fit solar panels and 60% said they would buy an energy storage device.  Many have made this decision because they want to break up the energy suppliers market dominance but less than 10% of those surveyed had already installed solar panels.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/20/majority-of-uk-public-want-to-install-solar-panels-poll-finds

The survey was commissioned by Client Earth, an environmental law group: https://www.clientearth.org/

The survey also found that solar is the most popular energy source, with coal the least popular.  Nuclear energy and gas were almost as unpopular as coal.

Further data and graphs are given in The Guardian article.

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India: new contract for 500 megawatt Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan

The Financial Times has outlined details of this project, which went up for auction in May.  The companies which won the bid have said that they can build the project for 2.44 rupees ($0.04) for every unit of electricity eventually generated. The article was written by Kiran Stacey from New Delhi and published on 1st November 2017.  See:

https://www.ft.com/content/4dca7f72-b31d-11e7-a398-73d59db9e3299?accessToken=zwAAAV-azb9Akc9Nyn9ysx0R59OjmHPVnbnjmQ.MEQCID3mnYDb7NVXzpn9wAPEMb7C6IwZUIHs5MHMvp8lsZK8AiBs5deHUvR6sQJI9vkbwoRdq_62CK-xxB3Zy7cuLTijAQ&sharetype=gift

This detailed and interesting article provides a number of facts about India’s place in the renewable energy field.

  1.  India’s solar power tariffs have reduced from over 8Rs/Kwh to 2.44Rs in the last six years.
  2. Solar power in India has grown at double digit rates over the last six years.
  3. There are plans to increase India’s solar capacity by 76% more in 2017 than in 2016, which will make India the third largest solar market globally. An interesting graph is included in the FT article, which shows that China is by far the leading solar industry around the world.  In second place is the USA, though their additional capacity has dropped in the last year.  The capacity of Japan and Germany is also dropping, which has enabled India to soar into third place.
  4. The price of Chinese-made solar panels has tumbled in recent years, due to over-production.
  5. At present, 60% of India’s energy is coal-powered, so there is still a long way to go, though the reducing price of solar panels makes the solar industry much more competitive.

The FT article mainly focuses on the economical effects of these changes and the risks associated with them.

However, it makes sense for this to happen, in view of the rising temperatures experienced in India in the last few years.

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Map of India showing high temperature areas during recent heat wave

And now, further details of the new solar development in Rajasthan have come to me, as follows:

The winning bid for the third and fourth phase development at Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan – a500-megawatt solar farm – was one of the lowest prices for solar power ever seen anywhere in the world. The companies — Acme Solar, an Indian developer, and SBG Cleantech, a joint venture whose shareholders include SoftBank of Japan — said they would build the project for a guaranteed price of just Rs2.44 ($0.04) for every unit of electricity they eventually sold – substantially cheaper than coal

The Bhadla auction confirmed that the country is undergoing a generational shift from coal-fuelled power to solar and wind and placed India at the centre of a global renewables revolution that is driving down the cost of green energy and which represents one of the biggest threats to fossil fuels.

As India is already the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter and plans to electrify even its most remote villages within two years, a rapid expansion in the country’s renewables sector would prove a huge boost for attempts to keep global temperature rises below 2C — the target set by the 2015 Paris climate accords. 

Further details can be found at:

https://chssachetan.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/indias-development-of-solar-energy-1/