clean energy nepal

Clean Energy News Vol. 12, Number 18, June 20, 2012

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Clean Energy News
Vol. 12, Number 18, June 20, 2012
CE News is a free weekly e-mail publications that features news, information and events related to clean energy, clean air and climate change. CE News is published by Clean Energy Nepal. For more information on our campaign please visit www.cen.org.np
Headlines
•    Training on Climate Change Policy and Programmes to the NGOs to be held
•    8-Lane Road to Connect Kalanki with Koteshwor     
•    Broad-Road Initiative to Resume in Valley
•    Diesel, Kerosene Prices Hiked By Rs 4 per Litre
•    Govt Clears PDA Template for Big Hydro Projects
•    Climate Change Adversely Affecting Agriculture
•    Arctic Vegetation Changing in Response to Warming
•    Japan approves ambitious renewable energy subsidies
•    Carbon is Key for Getting Algae to Pump out More Oil
•    Seeping Arctic Methane has Serious Implications for Florida Coastline
•    Link Of The Week
•    Did You Know?
•    Media Watch
•    QUIZ Of The Week #  517
•    Answer Of Quiz Of The Week # 516

Local News
Training on Climate Change Policy and Programmes to the NGOs to be held 

Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) on behalf of Climate Change Network Nepal (CCNN) and NGO Network on Climate Change (NGONCC) with support from the European Union, Oxfam GB Nepal and LI-BIRD is organizing the "Training on Climate Change Policy and Programmes to the NGOs" on 29 June - 2 July 2012 in Pokhara, Nepal.
The objectives of the training are
►Participants will enhance their knowledge and understanding on climate change, climate negotiations, policies    and programmes being implemented in Nepal.

Participants will build their capacity to deliver/facilitate the content of the training to other stakeholders in the district.
Participants will prepare collective action plan for effective advocacy on climate change in their respective district.
Total of 25 participants representing NGOs from different district will attend the four days training. This training is expected to enhance the understanding of participants on climate change issues and contribute to develop expertise in local level.
 
8-Lane Road to Connect Kalanki with Koteshwor       
The government has kicked off preparation to arrange land acquisition for construction of a 8-lanes ring road from Kalanki to Koteshwore to be developed with assistance of Chinese government, after the completion of preliminary design of the project.
According to a high level official at the Ministry of Physical Planning Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM), the Chinese company carrying out the survey and design of the project submitted the construction design to the ministry. “We are studying the design that was prepared by The Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation (TTRSDIGC),” Ramesh Raj Bishta, joint secretary at the MoPPWTM said, “We might have some comment on the design but if we don´t we will okay it.” He further added that the contract for detail project report (DPR) and construction would start after finalizing the design. The government and China had signed the letter of exchange (LoE) for the project in Feb 2011. “The project will be completed within three years of its commencement,” Bista said, “The cost of construction is yet to be estimated. However, the rough estimation is Rs 5 billion.” According to Bista, the government has to arrange the land for the construction of road. “It requires 62 meters of width for the construction of 8-lane road,” he said, “There is sufficient open land for the construction of road.” The government has anticipated that the construction will begin at the end of this year or from the beginning of 2013. The government should have a matching fund for the project. “However, it´s not been finalized how much matching fund the government will arrange for this project,” Bista told Republica on Sunday. The design that the TTRSDIGC has submitted outlines the map of road from Kalanki to Koteshwore, which geos through Ekantakuna, Satdobato and Guwarko. “There will be different lanes for motorized vehicles and non-motorized vehicles,” Bista said.  According to an official at the MoPPWTM, the construction of the road also will be awarded to the Chinese companies. “We will just have to coordinate with them,” the official told Republica.
Source: http://myrepublica.com June 19, 2012
 
Broad-Road Initiative to Resume in Valley
After two months of hiatus, the government is all set to resume its road-widening drive in the Kathmandu Valley. A meeting of government stakeholders today decided to expand the Lainchour-Lazimpat-Bansbari stretches and two branch roads in Tahachal.
DIG Ganesh Raj Rai, incharge of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, informed that they will complete the marking of the roads within three days and issue a seven-day ultimatum to the people to clear the encroached public land on their own. “We will also use loudhailers to inform the public about the broad-road initiative,” he said. The authorities have made a decision to widen the Lainchour-Lazimpat-Bansbari road section by nine metres on either side. Also, branch roads of Tahachal will be expanded by seven meters on either side from the centre.
Source: http://www.epaper.thehimalayantimes.com June 18, 2012
 
Diesel, Kerosene Prices Hiked By Rs 4 per Litre
The state-owned oil monopoly, Nepal Oil Corporation has hiked the prices of diesel and kerosene by Rs 4 effective from Tuesday.
With this, diesel and kerosene will cost Rs 93. However, the prices of petrol, LPG, aviation fuel has not been jacked up. The perennially cash-strapped corporation jacked up the rates at the time when international price of the petroleum products is decreasing.
Source: http://ekantipur.com June 19, 2012
 
Govt Clears PDA Template for Big Hydro Projects     
By Bhoj Raj Poudel
In a major development, the Investment Board (IB) on Thursday approved a format for power development agreements (PDA) that it is to adopt while awarding hydroelectricity projects of above 500 MW capacity to international investors.
The format, which will be applied while developing Tamakoshi III (650 MW), Upper Karnali (900 MW), Upper Marsyangdi (600 MW) and Arun III (900 MW) under build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) arrangements, assures a 30 year concession period for the developers. It also sets the condition that the projects developed should last 100 years. What this means is, the developers will be allowed to own and operate mega hydropower projects for 30 years, and once the contract ends, the government will reclaim the ownership. But developers will still be able to operate the projects for the next 70 years. "This will protect the interests of both the people of Nepal and the power developers," said a senior IB official. The PDA template equips the government with guidelines for negotiating sound hydropower deals. It aims to ensure maximum benefits in terms of revenue, spending, industrial employment benefits and electricity. "The PDA ensures fair returns to the developers, enabling them to get financing at competitive costs. This agreement is bankable," said Radesh Pant, CEO of IB. Among other things, the PDA template commmits to putting in place a timely mechanism for approval from the government and also promises that the government will fulfill its commitments. It seeks developers to follow the best-practice international environmental and social standards, ensures packages that benefit local communities and commits itself to fair resettlement and rehabilitation, Pant told Republica after the board endorsed the template on Thursday. Prime Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai, who chairs the IB, stated that the government will assure investors work on their projects will proceed unhindered. The PDA is just an agreement template though. The IB will negotiate and tailor individual agreements for different projects based on project circumstances and economics, local community needs and aspirations. The template clearly cites the roles and obligations of the government and power developers. In the event of disagreements, it assures impartial processes for quick resolutions. It also deals at length with dam safety, appropriate design and maintenance and handover provisions. "Issues such as protection against basin silting are also covered so that these hydro assets continue to benefit the country for many decades after the investors hand them back to the government," Pant told Republica. The PDA template furthermore provisions for full financial disclosure so that the government understands how it will benefit from projects. "Shareholder agreements yet to be drafted will ensure profit and dividends and other policies and procedures to protect the government´s equity interest over the 30 year term," reads the template.
Source: http://myrepublica.com June 15, 2012
 
International News
Climate Change Adversely Affecting Agriculture
By Rachna Singh
Climate change, the greatest global challenge, is already a reality for the farmers of Rajasthan. It is increasing the pressure on already scarce resources and if proper measures are not taken, migration towards the cities will soon reach new heights.
According to the Rajasthan State Action Plan on Climate Change (RAPCC) report by the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board prepared with the help of a multi-disciplinary team of experts from TERI with support from GIZ says, 'enough is already known to start action'. And more than the factual situation the action plan that the report suggests is a writing on the wall for farmers.
Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com June 18, 2012
 
Arctic Vegetation Changing in Response to Warming
Recent years' warming in the Arctic has caused local changes in vegetation, reveals new research by biologists from the University of Gothenburg and elsewhere published in the journals Nature Climate Change and Ecology Letters. The results show that most plants in the Arctic have grown taller, and the proportion of bare ground has decreased. Above all, there has been an increase in evergreen shrubs.
"We've managed to link the vegetation changes observed at the different sites to the degree of local warming," explains researcher and biologist Robert Björk from the University of Gothenburg.
Shrubs and plants more widespread
Comparisons show that the prevalence of vascular species, such as shrubs and plants, is increasing as temperatures rise. The degree of change depends on climate zone, soil moisture and the presence of permafrost. Researchers working on the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) have been gathering data for almost 30 years. By analysing changes in vegetation in 158 plant communities at 46 locations across the Arctic between 1980 and 2010, they have been able to identify a number of general trends. "We've managed to show that the vegetation changes in our fixed plots are a result of local warming at numerous sites across the world's tundra," Robert Björk says.
Source: http://www.enn.com June 17, 2012
 
Japan approves ambitious renewable energy subsidies
By James Murray
Ministers rubber-stamp feed-in tariff regime, promising generous returns for solar and wind energy projects
The Japanese government has today formally approved one of the world's most generous renewable energy subsidy regimes, as ministers attempt to rapidly accelerate the country's post-Fukushima transition away from nuclear power. A statement published on the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry confirmed that ministers have approved proposals put forward by a government panel in April for a feed-in tariff mechanism that will provide renewable energy projects above market rates for the energy they produce. The subsidised tariffs, which will be paid for through higher energy bills, will see solar developers paid an additional 42 yen per kWh of electricity they produce, while wind farms will be paid 23.1 yen per kWh over a 20-year period. The tariffs are amongst the most generous in the world. According to news agency Reuters, the solar incentives are double those offered in Germany, while the wind tariffs are more than four times higher. The government estimates the new subsidy regime will result in 2.5GW of new renewable energy capacity being added by next March, with the bulk coming from new solar projects. In the longer term, ministers are hoping the initiative will allow renewables to largely replace the 30 per cent of the country's electricity that was provided by nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster. The move runs counter to efforts in many European countries to cut renewable energy subsidies as technology costs fall and will provide a major boost to Japanese renewable energy firms, such as solar panel manufacturers Sharp Solar and Panasonic. The approval of the new tariffs comes just days after the government authorised the restarting of two nuclear reactors, a move that could pave the way for more of the country's 50 reactors to come back online. The move is designed to address fears over a potential summer power crunch, and comes in response to critics who have argued that the decision to suspend nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima crises led to an increase in Japan's greenhouse gas emissions as energy companies were forced to switch to burning more fossil fuels.
Source: http://www.businessgreen.com June 18, 2012
 
Carbon is Key for Getting Algae to Pump out More Oil
Overturning two long-held misconceptions about oil production in algae, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory show that ramping up the microbes' overall metabolism by feeding them more carbon increases oil production as the organisms continue to grow.
The findings published online in the journal Plant and Cell Physiology on May 28, 2012 -- may point to new ways to turn photosynthetic green algae into tiny "green factories" for producing raw materials for alternative fuels. "We are interested in algae because they grow very quickly and can efficiently convert carbon dioxide into carbon-chain molecules like starch and oils," said Brookhaven biologist Changcheng Xu, the paper's lead author. With eight times the energy density of starch, algal oil in particular could be an ideal raw material for making biodiesel and other renewable fuels. But there have been some problems turning microscopic algae into oil producing factories. For one thing, when the tiny microbes take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, they preferentially convert the carbon into starch rather than oils. "Normally, algae produce very little oil," Xu said. Before the current research, the only way scientists knew to tip the balance in favor of oil production was to starve the algae of certain key nutrients, like nitrogen. Oil output would increase, but the algae would stop growing -- not ideal conditions for continuous production. Another issue was that scientists didn't know much about the details of oil biochemistry in algae. "Much of what we thought we knew was inferred from studies performed on higher plants," said Brookhaven biochemist John Shanklin, a co-author who's conducted extensive research on plant oil production. Recent studies have hinted at big differences between the microbial algae and their more complex photosynthetic relatives. "Our goal was to learn all we could about the factors that contribute to oil production in algae, including those that control metabolic switching between starch and oil, to see if we could shift the balance to oil production without stopping algae growth," Xu said.
The scientists grew cultures of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii -- the "fruit fly" of algae -- under a variety of nutrient conditions, with and without inhibitors that would limit specific biochemical pathways. They also studied a mutant Chlamydomonas that lacks the capacity to make starch. By comparing how much oil accumulated over time in the two strains across the various conditions, they were able to learn why carbon preferentially partitions into starch rather than oil, and how to affect the process. The main finding was that feeding the algae more carbon (in the form of acetate) quickly maxed out the production of starch to the point that any additional carbon was channeled into high-gear oil production. And, most significantly, under the excess carbon condition and without nutrient deprivation, the microbes kept growing while producing oil. "This overturns the previously held dogma that algae growth and increased oil production are mutually exclusive," Xu said. The detailed studies, conducted mainly by Brookhaven research associates Jilian Fan and Chengshi Yan, showed that the amount of carbon was the key factor determining how much oil was produced: more carbon resulted in more oil; less carbon limited production. This was another surprise because a lot of approaches for increasing oil production have focused on the role of enzymes involved in producing fatty acids and oils. In this study, inhibiting enzyme production had little effect on oil output.
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com June 18, 2012
 
Seeping Arctic Methane has Serious Implications for Florida Coastline
The ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting Arctic ice cap told Jeff Chanton and fellow researchers what they already knew: As the permafrost thaws, there is a release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that causes climate warming.
The trick was figuring out how much, said Chanton, the John W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University. The four-member team whose findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience documented a large number of gas seep sites in the Arctic where permafrost is thawing and glaciers receding (they found 77 previously undocumented seep sites, comprising 150,000 vents to the atmosphere). Until recently, the cryosphere (frozen soil and ice) has served to plug or block these vents. But thawing conditions have allowed the conduits to open, and deep geologic methane now escapes. The team studied the link between natural gas seepage and the melting ice cap, using aerial photos and field data to figure out the number and location of seep holes. So, here's the rub: The more the ice cap melts, the more methane is released into the atmosphere -- and the more the climate warms.
People who live in coastal areas could be directly affected, said Chanton, who analyzed the methane and dated it to more than 40,000 years old. All this seeping methane causes more melting ice, Chanton said, which causes sea levels to rise and could affect coastal real estate values sooner rather than later. Possibly over the next 50 to 100 years, Chanton said. "Methane is a very strong greenhouse gas that's grown three times faster than carbon dioxide since the industrial era," Chanton said. "As the Arctic warms, the ice caps melt and the fissures open, so methane escapes and causes more warming." This phenomenon causes sea levels to rise, which is particularly problematic in Florida: "Along the flat Florida coastline, a 1-foot rise in sea level could cause anywhere from 10 to 100 feet of shoreline retreat erosion," Chanton said. "For us here in Florida, this is really important because we can expect the coast to recede. That beach house, he warned, might be in peril: "It may not be there for your grandchildren."
Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com June 18, 2012

Link of the Week
CO2 Plus Energy Equals Organic Chemicals

Please Visit: http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/44542
 
Did you Know ?
The investment potential in energy efficient and renewable energy projects in the country´s industrial sector stands at US$17.92 million (Rs 1.6 billion), according to the latest report published by the International Finance Corporation, an investment arm of the World Bank. The projection comes at a time when Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank, has directed all banks and financial institutions to extend at least 10 percent of their total lending to the energy and agriculture sectors. The report Sustainable Energy Finance Market Study for Finance Sector in Nepal which incorporated surveys of 51 industrial units, says that tea processing units, which consume both thermal and electrical energy, have the highest investment potential of $8.06 million. This was followed by brick kilns, which have the potential of immediately absorbing loans of at least $2.51 million to imbed energy efficient and renewable energy technologies. Cement factories, also energy guzzlers, on the other hand, are in need of at least $1.76 million in financing to acquire green credentials. If these investments are made, together with energy efficient and renewable energy interventions, large industries can save at least $6.26 million, while small and medium industries can save $2.75 million, says the report, which was launched in Kathmandu.

Media and Event Watch
Every Monday 8:30 pm on Nepal FM 91.8 MHZ “Climate Change Mero Bhawisya Mero Chaso”
Every Sunday at 7:30 am on Radio Sagarmatha 102.4 MHz "Batabaran Dabali"
Every Monday at 5:30 pm (re-telecast every Tuesday 11 am) on ABC Television “Climate Change
Every Alternate Friday at 2 PM on ENPHO Hall – “Green Discussion” Organized by Clean Energy Nepal, Nepalese Youth for Climate Action anGrnd Green Youth Network
Every Friday on The Himalayan Times “THT Green Plus”
Environment Cycle Radio F.M.104.2Mhz (ECR FM)
 
QUIZ of the Week # 517
A large number of Kathmandu Valley dwellers walk on foot rather than using motorised vehicles and bicycles, shows a JICA Nepal survey conducted in 2010. According to the survey of 18,100 households, about ……………………….. per cent of Kathmanduties walk, 26 per cent travel on motorcycle and 1.5 per cent use bicycle as their everyday mode of transport (excluding public transport users).
a)    40
b)    30
c)    20
d)    10

While sending your answer please mention “Quiz of the week#” in the subject line and please send your answer in cenews@cen.org.np

One lucky winner will get an attractive prized from Clean Energy Nepal
 
Answer of the week # 516
The monthly and yearly average occupational and ambient PM10 concentration in high-density traffic areas and road intersections greatly exceeded the 24-hour average limit value of ……………………………… micrograms in Nepal.
b) 120
Arbin Shrestha
Rakesh Guragain
Kabita Poudyal
Heerakaji Maharjan
Lochan Devkota
 
Arbin Shrestha is the lucky winner for this week. Please contact the CEN office within a week with your identity card.
Congratulation to the Winner and thanks to all participants.

 

 

Prepared by: Suman Udas and Pabitra Basnet
Edited by: Bhushan Tuladhar

Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) is an independent, not-for-profit organization working in the field of Energy and Environment.

CEN: 140 Bublbule Marg, Thapagaon, Kathmandu, Nepal. Tel: 977-1-44464981