Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Samkhya dualism, not materialism vs idealism

I am taking this tall step to compare what I don't know anything about.

However this has taken me by such surprise, that I cannot stop but write as notes.

Samkhya is one of the thought schools of Hindu Philosophy, started by sage Kapila.

The Samkhya system teaches existence of Purush (consciousness) and Prakriti (realm of matter) within

Idealism says mind and physical entities are different, mind has its own identity different from physical existence.
Materialism says mind and the physical entities, that it interact with, are the same.

Samkhya system has no such conflict. It says Prakriti includes mind (knowledge) as well as physical entities.
However consciousness (Purush) is different from Prikriti (including mind, knowledge and physical).

How to *be* in Purush, while being dependent on Prakriti?

Alas I am too far away from any of it!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Decentralised renewable energy (DRE)

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/give-renewable-energy-a-chance/article4151092.ece

My thoughts:
This post is too government-dependent, with gloomy picture of DRE sustainability by themselves.
The mission of social good is shared between Government and social enterprises, but mean actions both from irresponsible, undisciplined Govt servants and greed-driven business community makes the flavor untrustworthy.
Regulatory role of Govt, planned and timely implementation of grid projects, and responsible business community can effectively create a win-win situation for both, with added win for the society.

Summary of article:
Electricity generation and distribution to remote off-grid rural areas through small-scale decentralised energy generation systems using locally available renewable resources such as biomass, water, sunlight and wind. 

Number of commissioned DRE projects have failed to survive in the long run due to unresolved technical, socio-economic and institutional problems:
  • particularly by the high and inequitable tariffs for poor consumers
  • lack of performance-based incentives 
  • perceived threat from the expanding centralised grid at the DRE project location 

Equitable tariffs

DRE has higher electricity tariffs than grid. The prohibitive tariffs result from the high costs of electricity generation, caused in turn by the high specific capital costs, high operation and maintenance expenses and low utilisation factors in remote rural areas. Forum of Regulators (FoR) comprising chairpersons of the Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (ERCs), has approved two business models 
  • electricity distribution company provide the difference, that is, the viability gap for a kilowatt-hour between the generation tariff (also known as feed-in-tariff, decided by the State ERC) and the consumer tariff to the developer.
  • developer shall provide electricity to consumers at grid-based tariffs and obtain a renewable energy certificate (REC) for the energy generated, which can then be exchanged on specially approved power exchanges. 

Based on Performance

High capital investments in setting up DRE projects, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), provides capital subsidies to developers through various schemes. Similarly, various funding agencies also offer grants for starting projects. 
Performance-based incentives in the DRE sector must be promoted for giving incentives for higher generation i.e. effective institutional and governance framework for the sustainable operation of the project -> depends on a robust process of monitoring and verification (M&V)

Comprehensive M&V should focus on:
  • technical aspects (energy metering and conformity with standards), 
  • operational requirements (validation of protocols, subsidy disbursal and safety) 
  • socio-economic measures (impact assessment and user feedback)

Grid expansion

Current drive to extend the grid poses a challenge to DRE projects. Arrival of the centralised grid would potentially threaten the existence of DRE projects, because the villagers will prefer the ‘cheaper’ grid electricity to the costlier electricity from DRE generation. 

Integrating an off-grid DRE project to the centralised grid has its own advantages. 
Lower the costs of DRE projects by improving their utilisation factors
Grid-connected DRE projects will require a comprehensive framework encompassing several techno-economic and policy-regulatory factors, including grid-connectivity standards, tariffs, safety, regulations, metering and finance. 

The DRE sector in India has the capacity to complement the Government’s efforts towards household electrification. To achieve this end, it must make access to electricity affordable and sustainable for the rural poor.