Dec 13, 2008

New Solar Event

Another event that is being held in Mumbai arnd Feb 9, 2009..more details shall be posted as soon as available. Pls plan itenary accordingly. Most leading players likely to be there. Ciao .....!
Puneet AHUJA
91.98103 74071

Dec 10, 2008

Dec 9, 2008

The Green Force - Faridabad

Finally, the movement has begun. We hold regular meetings every Sunday, without fail, for the past almost 6 weeks now.. the group ( to create awareness and spread the green movement around) has begun to widen, and several new faces have turned up till now !

A friend ( and a key member / confidante) has helped take the entire initiative virtual - and created a social network on its own. Through individual efforts, we have also discovered ( by accident) groups willing to fund this. There is a preamble that has been set.. and what I didnt know is that there exists a youth group by the name of ICYN ( indian climate youth network) across India that is doing noteworthy work in this area of conservation.

These seem to be very exciting times. And yes, there is something known as Green Collar Economy. I just heard about the book and have ordered online.. am waiting to get my hands to it. But thats a separate chapter and a different post.

Oct 27, 2008

Green is King !

I have this crazy thought - of creating a 5000 people strong movement - of resources committed to make Faridabad ( the place where I stay) the most green city ( through planting trees, promoting cleanliness and reducing use of plastics / non biodegradable packaging, etc.) in India. The thought has at its roots, an idea of bring together like minded people, who can contribute positively - through group action to making this dream a reality.

Obviously, motivating capable and bright minds is a challenge. The challenge is similar to the workplace challenges that one faces routinely. In this case, the workplace environment changes to a more social context ( probably far more valuable and meaningful than what a lot do for a living) of causing positive change to the nature and environment.

Any thoughts / ideas and suggestions would be most welcome. The group may not be restricted alone to Faridabad / NCR. The key word is like-minded and affiliation is open to one and all.

Oct 20, 2008

Shaken & Stirred.....!

The mess that that financial meltdown globally, has left a lot of us - well precisely that.. shaken and stirred !

A majority amongst us has been touched at close quarters, whether through the real estate market investments or our dabbling in the stock markets (mutual funds and other forms of participation in the market) - and I heard a colleague talking about opening new bank accounts in nationalised banks, such was the concern and fright. While, this meltdown is temporary (fleeting, if one can describe it keeping in mind the lineage and history of financial world) and with the sentiment changing and sanity prevailing, investors world over shall soon realize that while things may not be hunky dory, the future is not all that bleak - of course there are some dents here and there, and its going to take a few quarters to get growth back on track.

If we were to transform this crisis to the climate crisis that is predicted to hit mankind and earth, what would the scenario be like ...some of the large countries realise that there are food stocks only for the next two weeks, with drinking water runnning short almost everywhere across- with the change in climate, more and more surface is being submerged by sea water, though. There are energy outages happenning more frequently. Water tables are dropping. Countries have started to blame each other for inaction and causing the crisis - and while in the current crisis, countries have come together to bail out the financial system, in the climate crisis, its one population against the other - simply because it is the test of survival...! Wars shall soon erupt.

Is this likely to happen ? Has someone already built a simulation around this ? I am sure, some of the countries have.. I am told that when man first made the expedition to the moon, the President of the US had two scripts ready.. one in the scenario that the mission was indeed successful, and the other if the mission had failed and the spaceship and men destroyed.

My ramblings above, echo in the thought that the impending climate crisis needs to be taken up with the same sense of urgency that governments and central banks displayed in announcing bail out packages and nationalisation of banks where required - an over 1 trillion dollar global governmental initiative can do wonders to the climate change (renewables) business worldwide - if nothing else, it will bring every individual to become acutely aware of the seriousness of the crisis that mankind faces.

Oct 5, 2008

Country Roads... take me home !

I was driving across to my office in the morning, it was around 8:30 am and a bright & sunny morning. And what do I suddenly see - on a main road, all the halogen lights are on - at that hour !!
Now that is the raison'd'atre for our plight and the energy situation that the country is in. Insensitivity and disregard for energy conservation. Is that a familiar story - in our lives, our homes & families.

While writing this, I am reminded of a late night party that I was in. It was near winding up time, and while we were gulping down the sweet dishes and sitting outside in the host's spacious garden, someone came around, and switched off a two lights from the four lights that were switched on - I remarked and asked him to switch off the other two lights - since they were incandescant lamps and consumed more power. What had been switched off were two CFL - the lumen output was almost similar for both sets. Naturally, I suggested that if two lights had to be switched off, ideally should be the incandescant lamps that consumed more power. I was taken aback when - one of my close friend scoffed at the remark - bordering on sarcasm - the uselessness of swapping the set that were on and off. Now this person is well educated, is doing well in life - but is seemingly unaware of the challenges that are staring at us in the face as people and as a world.

Coming back to the government and that powers that be - and the halogen lamp lit main road at 830 am, I was left pondering who ( or what ) would have been responsible for the lamps being left switched on.. was the person who was supposed to switch them off not in office , was there no back up then ? Did he forget ?

There is a daylight measuring device (costs about INR 100) that can automatically switch off lights once there is sufficient ambient light. No need for manual intervention. I am sure a manual override is also possible to be overlaid on this. But is there no thought in the direction ?
Or I can just rest with a conjecture that there was a device - and it malfunctioned that particular day. It would be great, if everyone can write in their experiences of seeing streetlights that are on - in broad daylight and evaluating the scale of the problem.

Sep 16, 2008

The Rural Indian Consumer - hungry for energy ?

Another chance encounter with a young enthusiastic person that allows a glimpse into the rural psyche…- this time, its from within the interiors of Bihar – a small village in Vaishali (also near the birth place of Mahavir Jain and Guru Gobind Singh)

The village hardly gets an hour or two of electricity during the day, although infrastructure exists for electricity distribution.

Most people do not pay the mandatory INR 25 for electricity dues per month

People have electrical appliances at homes, which run on ‘batteries’ 6V / 12V cells and which are charged at the local flour shop / mechanics shop, for as little as INR 10 ( 25 US cents) and these typically last for 12 hours of TV playing time.

People in villages have paid up to INR 5000 for getting infrastructure set up. The payments have been made, through borrowed funds from friends or the rich landlords within the villages ( as donations).

The gentleman who I spoke with was quite sure that there is a huge paying capacity in villages, provided the right product is made available. This person is well educated ( having done his primary schooling from the village – according to him, the village school does an excellent job which was contrary to my beliefs) and spoke excellent English. He has stayed in the cities (like Kolkatta and Hyderabad) over the last 4 years and till very recently was employed with a top BPO organization in Hyderabad.

When I asked him – on whether he considers himself fortunate at having made it – with a well paying job (excess of INR 25 K p.m., part of which he religiously sent home) AND if he is planning to do something for his school – his simple answer was an emphatic ‘yes – something very big’ and the look in his eyes conveyed the rest !!

I wonder how many of such people are out there !

And perhaps in ten years from now, how the face of villages would likely change ?

Sep 13, 2008

CleanTech Event in India (Upcoming)

Cleantech Forum Event is happenning in Mumbai, India in Oct - the dates are 7-9th October and one can find more details on the event on the link here..
http://cleantechnetwork.com/index.cfm?pageSRC=MumbaiForum

The event seems promising for all young companies entering the renewable energy area and renewable energy professionals, so do be there...and I promise will keep you posted on all the action there.

Energy is BIG !

I was surfing the net and liked this quote in particular.. wonder what it means to the youth in India..
Vinod Khosla says, “The best brains in the country are no longer working on the next pharmaceutical drug or the next Silicon Revolution. They want to work on energy.”

Sep 9, 2008

Urban poor

I spoke to one of the enlightened community member who professes use of solar power in day to day lives. One of his comments was that if the urban set of customers adopt the use of solar power, the rural poor shall follow. That set me off thinking...

And I went ahead and spoke to some of the residents..notably, it was not the well off residents in the high rise apartment buildings, or bungalows who gave an encouraging response - it was the panwallah and the local vegetable vendor. It was this section who was the most gungho on using advanced technology ( while they may not be aware of the imminent benefits that can follow on global warming and climate change), they were looking at it from a pure economical sense. Today, the poor guy spends close to INR 200-250 on using LPG / other options every month for lighting purpose. Solar Power could achive this purpose for free - albeit at an upfront cost. If only, we could work on a solution for providing this technology for this set of customers. And there are millions of them in India. Any solutions ?

Solar Facts

Folks .. you are welcome to keep adding facts on solar power to educate all visitors / readers..
Here are a couple of them..
# India recieves enough solar power in 2 hrs ( on its land area) that were if tapped completely meet its power requirements for a year.

Aug 18, 2008

Renewable Energy Exposition in India

There is a renewable energy exposition 2008 being held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi that showcases solutions and products offered from vendors and manufacturers in the area of Wind, Solar, Bio and Hydro power. It is a must see for anyone interested in renewable energy solutions.
More details are available on the link attached :
http://www.renewableenergyindiaexpo.com/

Aug 15, 2008

Woh Traffic Woeful..

Chaotic, mismanaged and so wasteful.. yes does it ever occur to us, how much do traffic chaos and perpetual jams reek of inefficiency of the system that we live in. Just as consumers are today accused of inordinate and wasteful consumption of resources, right from the amount of electricity that we use to water that flows down the drain (there are few people who believe in setting the temperature of the Air conditioners to a 25 degree celsius which is equally comfortable rather than a 22 degrees but reduces power consumption by upto 30% and few who would rather use the taps than showers for the daily bath routine).

Coming back to traffic jams, I often pontificate sitting in the sea of vehicles around me..how much of fuel is getting guzzled at that very moment - a hundred - a thousand - perhaps ten thousands of vehicles if one was to go by the news reports of the past two days, waiting for upto an hour must have consumed close to - on the basis of a conservative basis about 300,000 litres of fuel extra !! An average annual consumption figure of fuel per household would not be more than 2000 litres.

The root problem lies within all stakeholders - civic administration and it is encouraging to see that steps are being taken to haul them up.. for criminal proceedings..as has appeared on certain news channels, but also the traffic police - for sheer uneducated and unaware resources who are completely unmindful of the impact. Leave alone the impact, they are not even equipped to handle how to defuse a traffic jam situation efficiently. I will come to that aspect in a while.

However, the people behind the vehicles emerge as the single biggest reasons for causing traffic problems. A little patience, common sense and genorisity in a traffic jam situation can clear the path for all quickly, with minimal fuss. However, in the haste to get ahead (and thereby create mutliple lanes) and beat the jam (on the contrary, such moves cause even more delays) the situation soon becomes completely chaotic. To give you an example, I commute a road which has no traffic lights for a large part, but is single lane and wide enough for three vehicles to pass comfortably. However, in the event of a vehicle breakdown, one finds drivers in 3 -4 lanes in each direction, hence a situation of a gridlock. The traffic cops would come in after about 20-30 minutes, when the situation is completely chaotic and then begin clearing traffic from the right side first, thereby ensuring that drivers (for lack of any other words else they should be called morons behind the wheel) who jumped the queue get rewarded instead of issuing challans on the spot. Imagine, the system is providing incentives to such people by allowing them a quick passage instead of punishing them and setting examples so that none of the drivers ape them. In such a situation, the temptation to 'beat the queue' and rush ahead from the side becomes stronger - however fruitless it may be. One must avoid doing this at all costs, for sanity amongst majority remains the only hope. Importantly, one can even try and instill a sense of discipline in others, by ensuring driving such that dual lane formations do not happen easily for ones behind one's vehicle.

The bottomline is that if each of us strives to be disciplined and drive in our own lanes, and follow a system, traffic jams would be far and few. Till then, keep fuming and twiddling your thumbs behind the wheel !! We have only ourselves to blame.

Diclaimer : Part of this blog was written while I waited yesterday in one such jam.

Aug 6, 2008

ICICI Bank's MicroFinance Innovation

Interestingly, ICICI does solutions in the area of MicroFinance for requirements as diverse as buffalo loans, education or healthcare, tractors etc.. using technology like digital kiosks, biometric cards for recognition etc..more information on the link below.. go ahead and click..

http://unitedbit.com/new-age-of-innovation/innovations-at-icici-bank-rural-and-microfinance-solutions-and-personalized-insurance-for-diabetes/

MicroFinance

Heres an interesting link for folks to follow..

http://indiacreditcard.blogspot.com/2008/07/gram-sabha-credit-cards-issued-to.html

Apparently, basic level credit cards have been issued to rural folks and credit provided to eligible people in villages. A step in the right direction. And happenning in India, in Madhya Pradesh.

Aug 4, 2008

GreenPeace and Solar Initiatives

Heres what I found on the GreenPeace website... !

Greenpeace’s ‘Solar Generation’ youth programme provides an opportunity for young people to take charge of your future in fun and creative ways. You can join the Solar Generation! For more information check our web blog for the latest on Solar Generation http://www.solargeneration.blogspot.com/

MicroFinance and Energy - Rural Sector

Folks, am back and am seriously evaluating options through which microfinance can be provided to financially challenged rural folk to avail of energy solutions. It may be my naive assumption that finance is stopping people residing in rural areas to avail of an energy solution ( other factor being the information and awareness that such a solution exists).

Typical default rates in a microfinance scenario are less than 1 %. I am informed that Indian banks are being incentivized to work in this sector deemed as a priority lending area. NGOs can constitute the role of an executing agency.

If all stakeholders come together and work towards a rural energy solution - distributed energy model - a solar lantern in every rural household, the Indian villages would have a different look. Have I overlooked the most critical piece - the folks who apparently need this solution ..would seek comments from all you rural management experts who have sold soaps and motorcycles and tractors in this segment..