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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Provide more incentives for renewable energy

Provide more incentives for renewable energy
Dr J D Bapat

The world has seen an unprecedented explosion in growth. However majority of the developed world is now officially in recession. The spiralling costs of crude oil and natural gas have come to an end - oil is back below US $40 a barrel.

Overall, it looks as though domestic energy prices will remain higher than previously thought. This is particularly ominous when wholesale gas and oil prices slowly start their rise again when the recession lifts. There is an air of inevitability in the increase of the price of oil and gas, as the finite resource becomes ever rarer and more expensive to extract.

The Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) cells are the perfect way to establish independence from increasing power prices. The only other viable power generation would be a miniature wind turbine. These renewable power devices provide protection from power price increase. The major disadvantages with micro-generation of power using wind turbines are swirling wind direction in urban areas, particularly if not mounted on the tallest building in the vicinity and the obstructive planning laws in some countries.

Renewable technology cannot compete on the free market with fossil fuels unless carbon trading schemes are brought in to represent the global damage being caused by climate change. The UK has introduced Renewable Obligation Credits (ROC's) and one time grant towards the initial capital outlay of microgeneration. For solar photovoltaics this grant currently stands at £2,500 per household and ROC's provide about 5p/kWh of energy produced. Other countries should also follow the same path.