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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

India makes game-changing commitment to green energy

India is known for a lot of things – a dense population, an economy on the rise – but green energy certainly hasn’t been one. That all changed last week, when the electricity regulatory committee in Maharashtra (MERC), India's most industrialized state, ordered 93 separate companies to reach renewable power obligations (RPOs) by March, 2014. This mandate pertains to both government distribution companies as well as private consumers.

Companies that fail to comply will be fined 13.40 RS per unit, the highest penalty the state has ever threatened to levy. Maharashtra and Punjab, another one of the country's wealthier areas, are the only two states in India really pushing green energy.

Until now, India hasn’t made much progress on that front, mainly because their government has failed to enforce energy and environmental laws. In April, a report published by Greenpeace found that 22 of India’s 29 states failed reach their RPO goals. Maharashtra was one of the worst offenders.

"This announcement is a fundamental game-changer for the Indian solar industry," says Ameet Shah, co-chairman of Astonfield Renewables, a solar company vying for more work in India. "RPOs are essential to installing more power, alleviating shortages, and helping our economy run at full speed. Maharashtra, making such a big policy move towards enforcement confirms explicitly that non-compliance will not be tolerated any longer."

But is solar the answer? That technology has been around for decades now – plenty of time to prove itself on the global market. Solar simply hasn’t been able to provide enough power for large areas. It fails on cloudy days. Requires expensive instillation. Needs to be maintained regularly. Solar literally comes with a laundry list of problems.

Maybe solar isn’t the answer. That’s OK. The findings in India are “a significant step," claims Greenpeace campaigner Abhishek Pratap. “But it's going to be difficult for the [government] to impose such fines. Many [companies] are in very poor financial condition, so it's probably better to make the private entities pay up first."

Pratap goes on to blame regulatory boards for having limited the powers of local law enforcement. "The question is: who will regulate the regulators? We need a revamp of all electricity laws to give electricity regulatory boards more power." Sounds like they need to tear down the past and start from scratch.

NRGLab and other green energy groups are praying that Maharashtra’s initiative in India serves as a game-changing precedent. For far too long, governments have relied on incentivizing people. Perhaps it’s time to inflict a little punishment. Some “tough love.”

NRGLab believes there’s an easier – less painful – solution. With energy breakthroughs like the SH-Box – a carbon-free electrical generator that’s also portable – and the SV-Turbine – a device used in the gasification of agricultural byproduct into useable fuel, our company is dedicated to solving the energy problems of tomorrow, today.

For more information on NRGLab, visit And be sure to follow me for more news and updates. 

[ green energy, Maharashtra, MERC, renewable power, Punjab, Ameet Shah, Astonfield Renewables, Abhishek Pratap, sh-box, nrglab, nrglab singapore, nrglab pte ltd ]

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