Wednesday, 27 August 2008

TERI in consonance with Ministry of New & Renewable Energy promises to bring light in villages

Pledging its commitment towards addressing the physical, economic and policy aspects of energy, environment and resources, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) along with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, celebrated Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas 2008 in the capital based on the this years common theme, “Akshay Urja Se Desh Vikas, Gaon Gaon Bijli, Ghar Ghar Prakash”.

Shri Vilas Muttemwar, Hon’ble Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Government of India delivered a special address along with Smt Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Chief Minister and Dr RK Pachauri, Director-General of TERI, who joined the dais for a special address to the 2500 school children present with teachers and civil society think tanks at National Bal Bhawan, kotla road.

Shri Muttemwar, Hon’ble Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Government of India in his special address said, “Akshay Urja began in 2004 with the agenda to address the National problem of energy crisis and we believe that the children present here today, are going to play a key role to propagate this programme. India is blessed with solar energy and if harnessed efficiently, we are capable of producing electricity around 5 trillion-kilo watts. I feel that Akshya Urja will help in the development of the nation and thank all the children across India who have participated in various competitions and have supported our campaign.”

Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit said, “Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas encourages the future, our students present here to propagate the message of judicial use of electricity and promoting the increasing use of renewable sources for leading a eco- friendly lifestyle.”

Cheering the children, Dr RK Pachauri, Director-General TERI said, “The future of our country and the world is in children’s hands. Akshay Urjay defines the future of human race for creating world’s future in energy. Due to the abundant solar energy available to us, India has a great potential in utilizing renewable sources and is extremely beneficial as its non-polluting and its generation can be decentralized. We need to come together and take initiatives to create technologies for a greater use of these sources to combat climate change by reducing green house gases.”

A weeklong series of activities were organized by TERI in consonance with school children from all over the National Capital Territory based on a common theme, ‘Akshay Urja Se Desh Vikas, Gaon Gaon Bijli, Ghar Ghar Prakash. The activities under Inter school competitions ranged from model making, slogan... writing and banner painting. On the other hand, skit and Debate competition were organised under the Inter college category. A Signature Campaign on the occasion was also commenced.

More than 2500 students from Public, Private and Government schools of Delhi participated at the event. The function concluded by an Akshay Urja pledge to the students to avoid excessive consumption of energy derived from conventional sources and to follow the path of renewable energy administered by the Guests of Honour.

All the participants received certificates from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India.

TERI has already treaded in the path of proliferating renewable through its ‘Lighting a Billion Lives Campaign’ (LaBL), that has experienced enormous support from the corporate, and stalwarts such as Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and government heads like the President of Maldives, Mr. Gayoom. The LaBL project has already been implemented in states of Harayana, Rajasthan, Orissa, etc, benefiting many lives as education and businesses can continue even after sunset.

Renewable energy technology stores the wind underground

Renewable energy technology stores the wind underground

Mr. Nakhamkin has helped develop technology to pull excess energy off the power grid - usually at night when usage has waned - to run compressors that pump air into sealed, underground caverns that once held ...

Oil jumps to USD 116.27 a barrel

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, August 26, on fears that tropical storm Gustav could threaten oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose USD 1.16 to settle at USD 116.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

Gasoline futures rose 8.74 cents to settle at USD 2.9697 a gallon. The retail price of a gallon of regular gas stood at USD 3.672.


India's Suzlon Energy Encounters Headwinds at Home

CHENNAI, India -- Suzlon Energy Ltd., the world's fifth-largest wind- turbine maker by sales, is facing complaints in its home market of India over technical problems with turbines, only months after blades it sold to U.S. buyers began cracking.

Some of Suzlon Energy's largest Indian customers say their turbines fail to generate anywhere near the amount of electricity expected, suffer from excessive vibrations during high winds and have control problems costing them millions of dollars in lost power revenue.

"The machines are not fit to handle the wind," said Shrenik Baldota, managing director of MSPL Ltd., an Indian mining company

Thanks: WSJ

Denmarks largest offshore wind farm approved

Denmark's largest offshore wind turbine park will be placed in the Kattegat strait Parliament approved the construction of Denmark's largest offshore wind turbine park on Tuesday. The wind farm will be placed in the Kattegat strait of the North Sea.

The turbines will be capable of producing 400 megawatts of energy, which can power 400,000 homes for a year, according to the Climate and Energy Ministry.

There will be between 100 and 175 wind turbines placed in the northern Jutland waters, depending on their size.

'I'm very happy all parties supported the energy agreement and the location of the wind turbines. It's important that a broad majority support energy policies, because there's no doubt that this is an enormous task for Denmark,' said Connie Hedegaard, the climate minister.

Jakob Lau Holst, the acting director of the Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA), said the new construction will help Denmark in its bid to reach the European Commission's goal of generating 30 percent of its energy from wind by 2020.

'At the same time it's also important we don't rest on our laurels. We need to continuously build at sea and on land over the coming years to reach the goal and to send an international message that we are serious about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,' said Holst.

According to the latest figures from the Wind Industry Association, Denmark has 5267 turbines, of which nearly 70 percent are located on Jutland. In 2006, offshore wind farms produced 22 percent of Danish wind energy.

Thanks: Danish Wind Industry Association - Communication consultant

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Pakistan looks to India for green energy know-how

NEW DELHI: While bilateral relations between Pakistan and India may not be very cordial at the moment, businessmen across the border have found a new area for collaboration - alternate energy.

About 30 Pakistani companies sent representatives to Delhi during the Renewable Energy Expo 2008 that ended on Saturday to scout for new technology and expertise to skirt over chronic energy shortage in that country.

"We had 38 businessmen from Pakistan with various business interests," said Waqar Ahmed, managing director of Business Horizons, the trade promotion group that brought the Pakistani delegation to India.

Ahmed said Pakistani business houses were either looking at setting up of power plants to feed into the national grid, or set up captive plants for their own units.

Making the visit were some of Pakistan's top companies that included Sapphire group, which runs 13 textile weaving and spinning mills, travel company Sitara that also has subsidiaries in Canada and Uzbekistan, the Crescent Group with multiple business interests such as oil exploration, financial services and textiles, and Pakistan's second largest textiles group Gulistan.

Interestingly, the day the Delhi expo was inaugurated, leading Pakistani financial paper Business Recorder had published a two-page supplement on event.

Reports in the Pakistani media say the electricity shortfall was as high as 7,000 MW this summer after 24 power generating units stopped operations due a severe shortage of furnace oil.

Pakistan has a target to generate at least 9,700 MW through renewable energy by 2030, or about five percent of its installed capacity.

"The government has already issued 93 letters of intent to private companies for setting up wind power projects," said Ahmed.

The 93 projects will have a generation capacity of about 4,600 MW.

Sitara Chemicals Industries, which operates the largest chemicals complex in Pakistan, has ambitious plans that hinge on the ability to secure a reliable source of energy.

"We are already running a 80 MW plant, which supplies electricity to the complex and the state power board. We need to generate 50 MW at least, which may go up to 200 MW," Sitara Chemicals chief executive Muhammad Adrees told IANS.

The head of the Rs 140 crore company is keen to import Indian technology, as he felt "there was an affinity to the ground conditions in Pakistan".

Preliminary talks have been held with several companies, including Tata BP Solar. "We have not yet decided to set up a renewable energy power plant, but still exploring our options," said Adrees.

The Sitara group already has an Indian connection, having sourced two chemical plants from here. "Right now, we have 20 Indians working in our complex in connection with setting up these two plants," said Adrees.

It is still logistically a challenge to import equipment from India. "When we had to get our machinery from Delhi, it had to be routed through Mumbai to reach Karachi port. If we could have transported directly by road from Delhi, it would have saves costs," he said.

India has been ranked third on the Ernst and Young Renewable Energy attractiveness model. The country has an installed capacity of 12,600 MW, out of which about 8,700 MW is generated through wind power.

By 2011, it hopes to increase the total generation from renewable energy to 14,000 MW. As per government targets, renewable energy will account for 10 per cent of total power generation by 2012 and 20 per cent by 2020.

Ravi Uppal to leave ABB

BANGALORE: Ravi Uppal, President of Global Markets and a member of the ABB Group Executive Committee since July 2007, has decided to relinquish his position for personal reasons and plans to return to India to pursue a career outside ABB.

He will remain non-executive chairman of ABB in India, to help ensure continuity in the business in this rapidly growing market, the company said in a statement.

"A successor for his Zurich-based role as head of Global Markets will be announced in due course", it said.

"I fully understand and respect Ravi's decision", said Chief Executive Officer Michel Demare. "ABB has benefited greatly over the years from his energy, drive and business knowledge. He leaves a strong legacy of growth and achievement and the ABB Executive Committee wishes him every success in future".

Uppal joined ABB in 1980 and, after a five-year spell at Volvo, returned to the company as ABB country manager in India in 2001. Uppal steered a period of very profitable growth in the country and, as the regional manager for South Asia from 2005 until his appointment to the Executive Committee, contributed to ABB's development in the region.

Industrial users must pay more for diesel


New Delhi, Industrial users of diesel may end up paying a little over Rs 22 for the product compared to retail customers if the proposal of the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) finds its way.

In a concept paper submitted to the Government on proposed differential diesel pricing for direct consumers (such as the Railways and power sector) following a Petroleum Ministry’s request, the OMCs have suggested a price of Rs 57 a litre for such consumers, almost 63 per cent higher than Rs 34.80 a litre price for retail consumers.

At a recent meeting convened by the Petroleum Minister, Mr Murli Deora, the OMCs were asked to come back with specific suggestions to tackle the situation arising out of unusually high consumption of diesel along with information on diesel usage in various sectors.

In fact, the high powered committee constituted by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has also proposed differential pricing for diesel.
Courtesy:Business Line


NTPC approaches govt to raise ECBs worth $25 bn

NEW DELHI: State-run power company NTPC has approached the government for free access to external capital markets for raising debt of around Rs 1.05 lakh crore (about 25 billion dollar) in order to become a 50,000 MW company by 2012.

The ECB would include Rs 60,300 crore in foreign currency and Rs 45,200 crore in rupee term.

In a letter written to Power Ministry, Chairman and Managing Director NTPC R S Sharma asked, "Government of India should recommend to the Reserve Bank of India for granting External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs) to meet both the rupee as well as foreign currency expenditure for subject packages."

Countries largest power producer NTPC wants to raise money in foreign as well as domestic currency without any ceiling.

In the present scenario, the companies can raise up to 500 million dollar per annum through ECBs under the automatic route for import of equipments. Apart from this an additional 250 million dollar can be raised for the said purpose with the approval of RBI.

NTPC is pursuing this matter with the power minister to achieve its ultimate objective of becoming a 50,000 MW company by 2012 and a 75,000 MW company by 2017.

For achieving these targets, the company is required to invest around Rs 1.6 lakh crore during the XI plan period.
The debt requirement is around Rs 1. 05 lakh crore with 70:30 debt equity ratio.

Singur twist: Farmers want Tata factory to stay

SINGUR: A day after Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata left it to the people of West Bengal to come clear whether they wanted him in West Bengal, farmers at large rallied behind the car factory in Singur, despite their hardship.

Even those who will be joining the Trinamool Congress stir on Sunday don't want the Tatas to pull out. This is the general feeling among landlosers in Beraberi Purbapara and Gopalnagar Ghoshpara areas where many didn't collect the compensation cheques.

"We are not against the car factory. We want our fertile land back," marginal farmer Debaprasad Das said. He has one acre of land of which a part has been acquired. Debaprasad has been with Mamata Banerjee since then. Despite this, he wants the Tatas to stay in Singur.

Manik Das, a marginal farmer and member of the Trinamool-run zilla parishad, endorsed the view. He wanted the government to relocate the ancillary units and return the land to the farmers. "We welcome industry in Singur. This can be done by shifting the ancillaries somewhere else," said Das.

But then, landowners in the area stand divided on this issue. Many of them are engaged with the 23 labour syndicates supplying materials to the Tata Motors. They don't want any change of plan.

Even the day labourers from Dobandhi village, who have lost their sustainance from agriculture, see no reason why the Tatas should leave Singur. "We have been engaged in unloading of trucks and piling of sand inside the project area. We will lose our living if the Tatas decide to pack up," said Akul Gharai, a land labourer.

"We are not aggrieved with the Tatas as such. We are hurt with the government that made promises which it didn't keep. When the government started acquiring our land, we were told we will get jobs. It didn't happen. Some of us joined as security guards, but are now out of job," said Adhar Mati.

Thanks: ET

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Indian cities rank low in global urban competitiveness league

NEW DELHI: An international team of researchers has just released a Global Urban Competitiveness Report, which takes stock of 500 cities around the world. New York has been found to be the most competitive city in the world, followed, in that order, by London, Tokyo, Paris and Washington, DC.

But what's shocking is that although cities across the world have been ranked according to seven parameters of competitiveness, such as enterprise competitiveness, industrial structure, human resources, business environment, living environment and so on, no Indian city features in any of the seven corresponding top 20 lists, with a solitary exception: Mumbai comes in at number 15 on industrial structure.

Cities are the catalysts of growth and economic development. The poor representation of Indian cities belies India's status as a rising economic power. This should be an opportunity to look at what is wrong with our cities. Do they measure up to the other major cities' industries, people, multinational corporations, as well as living, social and business environments? Perhaps not at all.

Thanks: ET

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Jatropha is a Good Source of Fuel

THE fuel prices continue to skyrocket and it seems like nothing can be done about it. However, Eirik Trondsen, a Norwegian investor in renewable energy, believes the solution to the problem is currently growing wild, neglected in the fields countrywide.

It is the jatropha carcus, a plant that is coming to be known as the diesel plant.Jatropha (kiloowa in Luganda), which is commonly used in the countryside as a hedge and/or support for vanilla plants, can be used to make fuel for lamps, cooking and running machines like cars and generators.

Trondsen says the idea is actually not new. During the 1970s, people in eastern Uganda used jatropha seeds for domestic lighting."They used to stick them onto a rod that acted as a wick. When you light the end of the rod, it burns just as a wick dipped in paraffin does," Trondsen says.It is estimated that jatropha`s earning potential will increase as fuel prices continue to rise and people seek alternative fuels.
(Lydia Namubiru)


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

India survive scare, beat Lanka by 3 wickets

DAMBULLA: A nervous India survived a scare before scraping through to a three-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in a low-scoring thriller to level the five-match One-day series 1-1 on Wednesday.

Batting R B 4s 6s S/R
Irfan Pathan c Kumar Sangakkara b Nuwan Kulasekara 5 8 1 0 62.5
Virat Kohli c Chamara Kapugedera b Muttiah Muralitharan 37 67 6 0 55.22
Suresh Raina lbw Nuwan Kulasekara 1 4 0 0 25
Yuvraj Singh lbw Ajantha Mendis 20 32 3 0 62.5
MS Dhoni (W & C) b Dilhara Fernando 39 54 3 0 72.22
Rohit Sharma lbw Thilan Thushara 0 2 0 0 0
Subramaniam Badrinath Not Out 27 57 1 0 47.37
Harbhajan Singh lbw Ajantha Mendis 1 6 0 0 16.67
Zaheer Khan Not Out 2 10 0 0 20
Praveen Kumar

Munaf Patel

Extras: 11(NB-2, WB-2, LB-4, Byes - 3, Penalty-0) Run Rate:3.61

Target: 143 runs from 50 overs Total Score: 143/7 (39.4)

Wrestler Sushil grabs Olympic bronze

Beijing/New Delhi: Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar defeated Leonid Speiridonov of Kazakhstan in the men's freestyle (66 kg) event to grab the bronze in the Olympic Games on Wednesday.
This is the second medal for India at the Beijing Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra claimed the first ever individual Olympic gold last week.
On hearing the news, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit announced a cash award of Rs.5 million for the wrestler.
"It is a great achievement for Sushil. He is the new icon for Delhi and I will give him a cash award of Rs.5 million. If he doesn't have a job I will provide him with one and if he has one he will get an out-of-turn promotion. His coach Satpal will also get promotion," Dixit told a TV channel.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Unemployment Brings Down Leading Indicators

NEW YORK (AP) -- The economy contracted in June as factories cut workers' hours and stocks tumbled, a private business group said Monday. It also revised its May figure to show a decline instead of slight growth.

The New York-based Conference Board's forecast of future economic activity fell 0.1 percent, in line with forecasts by Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR.

The group also revised May's number downward to a 0.2 percent decrease, from a 0.1 percent increase.

The index has slipped 0.9 percent for the six months ending in June, but the rate of decline has improved since the first quarter.

Downturns in the auto and housing industries have been devastating for the manufacturers that produce everything from spark plugs to vinyl siding. And more job cuts are almost certain: General Motors Corp. said Friday more factories likely will close as it slashes production of trucks and sport utility vehicles by 300,000 by the end of the year.

Manufacturers that make anything related to cars and trucks have been laying off workers, cutting their hours, selling the companies or shutting their doors, said Ralph Hardt, president of Feintool Inc., a Cincinnati component maker.

"The number of auction flyers that come across my desk is back where it was in 2000, 2001, the last recession we had," he said.


China Tightens Business Visa Restrictions

BEIJING (AP) -- China has clamped down further on issuing business visas, government officials said Thursday, in the latest expansion of already-tight entry restrictions for next month's Olympic Games.

Beijing has stopped issuing invitation letters needed for visas for businesspeople until late September, unless the visa involves employment or business contracts, an official with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce said.

"We don't take in applications related to any other general business matters, such as attending conferences, visiting factories and business negotiations. Such applications will not be handled until after Sept. 20," Chen Yu said.

The change began around the beginning of July, he said.

China has tightened its visa rules to keep out foreign activists and foreigners not properly employed in Beijing, but businessmen have also been caught in the net. Authorities do not want a repeat in Beijing of raucous protests that greeted the Olympic torch as it passed through London, Paris and San Francisco earlier in the year.

The visas restrictions are part of a massive security operation to ensure a trouble-free games, in line with its desire to project an image of a modern China. Dissidents have been monitored or even arrested, and migrant workers told to go home.

In Shanghai, the site of some of the Olympic soccer matches, a notice on the Web site of the Shanghai Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Commission said it will not support visas for routine business visits, market research or training until mid-September. Important business visits will be considered, it said, but the length of time will be shortened.

Andrew Work, executive director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said the latest restriction on business visas will affect business.

"While the Olympics are important, business doesn't stop," he said.

Juergen Weckherlin, a German businessman in Hong Kong, said people were losing money because they cannot make trips that require face-to-face contact. He used to go mainland China four or five times a month to visit garment factories, he said.

"I understand they are very afraid because of some threats in the air, but people like me have a stable visa record and we have never done anything wrong," said Weckherlin, who runs a blog about the rules called The China Visa Blog.

Brenda Foster, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said in an e-mailed statement that while the limits on invitation letters will "clearly" have an impact on the U.S. business community, the extent of that impact has still not been determined.

Travel agents in Hong Kong, a major gateway into China, reported in April that the government visa office had declared multiple-entry business visas would not be available from mid-April until mid-October. In the past, such visas were easily obtainable, and businessmen would take regular trips to the mainland to check up on offices or factories.

At the time both the American and European chambers of commerce in Hong Kong sent urgent letters to the Chinese government, raising concerns over the impact on businesses.

"Obviously, this is not great news. Obviously, we prefer to have no restrictions," Kate Pollitt, executive director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said.

Richard Choi, the manager of the Canada China Business Council in Shanghai, said he did not think it would affect businesses too much. Such security was natural for any country hosting the Olympic Games, he said.

Associated Press Writer Cara Anna in Shanghai contributed to this report.

Crude prices fall to $118

NEW YORK: Oil prices sank as low as $118 a barrel yesterday on the growing belief that a US economic slowdown and high energy costs are curbing consumer demand for petrol and other petroleum products.US crude settled down $2.24 to $119.17 a barrel after tumbling to $118 earlier, the lowest price since May 5.London Brent crude lost $2.98 to settle at $117.70.US crude prices have tumbled almost 20 per cent since reaching a record-high $147.27 a barrel on July 11.Courtesy:Daily News


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

India emerging as global hub for data hosting services

MUMBAI/BANGALORE: Convergence of technologies, domain expertise and falling bandwidth tariffs are making India a hot data hosting and remote infrastructure management (RIM) site for global enterprises, says a top industry player.

For the next wave of outsourcing in back office operations, top Indian players such as Reliance Infocomm, Tata Telecommunications, Sify and Netmagic Solutions are bracing up to provide a range of IT managed services, including data hosting, mission critical applications, networking and RIM to domestic and overseas enterprises.

"India is not anymore a back office for software development and BPO (business process outsourcing) services alone. It is emerging as a preferred destination for global enterprises to host their network operations, mission critical applications and hundreds of servers," Netmagic founder and CEO Sharad Sanghi told IANS in a recent interview.

Competitive pricing, high quality service and a high talent level have enabled Indian data centres to vie with their global peers in managed hosting and RIM services to domestic and overseas customers in areas as diverse as financial services, telecom, logistics, manufacturing, IT/ITES (IT-enabled services), retail, media and entertainment and online brokerage.

"A paradigm shift is taking place in the IT infrastructure management services, especially in the back end. Convergence of ICT (information and communication technologies), real time trading/transactions in financial and commodity markets, media and entertainment such as gaming and content development are compelling Indian and global enterprises such as IBM, HCL, Wipro, Infosys and TCS to look for third party vendors like ours or captive vendors," Sanghi pointed out.

As in the case of IT and BPO services, global firms from Europe and the US are looking at India for managing their data, servers, carriers, and even disaster recovery operations.

Reliability, data protection and security have made Indian and overseas enterprises relocate their data facilities, including servers, storage devices and remote IT infrastructure to India-based service providers. Internet firms and web portals such as and are among them.

For instance, Netmagic remotely monitors from its data centre in Mumbai the entire network operation (switches) of the US-based Virtela Communications, which offers VPN (virtual private network) services in over 100 countries.
Similarly, WorldSpace satellite radio has outsourced its data operations to Netmagic, which has unveiled its largest data centre in Mumbai recently.

Likewise, India FM, which provides Bollywood content to its listeners in the US, hosts its servers and carriers at Netmagic data centre in Mumbai and its virtual data centre at Sunnyvale in California. So also Sugam Solutions, which is hosted in India and the US.

On the domestic front, the phenomenal growth of Indian enterprises across verticals has necessitated the creation of third party data centres as server farms and disaster recovery sites for serving their customers and constituents on 24x7x365 basis.

Huge business potential in operating captive data centres has prompted IT bellwethers such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL to offer managed hosting and RIM services to their global clients as part of their cross-selling.

"Post 9/11, the need to protect/secure data with 100 percent redundancy made global enterprises either set up their captive facilities in the subcontinent or outsource them to Indian third-party vendors," Sanghi recalled.

"The setting up of captive back offices by multinationals to service global customers led to the emergence of Indian data centres for hosting and managing their mission critical applications and networking operations."

The opening of India offices by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), investment banks and global marketing/research firms has also created huge demand for data centres.

Similarly, the telecom revolution and proliferation of mobile and Internet/web services, spanning voice, data and video, have created opportunities for pure players such as Netmagic to expand capacity and open data centres in other locations such as Bangalore and plan more centres in Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad.

"Earlier, enterprises preferred data centres to be nearby, to see, touch and feel secure. Firewalls, security solutions and filters have ensured data centres can be location neutral or even remote," Sanghi noted.

"Enterprises are realising there are tangible benefits in outsourcing their data requirements to third parties, which alleviate risks posed by security breach, theft and man-made disasters like 9/11 or natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and so on."

Even Indian enterprises, which want to focus on their core competency, are increasingly outsourcing their data operations to third party vendors, as investment in space, equipment, energy and hiring/training people to run data centres and disaster recovery sites are very expensive.

"We see robust demand for captive as well as third party data centres in the subcontinent due to increasing technology infusion in diverse verticals, migration of services and upgradation from legacy systems," Sanghi added.

"Though market research firm IDC has estimated the Indian data centre market size to be about $150 million, we see a huge potential to double and triple the market over the next three-five years."

Thanks: ET

NTPC forays into renewable power

NEW DELHI: The state-owned power utility NTPC Ltd will enter into renewable power generation through a joint venture with foreign power and financial firms, a company statement said on Tuesday.

The joint venture company will primarily concentrate on wind power, mini and micro hydro-electric power, with NTPC holding 40 percent of the equity.

The rest will be shared equally by the constituents - Asian Development Bank (ADB), GE Energy Financial Services, Japan-based Kysushu Electric Power Co and Brookfield Renewable Power of the US.

NTPC will nominate the chairman of the joint venture company. The new company will set up greenfield and develop under-utilized projects to meet its target of 500 MW of renewable power generation in the next three years.
While the initial projects will be in India, the company would also look overseas to become “a major investor and facilitator of renewable energy” with a "regional and global outlook". The five stake holders signed the agreement on Tuesday.

Thanks: ET

India is now the shakiest of BRIC economies

Last year we were talking about a strengthening rupee. We have now seen the rupee tumbling faster than Jack and Jill. It has fallen by 12% last quarter, and is now at 43 to the US dollar. The 50-rupee mark is not far off.

Fifty is not far-fetched any more. Consider six good reasons. India’s imports are ballooning. In June, our imports jumped by a perturbing 27% year on year. With prices of oil headed northwards — experts believe $200 per barrel is not merely an Arabian Nights fantasy — our import bill will only explode further.

This situation is worsened because the high oil price signal is not reaching Indian consumers. The government is keeping subsidies and price caps in place. In India, fuel price increases this year have been just 15% — far lower than the global oil price increase. Contrast this with Malaysia, where the price of petrol was hiked by a record 41% in June. So we have a piquant situation where demand for the main product on our import bill will remain high, despite high prices.

While ballooning imports put pressure on the rupee, a slowdown in exports looms large. During June, growth in exports halved to 12% (in dollar terms), year on year. The threat to our export earnings is immediate, because India’s IT industry derives two-fifths of its earnings from the financial sector, which is worst hit by the global credit crisis. Similarly, India’s large gems & jewellery exports is also significantly dependent on the United States, where the housing and credit crises have left consumer confidence dipping.


Monday, 4 August 2008

Madhya Pradesh proposes jatropha cultivation

GWALIOR: Move over dacoits and bandits. The rugged Chambal Valley in Madhya Pradesh

is being seen as a future energy hub. If the Madhya Pradesh government’s plan to lease

out wasteland to corporate India for cultivation of jatropha gets a positive response,

Chambal is all set to turn into an alternative energy hotspot.

With the Madhya Pradesh government getting its act together to weed out criminals in

the area and killing over 50 dacoits, including dreaded gangster Jagjivan Parihar in the

last one year, many private companies have now shown an interest in the cultivation of

jatropha, a bio-diesel plant, in the Chambal Valley.

On the dacoit menace in the area, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

stressed that Chambal would no longer be known for bandits and criminal activities. “Most

of the infamous dacoits of the area have been eliminated. It’s time to convert Chambal

into a future energy hub. I am glad that several private companies have shown interest in
developing the area and cultivating jatropha under our wasteland development policy,” he
said. Courtesy:Economic Times


India's gift to green drive: Bicycle @ 40kmph

NEW DELHI: India could soon take pride for reinventing the wheel and leading the global green movement! An innovation by a senior administrator at IIT-Kharagpur is helping him ride the humble bicycle at 40 km an hour and pedalling past motor vehicles on busy roads without much effort. And you could be next — cycle manufacturers are planning to launch these hot wheels commercially, very soon.

Manoj Mondal is the inventor of the crank pedal—he successfully tweaked the pedal of a bicycle to an extent that it generates almost double the torque (force multiplied by the distance from the centre) than in normal circumstances . In other words, the speed of the bicycle increases from, say, 20 km/hr to 40 km/hr.

His feat has already made him the toast of incubators , the green lobby and a host of companies which are coming forward to adapt Mondal’s technology commercially. While the invention ushers in revolutionary intra-city commute, it cocks a snook at the fuel brigade as the inventor apprehends auto majors may just gang up to disembark his plans.

“I want to first launch the product in the ladies’ and sports bicycle categories since speed is critical here,” says Mondal, who has initiated talks with cycle brands like Atlas, TI Cycles and Hero. There’s more. “Tweaking the pedal to generate more torque can create 700 watts of electricity per unit,” says Mondal.

Now that’s enough to light up 10 neons. Next, he’s working on a prototype where pedalling on a stationary cycle has the potential to dig a bore deep enough to make a drain, and construction major Escorts seems to have shown interest in the new technology, says Mondal. Besides, Mondal’s invention is slated to benefit rickshaw-pullers as the Centre for Rural Development has shown keenness to convert 10,000 rickshaws into the crank pedal mode this year.

Though power companies haven’t lined up yet, bicycle makers seem to have grasped the next wave. “I’m awaiting the final prototype (from Mondal) and then intend to take it to the dealers en route the market,” says R K Kapur, chief general manager of technology at Atlas Cycles. Vasant Devaji of TI Cycles claims that a meeting with Mondal is scheduled next month to take the project forward.

For the time being , the marketing muscle is being provided by the Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Programme that was launched in March last year jointly by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the IC2 Institute of the University of Texas. This year, Mondal’s crank pedal won the silver at the Lockheed Martin India Innovation Growth Programme.

“We are helping Mondal to tie up with the Hero Group and are also in touch with the Ministry of Rural Development to roll out his invention,” says Nirankar Saxena, additional director at Ficci. “As stewardship of the environment takes on an ever-increasing importance for the global community, we have seen great promise for such inventions to increase energy efficiency, save precious resources, and reduce pollution,” says Ray O. Johnson , CTO of Lockheed Martin.

Mondal is acutely aware of the acceptability of his manual wonder in the metros, and is also perfecting a rickshaw that looks like a car, “so that it is not out of place in a metro” . He calls it a “funky value proposition” .

Meanwhile, Dr Pradip K Sarmah, executive director of the Centre for Rural Development is banking on the crank pedal “to reduce the drudgery of the 10 million rickshaw-puller of India” . The centre runs a Rickshaw Bank to cater to the urban poor, and already has an improvised rickshaw by IIT-Guwahati , which costs Rs 12,000 a pop with insurance, licence, uniform and the works thrown in. “Mondal’s invention will add speed to the existing force and cost Rs 100 extra,” contends Sarmah.

As for Mondal, he’s onto his 10th prototype and exudes rock-solid confidence about doubling the torque. Though 14 patents exist on claims of increasing the torque, Mondal’s pedal cranks up a whole new business proposition for marketers. Up to speed, the soft-spoken professor from IIT now lets the torque do the talking.

Thanks: ET

Areva plans big play in India's nuclear power sector

MUMBAI : After IAEA unanimously cleared India-specific safeguards agreement, World's largest nuclear power firm, Areva NP of France said it was gearing up to enter India's nuclear power sector in a big way and plans to float a separate subsidiary for it.

Areva has two separate companies-one for nuclear power generation, Areva NP and another for transmission and distribution, Areva T&D.

Areva NP is a joint venture between Areva and Siemens. and holds 66 per cent stake in the venture.

"We are world's largest player in the nuclear power sector and to remain as number one firm, we cannot afford to neglect India," Areva T&D's Global Chief Financial Officer Karim Vissandjee told PTI here.

With the approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the nuclear safeguard agreement, India is steadily marching forward to sealing the civilian nuclear deal with the US. The deal is now two hurdles behind.

First, it has to be cleared by the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and then ratified by the US Congress.

"We are very active behind the scene. Areva will play a significant role in Indian nuclear power sector" Vissandjee said.

"If we enter into the nuclear power sector, it will be done through a separate subsidiary. We are waiting for the final guidelines from the Indian Government" he said.

Thanks: ET

Friday, 1 August 2008

India-specific safeguards agreement may get IAEA nod

VIENNA: The India-specific safeguards pact, crucial for the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal to move forward, is expected to be approved by the IAEA Board of Governors here on Friday amid indications that China and Pakistan may abstain in case there is a vote.
The crucial one-day meeting will see statements delivered by the Indian and US Ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as by the nuclear watchdog's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
With the US and India going allout to get a comprehensive backing of the 35-member Board of Governors of the IAEA and its inspections plan by consensus, IAEA sources indicated that the approval process may not face any hurdles.
Pakistan's attempts to force a vote seems futile after the US nudged Islamabad not to block the approval or seek amendments.
IAEA sources said the safeguards text is likely to be approved by a consensus but in the highly unlikely event of a vote, China as well as its ally Pakistan may well abstain.
Lobbying hard for the safeguards text, the US has said that the pact was a net gain for global non-proliferation, placing India's declared civilian nuclear energy plants--14 of 22 existing or planned reactors--under regular IAEA watch.
US Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory L Schulte said the pact was sound.
Nicholas Burns, one of the architects of the Indo-US nuclear deal, said in Washington "my conviction is that this deal strengthens the non proliferation makes India a stakeholder."
Atomic Energy Commission Chief Anil Kakodkar and other top nuclear officials are here for negotiations on the safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol to be cleared by the IAEA and to convince NSG members to give New Delhi a "clean" waiver for implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

IAEA meets to consider Indian nuclear agreement

VIENNA: An inspections agreement crucial to a landmark nuclear deal between India and the U.S. comes under scrutiny on Friday by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Washington-New Delhi pact calls for allowing the sale of atomic fuel and technology to India, a country that has not signed international nonproliferation accords but has tested nuclear weapons. It would be a reversal of more than three decades of U.S. policy.
To implement the deal, India must strike separate agreements with the IAEA and with the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries that export nuclear material before it can go to the U.S. Congress for approval.
The so-called safeguards agreement would effectively allow U.N. monitors access to 14 of India's 22 existing or planned nuclear reactors by 2014. Without IAEA safeguards, India cannot import nuclear technology from NSG nations, including the U.S.
The 35-nation IAEA board of governors meeting Friday is expected to approve it, despite criticism that ambiguous wording in the deal could end up limiting international oversight of India's reactors, and possibly help supply its arms programs with fissile material.
The chief U.S. envoy to the IAEA said agency monitoring of the Indian facilities would be a ``net gain'' for global nonproliferation.
``The agreement is a sound one based on the IAEA's approved safeguards system,'' Gregory L. Schulte said.
But Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said the deal raises fundamental questions and needs clarification.
``The question is: Can India end safeguards if fuel supplies are interrupted even if they've conducted a nuclear test, or does the agreement require permanent, unconditional safeguards?''
Pakistan, India's neighboring archrival, has been vocal in its opposition to the deal.
The two countries have fought three wars since independence in 1947.
In a letter to members of the IAEA board and the NSG, Islamabad warned that the safeguards agreement ``threatens to increase the chances of a nuclear arms race in the subcontinent.''

Thanks: ET

Power Finance Corp to raise Rs 3 bn via bonds

MUMBAI: State-run Power Finance Corporation plans to raise at least 3 billion rupees ($71 billion) by selling bonds, said a merchant banker familiar with the development. The issue has an unspecified greenshoe option, the banker said. The issue, which officially opened on Wednesday, closes on Aug 4.

"The termsheet for the issue was released late yesterday," the banker added. The bonds offer investors two maturities. The 5-year bonds carry a coupon of 10.90 percent, payable annually, while the 10-year has a coupon of 10.85 percent, also payable annually, the merchant banker said.

The issue has been rated "AAA" by CRISIL and "LAAA" by ICRA. The arrangers are ICICI Securities Primary Dealership, A.K. Capital, Almondz, Axis Bank and Trust Investment Advisors.
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