Comprehensive coverage on environment
WATER USE IN INDIA'S POWER GENERATION Context IRENA has come up with a study, titled 'Water Use in India's Power Generation: Impact of Renewables and Improved Cooling Technologies to 2030'. Summary of the Study: It examines the impact of changes in cooling technologies mandated for thermal power plants and an increased share of renewable energy, on freshwater use (excluding hydropower) and on carbon emissions to year 2030. . The power sector contributes to and is affected by water stress in the areas where plants are located. Power generation is expected to account for nearly 9% of national water consumption by 2050 (in a business as-usual scenario) Coupled with continuing thermal and renewable capacity development, total water consumption in 2030 is estimated to increase by up to 4 billion cubic metres.
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There is a mismatch between water demand and supply considering usable surface water capacity and replenishable groundwater levels e.The combination of improved power plant cooling technologies and renewable energy technologies, especially solar PV and wind, could lessen the intensity of freshwater use and carbon intensity of the power sector as shown in infographic. e. Simultaneously, phasing out once-through cooling technologies at existing power plants and restricting their installation at new thermal plants, through enforcement of the announced regulatory water use standards, will substantially reduce water withdrawal. Energy and Water Interlinkages: A major share of India's electricity (85%) is generated from fossil fuel (coal and natural gas) and nuclear plants, which rely significantly on freshwater for cooling purposes.
As per the World Resources Institute (WRI) working paper published in January'18, o India's 90% thermal plants rely on freshwater for cooling and 40 per cent of these plants are located in areas of high or extremely high water stress. o Freshwater consumption from Indian thermal utilities grew by 43 percent from 2011-2016, from 1.5 to 2.1 billion cubic meters a year. o In 2016 alone, water shortages cost India about 14 terawatt- hours of potential thermal power generation, cancelling out more than 20 percent of the growth in the country's total electricity generation from 2015.
Context Natural water supply sources are subject to increased overuse leading to resource depletion. WRI's India Water Tool 2015 shows that 54% of India's groundwater wells face high to extremely high water stress. This is caused by erratic rainfall, irrigation pumps that run on subsidised electricity and unsustainable management of groundwater . According to Central Water Commission, 2015 Report, the energy sector's relative water consumption is projected to grow from 1.4% to 9% between 2025 and 2050 (from 15 billion m3 to 130 billion m3 annually). . The mismatch between demand and supply could affect the availability of water for different end uses, increasing risk of competition, particularly in water-constrained areas. Furthermore, as demand increases, water will need to be pumped from sources further away or from deeper underground, thus increasing energy demand. In India, for example, energy now comprises about 90% of the cost of groundwater.
Government Initiatives . In response to growing concern over water shortage, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF& CC) published the rules in 2015 to reduce and standardize the water consumption by all existing as well as future thermal power plants. In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India committed to increasing the share of non-fossil sources in its installed power capacity to 40% by 2030. India has a related target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar PV and 60 GW of wind. If these ambitious policies are enacted and enforced, the WRI estimates that India will save 12.4 billion cubic meters of freshwater from being withdrawn by power plants.
Way Forward: India's energy demand is expected to double, while electricity demand is expected to almost triple by 2030 compared to 2014 leading to absolute increases in water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. However, the lower intensity values achieved through improved cooling technologies and higher shares of solar PV and wind will help realise relative savings in both water and carbon. ..The current water withdrawal intensity of India's power sector (excluding hydroelectricity) is largely driven by thermal power plants using once-through cooling systems. Withdrawal intensity could be reduced by upgrading plant cooling technology such as dry cooling and by supporting the development of less waterintensive generation technologies. o For instance, the operational withdrawal intensity of solar PV in India is around 0.08 m3 /MWh (primarily related to panel cleaning), which is only 0.5% of the thermal average, while for wind, the water withdrawal is zero
Power plant efficiency improvements, based on India's new draft National Electricity Plan, 2016, also contribute, although less significantly than other factors. Power plants should also be located in places where they will rely not on freshwater resources, but instead on saline, brackish, or reclaimed water. .It is also important to select the right types of plants at the planning stage. Alternative cooling technologies for power generation, including dry or hybrid cooling, can reduce water consumption (though the use of such technologies currently is constrained by efficiency losses and higher costs).
ATMOSPHERE & CLIMATE RESEARCH-MODELLING OBSERVING SYSTEMS & SERVICES (ACROSS) context The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved continuation of the scheme "Atmosphere & Climate Research- Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)" during 2017-2020 and establishment of National Facility Airborne Research during 2020-21 and beyond.
What is ACROSS? ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc. It was started in 2012 . Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme "ACROSS and is implemented in an integrated manner through the four institutes - India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (NCOIS) National Facility for Airborne Research (NFAR) NAFR comes under Indian Institute of Tropical Management (IITM), Pune. Under this a state of the art research aircraft equipped with instruments will be used for atmospheric research.. It will take simultaneous measurements of aerosols, trace gases, cloud microphysics and large scale meteorological parameters at high temporal resolution and at different altitudes in different seasons over the Indian sub-continent. Significance of NAFR lies in the fact that it deals with airborne measurements which are extremely important for aerosol sampling, measurement of cloud properties, cloud physics, etc. which in turn is used for assessing air pollution and its associated impacts. Also, Aircraft probing and surveillance enables the observation of upper air phenomena, especially cloud aerosol interaction of nde nects thunderes the ndae forice
MEASURING NATURAL CAPITAL . Why in news? Envistats India 2018 report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), it had revealed that India's economic growth took a toll on its natural assets like forests, food and clean air. . The average growth rate of gross state domestic product (GSDP) during 2005- 15 for almost all the states was around 7-8 per cent but 11 states registered a decline in their natural capital. . This model of economic growth may not let the country sustain the rate of development for long. Monitoring the natural capital is important and should be one of the determiners for sustainable development. o .According to MOSPl, the assessment of natural assets is a reminder of how important is sustainable use of natural resources and is likely to propel India on the path of compilation of ecosystem accounts.
A full picture of a country's wealth obtained through a methodology called 'wealth accounting' (including natural capital accounting) includes all assets that contribute to our economic wellbeing, from buildings and factory machines, to infrastructure, human and social capital, and natural capital. . Natural capital is especially important to many developing countries because it makes up a large share of their total wealth some 36 percent and the livelihoods of many subsistence communities depend directly on healthy ecosystems.
INCLUSIVE WEALTH REPORT Why in News? The inclusive wealth of one-third of the countries in the world has declined, but their gross domestic product (GDP) has increased, finds the Inclusive Wealth Report 2018 presented by the UN Environment. Highlights of the Report About the Index: The Inclusive Wealth Report is a biennial report that seeks to evaluate and report on a country's wealth and wellbeing through the Inclusive Wealth index (IWI) e IWI is intended as a replacement to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) which assesses a nation's ability to look after its wealth in a way that is sustainable and safeguards its future generations.
Global Structure of Capital: AS of 2014 has composed of produced capital (21%), human capital (59% of which 26% education induced human capital and 33% is health induced human capital), and natural capital (20%). o. Growth rate: The global level growth of each of the three capitals over the study period indicate that produced capital was growing at an average rate of 3.8% per year and health and education induced human capital was growing at 2.1%. Contrary, natural capital was decreasing at a rate of 0.7% per annum
United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) It is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Its headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya
POLLINATORS Context According to a recent studies, high levels of pollution is having negative effects on plants and insects, resulting into decline of pollinator species. Importance of pollinators and pollination oRegulating ecosystem service in nature: Globally, nearly 90 per cent of wild flowering plant species depend, at least in part, on the transfer of pollen by animals. . Food Security: Pollinator-dependent crops contribute to 35 per cent of global crop production volume.
Sources of Threats to Pollinators e Environment pollution: Pollutants in the air, water and land affect the physiology and behavior of the insects. o Anthropogenic factor like disturbance, degradation, fragmentation, shrinkage, and the loss of habitat Impact of introduced species: Alien invasive plants may impact negatively on insect biodiversity by changing habitat quality, outcompeting native host plants, and interrupting vital ecological interactions. Increase in mono-cropping: The transformation of agriculture from traditional mixed crop farming to high value cash crop farming has led to an increase in monocrop agriculture, resulting in reducing the food sources for natural insect pollinators. Forest fires: It destroy the habitat, food sources and pollinators nesting in the area. Honey hunting: An increase and ruthless hunting of the nests of wild honeybees is contributing to the decline in the population of indigenous honeybees
Promote sustainable beekeeping and bee health: By promoting better availability and husbandry of floral resources, therefore improving pollinator nutrition and immunity to pests and diseases. Practicing Sustainable Agriculture Practices: Exposure of pollinators to pesticides can be decreased by promoting Integrated Pest Management supported by educating farmers, organic farming and policies to reduce its overall use. o Ecological Intensification: Managing nature's ecological functions to improve agricultural production and livelihoods while minimizing environmental damage o Strengthening Existing Diversified Farming Systems: to foster pollinators and pollination through practices validated by science or indigenous and local knowledge (e.g., crop rotation o Investing in ecological infrastructure by protecting, restoring and connecting patches of natural and seminatural habitats throughout productive agricultural landscapes