How mankind uses energy, and manages carbon emissions is the most fundamental issue in environment conservation, in the modern world. Any understanding of ecology and environment has to commence from understanding our energy needs, systems, and challenges.
- ##info-circle## World History - Study Material - Civils Tapasya portal presented by PT's IAS Academy
- Contents of this Study Material ##chevron-right## A. Industrial Revolution and energy use ##chevron-right## B. Non-renewable energy sources ##chevron-right## C. Renewable energy sources ##chevron-right## D. Energy Conservation
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A. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION & ENERGY USE
How mankind uses energy, and manages carbon emissions is the most fundamental issue in environment conservation in the modern world. Any understanding of ecology and environment has to commence from understanding our energy needs, systems, and challenges.
A.2 Installed Power Capacity in India
Since fossil fuels are easy to extract, and easy to use for power generation, till a few years ago, they dominated the energy mix of almost all nations. It is only after serious climate change concerns began hitting home, that nations came together to think of altering their energy mix. The Paris Climate Agreement 2015/16 was an excellent example of such collaboration. Given below is the All India Installed Power Capacity. The table will be enough to explain how fossil fuels have been extensively used for mankind's needs.
The increasing use of fossil fuels in our industry and for running our vehicles during the last century have resulted in serious environmental problems in the form of air pollution, ozone depletion, and global warming. The search for alternate sources of energy, therefore, led to the discovery of nuclear energy in the second quarter of the last century.
B. NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES
A report (2011) of a study by Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad (a unit of ISRO) on 2190 Himalayan glaciers has indicated that 75% of the glaciers are retreating which is a cause of concern although not as alarming as was predicted earlier (2007). Given below are important charts and graphs for world coal situation, and Indian figures.
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B.2 Oil and Gas
B.3 Natural Gas
B.4 Nuclear energy
The laws of thermodynamics state that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but they can change their form. The famous equation of Einstein (E = mc2) explained that the energy in a mass of matter equals the mass(m) multiplied by square of the velocity (c2) of light (2.998 X 108 meters/sec). This is tremendous amount of energy trapped in the atoms of matter. This was proved by the atomic bombs dropped by the American army on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945, during world war II.
C. RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES
Solar energy, hydel energy, geothermal energy, wind energy and the energy from biomass constitute the renewable energy resources. These never exhaust (at least not in a human lifetime), and hence are considered abundant and 'infinite'.
C.2 Solar Energy
The sun has been the most important source of energy for the earth ever since its origin some 4.54 billion years ago and has been the primary force (energy) for life itself. In fact, it is the heat energy from the sun (solar energy) that keeps the earth warm enough for life to exist. Without this energy, the earth's average temperature would have been lower than -200°C at which life could not exist.
A government release in 2017
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C.2 Wind energy
Wind energy too, like solar energy, is a clean energy and renewable. It does not produce any pollutants and therefore has great potential for the future.
C.3 Hydel energy
Human society has been using energy of running or falling water since ancient times. However, hydroelectric power stations were established in late 19th century to generate electricity from falling water. In the early years, small reservoirs were developed to capture water at a height (in mountains) and then water was allowed to flow in a controlled manner to run the turbines that converted the kinetic energy of water into electrical energy.
C.4 Geothermal energy
Geothermal (Geo - earth; thermal - heat) energy refers to the heat energy generated and stored in the earth. The earth's core continues to be very hot till now and this is demonstrated with the eruption of volcanoes in several parts of the world now and then. This hot core, volcanic activity, and the decay of radioactive mineral deposits of the earth are primary source of this geothermal energy.
C.5 Biomass energy
Biomass energy is a renewable energy resource as it is obtained from plant material and animal waste that can be obtained continuously if used in a sustainable order, that is if we plant more trees as we remove some to obtain biomass.
D. ENERGY CONSERVATION
Energy conservation refers to the efforts to reduce the consumption of energy to save money and also to reduce its greenhouse effect, as much of the energy wasted during use goes to heat the atmosphere.
The government of India has launched the 'Ujwal Bharat' programme in an umbrella manner to achieve multiple goals related to Energy, and also Climate Change commitments.
D.2 Energy conservation in India
Considering the vast potential of energy savings and benefits of energy efficiency, the Government of India enacted the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 (52 of 2001). The Act provides for the legal framework, institutional arrangement and a regulatory mechanism at the Central and State level to embark upon energy efficiency drive in the country. Five major provisions of EC Act relate to Designated Consumers, Standard and Labeling of Appliances, Energy Conservation Building Codes, Creation of Institutional Set up (BEE) and Establishment of Energy Conservation Fund.
D.3 The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2010The Central Government may issue the energy savings certificate to the designated consumer whose energy consumption is less than the prescribed norms and standards in accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed.
D.4 Bureau of Energy EfficiencyThe Government of India created the Bureau of Energy Efficiency as an agency under the Ministry of Power in March 2002 according to the provisions of the nation's 2001 Energy Conservation Act. The agency's function is to develop programs which will increase the conservation and efficient use of energy in India. The government has proposed to make it mandatory for all appliances in India to have ratings by the BEE starting in January 2010. The mission of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) is to "institutionalize" energy efficiency services, enable delivery mechanisms in the country and provide leadership to energy efficiency in all sectors of the country. The primary objective would be to reduce energy intensity in the economy.
- To exert leadership and provide policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation and efficiency efforts and programs
- To coordinate energy efficiency and conservation policies and programs and take it to the stakeholders
- To establish systems and procedures to measure, monitor and verify energy efficiency results in individual sectors as well as at a macro level
- To leverage multi-lateral and bi-lateral and private sector support in implementation of Energy Conservation Act and efficient use of energy and its conservation programs
- To demonstrate delivery of energy efficiency services as mandated in the EC bill through private-public partnerships
- To interpret, plan and manage energy conservation programs as envisaged in the Energy Conservation Act
- To provide a policy recommendation and direction to national energy conservation activities Coordinate policies and programmes on efficient use of energy with shareholders Establish systems and procedures
- to verify, measure and monitor Energy Efficiency (EE) improvements
- Leverage multilateral, bilateral and private sector support to implement the EC Act 2001
- Demonstrate EE delivery systems through public-private partnerships
D.5 PCRA - Petroleum Conservation Research Association
In order to create awareness among people on the importance and need for conservation and efficient utilization of petroleum products, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) was established under the auspices of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 1978. This was also the decade in which the world experienced the first Global Oil Shock.
D.6 Innovations in energy conservation
- Roof integrated solar water heater
- Rainwater harvesting with underground cistern
- Multifeed biogas plant, usable as septic tank, if required
- Window mounted retractable solar cooker
- Three different types of experimental roofs like- hollow concrete tiles, Prefab brick jackarches, Madras terrace roof
- Design for ventura (ventilation via inner courtyard)
- Ventura system of using high and low pressure for sucking in cool air and pushing out hot air through roof ventilator
The Auroville visitors centre: It is a public building constructed in Pondicherry in 1989. Several cost effective and alternative technologies had come about by mid-eighties. Attempts to integrate everything in a functional and pleasing environment were quite successful and won the Hassan Fathy International Award in 1992. The following technologies and equipment were used during its construction.
- Compressed earth blocks
- Ferro-cement roof channels and building elements
- Solar chimneys
- Wind pump
- Water solar PV pump
- Wind generators
- Decentralized waste water system.
Solar kitchen: The community kitchen was constructed for preparing 2000 meals a day. This concept began to be implemented in 1994. Since solar energy is abundant in southern India, using steam as the heat transfer medium for preparing meals was the obvious choice. Solar kitchen possesses the following features:
- Compressed earth blocks
- Solar bowl concentrator of 15m diameter.
- Scheffler community cooker concentrator.
D.7 Importance of education
Education is the best way of creating awareness for energy conservation. A branded programme can be created with a title and logo to imprint the conservation message on all township communities and documents. Energy conservation information should be present on the websites, local cable access station. For the right attitude towards energy conservation, residents should be encouraged to drive less, walk and bike more by installing bike racks at public buildings. The best way to conserve energy is to switch off the lights while leaving the room, shut down the computers when not in use. When appliances are not in use they should be unplugged. Lower thermostats in the winter and raise them in the summer. Household and business wastes should be recycled. It will positively result in energy conservation. Appliances and office equipments should be replaced with energy star rated units. It will lower energy usage and costs.
The government's programmes and claims can be read here - Ujwal Bharat series of programmes.
D.8 Climate-friendly Air conditioning / refrigerants
E. Global energy and climate-change commitments
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