Tuesday, August 05, 2008

UMPPs..... a chimera

The net is back in our hostels and its awesome. So beginning this August I plan to write atleast 1 post every day (just joking guys ;) maybe every week
Ok now moving on to the title UMPP is Ultra Mega Power Projects. People who are not aware what this means click here. If you are lazy to redirect, UMPPs are power plants with capacity greater than 4000 MW (MegaWatts of electricity). The honorable Government of India plans to ameliorate the starving power scenario in India by starting up such humongous projects. Now if I look at this from a perspective of a common man I am very happy. Atleast the ever lasting problem of load shedding will be over. We will have access to electricity continuous without any disturbances (except in some cases like rains and floods) But wait a minute...... being an engineer esp. electrical :) I cannot just look at the jolly side of the scene.
These projects would be coal fired and will be located throughout India to provide power to all states. But what about Global Warming? I find it hard to understand why go for thermal when the entire world is venturing out into Non-Conventional energy resources. An official document (found here) says the UMPP will attract investment to the tune of Rs. 15,000 Cr each. That means people (the industries) will be investing 15k * 9 cr for puffing out more CO2 That amount will be equivalent to something China invests in Wind and Solar Power.....great going Indians!!!!
What I feel is we are wasting capital on something which is not at all worth investing. With due to respect to the policy makers, I feel this amount could have been used for development of non-conventional resources (wind, solar, fuel cells, tidal, geothermal). This kind of short term planning (in sense that it will provide power for the current population without any regard to the environment) is seriously anti-engineering and is deterimental to the future population.
Being an electrical engineer (a quarter of engineering days are still left!!!) I understand developing such high scale projects is good considering the "Economics of Scale". But people it's high time we give a serious thought to the problem of global warming and climate change.
Instead of focussing on UMPP we could have tried for solar and wind (more info on solar here)
People all over the world are going for micro grids and distributed generation and we are scaling up!!!
Anyways the bidding has started and around 3 projects have already been awarded (1-Tata Power, 2-Reliance Power) This post was meant not to criticize any of the policy makers but just to make people realize there are other options available and more importantly these are under-utilised in India. May be I' ll talk about micro grids and distributed generation in my upcoming posts.

People from non-engineering background I am sorry for the engineering verbiage. But you must remember electric power is indispensible from any one and we all have a part to play in our endeavour of mitigating the climate changes. My post on that can be found here

And now about final year in NITC: may be some other time and some other post......(".....time and space are related..." did Einstein say this?)

1 comment:

cipu said...

Hei, thanks for paying a visit to my blog. Nice blog. Wish Indonesia can start solar and wind energy