How Concentrated Solar Power Can Meet India’s Future Power Needs

Solar energy is an enormous resource that is readily available in all countries throughout the world, and all the space above the earth. Long ago scientists calculated that an hour’s worth of sunlight bathing the planet held far more energy than humans worldwide could consume in a year. I firmly believe that India should accelerate the use of all forms of Renewable Energy (photovoltaic, thermal solar, solar lamps, solar pumps, wind power, biomass, biogas, and hydro), and more proactively promote Energy Efficiency. However, in this article, I will only focus on the use of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology to meet India’s future energy needs. Concentrated solar power plants have been used in California, USA since the 1980s. More recently, Pacific Gas & Electric has signed contracts to buy 500 megawatts of solar thermal power from two solar companies. First, NextEra Energy Resources will sell 250 megawatts of CSP generated power from the Genesis Solar Energy Project to be located in Riverside, California. Second, Abengoa’s Mojave Solar project will supply the remaining 250 megawatts from a plant located in San Bernardino County, California. Subject to California Public Utility Commission approval of the power purchase agreements, construction of these solar energy generating plants is expected to start in 2010 with operations planned to begin in 2013. Both these solar thermal power projects will contribute to meeting California’s aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard, which calls for moving away from fossil fuels to solar and other renewable energy sources that avoid pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Sea Lion Pups Starving in California

Starved and emaciated, sea lion pups are beaching themselves along the Pacific Coast. A strong El Nino tropical weather pattern is to blame. Unusually warm sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific are moving east, forcing the sea lions' natural food sources — squid, hake, herring and anchovies — to seek out cooler waters. Adult sea lions have enough fat stored up to survive the resulting food shortage, but their pups aren't so well-equipped. Richard Evans, medical director of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Calif., tells NPR's Guy Raz that by the time the animals get to his team, they're in the third stage of starvation.

Mongolia winter kills herds

A severe winter has left 4.5 million dead animals in stockyards across the Mongolian steppes, and many poor herders face the loss of all their property just before the important breeding season. About a tenth of Mongolia's livestock may have perished, as deep snows cut off access to grazing and fodder. The damage to the rural economy could increase demands on Mongolia's already-stretched national budget, which relies on mining revenues to meet spending commitments. The Red Cross launched an emergency appeal for 1 million Swiss francs to assist Mongolian herders, after it estimated that 4.5 million livestock have died in the country since December.

Abu Dhabi building carbon-neutral city

The world's first zero-carbon city is being built in Abu Dhabi and is designed to be not only free of cars and skyscrapers but also powered by the sun. The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is the last place you would expect to learn lessons on low-carbon living, but the emerging eco-city of Masdar could teach the world. At first glance, the parched landscape of Abu Dhabi looks like the craziest place to build any city, let alone a sustainable one. The inhospitable terrain suggests that the only way to survive here is with the maximum of technological support, a bit like living on the moon.

Big fish farms not necessarily most polluting

Aquaculture industry urged to look at location and management techniques to reduce the environmental impact of rapidly expanding sector Bigger fish farms do not necessarily have a greater impact on their surrounding marine ecosystems, according to an analysis of Scottish fish farms. Researchers from Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen studied data from 50 salmon and cod farms collected by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Earth Hour 2010

Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House temporarily went dark on Saturday as nations across the western Pacific turned out the lights for Earth Hour 2010 to call for action on climate change. The symbolic one-hour switch-off, first held in Sydney in 2007, has become an annual global event and organizers World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said they expect this year's to be the biggest so far. The remote Chatham Islands was the first of more than 100 nations and territories to turn off the power at 8.30 p.m. local time, in a rolling event around the globe that ends just across the International Dateline in Samoa 24 hours later.

World Wide Green House Gas Air Quality

Once upon a time a trip around the world made major headlines. Nowadays it is common place and a convenient way to measure air quality around the world by plane. A plane outfitted to measure greenhouse gases has taken off from Colorado on the first leg of a 24 day mission that will take it back and forth across the Pacific Ocean from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The mission is part of a three year project designed to determine when and where the gases enter and leave the atmosphere. That in turn could help policymakers as well as scientists on how to handle and measure climate change.

Summers Were Wetter in the Middle Ages Than They Are Today

ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2010) — The severe epidemic of plague known as the "Black Death" caused the death of a third of the European population in the 14th century. It is probable that the climatic conditions of the time were a contributory factor towards the disaster. "The late Middle Ages were unique from the point of view of climate," explains Dr Ulf Büntgen of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Birmensdorf, Switzerland. "Significantly, there were distinct phases in which summers were wetter than they are today."

Drought crippling southwest China

Over 50 million people are affected by a severe drought in southwest China, according to Xinhua, the nation's state media. The lack of rain and unseasonably high temperatures has also left 16 million people without easy access to drinking water. Since last autumn many regions have received only half their usual rainfall. The nation expects that nearly a million hectares will not produce crops due to the drought, while some rivers have dried up completely.

Philadelphia seeks ban on hydraulic fracturing

Philadelphia officials asked a state regulator on Thursday to ban the natural-gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing until its environmental effects, especially on drinking water, are studied. The City Council urged the Delaware River Basin Commission to deny a drilling permit to Stone Energy Corp, a Louisiana-based oil and gas company, or to any other company that wants to use the technique to extract gas in the watershed that supplies the city's drinking water.