As ever, a new year offers the chance to stop and take stock of where we are going, and what is important, and Pinaki Bhadury’s article in this issue (page 23), is not a bad place to start. He is examining what CHP and other forms of DE can offer India, as that country faces the challenges of a growing population and growing economy, against a background of weak infrastructure.
While DE certainly offers a wealth of solutions to meeting that country’s needs, it’s the sheer size of the challenge that India faces that impresses. India’s population is currently around 1.1 billion, of whom 60% live in rural areas. Of those 60%, 290 million have no access to electricity and the comforts and other benefits it can bring. Bhadury tells us that to meet the government’s target of supplying a modest power supply (1 kWh/day per household) to 100,000 villages and 10 million households by 2012 will require 100,000 MW capacity in the coming few years – in addition to the power needed by growing, energy-hungry industry. These issues are not unique to India, but shared by other developing countries.
Depending on where you are based, the Indian sub-continent may seem far distant. It may even seem like another world. But of course, that’s precisely what it isn’t – we all share the same world, with one fragile climate, and atmospheric carbon is no respecter of national boundaries. Thus, the power sector has a huge responsibility, and opportunity, in providing leadership.
Innovation is one means of doing this (this issue’s article on engines focuses on some of the innovations going on in that field, while another reports on advances in integrating small-scale CHP into the Dutch grid). Just as important is transfer of knowledge, so that best practice is passed on: David Appleyard’s feature on a high-efficiency CHP and district heating plant in Vienna also explains the potential for rolling out best-practice elsewhere in Europe.
Transfer of expertise and investment need not necessarily be within localities or regions – it can of course take place between continents, and Sytze Dijkstra examines the role of cogeneration plants within the Clean Development Mechanism, one of the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol which, imperfect or not, is helping establish new partnerships, strategies and perspectives.
There’s a lot to be done in 2007, and on behalf of the COSPP team I wish you a fulfilling and successful year.
Editorial Director, COSPP