Saturday, November 26, 2005

energy: don't panic

nov 26th

the 'hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy' had this great piece of advise: 'don't panic!'

this is what i think india's energy and strategic planning czars need to be told.

here's the unfolding scenario:

1. nobody thought about india's long-term energy needs
2. suddenly they realized that india's growth is going to be affected if there were not enough hydrocarbons
3. they started running around like headless chickens to try and sew up energy contracts but found that there's not much available, and anyway the chinese are way ahead in their willingness to pay as well as their ability to offer other carrots (like nuclear weapons and missiles) to various rogue nations in exchange for oil
4. panic set in
5. looking at alternatives, they suddenly 'discovered' nuclear energy
6. therefore an all-out effort was put in place to get the NSG to relent and give india uranium
7. as part of this, whatever india has done indigenously in nuclear weapons and missiles is on the table to be given away
8. india is famous for unequal exchanges. it traded away significant treaty rights in tibet for... absolutely nothing!
9. the july 18 indo-us deal is another such unequal exchange. this is why the UPA does not want to debate it, go into the details etc
10. but the assumptions are false: nuclear energy is not the answer to india's energy needs
11. the real answer is solar energy, but india is putting zero effort into this
12. we don't know what inventions will come about in energy, but given sufficient encouragement, creative people will come up with something and we need to count on that
13. and now let's look at the scenario of what will happen if india doesn't have enough energy supplies. what is the worst case scenario? growth will drop from 7% to the nehruvian rate of growth of 2-3%. but this is what the congress and marxists want anyway. so why give away india's nuclear weapons and missiles *and* get to the nehruvian rate of growth? we'll get there anyway, just let the upa rule for five years
14. looking at the sunita narain essay someone posted, it is true that india is going down the same ugly path that the americans and so forth did: rampant automobile use. this is one of the worst forms of useless consumption. indeed, bangalore and other cities would be much better off if singapore-style punitive tolls were imposed on those entering designated areas in their cars. of course this means public transport has to improve. it is also true that general motors and exxon bought up the light-rail system (an extensive one) in los angeles and destroyed it, so as to make the car ubiquitous in la.
15. so india surrenders its deterrent (while china continues to merrily build bombs and missiles and give them to pakistan) for the dubious reason of... encouraging the car industry! talk of penny wise and pound foolish
16. if india loses its nukes (as pak apparently has already to the us) then its bargaining power as well as its ability to project its military power diminish rapidly, and the chinese will treat india with even more disdain. this is the pathology of surrender, going rapidly downhill.
17. in the futile pursuit of oil -- which will run out anyway and is a bad thing for the country -- india would have essentially committed suicide as a nation

this is why i think it's proper to oppose the indo-us nuke deal tooth and nail.

i mean, come on, dan burton, the arch india-baiter, likes it. that must mean it is bad for india.

the chinese and marxists are making noise about it as a diversionary tactic. they want us to think they oppose it, whereas in fact they like it because it will deprive india of weapons.

3 comments:

blackpanther said...

sometimes you state things so explicity, it makes me feel very uncomfortable ;)
i believe the delhi metro is a success. they might be looking to replicate it in other cities. a well planned mass rapid transport is the need of the hour in most cities, especially in the south.

san said...

Rajeev, Dan Burton also dislikes China, being the redneck that he is. But nobody cares what Burton thinks, his is a lone shrill voice in the wilderness. China's complaints are not a diversionary tactic, but a fear of India gaining de facto parity with it.

Regarding #11 Solar Energy -- I would tell you that windpower offers more energy density to India than solar, and even then these energy densities are low enough that they are more suitable for distributed power generation rather than for the intense needs of industry. Solar energy costs of setup are rather high relative to its rate of return. It takes more than a decade of continuous use for a solar rig to repay the upfront purchase cost.

Perhaps part of the solution in mitigating the upfront setup cost for solar and wind is in embedding that cost into the basic design of homes. I've been reading so much about the new wave in modern factory-built prefabricated housing, which is a trend gathering speed in Western real estate markets. Many of these prefabricated designs are intended for stand-alone self-sufficiency, which would cater towards the circumstances of India's infrastructure-deficient countryside.

DarkStorm said...

I think Solar energy is more reliable. We have 9 months on uninterrupted sunshine in most parts of the country. Are solar panels, or heating systems costlier than Wind turbines. I think the cost is almost the same. Wind energy is more erratic in India, except the coastal regions. Anyway, come what may, we have to invest in both. We cannot give priority to one over the other. We need to tap all possible sources of energy.

Also, need to explore more gas reserves. Cleaner and much more efficient. What about the gas strikes in Rajasthan and Godavari-Krishna basin. It was a huge find, as advertized by the media and interested parties. What happened to it. Then we wont need the iranian gas, stripped of hydrocarbons, and stolen by Pakistan. Talk of stupidity, we have ample of it in Madmohan and sonia maddos govt.