Green Energy

Wind power is now cheaper than coal-based electricity in India – but the industry is worried

This tariff crash comes at a time when India’s wind energy sector is already in the doldrums.

After a steep fall in solar power prices in India, it is now the turn of wind energy.

During an auction conducted last week by the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India for 1,000 megawatts of wind power installations, tariffs fell to a new low of Rs 2.64 per unit, down 24% from even the previous low of Rs 3.46. The prices are now competitive with the solar energy segment which hit a record-low of Rs 2.44 per unit in May, also during auctions conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India. Renewable energy in India is now cheaper than coal-based power, which costs around Rs 3.20 per unit.

Earlier this year, the Narendra Modi government had amended the method to determine wind energy tariffs, allowing the market to fix prices rather than having a regulator do it. This new system has led to a slide in prices. “The main reason is simply increased competition,” renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India said in a note referring to the price wars.

This tariff crash comes at a time when India’s wind energy sector is already in the doldrums.

Following the introduction of the new tariff-determination system, the central and state governments – at least until last week – hadn’t conducted any wind farm auctions, leaving companies without a pipeline of projects to work on. Energy distribution firms have also wanted to pull out of previously-signed power purchase agreements, instead pressuring power firms to sell at the newly-discovered low rates for renewable energy. As a result, the sector has seen a sharp fall in new capacity additions in 2017 compared to the previous year.

The slowdown has also driven down wind turbine costs and lowered the expectations of return on investments, resulting in tariff reduction, Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies, told Quartz. Based in New Delhi, Jain’s wind farm company has around 500 MW of installed capacity. The availability of more efficient and advanced wind turbines has also helped, Jain added.

While falling tariffs make renewable power more attractive to consumers, it creates risks for investors and lenders, Bridge to India said. Energy distribution companies, which have already signed power purchase agreements at higher rates, will also take a hit. “We believe that the new wind tariffs are too aggressive,” Bridge to India said.

“The viability of these projects would depend on the project execution capability of the firms involved,” CARE Ratings said in a note. “This includes land acquisition to set up projects in areas with grid connectivity.”

This article first appeared on Quartz.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.