Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Electrifying Figures

At the end of 2017, the global renewable energy generation capacity stood at 2,179 GW. Of this, 167 GW was added in 2017 alone.

Of the total power generation increase added during 2017, solar and wind accounted for 85%.

The growth in renewable energy generation in 2017 was 8.3%.

HYDRO-POWER: This sector has seen the lowest growth in the last decade - meaning this technology is now old hat. Hydro-electric energy is fast losing steam and nations around the world are not investing in this antiquated technology any more!

The global energy capacities at a glance:

1.  Hydro            :   1,152 GW
2.  Wind              :     514 GW
3.  Solar              :     397 GW
4.  Bioenergy      :     109 GW
5.  Geothermal    :      13 GW

6.  Marine           :    500 MW

Figures are by: International Renewable Energy Agency

The installed capacity of hydro-electricity may seem huge, compared to other renewable energy sources. However, you have to remember that hydro-electricity generation began as far back as 1882.

By comparison, wind power came into commercial existence only in 1940. Power from the sun began to be harnessed commercially only in the 1970’s.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Run-In With Our Men In Blue

Few days back (11.04.2018), I had a run-in with our Men in Blue – next to the Thai Pavilion below Namgay Heritage Hotel. The less than cordial tête-à-tête that followed by the way side was rather peculiar, and revealing at the same time.

MiB: “Wai Lobey, aanina parking betha mecho la” (Sir, you cannot park here).

Me: “Who says so?”

MiB: “I say so.”

Me: “And who are you?”

MiB: “I am the Traffic Police – can’t you read here?” --- gesticulating across his chest.

Me: “Just because you are a traffic police, you can say any old thing?”

MiB: I am not saying any old thing --- I am saying you cannot park here.

Me: “Where does it say this is a NO PARKING zone? Where is the sign board … where is the
         color coded line that will tell me that parking is not allowed in this place.”

MiB: “It is not my job to put up NO PARKING signs, or draw color coded lines to designate an
           area as NO PARKING zone – it is the City Corporation’s. So please go yell at them.”

Me: “If the City Corporation has not put up the sign or drawn a line to show that a place is a
         No Parking Zone, why do you volunteer to designate the area as a No Parking area?.
         Obviously the City Corporation does not consider this a No Parking area”

MiB: “Because this is a 2-ways traffic road.” Excuse me?????

Me: “I will not recognize this as a No Parking Zone if there is no sign that says as such.”

MiB: “Oh really? Then show me where is the White Box that tells you that you can park here?”

Me: “Are you telling me that we can park only in areas where there are white boxes drawn?”

MiB: “Anyway, traffic management is my responsibility and duty. So I am telling you,
           you cannot park here.”

Me: “Wai police – you are a law enforcer – your responsibility is to enforce a law that is in
          place – you have no authority to legislate new laws at your whim and fancy. The fact that
          there is no law – sign board or white line on the road – means there is no law so you
          cannot tell me what you are telling me.”

The back and forth argument went on for over half an hour, to no avail. But the fact that the MiB did not ask me to surrender my documents or driving license, is proof that the bugger knew he was not entirely within his rights, in giving me a hard time.

At times the arguments verged on the ridiculous. But I understand --- our MiB has to deal with some real nut cases – day in, day out. Their work is certainly not easy and they have all my sympathies. But I fear that I have not seen the last of this incident – it is bound to come up again and again, until the bakers are taught to bake palatable cakes.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Back of the Envelope Calculations - Forestry can be bigger growth driver than Hydropower Sector

The above is word for word quotation by Phuntsho Namgyel, author of Forest for Gross National Happiness.

Wikipedia explains “back-of-the-envelope calculations” thus:

"A back-of-the-envelope calculation is a rough calculation, typically jotted down on any available scrap of paper such as an envelope. It is more than a guess but less than an accurate calculation or mathematical proof." 

However we may wish to explain it, the following maths by Phuntsho Namgyal is certainly a thought provoking maths.

According to NFI (National Forest Inventory) 2016, we have a timber reserve of 1001 million m3. The national forest added net 472 million m3 since the first NFI in 1981 with average annual increment of 13.50 million m3 (2016 - 1981 = 35 years).

An increase in Growing Stock is an indication  of a maturing forest and/or more areas brought under forest cover.

The forestry share of GDP in 2016 was 2.68% or Nu. 4 billion. We removed in the year about 0.39 million m3 of wood which is 0.04% of the Growing Stock, or 2.9% of net annual increment.

An annual increase of wood harvest from 0.39 million m3 to:

1 million m3 = Nu. 10 billion
2 million m3 = Nu. 20 billion
3 million m3 = Nu. 30 billion
4 million m3 = Nu. 40 billion
5 million m3 = Nu. 50 billion

5 million m3 of wood extraction amounts to 0.5% of growing stock or 37% of net allowable increment, way below the sustainable harvest level.

The hydropower revenue in 2016 was Nu. 19.89 billion which was 13.38% of GDP.

Technically speaking, forestry has tremendous potential to be bigger growth driver than hydropower sector.


I might add: No 10% interest payable either!!

Ofcourse, it is a back-of-the-envelope calculations - but even if only half the maths is correct, we would still come out smelling like roses.

A most intriguing maths indeed!