The best and worst countries in the world when it comes to air pollution and electricity use

China steals an unsavory global spotlight for the thick, noxious smog that often chokes its mega-cities.

Air pollution has become so bad in Beijing, for example, that Chinese officials aim to slash its local coal consumption by 30% in 2017.

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Meanwhile, the US — which currently ranks eighth on the list of countries with the lowest air pollution — could be headed in the opposite direction.

President Donald Trump has said that he intends to fulfill his campaign promise of revitalizing the American coal industry, despite the criticism of fossil fuel industry analysts and the rise of affordable sources of renewable energy. Congress is also working to repeal environmental regulations.

With these and other changes afoot, it’s worth taking a look at current global rankings to see how China, the US, and other countries stack up when it comes to air quality, total energy use, and renewable contributions to power production.

Here the best and worst of 135 countries according to World Health Organization (WHO) and International Energy Agency data, which was shared with Business Insider by The Eco Experts, a UK-based solar energy comparison site.

There are many ways to measure air pollution, but a key indicator is called “PM 2.5” — one of the most harmful classes of airborne pollutants. The “PM” stands for “particulate matter,” and the “2.5” stands for 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller — roughly the size of a single bacterium. Such pollution, as Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey explained in 2016 , “is especially dangerous because it can get lodged in the lungs and cause long-term health problems like asthma and chronic lung disease.” When PM 2.5 levels go above roughly 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air, it can become a major health problem. The WHO recommends keeping PM 2.5 levels to about 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

Air pollution levels are one thing, but deaths attributed to them are another. Take China, for instance. The country isn’t in the top 10 for highest average levels of air pollution, in terms of PM 2.5 (Saudi Arabia wins that contest, thanks in part to its oil industry ). However, it ranks fifth for having the most deaths per capita due to air pollution, in part because if its high population density. The US currently has one of the lowest death rates attributed to air pollution.

Decades of scientific work across multiple lines of evidence corroborate a powerful yet inconvenient truth: Human-caused global warming and climate change is real , and it’s briskly accelerating as we dump more carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Looking at per-person average emissions of carbon dioxide, a persistent greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels, the US ranks as the eighth-highest contributor in the world. Less developed nations, which lack robust and power-hungry infrastructure, rank among the lowest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions.

The main reason the US ranks so poorly on carbon dioxide emissions is because its per-person consumption rate of electricity is so high; all of that energy comes primarily from fossil fuels. As with carbon dioxide emission rankings, less developed nations tend to score better on electricity consumption because access to electrical power is not as widely available.

Despite their poor rankings in air pollution and electricity consumption categories, China, India, and the US are the top-three contributors to renewable energy. The ranking here is in “tonnes of oil equivalent” or TOE — meaning renewable energy sources generated (and presumably replaced) the energy created by burning that many metric tons of oil in a year. Four Middle Eastern nations — Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman — are tied for “worst” in this category, since each had a “0” in TOE contributed by renewables. However, they are not shown in our graphics because this may be due to a lack of available data (all four nations are actively pushing growth in renewable energy sources ).

Source: Skye Gould/Business Insider

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Budget 2017 – Solar / Renewable Synopsis

Indian Budget 2017

  • 80 IA benefit for projects now stands withdrawn from 2017
  • Accelerated Depreciation stands at 40%
  • Allocated an outlay of above Rs.10,000 crore for 2016-17. This outlay includes Rs.5,000 crore from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) with the balance coming from Internal & Extra Budgetary Resource (IEBR). A significant part of viability gap funding for solar power projects is intended to be financed out of such cash outlay.
  • On the taxation front, the clean environment cess on coal, lignite and peat has been doubled from Rs.200 per tonne to Rs.400 per tonne; encouraging the use of renewable sources of energy
  • 7,000 railway stations with solar power in the medium term currently in only 300 stations. Work will be taken up for 2,000 railway stations as part of 1000 MW solar mission.
  •  Government now propose to take up the second phase of Solar Park development for additional 20,000 MW capacity.
  • Solar tempered glass for use in the manufacture of solar cells/panels/modules , Basic Customs Duty reduced to NIL from current rates of 5%
  • Parts/raw materials for use in the manufacture of solar tempered glass for use in solar photovoltaic cells/modules, solar power generating equipment or systems, flat plate solar collector, solar photovoltaic module and panel for water pumping and other applications, subject to actual user condition, CVD reduced to 6% from current rates of 12.5%
  • All items of machinery required for fuel cell based power generating systems to be set up in the country or for demonstration purposes, subject to certain specified conditions , BCD Reduced to 5% from 10%/7.5% and CVD Reduced to 6% from 12.5%
  • All items of machinery required for balance of systems operating on biogas/ bio-methane/ by-product hydrogen, subject to certain specified conditions , BCD Reduced to 5% from 10%/7.5% and CVD Reduced to 6% from 12.5%
  • Ministry of New & Renewable Energy will get budget allocation of Rs.5473 Crores in FY 2017-18, up from Rs.5036 Crores in FY 2016-17
  • Pilot plants for environment friendly disposal of solid waste and conversion of biodegradable waste to energy are being set up at New Delhi and Jaipur railway stations. Five more such solid waste management plants are now being taken up.
  • Resin and catalyst for use in the manufacture of cast components for Wind Operated Energy Generators [WOEG], subject to actual user condition , BCD reduced to 5% from 7.5%, CVD reduced to NIL from 12.5%, SAD reduced to NIL from 4%
  • India is on its way to achiev 100% village electrification by 1st May 2018. An increased allocation of ` 4,814 crores has been proposed under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in 2017-18.
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Agenda Note for National Review Meeting of State Principal Secretaries and State Nodal Agencies of Renewable Energy on 23rd and 24th January 2017-New Delhi

background-note-meet 23 24 jan 2017

Comprehensive data on the current situation to date in Renewable Energy, a must read

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Exemption of Electricity Duty to Open Access consumers who are exempted to pay Electricity Duty. MSEDCL


Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

Prakashgad, Plot No.G-9, Sandra (East), Mumbai – 400 051



P-Com/Accts/EDI                                                            DEC 2016]

All superintending Engineers                                                                                                        ‘

O&M Circle MSEDCL.

Sub :- Exemption of Electricity Duty to Open Access consumers who are exempted to pay Electricity Duty.

Ref :- 1) Maharashtra Electricity Duty Act. 2016 amended vide GoM Resolution dt. 08.08.16

  • GOM Notification 31.08.2016.
  • Office Note P-Com/Accts/ED 1341 dt. 02.11.2016

In connection with above that as per GoM resolution dt. 08.08.16 the electricity duty has been charged on the consumption wef Sept.2016 onwards to all open access consumers as above except consumers of Vidahabha & Marathwada region.

Thereafter, MSEDCL received several representations from OA consumers and RE generators who are already exempted for payment of Electricity Duty as per the eligibility certificate granted by GoM.

As such, it has been decided that, the MSEDCL will stop levying the electricity duty to such OA consumers and RE generators who are exempted from making payment of Electricity Duty in bills issued and being issued from December 2016 onwards, till further instructions from GoM/Hon’ble High Court Mumbai in this matter

Accordingly, the instructions has been issued to IT for not levying the duty to exempted consumers with instructions to credit amount of Electricity Duty recovered from such consumers from the month of Sept. 2016 to NoV.2016 & Dec.16 in Jan.2016 bill. Now some of the bills are already issued and they have already made the payment of their bills. However, if any consumer willing to pay the bill excluding the amount of electricity duty then such payment may be accepted as per revised bill from IT for the month of Dec.16. It is directed to not to take any corrosive action on such OA consumers who have not paid Electricity duty amount on OA quantum.

If any of such consumer who has made payment of bills excluding Electricity Duty of OA quantum and is eligible prompt payment discount & related load factor incentive will get his anticipated benefit and detail instructions are already given to IT in this regard. It will be applicable to only Electricity Duty exempted consumers.

Further, as per the RE Policy of the Government of Maharashtra RE generators are under exemption to pay the electricity duty for the period of 10 years as per GoM notification. As such the details of such RE generators are required to update in the system for extending them the benefit of GoM’s policy.

You are therefore requested to take note of above and inform the details of date of commissioning of RE generators of all open access consumer under your circle so that their exemption period can be fed to system and RE generators already completed 10 years can be identified for charging the electricity duty.

Click here for the document


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Power loss due to soiling on solar panel: A review

The power output delivered from a photovoltaic module highly depends on the amount of irradiance, which reaches the solar cells.

Many factors determine the ideal output or optimum yield in a photovoltaic module.

However, the environment is one of the contributing parameters which directly affect the photovoltaic performance. The authors review and evaluate key contributions to the understanding, performance effects, and mitigation of power loss due to soiling on a solar panel. Electrical characteristics of PV (Voltage and current) are discussed with respect to shading due to soiling. Shading due to soiling is divided in two categories, namely, soft shading such as air pollution, and hard shading which occurs when a solid such as accumulated dust blocks the sunlight.

The result shows that soft shading affects the current provided by the PV module, but the voltage remains the same. In hard shading, the performance of the PV module depends on whether some cells are shaded or all cells of the PV module are shaded. If some cells are shaded, then as long as the unshaded cells receive solar irradiance, there will be some output although there will be a decrease in the voltage output of the PV module. This study also present a few cleaning method to prevent from dust accumulation on the surface of solar arrays.

Click below for the full detailed review


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Solar nearly level with wind and out-competing fossil fuels in developing countries – BNEF

Average capital expenditure (capex) for PV projects in developing countries during 2015 stood at US$2.15 million/MW, rapidly approaching average wind capex of US$2.02 million/MW. Credit: BNEF

Driven by steep cost declines in PV equipment, solar is now on a par with wind energy and will soon become the cheapest form of energy in developing nations, according to the Climatescope 2016 report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In recent tenders, solar is already out-competing fossil fuel-based projects in terms of price, said the report, which covers the 58 Climatescope countries, all regarded as developing nations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East.

Average capital expenditure (capex) for PV projects in such countries during 2015 stood at US$2.15 million/MW, rapidly approaching average wind capex of US$2.02 million/MW, as seen in the following table:

Solar nearly level with wind and out-competing fossil fuels in developing countries - BNEFCredit: BNEF

BNEF also noted that the fulcrum of clean energy development has now shifted from the world’s northern countries to the south.

This year, the 58 Climatescope countries saw more renewables investment than the well-developed Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, with US$154.1 billion and $153.7 billion invested respectively. Climatescope countries also installed more renewables – largely driven by China – with 69.8GW deployed versus 59.2GW in OECD countries.

Solar nearly level with wind and out-competing fossil fuels in developing countries - BNEFCredit: BNEF

An eleven-fold growth in PV investment in Climatescope countries from US$6.4 billion in 2010 to US$71.8 billion in 2015 has also been fuelled by the steep reductions in solar equipment costs.

The report stated: “Among all clean energy technologies, PV has seen its costs fall fastest and furthest over the last decade. This has allowed capex for projects in Climatescope countries to drop by more than half since 2010. It has also allowed PV project developers to sell their power at lower, more competitive rates.”

However the report warned that countries with the highest penetrations of wind and solar are facing troubles with integration given the unreliable nature of the grids in many of these emerging countries.

Markets with huge potential such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa were also cited as facing major solar industry troubles ranging from payment and connection delays to serious curtailment.

On another note, the low prices have also come a long way in driving a surge in companies breaking into the off-grid solar space, attempting to bring power to the 1.4 billion people that have no access to electricity. Multiple start-ups are now active in the pico solar, mini-grid and distributed solar space. As of June this year nearly 11 million households are estimated to have pico solar systems

Source: PV Tech

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Maharashtra Imposes Electricity Duty on Consumption by parties other than DISCOMS in a Body Blow


Madam Cama Marg, Hutatma Rajguru Chowk, Mantralaya, Mumbai 400 032, dated the 21st October 2016.



No. ELD. 2016/CR. 252/Energy-1.-In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 and Schedule A, B and C of the Maharashtra Electricity Duty Act, 2016 (Mah. XX.VI of 2016) and of all other powers enabling it in this behalf, and in supersession of the Government Notification, Industries, Energy and Labour Department, No. ELD. 2015/CR. 21/NRG. 1, dated the 13th April 2015 the Government of Maharashtra hereby specifies with effect from the billing month of September 2016, the rates mentioned in column (3) of the Tables appended here to, to be the rates at which the electricity duty shall be levied and paid in respect of the consumption of energy mentioned in column (2) of the said Tables.

screenshot-2016-12-21-13-15-46 screenshot-2016-12-21-13-16-00



Posted in Cross Subsidy Surcharge, DISCOM, Government, India, Maharashtra, MERC, Net Metering, Transmission Charges | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment