Archive for August, 2015

18
Aug
15

China and the Silk Route

The twelfth five year plan of China target >11 % energy production from non-fossil fuels sources like geothermal. According to the comments by the members of scientific committee, wind form has the capacity factor of 23% and hence it is powerless 77% of the time. If it is connected to the grid, then, other sources should be able to fill this gap. Hence wind farms are not stand alone sources and need power backup. This is true with solar pv as well. The best way to fill this gap and still maintaining strategy to reduce CO2 emissions is develop geothermal resources that has a capacity factor of 90%.

 

Recently, IPCC in a special report, stated that 3% of global energy will be generated by geothermal by 2020. Perhaps China will not wait that long. It has already drawn plans to take geothermal as top priority and is looking at the Geothermal belt of Himalayas to supports its “revival of Silk route” project in a big way. China has already running 32 MWe geothermal power plant in Yangbajing that is supporting the entire Lhasa’s demand, expanding this project along the entire Himalayan geothermal belt is a cakewalk for China. China is organizing a workshop on this topic and invited world geothermal leaders to debate on a common platform to explore and exploit geothermal sources along the Silk Route. India is  part of this team. A part of this belt passes through Ladakh and this province has a huge potential to generate power and support the Army and local villages. Developing this part of the Himalayas is a good strategy for India. A huge amount of diesel that is air lifted from southern cities can be curtailed and tones of CO2 can be saved. Glaciers of the Himalayas can be saved. Detailed projects reports were submitted, discussions with the local governments were held, army generals were briefed. But the country’s energy stalwarts are not aware of the potential or not interested to develop this sources for reasons well known to them. What is certain is, China mastering in horizontal drilling technology, can easily tap this sources from these provinces to supports its SR project. This will happen very soon. Chinese oil companies have mastered the horizontal drilling technology and are using this technology to generate power from abandoned oil wells by circulating CO2. Thus they are able to generate power on one side and on the other able to get good returns on investment (ROI). India oil industry is still keen in “enhanced oil recovery” by sucking small percent of extra oil to get more ROI. Who is smart!

Once constant supply of power is available, SK, covering a length of > 7000 miles, will be a major trade corridor for Europe and South West and South East Asia. This route will have road and railways, connecting Singapore and London! We always dream of the past, boast our achievements. China too had a great past but they dream future. The Tang Dynasty, that put the country at the highest point of power, had a territorial control and cultural brilliance. The Tang Dynasty and the Roman empires traded along SK. Once travelled by camels, the SK in future will see “Shanghai Maglev Train’.