Sorry Mr. Edison, looks like your time is up!

The global community is focusing a tremendous amount of attention on the potential role of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) in significantly cutting down household energy use. Given that CFL bulbs use only 20% of the power of an equivalent incandescent lamp, the benefits are crystal clear. The only problem: cost of these bulbs. In the US, Wal-Mart has begun aggressively pushing CFLs on their shelves and are also working hard to make CFLs more affordable. However, the bulbs are still prohibitively expensive for most Indians. Well, that could change soon [Via Businessworld]:

Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation (UPPCL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two companies on a deal that involves the companies funding the entire cost of a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) above Rs 10. The condition: UPPCL distributes about 22 million CFLs in exchange for existing incandescent lamps and at a cost of Rs 10 per CFL. “This is to mitigate the more than 2,000-MW per day gap between demand and supply of electricity in UP,” says a director in UPPCL.

So, I guess the burning question is how these companies which signed the MOU with UPPCL will actually generate profit. The hope is to monetize the certified reductions derived out of CFL use by selling them in the international market:

The financial model is attractive if the CFLs reach households instead of the grey market. CantorCO2e expects the cost of a CFL to be Rs 70 and an additional Rs 30 in the form of administrative and processing costs. As per the company’s estimates, each CFL that is successfully installed and gets certification from CDM is expected to earn 0.09 CER per annum as it will result in an annual saving of roughly 0.09 metric tonne of carbon dioxide emissions (one CO2 metric tonne is equivalent to one CER).

The business model is cutting-edge – and the companies involved are early pioneers. If it works in the pilot states, the model could be replicated nationwide and could help offset the power shortage in the country.

[Image Credit: Businessworld]

Note: Looks like Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) is also involved in a similar pilot project. TC-I had covered the story here.

The Polio Capital of the World: India

Last year alone, India spent Rs. 1,300 crore on the Polio Eradication Programme, with Rs. 1,042 crore more allocated for this year. Despite these efforts, however, the success of the past few years appears to have been reversed, as the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has placed India on top of the world polio map, with 106 cases diagnosed for this year. Compare that to other “endemic countries” such as Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – all of which, together, have reported only 23 cases in the same time period.

With states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh leading the way in terms of polio infections, India’s projected year of eradication – 2000 – is well off track. Here are the statistics:

The number of polio cases jumped from 268 in 2001 to 1,600 in 2002. In February 2003, India launched the largest ever mass immunisation campaign against polio, targeting 165 million children.

But even in that year there were 225 cases, though in 2004 there was a significant drop to 136 cases. India recorded 864 polio cases in 2007, compared to 676 cases the previous year.

Of course, we must keep in mind that compared to 1995, when around 50,000 polio cases were diagnosed, the 106 cases diagnosed to date are a significant improvement. But the question remains – despite a concerted effort to eradicate the disease, why the repeated failure? WHO and UNICEF officials point to the fact that of the 106 polio cases diagnosed, only 1 was P1 (the most contagious and virulent strain), whereas the remainder were P3 (the least contagious and virulent strain). UNICEF has also found that community members still lack confidence in the vaccine, citing it as a ‘birth control’ device, or distrusting its effects altogether. In response, UNICEF has started recruiting community and religious leaders in addition to widespread “confidence building” campaigns.

The next step for India is to focus on the Type 3 strain, specifically in the regions of Bihar and UP. Currently, the government plans to “advance the pulse polio rounds in UP, Bihar, and parts of Haryana.”

Source: OneWorld South Asia