Monday, March 30, 2009

Things are not right : Is Earth hour the answer ?

The weather in the last week of march in Delhi used to be generally warm during the day with pleasant evenings. Last year the air conditioner was up and running during this time, but now the fan regulators are yet to reach maximum. It would not take a person much knowledge to conclude that there is definately something that is not alright. So what's really cooking ? Is it the earth under the cap of carbon dioxide and other green house gases such a methane or is this Bhagwan ki kripa or other evil powers . It would not take much to convince people on the latter and all it would need is a priest like looking person spreading the message through provocative speeches saying "America and China are behind this" (Thats not my say and I don't intend to mean any such thing).

Coming back to the sane stuff we need to find a solution of the simple question "What can we do ? Is earth hour the answer". I celebrated triple earth hour(s) compulsorily since the power authorities had decided that probably my community was consuming too much electricity (pun intended). I have my reservations about such things and their real impacts (or mis-impacts) but it wasn't bad experience. I sat with my family and we had some chilled out conversations. It was a good chilled out triple earth hour.

Analyzing the Earth Hour's effects the good thing is that it is spreading awareness about the fact that we can save our Earth in coma from being a tandoori chicken. It's getting hot in here rather the climate is changing. Now comes the mis-impact part. Many people think that just shutting lights off for one hour daily will help. No it won't ! It is not enough to be satisfied that you are switching off all your lights. More importantly you need to keep a check on how many times you forget to switch lights off when you come out of the room or the geyser you forgot to switch off. Another factor is that once electricity has been created it has to be used and hence you might watch street lights on during the day time. Its because the system has been designed to meet the power requirements of peak hours. I gave a seminar on embedded systems (curve below) which was on the use of differential payments for varying hours of electricity usage. The curve from the presentation shows a typical usage pattern.

Typical Energy demand curve
But sadly we are far away from the actual implementation of these technologies and India as a developing nation, with good GDP growth (sometimes over-hyped), there are people who celebrate upto 8 Earth Hours daily and on the extreme cases most of their lives has been an Earth Hour kind of lifestyle till now. I hope things change (not with hate speeches).