- Energy News Monitor
- Sep 06 2016
India and Russia have an agreement to build 12 nuclear plans in the next two decades.
Non-fossil fuels news summary: August 2016
The successful commissioning of the first two units of 1000 MW VVER, the Russian version of the pressurised water reactor at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, despite a delay of over two years led to announcement of pre-project work for the third and fourth units. Experts have commented that units 3 & 4 will get the more powerful versions of the reactor with additional safety features. India and Russia have an agreement to build 12 nuclear plans in the next two decade. India is reportedly planning to increase nuclear power generation capacity three times in the next ten years. One should not be surprised at these targets because throwing up aspirational numbers for energy generation that touch the stratosphere is part of this government’s strategy to be ‘liked’! Naturally even the Chinese nuclear industry is reported to be attracted by these numbers.
There was plenty of news on the much troubled hydro-power sector as well. First was the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri project at Gerukamukh in Arunachal Pradesh that has been on hold for over five years on account of protests by people downstream of the project. The NHPC chief was reported to have assured that the dam is safe. How many would go by these announcement is anyone’s guess. NHPC was also facing problems with the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project in the Bandipora district of Kashmir due to protests in the valley. Pakistan went to the international court of arbitration over the project on the basis of the Indus Water Treaty but as the court gave the go ahead it is seen as a symbol of India’s victory over Pakistan. So much for India’s idea of victory!
Staying with hydro power there seems to be some momentum in the industry after a long pause. According to the Power Minister, of the 50 hydro proposals received from various states 35 are awaiting clearance from the CEA. But it appears that hydro-projects cannot expect a smooth ride ahead. In a landmark judgment, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has held Alaknanda Hydro Power Co. Ltd. liable for payment of compensation for lack of proper care in storing muck from a construction project, which allowed the material to flow during the floods in Srinagar and Uttarakhand in June 2013. The ruling was in response to a PIL filed against Alaknanda by Srinagar Bandh Aapda Sangharsh Samiti, a body formed to take up issues related to compensations for people affected by the 2013 floods that devastated the area. This probably what India’s former Prime Minister labelled green tape!
There was far greater momentum on new renewables such as solar energy. The government was reportedly working on developing a framework for solarising agriculture pumps in order to reduce power consumption by farmers. It has already embarked on a plan to provide energy efficient agriculture pumps to farmers and has launched National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme in this regard. Why the government wants to reduce the power consumption by farmers is not clear as the challenge facing the power sector is lack of demand. The scheme will probably replace free power to farmer with free pumps to farmers. What will become of these pumps in the next ten years is unclear at this point but it must be noted that these pumps do not come cheap. Though the government has said that solar pumps will result in annual savings of approximately ₹200 billion on agricultural subsidies it is not clear if this will be sufficient to offset the one time investment on the pump sets.
India has reportedly formulated aplan to store up to 10,000 MW of through ‘pumped’ storage systems store at a fraction of the cost entailed using lithiumion batteries (0.30-40/kWh for pumped storage vs 10/kWh for batteries). The ₹800 billion plan entails setting up hydel pump storage systems in several states over the next five to six years. Good luck is all we can say at this point!
According to Niti Ayog, cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy has crossed 44 GW. Out of the 3600 MW solar capacity added during in FY16, 2700 MW has come from four southern States. Among southern states, Tamil Nadu is reportedly number one with 1200 MW capacity for FY16. Lest we forget this is on the back of a generous feed-in-tariff of ₹ 7.01/kWh. Anyone with a roof and loan will rush to put up solar plants — especially if they can buy utility power at an ‘amma’ discount and pass it off as solar power at three times the price!
Renewable developers are reported to be worried over the impact of GST on projects. Renewable projects enjoy numerous tax concessions and exemptions, bothat the Central and State level but GST may bring this bonanza to an end. Around 95% of solar equipment is imported. While imports generally attract basic customs duty of 710%, renewable energy related components pay a concessional 5%. There is also a special additional duty of customs of 4%, which for renewable energy equipment is later refunded.
Reports said that the Government is likely to get an estimated ₹23,944.4 crore from clean environment cess to be collected by CIL based on production targets. At present the rate of Clean Environment Cess is ₹400 per tonne of coal. One cannot but wonder at this stage if higher production targets for CIL was driven by higher cess collection potential. The purpose of clean energy/environment cess was for financing and promoting clean energy initiatives, funding research in the area of clean energy or for any other purpose relating thereto. Thus far the cess is reportedly being used more for ‘any other purpose related thereto’ such as cleaning the Ganga. The fund would offer better results in terms of cleaning the environment if it is invested for clean coal technologies such as coal washing.
Rest of the world
The government of India has reportedly approved the budget of the ongoing 1020 MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project (HEP) in Bhutan expected to provide surplus power to India. The bilateral agreement to execute the Punatsangchhu-II HEP was signed between India and Bhutan in 2010 with funding by GoI with 30% grant and 70% loan at 10% annual interest to be paid back in thirty equated semi-annual instalments. There were reports that the World Bank had suspended funding for the $14 billion Inga 3 hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a disagreement with the nation over implementation plans. The World Bank agreed to $73 million in technical assistance for the first phase of the $100 billion Grand Inga hydropower project which would have a capacity of 44,000 MW. Inga 3 alone would have a capacity of 4,800 MW, almost double Congo’s current installed capacity. China’s Three Gorges power plant, at 22,500 MW is currently the world’s biggest power plant.
Moving to nuclear power, it appears that the tide is turning against the carbon free energy source. Reuters reported that construction starts for new nuclear reactors fell to zero globally in the first half of 2016. It blamed falling costs for renewables and a slowdown in Chinese building. The last time there were no new reactors started over a full year was in 1995 according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016. The number of reactors under construction is in decline for a third year, with 58 being built by the end of June, down from 67 reactors at the end of 2013, the report said. Construction started on six reactors in China in 2015, three times more than the rest of the world, while eight went into operation there last year, out of 10 globally. But even in China, renewables investment and capacity additions are outstripping nuclear, the report said. Renewables investments totalled $100 billion in China last year, more than five times the amount for new reactors, which was $18 billion. The scene in the US which pioneered nuclear technology appears to be grim with only two of 18 plants proposed since 2007 under construction. As certain states allow billing consumers before construction of the plant starts, the media reported that US electricity consumers may be paying more than $2.5 billion for nuclear plants that may not be built. Utilities are reportedly moving forward with their nuclear plans to preserve the option to build if market or regulatory conditions change. As some of the projects for which the consumers are being charged may never be built, some say that this shifts risks from shareholders to rate payers.
Entergy Corp of the USA was reported to be in talks to sell its 838 MW New York nuclear power plant to Exelon Corp. The plant produces enough electricity to power 800,000 homes, and employs 615 workers but it has been under pressure financially amid growing competition from gas based power plants. A ray of hope of nuclear power plants in New York comes from the New York Public Service Commission that has reportedly proposed to offer up to $965 million in subsidies to keep nuclear power plants in service and to meet the state’s CO2 emission reduction target.
But there is some action on nuclear power in some parts of the World. Russia was reported to have plans for construction of 11 new nuclear power reactors by 2030, including two BN-1200 sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors. The 11 units do not include those already under construction — Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Novovoronezh and Rostov — or the floating reactor Academician Lomonosov. The BN-1200 reactors are to be built at the Beloyarsk and South Urals nuclear power plants. Russia was also reported to have plans to build 8 nuclear plants in Iran. Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr, was built on the basis of Russian technologies.
In Japan, there are signs of revival of the nuclear industry. Japan’s nuclear regulator had reportedly approved Kansai Electric Power’s bid to extend the life of an ageing reactor beyond 40 years, the second such approval it has granted under new safety requirements imposed since the Fukushima disaster. While opinion polls consistently show opposition to nuclear power following Fukushima, markets seem to be pushing nuclear doors open. According to the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ), the country is likely to restart seven nuclear reactors by the end of March 2017 and a further 12 reactors by the end of March 2018, generating nearly 120 TWh/year of nuclear power, compared to 288 TWh in the 2010-2011 year. This would enable Japan to cut its fossil fuel imports by $45 billion and also reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 0.1 GtCO2.
Chinese nuclear group China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) had reportedly commissioned the fourth unit of the Ningde nuclear power plant in the Fujian province in China in the second half of this year. CGNPC now has 17 reactors with a combined capacity of 18.17 GWe in operation, and a further eight units under construction. CGNPC has also connected the second unit of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant, located in the Guangxi province, to the Chinese grid, and started supplying power to the network. The 1000 MW unit is expected to enter commercial operation in the second half of 2016.
UK continues to grapple with the nuclear question. The French utility EDF was reported to have narrowly voted to proceed with a controversial project to build two nuclear reactors in Hinkley Point, Britain. The French government, which controls 85% of EDF’s capital argues the UK project will support the French nuclear industry over the next decade. The British government says that Hinkley Point, which will provide about seven percent of UK power, is crucial for securing power supply in the next decade. French unions say it is too big and costly for EDF and jeopardises the survival of the company. Opponents in Britain say the price at which the government has agreed to buy power from EDF for 35 years, at more than twice current market levels, is too high. Others say it will help UK meet its target to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Britain is not involved in funding the upfront costs of the project, which are carried by developer EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear (CGN). Britain has said that it wanted closer ties with China but resisted pressure from Beijing to sign off on a $24 billion nuclear power project that was delayed at the last minute by Prime Minister Theresa May. The Hinkley financing deal was agreed during a state visit by President Xi Jinping last year designed to cement a “Golden Era” of relations between the two countries. Britain also sought Chinese investment in rail and other projects during the visit.
On the dark issues of nuclear waste, South Korea was reportedly looking for a site for permanent storage of its high level radioactive waste by 2028 and also consider storing spent nuclear fuel overseas. In the meantime it is also reported to be looking to expand temporary storage facilities at the country’s 25 nuclear plants, with some existing sites likely to start to fill up from 2019. South Korea is the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, which accounts about a third of the country’s electricity. South Korea opened a permanent underground storage site for low-to-medium level radioactive waste such as contaminated tools and clothes in the city of Gyeongju, 250 km southeast of Seoul.
The climate accord signed in Paris in 2015 with much fanfare is yet to be ratified by many of the big powers and the UN Secretary General was reportedly urging large nations to ratify the Paris climate accord. As of now, only 22 countries have done so, many of them small, vulnerable island nations that account for a negligible percentage of emissions. China and the United States, the world’s top two greenhouse gas emitters accounting for 40% of global emissions are yet to ratify the deal.
But China seems to be working on its own domestic plans for carbon cuts. The Chinese government has decided to put a cost on emissions of toxic smog to control pollution in industrial cities, starting with Beijing. It is estimated that the market may trade as much as $61 billion of certificates a year. China’s move marks the biggest yet to use a market-based approach to control pollution, exceeding the scale of Europe’s $55 billion market.
Finally there was news on Tesla. The tentative agreement by Tesla to purchase its sister company SolarCity is expected to pair solar systems with the Tesla’s energy-storage batteries has apparently not gone down well with the investors. Perhaps Tesla, the saviour, will not be able to drive the World to safety from climate change!
NATIONAL: OIL AND GAS
Report on ONGC-RIL gas row to be submitted on August 31
August 29: The Justice AP Shah Committee looking into the dispute between Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) regarding the flow of gas between their adjacent fields in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin will submit its report to Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The oil ministry will take a call on when to make the contents of the report public. ONGC claims that RIL has benefited from gas flow between their fields between 2009-13. RIL has been maintaining that it has drilled wells only within its block, as approved by the regulatory authority, and was not guilty of any wrongdoing. The committee was set up on December 15, 2015, as ordered by the Delhi High Court after hearing ONGC’s petition alleging that the RIL consortium was benefitting from the gas flow. The committee is mandated to “quantify unfair enrichment if any” by RIL and to recommend ways to compensate ONGC and the government after independent American consultant DeGoyler and MacNaughton (D&M) reported that the fields managed by the two companies shared the same reservoir, leading to migration of gas from ONGC’s field to RIL’s.
Source: Hindustan Times
ONGC hires consultant to assess reserves in GSPC KG gas block
August 28: Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has hired US-based consultant Ryder Scott to assess natural gas reserves in Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC)’s Deendayal block before deciding to buy a stake in it. Since the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre, the Gujarat government firm GSPC has been seeking to sell a majority stake in its KG-OSN-2001/3 (Deendayal) block in Bay of Bengal to ONGC to avoid defaulting on loans. ONGC initially was not keen to buy stake in the block as it felt the block had reserves far less than what GSPC was claiming and the asking price for the stake was not commensurate with the returns. Ryder Scott Petroleum Consultants has been asked to evaluate gas properties in the GSPC block and independently certify the reserves quantities. GSPC was to begin gas production from the block in 2013 but after sinking in $3.6 billion it was found that gas reserves are one-tenth of 20 trillion cubic feet claimed in 2005 and that too is technically difficult to produce. GSPC has been doing trial production of a very small volume of gas from August 4, 2014 and has not yet reached commercial production and in absence of revenue commensurate with the debt servicing obligations it risks becoming a defaulter.
Source: Business Standard
RIL focuses on domestic market for refined products
August 27: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is looking to increase focus on the domestic market for its refined products, the company said. RIL said its exports of refined products from India were at ₹28,610 crore during the April-June 2016 quarter, compared to ₹32,352 crore in the same period a year ago. In terms of volume, exports of refined products were at 9.8 million metric tonnes (MMT) during the April-June 2016 quarter, compared to 8.5 MMT in the corresponding period a year ago. RIL expects growth in India’s diesel and gasoline consumption for the next 10-15 years, as the country’s economy and disposable income increase. For the financial year 2015-2016, India’s industry sales for petrol rose 15 percent, to 21.84 million tonnes (MT), and sales for diesel rose eight percent to 74.63 MT, according to data available with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Diesel consumption, the ratings agency India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra) said, is likely to grow by five to six percent on improved sales of commercial vehicles, however, offset to some extent by lower consumption of diesel in power backup. RIL is also in the process of reopening its 1400 retail outlets, which were earlier mothballed. So far, the company has restarted operations at more than 1000 such outlets. The company said that the expected growth will help support the company’s gross refining margins (GRMs). In the April-June 2016 quarter, RIL reported GRMs of $11.5 per barrel, higher than the $10.4 per barrel seen in the same period a year ago. In 2015-16, India’s industry sales for petrol rose 15 percent to 21.84 MT, and sales for diesel rose eight percent to 74.63 MT Ratings agency Ind-Ra expects petrol consumption to increase by eight-10 percent in FY17. Diesel consumption set to grow five-six percent, Ind-Ra said.
Source: Business Standard
IOC to invest ₹6.5 billion in Tripura, send tankers via Bangladesh
August 25: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will invest around ₹650 crore in expanding its storage and bottling capacity in Tripura over the next three years as it looks to prevent fuel crisis in the state. IndianOil-AOD, the company’s North East division, will also start moving a convoy of 20 tankers by the end of this month to the North Eastern state for the first time via Bangladesh to avoid the dilapidated NH-44 in Assam. In Tripura, the company has a POL depot at Dharmanagar with a capacity of around 6,000 kilo litre and an LPG bottling plant at Bishalgarh with a capacity of 30,000 million tonnes per annum in double shifts. The situation forced IOC and Tripura government to scout for alternate ways to supply fuel in addition to augment the storage capacity.
Source: The Statesman
HPCL gives nod for Visakh Refinery expansion
August 24: Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has given the go ahead for expansion of its Visakh Refinery in the city. The project envisages expansion of capacity from the current 8.33 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) to 15 MMTPA and is expected to bridge the product gap between the refining and marketing volumes of HPCL. According to HPCL, the project would involve a total capital cost of ₹20,928 crore and would have bottom upgradation facility that will improve distillate yield on total refining capacity and thereby improve the GRM (gross refining margin). The construction phase of the project is expected to take around 48 months. The proposed expansion project requires around 167.5 acres out of which 122.8 acre is located inside the existing refinery premises and the remaining 44.7 acre is located at the additional tankage project plot. The expansion project would include a new crude distillation unit of 9 MMTPA, slurry hydrocracker unit of 2.5 MMTPA, solvent de-asphalting unit of 2.5 MMTPA, full conversion hydrocracker unit of 3.3 MMTPA, propylene recovery unit of 96 tonne per day, isomerisation unit of 292 kilo tonne per annum, revamp of continuous catalytic cracker unit and revamp of hydro treating unit.
Source: The Times of India
Transportation and trade
IOC raises oil import from Iran to five MT for FY 2017
August 30: Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has raised crude oil import from Iran to four fold and has cleared most of the past payments as sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation were eased. India has steadily raised crude oil imports from Iran after US sanctions were lifted in January this year. Iran today is India’s fourth biggest crude oil supplier. Iran, which was India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11, had been relegated to 7th place in 2013-14 and 2014-15 out of the 50-odd nations India sources its crude oil from. But with the lifting of sanctions in January this year, crude oil imports have steadily climbed. India imported 12.7 million tonnes (MT) of crude oil in 2015-16, up from 11 MT in the previous two fiscals. That made it 6th largest supplier of oil to India. In April-June this year, India bought 5 MT of crude oil from Iran, making it the fourth largest supplier just a shade behind Venezuela which exported 5.2 MT. Iran had in 2009-10 supplied 21.2 MT which came down to 18.5 MT in 2010-11 and to 18.1 MT in the year after. IOC said imports from Iran were going exactly in line with the plans.
Source: The Economic Times
India in focus for Norwegian expertise with natural gas
August 30: Innovation Norway, DNV GL and the Norwegian Embassy organized a seminar in New Delhi recently to display Norwegian expertise within natural gas, and to address the challenges and opportunities in the evolving market in India. The seminar provided unique opportunities to get the latest on industry developments, driving technologies, safety guidelines and operational issues. The rapid economic growth in India is highly dependent on an increased supply of energy. Small-scale distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be used to fuel up smaller power plants, industry users and as fuel for ships. There is a positive environmental aspect of using LNG as an alternative to heavy fuel oil. Globally there are now another 50 LNG vessels under construction, of which 20 are Norwegian owned. According to DNV GL there will be 1000 vessels operating on LNG within 2020. LNG propelled vessels can significantly contribute to reduced emissions, both for the Norwegian short sea fleets and for deep-sea transportation. The Norwegian Government has also developed and implemented a specific Maritime Strategy during the last seven years that focus on cleaner and greener shipping. By combining financial instruments like a NOX fund, reduction of port taxes and duties, implementing ship scrapping regimes for those ship-owners selecting to renew their old ships with LNG propelled ships, promoting development of small scale LNG distribution, etc. it is possible for governments to be a catalyst in facilitating a change to clean short sea shipping within a limited number of years. Use of LNG is one of the solutions for a greener energy sector in India. With two decades of experience, Norwegian companies develop and deliver products along the entire LNG value chain. Norway has developed small-scale LNG infrastructure for more than 10 years and has today around 40 distributed LNG terminals along the coast and 50 LNG-propelled vessels in operation.
Source: Business Standard
LNG price slump sends biggest Indian refiner on buying binge
August 29: Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest refiner that’s also boosting its liquefied natural gas (LNG) business, is lifting purchases of the fuel to take advantage of a price plunge amid a glut. The state-run company plans to buy two LNG shipments per month in the spot market for six months from October, according to Debasis Sen, director of planning and business development. That compares with a total of nine spot cargoes for the previous year, when it started importing the commodity directly. India is among buyers seeking more cargoes of the cleaner fuel as spot prices have fallen about 60 percent since October 2014 amid a supply glut. While demand growth prospects are limited in more mature markets like Japan and South Korea, consumption in India, China and emerging Asian nations will increase, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. India’s consumption may rise 11 percent a year over the next decade, BMI Research predicts. IOC sold 1.93 million metric tons of natural gas during the year through March 31, up 6.9 percent from a year ago. The refiner holds rights to market 30 percent of the fuel imported by Petronet LNG Ltd, the country’s top purchaser. While IOC gets supplies sourced from Petronet, it is seeking to increase direct procurement through spot deals. Higher imports will help New Delhi-based Indian Oil diversify further into natural gas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is seeking greater use of the cleaner fuel in the country’s energy mix to curtail carbon emissions by the world’s second-most populous nation. The nation has more than doubled its imports in the past seven years as domestic supplies dried up. Purchases rose 15 percent from a year earlier to 16.08 million tons during financial year ended March 31, 2016, according to provisional data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell. The country plans to increase its LNG import capacity to 55 million tons per year within five years, from about 21 million now, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Petronet has expanded the capacity of the Dahej terminal in western India, the nation’s largest LNG import and re-gasification terminal, by 50 percent to 15 million tons per year.
Policy and performance
Oil ministry seeks uniform taxes on LPG for domestic, commercial use
August 30: The oil ministry is seeking to rationalise taxes on cooking gas sold to all types of consumers in order to block diversion of cylinders meant for domestic use. It has written to the finance ministry to impose uniform taxes on cooking gas, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), used for domestic and commercial consumption. The finance ministry will take a final call on the demand that was also made in the past. Gas cylinders meant for domestic use attract no taxes at present while commercial users have to pay a basic customs duty of 5 percent, additional customs duty of eight percent and a central excise duty of eight percent. In addition to central taxes, commercial users have to pay local levies imposed by states. All these duties together make commercial LPG about a third more expensive than domestic. In Delhi, non-subsidised cooking gas costs about ` 34 per kilogram while the commercial LPG costs about ₹45 per kg. About 90 percent of the total LPG consumed in the country is used by households, although it is suspected that some subsidised cylinders meant for household use are diverted for commercial purpose. Besides not having to pay taxes, households also get subsidy on 12 cylinders of gas they consume in a year. The subsidy has sharply shrunk to ₹64 per cylinder due to a nearly two-thirds fall in crude oil price in the past two years. In the meantime, the consumption of domestic non-subsidised cylinders has also sharply risen, giving rise to suspicion that some of these cylinders might be getting diverted to commercial use since there is a major price difference between the two types of cylinders due to incidence of taxes. The oil ministry wants to put an end to these incentives for diversion by having the same price for all cylinders for domestic or commercial use. One way of doing it could be to scrap all taxes from commercial cylinders, which will result in some loss of revenue that could be offset by lower subsidy due to little need for diversion of domestic cylinders. Another possible way could be to impose some tax on domestic cylinders to offset loss due to lowering of taxes on commercial LPG, and since oil prices are low, households may not feel the pinch. Uniform taxes will also boost the private sector’s presence in LPG distribution. Private sector refiners Reliance Industries and Essar Oil are keen on carving a big share in LPG distribution dominated by the public sector but are hindered by the presence of subsidy and varying tax structure. India has about 17 crore domestic LPG consumers and plans to add 10 crore consumers in three years as lower oil prices keep cooking gas more affordable and the government’s fuel subsidy burden lighter.
Source: The Economic Times
Retired teacher donates ₹50,000 to free LPG scheme
August 29: A ‘thank you’ note from PM Narendra Modi for giving up liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidy has moved an 84-year-old retired teacher to donate ₹50,000 from her savings for ‘Ujjwala’ the government’s scheme for providing five crore poor households with free cooking gas connections in three years. The PM did not disclose the identity or location of the woman in deference to her request for anonymity. State-run fuel retailers have started delivering the PM’s thank you note to over 1.4 crore LPG consumers who have voluntarily given up subsidy.
Source: The Times of India
India to be hit by economic crisis if oil price crosses $60: Swamy
August 29: India will be hit by an economic crisis if crude oil price crosses $60 per barrel, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate is trading around $47 per barrel while Brent is at $49 currently. The slump in oil prices last year is one of the factors that helped Indian economy notch up big gains by cutting its import bill and reining in inflation. India, which depends on imports to meet 80 percent of its oil needs, will have to spend ₹9,126 crore ($ 1.36 billion) more every year for one dollar per barrel increase in crude oil. Besides, the rising crude oil trajectory impacts inflation and growth. India spent $63.96 billion on crude oil import in 2015-16, about half of $112.7 billion outgo in the previous fiscal and $143 billion in 2013-14. For the current fiscal, the import bill has been pegged at $66 billion at an average import price of $48 per barrel.
Source: The Indian Express
Vedanta’s Talwandi Saboo power plant becomes fully operational
August 29: Vedanta’s 1980 MW Talwandi Saboo thermal power plant has become fully operational with the 660 MW third unit starting commercial generation. Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vedanta, had set up a coal-based supercritical thermal power plant in Mansa district of Punjab. TSPL had signed a power purchase agreement with Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL) for the establishment of 1,980 MW (three units of 660 MW each) thermal coal-based commercial power facilities. The 100 percent power generated from this project shall be supplied to PSPCL for 25 years. The company said the auctions for coal linkages for captive power plants were conducted by Coal India in August. The tenure of the linkage is five years with an option to extend this further.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
MCL’s coal production affected in Odisha
August 29: The coal production and transportation at all mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) was affected due to a 48-hour economic blockade launched by a local group in Talcher. Due to the economic blockade, imposed by Talcher Surakshya Manch, coal mining and transportation remained suspended at all mines of MCL. It also posed difficulties in transporting coal to NTPC, TTPS and Nalco via trains and trucks, MCL said. Besides blocking trains and trucks, the members of the group were seen staging a protest in front of the offices of NTPC and MCL.
Source: The Statesman
West Bengal demands 344 MW power from Tilaiya UMPP
August 26: The government of West Bengal has asked the centre to allocate 344 MW power from Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) after Maharashtra and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) refused to take power from the project. Reliance Power had in April terminated the power project after delay in handing over of land by the host state Jharkhand and had said scrapping the project would result in a ₹360 crore reduction in its planned capital expenditure. The government wants to re-bid the project going ahead and West Bengal wants to tie up for power from plant whenever it becomes operational. West Bengal has said it will require power in the 13th plan as the state has ended power purchase agreements with many hydro power projects in the north east due to time and cost overruns. The centre has said it will first approach the existing procurers of the Tilaiya UMPP and if no requirement arises, it will give the power to West Bengal.
Source: The Economic Times
Tata Power generation capacity up nine percent in June quarter
August 24: Tata Power said its overall generation capacity in the June quarter this fiscal rose by nearly 9 percent, driven by enhanced focus on renewable energy space. The company generates power from various fuel sources such as thermal, hydroelectric power, renewable energy and waste heat recovery, thereby, reinforcing its position as the largest integrated power company in India. The company has a significant presence in the clean energy space with a gross installed capacity of 1996 MW. Overall in Q1 FY2016-17, the company continued its robust operations with Maithon Power station generating 1845 million units (MUs). Standalone generation for the quarter stood at 3163 MUs.
Source: The Economic Times
Transmission, distribution and trade
MobiKwik partners with 12 electricity boards in eight states
August 30: Mobile payments company MobiKwik announced tie-up with 12 electricity boards in eight states to allow customers to pay their bills using its website or app. The electricity boards are in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tripura, Meghalaya, Calcutta, Rajasthan and union territory of Daman and Diu. The electricity boards that have been partnered with include Bhagalpur Electricity Pvt Ltd, India Power Corp Ltd, DNHPD, Rajasthan Vidyut Vitran Nigam, Tripura State Electricity Board, Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra, Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran, Madhya Pradesh Poorv Kshetra Jabalpur, Daman and Diu Electricity, Calcutta Electricity Supply, Meghalaya Electricity and Odisha Discom. The company already provides bill payment services for power discoms such as Reliance Energy, BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd and Chhattisgarh electricity board.
Source: Business Standard
PM Modi hand in glove with power discoms: Delhi CM
August 30: Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal has accused Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi of being “hand in glove” with power distribution companies after Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung termed as “incorrect” the Delhi Chief Minister’s allegations that he cancelled the AAP government’s decision to make discoms compensate consumer for unscheduled outages. Kejriwal also alleged that the PM has asked Mr Jung to do what power companies want. He had said that Jung has cancelled his government’s order to make discoms pay compensation for unscheduled power cuts, alleging that centre was hand in glove with power companies.
Firm operating power plants in Uttarkashi told to ensure uninterrupted power supply
August 29: The Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) has issued a notice to the private operator of two power plants in Uttarkashi asking it to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to Gangotri and Yamunotri. The notice was issued after the operator said that power supply would be cut off in the two areas after September 1 as the government had not cleared its dues amounting to ₹11 lakh. UREDA said that a notice has been issued to the operator of the 150kW hydel power plants.
Source: The Times of India
KKNPP unit two synchronised with southern grid
August 29: Unit 2 at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) was synchronised with the southern grid, more than a month after it attained criticality. Soon after attaining criticality, the unit went into several tests and the authorities were awaiting approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for synchronising it with the grid. Tamil Nadu is the major beneficiary after the unit is synchronised with the grid.
Source: The Times of India
Coal imports in July dip 11 percent to 18 MT
August 28: Coal imports during July declined by 11.1 percent to 18.03 million tonnes (MT) on the back of higher domestic availability of the fossil fuel. The figure stood at 20.29 MT during the same month last year, according to mjunction services, an online procurement and sales platform jointly floated by SAIL and Tata Steel. The government had said that coal imports will further come down in the ongoing fiscal on account of increased domestic output. The data of the first two months (April-May) of the current financial year indicate reduction in the import of coal, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup had said. Imports declined by 19.2 percent to 16.38 MT in May. It fell by 15 percent to 15.9 MT in April. In 2015-16, Coal India Ltd (CIL), which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic output, achieved an output of 536 MT, against the target of 550 MT. CIL’s output target is fixed at 598 MT for the current financial year.
Source: Business Standard
‘Coal freight hike may force companies to pass burden to consumers’
August 28: Hike in coal freight charges by Railways will adversely impact the domestic cement industry with a hit of over ₹2000 crore and is likely to force companies to pass on the burden to consumers, industry experts say. Indian Railways facing a shortfall in freight loading, rationalised its coal tariff by reducing long-distance transportation rates, while raising it for short distances. It also imposed a ₹110 per tonne coal terminal surcharge at loading and unloading for distances beyond 100 km. As per the new rate, coal loading would cost ₹712 per tonne for transportation up to 497 km now as against ₹702. It will be ₹2138 a tonne for 1,807 km transportation now as against the existing rate of ₹2348. Cement Manufacturers’ Association President Shailendra Chouksey said the move will have an inflationary impact on the sector. Coal, which is the main raw material for cement will on an average suffer a 20 percent increase in freight that would translate into increase in input cost for the manufacturers, he said. Besides, the coal freight hike will impact the cost of power as its generation is coal dependent, he said.
Source: Business Standard
Congress moves Lokayukta in power tender scam
August 27: Congress party filed a complaint before the Lokayukta against Goa Power Minister Milind Naik and the state chief secretary, among others, for violating procedures and awarding two contracts worth over ₹300 crore to two private companies even though the Goa state works board had called for the contract to be terminated and re-tendered. The complaint, filed at the Lokayukta office, at Altinho, sought an official inquiry in the tender process which favoured certain bidders by flouting norms, and the registration of an FIR against the accused. The complaint states that the state electricity department floated a tender for electrical works in sub-transmission and HT and LT distribution network worth ₹156.51 crore and another tender for aerial bunched cables at an estimated cost of ₹142 crores, both of which were manipulated and awarded to favoured companies.
Source: The Times of India
Kenya Power, Toshiba sign pact to reduce distribution losses
August 25: Kenya Power and Toshiba Transmission & Distribution Systems (India) Pvt Ltd (TTDI), a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp, have entered into a pact for implementation of a pilot project aimed at decreasing distribution losses in the national grid. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will guide installation, testing and evaluation of equipment that will be supplied by TTDI, on a trial basis, to improve efficiency and reduce both technical and commercial losses in the distribution network. The pilot project will involve installation of new type of transformers manufactured by TTDI in the distribution network, to of enhance efficiency. TTDI, under guidance from Kenya Power, will supply safe and eco-friendly solid insulated switchgears and gas insulated transformers to fight vandalism.
Source: Business Standard
CIL workers’ strike on September 2 seen to have limited impact
August 25: With the Coal India Ltd (CIL) having around 42 million tonnes (MT) of coal at its pithead and power plants in possession of comfortable fossil fuel stock, the proposed one-day strike by coal workers is likely to have a limited direct impact. The trade unions will go on a nation-wide stir on September 2 to press for their various demands. On an average, there is around 23 days of coal stock at power houses. In September last year, a majority of about four lakh coal workers across the country had gone on strike called by trade unions, which hit the production level in a big way. The strike call was given by major trade unions such as INTUC, AITUC and CITU to pitch for their demands that included opposition to any further stake sale in CIL. Nearly five lakh bank union workers and officers are set to join the strike called by trade unions on September 2 to protest against what they call “anti-people policies of the Modi government and labour reforms”.
Source: Business Standard
Tata Power consumer base crosses two million mark
August 25: Tata Power has been offering affordable power tariff across most consumer categories and the remarkable increase in the company’s customer base is evidence of the same. Tata Power has said that it has crossed the two million consumer base milestone in the country. In 2015-2016, Tata Power’s consumer base in Mumbai increased to over 6.64 lakh, and in Delhi it went up to over 15.15 lakh consumers, the company said. Tata Power has been offering affordable power tariff across most consumer categories and the remarkable increase in the company’s customer base is evidence of the same, it said. In Mumbai, the company added 18,511 direct consumers and 42,157 changeover consumers to its network in 201516, growing to a total of 6,64,407 connections. In the financial year 2015-16, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd registered a consumer base of 15.15 lakh spanning across an area of 510 sq km in northern and north-western parts of Delhi, it said. Tata Power said it remains committed to offer its consumers reliable and uninterrupted power supply at competitive prices in the years to come.
Source: The Hindu
‘Rajasthan government’s top priority is to reduce T&D losses’
August 25: The top priority of Rajasthan government is to reduce electricity transmission and distribution loss and put an end to the losses incurred by discoms, Sanjay Malhotra, Principal Secretary, Energy Department has said. Shrimat Pandey, Chairman Discoms has instructed the chief divisional engineers to verify actual loss in industrial sectors. He further clarified that it will be the executive engineers who will be responsible to bring down the losses in industrial sectors in a target based manner.
Source: The Economic Times
Policy and performance
CIL to give up Mozambique mining licences completely
August 29: Coal India Ltd (CIL) has submitted its application to National Institute of Mines of Mozambique for complete surrender of prospecting licences which were awarded to its wholly-own subsidiary Coal India Africana Limitada (CIAL) as mining would be “technically not feasible” in the licence areas, CIL report said. For extraction of coal, two prospective licences covering a total area of 224 square kilometre (sq.km. were awarded to CIL’s African subsidiary with validity from August 2009 to August 2014. Out of 224 sq km of the total licence areas, 170 sq km area having no occurrence of coaly horizons till a depth of 500 metre, as revealed in the geological report, was already surrendered to the Mozambique government. The remaining 54 sq km was retained for which the Mozambique government issued new licences valid till August 2019. The decision to relinquish was taken based on the geological report.
Source: Business Standard
Two power units to be made functional next year: Rajasthan Energy Minister
August 27: One unit each at Suratgarh and Chhabda would be made functional in 2017 to enhance the power generation capacity in Rajasthan, state Energy Minister Pushpendra Singh said. He said the state had produced 4500 MW electricity in last two-and-a-half years to meet the power requirements of people, adding the desert state has achieved self-reliance in power sector. Under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), villages across the state with a population of over hundred will be electrified, he said.
Source: India Today
CIL to invest ₹128.3 billion in 2016-17
August 26: Coal India Ltd (CIL) will invest ₹7765 crore as capital expenditure and ₹5069 crore in various other projects in 2016-17, its report said. An ad-hoc provision of ₹2 crore has been kept for its overseas activities. The company has envisaged production of 908.10 million tonnes (MT) in 2019-20 with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 12.98 percent with respect to 2014-15. During 2016-17, the coal production target has been pegged at 598.61 MT with an annualised growth of about 11.6 percent. In 2017-18, coal production is expected to be 660.7 MT with a growth of about 10.5 percent. The company has been increasingly focusing on mechanical mining.
Source: Business Standard
Arunachal Pradesh CM assures steps to expedite hydro projects
August 25: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) Pema Khandu has assured NHPC Ltd that a review meeting would shortly be held to expedite the development of hydro projects in the state. The NHPC team discussed various aspects regarding the hydropower scenario of the state with emphasis on the Subansiri Lower Project and Dibang Multipurpose Project.
Source: Business Standard
Households with two ACs may end up paying ₹10,000 more on their electricity bills
August 25: Upwardly mobile households with two air-conditioners (ACs) and a host of gadgets at home will now have to shell out at least ` 10,000 more on their power bills a year. This would be a 12 percent hike against previous year – double the national inflation rate. Experts say next year the rise would be higher as a new environment norm kicks in. Power consumption is billed on a slab basis. Higher the consumption, higher the rate for each unit of power consumed. Once the power consumption crosses 200 units, most distribution companies start charging more for each unit and this slab changes at every 100 unit of additional power consumption. Additionally, government duty and surcharges are added to the bill that are percentages of the power and transmission costs. Since the beginning of the year, three events have led to a rise in power generation costs. These include doubling of clean energy cess, rise in coal prices by Coal India Ltd (CIL) and rise in Railway freight.
Source: The Economic Times
Govt distributes over 150 million LED bulbs under DELP scheme
August 25: Domestic Efficient Lighting Scheme (DELP) has touched a new milestone with the distribution of 15 crore energy efficient LED bulbs to households via discoms. These 15.10 crore LED bulbs will help in saving of 53.74 million units of electricity per day and ₹21.49 crore daily, stated information updated on UJALA web portal. According to information provided on the website, these 15.10 crore bulbs will help avoiding around 4,000 MW peak demand of electricity and reduce 43,534 tonnes of carbon dioxide per day. Under DELP, the government wants to replace all the 77 crore incandescent bulbs sold in India with LED bulbs. This will result in reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 105 billion kWh and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions savings of 80 million tonnes every year. The annual saving in electricity bills will be ₹40,000 crore, considering an average tariff of ₹4 per kWh. Each LED bulb helps a consumer save anywhere between ₹160 to ₹400 every year and has a life expectancy of 25,000 hours, thus making the cost recovery lesser than a year. For availing the scheme, the customer needs to provide a copy of the latest electricity bill, along with a copy of ID proof to discoms. The LED bulbs are also made available through other channels by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the scheme last year in January.
Source: India Today
International: Oil and gas
Oil discoveries at 70 year low signal supply shortfall ahead
August 30: Explorers in 2015 discovered only about a tenth as much oil as they have annually on average since 1960. This year, they’ll probably find even less, spurring new fears about their ability to meet future demand. This year, drillers found just 736 million barrels of conventional crude as of the end of last month. That’s a concern for the industry at a time when the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that global oil demand will grow from 94.8 million barrels a day this year to 105.3 million barrels in 2026. Global spending on exploration, from seismic studies to actual drilling, has been cut to $40 billion this year from about $100 billion in 2014, according to Wood Mackenzie.
Sinopec to build crude production hub with 1.5 MT capacity in Tarim basin
August 29: Sinopec, China’s second largest oil and gas group, will build a crude production hub with a 1.5 million tonnes (MT) annual capacity in Tarim basin between 2016 and 2020, the company said. Sinopec’s Shuibei oil field, a new discovery in the middle west of the Tarim basin, has oil reserves of 1.2 billion tonnes and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas deposit, it said.
VAALCO Energy restarts production from Avouma 2-H well offshore Gabon
August 26: VAALCO Energy, Inc. revealed that the secondary electric submersible pump (ESP) in the Avouma 2-H well on the Avouma Platform offshore Gabon, in the Etame Marin Permit, was recently started and the well is now producing at a stable rate. The lower pump was successfully started and performance is stable with the well producing approximately 1850 barrels of oil per day (bopd) gross or 450 bopd net to VAALCO.
China’s biggest oil company aims for 50 percent natural gas by 2020
August 25: China’s biggest oil company wants natural gas to account for half its output by the end of the decade. PetroChina Co. aims to raise natural gas as a share of its production from 37 percent currently. The company supports the government’s efforts to liberalize gas prices and implement market-based reforms. The world’s largest energy consumer is seeking to raise the share of less-polluting natural gas in its energy mix to 10 percent by 2020. President Xi Jinping’s government twice cut gas prices last year in an attempt to boost demand. While demand growth for oil has slowed, natural gas use rose 9.8 percent in the first half this year. The company’s global crude output in the first half of the year fell 1.4 percent to 470.6 million barrels from the same period in 2015, it said. Gas production rose 7.4 percent to 1.66 billion cubic feet. Total oil and gas output was 748.2 million barrels of oil equivalent. While that’s up 1.7 percent from the same period last year, its a 1.3 percent slide from the second half of 2015. China National Petroleum Corp., PetroChina’s parent company, is prioritising natural gas exploration and production in the second half the year and may adjust investment strategies depending on the change in oil prices.
Oil, gas found in Chachahuen block, Argentina
August 25: Andes Energia plc, a producer and explorer in Argentina and Colombia, announced that oil and gas discoveries have been made in the Chachahuen block in the Province of Mendoza, Argentina. Around 20 feet of net oil pay was discovered in the sandstone of the Rayoso formation in exploration well Cerro Redondo x-1 and gas was found in exploration well La Orilla x-1 in the deeper horizon of the Lotena formation. Gas was also found in exploration well Remanso del Colorado x-1 in the deeper horizon of the Cuyo Group.
Statoil starts production from Fram C East well
August 25: Statoil revealed that the Fram C East production well offshore Norway has started production. Fram C East was drilled from the existing Fram subsea template and production will be tied back to Troll C, an important North Sea hub, according to Statoil. The development will help maximize production from the Fram area, in addition to boosting Troll C production and activities. Gas from the well will be transported to Kollsnes via Troll A, whereas oil will be piped to Mongstad for further processing. Fram C East was discovered in 2007. Statoil owns 45 percent of the asset, with ExxonMobil, Engie and Idemitsu owning 25 percent, 15 percent and 15 percent respectively.
OGDCL successfully completed testing of two wells in Pakistan’s Nashpa field
August 25: Oil & Gas Development Co. Ltd. (OGDCL), operator of the Nashpa Development and Production Lease, reported the successful testing and completion of Nashpa # 6 & 7 development wells in the Nashpa field in the district of Karak and Kohat in Pakistan’s KPK Province. The Nashpa #7 well, drilled to a depth of 15,079 feet (4596 meters) to test the hydrocarbon potential of Datta and Shinawari formations, produced 2,700 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 7.4 million standard cubic feet per day of gas through a 36/64 inch choke at wellhead flowing pressure of 1,886 pounds per square inch guage.
Saudi Aramco could reduce stake in $5.5 billion Indonesia refinery project
August 24: Oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco may reduce its stake in a proposed $5.5 billion refinery project in Indonesia, the country’s energy ministry said. Aramco has asked to cut its share of the project to upgrade a refinery in Cilacap in the province of Central Java to 30 percent from 45 percent, the ministry said. The ministry said that state energy company Pertamina, which is jointly developing the facility, would likely absorb the difference. Indonesia hopes to formalise a joint venture and other details of the partnership between Aramco and Pertamina during a visit from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the archipelago in October. The Cilacap upgrade is expected to increase the refinery’s crude processing capacity to 370,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 348,000 bpd at present, and is targetted for completion by the end of 2022.
Phillips 66 shuts gasoline-producing unit at Westlake refinery
August 24: Phillips 66 shut a gasoline-making reformer unit at its 260,000 barrel per day Westlake, Louisiana refinery, and advanced planned work on the unit. The unit is slated to return to return to service in mid-September. The reformer has the ability to process 34,000 bpd of crude.
Transportation and trade
Chevron inks 10 year deal to supply LNG to China’s ENN LNG Trading
August 30: Chevron Corp announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Chevron USA Inc., has signed a binding liquefied natural gas (LNG) Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with China’s ENN LNG Trading Co. Ltd. (ENN) to deliver up to 0.65 metric tons per annum (Mtpa) of LNG over 10 years commencing 2018 or first half of 2019. Chevron plans to tap gas supplies from its LNG portfolio, including Australia’s Gorgon, Wheatstone and the North West Shelf developments. The gas is expected to be supplied to ENN’s Zhoushan LNG receiving terminal, which is being constructed and expected to be in operation by 2018. ENN is one of the units of ENN Energy Holding Ltd., one of the largest natural gas distribution firms in China, with operations in 150 cities across 17 provinces and autonomous regions and serving over 12 million residential and 56,000 industrial/commercial customers.
Petrobras said near record pipeline sale to Brookfield-led group
August 29: Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) is in the final stages of selling a natural gas distribution network to a group led by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., and could sell more than a previously planned 81 percent in what would be its largest-ever asset deal. Petrobras may agree on the sale of its Nova Transportadora do Sudeste SA gas pipelines and storage unit before the end of September. The deal is estimated at $5.5 billion to $6 billion. Petrobras has also announced plans to sell liquefied natural gas terminals, onshore fields and petrochemical assets. The company no longer plans to sell fuel unit BR Distribuidora this year.
Russia’s Transneft halts oil exports from Pacific port of Kozmino due to typhoon
August 29: Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said oil loadings from the Pacific port of Kozmino were halted because of a typhoon. It had temporarily suspended oil loadings in Primorsk.
Oil market rebalancing could take until end 2017: Shell
August 29: The huge global oil oversupply that has weighed on prices for the past two years may not clear until the second half of 2017, Shell’s chief energy adviser Wim Thomas said. The potential return to the market of some 1.5 million barrels per day of supply from Libya and Nigeria and uncertainty about Iranian and Iraqi production levels could push a rebalancing further away than many in the oil industry are hoping. He said the most optimistic scenario was for rebalancing, meaning that huge volumes of stored crude have to be absorbed, to kick in this year and that Shell was prepared for all outcomes. Oil demand from energy hungry nations China and India will be a key driver for oil prices, as well as the resilience of US shale producers to weak prices. Any Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement to freeze oil production could also result in a sudden boost for oil prices, Thomas said. Members of the OPEC will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum (IEF), which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria on Sept. 26-28.
Turkmenistan says in talks with EU on possible gas deliveries
August 29: Turkmenistan is discussing diversifying its gas exports and selling gas to European Union (EU) countries, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The former Soviet republic has some of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, and it has been in active discussions about sales to China, India and Afghanistan in recent months. The Turkmen president said his country was also hoping to sell gas to Europe and had been in discussions with EU leaders to resolve legal and technical issues. Turkmen gas deliveries to the EU would come via the Caspian Sea, which will also require approval by Russia and Turkey. Merkel said she hoped issues could be resolved to allow gas imports from Turkmenistan. A rapprochement between Russia and Turkey has revived the stalled TurkStream gas pipeline project that could compete with gas deliveries from Turkmenistan.
Oil exports from Iraq’s southern ports up from July
August 26: Oil exports from Iraq’s southern ports have averaged 3.205 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in August, exceeding the average level seen in July, South Oil Company said. Exports in July averaged 3.202 million bpd. With five days of exports remaining this month, the average for August could change, the company said. The southern region produces most of the OPEC member’s crude oil, with an output of 4.6 million bpd last month. Independent of the central government in Baghdad, Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional government exports about 500,000 bpd through a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. Baghdad oversees crude production from the south and from parts of the Kirkuk region in the north that is shared with the Kurds.
Iran sets terms for cooperating with OPEC to stabilise oil market
August 26: Iran will help other oil producers stabilise the world market so long as fellow Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members recognise its right to regain lost market share, the country’ Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, boosted output after Western sanctions were lifted in January, and had to refused to join OPEC and some non-members in an accord earlier this year to freeze production levels. Tehran insists it will be ready for joint action only once it regains pre-sanctions output of four million barrels per day (bpd). It pumped 3.6 million bpd in July, OPEC figures show. Zanganeh said Iran had no role in instability of the oil market, as the crisis happened when Tehran’s exports were less than one million bpd.
More fully laden LPG tankers gather off Singapore awaiting buyers
August 25: Tankers full of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are gathering off Singapore waiting for buyers as a flood of supply from the US and Saudi Arabia has outpaced demand for the fuel. The number of ships congregating near Singapore, a key ship-fueling and oil product trading area for Asia, has surged to over 10 from under seven just five weeks ago. Shipping data shows that there are at least eight Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs) anchored near Singapore including the Chaparral, Ming Long, Promise, Cratis, British Commerce and Berge Nantong. LPG was once a tightly supplied market with petrochemical manufacturers competing for the fuel with its main residential and commercial consumers that use it for heating and cooking. Now, the market for the fuel is in a dire state following new supply pouring in from the United States.
Nord Stream two pipeline is a ‘bad deal’ for Europe: US Vice President
August 25: US Vice President Joe Biden said the US believed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline involving Russia and several European energy companies was a “bad deal” for Europe. Russia’s Gazprom and its European partners agreed the project, which will run across the Baltic Sea to Germany, last year. But many eastern European countries and the United States have said the pipeline could limit supply routes and the energy security of the European Union, which gets a third of its gas from Russia. Biden made his comments during a news conference in Sweden.
Norway to rely on gas dominance for key role in Brexit talks
August 24: Norway is counting on its massive exports of natural gas to the U.K. to give it an advantage in talks as Britain struggles to extract itself from the European Union (EU). The UK’s so-called Brexit vote has not only thrown its relationship with the EU wide open but also called into question how it will continue trading with Norway, its North Sea neighbour outside the bloc on which it relies for almost 40 percent of its natural gas.
Policy and performance
Iraq plans to sell oil through Iran if talks with Kurds fail
August 29: Iraq’s government would consider selling crude through Iran should talks with the autonomous Kurdish region on an oil revenue-sharing agreement fail, the oil ministry said. Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) plans to hold talks with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) about Iraqi oil exported through Turkey, Deputy Oil Minister Fayadh al-Nema said. The Kurdistan region produces around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) on its territory and exports those volumes via Turkey. Baghdad would not be able to reroute those volumes to Iran but could order shipments of some 150,000 bpd via Iran that are being produced in the nearby province of Kirkuk. An agreement between Iran and Iraq could function in a similar fashion as oil-swap deals Tehran has had with Caspian Sea nations. Iran would import Iraqi oil to its refineries and export an equivalent amount of its own crude on behalf of Baghdad from Iranian ports on the Gulf. Iraq has ports on the Gulf but they are not linked to the northern Kirkuk fields by pipeline. The flow of crude extracted from Kirkuk by North Oil and pumped in the pipeline has been running at about 75,000 bpd since last week, or half the rate before it was halted in March, Nema said. Nema said about 20,000 bpd would be supplied to the refinery of Suleimaniya, in the Kurdish region, and 30,000 bpd would be refined locally in Kirkuk.
Mexico says 2017 oil hedge guarantees $42 per barrel
August 29: Mexico’s Finance Ministry said it had wrapped up what traders consider the world’s biggest sovereign derivatives trade, guaranteeing an average price of $42 per barrel for crude oil exports in 2017. Due to the government’s dependence on oil income, Mexico hedges its crude every year and the deals are closely watched by the market since the trades are big enough to affect prices. The ministry said that it had bought put options at an average price of $38 per barrel to cover 250 million barrels of crude at a cost of $1.03 billion, or just over 19 billion pesos. The finance ministry currently sets gasoline prices and Marco Oviedo, an analyst at Barclays in Mexico City, said the increase in the amount of oil that was being hedged would compensate for less income from fixed gasoline prices.
Australian state to permanently ban onshore gas fracking
August 29: The state of Victoria plans to ban shale and coal seam gas fracking in what would be Australia’s first permanent ban on unconventional gas drilling, citing the concerns of farmers and potential health and environment risks. However the government left the door open to allowing onshore conventional gas drilling after 2020. Farmers are worried that groundwater reserves could be depleted or contaminated by onshore gas drilling. Gas supply has become an issue following the opening of three liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants in the state of Queensland, which together are set to triple gas demand in eastern Australia by 2018 from 2014. Labor Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria, which gets most of its gas from offshore fields in the Bass Strait, would extend a moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling until 2020, while it evaluates the risks and benefits of allowing it. The state has banned fracking since 2012. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has said there is no environmental reason to ban onshore gas exploration and development. Companies with onshore gas tenements in Victoria include Origin Energy, Beach Energy, Cooper Energy and Bass Strait Oil.
OPEC’s market share at a good level: UAE Energy Minister
August 28: OPEC’s share of the oil market is at a good level, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said as the producer group continues to contend with low crude prices. Mazroui also said he believed that any future decision on oil production would require full participation from all members of the OPEC plus other major producers. Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that he does not believe significant intervention in oil markets is necessary at this time.
Norway says not involved in talks on a possible OPEC, non-OPEC meeting
August 26: Norway is not involved in talks about a possible meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, the Nordic country’s oil ministry said. The Nordic country is not a member of OPEC.
Slovakia to remain gas transit route even with Nord Stream 2: PM
August 26: Slovakia will remain a gas transit route even if Russia’s Gazprom and its European partners build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bypassing Ukraine, Slovak Prime Minister (PM) Robert Fico said. Russia currently ships natural gas via Ukraine and Slovakia into western Europe but seeks largely to bypass the route from 2019, which would deprive both countries of combined billions of dollars in transit fees. Slovakia’s gas transit firm Eustream, in which the state owns 51 percent, posted revenue of €776.4 million euros and net profit of €418.3 million last year. If transit through Ukraine stopped, Slovakia could ship gas delivered via the Nord Stream two pipeline from Russia to Germany, the Czech Republic to Slovakia and on to Austria and southern Europe, although the Slovak part of the route would be much shorter compared to the current one from Ukraine. It was not immediately clear if Fico meant he believed some gas will keep flowing through Ukraine, or if the Slovak transit country status would be maintained by the shipments via the Czech Republic.
Hedge funds pile into bullish bets on US crude by most on record
August 26: Hedge funds and other speculators raised their bullish bets on US crude oil in the past week by the most on record fueled by speculation that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will agree next month to a production freeze deal with non-OPEC members.
Iran, Ecuador discuss ways to strengthen oil prices
August 25: Iran and Ecuador discussed ways that the two countries can strengthen oil prices as Iran signals it may support joint efforts by exporters to prop up flagging crude. Iran has been boosting output since Western sanctions were eased in January. Tehran refused to join a previous attempt this year by OPEC plus non-members such as Russia to stabilize production, and talks collapsed in April. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the two countries have agreed to continue talks within the framework of OPEC, without providing further details. Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said they discussed establishing a common position with regards to strengthening oil prices.
Thailand to open bids for energy concessions in March 2017
August 25: Thailand’s military government plans to open bids in March 2017 for expiring oil and gas contracts held by Chevron Corp and PTT Exploration and Production. Chevron’s Thai unit holds concessions to operate the Erawan gas field. PTTEP operates the Bongkot gas field. Contracts for the two offshore fields are due to expire in 2022 and 2023. They have combined production of 2.2 billion cubic feet per day, or 76 percent of output in the Gulf of Thailand. The military government put off a bidding round of concessions for 29 onshore and offshore blocks in early 2015 due to criticism of contract terms from politicians and activists.
Russia weighs oil-tax increase in bid to spare emergency funds
August 25: For all its efforts to diversify the economy, Russia keeps coming back to oil and gas. The Finance Ministry is considering a tax increase for crude producers and for gas giant Gazprom PJSC that would bring in $5 billion to $6 billion next year. The biggest energy-exporting nation, which relies on oil and gas for about 40 percent of budget revenue, is struggling with its longest recession in two decades. As crude’s collapse blew a hole in the country’s budget, the government set out plans to tap one of two sovereign wealth funds, but may spare the other as elections loom this fall followed by a presidential vote in 2018.
Brazil to let ethanol tax break expire in December
August 25: The Brazilian government has no plans to extend a tax exemption for ethanol sales that expires in December as it pushes to rebalance the country’s depleted public accounts. The tax exemption has been in effect since 2013. At the time it was introduced it made ethanol 12 centavos ($0.04) cheaper per liter than gasoline. The Brazilian sugar industry wants the government to maintain the ethanol exemption, in recognition of the environmental benefit of the biofuel and to avoid discouraging its production.
EDF chief urges Britain to give go-ahead to nuclear plant
August 28: EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz has urged the British government to approve the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, an explicit appeal by the French energy giant ahead of a decision due within weeks. China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) is EDF’s partner in building the two new reactors at Hinkley Point, southwest England, which would provide about 7 percent of Britain’s electricity. He said the Chinese, who will provide six billion pounds of funding, were a trusted partner with whom the French had worked building two nuclear reactors in China. EDF and its partners have agreed to fund the new stations, and in return Britain has committed to paying a minimum price for the power generated for 35 years.
Transmission, distribution and trade
South African Treasury, Eskom row over coal contracts to Gupta-linked firm
August 29: Executives at Eskom have resisted attempts to investigate coal contracts between state-owned power utility and Tegeta, a company controlled by the Gupta family, South Africa’s Treasury said. Eskom said that the Treasury had not issued any conclusive findings against it on any of the utility’s coal contracts‚ and that it was cooperating with the Treasury on its investigations of the contracts. The Treasury’s investigation had revealed that Eskom paid more than 130 million rand ($9 million) to a mining company owned by the Gupta family for coal the power utility could not use.
Kenya Power seeks to halve electricity distribution losses
August 29: Kenya’s power grid operator Kenya Power has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Toshiba Transmission & Distribution Systems India to implement a pilot project aimed at decreasing distribution losses in the national grid. Kenya’s electricity network is developing rapidly, contributing to technical and commercial losses. In mid-2016, 60% of the Kenya population was connected to the electricity network, up from 27% in 2013. The company plans to connect 1 million customers per year for the next five years, to reach an electrification rate of 70% in 2017 and 100% in 2020.
Eurotunnel takes over 1 GW UK-France power interconnection project
August 26: Groupe Eurotunnel has completed the acquisition of the 51% stake held by its partner STAR Capital Partners in their ElecLink joint venture, which aims to develop a 1000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) interconnector between the United Kingdom and France.
Policy and performance
Japan promises Kenya aid to fund development, power generation
August 29: Japan will give Kenya ¥1 billion ($9.78 million) in aid to spur economic and social development, and will extend an as yet unspecified amount for a geothermal power project, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said.
Kuwait cancels plans to develop nuclear power projects
August 29: The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) of Kuwait has cancelled plans to develop a nuclear power plant in the country and to obtain a license from the United Nations, concluding that the project was infeasible and too expensive. Kuwait created a national nuclear energy commission in 2009 and signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with France in 2010.
Renewable energy and climate change trends
US assures to provide finances to India for renewable energy
August 30: United States (US) assured India of “doing more” by providing it finances for innovative renewable energy projects while asserting that it is the “only way” of meeting the challenge of climate change. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the civil nuclear cooperation between both the countries will bring affordable and clean energy to tens of millions of Indian households. He said that US will soon make the promise made by more than 190 nations at the Paris Climate change summit last year a “reality” by officially joining the global climate agreement. Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India had a detailed exchange of views on climate change and clean energy issues with US. Swaraj said that both the countries have agreed to scale up collaboration in clean energy and to “quickly” operationalise the different initiatives announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Source: The New Indian Express
Co-generation power plant at Alanganallur yet to see light of day
August 30: The project for co-generating electricity from sugarcane waste through smaller power plants at government sugar mills was conceived when the state was literally crippled due to power crisis. If completed on time, the 15 MW power plants would have helped the electricity board a great deal. Even after six years, the co-generation plant at Alanganallur National Cooperative Sugar Mills, like many other plants in Tamil Nadu, is yet to commence power generation. In 2010, the DMK regime had laid foundation stones for co-generation plants inside sugar mills in the state. The power plants were to utilise sugarcane waste from crushed canes during the crushing period and use coal when sugar mills are closed for maintenance. On an average, the sugarcane waste would have lasted to produce power for eight months. As much as ₹110 crore was sanctioned for the construction of the power plants with a deadline of 18 months. If they were completed on time, they could have produced collectively 183 MW power. State president of Tamil Nadu sugarcane Farmers Association, N Palanisamy said that nearly 80% works have been completed in the power plant at Alanganallur and the remaining 20% of works need more fund. Out of the 15 MW power produced, the sugar mill will utilise 5 MW for functioning and the rest will be given to the electricity board. During the non-crushing months, the entire power generated will be send to the grid.
Source: The Times of India
40 countries to take part in Renewable Energy India Expo
August 30: As many as 40 countries, 650 exhibitors and 1,000 delegates are likely to participate in the 10th edition of UBMs flagship event — Renewable Energy India Expo — to be held at Greater Noida from September 7. The three-day event aims to further upscale and mainstream the applications of renewable energy resources, showcase product launches, innovations and augment the forethought through international exhibition and conference platform, UBM India Managing Director Yogesh Mudras said. The expo will see participation from India, Japan, Switzerland, the US, Korea, Taiwan, China, Australia, Italy, Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Belgium, among others.
Source: India Today
NABARD sanctions loan for 10 MW solar plant in Haryana
August 29: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned a loan of ₹204.67 crore for Haryana under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund for projects including a 10 MW solar plant at Panipat thermal power station. Out of the total loan, ₹147.18 crore has been sanctioned to the state government under the 22nd tranche of the fund for 2016-17 for construction of three rural bridges, construction and upgradation of 26 rural roads in 10 districts, and ₹57.49 crore for the solar plant. The installation of 10 MW solar plant at Panipat will generate green energy which will help the state fulfil its renewable energy purchase obligations. It is for the first time that NABARD has sanctioned this type of project in Haryana. With this sanction, the cumulative assistance to the state under this fund has reached ₹5613.65 crore involving 4,263 projects under various sectors.
Source: The Economic Times
NTPC to plant 20 million trees over the next decade
August 29: Power generator NTPC Ltd will plant 20 million trees over the next decade, the company said. NTPC has embarked upon accelerated afforestation drive with the State Forest Departments of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Maharashtra to plant 10 million trees during 2016-17, it said. This is in tandem with the recently announced Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC-2030) of creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through forests and tree cover by 2030. Besides 10 million tree plantations during the current year, NTPC plans to create additional sink by planting 10 million trees across the country in next ten years, the state-run firm said. NTPC has already signed Memorandum of Understanding with State Forest Departments of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Karnataka for the accelerated afforestation and others are expected to be signed shortly.
Source: The Economic Times
ABB to light up 190 schools in West Bengal with solar power
August 29: ABB India will play a key role in West Bengal government’s initiative for state-wide solar electrification of schools as it is providing string inverters for rooftop solars. ABB India supplies string inverters of various capacities that support the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems with Kolkata based Sunshine Power Products across government schools in the state, it said. String inverters have already been supplied and installed at 40 schools as part of this project in Midnapore, Bankura, Kolkata and a few other districts, it said. The company has also been awarded a contract to supply inverters for an additional 150 schools recently.
Source: The Economic Times
Govt to set up ₹15 billion payment security fund for solar projects
August 28: Government is in the process of setting up a ₹1,500 crore fund to avoid delays in releasing viability gap funding (VGF) to solar power developers under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). The fund is significant as the government has set the target of adding 100 GW of solar power by 2022. The fund will also cover delays/defaults in payments to Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) by entities (discoms/state utilities/bulk consumers), so that timely payment to developers could be ensured. SECI will open a separate flexi bank account to create and operate the fund. Government introduced VGF mechanism while implementing JNNSM Phase II, wherein solar projects developers are selected through transparent competitive process to supply power at a pre-determined tariff. First scheme under VGF mode for 750 MW capacity has already been implemented. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) implemented second scheme for setting up of 2000 MW of grid connected solar PV projects in August last year. Another scheme for 5000 MW through VGF support was sanctioned in February this year. Besides these schemes, the ministry has also sanctioned several other schemes under VGF mode like solarisation of Indo-Pak Border and special scheme for high visibility areas. The fund will also cover other solar energy schemes approved by the ministry in coming days.
Source: Business Standard
VOC Port inks pact with SECI to set up five MW solar plant
August 28: The V O Chidambaranar (VOC) Port has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to install a five MW solar power plant. The plant, estimated to cost ` 30 crore, would be of the direct grid connect type and will be set up under Power Purchase mode. It is expected to be completed by March, 2017. The expected annual power generation would be 7.5 million units. Reduction of carbon emission from the project will be 8025 Metric Tonnes per year. The project is a milestone from the environmental aspect as it would generate pollution-free power. As part of Green Port initiative, it has already commissioned a 100 KW solar power plant at the port’s administrative building on August 14. The annual power generation from this plant is 1.70 lakh units. Another 400 KW Solar power plant is under installation on various buildings of the port and is expected to be commissioned in October, 2016, generating 6.80 lakh units per year.
Source: Business Standard
Gujarat Refinery to invest ₹40 billion for cleaner fuel
August 27: Gujarat Refinery will invest over ₹4000 crore by 2020 to ensure rollout of Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) standard diesel and petrol in the country. The refinery is gearing up to meet the petrol and diesel quality improvement programme in line with government’s Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025. To achieve production of 100% BS-VI diesel, the refinery is investing about ₹1330 crore in two phases. The refinery is taking steps to supply BS-VI petrol and diesel from April 1, 2020. As per preliminary study an investment of ₹2700 crore will be invested to meet BS-VI norms. The refinery throughput stood at 13.82 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) as against the nameplate capacity of 13.7 MTPA. To reduce carbon footprint and increase utilization of renewable energy, the refinery which has already set up 650 kW solar power system, is installing another 1000 kW solar power plant which is under installation. The plant is expected to be commissioned by November this year.
Source: The Times of India
BCCI signs MoU with TERI to promote renewable energy
August 25: Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for promoting renewable energy. State Power Minister Shobandeb Chatterjee promised all support to the clean energy initiative by the BCCI. BCCI said the agreement will forge an alliance between the chamber and TERI to work together in the domain of renewables and allied fields.
Source: Business Standard
Uttarakhand floods not ‘act of God’: NGT
August 25: Rejecting GVK Group firm Alaknanda Hydro Power Company’s contention that the 2013 cloudburst and floods in Uttarakhand was an “act of God”, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed it to pay a compensation of ₹9.26 crore to the persons affected by the disaster. The green panel held the company liable for lack of proper care in storing muck from a construction project, which allowed the material to flow during the floods to the Srinagar town of the Pauri Garhwal district in June 2013. It directed Alaknanda Hydro Power to deposit ₹9,26,42,795 within 30 days as compensation with the Emergency Relief Fund Authority, which should be paid to the victims of the disaster. The NGT held that it is undisputed that 2013 floods were due to cloudburst in the upper reaches of river Alaknanda near Kedarnath, unlike the floods in 1894 and 1970 as per a report published by Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Source: The Times of India
Solar power project at Banasura Dam ready
August 24: The dam-top solar project of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) set up at Banasura Sagar Dam at Padinjarathara in Wayanad will be commissioned. State Power Minister Kadakampally Surendran will commission the 400 kW project set up at a cost of ₹4.29 crores. Under the project, solar panels have been fixed to form a canopy on the dam- top road at a length of 285 metres. He said that the KSEB is planning to increase the generation capacity of the project by another 600 kW in the next stage by extending the length of the solar canopy. A 10 kW capacity floating solar plant was inaugurated at Banasura Sagar reservoir in January. Also a 500 kW floating solar plant is under construction at the reservoir. KSEB said that currently 25.91 MW of electricity generated through renewable energy projects is being transmitted to the KSEB grid.
Source: The Economic Times
ONGC Ahmedabad adopts Karsanpura village
August 24: Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Ahmedabad is always on the forefront when it comes to providing CSR support to beneficiaries in its operational areas. As part of ONGC Diamond Jubilee celebrations, ONGC Ahmedabad recently adopted Karsanpura village for twin CSR initiatives of construction of 16 individual household toilets and setting up of 70 solar street lights as part of rural development and Sanitation initiative. ONGC Ahmedabad is providing CSR support of ₹20 lakh for these two CSR initiatives.
Source: The Economic Times
Chile breaks Dubai’s record solar power price
August 30: Chile has broken Dubai’s record of promising to produce solar at the world’s cheapest rates. During June, Dubai announced that it would produce solar power at ₹2.01 per unit in June, in August Chile broke the record with a new low of ₹1.95 per unit. According to reports, SunEdison set a new record-low solar bid at 2.91¢ents per unit. This beats the 2.99 cent per unit Masdar Consortium’s bid for an 800 MW solar power project in Dubai. As part of an auction held in Chile this month, power producers were asked to bid on the price at which they could supply power irrespective of the generation source. Solar won the war that too at a new record low.
Source: The Economic Times
Renewable energy industry calls on Australian Parliament to protect ARENA grants funding
August 30: Innovation will be stifled right across the clean energy sector if the Australian Parliament supports legislation to remove future grant funding available from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), released by the Clean Energy Council. Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the organisation had funded hundreds of projects that would not otherwise have gone ahead, bridging major knowledge gaps across the renewable energy industry, reducing technology costs and supporting home-grown Australian research and development activities. Thornton said ARENA’s use of capital grant funding had a strong track record of success, and was able to deliver results that would not have been possible using debt or equity — the tools available to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund.
Source: Energy Business Review
Global climate pact may cover most plane emissions: US
August 29: A proposed climate accord for airlines is likely to attract support from enough nations to cover about 80 percent of global emissions from international flights, United States (US) State Department said. If approved by a majority of 191 countries this fall, it would be the first global climate accord for a single industry. Airline emissions account for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gases and are forecast to more than triple over the next few decades as flights increase in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. Airlines were not included in the Paris climate accord because delegates feared the intricacies of divvying up responsibility for international flights could derail the broader agreement. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization has been working for more than a decade on the accord and plans to finalize the agreement at its general assembly from September 27 to October 7 in Montreal. The accord would take effect in 2020.
EU approves support schemes for renewables in Luxembourg and Malta
August 29: The European Commission has approved support schemes for renewable energy in Luxembourg and Malta, considering that the schemes were in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules. In September 2015, Luxembourg notified its plans to support renewable energy production by introducing premium payments to support operators of wind, solar, biogas, hydropower and biomass installations. The total budget of the measure will be approximately €150 mn, allocated between 2016 and 2020. Under the Renewable Energy Directive, Luxembourg has a renewables target of 11% of gross electricity consumed by 2020. Under the same Directive, Malta has a renewables target of 10% of gross electricity consumed by 2020. By the end of 2014 Malta had achieved 4% renewables share. In December 2015, Malta notified plans to support operators of solar photovoltaic and onshore wind installations, through premium payments on top of the market price. According to the plans, onshore wind developers can also tender for support if an eligible site receives development consent during the lifetime of the scheme. The total budget of the measure will be approximately €140m, allocated between 2016 and 2020. This new measure is meant to help it realise the remaining 6% of renewable energy consumption by 2020.
Tanzania plans to cut GHG emissions by up to 20 percent by 2030
August 29: Tanzania aims to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10-20% by 2030, thanks to mitigation measures to be undertaken in the energy, transport, forestry and waste management sectors. In the energy sector, Tanzania will seek to diversify its energy mix and to promote renewables for power generation. The country’s power mix currently relies on hydropower (57%) and gas (42%). Tanzania will also seek to expand the use of gas for power generation, cooking, transport and thermal services. The country will also promote energy efficiency technologies.
China’s parliament proposes new environmental tax benefits
August 29: China’s parliament has proposed increasing tax benefits for companies that cut pollution by more than the national standard, state media reported, the first details of a much-anticipated new code aimed at curbing the country’s emissions. If the plan is passed by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislator, companies that reduce emissions to half of the national requirement would only pay half the taxes levied for air, water and soil pollution. The government won’t tax companies for their carbon emissions as that is essentially already done by China’s carbon market, which gives companies an incentive to limit their emissions by issuing emissions permits. The government has been discussing the new tax law for years, which is aimed at cutting pollution, particularly from heavy industry.
Insurers call on G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020
August 29: Insurers with $1.2 trillion under management called for the Group of 20 (G20) to set a timetable to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels by 2020 when they meet at a summit in China. Aviva, Aegon NV and MS Amlin said fossil fuel subsidies were at odds with commitments by G20 nations to combat global warming agreed by almost 200 countries last year at a Paris summit. G20 leaders have repeatedly promised to phase out fossil fuels, the main man-made source of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, since a meeting in 2009 in Pittsburgh. The British-based Overseas Development Institute think-tank estimated that average annual subsidies for fossil fuel production were $444 billion in 2013 and 2014, roughly four times the subsidies for renewable energy in 2013. Investors managing more than $13 trillion of assets urged the G20 to ratify the Paris climate deal by the end of 2016 to help avert droughts, floods, mudslides and rising sea levels.
Humans causing climate change for 180 years
August 26: Human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th-century phenomenon, a new study has found. According to the study, warming began during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution and is first detectable in the Arctic and tropical oceans around the 1830s, much earlier than scientists had expected. Scientists examined natural records of climate variations across the world’s oceans and continents. These included climate histories preserved in corals, cave decorations, tree rings and ice cores. The research team also analysed thousands of years of climate model simulations to determine what caused the early warming. Helen McGregor, from the University of Wollongong said humans only caused small increases in the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere during the 1800s. The researchers also studied major volcanic eruptions in the early 1800s and found they were only a minor factor in the early onset of climate warming.
Source: Daily News and Analysis
France launches tender for three GW of solar power projects
August 26: France has officially launched a tender for the construction and operation of 3,000 MW of new ground-mounted solar projects. Bids for new capacities will be received in six blocks of 500 MW with a 6-month lapse between each tender. The projects will be commissioned between 2017 and 2020. Bidders will be selected on the basis of their competitiveness, carbon impacts and environmental impacts and will benefit from a new support scheme, i.e. a premium on top of market prices to help finance the investments. France aims to boost its solar power capacity, from the current 6.7 GW to 10.2 GW in late 2018 and to 18.2-20.2 GW by 2023.
World’s 200 year energy demand boom seen peaking by the 2050s
August 26: Global energy demand has been growing at a breakneck pace since the 19th century. That’ll change in about 40 years, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Demand will peak in the 2050s and then begin to weaken as energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product declines, Bernstein analysts said. Demand growth is already decreasing as a result of slower population growth and sluggish economic expansion, as well as a shift from industrial-led growth to services-led growth, analysts said. Coal consumption is likely to peak around 2020, with oil following suit in the 2030s, the analysts said. The shift toward natural gas and renewable energies will continue, though the transition to solar and wind will take decades. Pressure to rein in carbon dioxide emissions is intensifying, especially after the Paris Agreement, a global deal reached in December to tackle climate change. There are already signs power demand growth is stalling. Energy consumption per capita may have peaked, according to Bernstein. However, global demand could still grow by a further 30 percent over the next 40 years before peaking, the analysts said.
Renewable energy power generation up 16.9 percent in US
August 26: Renewable energy in the United States (US) accounted for 16.9% of electricity generation in the first half of 2016, new figures have revealed. The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) said this compared with 13.7% of electricity generation the same time last year. Non-hydro renewable energy accounted for 9.2% of electricity for 2016 so far and hydro-electric generation has increased as well helped by California which has exceeded its total hydro-electric generation for all of last year. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Colorado have seen the most growth in wind generation with a combined added generation equivalent to powering three million homes. Meanwhile, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and California have had the most growth from solar. Utah has increased its solar power generation by 700% this year.
Source: Energy Voice
California passes toughest greenhouse gas emission curbs
August 25: California is poised to make the nation’s strictest carbon emission controls even tougher, with a bill to cut greenhouse-gas discharges to 40 percent less than 1990 levels by 2030 now headed to Governor Jerry Brown. The emissions law builds on a 2006 measure that gave California the nation’s most ambitious program of countering climate change by limiting discharges from cars and industry, and by requiring businesses to purchase pollution credits via auction. It mandated that California reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Scenario of Solar Energy Generation Capacity in India
Total Solar Energy Generation Capacity till March 31, 2016 6.76 GW
State-wise Major Solar Generation Capacity Additions (in 2015-16)
|State/UT||Capacity Addition (MW)|
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