- Energy News Monitor
- Mar 27 2017
Path to Power Paved with Cheap Power
Power News Commentary: February – March 2017
The BJP was reported to be in a rush to fulfil two of its key election promises (i) to provide cheap power and (ii) free energy efficient pumps to farmers, even before formally forming the government in the state. An agreement for Centre’s ‘Power for All’, envisaging commitment to 24X7 power supply, connecting all households, supplying up to 100 units at Rs 3/unit for each household and giving free energy efficiency pumps to farmers has been signed. Though UP was one of the first states to accept ‘UDAY’, the Centre’s plan to rejuvenate debt-laden distribution companies, the outgoing government refused to finalise the terms for signing the Power for All document, which commits states to improve power management and supply. The election campaign also mixed communism with communalism with the accusation that there was partiality on the ground of religion on the issue of electrification and power supply in the state which powered it to victory.
UP will issue bonds worth Rs 100 billion against the debt of its discoms which it took over. This is the second issuance by the state under the provisions of UDAY agreement, which aims to restructure the financials of beleaguered power distribution companies. UP issued bonds totalling Rs 240 billion in three tranches till FY16.
The Delhi government whose cheap power plan also powered it to ‘power’ (which is being actively replicated by all political parties) is reported to have set aside Rs 16 billion for its flagship subsidy scheme for power consumers. In total the Delhi government has proposed Rs 21.9 billion expenditure in the energy sector. Under the subsidy programme, in the last two years domestic consumers using up to 400 units of electricity per month are charged at half the rate. The scheme will continue to benefit over 3.6 million domestic consumers in the national capital who come under the prescribed limit of electricity use.
Not to be left out Haryana has proposed to lower fuel surcharge allowance on power tariff by Rs 0.50-0.60/unit. The electricity consumer in Haryana is paying Rs 1.24 to Rs 1.43/unit as surcharge levied by the electricity distribution companies – Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitram Nigam. The surcharge forms one fourth of the electricity bills of the consumers, hence the announcement may bring relief to all sectors.
The opposition party in Rajasthan termed the rollback of power tariff hike for agriculture connections as a victory of farmers and that it would demand the rollback of the tariff of domestic consumers as well. The state government of Rajastan has apparently taken over the loss of Rs 600 billion under UDAY Bond.
The West Bengal government said that it was committed to provide quality power to all consumers and with that end in view it would install 177 sub-stations across the state in the next two years to overcome voltage problems.
Offer of cheap power during election campaign is a time tested strategy of Indian political parties. Few if any notice that the policy to reform the electricity sector and make it more market oriented and the policy to undermine the market through state intervention are often implemented by the same government.
Odisha is the next state going to the polls and naturally there is plenty of news on how the current government has failed to provide power to households. More than 3.5 million households in the state are yet to have electricity connection. Of the families living without power, 1.5 million belong to the below poverty line category. Power is yet to reach 984 villages in the state. In this light the government has pre-empted opposition parties stating that it will provide electricity to all homes by 2019. The centre has given more than Rs 12.24 billion to cover the villages without electricity.
Dabhol power project re-christened as Ratnagiri Gas and Power is apparently going to be revived with help from the Prime Minister’s office. The Railways has been forced to enter into a power purchase agreement with the company and demerger of the LNG division has been expedited. The Maharashtra state government may also be forced to waive off state-wise transmission charges and transmission losses, and waive off the tax on gas to the project to make the power more viable. The plan for the demerger of the LNG regasification unit from the power unit has been approved by lenders but certain issues raised by Power Finance Corp and LIC have to be sorted out.
The KERC was reported to be considering imposing cross subsidy surcharge for those opting out of grid power and as demanded by the Escoms. Bulk consumers feel they can get power in open market at rates that are competitive than what their respective Escoms offer, and want to shift to such power and reduce dependency on the grid. At present, Escoms are grappling with morning and evening load peaks. Supply peak will not address either the morning or evening supply peaks usually that Escoms experience from 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm. This comes between 8am and 6pm when solar power production is expected to be at its peak. Since it is not possible to store the power generated and used to manage morning and evening peaks, the power generator, Escoms will have to find consumers who can utilize this supply peak in a manner that it brings them revenue. This is an interesting development to watch as solar supply during off peak hours is not what the market would have desired. Without storage adding to supply during off peak hours does not necessarily reduce conventional power generation capacity.
Delhi’s peak power demand is expected to touch 6,600 MW this summer, surpassing last year’s peak of 6,261 MW which is the highest ever recorded till date. The peak power demand in the city during the summer of 2017 is expected to touch around 6,500-6.600 MW. Last summer, it was 6,261 MW, highest ever-recorded in the national capital. The peak power demand in South and West Delhi that had reached 2,669 MW during summer last year, is expected to touch around 2,800 MW this year. The peak demand in East and Central Delhi is also expected to rise from 1,493 MW last year to around 1,600 MW. In north and northwest Delhi peak electricity demand of about 1,900 MW is expected in summer compared with 1,791 MW last year.
Power demand in Bihar that has more than five times the population of Delhi increased from 1,800 MW in July 2013 to 3,854 MW (or just half the capacity required to serve Delhi’s rich consumers) in November 2016. High AT&C loss blamed on large scale rural electrification in Bihar was estimated to be 59.24 percent in FY13 and 43.54 percent in FY16. As per the generation plan, additional capacity of 5,589 MW will be added by FY19 and Bihar’s total available capacity was expected to be 8,925 MW, making it a power surplus state.
Subdued demand coupled with surplus electricity availability has slowed down the addition of new capacity for generating power from conventional sources of energy such as coal and gas in one of India’s most industrialised States, Gujarat. The installed electricity generation capacity of non-renewable energy sources in Gujarat grew by just 0.7 percent in 2015-16. The growth was 6.2 percent and 5.2 percent in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively. Gujarat’s installed power generation capacity from non-renewable energy sources stood at 20,765.82 MW in FY 16 against 20,611.30 MW in FY15, an annual addition of 154.52 MW.
Turning to cross border developments, Nepal and India have agreed to lay down Butwal (Nepal)-Gorakhpur (India) and Lumki (Nepal)-Bareilly (India) transmission lines and setting up of new 400kV sub-stations at Dhalkebar, Butwal and Hetauda (Nepal). The current import of 380 MW of power from India has been possible on account of the installation of additional transformer at Muzaffarpur by the Indian side, as also by technical improvements at Tanakpur at Nepal’s request. With the commissioning of two new lines — Raxaul-Parwanipur and Kataiya-Kusaha, the installed capacity for export of power to Nepal will increase by another 100 MW to 120 MW by the end of February 2017. Further, with the completion of 220 kV substation at Dhalkebar, the installed capacity will increase to almost 700 MW by the middle of 2017. The Indian side agreed to extend technical assistance for improvement of existing infrastructure, so that the era of load-shedding can end in Nepal for good.
Rating agencies maintained a stable negative outlook on power sector for the next financial year despite an improvement in coal availability, restructuring of distribution companies’ debt and operationalisation of stuck projects. The sector’s return on capital employed remains unattractive and small private companies are the worst hit. It said there is a possibility of sector consolidation, which could be triggered by the new bankruptcy code. India added nearly 115 GW of coal-based capacity since FY11. However, demand growth did not keep pace with capacity addition. This has put pressure on the PLFs of coal-based thermal power plants. In the past, coal and discom financial health were the two key constraints to the overall PLF. However, demand, solar capacity addition and discom financial health will be the major factors putting pressure on PLF in future. Earlier, the private sector kept a part of the capacity untied due to high short-term prices. The PLF of the private sector’s coal-based power plants fell to 56.3 percent in FY17 from 83.9 percent in FY10.
Rest of the World
Nord Pool plans to launch a day-ahead power auction and continuous intraday power trading in Ireland from 2018. Short-term power trading has increased in recent years as coal and gas plant operators can no longer plan their output years ahead as they do not know how many hours they will operate in a market they now have to share with renewables. Experts are concerned that Britain’s vote to leave the EU could jeopardise plans to join the Irish and Northern Irish electricity markets, which is a multi-year project to create a unified Irish electricity market in line with EU legislation.
A one-day strike in the French gas and electricity sector cut power production by 4.2 GW. EDF, the French power generator said that hydropower production was cut by 280 MW, while its 535 MW Porcheville 3 fuel-powered generator and the 580 MW Havre 4 generator, reported unplanned outages after workers downed tools. Unplanned outages caused by the strike had reduced output at seven of France’s 58 nuclear reactors, cutting electricity output from the reactors by nearly 3 GW.
Poland may face electricity shortages after 2020 as some of the country’s outdated coal-fuelled power plants are shut down. Poland generates most of its electricity from coal-fuelled power plants, some of which were built in the 1970s. Poland hopes to introduce a power capacity market to help utilities build new coal-fuelled power plants, despite the European Union’s plan to limit such schemes. Capacity market, in which the state pays producers to keep plants online to generate electricity as and when needed, would help Poland secure power supplies in the long term.
Greece’s power market operator LAGIE and the Athens stock exchange have agreed to jointly set up a power trading exchange, that would start operations as early as mid-2018. The new power trading exchange would replace the existing mandatory pool system, where power producers may enter into bilateral contracts that are constrained within the pool. It is expected to improve power sales transparency, boost competition and lower electricity prices for end users. This new market model is part of plans to reform the Greek electricity market in line with European interconnection plans.
Efforts on to reduce crude oil imports: Oil Minister
March 20, 2017. Steps are being taken to enhance oil and gas production to reduce crude oil imports, which has accounted for 82 percent of the total domestic consumption this fiscal, the government said. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the target is to reduce energy imports by 10 percent by 2021-22. In the current fiscal till January, the share of imported crude on the basis of domestic consumption stood at 82 percent. Most of crude oil production in the country is from ageing fields in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and offshore areas, he said. Pradhan assured that there would be no conflict between oil and gas production and agriculture farming while responding to queries about environmental concerns related to a project in Tamil Nadu.
Source: The Economic Times
Pune petro pumps under Income Tax scanner for irregularities during demonetisation period
March 20, 2017. The Income Tax (I-T) department had conducted surveys on 25 petrol pumps in different locations of the city — for the alleged conversion of banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by way of currency deposits in excess of actual sales — during the demonetisation period. Now, I-T officials claim that they found irregularities of Rs 1.5 crore during the three day survey carried out. The surveys were conducted at Noushar Petrol Pump Service in Balaji Nagar, Dhankawdi, Roshni Services at Koregaon Park and Jai Hind Highway Service Station on the Mumbai-Pune Road, Chinchwad among others. In keeping with Section 133 (A) of the I-T Act, the officials examined cash books of pump owners to ascertain whether their sales corresponded with the deposits made during the month-long period till December end last year, when scrapped notes were allowed for purchasing fuel. However, the petrol pump owners claim that no excess illegal amounts have been recovered by the I-T officials. Even the Pune petrol pump owners were giving coupons to those who were coming for refuelling. The Federation of All India Petroleum Traders has also sent a letter to CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra in New Delhi, complaining that petrol pumps are being sent unnecessary and multiple notices by the local I-T offices, despite clarifying their stand to the Central Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore. According to the I-T department, fuel sellers deposited 20 percent more cash than their sales during the grace period till December 2, 2016, leading to the conclusion that some of them may have indulged in conversion of unaccounted cash held in high-value demonetised currencies. Petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG) pumps were allowed to accept Rs 500 notes till December 2, and payment for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders continued to be exempted even after that date.
Source: The Economic Times
Oil tanker workers begin indefinite strike for minimum wages
March 20, 2017. Oil tanker workers affiliated to Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) began an indefinite strike demanding minimum wages and other benefits like provident fund. Oil marketing companies, including Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL), have termed their demands as “illogical and baseless” as they are employed by transporters and not the public sector undertaking (PSU) firms. APMU held talks with the three companies in November last year, but did not yield any result. APMU informed that IOC follows the government norm of minimum wages of Rs 450.62 per day for drivers and Rs 309 for the helper in each truck. Around 4,500 tankers for both LPG and petroleum products are registered with IOC in entire North East. BPCL said loading and offloading at their sites have also been affected.
Source: India Today
India imports petrol, diesel from China
March 16, 2017. India has perhaps for the first time imported petrol and diesel from China as the world’s third largest oil consumer looks at diversifying its sources of fuel. India imported 18,000 tonnes of petrol and 39,000 tonnes of diesel in the first nine months of the current fiscal, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Traditionally, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been its biggest sources of petrol and diesel. Pradhan said India had not imported any petrol or diesel from China in last four years. During April-December 2016, India produced 27.1 million tonnes of petrol against a consumption of 17.96 million tonnes. In case of diesel, the production stood at 76.55 million tonnes in comparison to 57.24 million tonnes. India imported 8,20,000 tonnes of diesel and 4,76,000 tonnes of petrol in April-December, he said.
Source: Business Today
IOC buys its first Hibernia crude from Canada’s Suncor
March 16, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) became India’s first refiner to buy light sweet Hibernia crude from Canada’s Suncor Energy, doing the deal after the opening of the arbitrage for Canadian oil to flow to Asia. Suncor sold the 1 million barrel cargo of Hibernia crude to IOC on a free on board basis. IOC has bought its first Russian Urals crude cargo in about a year in another tender. IOC previously bought a cargo of Canadian White Rose oil in November 2013. State-refiners like IOC were last year given the freedom to draw up the crude import strategies that would allow them to make swift gains from changing market dynamics.
ONGC may shift proposed basin from Tripura to Assam
March 16, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) may shift its proposed new basin to Cachar in Assam from Agartala, where initial work had already begun last year. ONGC is likely to take a decision on the upcoming second basin of North East in the next six months. ONGC clarified that no final decision has been taken yet on shifting the proposed basin to Assam. In December last year, ONGC was working on to launch a new basin in Agartala by the end of this year to focus more on exploration of oil and gas in North East. ONGC had informed that construction work was going on as there was no proper building to start functioning of a ‘basin’ in Agartala. ONGC’s North East operations is divided into two areas — Assam Shelf from Jorhat to Duliajan and Assam Fold Belt from Silchar to Agartala. Silchar is the headquarters of Cachar district of Barak valley in Assam. Assam Fold Belt has mainly gas, while there are both oil and gas in Assam Shelf. While exploration is being done only by Assam-Arakan basin based at Jorhat, the production is divided by three Assets — Assam Asset at Nazira, Jorhat Asset at Jorhat and Tripura Asset at Agartala. Last fiscal, ONGC’s production in Assam was 0.9 million tonnes and this year it is targetted to reach the figure of 1 million tonnes.
Source: The Economic Times
Oil field leases may be extended 4 yrs before expiry
March 15, 2017. The government will extend the lease for oil or gas fields four years before the initial 20-year term expires, failing which an extension plea would be deemed to have been rejected, says a draft proposal on the new exploration policy aimed at eliminating extension uncertainties faced by contractors. Cairn India has been lobbying the government for years to extend the contract to operate the oil and gas block in Barmer, Rajasthan, by 10 years after the initial 20-year agreement runs out in 2020. The previous policy provided for an extension of five years for an oilfield and 10 years for a gas field, or such period as was mutually agreed upon. The draft contract, open to stake holder consultation, requires the contractor to submit a request for extension ‘no later than 5 years before the expiry of the existing contract’.
Source: The Economic Times
RIL’s KG-D6 gas output drops below target
March 21, 2017. Reliance Industries’ KG basin D6 block has seen natural gas output slip further, leading the government to disallow $2.756 billion in cost, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its partners BP plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources produced less than 16 percent of the 31,793.28 million standard cubic metres (mscm) target from the KG-D6 block in 2013-14. Output fell to 4,461.91 mscm or 13.75 percent of the targeted 32,458.72 mscm in 2014-15 and to 3,939.97 mscm or 12.24 percent of the target in the following year, he said. In 2016-17, RIL and its partner produced 2,641.67 mscm of gas till February against the target of 29,316.69 mscm, he said. He said the Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC), too, has produced much less than target in the three years but no penalty has been levied on it.
Source: The New Indian Express
ONGC has discovered hydrocarbon deposit in Mizoram
March 17, 2017. Mizoram Geology and Mineral Resources Minister H Rohluna said that Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has discovered hydrocarbon (gas) deposit at Meidum village in Kolasib district. Rohluna said that the report of the ONGC estimated that the gas field would be able to produce 5,52,674 standard cubic feet of gas in a day. He said that the Oil India Ltd which undertook exploration at Maubuang and Keifang areas in Aizawl district were yet to discover any hydrocarbon deposits while the agreement with the Natfogaz company was terminated during 2011-12 after it failed to commence any work. The three oil giants have paid Rs 23.23 crore as taxes to the Mizoram government for conducting exploratory works, he said.
Source: India Today
Parliamentary panel examining ONGC gas flowing into RIL fields
March 17, 2017. A top parliamentary panel began examining Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) “unfairly” producing over Rs 10,000 crore worth of natural gas belonging to Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) in the KG-basin and constituted a sub-committee to go deeper into the issue. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) began examining the CAG report of last year that had red-flagged $1.6 billion of excess cost recovered by RIL in the KG-D6 gas block as ONGCs gas flowing into the eastern offshore fields of the RIL. As much as 11.122 billion cubic meters of ONGC gas had migrated from its Godavari-PML and KG-DWN-98/2 blocks to adjoining KG-D6 of RIL between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2015.
Source: India Today
ONGC to invest Rs 215 bn in India’s deepest gas discovery by 2023
March 16, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) will invest over Rs 21,500 crore to develop India’s deepest gas discovery by 2022-23, helping it more than double output from its prime KG basin block. ONGC, which had last year firmed up an investment of Rs 34,012 crore in bringing to production 10 oil and gas discoveries in its Bay of Bengal block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5), plans to invest another Rs 21,528.10 crore in developing the ultra-deepsea UD-1 find. ONGC plans to drill nine wells on the discovery that lies in water depths of 2,400-3,200 metres and will produce a peak output of 19 million standard cubic metres per day. The company had previously decided to develop other discoveries in KG-D5 block and leave the UD-1 find in the same block for a later date as it thought there was no technology available to produce gas from such water depths. ONGC Director (Offshore) Tapas Kumar Sengupta said that there are consultants who have showed to ONGC that discoveries deeper than UD-1 have been put to production in recent times, particularly in Gulf of Mexico. ONGC is in the process of appointing a consultant who will assist in developing the UD-1 discovery. The 7,294.6 sq km deepsea KG-D5 block, which sits next to Reliance Industries’ flagging KG-D6 fields, has been broadly categorised into Northern Discovery Area (NDA – 3,800.6 sq km) and Southern Discovery Area (SDA – 3,494 sq km). The NDA has 11 oil and gas discoveries while SDA has the nation’s only ultra-deepsea gas find of UD-1. These finds have been clubbed into three groups – Cluster-1, Cluster-II and Cluster-III. Last year, the company finalised a $5.07 billion plan for developing the Cluster-II finds by 2019-20. First gas production is envisaged by June 2019 and oil would start flowing from March 2020, he said. From Cluster-II, a peak oil output of 77,305 barrels per day is envisaged within two years of start of production.
Source: The Economic Times
Adani to finalize investment in Australia coal project by June
March 19, 2017. India’s Adani Enterprises said it would finalize an investment decision by June for its Carmichael coal project in Australia, which has been delayed due to protests from environmental groups. Adani has battled opposition from environmentalists for more than five years in its quest to develop a mine in the northern state of Queensland that would mainly export coal to India.
India’s coal reserves could remain unused in future: Goyal
March 17, 2017. India’s vast coal reserves could remain unused in future, thanks to the expected mega shift towards clean energy generation sector, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. He said the policies followed by the previous government have led to wastage of precious foreign exchange reserves over the years in importing coal and feeding domestic power plants, overlooking the reserves the country has. Goyal said the country has seen a huge ramp up in the production of domestic coal in the last 3 years — to the tune of more than 100 million tonnes — but the quantity of coal produced this year is less as compared to the previous two years. The country has the ability to produce more coal but it is held back by market forces and that means India will have sufficient coal in coming years and imports would not rise, he said.
Source: The Economic Times
Govt generates Rs 17.4 bn from auction of 31 coal mines
March 16, 2017. The government has generated revenue of Rs 17,47.7 crore from the auction of 31 coal blocks. The revenue generated till January, 2017 from the auction of 31 coal mines is Rs 17,47,72,47,706, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. So far, 82 coal mines have been allocated by way of auction/allotment. Allocation of coal mines, including allocation during 2017-18, is an ongoing process, Goyal said. The decision to reserve blocks for commercial mining has not been taken.
Source: The Economic Times
PSPCL proposes 20 percent hike in power tariff
March 21, 2017. The Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL) has proposed a steep hike in tariff to shore up its revenues and improve its financial health. The PSPCL has filed a petition seeking 20% hike in power tariff, but a final decision would be taken by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) after consulting the newly-formed state government. The new tariff may be announced in the next 10 days. PSPCL earnings took a dip as there was no hike in electricity rates in the past two years. In its multi-year tariff petition (MYTP) for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 filed before the PSERC, the PSPCL had sought a 20% tariff hike 2017-18, citing a total revenue deficit of Rs 11,575 crore, including Rs 5,998 crore carried forward from the previous years. In the MYTP the PSPCL had shown a deficit of Rs 6,130 crore for 2018-2019 and Rs 6,406 crore for 2019-20.
Source: The Economic Times
UPPCL asked to come up with new tariff plan
March 21, 2017. The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) initiated the power tariff determination exercise for the new financial year. The electricity regulator asked the UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) to submit the new annual revenue requirement (ARR)—the document projecting revenue recovery through sale of power to consumers—for determination of the electricity tariff for the year 2017-18. UPPCL has been asked to submit the ARR as soon as possible so that the commission can announce a new power tariff. Normally, power tariff increases in at least one or other category of consumers. Last year, SP government, seemingly with an eye on state elections, did not effect an increase in power tariff for residential consumers but passed the burden on industries. With elections over, the new government will take the call on power tariff. Last year, UPPCL projected an ARR of around Rs 55,000 crore even as it promised 24-hour power supply to urban and 18 hours to rural areas. With the BJP government initiating its ambitious scheme of power distribution in UP, the UPPCL may face the challenge of maintaining a balance between power supply and revenue recovery.
Source: The Economic Times
Noida power bills to be sent through SMS soon
March 21, 2017. Consumers are likely to get their electricity bills through SMS on their registered mobile numbers from April-end. The service of issuing bills to the consumers from meter readings will continue. The SMS service will help consumers know their bill amount and speed up the process of making payments. There are 2,59,316 (urban and rural) domestic consumers in the district, 25,774 consumers having commercial connections and 9,541 industrial consumers registered with Pashimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (PVVNL). PVVNL said that telephone numbers of subscribers available with the power corporation have been linked to the server. PVVNL said the trials conducted in the last one month have been successful and the facility will be started soon. PVVNL said a consumer can get assist them in linking their number with the server, online, by logging on to www.uppclonline.com. PVVNL said that a consumer can provide his/her telephone number and the account number to receive electricity bills on their mobile phone. PVVNL said that a consumer who does not get bill will have the option of getting the bill by sending an SMS to the power department. A consumer can receive their electricity bill by typing ‘bill’ followed by their electricity account number, separated by a space, to 5616195.
Source: Hindustan Times
PFC sanctions Rs 91.2 bn to Tamil Nadu power units
March 20, 2017. Power Finance Corp (PFC) said it has sanctioned Rs 9,128 crore in financial assistance to power units in Tamil Nadu. PFC has sanctioned a financial assistance of Rs 3,654 crore to Tamil Nadu Transmission Corp Ltd for strengthening of power transmission network and for establishing 765/400kV GIS based North Chennai Pooling Station at Ennore, Tiruvallur District in Tamil Nadu, it said. The North Chennai Pooling Station is expected to be commissioned by June 2019 at an estimated project cost of Rs 2,866.75 crore. PFC said it has a long standing relationship with Tamil Nadu with a cumulative sanction of Rs 48,500 crore and disbursement of Rs 29,500 crore towards various projects in generation, transmission and distribution sector.
Source: The New Indian Express
NTPC clocks highest-ever annual gross power generation of 263.9 bn units
March 17, 2017. NTPC and its group companies collectively achieved highest ever cumulative gross generation of 263.95 billion units during current year surpassing previous annual best of 263.42 billion units recorded in FY-16. Generation of the group registered an annual growth of 4.71% over last year. NTPC’s pithead coal stations, with total capacity of 25840 MW, recorded capacity utilisation of 95.71% on that day and cumulative monthly capacity utilisation of 91.4% for March-17 till date. As many as 29 units of NTPC coal plants have generated at a capacity utilisation level of more than 100% on that day. NTPC, the country’s largest power utility contributed 24 % of country’s generation.
Source: The Economic Times
Note ban caused no delay in power transmission projects
March 17, 2017. The notes pullback had no major impact on power transmission projects as states reported no delay in implementation of these projects to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the power ministry said. The government announced scrapping of high-value notes on November 8 last year following which there were fears that it would slow the economic growth and implementation of various infrastructure projects as well. Also, payments to the contractors and contract labourers of Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) are done through the cashless medium. PGCIL is taking necessary steps so that even vendors can make payments directly to the bank accounts. During the period since November 8, 2017, site activities were normal and in fact, PGCIL completed a number of critical lines and sub-stations, the power ministry said.
Source: The Economic Times
Hyderabad water board plea for uninterrupted power supply in summer
March 16, 2017. To avoid disturbance in Godavari water supply to the city and GHMC peripherals, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board made a plea to the director-grid operations, Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Ltd (NPDCTL), G Narsing Rao to ensure uninterrupted power supply in summer. A two-member team from HMWS&SB, director-technical, P S Suryanarayana and chief general manager, transmission circle B Vijaya Kumar Reddy, met the director-grid operations in Karimnagar and discussed about the power interruption and impact on city’s water supplies. During the meeting, Water Board officials were told the NPDCTL official that the water board is supplying a total of 114 million gallons of Godavari water per day to meet the demand.
Source: The Economic Times
No power cuts this summer: Kerala Power Minister
March 16, 2017. Kerala Power Minister M M Mani made it clear in the assembly that the state government will not impose power cuts this summer. The state was trying its best to avoid power cut by purchasing power from outside sources. At present, the state has the capacity to produce only 30% of the total power it required. This means that 70% of its demand is being met from outside sources. The government is aiming to bring power from outside agencies through long-term and short-term agreements, Mani said. The government is not in favour of privatising the electricity board. After this government assumed office, 1,000 people have been appointed (as mazdoor) and advice memo has been sent to 90 candidates for the post of sub-engineers. There has to be a redeployment to ensure even distribution of staff as it has been found that there hilly areas have less employees compared to other areas. The regulatory commission has pointed out that there are more employees under the board, said the minister. Mani said that the power department is considering the option of using LED bulbs in streetlights.
Source: The Economic Times
25 years old power plants to be turned into super critical plants: Goyal
March 16, 2017. All power plants, which are over 25 years old, will be phased out and converted into ‘super critical plants’ to augment generation capacity and reduce pollution, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal said that these old power plants of NTPC, which together produced around 11,000 MW power, will be phased out gradually and converted into ‘super critical plant’. Goyal said during 12th Plan till September 2016, a total of 3,000 MW of inefficient thermal generating capacity has been retired, which will result in better utilisation of more efficient plants. Goyal said to revive and improve utilisation of the stranded gas based power generation capacity in the country, the Centre has sanctioned a scheme supported with Power System Development Fund for utilisation of gas based power generation capacity for 2015-16 and 2016-17. Goyal said with ’24X7 power for all’ initiative taken jointly with the state governments, the access to electricity would increase and accordingly the electricity demand would increase, leading to increased utilisation of power generation capacity.
Source: The Indian Express
NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
Govt cuts 23 MT CO2 emission in a year by using LED bulbs
March 21, 2017. The government has cut 23 million tonnes (MT) carbon dioxide (CO2) emission the use of energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) bulbs and has saved 28,588 million units of energy, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said. So far, the government has distributed over 220 million LED bulbs under its UJALA scheme and the country has saved Rs 11,437 crore in one year, according to the power ministry data.
Source: The Economic Times
Govt collects Rs 211.2 bn as Clean Environment Cess in April-January
March 21, 2017. The government said an amount of Rs 21,128.59 crore has been collected as Clean Environment Cess from across the country in the April-January period of the ongoing fiscal. Of the Rs 21,128.59 crore, the component of central excise was Rs 20,285.27 crore and the component of Customs was Rs 843.32 crore, Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal said. In last fiscal the collection from Clean Environment Cess from across India was Rs 13,847.87 crore. While in FY’15, the cess collected was Rs 5,844.55 crore in FY’14 it was Rs 3,217.13 crore, Goyal informed. Renaming the Clean Energy Cess as Clean Environment Cess, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech for 2016-17 had proposed to raise the cess on coal, lignite and peat from Rs 200 a tonne to Rs 400 per tonne.
Source: The Economic Times
Renewable energy companies in Tamil Nadu in a spot
March 20, 2017. About 200 MW of wind and solar power plants in Tamil Nadu are in the danger of losing incentives because the State government has been unable to appoint a person to the post of Chief Electrical Inspector to Government (CEIG). Power projects set up in the State cannot begin to operate unless the CEIG gives the Safety Certificate.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Zynergy to set up solar module at Nellore
March 20, 2017. Zynergy Solar Products & Services has outlined its move to set up a ₹ 520 crore solar module and solar cell manufacturing unit in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh (AP). The project entails a ₹ 110 crore module unit and ₹ 410 crore cell manufacturing unit. This is part of the ₹ 3,970 crore three phase project the company has proposed to the Andhra Pradesh. Following a meeting of the State Investment Promotion Board chaired by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, it was decided to extend several concessions as per the AP Electronic Policy 2014-2020. As per the policy, the company will get 100 percent reimbursement of stamp duty, transfer duty and registration fee paid on sale and lease deeds, capital subsidy of 10 percent of total investment of ₹ 5 crore, 100 percent tax reimbursement of VAT/CST for a period of 10 years subject to a maximum of 100 percent of fixed capital investment.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
PMC debates use of solar panels in 3 BRTS routes
March 20, 2017. Installation of a solar panel system to power the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) remains a debatable issue between Pune Municipal Corp’s (PMC) road and electricity departments. While the road department wants to put in place a solar panel system on three routes for saving energy, the electricity department is not certain about the idea. The concept of solar power has been taken from the Pune Metro project as Maha-Metro has already declared that solar energy will be used at their stations. PMC has been working on 35 kilometres of BRTS routes in the city. The three routes are Aundh to Shivajinagar, Patil Estate to Harish Bridge and Sangamwadi to PMC. According to the road department, there are a total of 30 bus stations on these three routes.
Source: The Economic Times
Karnataka mulls competitive bidding for wind power
March 19, 2017. After the success of the recent central government-sponsored auction of wind power capacity, Karnataka is looking to do the same. Wind power companies have always sold energy at rates fixed by the respective State electricity regulatory commissions, and these feed-in tariffs have ruled around ₹ 4.50 a kilowatt hour (kWh). Tamil Nadu, the windiest state, pays ₹ 4.16 a kWh. However, in the country’s first tariff-based auctions, held last month, the market-determined tariffs slid to as low as ₹3.46 a kWh. Karnataka’s Energy Minister DK Shivakumar said that the State is working on a plan to auction wind capacity. Shivakumar ruled out opening signed power purchase agreements for re-negotiations. He said the State wanted to make sure that the transmission infrastructure was in place before coming out with a tariff-based competitive bidding tender (in which the bidder who agrees to sell power at the cheapest prices would get contracts to put up wind power projects and sell energy for 20-25 years.) Asked if Karnataka would come out with the competitive bidding tender in a year, Shivakumar said, “more or less.” It is understood that Rajasthan is also mulling competitive bidding for wind.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
Now, generate own power for price of a phone
March 17, 2017. Solar panels on the rooftop that produce a kilowatt of power are no longer beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. Such a project will cost around Rs 60,000, even less if the central government’s 30% subsidy is factored in. In fact, generating the energy to run two fans and two lights could come at the price of a high-end smartphone. The investment of around Rs 50,000 on putting up the solar panels would have a payback period of around three years. Till a year ago, generating each kilowatt of solar power cost upward of Rs 90,000. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), which caters to north and north-west Delhi, has 150 domestic and commercial consumers who have installed projects with a capacity of 7 MW on their rooftops. BSES Delhi has around 300 solar rooftop generators, who produce 10 MW.
Source: The Economic Times
Govt frames solar power scheme to promote powerloom sector
March 16, 2017. The government said it has formulated a scheme to provide incentives and concessions to loom weavers to utilise solar energy to increase production. Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta said that for the development of the powerloom sector, the government has formulated the ‘Solar Energy Scheme’. Under the scheme, the government will provide financial assistance and capital subsidy to the extent of 50 percent, 75 percent and 90 percent of the basic cost of the solar energy plant to applicants. He said the government has conducted a study on the Scheme for Integrated Textiles Parks.
Source: The Economic Times
Inox Wind looks to sell its stake in new project
March 15, 2017. Inox Wind Infrastructure Services Ltd., one of the four winners of the first wind power auction held in October, is already looking to sell a stake in the 250 MW project it was awarded. Several buyers have shown interest, with ReNew Power, which lost out in the auction, close to clinching a deal. Inox won the bid quoting a tariff of Rs 3.46 per unit, lower than the prevailing wind tariff, which varies between Rs 4 and Rs 6 across wind producing states that is fixed by each state’s power regulator. Mytrah Energy (India), Green Infra Wind Energy and Ostro Kutch Wind also won 250 MW each, with an identical tariff. Re-New Power had bid at Rs 3.47 per unit. Although the auction was formally notified last October, the bids were opened only late in February.
Source: The Economic Times
Cambodia to revise oil contract, paving way for first oil
March 20, 2017. Cambodia will sign a revised production sharing contract this month with Singapore-listed explorer KrisEnergy to develop an offshore field that could finally produce the country’s first oil after years of delays. Cambodia is revising some fiscal terms in the 2002 contract for the Cambodia Block A field in the Khmer Basin, after KrisEnergy Ltd became the sole stakeholder last year. The government and the company declined to elaborate on the changes. Cambodia has struggled to develop oil fields in the Gulf of Thailand, as few companies are willing to invest in the area following the 2014 global oil price slump. KrisEnergy hopes to begin initially producing around 8,000 barrels per day of low-sulfur oil early next decade. But it first needs to find a partner to back the development, which is estimated at below $200 million.
Beijing, Saudi Arabia agree to more oil cooperation, exports to China
March 18, 2017. China and Saudi Arabia will increase their cooperation in the oil sector, including in Saudi oil exports to China, the two countries said in a joint communique issued at the end of Saudi Arabian King Salman’s visit to Beijing. The world’s largest oil exporter has been looking to cement ties with the world’s second-largest economy. After losing market share to Russia last year, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms. Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion on the first full day of his visit to Beijing. China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.
OPEC will need to extend output curbs to sustain oil price recovery
March 17, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) will have to extend its oil output curbs in order to sustain a recovery in prices, as a revival in crude production outside the group may scupper its efforts to erode an overhang of unused inventory, a poll of market analysts showed. Six of the 10 analysts polled said they believed OPEC will extend its output cuts beyond June this year, while two felt the group did not need to extend the deal and a further two were undecided. OPEC is curbing its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 1, the first cut in eight years. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers have agreed to jointly cut by an additional 600,000 bpd. Strong compliance by OPEC has helped the price of oil rally, but gains have been tempered by rising US (United States) oil production. Brent crude has averaged about $55 this year but prices touched a three-month low on concerns over excess supply in the market following an increase in US output. Goldman Sachs said oil demand was set to overtake supply in the second quarter of this year and it was not in OPEC’s interest to extend the deal beyond six months as the group’s aim was to normalize inventories and not support prices.
China’s Sinopec nears deal to buy Chevron’s South African assets
March 17, 2017. China’s Sinopec is nearing a deal to buy Chevron’s South African oil assets for up to $1 billion to secure its first major refinery on the continent. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia’s largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to a deal with Chevron after an auction that spanned more than a year for its refinery, retails business and storage terminals. French oil firm Total and commodity traders Glencore and Gunvor looked at the assets, Reuters reported last year. The South Africa government’s desire to keep the refinery operating has nevertheless proven to be a major stumbling point for buyers who would prefer to convert the site into a more profitable storage terminal. Sinopec is in discussions with the government on ways to keep the 110,000 barrels per day refinery in Cape Town running, but talks could still fail. Chinese oil companies and merchant traders have become more visible in chasing refinery assets that come on the market as oil majors reshape asset portfolios.
Russia to cut oil output by 300k bpd by end-April: Energy Minister
March 17, 2017. Russia will cut its oil output by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of April and will maintain production at that level until the global oil cuts deal expires at the end of June, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. Russia had cut output by 160,000 bpd by the middle of March, said Novak, a figure he said would reach 200,000 bpd by the end of the month.
Non-OPEC producers deliver 64 percent of pledged oil output cuts in February
March 17, 2017. Eleven non-OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil producers that joined a global deal to reduce output to boost prices delivered 64 percent of promised cuts in February, still lagging the higher levels of OPEC itself. OPEC, Russia and other producers agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 1 to boost prices and reduce a supply glut. Russia plans to step up its adherence, said that it will cut output by the full amount it had pledged — 300,000 bpd — by the end of April and will maintain that level until the deal expires at the end of June.
Nigerian court overturns seizure of oilfield from Shell and Eni
March 17, 2017. A Nigerian court overturned a request by Nigeria’s financial crimes agency to seize an oilfield from Royal Dutch Shell and Eni. In January, a court had ordered the seizure of the OPL 245 oil block and transfer of operations to the federal government on the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Oil companies Shell and Eni had filed motions to dispute this. Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company said it welcomed the judgment.
Saudi Arabia says oil supply cuts may be extended if needed
March 16, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies may prolong production cuts after they expire in June if the world’s crude inventories remain excessive, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said. OPEC will meet on May 25 to decide whether to continue its production cuts, aimed at ending a slump that battered the economies of energy exporters around the world. The strategy is moving global markets in the “right direction” and fundamentals have improved considerably, Al-Falih said. So far, Saudi Arabia has shouldered the bulk of OPEC cuts, trimming February output to 10.011 million barrels a day, which is below the ceiling imposed by the agreement. OPEC output in February was 1.39 million barrels a day lower than its reference level.
Up to 12 O&G projects possible in Norway this year: Oil Minister
March 16, 2017. Up to 12 oil and gas (O&G) projects off Norway could be sanctioned by oil companies this year, the Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said, suggesting that activity in the sector could be on the rise after a two-year slump. Five field development plans were presented to authorities for approval last year.
BP halves stake in New Zealand’s only oil refinery
March 16, 2017. BP Plc said it had sold around half its roughly 20 percent stake in New Zealand Refining Company Limited for NZ$80.4 million ($56.2 million) as part of a global portfolio review. BP did not disclose the buyer of the stake, but said that it had retained an 10.1-percent interest in the company, via local subsidiaries. Exxon Mobil Corp, via a subsidiary, and New Zealand’s Z Energy Ltd are the other major shareholders in New Zealand Refining.
China crude oil stockpiling impervious to OPEC price hike
March 15, 2017. China’s stockpiling of crude oil appears to have increased in the first two months of the year, despite prevailing higher prices caused by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and its allies curbing output. The country rarely releases detailed inventory levels for strategic and commercial storage, but it’s possible to work out an estimate from net crude imports, domestic output and refinery throughput. In the first two months of 2017 the total amount of crude available from net imports and domestic output was 96.72 million tonnes, equivalent to about 11.97 million barrels per day (bpd), according to official statistics.
Zohr to start gas production this year
March 15, 2017. Zohr will start gas production in December, according to an investor presentation held in Milan by Eni. The Zohr discovery, which was made in August 2015, is believed to hold 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, according to Eni. A December production commencement date would mark a 2.3 year timespan from discovery to output start-up. In the presentation, Eni highlighted that it would be reducing its capital expenditure to 31.6 billion euros in the 2017-2020 period, marking an 8 percent cut from its previous 2016-2019 plan.
Montenegro signs 30-year oil licensing deal with Greek producer
March 15, 2017. Montenegro awarded Greece’s sole oil producer Energean Oil & Gas a 30-year oil and gas exploration licences in two offshore blocks in the Adriatic Sea. The Balkan country produces no oil but initial data indicates it could have enough resources to cover its oil and gas needs. It signed a contract with a consortium of Italy’s Eni and Russian No. 2 gas firm Novatek, awarding it exploration licenses for four blocks covering an area of 1,228 square kilometres. The need for new energy sources is acute across the Balkans, a region that has lacked investments for nearly two decades due to wars in the 1990s and political turmoil.
Source: The Times of India
Saudi Aramco to resume oil product shipments to Egypt soon
March 15, 2017. Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco will resume oil product shipments to Egypt some six months after halting them suddenly, the Egyptian petroleum ministry said. The ministry said that it was working with Aramco on a timetable for the resumption of shipments and that the reasons behind the October cut-off were purely commercial. Saudi Arabia agreed in April last year to provide Egypt with 700,000 tonnes of refined oil products a month for five years, but the cargoes stopped arriving in early October.
Norway’s Hoegh sees Australia as top target market for LNG imports
March 20, 2017. Norway’s Hoegh LNG Holdings is targeting Australia as the next destination for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) import ships, its chief executive said, aiming to fill a looming supply gap that has sent prices soaring. Hoegh has just started talking to Australia’s energy retailers and also sees big gas users as potential customers, with floating regasification and storage units (FSRUs) giving them access to the world market. Australia is about to become the world’s top exporter of LNG, but faces a gas shortage at home as producers have focused on supplying gas to plants offshore that have locked in 20-year export contracts.
TransCanada natural gas Mainline no substitute for Asian markets
March 20, 2017. Transcanada Corp’s move to lower tolls for its Mainline pipe raises the competitiveness of Canadian natural gas for the near future, but access to Asian markets is the key to the long-term survival of the landlocked industry, industry insiders said. Canada’s C$45 billion ($34 billion) gas industry relies solely on North American demand and domestic producers have been increasingly squeezed from the lucrative eastern market by US rivals who have lower transportation costs.
Australia threatens gas majors with ‘action’ to avert domestic shortage
March 18, 2017. Australia’s Resources Minister Matt Canavan said that the government would take action to avert an energy shortage if big gas producers did not boost supply for the country’s domestic market. Australia is on track to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), yet its energy market operator has warned of a domestic gas crunch from 2019 that could trigger industry supply cuts and broad power outages. Major gas producers, including Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell, who have large export contracts, guaranteed to ensure gas was available for the domestic market during crisis talks with the government this week. Manufacturers have long complained of tight gas supplies and soaring prices as producers have focused on supplying gas to LNG plants that have locked in 20-year export contracts. Restrictions on drilling coal seam gas have added to supply constraints.
Senex to accelerate gas delivery from Vanessa with Govt Grant
March 17, 2017. Senex Energy revealed that it will accelerate the delivery of gas from its Vanessa field in the Cooper Basin with the approval of $5.82 million in funding through the South Australian Government’s PACE Gas Grant Program. The funding will contribute to the cost of infrastructure to connect the Vanessa gas field with South Australian customers, Senex said. South Australia’s Plan for Accelerating Exploration Gas Grant Program was launched in late 2016 to help secure new and significant gas supplies for the state.
France’s Total seeks stake in $4 bn Iranian gas field project
March 17, 2017. Total is seeking a 50 percent stake in a $4 billion project in Iran’s giant South Pars gas field, the French energy firm said. Total signed a preliminary deal for the South Pars project last year, becoming the first Western oil major to sign an energy agreement after the European Union and the United States (US) eased sanctions as part of a pact to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Total said the South Pars 11 project would require investment of about $4 billion, with the French firm financing 50.1 percent with equity contributions and payments in non-US currency. The South Pars project is expected to have a production capacity of 370,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and the gas would be fed to the Iranian grid. It would require two offshore platforms and 30 wells. Total is expected to make a final investment decision by summer although this would depend on a renewal of US sanctions waivers, Total said. Iran said contracts would be finalised around April. The French firm said that it discussed plans to invest in the South Azadegan oil field. Total said it resumed trading with Iran in February 2016, and bought about 50 million barrels of crude for about $1.9 billion last year, most of it to supply its refineries. It purchased 11 million barrels of petroleum products for $394 million, generating net profit of $2.8 million. The company said it was selected alongside other companies to consult on a potential oil and gas pipeline between Iran and Oman.
Cheniere gas pipeline would link STACK-SCOOP to Gulf Coast, Southeast
March 17, 2017. Cheniere’s Midship unit signs deals with foundation shippers, kicks off open season for proposed 200-mile gas pipeline. Cheniere Energy, Inc. subsidiary Midship Pipeline Co., LLC, has proposed building a 200-mile 36-inch interstate natural gas pipeline linking the emerging STACK and SCOOP resource plays in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin to Gulf Coast and Southeast markets, Cheniere announced.
China to shut down 117 small coal mines in Xinjiang province this year
March 19, 2017. China plans to shut down 117 small coal mines in Xinjiang province this year, cutting 11.9 million tonnes of coal production capacity, the regional development and reform commission said. Xinjiang, which boasts of abundant coal resources, phased out 17 coal mines in 2016, reducing capacity by 2.4 million tonnes. The province is predicted to have 2.2 trillion tonnes of coal reserves and produced 150 million tonnes in 2016.
Source: The Economic Times
At least 10 North Korean ships stranded after China coal ban
March 17, 2017. At least ten North Korean ships have arrived at a Chinese port after being stranded for the past three weeks following the top global coal consumer’s ban on imports of the fuel from its isolated neighbour. Six North Korean merchant vessels, including Sai Nal 3 and Jin Hung, entered the port of Longkou in China’s eastern Shandong province. Ship tracking data shows that Sai Nal 3 from North Korea has been moored at the port for at least the past three weeks. It is listed at maximum draft, meaning it is likely fully laden with cargo. Beijing said it would ban coal shipments from North Korea, starting February 19, as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang.
US coal miner Peabody strikes deals in push for bankruptcy exit
March 16, 2017. Peabody Energy Corp, the world’s largest private sector coal miner, struck a series of last-minute deals with some opponents of its plan to exit an $8 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy, lawyers said in court. Peabody’s plan, which envisions cutting debt to about $2 billion, is still facing objections from a small group of creditors who have complained about Peabody’s estimated valuation and the terms of its $750 million private stock sale.
Kansai Electric will mothball 1.5 GW at Kainan power plant
March 20, 2017. Japanese power utility Kansai Electric has announced that it would mothball three of the four units of its 2,100 MW Kainan oil-fired power plant in western Japan, due to lower electricity demand. The company plans to mothball the first two units, both rated 450 MW, commissioned in 1970 and shut for months for scheduled maintenance, on 1 April 2017. The third unit, rated 600 MW and commissioned in 1974, will be mothballed on 9 June 2017. The fourth unit (600 MW) will remain operational.
Poland sees Europe power market reform as ‘threat’ to its energy system
March 18, 2017. Some of the European Commission’s power market proposals pose a threat to Poland’s energy system as they could reduce the influence of the coal-reliant economy on its power grid, the government said. In the “Winter Package” reform proposal published last November, the Commission had set numerous targets, including cutting energy use by 30 percent by 2030 and putting Europe on track for renewables to power half of the continent by 2030. Regional Operational Centres are intended to complement the role of the member states’ transmission system operators.
Source: The Economic Times
INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
Dubai harvests sun at vast solar plant in renewables push
March 21, 2017. Dubai completed a solar plant big enough to power 50,000 homes as part of a plan to generate three-quarters of its energy from renewables by 2050. The 200 MW plant sprawls over 4.5 square kilometers of desert and includes some 2.3 million photovoltaic panels. It is the second phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, which is scheduled to pump out a grand total of 1,000 MW by 2020, according to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. The solar park’s first phase came online in 2013, with 152,000 panels producing 13 MW.
Source: The Daily Star
DONG Energy wins order to sell onshore wind power in the UK
March 21, 2017. Danish utility and wind farm developer DONG Energy has signed an agreement with Britain’s Banks Renewables, in what would be its first move into distributing onshore wind in the UK, the company said. The 15-year order includes buying power from three onshore wind farms under development by Banks Renewables, a unit within UK land developer Banks Group, and reselling it on the UK’s power market.
European marine renewable energy project H2020 launches in Brussels
March 20, 2017. The European Union (EU) sponsored marinerg-i (H2020) project has been launched in Brussels of Belgium, which is designed to facilitate the development of marine renewable energy sector. Coordinated by the MaREI Centre at University College of Cork Ireland, the project is supported by the consortium that includes 13 partners from 12 countries such as Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, the UK and Sweden. With a budget of €2 mn, the project will run up to June 2019 and focuses on developing sustainable energy sources and offshore renewable energies, including offshore wind, wave and tidal. The project is expected to help in the formation of an independent legal entity for the marine renewable energies sector, as well as to create road map for the 2020 European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures.
Source: Energy Business Review
Australia plans 2 GW Snowy Mountains hydropower project
March 20, 2017. The Federal government of Australia has announced plans to increase by 50% the capacity of the Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme, from the current 4 GW to 6 GW. The government will provide A$0.5 mn in extra funding for a feasibility study. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will lead the project. The Snowy Hydro hydropower complex consists of the 1,500 MW Murray dam commissioned in 1967-1969 and of the Tumut complex. The project was built at a cost of A$820 mn and was designed to allow further extensions. Expanding the hydropower complex by 2 GW could require a total investment of A$2 bn to A$5 bn.
First Solar’s 250 MW solar project in Nevada commences operations
March 20, 2017. Arizona-based photovoltaic modules manufacturer First Solar has commissioned the 250 MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project near Las Vegas in Nevada, US. The solar energy project, located on the Moapa River Indian reservation, has been developed to meet the energy needs of around 111,000 homes. Constructed and operated by First Solar, the newly operating solar project comprises over 3.2 million advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The clean energy generated by the facility will be provided to residents of Los Angeles through a 25-year power purchase agreement signed by First Solar with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). According to LADWP power system senior assistant general manager Reiko A. Kerr, the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project will help Los Angeles to achieve 33% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 50% by 2025. The solar project in Moapa is expected to result in an estimated annual reduction of nearly 341,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions which is equivalent of taking off nearly 73,000 cars from the road. According to First Solar, the solar project in Moapa is the first-ever utility-scale solar power plant to come up on tribal land.
Source: Energy Business Review
Global CO2 emissions flat for third straight year
March 19, 2017. Global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Global emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatonnes last year, the same as the previous two years, while the global economy grew 3.1 percent, according to estimates from the IEA. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in the United States (US) and China, the world’s two-largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world. The biggest drop came from the US, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3 percent, or 160 million tonnes, while the economy grew by 1.6 percent. Emissions in the US last year were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80 percent.
Source: Trade Arabia
Energy carbon emissions in 2016 flat for third year: IEA
March 17, 2017. A greener energy mix helped keep energy-related carbon dioxide emissions flat in 2016 yet more needs to be done to avert a harmful rise in global temperatures, International Energy Agency (IEA) data showed. Energy sector emissions of 32.1 gigatons were unchanged from 2015 and 2014 even though the global economy grew by 3.1 percent, the IEA estimated. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell in the United States (US) and China, the world’s two largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe. This helped to offset increases in CO2 emissions in the rest of the world, the IEA said. US emissions fell by 3 percent to their lowest level since 1992 helped by higher use of shale gas and renewable energy displacing coal. For the first time, the US produced more electricity from natural gas than from coal last year. Emissions in China fell by 1 percent as coal demand declined despite its economy growing by 6.7 percent. China used more renewables, nuclear and gas in power generation and spurred a switch to gas from coal in the industrial and building sectors. Still, the IEA said keeping emissions flat was not enough to prevent global temperatures from increasing by more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the IEA said. At the Paris climate conference in December 2015, 195 countries adopted a legally binding deal aimed at avoiding dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to “well below” 2 Celsius.
European Commission clears Belgian support scheme for nuclear power
March 17, 2017. The European Commission cleared a Belgian support scheme to compensate the operators of three nuclear reactors for potential financial risk, saying the measure was in line with EU (European Union) state aid rules. Belgium had agreed with operators Engie and EDF that the companies would invest €1.3 billion ($1.4 billion) in three ageing reactors to keep them running for another 10 years, in exchange for certain guarantees. The companies would receive compensation from Belgium if the state decided to close the reactors earlier or change the level of nuclear tax. The Commission said that while the two companies were given an economic advantage Belgium was able to prove that there would be no undue distortions of the country’s energy market. Engie will each year sell a volume equivalent to its share of the annual production at the three reactors concerned on regulated electricity markets, which the Commission said would increase competition.
Small Hydro & Wind Power Scenario in India
|Years||Installed Capacity (MW)|
|Small Hydro Power*||Wind Power^|
* for SHP data point 2016-17 is till Nov 30, 2016.
^ for Wind data point 2016-17 is till Dec 31, 2016.
Trends in Cumulative Installed Capacities
Source: Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt. of India
Publisher: Baljit Kapoor
Editorial advisor: Lydia Powell
Editor: Akhilesh Sati
Content development: Vinod Kumar Tomar