Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 14

     windmills

    LONG ROAD TO OPEN ACCESS

    Power News Commentary: August - September 2017

    India

    Reeling under accumulated debts with an obligation to pay fixed charges to the independent power producers (IPPs) in the state, the PSPCL has moved the PSERC, seeking permission to levy additional surcharge on the open access consumers who buy electricity from other sources. In its petition before the regulator, the PSPCL has sought that additional surcharge be made applicable on to the open access consumers for the period between October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. The PSPCL has also produced relevant data before the commission for computation of the surcharge. The PSERC has admitted the petition and asked the power corporation to publish a public notice inviting suggestions and objections from the general public and stakeholders on the issue. The PSPCL has contended that it has adequate generating capacities to meet the entire power demand, including the open access consumers, during the said period. In October 2016 - March 2017 period, the PSPCL had to pay about ₹ 41 billion as fixed cost. The corporation submitted that as per the Section 8.5 of the National Tariff Policy the surcharge was applicable under the existing circumstances.

    State-owned discoms in Rajasthan are delaying LPS to wind power generators even after the state regulator directed them to clear all the dues within three months. The regulator had sent the directions in an order. The discoms have started disbursing payments against the principal amount due to power producers. However, the discoms are looking for a 50% discount on the pending late payment surcharge. In a meeting between the wind industry and distribution company, it was decided that the dues on the principal amount would be cleared within seven working days. Payments of about ₹ 1 billion have already been cleared and another ₹ 500 million will be paid in the ongoing week by Jaipur discom. Wind energy producers selling power to Rajasthan discoms had claimed that the latter are forcing them to sign consent for accepting only 50% of the LPS on long pending dues. When such consents are not signed, generators informed the RERC that discoms are not releasing the payments of even the principal amount. A segment of the industry had apprised RERC about the situation, stating that Rajasthan discoms have neither paid for the electricity supplied, nor have they paid any late payment surcharge. RERC directed the discoms to clear the dues, including LPS, to renewable electricity generators within three months.

    Tamil Nadu has reduced electricity tariffs for industrial and commercial consumers. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has brought down CSS to the range of ₹ 1.6-2.5/kWh, the lowest among industrial states. The National Tariff Policy 2016 suggested a new formula for determination of CSS and capped it at 20 percent of the tariff. It also introduced an additional surcharge for these consumers when they shifted to sources other than the state’s discoms. Thus, while states where the industrial rates were low increased tariffs, Tamil Nadu, where commercial consumers were already paying high rates, decided to reduce the burden. CSS is levied by state discoms to recover the cost of supplying subsidised power to a section of the population. In the last financial year, CSS across a dozen states increased 30 percent to 600 percent. In a group captive scheme, one party develops a power plant and many commercial consumers benefit from it. The Commission also did not levy any additional surcharge on industry or increase energy and demand charges.

    The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) announced a hike in the "fixed charge" component of the electricity tariff for hi-end users, while maintaining that the usage charges will remain same as before. The electricity tariff is constituted of two components, fixed charge and energy charge. The fixed charge remains constant irrespective of the energy consumed, while energy charge varies according to the usage. The electricity regulator reduced the fixed charge for the low-end users having an electricity connection of 1 KW. Such users will now have to pay ₹ 20, instead of the earlier charge of ₹ 40 earlier, it said. There is no change in the fixed charge being paid by users with 2 KW connection, who will continue to pay ₹ 40 as before. All the changes are meant for domestic connections and not commercial ones.

    IBA has sought the power ministry’s intervention to ensure that electricity tariffs are not renegotiated as that would hurt economic viability of projects and may lead to rise in bad loans. It draws attention toward states-owned power discoms which are looking to cancel or renegotiate the PPAs with coal based and renewable energy developers on the ground that tariffs contracted earlier were very high. It said that Uttar Pradesh has recently cancelled a few PPAs and also there were instances in the past where the developers were asked to voluntarily offered discount over the quoted tariff to facilitate of offtake from their plant. It further said the risk related to such tariff revision in the renewable sector is much higher and pointed out that in the recent auction for wind power projects some states have started renegotiating for downward revision of tariffs. The IBA has asked the power ministry to take up issues concerning power sector with the state government and discom and ensure that PPAs are neither cancelled nor renegotiated. States, IBA said, should be asked to honour commitments to renewable projects implemented under the state policy by executing PPAs/procuring power in a timely manner. It said that developers should not be pressurised to voluntarily offer reduction in tariff as it affects loan repayments decided on the basis of agreed price.

    India is aiming to help its ailing power distribution companies by buying five million smart meters for two of its northern states in a global tender to be conducted later this month. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), the government agency responsible for running the country’s energy efficiency programs, will conduct the tender.  If successful, the program could be adopted by a large number of states, he said. For India, smart meters represent a possible game-changer by handing power distribution companies the ability to address billing inefficiencies that have contributed to their losses and debt burden. A smart-meter is an electronic device that records electricity consumption at short intervals and communicates it back to a utility for monitoring and billing. Most of India’s power discoms lose money on every unit of power sold due in part to theft, inadequate billing and selling below cost to poor and agricultural consumers. State-run distributors held combined debt of Rs 4.3 trillion ($67 billion) as of September 2015, the latest year of available data. The debt levels limit their ability to adequately meet the power demands of existing customers or add new consumers in a country where millions of households don’t have electricity, but where power plants also remain underutilized. The average technical and commercial losses at discoms in 24 states who’ve signed up under a reform plan currently stand at 21 percent, according to the government. Last year, the Indian government said it’s aiming to outfit approximately 35 million customers with smart meters by the end of 2019.

    Niti Aayog doesn't seem to be content with the plan to make India move around in electric cars and buses by 2030. The government's policy think-tank has now offered the Centre something to chew upon: make kitchens in cities with reliable power supply — think Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi — switch over to 'electric cooking' and free up gas connections for the poor. But it seems to build upon the Narendra Modi's government's progress towards fulfilling its promise of 24x7 affordable power supply. Uinterrupted 24x7 power supply is still limited to a few cities.

    TPDDL, the Tata Power subsidiary that distributes power in Delhi, launched a mega drive to rollout smart metering services for its consumers. The firm is rolling out 250,000 smart meters in the first phase of its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. A smart meter enables two-way communication between the meter and the central system giving consumers greater control over use of electricity by providing detailed information about usage and consumption patterns helping them in planning expenses better. The meters also help in faster outage detection and restoration of service. Smart meters also help pave the way for a smart grid which will act as a backbone for the Smart City Mission. The first phase of the project is being implemented in partnership with the global energy management firm Landis+Gyr. The Phase will include putting up 50,000 Three Phase Meters and 200,000 Single Phase Meters. Its rollout will happen between March 2018 and March 2019. TPDDL is also planning a second phase which will have 500,000 Single Phase and 50,000 Three Phase Meters, due to get started from April 2019. The total replacement and completion of 1.8 million smart meters will be done by 2025.

    After a relief of over two years for consumers, the PSERC has started the process to hike power tariffs. Revision of tariffs is likely in view of the poor financial health of the PSPCL, which is reeling under a debt of over ₹ 250 billion. The PSPCL has already filed a petition seeking a hike of around 20% in power tariff. The deferring of tariff hike has added to the financial burden on the PSPCL. The income from the sale of electricity was the main source of revenue for the corporation and the authorities had almost run out of other options. As per the MYTP, there is a total revenue deficit of ₹ 115.75 billion, including ₹ 59.98 billion carried forward from the previous years, which had been mentioned as a major reason for seeking the tariff hike. In the MYTP, the corporation has shown a deficit of ₹ 61.30 billion for 2018-2019 and ₹64.06 billion for 2019-20. Last year, the PSPCL had sought a tariff hike of 19.72% amounting to ₹ 1.56/kWh to bridge the revenue gap. The corporation had estimated revenue receipts of ₹ 261.21 billion against the estimated expenditure of Rs 312.62 billion. However, the tariff hike was denied by the state government. With the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announcing power to industries at ₹ 5/kWh, the PSERC will work out the cost of the electricity supply and ask the government to pay the subsidy for the gap. Last year the average cost of supply had been worked out at ₹ 5.97/kWh.

    Power generators stayed away from bidding for Gujarat government’s tender to acquire 1,000 MW of cheap electricity by selling coal at lower rates after the government allowed flexibility in utilisation of domestic coal amongst power generating stations. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam had floated a tender for 1,000 MW to be supplied to the state for nine months beginning October 2017, wherein the independent power producers must quote a price lower than the ceiling price of ₹ 2.82/kWh and get coal that was originally allocated for the state. But the power producers said the ceiling of ₹ 2.82/kWh makes the bid unviable, raising concerns over other such tenders which are in the pipeline.

    In an attempt to improve availability of cheap coal to power plants which are lying idle or running at low capacity, the government approved flexibility in utilisation of domestic coal among power generating stations. This move allows states to consider the aggregate coal available to it and sell it to more efficient power plants. Maharahstra too has invited bids for similar tender and its ceiling price is even lower at ₹ 2.80/kWh.

    The GMR Group, which owns a 220 MW gas based power plant in Andhra Pradesh's Kakinada, will sell its barge-mounted power plant to a buyer for $63 million. GMR Energy Ltd will enter into a definitive agreement with the buyer soon. According to GMR, the plant is operational since November 2001 and redeployed at Kakinada since April 2010. The company is exploring various commercial options for the plant, which did not generate power since 2013 due to shortage of natural gas. According to the latest investor presentation of GMR Infrastructure, said the project cost of the plant was $90 million (₹ 6 billion).

    An Indian company has won the tender for construction of 1000 Electricity Transmission and Trade Project for CASA. The company, which has won the tender Afghanistan’s Ministry of Water and Energy, said it will complete the construction of the project in three years. The construction phase of the project will cost around $404 million, of which 80 percent will be funded by the World Bank and the remaining 20 percent will be paid by the Afghan government. The CASA-1000 project will include a 750 km high voltage direct current (DC) transmission system between Tajikistan and Pakistan via Afghanistan, together with associated converter stations at Sangtuda (1,300 MW), Kabul (300 MW) and Peshawar (1,300 MW). The 477 km 500 kilovolt alternating current facility will run between the Kyrgyz Republic (Datka) and Tajikistan (Khoujand).

    Tata Power said it has become the first power utility to introduce a QR code based bill payments system in India. The company said though this functionality of bill payments through a QR code has been introduced in other service industries, it will be launched in the power industry for the first time in India by Tata Power. According to the company, the QR code linked to (UPI will be printed on the electricity bills. The customers can scan the QR code with BHIM app or any other UPI linked bank app and pay their bills without any hassle, it said. The bill details will be displayed on the app, post which the customer can authorise the payment within a few seconds and his bill will be paid instantaneously. Some of the advantages of QR code service are that the consumer need not visit any Tata Power bill collection/ customer relation centre or any other payment avenues and can make the payment from the comfort of his home/office or on-the-go. Besides, all bill details will be auto captured while scanning the QR code and the consumer has to pay using a single tap on his smartphone. The consumer also need not remember his debit/credit or net banking account and IFSC code details.

    Farmers whose agricultural land is acquired for erecting high-tension power transmission towers will now get compensation. Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has recently issued a direction in this effect. Currently, only crop compensation is awarded to farmers on whose land power transmission towers are erected. However, no land compensation is awarded in the state. This is despite the fact that the land which is covered by the tower base of an electric tower cannot be used for any useful purpose. The Commission's directive is in concurrence with the already laid down guidelines issued by the Union power ministry with regard to "reasonable and appropriate" compensation to landowners as they suffer on account of such erection of high-tension power lines on their land. The directive was issued in the wake of several petitions in favour of land compensation due to erection of transmission lines. While states such as Odisha, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand have already adopted these guidelines of the Union government, Uttar Pradesh is yet to implement the same. A parliamentary panel has recommended that a village should be declared electrified only after providing power connections to all households. At present, all those villages with 10 percent families with electricity connection can be declared electrified under the government's rural electrification programme. The Centre has electrified 14,125 villages out of 18,452 identified electrified villages in the country under the rural electrification programme so far, as per its web portal. The panel said that a village should not get a tag of being electrified in any case when the household coverage is less than 80 percent. The panel also pitched for segregation of commercial and technical losses to reduce quantum of aggregate technical and commercial losses.

    Rest of the World

    China’s state planner, the NDRC, will launch a pilot scheme to allow the spot trading of electricity in eight regions as part of long-planned reforms to liberalize the power market. These scheme will take effect in Guangdong, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Fujian, Sichuan and Gansu, the NDRC said. The new pilot program came after the country previously allowed trading of long-term electricity contracts. The NDRC said spot trades will be launched by end of 2018.

    China said it will set new power transmission prices by the end of October, in its latest effort to liberalise the power market and promote trading of electricity across different regions. Beijing has made a series of moves to open up the country's monopolised power market since late 2015, including launching a power trading scheme for eight provinces and reducing power distribution prices. Power grid operators charge utilities transmission fees to transport electricity within a region as well as between regions. The NDRC said it will announce transportation prices on the major West to East power grid by October and revisit prices every three years. Under recent market reforms, utilities in western regions, such as Xinjiang and Ningxia, are now able to sell electricity on the east coast, but they complain transmission fees are too high, which makes them uncompetitive with local utilities.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Petrol price at Rs 79 per litre in Mumbai

    September 12, 2017. The Indian basket of imported crude oils gained nearly $3.50 a barrel during last week even as petrol prices in the country touched their highest levels since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office three years ago, data showed. The Indian basket, comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, closed trade on the weekend at $53.63 per barrel, according to the petroleum ministry. The oil basket had gained over a dollar at the start of last week to close at $51.34 for a barrel of 159 litres. Meanwhile, under the daily revision of fuel prices, petrol in Mumbai cost Rs 79.41 a litre, breaching the level it last touched in August 2014. Petrol price was hiked by 13 paise a litre and diesel by 25 paise per litre. Petroleum products do not come under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and prices vary at locations according to state taxes. Petrol per litre cost Rs 70.30 in Delhi, Rs 73.05 in Kolkata and Rs 72.87 in Chennai. Similarly, diesel price was Rs 58.62 in Delhi, Rs 61.27 in Kolkata, Rs 62.26 in Mumbai and Rs 61.73 in Chennai. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the dynamic pricing regime would continue despite petrol prices going up by over Rs 7 per litre since the scheme was introduced pan-India from mid-June. He said dynamic pricing ensures that the benefit of even the smallest change in international oil prices can be passed down the line to the dealers and the end-users. Daily revision allows any fall in international oil rates to be passed on to consumers immediately rather than having to wait for 15 days as in the old system, he said. Earlier, the state-run oil marketing companies used to review and revise retail fuel prices every fortnight on the basis of global crude oil prices, while the revision took effect from midnight. Dynamic fuel pricing is followed in many developed countries and India opted for it as a response to the recent volatility in global crude oil prices.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Oil companies to install new device to check refill of fuel: Consumer Affairs Minister

    September 9, 2017. To curb malpractices at petrol and gas stations, the government said Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have agreed to install high-security devices to check refill of fuel and gas. The deadline for installation of new security devices will be decided. Presently, security devices are installed at petrol and gas stations but have become prone to tampering and manipulation. These devices will be replaced with new ones in view of rising frauds at petrol/gas stations. Three devices -- Electronic Flow Meters, Tamper-proof Electronic Seals and Pulsar -- have been tested by the Legal Metrology Department, the consumer affairs ministry said. The department has floated tenders for procuring the Electronic Flow Meters and the bids for the other two devices will be issued shortly, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said. This has been finalised after two months of consultation by both petroleum and consumer affairs ministries with OMCs. Already, major OMCs such as Indian Oil Corp (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) have started giving training in different states, he said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Higher oil price likely to dampen trade, push up inflation in August: Morgan Stanley

    September 8, 2017. India’s trade growth for August is likely to record slight moderation while inflation could be higher, thanks to the high crude oil prices observed last month, global financial services firm Morgan Stanley has said. The Indian basket of crude oil price averaged $53.28 per barrel in August, 27 percent up as compared to $41.91 per barrel in the same month last year. Petroleum imports including crude oil shipments accounted for 21 percent ($80 billion) of India’s total value of imports at around $380 billion last financial year. Petroleum products accounted for 10 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments in 2016-17. Petrol and diesel prices has seen an upward trend since Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) implemented daily fuel revisions from 16 June this year. Petrol prices witnessed a 6.59 percent increase to Rs 69.89 per litre on 8 September in Delhi from Rs 65.48 per litre in 16 June. While Diesel prices increased by 5.18 percent to Rs 57.78 per litre on 8 September in Delhi from Rs 54.49 in 16 June.

    Source: The Economic Times

    BPCL set to get Maharatna status

    September 8, 2017. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) is all set to become a Maharatna company. The oil marketing company is at present a Navratna firm. The decision to elevate BPCL to Maharatna status was taken by a panel headed by the Cabinet Secretary and an announcement to this effect is likely soon. Maharatna and Navaratna state-owned units operate in strategic fields such as coal, petroleum, steel, heavy engineering, power supply, telecommunications and transportation services. Under government rules, a firm is eligible for Maharatna status if it is already a listed Navratna firm, has an average turnover, net worth and annual net profit after tax of at least Rs 25,000 crore, Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 5,000 crore, respectively, in the last three years. Moreover, the company should have significant global operations. However, the exploration arm of BPCL, Bharat Petro Resources, has been making losses — Rs 54.5 crore in FY16, Rs 34 crore in FY15 and Rs 116 crore in FY14. After becoming a Maharatna firm, the board of BPCL will get enhanced powers which will help in expansion of operations, both in India and abroad.

    Source: The Financial Express

    IOC expects Paradip refinery to outperform benchmark Singapore GRMs in third quarter

    September 6, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) expects its largest and newest east coast Paradip refinery to outperform benchmark Singapore Gross Refinery Margins (GRMs) in the third quarter ending December. GRM is the difference between price of crude oil price and total value of petroleum products produced by the refinery. GRM is one of the parameters which indicate the physical performance of a refinery. Normalised GRM accounts for the gross refinery margin excluding the inventory gain or loss. Paradip refinery posted a capacity utilization of 88 percent for the first quarter ended June 2017 and is expected to run at 100 percent capacity from the second quarter of the current fiscal which is expected to boost the bottom line of IOC and improve the overall GRM of the company. Also, with Paradip being a coastal refinery, its inventory is expected to account for lower inventory losses. Paradip refinery has been configured to have a nelson complexity index of 12.2, second highest in the country. The nelson complexity index indicates the ability of a refinery to process heavy crudes. With Paradip refinery reaching average capacity utilization of 100 percent from second quarter, coupled with a high nelson index configuration, the refinery will be able to source cheaper heavy crudes leading to increased profitability, improved crack spread and higher GRM. The company also informed it plans to invest Rs 20,000 crore as capex in the current financial year of which Rs 4,500 crore will go for the refinery segment, Rs 1,900 crore for pipeline, Rs 6,000 crore for marketing and Rs 3,000 crore towards Exploration and Production activities.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: GAS

    Petronet set to buy extra 1 mt Australian LNG from Exxon

    September 11, 2017. India’s Petronet LNG has agreed to buy an additional 1 million tonnes (mt) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from ExxonMobil’s share of the Gorgon project in Australia. Petronet will buy the LNG on delivered basis with a price equivalent to about 12.5 percent of Brent oil prices. The deal for additional volumes is yet to be signed. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that Petronet has been able to renegotiate a contract agreed in 2009 for around 1.5 million tonnes a year of LNG from ExxonMobil’s share of the Gorgon LNG project in Australia.

    Source: Reuters

    Energy diplomacy wins India natural gas project in Sri Lanka

    September 7, 2017. Sri Lanka has invited Petronet LNG to set up a liquid gas import terminal in that country, marking a major success for the Narendra Modi government's energy diplomacy and signalling India’s emergence as a gas bridge for South Asia. The LoI (letter of intent) for the project was handed over during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Colombo on September 1. The deal has been in the making for over a year, as part of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s efforts to quietly weave a web of energy relationships in the extended neighbourhood -- spanning Myanmar in the east to the Gulf in the west -- by suitably leveraging India's position both as a large consumption centre and a major source of petro-products and expertise. For Petronet, the LoI is a recognition of its prowess in the area of liquid gas and paves the way for its first overseas liquid gas project, an area that has traditionally been dominated by global majors such as Shell and BP. The Lanka invite will also add wind to Petronet's efforts to expand in Bangladesh, where the company last week submitted its bid for building a terminal with a capacity of handling 5 million tonne of gas shipments a year. India has been a major player in Sri Lanka's fuel retail business for many years through Lanka IOC, a subsidiary of IndianOil. The LNG terminal will help it straddle the gas sector, the dominant fuel for future economic growth. With rising demand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh offer an expanded market for large volumes of gas separately tied up by Petronet and GAIL (India) Ltd, one of its main promoters, from Qatar, Australia, the United States and Spain’s Fenosa.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India must push for gas pipeline from Iran-Oman: Assocham

    September 6, 2017. India must push for a trans-national deep water gas pipeline from Iran, passing through Oman but by-passing Pakistan, to feedstock the country’s power, fertilizer and steel plants in an environment-friendly and affordable way and for sustainable supply of the fuel, according to an Assocham study. During 2016-17, India consumed 55,534 million standard cubic metres (mscm) of natural gas of which 24,686 mscm was imported. India is now the fourth largest natural gas importer, mainly from Qatar. The study said India must take a stronger and more pro-active approach to build a least one trans-national gas pipeline in the next five years. Currently, 2,500 MW gas based power generation capacity is idle, due to non-availability of low priced gas, Assocham said.

    Source: The Financial Express

    IGL, IOC-Adani, HPCL-OIL set to win gas distribution licences

    September 6, 2017. Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC)-Adani Gas Ltd combine and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL)-Oil India Ltd (OIL) joint venture (JV) are set to win licences to distribute gas in one city each in the latest round of auction. In the much delayed 8th round city gas bidding, licences for gas distribution in Karnal, Haryana is set to go to IGL. The licenses for Ambala-Kurukshetra, also in Haryana, would go to HPCL-OIL, and South Goa to the JV between IOC and Adani Gas. Actual award of licences will take place probably a month later by when new members are likely to be appointed to the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the downstream regulator that conducts these auctions. In the latest auction, every bidder submitted a bid of 1 paisa as network tariff, as has become the norm for years, allowing the winner to be decided by the quantum of performance guarantees submitted. IGL submitted highest performance bond of Rs 306 crore for Karnal, higher than HPCL-OIL’s Rs 203 crore. Indian Oil-Adani Gas offered Rs 403 crore performance bond for South Goa. HPCL-OIL was again in the second spot with a bid bond of Rs 324 crore. It, however, furnished the highest performance bond of Rs 303 crore for Ambala-Kurukshetra licence, just ahead of IOC-Adani’s Rs 302.35 crore bond. The bids for three other cities — Yanam in Puducherry, Bulandshahr and Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh — have not been opened as yet.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL to auction 25 mt coal for non-regulated sector by January

    September 11, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) will kick off the next round of coal auction aimed at the non-regulated sector, including those dealing in sponge iron, by this year- end or early 2018. The decision comes as a dozen power plants are staring at a bleak scenario for want of coal. Of a little over 50 million tonnes (mt) of coal earmarked for the ongoing fiscal for the non-regulated sector, including sponge iron, cement and CPPs (captive power plants), CIL will auction linkages of around 25 mt either in December or January, the government said. The government had started the auction of 27 mt of coal for the cement sector, which will be over by the end of this month. The Cabinet had approved coal supply through the auction route to non-regulated sectors.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Coal shortage in power plants to improve in 15-20 days: Goyal

    September 9, 2017. The Union Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal blamed the state governments and power plants for the critical condition in some thermal power plants for want of coal. About a dozen power plants were in critical situation till recently. Following floods at a number of coal pits power generation units started asking for the coal that they did not lift earlier. The situation was compounded as railway tracks and roads were submerged, he said adding Railway's decision to shut down the Chandrapura-Dhanbad railway line has affected coal supplies to many power plants. Goyal said he held a meeting between Railways and Coal India Ltd (CIL) over coal crisis in the power plants during the day and hoped to see change in the situation over the next 15-20 days.

    Source: Business Standard

    India needs to find allies to tap cheap funds for clean coal

    September 7, 2017. India needs to partner with other countries to tap cheaper funds for cleaner coal technologies as the South Asian nation is expected to use the fuel to produce over half of its power in the next two decades, the World Coal Association chief Benjamin Sporton said. India, the world’s second-largest coal importer, relies on the fuel for about 78 percent of its electricity generation. The federal think tank NITI Aayog has projected coal’s share in the country’s overall energy mix will reduce to 48-54 percent by 2040 from around 55 percent in 2015. India will need to ally with countries including the United States (US), Japan, and Australia, to get cheaper funding from multilateral development banks to access cleaner technology and catch up with Japan and China, Sporton said. Sporton said India’s reliance on imported coal would be significant in the coming years to power the nation’s economic expansion. Sporton said India will need to be on board with a global partnership to develop its domestic coal expertise. Sporton expects coal demand in India to rise despite companies offering very low tariffs for solar power. Global output for coal is also expected to rise in 2017, led by US and China, he said.

    Source: Reuters

    Essar Oil to double CBM output from Raniganj block by 2018

    September 7, 2017. Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Ltd plans to double coal bed methane (CBM) production from its flagship Raniganj block in West Bengal by 2018. CBM is a natural gas stored or absorbed in coal seams and contains 90-95% methane. According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, India has the fifth-largest proven coal reserves in the world and therefore holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM.  The Raniganj (East) block has sizeable CBM reserves with 25-30 years of field life. For the offtake of the increased gas production, Essar said it already has the required customer tie-ups.

    Source: Livemint

    CIL to divert coal movement to fight critical stock in power plants

    September 6, 2017. Coal India (CIL) has drawn up an emergency plan to regulate coal movement to the non-power sector for pushing additional coal to the thermal power plants. In the long run, it plans to redefine its priorities much on the lines of the governance practiced in Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL). Redefining priorities has helped in complete transformation of this CIL subsidiary, both in terms of physical and financial parameters. Gopal Singh, after taking over the additional charge of CMD of CIL, is looking to replicate the Kayakalp model of governance in the long run. This model, which is based on the principles of democratic planning, delegation of power and enforcement of discipline, has resulted in a turnaround of CCL. With improvement in production, improvement in finances would also be possible by bringing about a check in the cost of production. CCL’s cost of production went up to Rs 1,046 per tonnes in FY16 from Rs 1,039 in FY12. This was virtually a decrease in the cost considering adjustment with the inflation. Profits went up to Rs 445 per tonnes in FY 16 from Rs 228 per tonne in FY12. CIL plans to use the road-cum-rail mode to supply stocks from CCL, Western Coalfields, South Eastern Coalfields, Bharat Coking Coal and Mahanadi Coalfields. CIL said higher grade coal can substitute imports since imports have come down 19% during April — July period compared to the same period last year. Coal imports during April-July 2017 were 19.29 million tonne, compared to 23.76 million tonne during same period last fiscal. However, in the long run CIL would look for a balanced growth in production, although it has no plans of  shelving its target of producing 1 billion tonne by 2022.

    Source: The Financial Express

    NATIONAL: POWER

    Ten power companies participate on Day-1 of power contract auctions

    September 12, 2017. Ten power companies with a total generation capacity of around 9,000 MW have participated on Day-1 of Shakti – the auctions for offering long-term contract to power companies. They made their initial offers of discount on existing tariff on day-1 of the auctions. These are plants that have power purchase agreements with power distribution companies but do not have steady supply of coal. They are estimated to require close to 35 million tonnes of coal in a year. The power companies were offered coal in different quantities from different sources and they placed their initial bids in the form of discounts over their existing power tariffs. Shakti or the Scheme to Harness and Allocate Koyla (Coal) Transparently in India, is the method of auctioning long-term coal contract to power companies. Shakti was passed by the Cabinet in June this year and would be held for the first time. These bidders would be given a chance to revise their offer based on offers made by other bidders. On day-3, they would be announcing their levelised discounts on the basis of offers made on day-1 and day-2. In July, Coal India Ltd (CIL) asked five of its coal producing subsidiaries out of seven, to make sure a total of 40 million tonnes of coal is separately kept aside so that it can be offered for auction to independent power producers under Shakti. More than 50% of this quantity at 12 million tonnes each are to be supplied from South Eastern Coalfields and Central Coalfields. While the rest would be supplied by Northern Coalfields at 4 million tonnes, Mahanadi Coalfields at 9 million tonnes and Western Coalfields at 3 million tonnes. These five companies have decided to offer coal from a total 31 coal mines the quality for which would vary between G10 and G13. According to gradation of coal sold by CIL, higher the grade number lower is the energy content in coal.

    Source: The Economic Times

    RattanIndia cannot sell power to MSEDCL

    September 11, 2017. In a major jolt to RattanIndia Power Ltd, which runs the 1,320 MW plant at Amravati, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has refused it permission to participate in power purchase tender of Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO). The generation company will divert its coal to private companies so that they can produce power at lower rates. The generation company plans to buy 400 MW from eight months - from November 2017 to June 2018 - on behalf of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL). The state government had appointed MAHAGENCO as a nodal agency to buy power from private power producers for its sister concern. RattanIndia had prayed in the petition that even though MSEDCL had signed a power purchase agreement for buying 1,200 MW from it, the plant was lying unutilized for most of the time due to lack of demand from MSEDCL.

    Source: The Times of India

    India may produce surplus power in FY18: Fitch

    September 10, 2017. India may produce surplus power in the current financial year but sporadic outages continue to plague the country and 24 percent households are yet to be electrified, Fitch Ratings has said. A combination of subdued demand growth, consistent capacity additions and relatively better networks is driving a widening surplus at energy exchanges, Fitch said. India could actually produce a power surplus in the financial year ending March 2018, with an energy deficit of just 0.6 percent in the first three months of 2017-18 - a period of usually high seasonal electricity demand, Fitch said. Fitch said the inability of financially stressed power distribution companies to purchase power, along with the absence of adequate network coverage, exerts significant downward pressure on India's thermal power utilisation. The cost-revenue gap remains at Rs 0.42 per kilowatt hour (kWh) along with aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of 20.6 percent (for 24 states). On the other hand, the government exceeded its target of setting up transmission lines again in 1H17, helping addressing power woes. Electricity prices at exchanges dropped by 11 percent to Rs 2.4 per unit (kWh) in 2016-17. According to Fitch, distribution utilities are shying away from signing new long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for both thermal and wind capacity - while awaiting clarity on the auction route for wind power, supported by the availability of cheaper spot electricity. The new tariff-based auction for wind power yielded prices of Rs 3.5 per kWh (or unit) in February 2017, down from the lowest regulatory tariff of Rs 4.2. India added 25 GW of capacity in FY17, of which 58 percent was renewable - a record-breaking contribution. Plant load factor (PLF), or maximum output, at coal-fired plants fell 2.1 percentage point to 60 percent in the first half of 2017, with the gas based PLF dropping by 1.9 percentage point to 22 percent.

    Source: The Times of India

    AAP allegations on power purchase in Madhya Pradesh proven right

    September 6, 2017. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said its claims were vindicated with the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) rejecting a petition of the Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Ltd (MPPMCL) seeking ratification of tariff from April 1, 2013 for the power it is buying from a private player 'unlawfully'. The MPERC has dismissed a petition of MPPMCL seeking tariff fixation with retrospective effect from April 1, 2013 after unlawfully buying power at a high price, AAPs Madhya Pradesh convener Alok Agrawal said. With the MPERC ruling of August 23, AAPs stand has been proven right, he said. He said the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board signed an agreement with Power Trading Corp to buy electricity from the private player at Rs 2.20 per unit on May 30, 2005. However, without the approval of MPERC, the MP Power Management Company started buying electricity from the private player at Rs 3.12 per unit from April 1, 2013, he alleged. Since then the state has bought 875 crore units of electricity from the private player for around Rs 2,700 crore, Agrawal said. Purchase of electricity from the private company should be stopped immediately, he said.

    Source: India Today

    Power demand in North East to rise by 4 GW in 5 yrs

    September 6, 2017. The demand for power in the North East region will rise to the tune of 4,000 MW in the next five years with increase in electrification, North Eastern Council (NEC) economic adviser W Synrem said. As of March this year, he said, 40,140 villages (96 percent) out of the 42,435 villages in the region have been electrified, even as Sikkim and Tripura have achieved 100 percent, while in Arunachal Pradesh, it is only 77 percent. The North Eastern Regional Power Committee, in its report for October last year, had stated the power requirement for the region was 2,553 MW with availability of 2,525 MW, resulting in a shortfall of 1.1 percent (28 MW). He said NEC has contributed to generation of 694.5 MW of power, and another six renewable resources energy projects with capacity of 6 MW are expected to be completed within this financial year. The NEC has entrusted the Power Grid Corp of India Ltd to survey and implement the Rs 11,348.5 crore North Eastern Regional Power Sector Investment Programme, funded by the Centre and the World Bank, he said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Chandigarh to introduce new scheme for improving power supply

    September 6, 2017. To streamline the working of its electricity department and cut down on transmission losses, the Chandigarh administration is going to implement a supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) system in one or two months, UT superintending engineer MP Singh said. The system will help monitor the performance of transformers. The step has been taken as, according to a Powergrid study, more than 95% power breakdowns occur due to transformers getting overloaded. The non-declaration of actual load by consumers leads to erratic power supply. This also leads to problem in transformers getting overloaded and high transmission and distribution losses. The department caters to 2.15 lakh consumers — 1.75 lakh in domestic category. The project will help the department in bringing down transmission and distribution losses from the existing 15.37% to 8%. It will help the department overcome the problem of theft too. Singh said that the smart grid system and Scada will help the department streamline power distribution and ensure uninterrupted power supply.

    Source: The Economic Times

    HVPNL to relocate power lines

    September 6, 2017. Transmission company Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd (HVPNL) has given its nod for relocating its power lines in the wake of the six-laning project of the road from Rajiv Chowk to Sohna bus stand, wherein 9.73 km will be an elevated stretch. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will undertake the relocation work with assistance from HVPNL.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Government formulating fresh scheme to revive stressed power assets

    September 6, 2017. The government is formulating a novel scheme to revive stressed power assets by inviting competitive bids from them to supply electricity for five years – a move that will give state utilities cheaper electricity and help stranded plants start operation and start repaying debt. The proposal is the government’s biggest plan to help 34 stressed plants with a capacity of 40,000 MW. Former Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that the combined debt of the projects is Rs 1.77 lakh crore. The power ministry is considering pooling electricity demand of various states and call tariff-based bids. The contracts will be passed on to the states later. The proposal aims to help idling power projects tie up medium-term contracts. The states can replace their existing costlier power arrangements through the proposal. The proposed scheme will remove contractual requirement for the buyer to pay a fixed cost to the power plant even if no power is purchased.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    India plans to add 1.3 GW hydropower capacity in current fiscal

    September 12, 2017. India is planning to add around 1,305 MW of additional hydropower generation capacity in the current financial year, over 20 percent lower as compared to 1,659 MW added last fiscal. The last year’s target stood at 1,714 MW. This year, the government is expecting 1,000 MW to be commissioned through its four Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) projects while the rest 305 MW are expected to from the private sector. Of the four PSU projects, 60 MW is expected to come in Mizoram from Tuirial hydro project of North Eastern Electric Power Corp (NEEPCO), 330 MW from Kishanganga project of NHPC Ltd in Jammu & Kashmir, 110 MW from Pare Hydro Project and 600 MW Kameng Hydropower plant in Arunachal Pradesh operated by NEEPCO. India’s hydro power generation grew 2.14 percent to 15.41 billion units in the month of July as compared to 15.08 billion units in the corresponding month last year, according to data from Central Electricity Authority. Hydro generation saw a growth of only 1.73 percent in July 2016 as compared to the growth of 8.2 percent in July 2015. At present, as many as 20 under construction hydro power projects totalling 6,329 MW are either stalled or stressed in the country and Rs 30,147.08 crore has been spent on them, Former Minister of Coal, Power, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal had said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Developers seek change in Gujarat solar policy

    September 12, 2017. Solar developers have petitioned Gujarat’s power regulator seeking a change in its solar policy, pointing out a major lacuna which is impeding the growth of solar rooftop capacity in the state. The policy permits only house owners themselves to set up solar plants on their roofs and is a barrier to leasing of roofs to solar developers. Though Gujarat was a pioneer among Indian states in promoting solar energy, the petition from the Distributed Solar Power Association (DISPA), a newly formed group of developers specialising in rooftop solar plants, notes that unlike most other states, Gujarat offers net metering and other incentives only to house owners setting up solar rooftop plants, and not to solar developers. Net metering is the setting up of a system by which consumers can generate their own electricity and sell the surplus to the distribution company from which they were buying power earlier. According to a report by solar consultancy Bridge to India, the country’s total solar rooftop capacity was barely 1,396 MW at the end of 2016-17, way short of the national target of 40,000 MW by 2022. Gujarat had installed a mere 87 MW, well behind a number of other states.

    Source: The Economic Times

    ReNew Power targets 5 GW generation capacity in next 2 yrs

    September 10, 2017. Renewable energy firm ReNew Power Ventures targets to double its generation capacity to 5 GW in the next two years, the company said. The company has planned to add 1 GW capacity this fiscal. It has installed generation capacity of 2.4 GW, at present. The company invested Rs 6,700 crore ($1 billion) to add 430 MW of solar and 626 MW of wind capacity in 2016-17.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India's second largest state seeks to quash Goldman-backed solar project

    September 8, 2017. India’s second largest state has appealed to the country’s top court to quash a Goldman Sachs-backed solar project, highlighting the challenges faced by solar companies looking to expand in Asia’s third largest economy. Madhya Pradesh’s attempts to scrap the agreement with ReNew Power over the 51 MW project, citing land acquisition delays, were thrown out by a state court. But the central Indian state’s distribution company has now appealed to the country’s highest court, potentially setting up a prolonged legal battle. India is targeting a 30-fold increase in solar power generation capacity to 100 GW by 2022. But the plan risks running into trouble as debt-laden states try to renegotiate deals with solar investors. Six state governments have pushed developers to lower tariffs on projects worth $7.5 billion in the last two months, prompting India to bar state authorities from unilaterally cancelling or modifying solar power purchase agreements.

    Source: Reuters

    NDMC areas to get 65k systems to tap sun’s power

    September 8, 2017. Central Delhi could soon be generating up to 20 MW of power on the rooftops. The Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a union ministry of power venture, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to install 65,000 solar modules on major buildings located in the areas under the civic body’s jurisdiction. EESL is currently carrying out a field study to assess roof-top solar power generation potential of various institutions before beginning the work of installing the required infrastructure. Based on the findings, the owners of the buildings will be asked to choose between two models. The capital expenditure model will involve the building owners putting in the money and EESL supplying, designing, installing and commissioning the solar set-up. Under the other model, the operational expenditure one, the entire burden, including financing, will be borne by EESL. The buildings that finance the installation of the solar photovoltaic panels will be allowed free use of the power generated, according to the MoU signed by EESL with NDMC. In the second model, where building owners depend on EESL to finance and erect the generation system, the users will be billed a lower power charge of Rs 3.87 per unit for the use of the energy generated. The company said that EESL would invest Rs 115 crore for rooftop project. Government buildings and private institutions earmarked for the project include Andhra Bhawan, Chhattisgarh Bhawan, Gujarat Bhawan, Hyderabad House, Nirman Bhawan, Maharashtra Bhawan, Mizoram Bhawan and Jeevan Bharti Building. EESL expects to finish the work by the end of the year. The rooftop panels are expected to have a cumulative capacity for 20 MW of solar power, or an annual 30 million units of power.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Poor quality Chinese solar modules flood Indian market

    September 7, 2017. In what may impact solar power generation, poor quality Chinese solar modules— rejected by developers—are being sold in the domestic market at a discount, said several people aware of the industry practice. With their project deadlines approaching, some Indian developers have taken recourse to this route to meet cost pressures and timelines. Modules account for nearly 60% of a solar power project’s total cost. With the average efficiency of a solar panel usually only 16-22%, any sub-standard quality will impact generation. India is also conducting an anti-dumping investigation on solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Major Chinese solar module manufacturers include Trina Solar Ltd, Jinko Solar, JA Solar Holdings, ET Solar, Chint Solar and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. Experts said that the quality of imported modules in India has always been suspect. India has set an ambitious clean energy target of 175 GW by 2022. Of this, 100 GW is to come from solar projects.

    Source: Livemint

    Rising module prices to hit recent solar projects: ICRA

    September 7, 2017. The upward trend in imported photovoltaic module prices is likely to affect viability of recently awarded solar projects, rating agency ICRA said. The imported photovoltaic (PV) module price has been rising over the last 3-4 months, up by about 15 percent, to 35-37 cents per watt in August, from about 30-32 cents in May, ICRA said. ICRA also flagged risk of delays along with cost overruns due to disruption in delivery schedule and dishonouring of price terms agreed earlier by Chinese (original equipment manufacturers) OEMs to Indian independent power producers (IPPs). According to ICRA estimates, a 6 cent per watt jump in PV module price will result in an increase of about 11 percent in capital cost and decline in project internal rate of return (IRR).

    Source: The Economic Times

    TANGEDCO sets record in sale of wind power to other states

    September 7, 2017. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Generation and Distribution Corp (TANGEDCO) has created a record in selling wind power to other states for 2017. The power utility has so far sold 11.938 million units to various states and has also earned a few crores of rupees from the sale. Apart from selling wind power to other states, Tamil Nadu has also evacuated the maximum amount of renewable energy from wind this year. On an average, nearly 3500 MW to 4000 MW of wind power was used by the distribution company to distribute power. Wind power is generally available from evening to early morning. According to Electricity Act 2003, each state has to meet a percentage of power generated there annually through renewable power like wind and solar.

    Source: The Times of India

    Auto industry must innovate on alternative fuels: Gadkari

    September 7, 2017. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari exhorted the automobile industry to develop technology to run vehicles on alternatives to petrol and diesel like electricity and bio-fuel. He also asked them to come forward and invest in the country's public transport system. He said the government is planning to bring second generation ethanol as an alternative fuel. Discouraging automobile manufacturers to make any more diesel-run vehicles, he said it was adding to the huge import costs and pollution levels, which the government was committed to bring down. Gadkari said the companies which would make use of new technology to innovate on alternative fuel will benefit in the longer run.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Indian dairies building captive power plants to meet new demand

    September 6, 2017. Indian dairies are increasingly setting up captive power plants to meet the growing power requirements propelled by improved focus on value-added products, where the power consumption levels went up multi-fold from the time of mere liquid milk production through chilling units. Attractively lower production costs of renewable energy thanks to falling prices of solar panels, coupled with erratic power supply in many states, were being cited as key reasons for dairy firms tapping the renewable energy sources, helping them significantly reduce power costs and improve profit margins. While Hatsun Agro and Heritage Foods are among those who had already set up captive power plants, others like Prabhat Dairy are now looking at setting up renewable energy units. According to solar and wind power producer Mytrah, wind and solar energy prices have reduced by 42% and 69%, respectively, in the last five years. In the same period, conventional energy prices have decreased by only 13%. Heritage Foods has so far invested nearly Rs 50 crore in setting up 8.2 MW of solar and wind power plants and is setting up another 2.1 MW wind power plant at an investment of about Rs 14 crore, which will be operational in the next couple of months. Similarly, Hatsun Agro, early this year, commissioned 12 wind power plants of 2 MW each and a 550 KW solar plant that will meet nearly 75% of its power requirement at an investment of Rs 180 crore. The government till last year had allowed exemptions under the Income Tax Act for income generated through captive power plants.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Solar industry braces for new solar module standards

    September 6, 2017. The domestic solar industry has broadly welcomed the new standards for solar photovoltaic (PV) modules announced by the government calling it as a positive step to ensure upgradation of quality. The new standards would help significantly in improving the quality of modules manufactured in the country, according to Gagan Vermani, Founder and Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at solar rooftop solutions provider MYSUN. Another industry leader, Sanjeev Aggarwal, Managing Director & CEO at solar rooftop company Amplus said while it is a good step for retail and rural customers who are usually unaware of the quality of the modules they are purchasing, the notification should not become a trade barrier for modules which were already meeting the international standards. Vermani said the new standards issued by the government are at par with the global standards. According to Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director of Bridge to India, a renewable energy consultancy firm, it is imperative for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to have the necessary infrastructure for testing the modules. According to Sundeep Gupta, Vice Chairman & Managing Director at Jakson Group, an energy and engineering solutions company, there could be some cost escalation initially for new solar installations but it will eventually be beneficial as Operational & Maintenance (O&M) costs of solar installations will reduce significantly due to better quality of modules.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Rays Power commissions 9 MW solar PV plant in Karnataka under scheme for farmers

    September 6, 2017. Rays Power Infra has commissioned a 9 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Karnataka. Spread over 60 acres in Pavagada village in Tumkur district, this project is commissioned under the Karnataka Farmers’ Solar Scheme. The scheme offer Rs 8.4 per kilowatt hour as tariff, which is one of the highest in the country, and farmers with land in Karnataka could bid for up to 3 MW. The project was assigned by Brewer Energy Private Ltd, a company engaged in production and distribution of electricity, and was executed on a turnkey basis from land acquisition to commissioning.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    War-ravaged South Sudan may scrap expensive oil subsidies

    September 12, 2017. War-ravaged South Sudan is considering scrapping state subsidies on oil because it hasn’t been able to pay civil servants for four months and diplomatic staff abroad are being evicted over unpaid rent, the Deputy Finance Minister Mou Ambrose Thiik said. Ending the subsidies would free up desperately needed cash, Thiik said. The government expects to receive $820 million from oil this year. Out of that, $453 million will go to neighbouring Sudan as payment for using its infrastructure for export; $183 million on the oil subsidy; and $166 million is allocated to the budget, which has a gaping deficit. State-subsidized oil sells at 22 South Sudanese pounds (SSP) per liter, but severe shortages mean many people buy it on the black market for 300 SSP per liter. The SSP trades at about 17.5 to the dollar on the black market and 17.68 at the central bank.

    Source: Reuters

    Enbridge's Line 3 oil pipeline upgrade challenged by Minnesota government

    September 12, 2017. Enbridge Inc’s upgrade of its Line 3 crude oil pipeline hit an obstacle after the US state of Minnesota told a regulatory committee that it has no need for the project, and that the existing pipe should be shut. The Line 3 replacement project from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, doubles the capacity of the existing line to 760,000 barrels per day and is the largest project in Enbridge’s history, according to the company.

    Source: Reuters

    Venezuela’s President sees progress after Algeria oil talks

    September 11, 2017. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro held energy talks with Algerian officials saying there had been a “good atmosphere” between the two OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nations and advances on how to restore global crude prices, but gave no details. Maduro was in Algiers to discuss bilateral cooperation, including talks on the 15-month production pact between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia. The deal aims to curb a glut that has weighed on crude prices for more than three years. Markets are focused on a possible extension of the deal agreed late last year to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until March 2018 helped to keep prices high. Prices have dipped as global stocks have not fallen as quickly as expected. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih met his Venezuelan and Kazakh counterparts to discuss an extension of the deal by at least three months, the Saudi energy ministry said.

    Source: Reuters

    Saudi to supply full crude allocations to most Asian refiners

    September 11, 2017. Saudi Arabia will supply full contracted volumes of crude oil to at least five north Asian term buyers in October, while a sixth regional refiner was notified of cuts to its October Arab Extra Light supplies. Saudi Arabia is likely taking advantage of the lower refinery run rates and ample crude inventories in the United States in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, to redirect the allocation cuts from Asia to the United States. Saudi Arabia plans to cut crude oil allocations to its customers worldwide in October by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd). In comparison, Saudi Arabia pledged last month to cut its September crude oil worldwide allocations by 520,000 bpd.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq replaces head of oil marketer SOMO: Oil ministry

    September 10, 2017. Iraq has dismissed Falah al-Amri as head of oil marketer SOMO but he will remain the country’s OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) governor, the Iraqi oil ministry said. Amri would also remain a consultant for marketing and strategies at the oil ministry while Alaa al-Yasiri would become the acting head of SOMO. The oil ministry said the decision to replace Amri is part of a wider plan to appoint new managers at key positions in the ministry. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi issued an order to appoint Ihsan Abul Jabbar as the new chief of the state-run South Oil Company (SOC).

    Source: Reuters

    Iran to raise oil production to 4.5 mn bpd within 5 yrs

    September 10, 2017. Iran will reach an oil production rate of 4.5 million barrels per day (bpd) within five years, Ali Kardor, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said. Iran has been producing around 3.8 million bpd in recent months. Iranian gas production will reach 1.3 billion cubic meters per day and production of gas condensate will reach 864,000 bpd in the next five years, Kardor said. The boost in oil production will come from an increase of 420,000 bpd from the West Karoun oil field and an additional 280,000 bps from oil fields in central and southern Iran as well as the Falat Ghare oil company, Kardor said. Oil exports are expected to reach up to 2.5 million bpd within five years, Kardor said.

    Source: Reuters

    ADNOC could list stake in fuel retail business in early 2018

    September 10, 2017. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) could list more than 10 percent of its fuel retail business by early 2018 and one or two more businesses later as part of a major shake-up. The listing for ADNOC Distribution, which manages petrol stations and convenience stores across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as bunkering facilities and a lubricant plant, comes as Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states are privatizing energy assets in an era of cheap crude. The partial privatization plan aims to make ADNOC a more competitive and commercially-focused firm, more akin to other state-owned controlled peers. ADNOC has already begun consolidating the operations of two oil companies into a new entity, and a merger of three of its shipping and marine services businesses is expected to be completed by the end of the year. ADNOC produces some 3 million barrels of oil per day, or around 3 percent of global production.

    Source: Reuters

    Azerbaijan's SOCAR to boost its share in new deal with BP on oil fields

    September 8, 2017. Azeri state energy company SOCAR is expected to increase its share in a new production sharing agreement with oil major BP for development of the country’s biggest oilfields. According to preliminary information, SOCAR will increase its share at the expense of a share reduction of other companies, including BP. SOCAR’s share in a new contract could be increased to 20 percent from the current 11.6 percent, while BP’s share could be reduced to 30 percent from the current 35.8 percent.

    Source: Reuters

    Russian Energy Minister sees 2018 oil price in range of $45-$55 per barrel

    September 6, 2017. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he expected the 2018 price of Brent crude to be in the range of $45 to $55 per barrel. He said China had asked Russia about the possibility of shipping around 3.5 million tonnes of oil via the Russian Pacific port of Kozmino next year, from volumes meant for the spur of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline. The East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline splits into two in Russia, with the spur going directly to China while another branch continues to Kozmino, from where tankers ship oil to the Asia-Pacific, including China, Japan, South Korea and some other destinations.

    Source: Reuters

    Norway receives more bidders for mature areas oil licensing round

    September 6, 2017. Norway’s licensing round to explore for oil and gas in mature offshore areas attracted bids from 39 companies, up from 33 firms last year, the oil and energy ministry said. Norway’s Oil and Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said that increased interest in this year’s APA round showed optimism was returning to the industry. Applicants included majors Shell, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Total, as well as Norway’s biggest oil and gas company Statoil. Also on the list was Oslo-listed DNO, the biggest oil producer in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which re-entered the Norwegian continental shelf in May after acquiring Origo Exploration. The government plans to award licenses in early 2018. In the APA round in 2016, 29 of the 33 applicants were awarded 56 production licenses. Mature area licensing rounds attracted the most interest in 2013, when 50 firms submitted bids, compared to 16 bids in 2005. Norway’s APA rounds were introduced in 2003 to encourage exploration near existing discoveries. Oil firms usually have between one and three years to decide whether to drill an exploration well, otherwise the production license becomes void.

    Source: Reuters

    France plans to end oil output by 2040 with exploration ban

    September 6, 2017. France will stop granting new exploration permits next year as it seeks to end all oil and gas production by 2040, according to a draft bill presented at a cabinet meeting. The move would allow the government to turn down more than 40 exploration requests already made, while some existing permits may be extended to respect contracts. France pumped 6 million barrels of oil in 2015, covering just 1 percent of its demand. Oil and gas exploration and production on French soil generates as much as €300 million ($358 million) in annual revenue, and accounts for as many as 5,000 jobs, directly and indirectly. Existing production licenses wouldn’t be extended beyond 2040 under the proposed law. Under a plan presented by Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot in July, France will end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040.

    Source: Bloomberg

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    US natural gas output seen up in 2017, but below 2015 record

    September 12, 2017. US (United States) dry natural gas production was forecast to rise to 73.69 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2017 from 72.29 bcfd in 2016, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO). The latest September output projection was higher than EIA’s 73.48-bcfd forecast in August but short of the record high 74.14 bcfd produced on average in 2015. EIA also projected U.S. gas consumption would fall to 72.65 bcfd in 2017 from a record 75.11 bcfd in 2016. The 2016 high was the seventh annual demand record in a row. That 2017 consumption projection in the September STEO report was down from EIA’s 72.62-bcfd forecast for the year in its August report. EIA projected both production and consumption would rebound in 2018 to record highs with output hitting 78.12 bcfd and usage reaching 75.78 bcfd.

    Source: Reuters

    Kazakhstan seeks better offer from oil majors to end Karachaganak gas row

    September 8, 2017. Kazakhstan wants oil majors led by Shell and ENI to improve their offer for ending a dispute over profit sharing in the Karachaganak gas project, Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said. Bozumbayev said output at the giant Kashagan oil field could reach 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 200,000 bpd in two years under an expansion project worth $2.0 billion, which is less than half its original cost estimate. Kazakhstan filed a $1.6 billion claim against foreign firms developing the Karachaganak gas condensate field, one of the companies has said. The energy ministry has said the row was over calculations over each parties’ share in the field output. He said Kazakhstan would stick to its commitments to supply natural gas to a plant in the Orenburg, Russia and which is operated by Gazprom, Russia’s biggest gas producer.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia's Gazprom, Mitsui sign LNG cooperation agreement

    September 7, 2017. Gazprom, Russia’s biggest natural gas producer, and Japanese trading firm Mitsui & Co have signed a liquefied natural gas (LNG) cooperation agreement, the Russian energy giant said. Gazprom said it had clarified certain provisions in the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation last year.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    Strong overseas demand for Australia coal deprives local utilities of fuel

    September 12, 2017. Strong Asian demand for coal from Australia is depriving domestic power generators of fuel and driving electricity prices higher. Local power companies are typically unable or unwilling to match the price premiums some Australian coal has been fetching in Asian markets, where less-polluting high energy, low emissions plants are being introduced at a rapid rate, said three coal mining sources. Australian Newcastle thermal coal cargo prices, a benchmark for Asia, have jumped by more than 20 percent since July to over $100 per tonne on strong demand from overseas buyers. The shortage in one of the world’s top producers of the commodity comes as the nation battles to avoid blackouts that have become more frequent following a decade of uncertainty over carbon policy. The shortfall in coal is most acute in New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state, according to the Australian Energy Council, which represents power suppliers that generate most of the country’s electricity. In contrast, Japan, Australia’s largest overseas thermal coal market, taking more than a third of all exports, has plans for an additional 45 coal plants. Data from the Department of Industry shows Australia is forecast to produce around 251 million tonnes of thermal coal this year and export 201 million tonnes. Coal exports through the Port of Newcastle jumped to 14.2 million tonnes in July from 12.3 million tonnes in June, port figures showed.

    Source: Reuters

    Australia's AGL to consider sale, extending life of coal-fired plant

    September 11, 2017. AGL Energy, Australia’s biggest power producer, has promised to propose to its board to keep one of its big coal-fired generator stations open beyond 2022 or sell it to fill a supply gap, Australia’s Energy Minister Frydenberg and AGL said. AGL said two years ago it planned to close the ageing 2,000 MW Liddell power station in 2022 as part of a phased exit from coal by 2050.

    Source: Reuters

    Rio Tinto raises coal reserve estimate for Australia mine

    September 7, 2017. Global miner Rio Tinto said it has increased its estimate of coal reserves by 50 percent at the Kestrel mine in the Australian state of Queensland, which it has reportedly put up for sale. Rio Tinto said that it now estimates ore reserves at the Kestrel mine at 185 million tonnes, up from 123 million tonnes previously. The miner planned to sell its Kestrel and Hail Creek mines in coal-rich Queensland as part of a full exit from Australian coal to focus on iron ore, copper and aluminum.

    Source: Reuters

    China's Guangzhou port halts foreign coal imports

    September 6, 2017. Guangzhou port, the largest coal transport hub in southern China, has halted foreign coal imports, according to traders who use the port and said they had been informed of the shutdown by customs authorities and senior company officials. Traders said the move caught merchants using Guangzhou by surprise and interpreted it as a sign of Beijing stepping up its campaign to cut pollution caused by the burning of coal. China already banned coal imports at small ports in July but Guangzhou has 14 coal berths and can handle 60 million tonnes of shipments per year. Chinese coal imports in the first seven months of 2017 totalled 110 million tonnes, an average of over 15.7 million tonnes a month.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    Brazil to release Eletrobras privatization model in September

    September 12, 2017. Brazil’s government aims to release a privatization model for the country’s largest state-owned electric utility, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras), this month, the Mining and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho said. The government is confident it will privatize all Eletrobras electricity distributors in 2017, he said. The government surprised the market in August by announcing the privatization of Eletrobras as it seeks to loosen the government’s grip on the economy and shore up public coffers by selling state assets. The plan being considered would be a departure from the current quota system that keeps electricity rates low, allowing hydroelectric plants to sell their output at higher prices in exchange for paying a contract-renewal bonus to the federal government. He said the government is discussing which plants would be allowed to abandon the quota system and under what conditions.

    Source: Reuters

    Ghana will raise $2 bn to clear its power sector indebtedness

    September 11, 2017. By the end of September 2017, the Ghanaian government is preparing to raise a Cedi10 bn (about $2.26 bn) energy bond to clear the debts incurred by its energy sector. The sums owed by the sector amount to more than $2 bn and include $1.2 bn to fuel suppliers and commercial banks by the Volta River Authority and more than $1 bn by other players in the sector such as Ghana Gas, GRIDCo, Asogli and NEDCo.

    Source: Enerdata

    ADB to provide $152 mn to Nepal to enhance power transmission

    September 10, 2017. The Asian Development Bank will provide a $152 million to Nepal for the implementation and enhancement of its power transmission and distribution. The Manila-based ADB and Nepal’s finance ministry signed the loan agreement in Kathmandu. The aid will be granted to the Power Transmission and Distribution Efficiency Enhancement Project (PTDEEP), which supports expansion of the transmission lines in various areas of Nepal and enhancement of the distribution efficiency in the northern part of Kathmandu, according to the ministry. The project, having a 4 to 5-year completion period, would incorporate various components such as construction of transmission lines, upgrading sub-stations in Barhabise, Laphsiphedi, Khimti and Chapagaun areas and the rehabilitation and capacity enhancement of distribution system in Kathmandu Valley.

    Source: The Financial Express

    Irma knocks out power to nearly 4 mn in Florida

    September 10, 2017. Hurricane Irma knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida, threatening millions more as it crept up the state’s west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said. Irma hit Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light’s customers in the states’ southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either. FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said more than 3.2 million of its customers were without power, mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. More than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices. Large utilities that serve other parts of the state, including units of Duke Energy Corp, Southern Co and Emera Inc, were seeing their outage figures grow as the storm pushed north. Emera’s Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect up to 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves, and over 180,000 had already lost power. The utilities had thousands of workers, some from as far away as California, ready to help restore power once Irma’s high winds pass their service areas. About 17,000 were assisting FPL, nearly 8,000 at Duke and more than 1,300 at Emera.

    Source: Reuters

    Energa secures €250 mn EIB financing for electricity modernization in Poland

    September 8, 2017. Polish electric utility Energa has secured €250 mn of financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for modernization and expansion of its electricity distribution network in northern and central Poland. The financing is part of a larger €1 bn committed by EIB during the Economic Forum in Krynica Zdrój to support the Polish economy by making strategic investments in science and energy. EIB said that the financing will be done in the form of innovative hybrid bonds. The Polish electric utility said that its total capital expenditure in the 2017-19 period has been estimated to be around €814 mn. According to Energa, the primary goal of its investment programme is to boost the security of electricity supply and at the same time bring down network losses and enhance the service quality. Additionally, the Polish electric utility plans to make investments in smart meters and network automatisation and also in new connections in the distribution network.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Shanghai to start opening power market in line with China reforms

    September 8, 2017. Shanghai plans to set up around 10 percent of its power market for open trade this year and 30 percent by the end of 2019 to push forward reform of its power system, the city government said. The initiative is in line with China’s long-planned reforms to liberalize the nation’s power markets. The power trades will be carried out over a local platform with long-term power supply contracts on offer and initially open for unilateral trade only among power generators. Power consumers will be able to buy and sell power over the platform in a second stage.The scheme also encourages power companies to trade directly with residential and commercial consumers. Shanghai aims to fully open power trading to the market after 2020. Some 13 provinces in China have instituted power market reforms since 2016. The country’s state planner launched pilot schemes to allow spot trading of electricity in eight provinces and regions.

    Source: Reuters

    US retail power prices rise over 2006-2016 reflects increasing delivery costs

    September 8, 2017. The United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) published new data on US retail electricity prices and their evolution over the last decade. According to the data, the US average retail price of electricity has increased by 1.5% per year over the last decade, which is about the same as the inflation rate over the same period (1.6%). In the meantime, US natural gas prices for electric generators have fallen by 8.4% per year since 2006.

    Source: Enerdata

    Southern Africa beats target for new power generating capacity

    September 7, 2017. Southern African countries have exceeded their 2016 power generation targets by 11 percent, South African Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said. The South African Power Pool (SAPP), a regional industry collaboration linking up national grids which was created in 1995, commissioned 4,180 MW of new generating capacity last year, ahead of a 3,757 MW target. South African power utility Eskom said it would start selling more of its surplus capacity as new plants, including new coal-fired plants at Kusile and Medupi, come on line. Eskom sells its surplus electricity to several southern African countries, including Zimbabwe and Namibia, as SAPP members.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    China big oil investors shrug off future fossil-fuel vehicle ban

    September 11, 2017. The prospect of China banning fossil fuel-powered vehicles is failing to alarm investors in the oil producers likely to lose out. Shares in the listed units of China’s biggest oil companies -- PetroChina Co, Cnooc Ltd and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp -- barely budged after the government said it’s working on a timetable to end production and sales of vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels. By contrast, electric car producers and the companies that supply their components surged. From the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to BP Plc, the world’s biggest oil producers have started to take electric vehicles seriously as a long-term threat to demand.

    Source: Bloomberg

    EU lawmakers plan to guard carbon market from hard Brexit

    September 11, 2017. European lawmakers will vote this week on a plan to protect the carbon market against a collapse of Brexit talks, which they fear would crash the price of tradable emissions permits. The bill was prompted by mounting concern that Britain could fail to reach at least a transitional trade deal with the European Union (EU) before its scheduled departure from the bloc less than two years from now. Britain is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Europe and its utilities are among the largest buyers of permits in the EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS), which charges power plants and factories for every ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit. The European Parliament’s biggest political group said it proposed an amendment to stop British business from a mass sell-off of emissions allowances if they are no longer part of the market. EU lawmakers will vote on the amendment, which proposes to void all emissions permits issued by a country leaving the 28-nation bloc from January 2018 onward. Any changes would also have to be agreed by EU member states and the European Commission. The EU is in the midst of work on carbon market reforms, championed by Britain, to reduce the share of free permits handed out after 2020 and shore up prices.

    Source: Reuters

    New British wind power deals cheaper than nuclear supplies

    September 11, 2017. The price Britain will pay for new offshore wind power has plunged below new nuclear generation for the first time, according to figures from a power auction. The rapidly falling cost of wind power may stoke criticism of the government for promising much higher prices to investors in the long-delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, the first to be built in Britain for more than 20 years. Britain needs to invest in new capacity to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants that are due to close in the 2020s. Renewables, such as wind power and solar, can only meet part of those needs because of their variable supplies determined by the weather and, for now, there are no large scale energy power storage options. Nuclear plants can offer a steady supply, but plans for Hinkley Point C have been beset by delays and rising construction costs. Britain’s subsidy auction for new offshore wind projects awarded contracts between at 74.75 pounds and 57.50 pounds per megawatt hour (MWh) depending on the delivery date. The eleven renewable energy projects that won contracts are expected to deliver up to 3 GW of new electricity generation capacity from 2021-2023, with the contracts worth up to 176 million a year, the government said.

    Source: Reuters

    US solar installations rise despite drop in residential market

    September 11, 2017. US (United States) solar installations rose 8 percent in the second quarter as robust utility demand offset a sharp pullback in residential rooftop systems, according to an industry report published. The industry installed 2.39 GW of photovoltaic solar, up from 2.2 GW a year ago, the report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association said. Utility projects accounted for 58 percent of the total. Most new projects for utilities were procured voluntarily rather than because of a need to satisfy government mandates, reflecting the low cost of solar. Voluntary procurement is biggest in the Southeast, though solar is growing most rapidly in the Midwest as utilities see it as a complement to wind farms. The non-residential market soared 31 percent to 437 MW, boosted by development of community solar projects in Minnesota and Massachusetts and corporate and industrial demand in California.

    Source: Reuters

    Solar grid keeps harvests high, hospitals lit in parched rural Zimbabwe

    September 11, 2017. Until recently, farmers in this town in southern Zimbabwe struggled to water their crops, frustrated by poor rainfall and the regular breakdown of the diesel engines that powered their irrigation systems. As in most areas of rural Zimbabwe, rain-fed agriculture provides most of the jobs in this part of Gwanda district, some 130 km southeast of Bulawayo. But sparse rains over the last decade, a worsening problem associated with climate change, have caused many harvests to fail, and cut into the country’s generation of hydropower, which provides much of its electricity. In Mashaba, however, the community’s luck is turning. In 2015, the town installed a solar mini-grid power station that has helped green the hot, arid area transform into a hive of entrepreneurial activity. The off-grid power system, with 400 solar panels that provide nearly 100 kilowatts of reliable power, has made it possible to effectively irrigate crops, boosting farming yields and fuelling economic growth. Local leaders say schools have become more productive and medical facilities safer.

    Source: Reuters

    90 fossil fuel firms contributed half of global temperature rise

    September 10, 2017. Emissions by 90 largest carbon producers contributed almost half of global surface temperature increase and roughly 30 percent of global sea level rise since 1880, an international study said. They blame 50 investor-owned carbon producers, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Peabody, Shell and Total, for roughly 16 percent of the global average temperature increase from 1880 to 2010, and around 11 percent of the global sea level rise during the same time-frame. The first-of-its-kind study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change links global climate changes to the product-related emissions of specific fossil fuel producers. Focusing on the largest gas, oil and coal producers and cement manufacturers, the study calculated the amount of sea level rise and global temperature increase resulting from the carbon dioxide and methane emissions from their products as well as their extraction and production processes. The study quantified climate change impacts of each company's carbon and methane emissions during two time periods: 1880 to 2010 and 1980 to 2010. By 1980, investor-owned fossil fuel companies were aware of the threat posed by their products and could have taken steps to reduce their risks and share them with their shareholders and the public. The study, "The rise in global atmospheric CO2, surface temperature, and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers", builds on a landmark 2014 study by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute, one of the co-authors of the study published. Heede's study, which also was published in Climatic Change, determined the quantity of carbon dioxide and methane emissions that resulted from the burning of products sold by the 90 largest investor-and state-owned fossil fuel companies and cement manufacturers. The study led by Ekwurzel found that emissions traced to the 90 largest carbon producers contributed to approximately 57 percent of the observed rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, nearly 50 percent of the rise in global average temperature, and around 30 percent of global sea level rise since 1880.

    Source: Business Standard

    Egypt approved contracts for the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear plant

    September 8, 2017. The Egyptian government has approved contracts for the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant project. The plant is expected to be built with the participation of Rosatom and will consist of four units, each with capacity to produce 1,200 MW of electricity, and take 12 years to complete. The reactors will use Rosatom’s third generation VVER-1200 design. As for the project cost, the total bill is put at $30 bn and the Russian government proposes to lend $25 bn.

    Source: Enerdata

    Serbia's largest power plant to start clean-up to meet EU standards

    September 8, 2017. Serbia’s power utility EPS and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems signed a €167 million ($201 million) deal to help reduce gas emissions and meet European Union (EU) standards at Serbia’s largest coal-fired power plant. Serbia produces two thirds of its power in aging coal-fired plants and the rest from hydropower. It wants to improve its energy mix to meet growing demand, reduce future reliance on imports and meet the renewable energy targets of the EU it aspires to join. The flue gas desulfurization project would be carried out in four out of six units of Nikola Tesla A power plant complex, which has an installed capacity of around 1,600 MW. The clean-up will improve output and reduce emissions of sulfur by nine times, Serbia’s Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said. In 2015, Serbia approved a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 9.8 percent by 2030, becoming the first nation in the coal-reliant Balkans to agree to limit carbon output voluntarily.

    Source: Reuters

    EU likely to cut minimum import price for Chinese solar panels

    September 7, 2017. The European Union (EU) is likely to reduce the minimum price that Chinese solar panel producers are allowed to sell into Europe after a meeting of trade representatives from EU countries. Chinese solar panel imports have been subject to measures to counter dumping and subsidies since 2013, with an 18-month extension agreed by EU countries earlier this year. Chinese companies that sell below a set minimum prices are subject to import duties. The European Commission has proposed a gradual phasing out of the measures, including a schedule that reduces the minimum import price every three months. The EU and China came close to a trade war in 2013 over EU allegations of dumping by Chinese solar panel exporters.

    Source: Reuters

    Poland may have first nuclear power plant by 2029

    September 6, 2017. Coal-dependent Poland aims to build its first nuclear power plant by 2029 to reduce carbon emissions, its Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said, a little later than envisaged last year. Warsaw announced the project in 2009, but hit numerous delays due to falling power prices and Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, which eroded public support. Last year, the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) revived the plan after it won elections in 2015, and said it aimed to build the plant within ten years. Poland’s state-run firms have been busy building new coal-fuelled power plants.

    Source: Reuters

    Candy maker Mars looks to curb greenhouse gas emissions across supply chain

    September 6, 2017. Candy manufacturer Mars Inc is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions and address other sustainability issues across its supply chain in a bid to help meet goals from the Paris climate agreement. Mars is one of a number of US (United States) firms, including Walmart Stores Inc and Apple Inc, that have committed to curbing climate change even as sentiment on the issue shifts in Washington. US corporations including Home Depot Inc and General Mills are now major users of renewable energy like solar and wind. The McLean, Virginia-based firm plans to spend $1 billion as it expands its sustainability goals beyond previously announced targets to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from its level in 2007. The company said it will cut greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by 67 percent by 2050.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Production & Import of Coking Coal in India

    Year-wise Import of Coking Coal in India

    YearImport (Million Tonnes)
    2014-1543.72
    2015-1644.56
    2016-1741.64

    Coking Coal: Production projections from Coal India Ltd

    YearImport (Million Tonnes)*
    2016-1755.22
    2017-1859.77
    2018-1963.55
    2019-2072.30

    *tentative figures

    Total Coal Import (Coking & Non-coking) for 2016-17*

    * Imports figures are from April 2016 to December 2017
    Source: Various Questions from Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor
    Editorial advisor: Lydia Powell
    Editor: Akhilesh Sati
    Content development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

    Comments

    avatar
    wpDiscuz

    Upcoming Events

    North Korean nuclear and missile programmes