Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 20

     ENM, Energy Monitor, Renewable Energy, RIL, ONGC, OIL
    Source: Aaron Crowe

    WIND TAKES LIMELIGHT FROM SOLAR

    Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: September - October 2017

    As world energy markets transform at an unprecedented rate, India is at the forefront of the shift towards profitable renewables given that the country's solar belt has the potential of 749 GW for power generation say some experts. As shown by a new IEEFA (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis) analysis, accelerating this trend will allow India avoid the costly mistakes made by slow-moving, late-learning European utilities, which have wasted billions on stranded coal and other thermal power assets. Similar trends have been apparent now for some time in China and India, where drives to install both thermal and renewable capacity concurrently have seen coal-fired power station utilisation rates drop to record lows of 47 percent and 57 percent respectively in 2016. This is despite electricity demand growing in these countries. The government has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind. India's draft Third National Electricity Plan (NEP3) for the next two five-year periods, to 2027, unambiguously concludes that beyond the half-built plants already under construction, India does not require any new coal-fired power stations. According to some experts this conclusion overlooks some key facts. The Draft National Electricity Policy of 2016 by CEA said that coal based power generation capacity of 44,085 MW was required to meet demand until 2027 but as 51,025 MW of coal based capacity was under construction in the period 2017-2022 additional coal based capacity would not be required.  This was widely interpreted in the media, especially by agencies opposed to coal, as cancellation of coal based power plants on account of increase in renewable energy. Between 2010 and 2015 coal based power generation capacity doubled from about 85 GW to 165 GW largely driven by the private sector.  It took only 5 years for the private sector to build the same generation capacity that took nearly 6 decades for the public sector to build.  Electricity demand grew only by 5.2% in this period. This is the main reason why additional coal capacity is not required in the next ten years these experts say.

    The government’s mega push for clean energy generation capacities, India is set to overtake the EU in expansion of new renewable energy generation capacity for the first time, according to the IEA. India's move to address the financial health of its power utilities and tackle grid-integration issues drive a more optimistic forecast, the Paris-based agency said in its latest report Renewables 2017. The IEA said that solar PV and wind together represent 90 percent of India's capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world's lowest prices for both technologies. The government is working on an ambitious plan to increase the installed base of domestic renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022. The IEA’s latest report on renewables market analysis and forecast said new solar PV capacity grew by 50 percent globally last year, with China accounting for almost half of the global expansion. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal. This year's renewable forecast by IEA is 12 percent higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in China and India. Three countries - China, India and the United States - will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022.

    The wind power tariff which reached a record low of ₹2.64/kWh in the auction conducted by SECI is significantly lower than the approved feed-in tariffs for wind projects and signify increased competitiveness of wind, ratings agency ICRA said. The winning bidders for 1000 MW wind power capacity have quoted tariff in the range of ₹ 2.64/kWh to ₹ 2.65/kWh. The tariff discovered in the current scheme is lower by 24 percent against the previous bid tariff of ₹ 3.46/kWh as discovered in the reverse auction under the first scheme in February 2017.

    Rejecting the requests of both wind developers and the MNRE, Karnataka’s power regulator has reiterated its earlier decision that PPAs, which had not been approved before it set a new wind power tariff, would be okayed only at the new rate. The KERC had passed an order on September 4, setting a fresh feed-in tariff for wind power at ₹ 3.74/kWh considerably lower than the tariff of ₹ 4.50/kWh, set by it in October 2015, which had prevailed till then. The order, however, put into jeopardy 599 MW of wind capacity whose developers had already signed PPAs with various discoms in Karnataka at the old rate of ₹4.50/kWh, but the PPAs had still to be ratified by KERC. Around 273 MW had already been commissioned and were supplying power to the state discoms at ₹ 4.50/kWh, but following the new order, would have to renegotiate their PPAs at ₹ 3.74/kWh. The remaining 326 MW are still under construction. Of the 273 MW of wind power in Karnataka, which have already been commissioned but have PPAs awaiting approval, PPAs for 242.50 MW were signed before March 31 this year.

    A US based renewable energy company has moved the Madras High Court challenging the recent wind auction held by Tamil Nadu government, claiming that its bid was unfairly rejected even though it had quoted a tariff lower than the winning bid. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp (TANGEDCO) held a 500 MW wind auction in end-August where the winning price was ₹ 3.42/kWh. Evergreen Renewables, a subsidiary of Evergreen Power Solutions Inc., has moved the court to stay the entire auction proceedings and set aside TANGEDCO’s letter rejecting its bid. The firm had quoted a tariff of ₹3.34/kWh, Evergreen said. Evergreen has developed over 3,000 MW of solar and wind power in the US, and is currently setting up around 550 MW of wind projects across Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the company said. It commissioned its first and only solar project of 11.5 MW in Telangana in April 2016.

    The €5 billion Finnish energy systems provider, Wartsila, is looking to develop India as its biggest Asian market for battery storage solutions, given the huge potential from the country's solar power play. India's solar-power capacity has grown exponentially to around 14 GW and the government has set an ambitious target of 100 GW by 2020, but storage has been a missing link thus far and the government is now acknowledging the need for it. Therefore, the government wants the industry to set up battery-manufacturing units in India as a sharp decline in prices of batteries between 2010 and 2017 has made battery-backed solar power more viable. While India has a huge solar-power potential, this source of energy is intermittent and subject to fluctuations. The world over, solar power is supplemented with gas-based or hydropower to ensure continuous power supply. India does not have much gas, and hydropower project development in the country has been slow, leaving battery storage as a backup option.

    Solar power tariff ranged between ₹ 2.65-3.36/kWh in an auction conducted by Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) for 500 MW capacities. This was slightly up from all-time low rate of ₹ 2.44/kWh discovered earlier this year. The SECI is also conducting the second auction for another 1 GW capacities. The second auction assumes significance because India has set an ambitious target of having 60,000 MW of wind power capacity by 2022. India has installed wind power capacity of 32.5 GW as per latest report for the month of August by the CEA. The country needs to add 5-6 GW wind capacity every year to meet the target. Globally, India is at the fourth position after China, the US and Germany, in terms of wind capacity installation.

    A JV of French energy firm Engie SA and Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group may invest around $1 billion to build a 1,000 MW wind power platform in India. The strategy ahead for the JV announced involves bidding for new contracts and making acquisitions to reach the targeted capacity. The capital expenditure planned in equity and debt comes in the backdrop of India’s wind sector transitioning from a feed-in tariff regime to tariff-based competitive auctions. While feed-in tariffs ensure a fixed price for power producers, wind power tariffs in India followed the solar route and hit a record low of ₹ 3.46/kWh in a February auction conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India. Prior to this JV, both Abraaj and Engie have had a presence in the Indian solar space. While the Abraaj Group, with $11 billion under management, announced a partnership with the Aditya Birla Group in October 2015 to build a renewable energy platform focused on developing solar power plants, Engie, with €66.6 billion in revenue, has been trying to expand its presence in India’s clean energy space. Foreign investments are crucial for India’s renewable energy industry as the lower cost of foreign capital and the size of the market has helped bring down tariffs. Engie plans to set up 2 GW of capacity in India by 2019, with its subsidiary Solairedirect SA actively bidding for solar projects, and has an 810 MW portfolio. India’s low green energy tariffs have caused disruptions with some states looking to renege on their offtake commitments for projects awarded at comparatively higher tariffs.

    Essel Infraprojects Ltd said it has commissioned 55 MW capacity solar projects in UP and Karnataka. The company is already managing 165 MW capacity solar projects in the country. It said as part of its commitment towards generating green energy, Essel Infra will commission an additional 60 MW capacity project in Karnataka in the next 45 days. The company is aiming to increase its share in green energy through construction of massive solar projects in UP, Odisha and Karnataka of 520 MW capacity in the near future. Essel Infra recently commissioned a 50 MW capacity solar project in Jalaun, UP and a 5 MW capacity project in Bijapur, Karnataka. The company’s effort in generating green power is in tune with the government's target of generating 100 GW power through solar projects by 2022.

    Adani Enterprises announced plans to demerge its renewable energy business into associate company Adani Green Energy Ltd as part of simplifying overall business structure. Post demerger scheme, which has been approved by the boards of the two companies, AGEL would be listed on the exchanges. AEL has a renewable energy portfolio of 2,148 MW in India. Announcing the scheme of arrangement for demerger of the renewable power undertaking into AGEL, Adani Enterprises said it would "simplify the business structure". Under the proposed scheme, AGEL would issue 761 new equity shares for every 1,000 equity shares of AEL.

    The MNRE has written to the Tamil Nadu government, urging it to prevent arbitrary curtailment, or back downs, of solar power in the state. Solar plants have been subject to repeated back downs in Tamil Nadu since last year, to the extent that the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has filed a petition before the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, urging it to intervene. Separately, Adani Green Energy, which has a 216 MW solar plant in Ramanathapuram district, has also filed a similar petition. The Tamil Nadu government signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with 16 solar power companies for 1500 MW of electricity. All the 16 companies will invest a total of ₹ 900 million in the coming year at the rate of ₹ 60 million/MW solar power. These companies had bid for various capacities of solar power for the year 2017-18 and won bids after they agreed to the lowest tariff of ₹ 3.47/kWh. The 16 companies led by Rasi Green, which won the bid at ₹ 3.47/kWh will set up solar plants in the state. NLC will provide 709 MW unit followed by six companies, 100 MW each. Other companies have been allocated 1 to 54 MW.

    The Uttarakhand government and a charitable funding agency, Swan Cultural Center and Foundation, launched 'Solar Briefcase' in Kedarnath Dham. The initiative was taken to provide electricity to far flung areas in the hill state. There are more than 60 villages in the state where electrification has not yet been done due to the difficult geographical conditions.

    A reverse auction of 500 MW of solar projects held by the Gujarat government saw the lowest winning bid at ₹ 2.65/kWh. This was the first solar auction held after the two conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India in May, when one of the winning bidders had promised to sell power at a record low of ₹ 2.44/kWh. The auctions in May were held for projects at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district, where solar radiation is the highest in the country. It was expected that winning bids at the latest auction conducted by Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, as the state’s nodal power company is called, would be a shade higher. This is because Gujarat has less intense solar radiation than Rajasthan, and the developers will not be provided land in solar parks — they will have to acquire land on their own. Further, in the four months since the last auction, the cost of solar modules in China, from where 90% of Indian solar developers source their equipment, have begun rising, after having fallen steeply for two years before that. The lowest bid, seeking 90 MW at ₹ 2.65/kWh was made by GRT Jewellers India, a renowned name in the jewellery business. The company, headquartered in Chennai, is venturing into solar for the first time. The second and third lowest bidders were both state-owned power generation companies — Gujarat State Electricity Corp and Gujarat Industries Power Company — bidding for 75 MW each at ₹ 2.66 and ₹ 2.67/kWh respectively. The remaining 260 MW (out of 500 MW on offer) of projects were won by NYSE-listed Azure Power, one of the largest solar developers in the country, which also bid ₹ 2.67/kWh. There were 14 bidders in all in the auction. Among those who lost out were heavyweights such as Tata Power, ReNew Power, Finland-headquartered Fortum Solar, Lightsource Renewable Energy of the UK and Canadian Solar Energy.

    Solar developers and the Jharkhand government have resolved an 18-month long deadlock over the price of solar power, with the developers agreeing to a reduced tariff of ₹ 4.95/kWh. The problem arose after the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) held a mega auction of 1,200 MW in March 2016 to set up solar projects at 45 different areas across the state. Winning bids ranged from ₹ 5.08 to₹ 5.48/kWh for the larger projects of above 25 MW and ₹ 5.29 to ₹ 7.95/kWh for those below. The biggest winner was ReNew Power, which secured 522 MW. Meanwhile, solar tariffs kept falling in succeeding auctions, reaching a record low of ₹ 2.44/kWh in an auction conducted by Solar Corporation of India at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan in May this year. Last month, the developers finally agreed to a reduced tariff of ₹ 4.99 /kWh per kWh for projects above 25 MW, which the state government agreed to consider. Dubai-based emerging markets buyout fund Abraaj Group has joined hands with ENGIE, a multinational utility company and global independent power producer to set up a wind energy platform in India. The Indian renewable energy sector continues to grow rapidly, underpinned by an increasing demand for power. Power consumption in the country is expected to grow at 9% year-on-year until 2020. The Indian government’s target of 60 GW of wind power capacity by 2022 will require a near doubling of the current installed capacity of 32 GW over the next five years. In 2015, Abraaj Group tied up with Aditya Birla Group to create a large-scale renewable energy platform that will focus on developing utility-scale solar power plants in India.

    Wary of being left behind in the race for renewables and electric vehicles, oil marketing companies are quietly drawing up plans to expand their modest presence in renewable energy space. IOC is exploring opportunities for setting up battery charging stations and battery replacement facilities for electric vehicles in its petrol pumps. The centre is pushing solar and wind energy as well as electric vehicles, to curb oil imports and pollution, and meet its commitments under the Paris accord on climate change. India pledged to reduce carbon emissions relative to its gross domestic product by 33-35% from 2005 levels by 2030, under the accord. India pledged that by 2030, 40% of the country’s electricity would come from non-fossil fuel-based sources such as wind and solar power. By 2021-22, BPCL sees 5% of its revenue coming from non-fossil fuel sources. BPCL has shortlisted 10 oil depots and liquefied petroleum gas bottling plants for installation of rooftop solar plants. By March 2017, rooftop solar units had been installed in 1,001 of its retail outlets. BPCL is carrying out a detailed feasibility and system design study at 19 company-owned and company-operated retail outlets in a pilot for solarizing (putting solar panels) large-format retail outlets. HPCL is strengthening its presence in natural gas and renewables to align its business to the changing patterns of demand and seeking to tap potential opportunities. HPCL operates wind farms of 100.9 MW capacity installed in Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

    The CCEA is likely to approve revised cost of 412 MW Rampur hydro power project implemented by SJVN Ltd at ₹ 42.33 billion in its meeting scheduled. The CCEA will revise the cost of the project to ₹ 42.33 billion from ₹ 20.47 billion estimated on March, 2006 price level during detailed project report stage. Last year in October, the government dedicated 412 MW Rampur Hydro Station of SJVNL projects to the Nation in Mandi along with other two flagship projects-- 800 MW Hydro Power Station of NTPC- Koldam and 520 MW Parvati Project of NHPC. The Rampur project in Kullu district is being operated in tandem with Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station. This project provides 13 percent free power to Himachal Pradesh. Besides, the power from this plant is also distributed to Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

    In a bid to seek more private sector participation in the hydropower sector, the power ministry has formed a committee under CEA to propose recommendations to the ministry. This also comes at a time when hydropower generation has seen a decline of 12 percent in the month of August compared with the corresponding month, last year, according to the power ministry. According to experts, private sector remains reluctant due to various issues pertaining to project execution. At present, as many as 20 under construction hydro power projects totalling 6,329 MW are either stalled or stressed in the country and ₹ 301.47 billion has been spent on them. According to Niti Aayog’s draft energy policy, the think-tank has proposed a bail out of stranded large hydropower projects of around 11,000 MW capacity. The government of India also aims to add 1,305 MW of additional hydropower generation capacity in the current financial year out of which 305 MW expected from the private sector while 266 MW has already been commissioned.

    India is playing a substantive role in building a nuclear power plant on foreign soil for the first time ever with the proposed supply of equipment and material for the power station being built by Bangladesh with Russian assistance. Indian firms are working with Russian and Bangladeshi partners on establishing Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh. India will supply and manufacture equipment, material for the plant near Dhaka. Besides Bangladeshi nuclear scientists are undergoing training at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, also built with Russian assistance and uses Russian technology.

    Rest of the World

    The US nuclear power industry is facing an uphill battle to hang onto its share of the country’s electricity production, with some projecting a worst-case scenario where half of the nation’s 99 nuclear reactors could shut over the next couple of decades. Nuclear power looked to be on the verge of a renaissance about a decade ago. But a surge in domestic natural gas production, billions of dollars in cost overruns on new projects, Japan’s Fukushima accident in 2011, and multiple plant closures have the industry on its heels again. The US Department of Energy expects nuclear energy’s share of the power mix to drop to 11 percent by 2050 from the current 20 percent, and many reactors to close. In the past five years, operators have shut six reactors amid stagnant electricity demand and low natural gas and power prices, and plan to shut another six reactors in deregulated states over the next five years, in part because they cannot compete with gas-fired plants. Most states in the US Northeast and Midwest are deregulated. Merchant plants receive the same money for energy they sell as gas-fired and renewable plants, which are less expensive to operate.

    The US Department of Energy said it has offered an additional loan guarantee of up to $3.7 billion to companies building two nuclear reactors at the Vogtle plant in the state of Georgia. The conditional loan guarantees were in the amounts of $1.67 billion to Georgia Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Co, $1.6 billion to Oglethorpe Power Corp and $415 million to three subsidiaries of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. US Energy Secretary who has remarked he wants to make nuclear power “cool again,” said that the “future of nuclear energy in the US is bright” and that he looks forward to “expanding American leadership in innovative nuclear technologies.” US nuclear power has been struggling in the face of competing power plants that burn plentiful, low-cost natural gas and stagnant electricity demand. The 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan has also dimmed interest in nuclear power. The Vogtle project is the first new US nuclear power plant to be built since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. And billions of dollars in cost overruns at Vogtle helped push its main contractor, Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp of Japan, into bankruptcy in March. The US Department of Energy has already guaranteed $8.3 billion in loans to the companies to support construction of Vogtle reactors. Vogtle had initially been expected to begin generating power in 2016, but now the reactors are expected to be completed around the end of 2022.

    TEPCO received an initial safety approval from Japan’s NRA to restart two reactors at the world’s biggest nuclear power plant. The approval marks the first safety approval TEPCO has received in the first steps towards the possible restart of reactors since the 2011 meltdown of three reactors at TEPCO’s Fukushima plant following an earthquake and tsunami that led to the eventual closure of Japan’s nuclear power plants. TEPCO has said it needs to resume operations at the closed plants to pay for Fukushima’s restoration and other liabilities from the disaster. The NRA ruled that the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors, each with a capacity of 1,356 MW, at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant has passed new safety standards enacted after the Fukushima accident.

    Russian company Rosatom’s €12.5 billion (11.25 billion pounds) project to build two nuclear reactors in Hungary has been delayed by at least a year, Hungarian authorities said. Hungary said that the Paks nuclear project would be delayed by 22 months because of EU regulatory hurdles but the government was working to shorten the delay. The two Russian VVER 1200 reactors could come online in 2026 and 2027 respectively, a year later than outlined in a 2015 government presentation. Rosatom plans to start work on the site’s auxiliary buildings in early 2018 and that, once permits are secured, construction of the reactors could start in 2020. Suli said the application for the construction permit - originally scheduled for end-2017 - will be submitted mid-2018 and that approval could take up to 15 months. Greenpeace said that EU regulatory controls should have been anticipated and were not responsible for Rosatom’s delay in submitting the request for a construction permit. The Paks site already has four Russian-built reactors that account for about a third of Hungary’s power consumption and will be retired between 2023 and 2037.

    Safety levels at nuclear power plants globally are worrying, and although there are no immediate dangers, there are systemic risks that should be dealt with urgently, the head of French nuclear watchdog ASN said. In the past few weeks, the regulator has ordered heightened supervision at EDF’s Belleville nuclear plant citing failures in safety standards. It also demanded a temporary halt in production at the Tricastin nuclear power plant due to flaws at a canal dike that could lead to flooding. Some cases warranted a serious probe, which was why they were classified as “Level 2” incidents on the international nuclear and radiological event scale, where Level 1 marks the lowest level of risk while Level 7 is the highest. The number of such incidents have been on the rise. This was happening while companies in the sector were facing financial difficulties. The regulator was still examining requests to extend the lifespan of the French nuclear fleet, and was particular looking at several key factors such as anomalies that have gone undetected over the years.

    Iraq’s Foreign Minister is asking nuclear countries for help building an atomic reactor for peaceful purposes, saying the country has a right to use atomic power peacefully. He made the request in his speech to the UN General Assembly’s annual meeting of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs. He called for assistance “to build a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes in Iraq, to acquire this nuclear technology.” Iraq’s earlier efforts to build a nuclear reactor were met with an Israeli airstrike in 1981 and years of suspicion about its nuclear intentions.

    China plans to complete ahead of schedule a $2 billion hydropower project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to ease an energy crisis in Pakistan. The Karot Hydropower Project is being built on Jhelum river on a “build-own-operate-transfer” basis for 30 years. It will be owned by a Chinese company for 30 years, after which ownership will be turned over to the government of Pakistan. Karot Power Company Ltd, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges South Asia Investment, owns the Karot Power Station. The company said that the project will help ease Pakistan’s power shortage and generate local employment. Karot Power Station has a capacity of 720 MW and China Three Gorges South Asia Investment also has other power projects in Pakistan, including hydro, wind and solar power, which would largely solve Pakistan’s problem.

    BNP Paribas, France’s biggest listed bank, said it would no longer work with oil and natural gas companies that primarily do business in shale or oil sands as it plans to boost support for renewable energy projects. The bank also said that it would no longer finance new projects that are primarily involved in the transportation or export of oil and gas from shale or oil sands. The bank previously said it planned to spend €15 billion to finance renewable energy projects by 2020 and invest €100 million in start-ups specializing in energy storage and efficiency. The lender has already stopped financing coal mines and coal-fired power plants, and no longer supports coal companies that are not planning to diversify their energy sources. BNP Paribas’s smaller rival Societe Generale said in October last year that it would quit financing coal-powered electricity plants from January and increase its support for renewable energy projects.

    Oil refinery workers, executives and local politicians gathered near Philadelphia to urge the White House revamp the nation’s renewable fuels program, arguing the future of their plants are at stake. The US renewable fuel program requires higher levels of ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into the nation’s fuel pool, a requirement pitting the oil industry against the powerful farm lobby. President Donald Trump has promised corn growers he would protect the program, while also signalling that he sympathizes with US refiners who bear its costs. The speakers told a crowd of about 100 that the tradable credits at the centre of the renewable fuel program have been exploited by banks and trading firms, threatening the viability of merchant refiners like Monroe Energy and PBF Energy. The US RFS requires US refiners and importers blend ethanol into their fuels or purchase credits from companies that do. The credits fell to a year-to-date low of 34 cents in March amid optimism that Trump would revamp RFS and shift some costs to retailers and others, but it now appears he will not make that change. The US EPA has angered the biofuels industry by calling for less biofuel blending. It also wants to allow exported ethanol to earn credits, increasing the pool of credits and driving down prices.

    The EPA is considering a change to US biofuels policy that would allow exports of ethanol to count toward the country’s annual biofuels volumes mandates. The proposal would represent a significant shift from the original mandate of the 2005 renewable fuel program, designed to increase the amount ethanol and biodiesel in the country’s fuel pool while boosting the US agricultural sector. The move would benefit US merchant refiners like Valero and PBF Energy, who are required under the US RFS to blend increasing volumes of ethanol and other biofuels into the country’s gasoline and diesel every year, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently, US biofuels policy only counts fuels blended in the US toward the annual volumes mandates and does not count ethanol that is produced in the US and exported for use abroad. By counting the exports, it would increase the amount of available credits by the equivalent of as much 1 billion gallons of biofuel and push down prices. The EPA proposed a requirement that refiners and importers blend in 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and other conventional renewable fuels next year.

    As the sun sets on Japan’s solar energy boom, companies and investors are rushing into wood-burning biomass projects to lock in still-high government subsidies. More than 800 projects have already won government approval, offering 12.4 GW of capacity -- equal to 12 nuclear power stations and nearly double Japan’s 2030 target for biomass in its basic energy policy. The sheer number of projects has raised questions about how they will all find sufficient fuel, mostly shipped in from countries like Canada and Vietnam, while some experts question the environmental credentials of such large-scale plants. The projects approved to date that use general wood fuel would need the equivalent of up to 60 million tonnes of wood pellets, compared with global output of 24 million tonnes in 2014, Takanobu Aikawa, a senior researcher at Japan’s Renewable Energy Institute, said. Other fuels such as local forest thinned woods or palm kernel shells from Indonesia and Malaysia would not make up the shortfall, he said. Biomass plants generate energy by burning fuels, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They qualify as renewable because plants absorb CO2 as they grow, with a lifespan of years rather than the millions of years needed to make fossil fuels such as coal. Japan Renewable Energy, in which Goldman Sachs has a stake, is building its first biomass power station north of Tokyo, adding to solar and wind power plants. Major utilities, such as Chubu Electric Power Co, are also looking to co-fire biomass in their coal power plants to help cut emissions. Japan wants renewables to account for 22-24 percent of its electricity mix by 2030.

    Microsoft has signed a 15-year wind energy agreement with GE in Ireland, becoming one of the first global technology firms to support a new wind project in the country. Microsoft will purchase 100 percent of the wind energy from its new, 37 MW Tullahennel wind farm in County Kerry, Ireland. The agreement will help support the growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services from Ireland, the company said. As part of the deal, Microsoft also signed an agreement with Dublin-based energy trading company ElectroRoute that will provide energy trading services to Microsoft. The wind farm will integrate GE's 'Digital Wind Farm' technology, which makes renewable energy outputs even more reliable. Once operational, the new wind project will bring Microsoft's total global direct procurement in renewable energy projects to almost 600 MW.

    A trade dispute over solar imports has stalled clean-energy projects across the US. With the looming prospect of tariffs driving up the price of panels, utilities and businesses are holding off on signing deals to buy solar power. It may be months before they get more clarity. The trade case dates to an April complaint from Suniva Inc, a bankrupt solar manufacturer based in Georgia. The US International Trade Commission ruled that the US industry has been harmed by a flood of cheap imports, and President Donald Trump will get to decide whether to impose tariffs. With solar development slowing, some corporate buyers may turn instead to wind farms. Such contracts with businesses have been a significant driver of growth for both types of clean energy in the US.

    Norway’s Statoil is taking its first step into the solar sector, partnering up with Oslo-listed renewable energy firm Scatec Solar in a JV aiming to build several large-scale solar plants in Brazil. Bruised by pressure on oil prices over the last two years, European oil companies have been intensifying their expansion into renewable energy to seek new sources of revenue. With a 40-percent share in Scatec’s construction-ready 162 MW Apodi farm and a 50 percent share in the project execution company, Statoil adds to a renewable energy portfolio that until now has consisted mainly of offshore wind projects. In September, Scatec Solar said the company was in talks to build its first solar power plants in Iran, joining a wave of foreign energy firms looking to invest in the country.

    The IEA raised its forecasts for renewable energy over the next five years following a record 2016. In its medium-term renewables market report, the IEA expects global renewable electricity capacity to rise by more than 920 GW, or 43 percent, by 2022, due to supportive policies for low-carbon energy and cost reductions for solar PV and wind. The projected growth is 12 percent more bullish than the IEA’s forecast last year. In 2016, net additions to renewable energy capacity - including hydropower, solar, wind, bioenergy, wave and tidal - set another world record, growing by 165 GW, 6 percent more than in 2015, the report said. Solar PV capacity grew by 50 percent to reach more than 74 GW last year and it was the first time solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal. The agency sees renewable power generation rising by more than a third to 8,169 TWh in 2022 - from around 6,012 TWh in 2016 - which is equivalent to the combined electricity consumption of China, India and Germany. China will be responsible for the largest amount of global renewable capacity growth, driven by strong government targets, economic incentives and air pollution concerns. India’s renewable electricity growth could surpass the EU’s by 2022 for it to become the joint second-largest growth market alongside the US as it is seen more than doubling its current capacity.

    NATIONAL: OIL

    Kuwait's Al Arfaj group plans 600k bpd oil refinery in India

    October 24, 2017. Kuwait’s Al Arfaj Group plans to build a 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery and a 10 million tonnes a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Indian coastal state of Andhra Pradesh (AP), AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, aims to raise its refining capacity by 50 percent in the next seven years to about 7 million barrels per day. Saudi Aramco said it planned a ‘mega investment’ in refining, petrochemicals and fuel retailing in India.

    Source: Reuters

    ONGC plans to raise oil output by 4 mt by 2020

    October 23, 2017. ONGC has drawn a blueprint to raise crude oil production by 4 million tonnes (mt) and almost double its natural gas output by 2020 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of cutting India’s import dependence by 10 percent, Chairman Shashi Shanker has said. The state-owned firm will raise crude oil production from 22.6 mt in 2017-18 to 26.42 mt in 2021-22. The nation’s biggest oil and gas producer has prepared the ‘Road map for Import Reduction’ two years after Modi set the target for reducing oil import dependence by 10 percent, from 77 percent in 2013-14.

    Source: Business Standard

    India's oil imports hit record high in September

    October 20, 2017. India imported a record 4.83 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in September as several refiners resumed operations after extensive maintenance to meet rising local fuel demand. The world’s third-biggest oil importer shipped in 4.2 percent more oil last month than a year earlier and about 19 percent more than in the previous month, ship-tracking data showed. During the first nine months of the year India’s oil imports rose 1.8 percent to about 4.4 million bpd, with most supplies coming from the Middle East, followed by Africa and Latin America. Indian fuel demand typically eases in the third quarter as monsoon rains hit construction, industrial activity and reduces consumption of transport fuels. That provides refiners with an opportunity to carry out maintenance. Capacity addition is also driving up India’s oil imports. The country added 170,000 bpd of capacity at plants owned by Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL)-Mittal Energy, which are gradually ramping up crude runs. India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, has emerged as a key driver for growth in global oil demand. India is increasing refining capacity to keep pace with the expected growth in fuel demand as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to boost the manufacturing sector.

    Source: Reuters

    IOC defers Paradip refinery shutdown to March-April

    October 20, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s top refinery, has delayed maintenance shutdown at its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) Paradip refinery in eastern Odisha state to March-April, the company said. IOC had earlier planned to shut the refinery for 20 days this month. The plan to defer the turnaround at Paradip is aimed at helping the company meet government-set crude processing targets. IOC carried out extended and heavy maintenance at some refineries in the last two-three months.

    Source: Reuters

    ONGC to call bids to increase output of ageing oil and gas fields

    October 18, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) will soon invite bids from oilfield service providers to enhance output from some of its ageing fields under a long-term contract whereby winners will get a predetermined fee for existing and incremental production. ONGC’s Executive Committee of is expected to give the proposed policy a final shape this month, following which the company would float a tender inviting bids in another two months or so, the company said. ONGC signed agreements with Schlumberger and Halliburton for enhancement of production from its matured fields of Geleki in Assam and Kalol in Gujarat, respectively. But the pacts were dumped after suggestions that they were legally vulnerable. This forced ONGC to formulate a competitive bidding model. Under this proposed model, the service provider will get fee for every incremental unit of oil or gas produced as well as for maintaining the ‘baseline’ production at the field. Those seeking the lowest fee will win the bid. Output at ONGC, which made up 57% of country’s crude production in 2016-17, has been stagnating for years, forcing the company to look for innovative ways to raise production from its mostly mature fields.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: GAS

    Pradhan launches first PNG project in Odisha

    October 21, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched supply of piped natural gas (PNG) project under 'Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga' (PMUG) in Odisha. With this, GAIL (India) Ltd started supply of environment-friendly PNG to 255 houses in Nalco Nagar located at Chandrasekharpur area in the state capital. The supply of PNG to a limited households was done ahead of its schedule in March 2018. PMUG will pass through five states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The longest stretch of the project, which is about 769 kilometre (km), will be built in Odisha. City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are being taken up in parallel with the Jagdishpur Haldia & Bokaro Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL). In Odisha, the Natural Gas Pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crore and will have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts, like Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Debagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khurda, Puri and Kendrapara. Initially, natural gas will reach Bhubaneswar in special containers which will be transported by road from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Later, natural gas will be supplied through the JHBDPL. The pipeline is presently under construction and likely to be completed by 2019. In Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, the number of PNG connections will be gradually ramped up in the next three to five years. Moreover, 25 CNG stations will be commissioned in the twin cities to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel to vehicles, Pradhan said.

    Source: The Times of India

    RIL-BP to invest $1.5 bn in 6 satellite gas discoveries

    October 18, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its partner BP will invest over $1.5 billion in six satellite gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block, the combine has said in a refreshed plan for starting production from these finds by 2022. This is part of Reliance-BP's plan to infuse Rs 40,000 crore (over $5 billion) into the block and marks the beginning of the investment cycle in the east coast as a result of policy reforms, especially allowing remunerative price to producers, initiated by the government. Besides the six discoveries, Reliance-BP is also working on development plan for R-Series and MJ gas discoveries in the block. RIL-BP combine does not plan to alter the $3.18 billion investment plan for D-34 or R-Series gas field in the same block, which was approved in August 2013. About 12.9 million cubic metres per day of gas for 13 years can be produced from from D-34 discovery, which is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of 1.4 trillion cubic feet. A separate development plan for the MJ find would be submitted by mid-2018.

    Source: The Times of India

    India, Mozambique agree to develop Rovuma gas find

    October 18, 2017. India and Mozambique agreed to expedite development of the giant Rovuma gas discovery, which is planned to be converted into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for exports. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), holds 16 percent stake in Mozambique offshore block Rovuma Area 1. Oil India Ltd has 4 percent stake while a unit of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) holds 10 percent stake. The Area 1 covers roughly 10,000 square kilometre area and is located in northernmost part of offshore Mozambique Rovuma Basin. According to OVL, second and final exploration phase for Area-1 ended on January 31, 2015 and have resulted in five discoveries, with combined recoverable resource of about 60 trillion cubic feet. Area-1 represents one of the largest natural gas discoveries in offshore East Africa and has the potential to become one of the worlds largest LNG producing hubs. Area-1 plans to develop initially two LNG trains of capacity 6 million tonnes per annum each.

    Source: India Today

    NATIONAL: COAL

    Smelter plant production not cut due to coal crisis: NALCO

    October 24, 2017. A day after the coal ministry rejected NALCO (National Aluminium Company Ltd)'s claim of the dry fuel shortage, the Navratna PSU (public sector undertaking) said it has not cut any production at its smelter plant due to "coal crisis". The company was replying to the clarification sought by the bourses on media reports regarding coal shortage faced by NALCO. It is true that there is an issue of coal across the nation and IPPs (independent power plants) are being given priority over the CPPs (captive power plants) over the supply of coal, NALCO said.  The supply of fuel to Nalco is mainly from Bharatpur opencast mines of Talcher Coalfield of MCL (Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd) - a Coal India Ltd arm, the ministry said.

    Source: Business Standard

    CIL raises supplies 17 percent in September as coal demand spikes

    October 23, 2017. Fuel supply to power stations from Coal India Ltd (CIL)'s mines has risen 17% in September to 32 million tonnes (mt) from 27.4 mt in the year-ago period as the government scrambled to meet spike in demand as a result of thermal power stations stepping up operations to meet shortfall from other sources. According to the coal ministry, CIL's supplies to power stations was 6.8% higher at 205.5 mt in the April-September period than the previous corresponding period. CIL is the anchor source for coal, accounting for 80% of supplies. The Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line was shut on safety fears just when CIL was in the middle of reducing its pithead stocks by pulling back production. Next, unprecedented rains hit Central Coalfields Ltd production.

    Source: The Times of India

    Coal supply improved in Maharashtra: MAHAGENCO

    October 18, 2017. Electricity generator MAHAGENCO (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company) said the coal stock situation is improving in Maharashtra as the companies supplying the fuel to it have overcome the monsoon calamities. Since September, due to untimely rains and shortage of coal stock with MAHAGENCO, the power production declined resulting in state distribution company Mahadiscom (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company) resorting to load shedding for almost 8-10 hours. It said the situation improved especially after a high level joint meeting chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with officials from MAHAGENCO, Coal India Ltd (CIL) and India Railways. Through these measures, MAHAGENCO is in a position to increase its power generation by 800-1000 MW per day in comparison with that in previous month. Load shedding had started in Maharashtra in September due to coal shortage in thermal plants supplying power to Mahadiscom.

    Source: Business Standard

    NATIONAL: POWER

    BHEL bags India's largest power contract worth Rs 204 bn from Telangana

    October 23, 2017. Telangana State Power Generation Corp Ltd has placed Rs 20,400 crore order on BHEL. The contract for Yadadri thermal power plant comprising five units of 800 MW supercritical sets, is not only the single-largest order for BHEL but also the highest value order ever placed in the power sector in India. BHEL has so far contributed equipment for 86 percent of the coal-based power generation capacity installed in Telangana. Tamilnadu had earlier awarded contracts for 800 MW Kothagudem and 1,080 MW Bhadradri power projects to BHEL, which are under execution.

    Source: The Economic Times

    9.33 percent hike in Punjab power tariffs

    October 23, 2017. Power tariffs are set to go up in Punjab with the regulator Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) announcing a 9.33 percent hike in electricity rates for 2017-18. The hike will be implemented with effect from April 1 this year. However, increase in electricity charges will be recovered from consumers in instalments over a period of nine months, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) Chairperson Kusumjit Sidhu said. Sidhu said the consolidated gap of Punjab State Power Corp Ltd was worked out at ₹ 2,522.62 crore against power utility’s proposal of ₹11,575.53 crore. The hike in power tariff was announced after a gap of three years, Sidhu said. The Commission this year decided to introduce a two-part tariff structure in the new tariff order for all categories except for agriculture sector. For industrial sector, the power tariff has been increased by 8.50 percent to 12 percent while for commercial category, the electricity rates have been jacked up by 8 percent to 11 percent, Sidhu said.

    Source: The Hindu Business Line

    Karnataka to purchase 1 GW power to tide over peak summer demand

    October 22, 2017. The state government has set in motion processes to invite tenders for purchase of 1000 MW power to tide over the demand that is expected to peak from December onwards. While Karnataka Power Corp Ltd (KPCL) is confident of managing peak summer load during 2018 with existing arrangements, the government is not willing to take chances with power outages at critical juncture and hurt the image of brand Bengaluru with a power deficit scenario, Karnataka Power Minister D K Shivakumar said.

    Source: The Times of India

    UP government taking various steps to improve power situation in state

    October 22, 2017. Uttar Pradesh (UP) government is taking slew of measures to improve power supply to the people of the state, counting on initiatives like trust billing system and e solution app. In trust billing system, consumer would be offered the facility of self billing like filing of income tax return. However, its misuse would invite punitive action, including heavy penalty, Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said. Moreover, existing meters would be replaced by "smart meters" in order to monitor the power used by consumer, he disclosed. For ensuring proper roaster and adequate power supply in rural areas, he said, monitoring of line loss in feeder system would be the priority. He expects encouraging results with the introduction of e. solution app, facebook, twitter, Whatsapp in his department adding that introduction of toll free number (1912) would become an added advantage to consumer. He said not only import capacity of power has been enhanced from 8,100 MW to 10,000 MW but also the capacity of power been increased from 18,500 MW to 22,000 MW. He said priority of the government is on recovery of arrears, providing 2.10 crore new connections, electricity in 75 mazars, ensuring installation of meter in every house, upgrading the transformers and replacing old line with the new ones.

    Source: Business Today

    Madhya Pradesh consumes 7 percent more power this Diwali

    October 20, 2017. Madhya Pradesh supplied 7 percent more power on Diwali compared to last year on the festival day. On Diwali, the Madhya Power Management Company Ltd supplied 20.49 crore units of power, which is seven percent more when compared to last year’s supply of 19.21 crore units, the company said. On Diwali this year, the maximum demand for electricity load was registered at 9,249 MW, while it was 8,733 MW on the day of Diwali last year, the company said. On the day of ‘Narak Choudas’ (observed on October 18 this year), the state consumed 20.69 crore units of power, which is also six percent more as compared to last year’s supply of 19.44 crore units on that day, Shukla said. The electricity consumed on the day of ‘Dhanteras’ (October 17) was 20.76 crore units, the company said. The demand was met by drawing power from thermal, hydro, central sector, independent power producers and other sources, the company said.

    Source: The Financial Express

    Soon, like mobile number you may also port your power supplier

    October 18, 2017. The government plans to give electricity consumers the freedom to choose the supplier by enacting a new law that will bring the long-awaited system similar to mobile number portability. It plans to table the necessary bill in the winter session of Parliament that begins in the third week of November, although it has faced resistance from states. Several state distribution companies are keen to protect their monopolistic position, without which consumers can shift to the suppliers they trust. The new bill will usher in competition, which analysts say will attract investors apart from giving consumers reliable supply at affordable rates and reducing losses. The proposal, to separate electricity supply and network maintenance services and introduce multiple licensees for a single area by amending the Electricity Act 2003, has been in works for last many years. The proposal is similar to mobile number portability where consumers can switch to a telecom operator of their choice. Currently, the power distribution utilities are responsible for operating and maintaining distribution system in their licensed areas. Segregation of the network maintenance and electricity distribution businesses is seen as an important reform for improvement in quality of electricity supply services. Earlier the government had planned specific timelines for opening up the retail electricity sector.

    Source: The Economic Times

    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    NTPC searches for buyer for Kadapa Solar Park’s electricity

    October 24, 2017. Six months after it conducted a solar auction of 250 MW at the Kadapa Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh, NTPC Ltd has still not been able to find a buyer for the power the project will produce. All 250 MW at the April auction were won by SolaireDirect, a subsidiary of the French energy giant Engie, quoting a tariff of Rs 3.15 per kilowatt hour (kWh), which was a record low at the time. But so far Engie has not even received a Letter of Award (LoA) from NTPC confirming that it had been allotted the project. Usually, the power purchase agreement (PPA) with the winner of an auction is signed within a validity period of two months after the auction. But in this case, no PPA has yet been signed, and the validity period was recently extended for the third time – this time for a month – till mid-November. Engie currently has around 325.6 MW of commissioned solar projects in India and is building another 140 MW project at the Bhadla Solar Park.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Supreme Court bans use of dirtier coal alternative in New Delhi area

    October 24, 2017. The Supreme Court banned the use of petroleum coke, a dirtier alternative to coal, in and around New Delhi in a bid to clean the air in one of the world’s most polluted cities. The court, which recently banned the sale of firecrackers in the New Delhi area, also ordered a ban on the sale and use of furnace oil - another dirty refinery by-product - in and around the capital and ordered implementation of strict emission norms by the end of December. The order comes after the Environment Protection Authority (EPCA), a government-appointed body, in April recommended to the court that it ban the fuels due to high sulphur levels. India is the world’s biggest consumer of petroleum coke, a dark solid composed mainly of carbon, which emits 11 percent more greenhouse gases than coal, according to the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Annual demand for the fuel, which is more energy efficient than coal, has nearly doubled over the past four years to more than 27 million tonnes. Indian health ministry data shows that respiratory issues killed about 10 people per day in the year ended March 2017 in the National Capital Region - a rapidly urbanizing and polluted area around New Delhi that is a third the size of New York state, but houses 2.5 times more people. Those deaths could be the result of pollution from many sources, including coal, or have other causes. The ban on the sale and use of petroleum coke, which will be effective from November 1, could hit the country’s small and medium scale industries, which employ millions of workers and operate on thin margins.

    Source: Reuters

    TRAI for 40 percent carbon emission cut in telecom networks by 2023

    October 23, 2017. The Telecom Regulatory Authoritry of India (TRAI) recommended 40 percent carbon emission reduction in telecom network by 2022-23 with base year being 2011-12. The regulator has also suggested that the government should pass all the benefits granted under various schemes for using renewable energy technologies to telecom operators. TRAI has given target of 5 percent by the year 2012-2013, 8 percent by the year 2014-2015, 12 percent by the year 2016-2017 and 17 percent by the year 2018-2019 for carbon emission reduction. TRAI said that since the 2017-18 is ongoing, there should be target given for carbon emission reduction in next 34 years and after which the recommendations and targets could be reviewed. TRAI has recommended that the telecom operators should voluntarily adopt the renewable energy technology (RET) solutions, energy efficient equipments and high capacity fast charging storage solutions etc to meet the target for reduction of carbon footprint.

    Source: Business Standard

    India tops global pollution deaths of 9 mn a year

    October 19, 2017. Pollution caused nine million deaths in 2015 - three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined - scientists said, calling for governments in poor countries to act. India fared worst, with 2.5 million people dying early because of pollution, followed by China with 1.8 million deaths, according to The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, a two-year initiative seeking to highlight the issue. Exposure to high levels of air pollution, especially over many years, can affect human respiratory and inflammatory systems, and can lead to heart disease, stoke and lung cancer. Billions in developing countries cook on open fires with wood or coal, exposing people - mainly women and children - to dangerous fumes. But rapidly industrialising nations are worst affected and regulation could help to protect health as they develop, the commission said.

    Source: Reuters

    Mahindra Susten to build India's 1st battery-backed solar project in Andaman

    October 19, 2017. Mahindra Susten, a part of the Mahindra & Mahindra group, is close to setting up India’s first battery-backed solar power project of utility scale in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The company has emerged lowest bidder in a tender invited by state run-NLC, beating Adani Group, Hero Future Energies, among others with a bid of Rs 288 crore. As a part of a government initiative to encourage battery-backed solar power project, two other public sector companies — Solar Energy Corporation in India and NTPC — were to award similar projects but have scrapped it after inviting bids. Mahindra Susten said that the project will receive a grant of Rs 100 crore from the government, which would lower the effective tariff to Rs 8 a unit. India's solar-power capacity has grown exponentially to around 14 GW and the government has set an ambitious target of 100 GW by 2020, but storage has been a missing link thus far and the government is now acknowledging the need for it.

    Source: The Economic Times

    SIFF opposes 10 GW hydro project over Siang River in Arunachal

    October 18, 2017. Organisations in Siang in Arunachal Pradesh have opposed setting up of the 10,000 MW power project over Siang River. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with his state cabinet colleagues recently attended a presentation by NITI Aayog on proposed Multipurpose River Valley Project for Siang River. The proposed project is estimated to be 300 metre high dam with power generation capacity of 10000 MW. Being a multipurpose project, it will moderate flood and erosion providing relief in downstream river reaches of Arunachal and Assam. Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) has opposed the project and stated NITI Aayog has decided to merge Stage I and Stage II of the power project over river Siang, which will submerge over 100 villages and affect lakhs of people and their livelihood in Siang river valley in the state as well as in downstream areas of Assam.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India's largest floating solar power plant ready at Wayanad in Kerala

    October 18, 2017. The construction works of the largest floating solar plant in the country have been completed at the Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad. The 500 kWp (kilowatt peak) solar plant of the KSEB floats on 6,000 square metres of water surface of the reservoir. The outlay for the project is Rs 9.25 crore. The solar photovoltaic panels of the floating solar farm have been installed on 18 floating platforms made of ferrocement floaters with hollow insides. KSEB said that they were waiting for the availability of Chief Minister to inaugurate the plant possibly by next month. Thiruvananthapuram-based Adtech Systems Ltd, which set up the plant, said that the plant would be able to generate 7.5 lakh units of power annually, which will be fed to the KSEB grid using underwater cables.

    Source: The Economic Times

    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    IEA sees Southeast Asia oil demand growing until at least 2040

    October 24, 2017. Southeast Asian demand for oil will keep growing until at least 2040 as emerging nations there rely on the fossil fuel to transport their rapidly growing populations, ship goods and make plastics, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Oil usage in the region will expand to around 6.6 million barrels per day by 2040 from 4.7 million bpd now, with the number of road vehicles increasing by two-thirds to around 62 million, the agency said in a report. It did not make any forecasts beyond 2040. A global push to replace combustion engines in vehicles with electric-powered ones to fight climate change has raised concerns in the oil industry that demand for the commodity could peak in the next 10-20 years. But oil will continue to meet around 90 percent of transport-related demand in Southeast Asia, especially for trucks and ships, Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s director of energy markets and security, said. Oil demand from the petrochemicals sector, one of the largest users of the fossil fuel, will also grow fairly substantially, Sadamori said. Southeast Asia will have to fork out more than $300 billion in 2040 for net energy imports, equivalent to about 4 percent of the region’s total gross domestic product, the IEA said.

    Source: Reuters

    Nigeria's 650k bpd Dangote refinery seen onstream by end 2019

    October 24, 2017. A refinery with capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil being built in Nigeria is due to come onstream by the end of 2019, Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said. State oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) last year launched bidding to find partners to overhaul its ailing refineries, which hardly produce any petrol due to decades of mismanagement and widespread graft, leaving OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) member Nigeria reliant on imported oil products. Kachikwu said Nigeria was close to finalising the process for private partners to revamp three existing refineries, adding a total of 450,000 bpd, part of the effort by Africa’s biggest economy to reduce its reliance on imports. Kachikwu said 26 firms had indicated their interest in the revamp projects that will require investment of $2 billion. The government has previously said it was in talks with Chevron, Total and ENI. Kachikwu said that Nigeria aimed to lift oil output in January to 1.8 million bpd from about 1.6 million to 1.7 million bpd now, but would not breach a ceiling agreed with the OPEC. He also said oil prices were now encouraging but OPEC had not ruled out further cuts to shore up the market. OPEC, Russia and other producers cut oil output by about 1.8 million bpd since January. The pact runs to March 2018, but they are considering extending it.

    Source: Reuters

    Oil demand will increase in 2030-2040: Saudi Crown Prince

    October 24, 2017. Demand for oil will increase between 2030 to 2040 because there will be a need from petrochemical and other industries, not just for energy production, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia holds spot as China's top oil supplier for seventh month

    October 24, 2017. Russia held on to its position as China’s top crude oil supplier ahead of Angola and Saudi Arabia for the seventh straight month in September, with shipments hitting a record as refiners rushed to buy lower-sulfur oil to meet cleaner fuels standards. Imports from Russia last month were almost 6.35 million tonnes, or 1.545 million barrels per day (bpd), up 60.5 percent from the same month last year, according to the General Administration of Customs data. For the first three quarters, crude volumes from Russia gained 18 percent year-on-year to nearly 45 million tonnes, or 1.2 million bpd, also holding firm its top ranking. The lower cost of Russian crude and China’s shift to cleaner diesel was the key driver behind the record Russian oil purchases. Meanwhile Angola, China’s second largest source of crude, supplied 11.7 percent more oil than a year earlier at 4.677 million tonnes, or 1.14 million bpd. Angola also maintained the second spot for the January-September supplies ahead of Saudi. Supplies from Saudi Arabia were up 9.6 percent last month year-on-year at 4.276 million tonnes, or about 1.04 million bpd. Russian supplies could climb further next year as privately run conglomerate CEFC China Energy agreed earlier this month to buy 220,000 to 260,000 bpd of oil from Rosneft, as part of a $9.1 billion investment in the world’s largest listed oil company. China’s total crude oil imports in September climbed to the second highest on record at around 9 million bpd, buoyed by purchases from CNOOC and as independent refineries returned from maintenances.

    Source: Reuters

    Russian Energy Minister to discuss global oil deal with Saudi Energy Minister in November

    October 24, 2017. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he plans to discuss a possible extension of the global oil output cut deal and the general situation on world oil markets with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih in Riyadh in early November.

    Source: Reuters

    Saudi and Iraq satisfied with oil market recovery

    October 22, 2017. Saudi Arabia and Iraq expressed satisfaction with the orientation of the global oil market towards recovery as a result of a deal to boost prices by limiting production. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), Russia and a number of other oil producers are cutting output until March 2018 in an effort to boost the price of crude. Saudi Arabia and Iraq are respectively the biggest and second-biggest producers in the OPEC.

    Source: Reuters

    Russia's Rosneft to take control of Iraqi Kurdish pipeline amid crisis

    October 20, 2017. Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, has agreed to take control of Iraqi Kurdistan’s main oil pipeline, boosting its investment in the autonomous region to $3.5 billion despite Baghdad’s military action sparked by a Kurdish vote for independence. The move appears to be part of a strategy by President Vladimir Putin to boost Moscow’s Middle Eastern political and economic influence, which was weakened by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rosneft said it would own 60 percent of the pipeline, with current operator KAR Group retaining 40 percent. Rosneft’s investment in the project was expected to total about $1.8 billion. Kurdish oil exports face the worst disruption in months and are running at only a third of capacity, threatening repayments to Rosneft and other major creditors, including top trading houses such as Glencore and Vitol. Kurdistan has borrowed around $4 billion from Rosneft, traders and Turkey, guaranteed by future oil sales.

    Source: Reuters

    Chevron approves new tech investment to raise output at North Sea field

    October 20, 2017. US oil major Chevron has approved an investment to increase output from its Captain oilfield by using a new water-injection technology for the first time in the North Sea, the company said. Six long-reach horizontal wells will be drilled in the 20-year-old field, around 90 miles northeast of Aberdeen. They are expected to raise the recovery rate 5 to 7 percent. Polymerised water will be injected into the field’s oil reservoir, a new technique to tap oil reserves that are hard to reach with conventional drilling methods. It will be the first time the technology has been applied on this scale in the North Sea. The polymer injection wells will come on stream from 2018 to 2021. Chevron is the operator of the field and owns 85 percent of it. Dana Petroleum holds a 15 percent stake. Oil and gas output from Britain’s part of the North Sea has dropped since the turn of the century as old fields are depleted and investment in new projects dwindles. However, some oil companies, like Chevron, are investing in new technologies to reach resources that were previously unavailable, helping British oil and gas production to rise slightly over the past two years.

    Source: Reuters

    Vitol set to acquire Noble Group's oil liquids business

    October 20, 2017. Vitol Group, the world’s largest oil trader, is nearing a deal to buy Noble Group’s global oil liquids business, which analysts had valued at about $1 billion. Once Asia’s biggest commodities trading house, Noble is slashing jobs and selling assets as it slims drastically to cut debt after a crisis-wracked two years. Hong Kong-based Noble flagged that it expects to sell its capital-intensive oil liquids business by the end of December, pushing back the timeline by a few months. Noble is a big player in the global physical oil market, trading crude and refined products. But its operations shrank this year due to higher prices and liquidity constraints.

    Source: Reuters

    Mexico expects to hold a third O&G auction in 2018

    October 20, 2017. Mexico’s oil regulator will likely add another auction in 2018 featuring conventional onshore oil and gas (O&G) blocks, the head of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) said. The bid terms will be announced later this year or in early 2018 while contracts will likely be awarded by the summer. The onshore tender is in addition to a deep-water Gulf auction expected to attract in January some of the world’s biggest producers, as well as a March shallow water auction. The CNH has run eight oil auctions to date, awarding 72 exploration and production contracts to more than 60 companies. The contracts are seen generating almost $61 billion in investment over their lifetime. New regulation to establish how operators of two different blocks should produce oil from a single shared reservoir was recently finished by authorities and is now under public consultation, Mexico’s Deputy Energy Minister Aldo Flores said. The well Zama-1 containing over 1 billion barrels of oil in place discovered in July by US firm Talos Energy and its partners in Mexico’s shallow water could extend into a Pemex area, Zepeda said.

    Source: Reuters

    US diesel margins to drive refiner profits for third quarter and beyond

    October 19, 2017. US (United States) refiners are set to blow past quarterly earnings expectations after margins surged to a two-year peak on the back of a crippling hurricane season that squeezed already tight gasoline and diesel supplies. A series of hurricanes, most notably Harvey, which struck Texas in late August sapped demand for crude oil and led to crushing gasoline lines in various parts of the US Southeast and Midwest. However, those supply interruptions boosted margins for refiners, suddenly presented with lower crude oil costs and a big jump in gasoline and diesel prices. It came after a summer when refiners surprisingly reduced their volumes of distillates - heating oil, diesel, jet fuel and kerosene - just before demand for those products ramps up in the fall and winter. Refiners such as Valero Energy and PBF Energy will continue to ride healthy diesel margins in the coming months amid post-hurricane recovery efforts and sustained exports that will keep supplies at some of the lowest levels in years, analysts said. Diesel margins rose about 50 percent during the third quarter, the biggest jump seasonally in six years, as overall volumes fell by about 10 percent to a two-year low.

    Source: Reuters

    African Petroleum seeks arbitration over Gambia oil dispute

    October 18, 2017. African Petroleum Corp has begun arbitration proceedings over Gambia’s decision to strip the company of its rights to explore for oil in two offshore areas. Licence area blocks A1 and A4 are thought to contain up to 3 billion barrels of oil and lie next to licences in neighbouring Senegal, where big discoveries have been made. Gambia said that African Petroleum’s licences had expired and were now open for relicensing, accusing the company of failing to meet its commitments -- charges denied by African Petroleum. Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang said that Gambian authorities had been notified of African Petroleum’s move to seek arbitration but could not comment until the justice ministry had a chance to study the case.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraqi Kurdistan faces first major oil outage since referendum

    October 18, 2017. Iraq’s Kurdistan’s oil exports more than halved in the first major supply disruption since the independence referendum as Iraqi military retook some of the biggest fields from Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces. Kurdish oil exports from the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan have dropped to just 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to normal flows of 600,000 bpd with both Kurdish and Iraqi sources citing technical glitches in the Kirkuk area. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the advance on the two fields in the wake of the independence referendum by the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    Gaz-System plans to increase the Polish-German gas interconnection capacity

    October 23, 2017. The Polish natural gas transmission system operator (TSO) Gaz-System is preparing a proposal to reinforce the incremental Polish-German interconnection capacity. The company drafted a joint proposal with the German TSO Ontras Gastransport GmbH to enable the shipment of Polish natural gas to the German Gaspool network. The project proposes to auction the incremental capacity together with the already existing capacity of the 1.5 billion cubic meters per year Lasów interconnection point

    Source: Enerdata

    Engie in talks with Total as it reviews part of its LNG business

    October 23, 2017. French gas utility Engie is in discussions with Total and other unnamed companies as it reviews parts of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) businesses, it said, raising the prospect of a possible sale. Engie said it had launched a strategic review of its upstream and midstream LNG units - which include the liquefaction, transport and trading of LNG - though downstream activities such as regasification was not included. Engie Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Isabelle Kocher is in the midst of a restructuring that includes €15 billion ($18 billion) worth of asset sales and €22 billion of investment. Total plans to start retailing gas and power in France by the end of this year and aims to win about 2 million customers.

    Source: Reuters

    South Africa commits to shale gas despite adverse court ruling

    October 19, 2017. South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said the government remains committed to shale gas exploration despite a court order revoking fracking regulations that pushes back plans to award the first exploration licenses by 2019. Farmers lobby AgriSA had said earlier that the High Court had issued an order quashing regulations governing proposed shale gas fracking in the Eastern Cape, one of the main areas where proposed shale gas exploration could take place. The ruling to quash the regulations marked the latest setback to South Africa’s shale gas ambitions after a scientific study published last month suggested its Karoo Basin probably has a fraction of estimated deposits, deflating expectations of an energy bonanza. Africa’s most industrialized economy has been hoping to find sufficient shale gas resources to exploit on a commercial basis.

    Source: Reuters

    South Korea's regulator weighing whether to start probe into LNG destination clauses

    October 19, 2017. South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) is considering whether to start a probe into clauses in liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts that restrict buyers from reselling the fuel to other markets, the energy ministry said. Long-term LNG contracts include these terms, known as ‘destination clauses’, that prevent buyers from reselling excess cargoes to third parties, and Asian LNG buyers have been vocal about seeking their removal. South Korea is the world’s second-biggest LNG importer behind Japan. South Korea imports most of its LNG through the country’s sole LNG wholesaler Korea Gas Corp, which brings in around 30-31 million tonnes per year of LNG, mainly from Qatar and Australia.

    Source: Reuters

    Indonesia to extend Inpex's Masela LNG contract by 27 yrs from 2028

    October 19, 2017. Indonesia has agreed with Japan’s Inpex to extend the company’s contract to operate the Masela liquefied natural gas (LNG) field in the country’s east by up to 27 years once it expires in 2028, the energy ministry said. Indonesian President Joko Widodo in March 2016 rejected a $15 billion plan by Inpex and its partner Royal Dutch Shell to develop what would have been the world’s largest floating LNG facility to process gas from Masela, saying an onshore plant would benefit the local economy more. Inpex subsequently asked to increase output from the LNG plant to 9.5 million tonnes per year, but the government has pushed the company to set aside a larger portion of the gas via a pipeline to domestic buyers. Inpex is also working with BP, Mitsubishi, China National Offshore Oil Co, Sumitomo and Sojitz on an $8 billion expansion of the Tangguh project in West Papua province that will boost annual LNG production capacity there by 50 percent. Indonesia’s gas demand has been in decline in recent years, and questions remain around how quickly Southeast Asia’s largest economy can develop infrastructure to absorb gas from these projects.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China Datang says has enough coal supplies for winter

    October 23, 2017. China’s Datang Corp has 28 days of coal stocks for its power plants, enough for winter consumption, the company’s general manager Chen Feihu said, brushing off concerns that utilities could not secure coal supplies for winter. That amount of supply is higher than China’s five major utilities were storing at this time last year. Overall Datang has abundant coal supplies but power plants in the three north-eastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin still face some tightness, Chen said. Chen said Datang will build a large-size coal reserve center in Heilongjiang, to help safeguard coal supplies for the area, without giving the amount of capacity. Chen expects coal prices to return to a reasonable range as the government looks to increase coal mining capacity from mines with more advanced production technology.

    Source: Reuters

    China offers power plants incentives to sign long-term coal supply deals

    October 20, 2017. China’s state planner the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said it will allow power plants to send more electricity to the grid if they sign more long-term coal supply contracts with miners in Beijing’s latest move to help calm a red-hot coal market. Long-term supply deals between utilities and coal producers will help calm volatile coal prices, the NDRC said. Coal prices remain high as utilities look to book winter supplies in the peak demand period for the fuel. The rising prices, increasing safety checks and low domestic production rates have all added to concerns that supply may tighten. The NDRC urged utilities to sign long-term purchase contracts with coal producers for next year as early as they can to secure enough supplies for this winter.

    Source: Reuters

    Indonesia's Adaro sees stable coal prices in 2018

    October 20, 2017. Garibaldi Thohir, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PT Adaro Energy Tbk, Indonesia’s second biggest coal miner by production, said he expects coal prices to be relatively stable in 2018. Coal production in Indonesia, the world’s top thermal coal exporter, is expected to increase 5 percent in 2017 and 2018 from an estimated 440 million tonnes in 2016. Domestic consumption is expected to reach 101 million tonnes this year. Coal is around 57 percent of the country’s energy mix, although the government wants to roughly double the share of renewable energy by 2025. Thohir said domestic and Southeast Asian coal demand was “quite strong”, but he did not expect big price fluctuations in 2018. Thohir said Adaro expected to keep its output “stable” in 2018, compared with targeted production of 52-54 million tonnes in 2017. Adaro is developing 2,200 MW of coal-fired power plants and aims to expand that to as much as 4,000 MW of capacity within five years, Thohir said.

    Source: Reuters

    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    China's Shanghai Electric near deal for Brazil transmission project

    October 24, 2017. A unit of China’s Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd is near closing a deal to take over a power transmission project in southern Brazil owned by a subsidiary of Eletrobras (Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA). The project in Rio Grande do Sul state requires roughly 3.3 billion reais ($1.0 billion) in investment and had originally been awarded to the Eletrobras unit Eletrosul (Eletrosul Centrais Eletricas SA). Eletrobras said that the companies had reached a non-binding agreement. The deal follows a spree of Chinese acquisitions in the Brazilian power sector. State Grid Corp of China has become Brazil’s second largest electricity transmission company while China Three Gorges Corp is the country’s No. 2 private power generation firm, according to China’s embassy in Brasilia.

    Source: Reuters

    Fluor wins contract to support power grid repair in Puerto Rico

    October 19, 2017. Fluor has been awarded a contract by the US Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville (Alabama) Engineering Center to help restore electric power to Puerto Rico. The six-month single award task order is valued at approximately $240 million. Fluor’s unique combination of government contingency operations and power experience, along with its 50-year presence in Puerto Rico, will enable ongoing efforts to repair transmission and distribution lines. The contract includes equipment evaluation and repair, as well as work towards the re-energization and recommissioning of substations and switching stations.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    US sets antidumping duties on Argentine, Indonesian biodiesel

    October 24, 2017. The United States (US) Commerce Department set preliminary antidumping duties on imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia, after an initial finding that the products used as motor fuel were being sold at prices below market value in the US. The antidumping duties set range from 54.36 percent to 70.05 percent on soy-based biodiesel from Argentina, and 50.71 percent on palm oil biodiesel from Indonesia, the Commerce Department said. Argentina’s foreign ministry said the new duties would have little impact because preliminary countervailing duties of as much as 64.17 percent that had been applied in August already made “access to the US market impossible.” The Argentine government was working toward an agreement to suspend both the antidumping and the subsidies investigations, the ministry said. Argentina’s government is negotiating a minimum price for its biodiesel that it hopes could replace punitive tariffs, the ministry said. In 2016, imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia were valued at an estimated $1.2 billion and $268 million, respectively, according to the Commerce Department.

    Source: Reuters

    South Korea to resume building two new nuclear reactors, but scraps plans for 6 others

    October 24, 2017. South Korea will resume the suspended construction of two new nuclear reactors from midnight, its energy ministry said, but has torn up plans to build six more reactors as Seoul seeks to meet pledges to cut reliance on nuclear power. The move will restart work on the two reactors that was frozen after President Moon Jae-in came to power in May on a ticket calling for scaling back nuclear power. It comes after results of a survey unveiled found a majority of South Koreans actually backed the projects. The world’s fifth-biggest nuclear energy user currently runs 24 nuclear reactors, generating a third of the country’s total electricity needs. But in a bid to press on with Moon’s commitment to boost use of natural gas and renewable sources in the nation’s energy mix, the ministry said Seoul will also cancel all plans to construct a further six nuclear reactors. The ministry said it will use alternative fuels such as solar and wind power to replace the six nuclear reactors with a projected combined capacity of 8.8 GW.

    Source: Reuters

    Pennsylvania Governor seeks relief for local refiners from renewable fuel rule

    October 23, 2017. Pennsylvania’s Governor asked US (United States) President Donald Trump to ease up on the state’s oil refiners by waiving a rule requiring them to add renewable fuel to their products, following a week of pressure from farm-belt politicians not to change the rule, according to a letter released to the public. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, wrote to Trump, a Republican, asking him to urge the US Environmental Protection Agency to waive the renewable fuel requirement for all refiners in the US Northeast until prices fall in a market where renewable fuel credits are traded. The market, where refiners can buy Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits to comply with their renewable fuel obligation, has attracted speculators, driving RIN prices higher. The EPA had begun to mull reducing the amount of US biofuels fuel companies would have to add to their fuel supply, but the agency backed off a series of proposed changes to the nation’s biofuels policy after a massive backlash from corn-state lawmakers worried the moves would undercut ethanol demand.

    Source: Reuters

    EBRD and partners grant $335 mn funding for Egyptian solar projects

    October 23, 2017. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and development partners have granted $335 mn in financing package for the construction of the Norwegian developer Scatec Solar's 300 MW projects in Egypt. The project comprises six 50 MW solar plants at the Benban complex in Upper Egypt. It is expected to be the largest solar installation, with a planned total capacity of 1.8 GW, in Africa. Earlier, EBRD announced its plan to fund $500 mn for 16 Egyptian renewable energy projects with a combined generation capacity of 750 MW.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    Brazil’s Petrobras applies to swap environmental fines for services

    October 23, 2017. Brazil’s Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has applied to federal environmental agency Ibama to provide environmental protection services in exchange for wiping out all its fines for environmental offenses. Petrobras did not say how much it owes in environmental fines, which generally are for oil spills off the Brazilian coast.

    Source: Reuters

    EPA abandons changes to US biofuel program after lawmaker pressure

    October 20, 2017. The United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has backed off a series of proposed changes to the nation’s biofuels policy after a massive backlash from corn-state lawmakers worried the moves would undercut ethanol demand, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the letter dated October 19. Pruitt said that the agency will keep renewable fuel volume mandates for next year at or above proposed levels, reversing a previous move to open the door to cuts. The move marks a big win for the biofuels industry and lawmakers from corn-states like Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois, while dealing a blow to merchant refiners like PBF Energy Inc and Valero Energy Corp who hoped the administration of President Donald Trump would help provide regulatory relief. The letter could end uncertainty about the future of the US Renewable Fuel Standard that has roiled commodity and energy markets for months. The program, which requires refineries to blend increasing amounts of ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply or buy credits from those who do, appeared on the verge of a massive overhaul. Pruitt said the EPA would not pursue another idea floated by EPA leadership that would have allowed exported ethanol to be counted toward those volume quotas. Pruitt said the EPA did not believe a proposal to shift the biofuels blending obligation away from refiners was appropriate.

    Source: Reuters

    Solar industry fears for thousands of jobs should US impose import restrictions

    October 20, 2017. Singapore-headquartered solar panel maker REC hopes to be exempt from potential US (United States) restrictions on imports following a recent trade finding that said no significant injury to the US had been caused by makers including those from Australia, Canada and Singapore. US President Donald Trump is expected to announce by early next year measures which his administration will take to limit imports after the US International Trade Commission (USITC) found in September that US panel makers had been harmed by cheap imports. Many companies have warned that a solar trade dispute involving potential import tariffs between the US and other countries could cost thousands of jobs and slow down the development of the clean energy technology. The USITC in September found injury from imports from several countries with which it has free trade agreements (FTA), including Mexico and South Korea. Still, REC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve O‘Neil said the industry was watching closely. More than 90 percent of the world’s solar panel-making capacity is in Asia, with China accounting for 70 percent of the output followed by southeast Asia, O‘Neil said. The company has production capacity of 1.5 GW and sells about half of its panels in the US, 30 percent to Europe and the rest in Asia. Despite the concentration in Asia, O‘Neil said the global solar market remained fragmented, with hundreds of panel makers competing and no single firm having a market share of more than 8 percent. The world is expected to add up to 100 GW of solar power capacity this year that will bring the cumulative installed capacity to 300-350 GW, O‘Neil said. Besides the US, REC sees India, Europe and Southeast Asia as growing markets to tap, he said.

    Source: Reuters

    Engie targets Africa with home solar acquisition

    October 19, 2017. French gas utility Engie has bought a Ugandan home solar systems company to expand in sub-Saharan Africa by providing power to millions of people who have no access to electricity. Engie said that it had acquired Fenix International, which sells home solar kits financed through tiny regular payments by mobile phone. It declined to disclose the cost of the deal. Though Engie has 3,000 MW of renewable energy and gas-fired power assets in operation or under construction in Morocco and South Africa, and its Tractebel business sells energy services across Africa, the group has no retail customers in the region.

    Source: Reuters

    EU agrees measure to safeguard carbon market from Brexit

    October 19, 2017. EU (European Union) lawmakers and member states have agreed ways to safeguard the carbon market if Britain leaves the emissions trading scheme as a result of Brexit. The deal seeks to prevent a mass selloff in the carbon market if British companies suddenly find themselves out of it. Britain is the EU’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and its utilities are among the largest buyers of carbon permits. Under the EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS), which charges power plants and factories for the carbon dioxide they emit, the EU would void permits issued by a country leaving the bloc from January 2018 onward. But having had a say in how the ETS is shaped, most analysts believe Britain will remain part of the system, following a similar path to Norway. Despite not being an EU member, Norway has companies that participate in the scheme. Slow progress in Brexit talks has increased the possibility of a messy break-up that could leave British businesses with little legal clarity on emissions. The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which represents global participants in emissions trading schemes such as banks, utilities and industrials, said its preferred scenario would be for Britain and the EU to agree on continued participation by UK (United Kingdom) companies in the ETS until the end of 2020 at a minimum.

    Source: Reuters

    Dutch will miss 2020 green energy, climate targets

    October 19, 2017. The Netherlands will miss 2020 targets for renewable energy production and greenhouse gas emissions despite new investments in wind power, according to a government review published. Based on current projections, green schemes will produce 12.4 percent of the Dutch energy supply by that year, below a 14-percent target agreed with the European Union, the review said. The projects that are in place will have cut damaging emissions by 23 percent from 1990 levels, missing a 25-percent goal agreed in the Kyoto Protocol, it said.

    Source: Reuters

    In oil-producing Iran, renewables are booming

    October 19, 2017. Renewable energy is booming in Iran, where installed capacity is expected to grow at least sevenfold over the next five years, despite US (United States) President Donald Trump’s more confrontational attitude towards Tehran. Iran’s latest deal was signed, when Norway’s Saga Energy concluded a $2.9 billion deal to build solar power plants in the oil-producing country. That gives Iran agreements with 124 companies, most of them European, to install 2,380 MW in renewable capacity, in addition to the 340 MW currently in place, according to data from Iran’s energy ministry. They range from wind power to solar farms and hydropower dams to burning biomass and waste to heat homes. Iran is a signatory of the 2015 Paris climate agreement committing 195 nations to limit their carbon emissions. Dutch energy firm Global Renewables Investments (GRI) plans to build up solar and wind farms that could produce up to 1.7 GW of electricity.

    Source: Reuters

    Denmark’s Vestas to build first large-scale battery storage project for wind, solar

    October 19, 2017. Denmark’s Vestas will help to build the world’s first utility-scale project that uses battery technology to store power from both wind and solar sources, it said. The project in Australia aims to bring down the cost of renewable energy production and help secure a steady supply of renewable power to the grid regardless of weather conditions. It will use batteries supplied by US (United States) electric carmaker Tesla Inc and is expected to generate enough power to supply more than 35,000 average Australian homes. The Danish wind turbine maker said it had teamed up with project developer Windlab and Quanta Services. Vestas will deliver the technology for the 60.2 MW Kennedy Energy Park phase I that will be built in Flinders Shire in central north Queensland. With years of rapid growth in demand in the wind industry fading, Vestas is positioning itself as a provider of broader renewable energy. The cost of renewable energy has dropped significantly in recent years with solar leading the way, while Tesla is leading the way in battery storage. Vestas has said it expects wind power to be profitable even without government subsidies in the next decade. Goldman Sachs analysts predict renewable energy in Europe will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2023.

    Source: Reuters

    Acciona to develop 150 MW solar power plants in Egypt

    October 18, 2017. Acciona Energía, a subsidiary of Spain-based Acciona will develop three solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a combined capacity of 150 MW (186 MW-peak) in Egypt with an investment of around $180 mn. Acciona will build and own the projects in a 50-50 partnership with its regional partner Swicorp (Saudi Arabia) which will be represented by its renewable energy platform named Enara Bahrain Spv Wll. Acciona said that the three identical PV plants mark its first renewables project in Egypt, which will be located in the Benban complex in the Aswan region. Each of the solar plant will have a capacity of 50 MW with a peak capacity of 62 MW and feature 190,774 polycrystalline silicon modules from China-based Jinko Solar.

    Source: Energy Business Review

    US firm to build solar plants in blackout-plagued Gaza

    October 18, 2017. The Gaza Strip will have three new solar energy plants operating by April, the United States (US)-based energy firm behind the project said, providing the territory with some relief from daily blackouts but far from meeting its severe power shortages. Gaza was already chronically short of electricity before West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut payments for Israeli-supplied power to the territory in June, attempting pressure the rival Islamist Hamas group to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip. Despite a reconciliation deal between the two sides, these sanctions are still in place. Gaza’s daily power needs are estimated at nearly 600 MW. Israel, Egypt and the enclave’s only electrical generating plant currently supply 165 MW. Solar power plants will be built in three areas in the Gaza Strip and in total produce 40 MW of electrical power as early as April, Volker Gutjahr, technical director of the Samaha Group, said. Gutjahr said the first shipment of equipment for the solar plants should arrive in March and will reach the Gaza Strip via the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

    Source: Reuters

    BP eyes smaller renewable investments to avoid repeating losses

    October 18, 2017. BP is targeting smaller and wider-ranging investments in renewable energy to avoid large losses in the sector like those it suffered earlier in the decade, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Dudley said. BP and peers including Royal Dutch Shell and Total have recognized the need to reduce carbon emissions in the fight against global warming, but their investment in renewables remains tiny compared to oil and gas. BP made a number of large investments in solar power, wind farms in the United States, carbon-capturing technology and biofuels in the 2000s under the leadership of John Browne, who sought to rebrand the company as “Beyond Petroleum”. Within its traditional oil and gas business, BP is also developing low-carbon fuels for ground and air transportation and even ways of reducing carbon in cement, Dudley said. Dudley reiterated his call for a global price on carbon emissions, which would make cleaner energies, including renewables and gas, more profitable to develop.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    Subsidies in India: Domestic LPG and PDS Kerosene

    Year

    PDS Kerosene

    (Rs per Litre)

    Domestic LPG

    (Rs per Cylinder)

    2002-034.14130.02
    2003-044.77134.72
    2004-058.78147.47
    2005-0612.92175.04
    2006-0715.99178.66
    2007-0817.05236.63
    2008-0924.88257.46
    2009-1015.67200.71
    2010-1118.21272.52
    2011-1227.28342.88
    2012-1331.98449.72
    2013-1434.80530.20
    2014-1527.93369.72
    2015-1613.47150.82
    2016-1711.39108.73

    Source: Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

    Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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