MonitorsPublished on Apr 02, 2021
Energy News Monitor | Volume XVII; Issue 39

Quick Notes

India in the Net Zero Race: What will take to win the World Carbon Cup?

Net-Zero Emissions

‘Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced and GHG emissions taken out of the atmosphere. A ‘net-zero’ target means reaching net-zero carbon emissions by a selected date, but differs from zero carbon, which requires no carbon to be emitted as the key criteria. Net-zero should primarily be achieved through a rapid reduction in carbon emissions, but where zero carbon cannot be achieved, offsetting through carbon credits or sequestration through rewilding or carbon capture and storage needs to be utilised.

Last year, multinational companies like Apple and Google announced plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.  The UK, host of COP 26 is expected to put pressure on countries to join the net-zero race. India does not want to wait for the COP 26 call. On March 12 a private members’ bill that proposed 2050 as a legally binding net-zero target for India was submitted to the Parliament. The member of parliament who proposed the bill observed that achievement of the net-zero goal will ‘save the world and lead to a more prosperous India’.  Since then, a number of analytical reports have come out arguing the case for a net-zero India and listing difficulties in achieving this goal. The common message in these reports is that technologies exist to reduce carbon emissions and to remove emissions from the atmosphere (which is permissible under the net-zero concept) and the task for policy makers is to put in place policies and incentives that are aligned with this goal.

Rocky Road to the World Carbon Cup

Based on data and projections by the international energy agency (IEA), bloomberg reported that India will need to improve infrastructure, make more land available for wind and solar farms, support development of additional transmission networks, invest in more hydro-power and nuclear energy as well as wind and solar, install stronger and more flexible electricity grids, dramatically improve energy efficiency, accelerate the shift towards electric vehicles, increase clean energy spending in industry, support research and innovation in energy storage and carbon-capture, fix its ‘money-losing discoms’, give under-funded environmental regulators more resources and power, have a ‘better bureaucracy’ and efficient ministries that translate policy into action and root out corruption to achieve the net-zero goal. Another report by TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) and Shell observed that banishing coal for power holds key to India winning the carbon cup. According to the report the share of renewables needs to increase eightfold to 90 percent and transportation, cooking and agriculture should be electrified.  Acknowledging that India will have a harder task than any other large country in reaching net-zero emissions, the report recommends replacing polluting fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steelmaking with hydrogen produced using renewable electricity. Besides electrification, India will also need energy efficient buildings, lighting, appliances and industrial practices to meet the net-zero goal. Use of biofuels is recommended to reduce emissions from light commercial vehicles, tractors in agriculture and also in aviation until hydrogen technology gains scale.  Even when all of the above are accomplished the report observes that India will be left with carbon emissions of 1.3 billion tons (BT) by 2050 of which 0.9 BT could potentially be soaked up by natural sinks such as trees with the remaining sequestered using carbon capture technologies. The report also recommends imposing a tax on emissions to drive changes required for achieving the goal of net-zero by 2050.  The report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) observed that deploying lower-carbon energy would help address both domestic and international climate challenges while simultaneously improve the economic well-being of India’s citizens. Key recommendations in the report include a 55-fold increase in the share of renewables in power generation to 83 percent, increase in the share of electricity in India’s industrial energy by three-fold, from about 20 per cent in 2018 to 70 per cent in 2050, increase in the share of electric vehicles in passenger car sales to 76 per cent in 2050, achieve peak emissions before 2030, increase in household electricity tariff along with railway passenger fares, introducing measures to address fiscal challenges and job losses for over half a million coal mining workers in coal-dependent states.

No Carbon Versus Net Zero Carbon

Joining the net-zero race is now positioned as the ultimate climate virtue for carbon emitting corporates and countries but there is opposition to the concept and it is not from the fossil fuel industry. The critiques are strong supporters of climate change action and want ‘no-carbon’ rather than ‘net-zero carbon’. According to them, ‘net-zero carbon’ is a polluter driven greenwashing scheme and net-zero targets consist of ill-defined plans with loopholes that allow emissions to continue rising - often for decades - based on the assumption that in the future new risky and unproven technologies such as direct air capture or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage will be able to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and compensate for those emissions. They also accuse the global north (wealthy countries) of driving a form of climate colonialism as the global north wants to put the burden for carbon sequestration onto land and tree plantations in the global south, which has done little to cause the climate crisis. This camp demands climate plans that radically reduce emissions to ‘real zero’ instead of relying on future technologies and harmful land grabs what.

Though ‘net-zero’ carbon and ‘no-carbon’ are new terms, the arguments from the two camps are effectively new versions of old arguments of the concept of sustainable development (or eco-neo-liberalism) and traditional environmentalism (or eco-socialism).  ‘Net zero carbon’ is a goal derived from the concept of sustainable development, an anthropocentric perspective, that essentially says that the environment must be protected using science and technology if necessary, so as to maintain the economic system and not for any intrinsic value of the environment itself. No-carbon is a more radical and nature-oriented goal derived from conservative environmentalism which wants environmental protection for delivering not only environmental justice but also social justice, a world where everyone is entitled to the basic necessities of clean air, clean water, fresh food and shelter. Though this camp is critical of centralised technologies, it welcomes low carbon renewable energy technologies that are decentralised.  The sustainable development (net-zero) camp has successfully confined the traditional environmental camp (no-carbon) to the margins of the climate change debate by identifying their call for regime change with the call for radical socialism. The dominant camp has however appropriated the call for social justice by labelling some of the energy transitions as ‘just-transitions’.  For India which exhibits significant structural inequalities in the context of energy use, ensuring that the low carbon transition does not compromise economic and social justice is more important than winning the carbon cup.    

Source: International Energy Agency

Monthly News Commentary: NON-FOSSIL FUELS

Solar catching up with Coal in Power Generation


RE Policy and Market Trends

The share of solar energy in India’s power generation could equal coal-fired output by 2040 according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), driven by falling renewable tariffs and a government push to increase green energy use. Coal currently dominates India’s electricity sector, accounting for over 70 percent of overall generation with only about 4 percent produced through solar. India was on track to exceed its commitments as a part of the 2015 Paris agreement. Electricity consumption is expected to outpace overall energy demand by 2040, mainly due to higher use of air conditioners. Still, India’s emissions of carbon dioxide could rise as much as 50 percent by 2040, the largest of any country, enough to offset entirely the projected fall in emissions in Europe over the same period. That would also make India the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, trailing only China. The IEA warned that hundreds of thousands more could die every year due to higher exposure to air pollution, with the number of annual deaths potentially increasing by 200,000 from current levels to 1.4 mn a year in 2040.

India will need to deploy $500 bn in investments to reach its 450 GW capacity target by 2030, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). It said that this would include the cost of adding more than 300 GW of new renewables infrastructure, firming low-cost renewable power generation, and expanding and modernising grid transmission and distribution. Of the $500 bn investment, $300 bn would go for wind and solar infrastructure, $50 bn for grid firming investments, and $150 bn on expanding, modernising transmission, according to IEEFA report. The report said that the country has received more than $42 bn in investment since 2014. According to the report, a huge global capital pool is mobilising to invest in renewable energy (RE) and grid projects in India, with pull factors including solar power tariffs hitting record lows, plunging solar module costs, record low interest rates, and the security of government-backed, 25-year power purchase agreements. The report said that the Indian renewables sector is increasingly dominated by the major independent power producers such as ReNew Power, Greenko, Adani Green, Tata Power, ACME, SB Energy, Azure Power, Sembcorp Green Infra and Hero Future Energies, and that each has invested strongly in building capacity in international debt and equity markets.

Roof Top /Distributed Solar Projects

The government aims to produce 40 GW of solar power in the next one-and-a-half years through rooftop solar projects. Renewable energy capacity enhanced two-and-a-half times in the past six years, while solar energy capacity increased by 15 times. Under the PM-KUSUM scheme, farmers were becoming energy entrepreneurs and the goal was to create 30 GW solar capacity through small plants in the farmers’ fields. High efficiency solar PV modules were now part of the PLI scheme and the government was committed to invest ₹45 bn in it. Under the PLI Scheme, 10,000 MW capacity integrated solar PV manufacturing plants will be operationalised with an estimated investment of ₹140 bn, which would increase demand for locally produced materials.

The Himachal government has launched a comprehensive programme to solve the power problem in far flung areas. While electricity problems in remote areas have been solved through hydel power generation, use of solar power has been encouraged in other parts of the state, which has also reduced electricity bills. After the constitution of Himurja in the state, the department has installed 89 small hydro units of 331.25 MW, which are of up to 5 MW. These small hydro units are contributing significantly in solving power problems faced by people. To ensure electricity supply, the state government has set up one kilowatt of grid solar power plants free of cost in 34 houses of Kunnu village and 40 houses of Charang village in Kinnaur district. Also, 250 watt off-grid solar power plants have been set up in the houses of 1,000 BPL families in Pangi sub-division of Chamba district to prevent problems due to breakdown. Grid connected solar power plants have also been set up in Shimla. These solar power plants have been installed on the roofs of about 66 government offices in the city, which has reduced electricity bills in government offices. Apart from this, grid connected projects of 23.25 MW have been set up on the ground, which has provided employment to youth of Himachal.

Utility Scale Solar Projects

Setting an ambitious goal, the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) is planning to meet all its energy requirements from clean solar energy. Some of its solar power plants are installed at Dwarka Sector 21, Anand Vihar, Pragati Maidan, Yamuna Bank, Yamuna Bank Depot, ITO, Ajronda Depot, Bata Chowk, Escorts Mujesar and Faridabad Metro stations. These solar power plants have been installed under the Renewable Energy Supply Company (RESCO) model. Unlike a solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model, wherein the consumer owns the system and invests upfront, the RESCO model is a zero-investment model. Under the RESCO model, the solar plant is owned by the RESCO developer who makes the capital investment and the consumer (in the present case, the DMRC) pays only for the electricity generated. For instance, DMRC is already sourcing power from the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd (RUMSL) in Madhya Pradesh under the RESCO model. RUMSL is a solar power plant in Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh with a total solar plant capacity of 750 MW. By the end of 2021, DMRC plans to phase out thermal electric generation resources by energy from the sun, aiming to become a zero-carbon emitter. Even as of now, it saves carbon emission of 20,850 tonnes per annum. In this process, the DMRC will act as a template for India to follow and fulfil India's binding commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. As the scale of use of solar energy will increase, the tariff charges per unit will also go down drastically, which will lead DMRC towards achieving its goal of 100 percent electrification through solar energy.

Amp Energy India commissioned a 7.8 MW solar power plant, one of the largest behind-the-meter solar projects in India, for Hyderabad’s metro rail project. The project is a public private partnership between Mumbai-based infrastructure firm Larsen &Toubro (L&T) and Telangana’s state government. The project would generate 11,300 MWh of green energy in a year, equivalent to reducing about 8,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The Hyderabad metro rail project would meet 15 percent of its total power consumption through solar power supplied by Amp Energy. The solar plant was fully commissioned on 26 December 2020.

Adani Green Energy’s arm ASE4PL has commissioned a 100 MW solar power project at Jalalabad in Uttar Pradesh. Both the plants have PPAs with Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) at ₹3.22/kWh and ₹3.19/kWh, for a period of 25 years. The AGEL’s Energy Network Operation Centre (ENOC) platform will also embrace these two commissioned solar power plants for delivering consistent performance. With this, a capacity of 700 MW has been since the beginning of challenging COVID-19 pandemic crisis. This places AGEL’s total renewable portfolio of 14,815 MW well on track to reach its vision of 25 GW capacity by 2025. Adani Green Energy, a part of India-based Adani Group, has one of the largest global renewable portfolios over 14,815 MW of operating, under-construction and awarded projects catering to investment-grade counterparties.

Punjab’s water supply and sanitation department has set up first-of-its-kind solar-based water supply project at Jagrawan-Muradpur and Talwara villages of the Jalandhar district. The solar-based pilot projects were commissioned at a cost of ₹6.771 million. Similarly, clean water supply has started reaching every household of Talwara and Muradpur villages. With the successful commissioning of these projects, 141 households of Jagrawan and Muradpur and 102 households of Talwara village have benefited.

Solar Auctions

The record low tariff of ₹1.99/kWh reached at a solar auction in Gujarat in December has had an immediate fallout, with the state cancelling the results of two previous auctions where the discovered tariffs were much higher. Gujarat’s main power distribution company, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL), has now obtained permission from the state power regulator to hold the auctions again for the 700 MW Dholera Solar Park and the 100 MW Raghanesda Solar Park. In the previous auctions conducted in August-September last year, the discovered tariff for Dholera was between ₹2.78 and ₹2.81/kWh with five winners who were allotted 100-200 MW each. At Raghanesda, there was only one bidder, SJVN Ltd, which got the entire 100 MW quoting a tariff of ₹2.73/Kwh. The steep fall is attributed to a global decline in the cost of solar modules, development of modules with improved capacity utilisation factor, and the fact that the projects did not have to be set up in a solar park, where fixed costs are higher.

Power ministry’s new rules that excludes rooftop solar systems above 10 kilowatts (kW) from net-metering would stall adoption of larger installations in India affecting the country’s rooftop solar target, according to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and JMK Research. The new rules mandate net-metering for rooftop solar projects up to 10 kW and gross metering for systems with loads above 10 kW. India has a rooftop solar target of 40 GW capacity by 2022. According to the report by IEEFA and JMK Research, gross-metered consumers were compensated for the export of solar power to the grid at rates of ₹2-4/kWh. However, current rooftop power purchase agreements signed by tier-1 developers have tariffs in the range of ₹3.5-4/kWh. Under a net feed-in arrangement, rooftop solar power used for self-consumption is charged at the retail tariff, and surplus energy is exported to the grid after self-consumption is credited at a net feed-in tariff determined by the state.

Solar Manufacturing

Amara Raja Batteries Ltd (ARBL) is setting up a solar power plant in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh at a total outlay of ₹2.20 bn to support its sustainability initiatives. This will further reduce cost of power and simultaneously bring down the company's carbon footprint. Besides, as part of the overall lead procurement strategy, ARBL will set up a greenfield lead recycling unit with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The government has also announced many initiatives and Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, which will accelerate the growth of e-mobility and renewable energy markets.

Apex solar body, National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), welcomed the move for the increase of duty on inverters. The duty hike on solar lanterns was a necessary step to place Indian manufacturers in a comfortable position and also to enable India in becoming a global leader in supply of solar lanterns. According to a recent study by GOGLA and C-kinetics, India is one of the largest markets in the world for solar lanterns and has a potential to be a $300 mn market for lanterns.


The Supreme Court has cleared the project for a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant in Agra — a first for a city in Uttar Pradesh — which was pending for four years. According to Agra Municipal Corp (AMC), the advanced municipal solid waste (MSW) processing plant will be built at the Kuberpur landfill site within the next 14 months. It will also produce at least 10 MW electricity by processing 500 metric tonnes of solid waste. A huge amount of legacy waste (about 600,000 tones as per AMC records) has accumulated over a period of time at the landfill site, besides the 700-750 tonnes of mixed MSW that is dumped at the landfill site every day. Initially, it will produce at least 10 MW of electricity every day. In October 2017, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) was signed in Lucknow between Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) and Spark Bresson, a Czech company, under which UPPCL agreed to purchase electricity produced at the waste-to-energy plant it would set up in Agra.

The decks have been cleared for a waste-to-energy plant at the Jhiri dumping yard here, after the state cabinet gave its approval to rope in the GAIL (India) Ltd to set up the 300-metric-tonne-capacity unit. According to the urban development department, the Ranchi Municipal Corp (RMC) and GAIL will be signing a MoU for a period of 22 years under which the central PSU will set up two bio-degradable plants of 150-metric-tonne each at an eight-acre plot that will be handed over to them by the RMC. The project is likely to start by April this year and it will take around 18 months to complete. GAIL will produce compressed bio gas as well as utilise the garbage to manufacture manure.

According to the government, there is potential for setting up at least 5,000 bio CNG manufacturing units in India. The country is likely to see huge investments for setting up about 5,000 compressed bio-gas (CBG) units across the country.

Nuclear Power

Engineering giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) announced it has secured orders from Nuclear Power Corp of India (NPCIL) for the construction of the Main Plant Civil Works of two units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The scope of the work includes the construction of reactor building, reactor auxiliary building, turbine building, diesel generator building and other safety-related structures in a duration of 64 months. The Kudankulam plant is India’s largest Light Water Reactor (LWR) of six units with a generation capacity of 1,000 MW each. L&T is currently executing similar works of Kudankulam 3 and 4 units in the same premises.

Hydro Power

NTPC Ltd said that an avalanche near Tapovan in Uttarakhand has damaged its under-construction hydropower project. Earlier in the day, a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district which caused a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and endangered lives of people living along its banks. The Tapovan Vishnugad power plant is a 520MW run-of-river project which is being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.

A day after the Uttarakhand High Court (HC) upheld the state’s right to tax the hydropower projects in the Himalayan state for using the state’s river waters for electricity generation, the firms operating these plants have said that they will challenge the order before the division bench of the HC. Counsels appearing for two of the 11 power projects will file a special appeal soon before the division bench.

Geo-Thermal Power

ONGC will implement India’s maiden geothermal field development project in Ladakh that will use the heat generated by the Earth’s core to generate clean energy. Geothermal energy is clean and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Geothermal power plants have average availabilities of 90 percent or higher, compared with about 75 percent for coal plants ONGC has planned this field development in Ladakh in three phases. Phase-I involves exploratory-cum-production drilling of wells up to 500 metres depth and setting up of a pilot plant of up to 1 MW power capacity. Phase-II would involve a deeper and lateral exploration of the geothermal reservoir by drilling of an optimal number of wells and setting up of a higher capacity demo plant and preparing a detailed project report. Phase-III would involve commercial development of the geothermal plant. India has seven geothermal provinces and a number of geothermal springs.

Pollution Reduction

None of the thermal power plants (TPPs) in Maharashtra has installed flue-gas desulfurization (FGD), a system used to remove sulphur dioxide (SO2) from emissions. State owned and private sector TPPs lag behind even the plants of NTPC Ltd, which has at least awarded contracts for phasing of FGD facility in its units in Maharashtra. NTPC-owned TPPs at Mouda and Solapur, having capacity of 2980 MW, have awarded contracts for installation of FGDs. However, no contracts have been awarded for entire capacity of 9250 MW of Mahagenco TPP and 7140 MW capacity of private sector TPPs in Maharashtra. Bids have been opened for installation of FGD at five units of Chandrapur super thermal power station, three units at Koradi TPS and two units of Bhusawal TPS. All the TPPs in Maharashtra have the deadline of installing FGD units ranging from 31 March 2021 to 31 December 2022. With the time frame of nearly three years needed for installation of the FGD units, all the TPPs in the state are likely to miss their deadline.

Rest of the World


China will force regional grid firms to buy at least 40 percent of power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 in order to meet the country’s climate targets. Grid companies will steadily increase the amount of power purchased from clean generation sources from 28.2 percent in 2020 to 40 percent by 2030, according to a draft policy from the National Energy Administration (NEA). President Xi Jinping pledged last year to make China “carbon neutral” by 2060, and said in December it would boost the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent by 2030 from a previous commitment of 20 percent. Power procured from non-hydropower renewable sources will reach a minimum of 25.9 percent by 2030, up from 10.8 percent last year, according to the draft plan, which has been opened up for consultation with stakeholders until 26 February. The targets suggest China will rely on solar and wind to meet its renewable goals, and move away from the construction boom of large-scale hydroelectric projects in recent years. China will boost its installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1,200 GW by 2030.

Middle East

Iraq is seeking international investors to build seven solar power plants, with a total capacity of 750 MW as it aims to develop its renewable energy potential. Keen on expanding its small power generation capacity, Iraq is in talks with some of the international companies, including French Total and “Norwegian companies” to discuss building solar projects. All the seven solar power plants to be built in the south of the country, including a largest 300 MW plant in Kerbala. The dilapidated national grid supplies only a few hours of power a day, leaving Iraqis to swelter in the summer months, when temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius. Solar energy is rare in Iraq, expect for lighting on some of its main streets.


Italian energy group Eni has agreed to buy three solar power projects in Spain from renewable energy developer X–Elio as part of plans to expand its green business. The plants have a total installed capacity of 140 MW. Eni, which makes most of its core earnings from oil and gas, unveiled an ambitious clean-up drive of its business last year that includes hiking its renewable energy capacity to 5 GW by 2025 and more than 55 GW by 2050. X-Elio has 250 MW of renewable capacity under construction in Spain and more than 1.5 GW under development.

Denmark, close on the heels of its decision to construct an artificial island in the North Sea and use it as a clean energy hub, is exploring wind energy hubs along Indian coasts. The proposal is expected to get a push at a high-level meet in near future and a Special Purpose Vehicle for the same can also be considered. When built, the Danish island will supply both clean power to homes and green hydrogen for use in shipping, aviation, industry and heavy transport. The planned island, which will be located 80 km off Denmark's west coast, will initially be 120,000 square meters in size, bigger than 18 standard football fields. The hub will be operated by 2033 and the first phase of the project is expected to cost around $33.87 bn. Denmark, with its favorable wind speeds, was a pioneer in both onshore and offshore wind, building the world's first offshore wind farm almost 30 years ago. Denmark gets 40 percent of its electricity from wind power. The nation is also home to the world's largest wind turbine producer, Vesta Wind Systems and the world's top developer of offshore wind, Orsted AS.

French oil major Total, which is making a major push to develop its renewable energy portfolio has bought 2.2 GW of solar projects in Texas, adding to a rush of acquisitions elsewhere this year. Europe’s top energy companies have outlined plans to curb emissions and boost renewable energy output as they come under pressure from investors. It aims to add some 10 GW in renewable energy production capacity a year and to reach 35 GW by 2025.

Green Genius, a part of Modus Group, plans to have 242 MW of installed capacity of solar power in Poland by 2022, with the total investment expected at over €100 mn. Solar energy in coal-reliant Poland has surged to 3.7 GW in 2020 from 1.5 GW in 2019 due to hefty subsidies. The company has to date built solar power plants with a total capacity of 86 MW in Poland. It plans to build a new 32 MW project this year.

News Highlights: 24 February – 2 March 2021

National: Oil

Madhya Pradesh has the costliest fuel in India

2 March: Petrol prices in Madhya Pradesh (MP) are the highest in India, as per the nationwide statistics released by the Petrol Pump Owners Association of MP. The average price of petrol in MP on 26 February was ₹98.96 — highest in the country. The average price of fuel in some neighbouring states has not even touched the ₹90-mark. For example, in Uttar Pradesh petrol was sold at an average of ₹89.13 per litre, in Chhattisgarh the price was ₹89.39, in Gujarat it was ₹88.88, the president of the association, Ajay Singh said. Petrol was sold at ₹76.54 in the Andamans. At several places in MP, petrol retailed at a price higher than ₹100 a litre — and this includes places like Annuppur and Shahdol. Madhya Pradesh collects about ₹27.75 on every litre of petrol sold in the state and this includes a cess of ₹4.50 while the state collects about ₹18.75 on diesel including ₹3 cess.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s biggest oil retailers are now focusing on rural revival

1 March: If there’s one part of India’s economy that’s been relatively unscathed by the devastating impact of COVID-19 it’s the vast rural hinterlands. And the country’s biggest fuel retailers are sitting up and taking notice. The increasing economic importance of India’s hinterlands is influencing business expansion plans and accelerating a trend of more service stations being opened in the countryside. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) -- two of the three biggest fuel retailers -- both said they planned to raise the proportion of outlets they have in rural areas this year. HPCL and BPCL, together with Indian Oil Corp (IOC), account for more than 90 percent of Indian fuel sales. The share of rural service stations in the world’s third-biggest oil importer rose to 26.8 percent in January from 24.8 percent a year earlier, oil ministry data show, and the rate of increase looks set to accelerate this year. Diesel is the most widely used petroleum product in India, accounting for around 40 percent of total fuel use. The agricultural sector is the second-biggest consumer of diesel after transportation. BPCL opened 2,212 outlets in the past year, with two-thirds of these in rural areas, the oil ministry data show.

Source: The Economic Times

India's finance ministry considers cutting taxes on petrol, diesel

1 March: India’s finance ministry is considering cutting excise duties on petrol and diesel to cushion the impact of record high domestic prices. A doubling in the price of crude oil over the past 10 months has contributed to record fuel prices at gas stations in India. But taxes and duties account for roughly 60 percent of the retail price of petrol and diesel in the country, the world’s third biggest consumer of crude oil. As the coronavirus pandemic hit economic activity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government twice raised taxes on petrol and diesel in the last 12 months to boost sagging tax revenues instead of passing on the benefits of low oil prices last year to consumers. The finance ministry has now started consultations with some states, oil companies and the oil ministry to find the most effective way to lower the tax burden on consumers without federal finances taking a big hit.

Source: Reuters

Bringing petroleum products under GST will be good move: CEA

28 February: Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) K V Subramanian has backed a proposal to bring petroleum products under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He, however, said the decision will have to be taken by the GST council. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had also urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to bring petroleum products under the ambit of the GST. Continuous rise in fuel prices has burdened the common man and become a political issue in states where assembly elections are due.

Source: The Economic Times

Centre, Congress government in Punjab should slash fuel prices: Kaur

28 February: Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal demanded the Centre and Congress-led government in Punjab should reduce fuel prices to give relief to the common man. Prices of essential commodities had also risen after the sharp hike in prices of petrol and diesel and that these prices should be reduced immediately to contain inflation, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader further said. The Bathinda MP asked the Punjab government to take the lead and reduce prices of petrol and diesel by ₹5 per litre each by slashing Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum items. Badal said if the Congress-led dispensation was really concerned about the welfare of the people, then it should reduce VAT on petrol and diesel to bring down its prices in Punjab.

Source: The Economic Times

10 mn more free LPG connections in 2 yrs, easier access to cooking gas planned: Oil Secretary

28 February: The free LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or cooking gas connection scheme is one structural reform of the Modi government that has been internationally acclaimed for ridding indoor household pollution and improving women’s health. And now, the government plans to give 10 mn more free LPG connections to the needy over the next two years and make it easier to access cooking gas to achieve near 100 percent penetration of the clean fuel in the country. Oil Secretary Tarun Kapoor said plans are in the works to provide LPG connection with bare-minimum identity documents and without insisting on residence proof of the place of availing the cooking gas. Also, consumers would soon get a choice of getting a refill cylinder from three dealers in his or her neighbourhood instead of being tied to just one distributor, who may not be able to provide LPG on demand due to availability or other reasons. Kapoor said a record-breaking 80 mn free LPG connections were provided to poor women households in just four years alongside the aggressive rollout of cooking gas, taking the number of LPG users in the country to about 290 mn. The Union Budget announced a plan to give out 10 mn more free cooking gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme. While no separate allocation for this has been made in the Budget for 2021-22, the general fuel subsidy allocation should be enough to cover the expense of about ₹1,600 per connection, he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's signature Ujjwala scheme for providing a free cooking gas connection to the poor had been lauded by the WHO in 2018 and by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in the following year as one that reduced indoor household pollution by helping families switch to cleaner energy sources and improving the environment and health of women. The carbon footprint of LPG is 50 percent lower than coal. LPG helps reduce carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions, which are the second-largest contributors to global warming. Before Ujjwala, India was the second-largest contributor to global mortality due to household and ambient air pollution. Under the scheme, the government provides a subsidy of ₹1,600 to state-owned fuel retailers for every free LPG gas connection that they give to poor households. This subsidy is intended to cover the security fee for the cylinder and the fitting charges. The beneficiary has to buy her own cooking stove. To reduce the burden, the scheme allows beneficiaries to pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly instalments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household.

Source: The Economic Times

Subsidised, non-subsidised LPG price hiked by ₹25 per cylinder

26 February: Cooking gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) price was hiked by ₹25 per cylinder across all categories, including subsidised fuel and those availed by Ujjwala scheme beneficiaries. This is the third increase in rates this month on the back of spiralling international rates as demand recovered. A 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi now costs ₹794 as against ₹769 at which they were supplied, according to a price notification from state-owned fuel retailers. The increase is applicable across all categories including subsidised and non-subsidised users. LPG is available only at one rate, market price, across the country. The government, however, gives a small subsidy to select customers. However, this subsidy has been eliminated in metros and major cities through successive price increases over the past couple of years. So, in places like Delhi, there is no subsidy paid to customers and all LPG users pay a market price of ₹794. LPG prices were increased this month first by ₹25 per cylinder on 4 February and by ₹50 on 15 February. Prices have been on the rise since December and rates have cumulatively gone up by ₹150 per cylinder.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Gas

IGL hikes CNG, PNG prices to offset increased costs due to COVID

2 March: Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) has raised prices of compressed natural gas (CNG) by 70 paise per kg and piped natural gas (PNG) by 91 paise per standard cubic meter (scm) in Delhi and adjoining areas. Prices have been raised "to partially offset the impact on account of increase in its operational, manpower and fixed costs during COVID-19 pandemic," the company said. The new CNG prices would be ₹43.40 per kg in Delhi and ₹49.08 per kg in Noida, Greater Noida & Ghaziabad. For PNG, households will have to pay ₹28.41 per scm in Delhi and ₹28.36 per scm in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.

Source: The Economic Times

RIL seeks bids for gas from CBM block in Madhya Pradesh

24 February: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has sought bids for gas from its coal bed methane (CBM) block in Madhya Pradesh. Bids have been invited for sale of 0.82 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) of gas for a period of one year beginning 1 April, according to public notice by the company. Bidders are expected to quote a price in terms of percentage of the Dated Brent, which would be the average of Platts’s benchmark rates for three months preceding the supply month. Bids cannot be lower than 9.5 percent of the Dated Brent. The actual price gas buyers pay will be the higher of the bid price or the domestic formula price published every six months by the oil ministry’s petroleum planning and analysis cell. Potential buyers can start registering on the e-bidding platform from 6 March for the auction slated for 18 March. The minimum volume one can bid for is 0.01 mmscmd. RIL has appointed CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions Ltd to manage the auction.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Coal

Coal India helped cut 71 mt costly coal imports in current financial year

2 March: Coal India Ltd (CIL) said a host of measures taken by the company have helped cut 71 million tonnes (mt) of costly coal imports in the April-February period of the current financial year. CIL has also waived-off performance incentive for power sector consumers, for supply of coal beyond the trigger level since the beginning of the fiscal. This helped the consumers in opting for additional quantities of coal at lower cost from CIL. The consumers who gained from the initiatives included CESC, Andhra Pradesh Power Development Corp, Adani Power and GMR Group in the power sector, and Vedanta, Jindal Steel & Power, NALCO, Hindalco and Tata Steel in the non-regulated sector.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s coal import drops 12 percent to 181 mt in April-January

1 March: India's coal import registered a drop of 11.59 percent to 180.84 million tonnes (mt) in the first 10 months of the ongoing fiscal. The company had imported 204.55 mt of coal in April-January period of the previous fiscal year, according to provisional data compiled by mjunction services. However, India’s coal imports in January increased to 20.05 mt as against 18.67 mt in year-ago period, it said. Coal import was, however, 7.4 percent higher in January 2021 as compared to 18.67 mt in the year-ago period. Of the total imports in January 2021, non-coking coal was at 12.77 mt, while coking coal import was 5.62 mt. During April-January 2020-21, non-coking coal import was at 119.84 mt as compared to 140.65 mt in the same period a year ago. Coking coal import was recorded at 39.16 mt, lower than 41.15 mt imported during the same period a year ago.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Power

India’s power consumption grows marginally by 0.88 percent in February

2 March: India’s power consumption grew 0.88 percent in February at 104.73 bn units due to a slight rise in temperature in the month, official data showed. Power consumption in February 2020 was 103.81 bn units, according to the power ministry data. However, the peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, recorded a growth of 6.7 percent at 188.15 GW in February 2021 compared to 176.38 GW in February 2020. After a gap of six months, power consumption recorded a 4.5 percent year-on-year growth in September and 11.6 percent in October. In November 2020, the power consumption growth slowed to 3.12 percent, mainly due to the early onset of winters. In December, power consumption grew by 4.5 percent while it was 4.8 percent in January 2021. Experts said that the indication of early onset of summer this time with slightly hotter weather in February than normal in the month led to meagre growth in power consumption. The rising peak power demand met indicates revival in economic activities, leading to higher commercial and industrial demand, which was affected due to the pandemic. The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown on 25 March 2020, to contain the spread of COVID-19. Power demand started declining from April as economic activities were disrupted due to the pandemic. It affected power demand for five months in a row from April to August 2020. The demand recovered from September onwards. Peak power demand met grew at 1.7 percent in September, 3.4 percent in October, 3.5 percent in November and 7.2 percent in December.

Source: The Economic Times

UP Power Corp announces OTS scheme for tubewell consumers

1 March: Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) announced the one-time settlement (OTS) scheme for domestic and private tubewell consumers. The scheme, announced by Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma citing problems faced by consumers in the wake of pandemic, will continue till 31 March. Sharma said the scheme entails waiver of surcharge on arrears which will have to be paid by the end of the month to avoid any action by authorities. The scheme will be applicable in both urban as well as rural areas.

Source: The Economic Times

Pay bills on time, disclose actual load to get cheap electricity: UP Power Minister

1 March: Uttar Pradesh (UP) Power Minister Srikant Sharma exhorted consumers to pay electricity bills on time and disclose actual load usage to get cheap and uninterrupted power supply. The minister noted that the dream of state government to provide cheap power to consumers may be translated into reality on the basis of their cooperation. He said, for the reason best known to them, rural consumers, so far have not been able to deposit the bill in time. Consumers would get cheap power tariff, provided the payment is on time, he said. To ensure timely and actual reach of power bills to rural consumers, a prob-billing system, replacing manual billing system, is in progress, he said. Downloadable billing, through prob billing, enables rural consumers to get actual bills in time. The minister advised consumers to get their load enhanced in their own interest, for getting uninterrupted supply, if they are consuming more power. The state power department has started a 100-day programme for strengthening infrastructure paving the way for uninterrupted power supply as per schedule, during forthcoming summer, he said. Nodal officers have been appointed to ensure that the plan is implemented in letter and spirit ensuring 18-hour power supply in rural areas, 20 hours at Tehsil headquarters and 24 hours in city areas.

Source: The Economic Times

'Mumbai power outage could have been cyber sabotage'

1 March: A power failure that crippled India’s financial capital of Mumbai in western Maharashtra state last year could have been a case of cyber sabotage, as China denied a report that it was behind the outage. Mumbai police were investigating further after a preliminary report pointed to possible evidence of 14 “Trojan horse” programmes incorporated in the city’s power system, Anil Deshmukh, a minister for Maharashtra state, said. Deshmukh said that the power outage on 12 October last year was part of a Chinese cyber campaign against India, even as the two countries were locked in a fierce border battle. Millions were left without power, trains were stranded and online college exams and mobile telephone services collapsed after a grid failure that affected all of Mumbai and lasted for more than 12 hours in some parts of the city.

Source: Reuters

Now, discoms must clear dues to purchase power

25 February: In a move that could push the already beleaguered power distribution companies (discoms) into more trouble, the Centre has brought changes to the Electricity Act to suspend discoms from buying power if they fail to clear dues to generation companies beyond six months. The Centre has also brought in a clause in the Act to impose penalties on the discoms for late payment of dues. The Centre issued a notification by amending the Electricity Act, 2003, to make discoms clear the dues on time. As per the new guidelines stipulated by the Centre, discoms cannot escape from paying dues to the Gencos (PPAs) and Transcos (TSA) beyond one month. Surprisingly, the Centre has given liberty to the transmission company or the power supplier (private developer) to stop the supplies to the particular discoms and force the company to pay the dues. The Centre will debar the discoms from purchase of power even from online exchanges or other sources through open access. This would effectively end the discoms’ options on short term purchases through the exchange.

Source: The Economic Times

India, AIIB sign agreement to improve Assam power transmission

24 February: India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a $304 mn loan agreement for the Assam Intra-State Transmission System Enhancement Project to improve reliability, capacity and security of the power transmission network in the northeastern state. The project aims to strengthen Assam’s electricity transmission system by constructing 10 transmission substations and laying transmission lines with the associated infrastructure. The project will also upgrade 15 existing substations, and transmission lines and existing ground wire to optical power ground wire and provide technical assistance to support project implementation. The programme would strengthen the existing intrastate transmission network of Assam by augmenting it with newer networks to achieve affordable, secure, efficient and reliable 24x7 power. This would, in turn, bring Assam closer to ensuring long-term sustainability of its electricity supply, the finance ministry said. Assam currently witnesses substantial energy and peak demand deficits. One of the main reasons for its power-deficit scenario is congestion of the electricity distribution and transmission networks. The Assam Electricity Grid Corp Ltd, the sole transmission utility in the state, is responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of the transmission system in the State.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

Rooftop solar expected to add 475 MW capacity in Q1 2021

1 March: The rooftop solar market is expected to pick up pace in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 and is estimated to add 475 MW capacity in this period, according to a recent report by renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge to India. It said that Coronavirus-induced hardships persisted in Q4 2020 and had pulled down the installation numbers. According to the report, project commissioning of solar projects was up 55 percent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) but increase in the execution cost had slowed down the progress. Whereas, actual capacity addition of 998 MW was marginally below estimates. It said that 14 new utility-scale solar tenders aggregating 7,764 MW were issued in Q4 2020, increasing tender issuance by 120 percent over Q3 2020. However, project allocation was down 16 percent q-o-q, with only eight auctions completed in the quarter with total awarded capacity of 3,249 MW.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC to set up mega biorefineries in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh

25 February: As part of its transition from fossil-fuels to a multi-source, clean energy play, public sector oil & gas giant, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), plans to set up two mega bio-refineries in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. These second generation (2G) bio-refineries, which will extract ethanol from agri-residue like wheat and paddy straw, are part of IOC’s plans to set up 12 bio-refineries across multiple states, including Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, IOC said.

Source: The Economic Times

NTPC plans to generate power from urban waste

24 February: In what could make a major difference to the management of urban solid waste, NTPC Ltd is all set to implement a waste-to-energy technology that it has co-developed with a Chennai-based orthopedic surgeon. The “torrefied coal”, made out of carbonised waste, will be used by NTPC in its power plants in Varanasi, Bhopal, Indore and Hubli for power generation. In fact, Chennai-based inventor Dr S K Sivakumar started working on the idea in 2012 and after years of trying to convert waste into something usable, and he ended up creating a sort of carbonised material called “torrefied coal”. He pitched the idea with NTPC which then took him on board and co-developed the product.

Source: The Economic Times

Several nations have joined India’s Solar initiative: PM Modi

24 February: Lauding India’s contribution in the global fight against climate change, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said that many countries in the world have joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative started by the country. PM Modi called on the need to provide cheap, affordable and environment-friendly technology to the world, adding that India is one of those countries where the price of solar power is very less. Stressing on the need to initiate a clean cooking movement in India, PM Modi said that a storage battery can be created to provide solar energy door-to-door. He said that the world has welcomed India's initiatives toward disaster management and called on technology experts to provided disaster-resilient infrastructure to the world.

Source: The Economic Times

Essar Power to set up 90 MW solar plant in Madhya Pradesh for ₹3 bn

24 February: Essar Power Ltd will foray into renewable energy, setting up a 90 MW solar plant in Madhya Pradesh at an investment of ₹3 bn, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Kush Singh said. The entry into the renewable segment is part of a strategic decision to rebalance the power portfolio. The renewable energy venture comes close on the heels of EGFL (Essar Global Fund Ltd) investing in hydrogen power in the UK (United Kingdom) and coal gas in India. The fund has overseen the completion of the deleveraging program of investee companies in the next two quarters. Riding on success in unconventional energy generation such as coal bed methane (CBM) and the hydrogen generation programme at its Stanlow refinery in the UK, Essar's foray into renewable energy will also be a precursor to an exit from coal. The proposed power plant is a solar photovoltaic project to be set up in Bhander, in the Datia district of Madhya Pradesh across 105 hectares of land and will be executed in two parts - 33.7 MW and 56.17 MW.

Source: The Economic Times

BSES discoms install 3k solar rooftop net metering connections

24 February: The BSES discoms have installed over 3,000 rooftop solar net metering connections with a connected solar load of 106 MWp (megawatt peak) in the capital and aims to install 1,000 more by 2021-22. The company, which runs BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, said it had been aggressively promoting roof-top solar in its areas in south, west, east and central Delhi. The total count stands at 3,140 and the response from consumers ranging across categories such as residential, educational and commercial establishments has been encouraging, it said. Consumers have begun to see how the move reduces their electricity bills, bringing it within the threshold to avail Delhi government’s power subsidy.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Oil

ICE warns Platts of hasty Brent oil market reform

25 February: ICE exchange, home of Brent oil futures trading, has put pressure on pricing agency Platts to postpone its physical Brent market reform, saying the market needs more time to consult and adjust the value of derivatives in line with the changes. S&P Global Platts has this week decided to include US (United States) crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland in its dated Brent oil price assessment, the first crude from outside the North Sea to be added to the global benchmark. More than half the world’s physical crude is priced off the Platts dated Brent benchmark, currently based on the value of five North Sea crude grades - Forties, Brent, Oseberg, Ekofisk and Troll. Brent futures are also linked to dated Brent. According to ICE, Brent open interest hit a new record at 2.8 mn contracts worth about $188 bn.

Source: Reuters

Canadian oil pipeline Trans Mountain seeks to shield insurers from pressure

24 February: Trans Mountain Corp, a firm that operates an oil pipeline owned by the Canadian government, has asked a regulator to keep the identities of its insurers private as activists push them to drop coverage. Environmental activists have stepped up pressure on banks and insurers to drop financing and insurance for fossil fuel companies, leading to European companies like AXA and Zurich pulling back from underwriting coal and oil sands projects. Trans Mountain is nearly tripling capacity of the pipeline to carry 890,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. Trans Mountain is nearly tripling capacity of the pipeline to carry 890,000 barrels of crude and refined products per day from Edmonton, Alberta to the British Columbia coast. Much of the oil it transports comes from the province’s oil sands - a particular focus of protests by environmentalists due to their high carbon emissions. The pipeline’s importance to Canada’s oil industry increased after US (United States) President Joe Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Source: Reuters

International: Gas

Lithuania to start supplying LNG to Poland next year

2 March: Lithuanian energy company Ignitis Group will start supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Poland next year when a new pipeline between the two countries comes online, its CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Darius Maikstenas said. The pipeline between Poland and Lithuania, called GIPL, is due to be completed by December 2021 and will also give Finland, Estonia and Latvia access to pipeline gas from continental Europe. The region currently imports pipeline gas from Russia and LNG via an import terminal at Lithuania’s Klaipeda port. Some of the LNG could be supplied via Poland to other markets, such as Ukraine, Maikstenas said. Lithuania’s energy ministry said that the new pipeline would also be used to supply LNG from Klaipeda to a planned gas-fired power station to be built in northeast Poland. Poland’s LNG import terminal in Swinoujscie imported 39.9 terawatt hour (TWh), Ignitis Group said. In 2020, Poland signed deals to expand the terminal’s capacity by 66 percent by 2023, as the country prepares to cease imports of Russian pipeline gas in 2022. Russia’s Gazprom lost a third of its share of the Finnish gas market last year, after a new pipeline made it possible to import LNG via the Baltic States.

Source: Reuters

Pakistan hopes to save $3 bn in new gas deal with Qatar

1 March: Pakistan’s landmark, new deal with Qatar for liquefied natural gas (LNG) at lower rates will save Islamabad a total of about $3 bn over the next 10 years, according to Nadeem Babar, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on petroleum. The agreement, signed, will save the state $317 mn annually due to the reduced price of the gas compared to the 2015 agreement between the two countries, according to Babar. Under the agreement, which comes into effect in January 2022, Pakistan will import liquefied natural gas - or LNG - from Qatar at a reduced price of about 31 percent, compared to the previous agreement signed in 2015 for 15 years. At the time, Islamabad's agreeing to pay a higher price had drawn criticism from experts. Many Pakistanis have been rallying, angry over long power cuts in the summer and shortages of natural gas in winter, to demand an uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas. Khan's government has said it was trying its best to overcome an energy shortfall through different measures.

Source: The Economic Times

China’s CNOOC records over 101 bcm gas reserves in Shanxi

1 March: China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) has recorded proven gas geological reserves of more than 101 billion cubic meters (bcm) at Linxing gasfield in one of the country’s major coal mining province Shanxi. Located at the east-edge of Ordos basin, Linxing tight gas field produced an average of more than 5 million cubic meters (mcm) gas in 2020. CNOOC aims to establish annual gas production capacity of 3.3 bcm and raise annual output to 2.7 bcm at Linxing, which is managed by its coalbed methane subsidiary, within three years. The proven reserves at Linxing were certified by the Ministry of Natural Resources. CNOOC has vowed to accelerate the exploration and development of natural gas, including deepwater reserves in the South China Sea, shallow water resources in Bohai Bay and unconventional resources onshore.

Source: The Economic Times

Global LNG demand expected to almost double by 2040: Shell

25 February: Global liquefied natural gas (LNG) demand is expected to almost double to 700 million tonnes (mt) by 2040, Royal Dutch Shell said in its annual LNG market outlook. Demand was 360 mt last year, up slightly from 2019’s 358 mt, despite volatility caused by lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic. Global LNG prices hit a record low early in 2020 but reached record highs at the start of this year due to high winter demand, supply outages and infrastructure bottlenecks. Asia is expected to drive nearly 75 percent of LNG demand growth to 2040 as domestic gas production declines and LNG substitutes higher emission energy sources. Last year, China and India led the recovery in demand for LNG following the outbreak of the pandemic. China increased its LNG imports by 7 mt to 67 mt in 2020, an 11 percent increase from the year before. China’s target to become carbon neutral by 2060 is expected to continue driving up its LNG demand. India also increased imports by 11 percent in 2020 as it took advantage of lower-priced LNG to boost its domestic gas production. Globally, the number of LNG-fuelled vehicles and demand from the marine sector for LNG is also growing. Shell said it expects the gap between supply and demand is expected to open in the middle of this decade with less new production coming on stream than previously projected and LNG demand expected to rebound. Lockdowns around the world have delayed construction and timelines for new LNG liquefaction plants which could have an effect on the market in the medium term. Only 3 mt of new LNG production capacity was announced in 2020, down from an expected 60 mt.

Source: Reuters

Russian LNG, natural gas shouldn’t compete in export markets: Gazprom

25 February: Russia should ensure its natural gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas) supplies do not compete in international markets, Gazprom said, amid signs a local LNG rival is becoming increasingly important in the European market traditionally dominated by Gazprom. Moscow has for years said its pipeline gas, which only Gazprom has a right to export, and LNG, would never compete, with its LNG targeting mainly Asia and parts of Europe not served by natural gas pipelines. However, Yamal LNG, led by Russia’s top private gas producer Novatek, shipped 33.5 million tonnes (mt) of LNG to Europe between 2018 and 2020, Refinitiv Eikon data showed, compared with 8.8 mt sent to Asia. Russia, home to the world’s biggest gas reserves and the second largest gas producer globally after the United States (US), aims to boost LNG output nearly threefold to 140 mt in 15 years, to add to the gas it supplies the pipelines. Gazprom’s new LNG facility, to be built by the Baltic Sea in Ust-Luga, will not target pipeline gas buyers, the company said.

Source: Reuters

Traders, including Trafigura, supply Mexico with emergency LNG

24 February: Oil trading firms, including Trafigura, are supplying Mexico with emergency cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to overcome a power crisis caused by interrupted US (United States) natural gas supplies. Mexico’s power company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) resorted to LNG imports as natural gas supplies from the southern US, especially neighbouring Texas, were hit by frozen pipelines and rocketing prices caused by a cold snap. The trading companies were able to divert LNG cargoes going to Asia while offering Mexico unsold cargoes that were anchored off the US Gulf Coast, even though Texas Governor Greg Abbott temporarily restricted out-of-state gas supplies, primarily affecting Mexico. The first two LNG cargoes bought by CFE discharged at Mexico’s Manzanillo and Altamira ports on tankers Flex Courageous and Seri Balhaf, respectively, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking data. CFE said that at least two more cargoes were purchased to address the emergency, but the company has not revealed the names of the suppliers or terms agreed. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that the Latin American country ended up paying less for the LNG it bought than imports that could have been made through pipelines amid the US gas price spike. Lopez Obrador said that Mexico was asked to pay up to $100 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) for piped gas from the US.

Source: Reuters

International: Coal

UN Secretary-General urges wealthy nations to phase out coal use by 2030

2 March: UN (United Nations) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on wealthy nations to end coal use by 2030 so the world can meet its goals to curb global warming, urging G7 nations to make that commitment before or at a leaders’ summit in June. Guterres said emissions-cutting pledges by governments fell far short of what is needed to limit climate heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Guterres said all 37 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - a group of mainly high-income nations - should promise to stop using coal by 2030, and the rest should do so by 2040. The Powering Past Coal Alliance was formed by Canada and Britain in 2017 to bring together governments and business to accelerate the phase-out of “unabated” coal power, where there is no technology in place to remove carbon emissions.

Source: Reuters

China’s coal consumption share falls to 56.8 percent at end-2020

1 March: China cut its coal use to 56.8 percent of energy consumption at the end of 2020, maintaining its target of below 58 percent, but overall coal consumption continued to rise amid record industrial output and the completion of dozens of coal-fired power plants. Coal consumption in the world's biggest coal user and greenhouse gas emitter grew 0.6 percent last year, the fourth consecutive increase, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Energy consumption increased by 2.2 percent to 4.98 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent last year, with crude oil demand growing by 3.3 percent and natural gas by 7.2 percent. China has pledged to halt the rise in its carbon emissions before 2030 with targets to control energy consumption, especially coal-burning, and improve energy efficiency.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Power

Britain’s National Grid to invest $13.9 bn in power network by 2026

2 March: Britain’s National Grid said it broadly accepted a price control proposal from regulator Ofgem and would invest around 10 bn pounds ($13.9 bn) in the power transmission network that it operates by 2026. In December, Ofgem gave the go-ahead for 40 bn pounds ($53.4 bn) in spending on utility networks between 2021-2026 to prepare for more renewable power, including a higher-than-planned limit on grid operators’ returns. National Grid said it was pleased to see the increase in allowances and accepted the overall package for its role as electricity system operator, while broadly accepting the package for electricity and transmission businesses. The price controls take effect from April 2021. National Grid said it would submit a technical appeal to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding Ofgem’s proposed cost of equity and downward adjustment to allowed returns in expectation of future outperformance. SSEN Transmission, part of utility SSE, said it would also appeal these issues with the CMA, in addition to areas relating to new exposure to transmission charges and the loss of appeals right relating to total expenditure. If accepted, the six-month appeal process would begin from April and final determinations could be expected in October.

Source: Reuters

International: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

China cuts "carbon intensity" 18.8 percent in past five years, in effort to rein in emissions

2 March: China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, succeeded in lowering “carbon intensity” by 18.8 percent in the five years through 2020, a Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) report said, showing the economy’s reduced reliance on fossil fuels. The decline in “carbon intensity” - the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the country produces per unit of GDP - beat the official target for an 18 percent reduction. During the five-year period, China’s GDP increased to 101.6 tn yuan ($15.71 t), from 68.9 tn yuan in 2015. For 2020 alone, carbon intensity fell 1 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistic. President Xi Jinping has pledged to cap carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve the carbon neutrality by 2060. To meet commitments made under the Paris Climate Accord, China has been boosting renewable energy consumption and curbing coal burning to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Source: Reuters

Global CO2 emissions rising again after nearly 6 percent fall last year: IEA

2 March: Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dropped by 5.8 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed economic activity, but they rebounded at the end of the year and are on course to rise further, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Major economies led a rebound in December when emissions were 2 percent, or 60 million tonnes (mt), higher than in December 2019, as a pick-up in economic activity increased energy demand. China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, was the only country that experienced an increase in emissions last year of 0.8 percent, or 75 mt, from 2019 levels, the IEA said. In the global power sector last year, emissions fell by 3.3 percent, the largest absolute fall on record. Although energy demand decreased, the growth of renewables generation was the biggest contributor to the fall.

Source: Reuters

Spanish energy companies to carry the torch for renewable deals

1 March: Several Spanish clean energy companies are planning stock market listings or stake sales within the next two years, taking advantage of a market boom in green assets to raise funds to build more wind farms and solar parks. Rising demand for environmentally friendly investments is focusing attention on Spain’s under-exploited solar and more established wind sector, helped by government targets in line with international requirements to decarbonise economies and stem climate change. Iberdrola, Spain’s biggest power firm, will plough some of its €150 bn investment plan for the next decade into tripling its renewable capacity worldwide.

Source: Reuters

British insurer Aviva sets out net zero 2040 climate strategy

1 March: British insurer Aviva plans to become a net zero carbon emissions company by 2040, it said, claiming this was the most demanding target set by any major insurer worldwide. Following the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, many countries and companies are aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms. The insurer plans to reach net zero carbon emissions from its investments by 2040 and net zero from its own operations and supply chain by 2030. Aviva’s plans include expanding green investments and switching to renewable electricity in its offices and to electric or hybrid vehicles in its motor fleet. Aviva will by the end of this year stop underwriting insurance for companies making more than 5 percent of their revenue from coal or “unconventional” fossil fuels such as shale gas, unless they have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, an NGO-led group that signs off on corporate climate plans. Investors are stepping up their efforts ahead of COP26 climate talks in Scotland later this year, where countries will look to accelerate the fight against global warming.

Source: Reuters

EDP Brasil to acquire solar energy assets of AES unit

26 February: Brazilian power company EDP Energias do Brasil SA said that its EDP Smart division has signed a deal to acquire solar energy assets from the local unit of AES Inc for 177 mn reais ($32 mn). The transaction involves AES Inova, an investment platform for distributed generation that uses smaller technology systems, such as solar panels on land or roofs. EDP Brasil, a subsidiary of Portugal’s largest utility, EDP, said the deal would expand by 50 percent the size of its portfolio of solar energy projects, a priority of its investment plan.

Source: Reuters

US, Canada to work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050: US President

24 February: US (United States) President Joe Biden said that he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. US Special Climate Change Envoy John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, will host the ministerial. The partnership comes after Biden revoked a key permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported 830,000 barrels a day of carbon-intensive heavy crude from Canada’s Alberta to Nebraska, on his first day in office last month - one amid a flurry of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the US is interested in boosting hydro imports. In a separate interview, Environment Minister Wilkinson said combining Canada’s clean energy with US wind, solar and geothermal power was a priority for early talks between the two countries.

Source: Reuters

This is a weekly publication of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It covers current national and international information on energy categorised systematically to add value. The year 2020 is the seventeenth continuous year of publication of the newsletter. The newsletter is registered with the Registrar of News Paper for India under No. DELENG / 2004 / 13485.

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