MonitorsPublished on Mar 20, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XI; Issue 40

[Moon Shadow will Enhance Green Power Systems – How German Energy Turnaround Manages Solar Eclipse]

                             “The whole system could be balanced by activating other energy sources without significant complications, doubts of interrupted supplies proved unfounded. However, power prices in Germany fluctuated considerably, but that’s what they are intended to: to send veritable signals to the market with respect to shortage of the commodity…”

Energy News


Low power generation loss on account of improved fuel supply is a sign of progress in the power sector!                                   


Re-opening of coal bids is a sign of sub-optimal auction design!


The absence of policies for the solar rush illustrates the fact that governments cannot and should not make energy choices!




·          Moon Shadow will Enhance Green Power Systems – How German Energy Turnaround Manages Solar Eclipse

·          Importing Nuclear Albatross?


·          Hydro Generation- Month-wise and Region-wise



·          Cairn India's tax liability credit negative for Vedanta Resources: Moody's

·          Not easy to start gas production in KG basin: Gujarat govt

·          OVL in talks to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields: Oil Minister


·          IOC seeks superior kerosene in unusual move

·          Indian refiners restock with West African oil ahead of strategic reserve launch

·          MRPL to shut 120K bpd crude unit in April

·          HPCL aims to restart fire-hit gasoline unit

Transportation / Trade………………

·          Indian refineries step up oil imports from newer geographies like Mexico, Iraq

·          AP pips Telangana at the post, clinches gas deal with Gujarat

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Sri Lanka, India to partner on oil storage project: PM Modi

·          Govt committee suggests key steps for O&G sector

·          Oil Ministry to give CNG marketing licence

·          Govt asks GAIL to remit incremental KG-D6 gas price every month

·          Govt to scrap allocation of CBM block given to GEECL



·          Tata Power commissions 2nd unit of Dagachhu project in Bhutan

·          960 MW hydro power project in Himachal Pradesh fails to find takers

·          Work for 3, 4 units in KNPP to begin in April 2016

·          Power generation loss to be at 4 year low in 2015

·          Hawaii-based Company to generate electricity from outflow of Idukki reservoir

·          After Land Bill, BJP and Shiv Sena pitted against each other on Jaitapur project

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Investors fret as Centre defends reopening coal mine bids

·          Assam-Agra transmission line to help north India this summer

·          Opposition stands divided on crucial Coal, Mines Bills

·          State discoms seek upto 26 percent hike in power tarrif

·          World Bank grants ` 13.7 bn for power T&D network in Tripura

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Govt holds back awarding 5 coal blocks from round II for examining low bids

·          Electricity tariff raised nominally in Bihar

·          AERB nod to NPCIL to erect major equipment at Rajasthan N-power plant

·          No power cuts in TS from May: Telangana CM

·          Assam may hike commercial power tariff

·          Uttarakhand, Centre push for power projects

·          AP to invest ` 43.6 bn in power sector

·          Delhi govt eyeing coal block to set up own power plant

·          No dilution of India's Nuclear Liability Act: Govt

·          Cement, fertilizer companies disappointed over electricity duty



·          Eni makes 'significant' gas, condensate discovery offshore Libya

·          KUFPEC inks exploration agreement for Pakistan's Paharpur Block

·          Triple Energy signs drilling contract with Beijing Jiuzun in China

·          Japan's JX, GDF Suez find new oil in UK North Sea

·          Kashagan oil production to resume in 2017: Shell

·          Husky says $2.5 bn Sunrise oil sands project begins production

·          Azerbaijan's oil output seen down 4 percent in 2015


·          Saudi Arabia needs more oil to feed local refinery expansion

·          Nigeria's Dangote Group says new $9 bn refinery seen onstream in 2017

·          Ethiopian oil marketer sees $5 bn refinery within 10 yrs

·          RT Global-led consortium looks to develop $2.5 bn oil refinery in Uganda

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Oil heads toward bear market as glut sends price to six-year low

·          Kurdish oil deal with Baghdad unravels as tensions rise

·          Chile's ENAP to build $30 mn oil pipeline in Egypt

·          Argentina's YPF tenders for 11 Shipments of LNG: Traders

Policy / Performance………………

·          EU energy chief voices concern over Russia's Turkish pipeline plan

·          Russian oligarch close to bowing to UK pressure to sell North Sea fields

·          Brazil's Eletrobras approves Petrobras debt renegotiation plan

·          Noble set to declare Cyprus natural gas find viable: Energy Minister

·          Iran can add million barrels a day of oil if sanctions halt

·          Oil & Gas UK urges further tax measures in 2015 Budget

·          US LNG projects hit by energy price slide

·          China, India drive global energy needs: Ex-OPEC official

·          European ports set to lose LNG supply to Egypt

·          Greece to seek benefits from TAP gas pipeline transit



·          Indonesia coal mining company set to build mine-mouth power plants

·          Siemens inks US$10.5 bn power plant deal with Egypt

·          Toshiba wins 688 MW STG order for coal power plant in Vietnam

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Appalachian Power seeks approval to improve existing transmission facility

·          Finland's Fortum to sell Swedish power grid for $6.9 bn

·          PG&E to develop two new transmission substations in US

·          Spanish firm to build overhead lines for Maritime Link

·          AEP Ohio to build two transmission lines in US

Policy / Performance………………

·          EU deadline on GE's $13 bn Alstom deal extended to August 6

·          North Korea behind nuke power plant data leakage



·          Govt yet to devise policies for scaling up solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022

·          GSFC introduces Sardar Package Scheme in 19 Gujarat districts

·          VMC draws ` 2.5 bn plan to turn it into 'Solar City'

·          Welspun to set up 100 MW solar plant in Tamil Nadu

·          Govt hires PwC for solar energy scale-up plan

·          Organic Recycling Systems develops green mode of generating electricity from solid waste

·          Adani plans 1 GW solar power plant at Ramanathapuram

·          Punjab to launch 'solar power generation scheme' for farmers

·          India 3rd least efficient coal-fired power generating nation

·          West Bengal CM gets green nod from Modi govt for 43 projects


·          Al Gore proposes to 'punish climate change deniers'

·          Dubai introduces residential rooftop solar panel initiative

·          Renewables Infrastructure Group raising money for clean power

·          Brazil’s next solar power supply auction scheduled for August

·          Global energy-related emissions of CO2 stalled in 2014

·          Europe carbon trade would gain extra $1.1 bn from biomass

·          China carbon emissions decline as 2014 global CO2 stays flat

·          GDF Suez wants to double renewable capacity in Europe by 2025

·          Wind power without US subsidy to become cheaper than gas

·          Trina to supply India’s ACME with 48 MW of solar panels

·          Southern hemisphere’s largest solar power plant set to start

·          Three China solar-panel groups may lose EU duty exemption

·          Danish pension funds invest in UK biomass power plant



Moon Shadow will Enhance Green Power Systems – How German Energy Turnaround Manages Solar Eclipse

Thomas Elmar Schuppe, CIM Integrated Expert on Energy, Observer Research Foundation


 solar eclipse is admittedly a rare event. On Friday morning March 20, 2015, the moon will partially block out up to 80% of the sunlight for the first time in the era of renewables dominating German power generation capacities. This event has been widely characterized as the unprecedented stress test for the German energy system by challenging particularly the utilities and electricity grid operators to guarantee supply stability and to avoid blackouts.

In a bigger picture and against the backdrop of long term considerations according to the slow evolvement of structural changes in established power generation systems, natural phenomena as well as disasters will make inroads indeed occasionally but with some regularity over time. From the perspective of electricity generation system there are two reasons why we should give greater weight to these natural interferences: (I) Severe natural disasters like heavy storms and rains, floodings but also longer lasting droughts on the other hand are expected to increase over time triggered by the advancing effects of global climate change and local weather patterns; (II) with increasing share of renewables in total power generation of one system or country, the consequences are becoming more significant, i.e. the ramifications for Indian power supply will be larger if 100 GW of solar power capacity might be impacted (as the government plans to install till 2022 as part of total targeted renewable energy capacity of 175 GW) or some 3 GW of today, and even worse as the share of renewables will rise in total electricity generation. For example, the share of renewables in German electricity production has risen in an impressive manner to more than 26% in 2014, thereof about a fifth from photovoltaic (PV). According to Fraunhofer ISE (2015) the installed nominal capacity of PV was about 38.5 GW and the number of installations about 1.4 million in Germany end of 2014. Therefore, with PV is the largest single generation source among all types of power generation capacity in Germany and  consequently of utmost importance for German electricity supply as well as associated overall generation system stability requirements.

The impact of the eclipse is set to be strongly dependent from local German weather conditions on that morning between 9.30 a.m. till 12 p.m.. Based on accurate weather forecasts the system operators will have quite a good lead time to prepare accordingly for appropriate balancing mechanisms. Due to Wetter online (2015) there is a quite good probability of a clear sky for the eastern and southern parts of Germany whereas north-western stretches are likely to experience overcast sky (see graph).

A recent study by HTW (2015) illustrates the solar irradiation strength under clear weather conditions and how it might be affected by the eclipse: within a short timeframe the maximum strength of global solar irradiation might be drastically reduced by about factor five. 

Expected Course of max. Solar Irradiation Strength Without and With Eclipse Impact

(Berlin, March 20, 2015, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Source: HTW (2015), compiled by author. 

However, to which extent weather conditions impact might turn out to be considerable is shown in the simulations below: Exactly one year ago the cloudless sky ensures that almost the full specific PV output could have been realised in comparison with a cloudy day (left figure). Almost the same scope is illustrated by taking three different days within less than a week period: For example, at March 20, 2014, max. PV output has been at around 64% whereas four days before it was down to only about 9%.

Simulation of the Scope of PV Output according to Sky Conditions and at Different Days (March 2014)
Source: HTW (2015), compiled by author.

In the upshot overall German PV capacity over the course of the day (see figure below) is expected to reach at a clear day 17.5 GW (and 2.4 GW at overcast sky resp.) just before the start of the eclipse, then crushing down to a minimum of 6.2 GW (0.7 GW) just within one hour, before shooting up to about 24.6 GW (3.6 GW) at noon. This is about the fourfold level than about one hour before.

Expected Course of PV Capacity in Germany: Clear Day vs. Overcast Sky
(Berlin, March 20, 2015, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.)

Source: HTW (2015), compiled by author.

As a result, two critical situations need to be handled within 2-3 hours: (1) When the moon passes in front of the sun, electricity production from solar plants are expected to collapse quickly according to cloud exposure, (2) when the sun appears back out of the moon shadow, the actual production is expected to rise even more because at noon the irradiation is most powerful. About 15 GW of PV output differences from one hour to the next will have to be balanced by the system operators, demand side variations left out of consideration.

All over Europe the power producer and network operator prepare for the showdown with nature’s constellations. Since European electricity grids are well interconnected failures in one region would impact other regions, however, this large grid offers extensive balancing opportunities as well. Preparations for intensive communication and cooperation are on the way, German TSOs will stay in touch all the time throughout the eclipse and have already secured additional balancing power.

HTW (2015) concludes that the balancing can be done through various measures at the generation and demand side. However, from a mere technical point of view, in Germany the fluctuations could be completely offset be pumped storage hydro power stations alone, even on a clear day with maximum requirements: Initially electricity is produced by floating the water downhill through the turbines and in the second phase the pumps draw much power from the grid to back up the water basin for storage. In addition, the use of flexible power plants like– particularly - fast starting gas power plants and besides some of the hard coal power plants could back up compensation.

At the end of the day it turned out that the impact of the eclipse for the German power system could have been worse, which is – to tell the truth – above all a merit that belongs to the accurate and vigilant preparations of the system operators. The chart below shows data provided by European Energy Exchange (EEX (2015)) tracking the actual solar power generation from German power companies during the eclipse day: solar power capacity fell from 13GW to about 6GW as the eclipse began, then rocketed up to almost 20 GW within an hour. The whole system could be balanced by activating other energy sources without significant complications, doubts of interrupted supplies proved unfounded. However, power prices in Germany fluctuated considerably, but that’s what they are intended to: to send veritable signals to the market with respect to shortage of the commodity. According to Platts (2015) the German power for delivery the hour starting 10 a.m. for Friday (the peak of the partial solar eclipse) jumped 63% on Thursday to 49.41 Euro/MWh in the day-ahead auction on Epex Spot (European Power Exchange for power spot trading in Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland).

Actual Course of PV Capacity in Germany on March 20, 2015.

Source: EEX (2015).

It was the region’s first major eclipse since 1999; the next eclipse of this magnitude is not due in northern Europe until 2026. Notwithstanding Agora Energiewende (2015), a German think tank dealing with the Energy Turnaround, emphasises that the solar eclipse this year is only a foretaste of what is to come: with increasing shares of fluctuating renewable energy, the power system must become more flexible. In 2030 it is expected that imbalances of -10 to +15 GW will occur more often more often within one hour (as right now during the eclipse). Therefore, the whole generation mix and all other flexibility options must be aligned to these requirements. The most important options to realise flexibility are

·         Demand-side management

·         Flexible conventional power generation plants (e.g. natural gas fired)

·         System adaptive renewable power generation plants (to become more system service friendly)

·         Enhanced market integration and larger interconnected electricity networks

·         Larger storage and better storage technologies

·         Moderate reduction of Renewable generation feed in, Power-to-Gas, Power-to-Heat and Power-to-X (industries) solutions.

India has seen it last total solar eclipse in July 2009 (see figure). The next total one is scheduled for March 2034. By now India’s share of solar power generation in the overall electricity system is still negligible: with less than 3 GW of total installed solar-power capacity its share doesn’t exceed 2 % of power generation at present. However, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set the course for the future and proposed to scale up grid connected solar power targets to an immense 100 MW by 2022. Even if this heroic target might not be realised, the share of solar power in total Indian electricity generation can be expected to increase steadily for various reasonable reasons. China is currently showcasing how fast a country can make inroads in solar generation and has led the world in solar installations for the last two years. It’s on its way to reach far more than 30 GW of solar power capacity by the end of 2014, about 40 times more than it had in 2010. 

Indian’s power industry as well as the decisive institutions in politics and research should grasp the opportunities and learn from the European experiences in transforming the whole generation industry within few decades. Especially observations from the German Energiewende (energy turnaround) offer various starting points that ought to be taken into consideration for future planning purposes in India. The lessons learnt from the eclipse are only one module in a set of wide challenges and experiences in the German laboratory of greening the power sector. The information assembled will enhance the understanding of what will be important in a case of the eclipse, for example. India has the unique chance to avoid some of the painful restructuring experiences and to do it in a better way. This is particularly valid for long-term planning: today is important to bring the future structure of a sustainable power plant complex right on track. That is for example, to care also for system stability, appropriate balancing mechanisms and storage options, well balanced system of base load and flexible peak load (back up) power generation, demand side management, interconnected grids and market integration and pricing.

See also:

Energy News Monitor, Vol. X Issue. 17

Brown clouds looming on the green energy horizon in Germany

Thomas Elmar Schuppe, 08 October 2013

Energy News Monitor, Vol. XI Issue. 26

The German Energiewende turns around Market Structures and Prices (part I)

Thomas Elmar Schuppe, 09 December 2014

Energy News Monitor, Vol. XI Issue. 34

The German Energiewende turns around Policy Framework (Part II)

Thomas Elmar Schuppe, 03 February 2015 ANALYSISDetail.html?cmaid=78428&mmacmaid=78429


AG Energiebilanzen (2015), Bruttostromerzeugung in Deutschland ab 1990 nachEnergieträgern, Stand: 27. Februar 2015.

Agora Energiewende (2015), Die Sonnenfinsternis 2015:Vorschau auf das Stromsystem 2030. Herausforderungenfür die Stromversorgung in SystemenmithohenAnteilenan Wind- und Solarenergie, March 2015.

Bloomberg (2015a), Eclipse Tests European Power Grid Flooded by Solar Farms, by Stefan NicolaWeixinZhaRachel Morison, March 19, 2015,

Bloomberg (2015b), Look What Today's Eclipse Did to German Solar Power Output, by D. Bennett, March 20, 2015,

EEX European Energy Exchange (2015), Actual Solar Power Generation (chart), valid for 2015/03/21,

Financial Times (2015), Eclipse puts Europe’s fears over solar power cut in the shade, by P. Clark and A. Ram, March 20, 2015,

Fraunhofer ISE (2015), AktuelleFaktenzurPhotovoltaik in Deutschland, Fassungvom 7.1.2015.

HTW HochschulefürTechnik und Wirtschaft Berlin (2014), Einfluss der Sonnenfinsternis im März 2015 auf die Solarstromerzeugung in Deutschland, Oktober 2014.

Platts (2015), German power price for eclipse hour up 63%, spot down on stand-by units, March 19, 2015,

Spiegel Online (2015), ExtrembelastungdurchSonnenfinsternis: Stresstestfür die Energiewende, March 16, 2015,

Wetteronline (2015), Sonnenfinsternis gut zusehen, 19.03.2015. .

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Importing Nuclear Albatross?

M.G. Devasahayam*


he Indo-US Nuclear jugalbandi (duet) commenced in July 2005 with the then US President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing an Agreement in Washington DC under Section 123 of US Atomic Energy Act-1954 that facilitated India importing nuclear reactors from USA, though not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Manmohan Singh hailed this Agreement as ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ which was an echo of a phrase coined by the nuclear industry and U.S. government officials in 2003 to boost the comeback of commercial nuclear power in the U.S. "Renaissance" had replaced "revival" as the word being used by nuclear proponents to describe their desired recovery of the nuclear industry. This was because there has not been an order of a new nuclear power plant in the U.S. since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident shattered public trust in nuclear technology. The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster further damaged confidence in atomic energy worldwide. But the US nuclear industry and government were talking about "renaissance" and the Indian Prime Minister sang the same tune.

Soon thereafter India signed a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under which all nuclear material and equipment transferred to it by USA as part of this deal shall be subject to safeguards. In August 2008, IAEA's Board of Governors approved an India-specific safeguards agreement outside NPT, thus clearing the Deal. In October, 2008 the U.S. Congress gave final approval to the Deal thus formalising nuclear cooperation between USA and India. In July 2009, New Delhi designated two projects for imported nuclear reactors from U.S. companies-Westinghouse in Mithi Virdi, Gujarat (6x1000 MW) and General Electric (GE) in Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh (6x1594 MW)-for generating power. Alongside, approval was given to Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to import 6x1650 MW European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) from the French company, Areva for Jaitapur site in Maharashtra. All these projects are facing fierce protest from lakhs of local people on livelihood and environmental grounds.

The mighty nuclear lobby was behind all this. But the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act passed by Parliament in August 2010 put off the US MNCs who said that seeking legal redress against nuclear suppliers is a sharp deviation from the IAEA liability regime which holds nuclear operators solely responsible in case of an accident. So conclusion of the Deal lingered.

During the ten years (2005-2015) there has been no sign of any nuclear renaissance or revival in USA. But nuclear multi-nationals along with US Government persisted in pushing it down the throat of energy-starved India and our government is playing ball. Bowing to their diktats Government of India (GoI) recently tripled its target to 63,000 MW of nuclear energy by 2032-over twelve times the present installed capacity in just seventeen years! And pronto, US President Barack Obama landed in India and along with the ‘development’-obssessed Prime Minister Narendra Modi set about tinkering India’s nuclear liability law calling it ‘breakthrough’!

Obama and Modi had made the Nuclear deal as the centre-piece of the ‘transformed’ India-US relationship and strategic partnership. The Joint Statement issued on January 25, 2015 said this about the Deal: "…the Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest." This is crisp and cryptic.

But not what Obama said on 27 January while addressing students and citizens at the Sri Fort Auditorium, the deemed Townhall for Delhi: "…And with the breakthroughs we achieved on this visit, we can finally move toward fully implementing our civil nuclear agreement, which will mean more reliable electricity for Indians and cleaner, non-carbon energy that helps fight climate change. And I don’t have to describe for you what more electricity means. Students being able to study at night; businesses being able to stay open longer and hire more workers; farmers being able to use mechanized tools that increase their productivity; whole communities seeing more prosperity.  ….And now we have a historic opportunity with India leading the way to end the injustice of extreme poverty all around the world."

Obama seem to be living in a ‘wonderland’ without any understanding of what ‘energy security’ is and what poverty elimination means. Does he know why no nuclear power plant has come up in USA in over last three decades? He would have known if he had read MIT Report of 2003: "The prospects for nuclear energy as an option are limited by four unresolved problems: high relative costs; perceived adverse safety, environmental, and health effects; potential security risks stemming from proliferation; and unresolved challenges in long-term management of nuclear wastes." While the latter three-safety, security risks, nuclear waste-problems remain as unresolved as they were, cost of nuclear power has spiraled to such heights that rich USA is heavily subsidising it. By importing US reactors this subsidy burden will now be borne by poor India!

Mired in deep secrecy, it is virtually impossible to get any credible information out of India’s nuclear establishment to work out the true costing of nuclear power. But experts have culled out tariff projections from the estimates for Areva’s Jaitapur project. As of now no EPR is in commercial operation anywhere in the world. Estimates of costs from EPR plants under construction in Finland and France suggest that each unit may cost as much as ` 60,000 crore and at this price, six units will cost ` 3.6 lakh crore. This works out to ` 36.36 crore per MW and ` 363,600 per Kw (USD 6610 @ ` 55/- a dollar). Hopefully negotiations may bring down the price to about $ 6000/Kw.

From America, India wants to import prototype reactors that are not in operation anywhere in the world. This includes GE-Hitachi’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, which only recently received U.S. regulatory approval and Westinghouse’s AP1000, criticized in the U.S. for supposed design failings. Prototypes usually face major teething troubles and carry greater long-term risks. Cost of these reactors also would be identical to that of Areva’s EPR and other parameters of costing would also be the same.

Table below gives first-year tariff projections of power generated from imported nuclear reactors:


Cost per kWh (unit) in `

Return on Equity


Interest on market borrowings


Interest on working capital




Fuel consumption


Operation & Management


Annual fuel recovery charge


Provision for decommissioning




In these projections, cost of reactor is taken as $4,000/Kw and value of dollar at ` 55/-. Component costs are worked out at actual market rates/norms laid down by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. Provision made for decommissioning is too meager if Fukushima costs are taken into account. There is no provision for the cost of spent-fuel storage for hundreds of years.

If calculated at $6,000/Kw and ` 60 per $ the actual tariff could be as high as ` 22/- per kWh (unit). Insurance liability could further push up the costs. Tariff does not include Transmission & Distribution losses/costs which itself is high. The crash of oil and gas prices has made nuclear power’s economics totally unfavourable. Nuclear power is already the world’s most subsidy-fattened energy industry. Since the 1980s, average international costs for nuclear power have jumped from $1,000 per installed kilowatt to nearly $8,000 and are heavily subsidized.

All these are being concealed and a false picture is being presented before the public as if imported nuclear power is among the cheapest source of energy. Such is the influence of the nuclear lobby! What is worse, thousands of acres of land are being acquired for these predatory projects despite public protests and for this purpose Land Acquisition Act-2013 has been amended through Ordinance! Environmental imperatives are being cast to the wind.

Might of nuclear MNC’s is also implicit in the health and safety aspects. As early as 1959, IAEA, the atomic energy regulator, had entered into agreement with World Health Organization (WHO) which prevents the latter from reporting diseases caused by nuclear radiation. This is evident from the fact that WHO waited five years before visiting territories heavily contaminated by the Chernobyl accident and had hidden the health consequences of this catastrophe. Article 3 of the 1959 agreement states: "Whenever either organisation proposes to initiate a programme or activity on a subject in which the other organisation has or may have a substantial interest, the first party shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual consent." This restricted WHO from reporting on Chernobyl and information was suppressed. Japanese media believes the agreement has also prevented WHO from taking stock of the effects of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011.

As energy-hungry India is rushing to get more reactors, very less information is available on the health effects of radiation. In September 2014 Department of Atomic Energy criticised the media for reporting an RTI query reply that 2,600 people in India’s nuclear hubs have died due to cancer between 1995 and 2014. DAE gave the figure of 152 deaths. WHO could have played a significant role in resolving such confusion had it not been gagged by its agreement with IAEA.

It is this very same IAEA which is midwifing the Indo-US nuclear deal and one can only imagine the health and safety risks to which people living near nuclear plants are exposed too. In a thickly populated country like India such population would run into several millions and any accident-whether due to supplier’s defective equipment or operator’s fault-would be catastrophic. Modi-Obama ‘breakthrough’ on India’s nuclear liability requirements is to be seen in this context.

The detailed FAQ on this ‘breakthrough’ issued by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) raises troubling questions. It contrives a model that shifts the liability risks for nuclear accidents to Indian taxpayers, thus undermining CNLD Act which holds suppliers, designers and builders liable in case of an accident. The ‘breakthrough’ compromise has been designed to circumvent the central principle enshrined in that law—the right to bring civil legal action for damages against suppliers in the event of a nuclear accident caused by defective equipment, components or designs.

How damaging it will be could be seen from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. GE of the U.S. built or designed the three Fukushima reactors that suffered core meltdowns, yet the company escaped penalties or legal action after the disaster, despite a fundamental design deficiency in the reactors, because Japan’s law indemnifies suppliers, making plant operators exclusively and fully liable. It was to avert such a situation that India’s law armed NPCIL, the state-run plant operator, with the right of recourse to suppliers. India’s sensitivity on this point reflects its bitter experience over a 1984 gas leak from a chemical plant in Bhopal that killed as many as 3,000 people shortly after the accident. The plant was owned by Union Carbide of the U.S. and the victims are still awaiting justice.

Supplier liability is a well-established legal concept, applied in many business sectors around the world to deter suppliers from taking undue risks. But the 2010 Act makes India an outlier in terms of current international standards on civil nuclear liability. The global nuclear power industry is controlled by a powerful group of a few state-controlled or state-supported private companies that push an opposite norm—that plant operators assume absolute liability so that suppliers face no downside risks. They want India to follow suit and ‘Bharat Sarkar’ has buckled.

So, the nuclear deal lying in cold storage was galvanised, signed and sealed in quick time. President Obama used his executive powers to waive the issue raised from the US side to track the nuclear material being provided. The issue of nuclear liability that India wanted was addressed through a legal contrivance called a "memorandum of law"-essentially an executive order-creating an insurance pool for ` 1500 crores with state-owned insurance companies chipping ` 750 crore and rest footed by the government with taxpayer’s money.

This arrangement, although claimed by GoI to be "squarely within our law," constitutes "a risk-transfer mechanism," as the MEA has admitted. Under the arrangement, the Indian government is effectively scrapping the right of recourse to foreign suppliers provided by CNLD Act and transferring the liability risk to taxpayers, offset partly by the modest insurance pool. U.S. officials say the two governments are in agreement over this memorandum plan, which they view as a creative solution. But how can a "memorandum of law," with no legislative mandate, reinterpret a statute in a way that effectively guts it? This question will haunt the ‘nuclear investors’. And, God forbid, if a serious accident were to occur, India would be saddled with staggering long-term costs if the estimated Fukushima disaster bill of $105 billion (` 6,30,000 crore) is any indication!

In this water-starved nation nuclear reactors are massive water-guzzlers. On all counts it is multiple whammy for the Indian populace-continuous dependence on imported uranium; prohibitively costly power; safety/environment risks; loss of land and livelihood; paltry accident cover-while nuclear MNCs laugh all the way to the bank. As for track-record, the 2x1000 MW Koodunkulam project in Tamil Nadu that commenced 30 years ago is yet to generate firm power for the grid due to defective Russian reactors imported ten years ago! What is more, setting up centralized ultra-mega-nuclear generation projects runs counter to what India really needs-transition to renewable energy led decentralized and distributed generation that only can solve India’s power crisis.

What we are importing are not technologies or equipments that will provide India energy security, end extreme poverty, increase farm production and usher in prosperity. It is nuclear albatross that could sink India’s power sector sooner than later.

* The author is a former Army and IAS officer and can be contacted at [email protected]




Hydro Generation- Month-wise and Region-wise

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation        





(Generation in MU)















































































































































Hydro Generation- Target and Achievement

^includes Bhutan imports

*provisional based on actual-cum-assessment

Source: Central Electricity Authority




Cairn India's tax liability credit negative for Vedanta Resources: Moody's

March 17, 2015. Rating agency Moody's said the ` 20,465 crore tax demand raised on Cairn India is negative for its parent company Vedanta Resources. Income Tax Department has slapped a ` 20,495 crore tax demand on Cairn India Ltd for allegedly failing to pay taxes on gains made by its former parent (Cairn Energy) in a share transfer transaction about eight years ago. An adverse outcome for Vedanta in relation to the tax dispute could also lead to a ratings downgrade, it said. It said Vedanta's credit metrics are already at the lower end of its rating category. The rating agency had revised the company's ratings outlook to negative in January 2015 to reflect the company's likely lower earnings due to depressed global oil prices. Moody's said it has kept Vedanta's ratings and outlook unchanged, because it believes the tax claim will not lead to any immediate cash demand, and that the final amount could vary, given that Vedanta is challenging the liability. Cairn India, an oil and gas producer with a 59.9 percent stake held by Vedanta, had received a tax notice from the Indian revenue authorities for its alleged failure to deduct withholding tax on alleged capital gains of ` 24,500 crore made by its former parent during the fiscal year ended March 2007. While Moody's said that Cairn India's almost 60 percent reduction of its planned capital expenditure to USD 500 million for the financial year ending March 2016 is a positive development, however, lower Brent crude oil prices will negatively affect Vedanta's profitability and cash generation. Moody's expects Brent crude oil prices to average about USD 87/barrel in the year to March 2015 and around USD 57/barrel in the year to March 2016. The disputed tax liability could constrain the group's liquidity. At September 2014, Cairn India's cash balances totalled around USD 2.7 billion, accounting for one-third of the group's liquid assets. (

Not easy to start gas production in KG basin: Gujarat govt

March 13, 2015. Gujarat government admitted in the Legislative Assembly that it was facing several technical difficulties in its oil and gas exploration project in Krishna-Godawari (KG) basin, leading to delay in start of commercial production. The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has an exploration block in the KG basin in Andhra Pradesh. Joitabhai Patel, Congress MLA from Dhanera asked the energy and petroleum minister Saurabh Patel about the progress in the exploration and reasons for delay in commencement of commercial production of gas by GSPC. Patel admitted there were several problems. KG basin is a deep sea block, which creates many technical challenges for oil exploration at a very high temperature and pressure, he said. The block has a temperature of 400 degree Fahrenheit (204 degree Celsius) and pressure of 12,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) at the bottom, and the engineering work in these circumstances takes more time, he said. Being an off-shore block, there were further geographical problems and as a result the production was yet to start, the minister said. The Gujarat government had stated in the Assembly that it had spent ` 2,847.25 crore on exploration in KG basin in the last two years. (

OVL in talks to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields: Oil Minister

March 11, 2015. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is in talks to acquire stake in two Siberian oilfields, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. While the Minister did not name the fields, OVL was in talks for a stake in Vankor and Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye fields. An agreement for the stake was to be signed during the visit of Russian President Vladmir Putin in December last year but differences between the two sides prevented formal signing of the pact. Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft had offered to sell 10 percent stake in the strategic Vankor oilfield in Siberia to OVL. Vankor will reach peak output of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) or 25 million tonnes a year in 2019. The field, which has driven recent Russian output growth, pumped 435,000 bpd in September, 2014. Russia is the world's top oil producer with current output of 10.5 million bpd but its key producing region - West Siberia - is maturing. Besides Vankor, Rosneft has also made a proposal to OVL for joint development of Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye oilfield in eastern Siberia. The field is estimated to hold 991 million barrels of oil equivalent reserves and is planned to start production in 2017. Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye will reach a production plateau of up to 5 million tonnes a year (100,000 bpd) in 2019. OVL is interested in expanding its presence in Russia as it looks to source one million barrels per day of oil and oil-equivalent gas from Russia. (


IOC seeks superior kerosene in unusual move

March 17, 2015. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is seeking 20,000 tonnes of superior kerosene oil for April, which traders said was rare. IOC is looking to buy the superior kerosene oil for April 6-8 arrival at Paradip, followed by Haldia. The tender closes on March 24, with offers to stay valid until March 25. The state-owned firm's Koyali refinery is undergoing heavy maintenance from now until April. It has been importing gasoline for March to May delivery, which traders said was to fill the supply gap from the refinery maintenance. In total, it has bought up to 106,000 tonnes of gasoline for March to May arrival at several ports, namely Haldia, Kochi, Paradip and Vizag. (

Indian refiners restock with West African oil ahead of strategic reserve launch

March 16, 2015. India has nearly doubled the amount of West African oil it will import in the first half of April, traders said, in a buying spree aimed at refiners building stocks ahead of purchases to fill the country's new strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). The world's fourth-largest energy consumer has stepped up purchases of the Nigerian and Angolan crude for March and April, sparking interest from a market that is watching for stockpiling after oil prices crashed by more than 60 percent between last June and January 2015. Traders said Indian state-backed refiners, led by Indian Oil Corp, booked roughly 15 million barrels of West African oil to arrive in the first part of April - double what they usually import. State-controlled refiners Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have also been buying West African crudes, booking several vessels over the past few weeks. The refineries said their lifting plans for March and April were as per schedule. A drive to virtually eliminate Iranian imports in March also made West African grades more attractive. India is building SPRs at three locations that together can hold more than 36 million barrels of crude to help protect the energy import-reliant economy from supply disruptions and price volatility. The International Energy Agency said that cheaper oil with help encourage India, as well as China and South Korea, to beef up strategic storage. Any effort to fill India's strategic reserves, which will amount to roughly one-third of daily global oil demand, would absorb some of the global glut of oil and could help shore up benchmark prices. Already, the spring purchases have boosted West African crude oil differentials versus the benchmark dated Brent price. Grades popular among Indian refineries, such as Bonny Light and Qua Iboe, have seen their differentials rise to their highest level since the oil price started its near 60 percent slide in June last year. (

MRPL to shut 120K bpd crude unit in April

March 13, 2015. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) plans to shut a 120,000 barrel per day crude distillation unit (CDU) for about 10 days from early April for planned maintenance. MRPL, a subsidiary of state-run exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), runs a coastal refinery in Karnataka with a capacity of 300,000 bpd. The refiner plans to shut a 1.6 million tonne a year hydrocracker at the refinery that produces middle distillates such as diesel for minor work. The refiner has three CDUs and two hydrocrackers. MRPL's product supply commitments would not be affected by the shutdown. MRPL plans to shut its second hydrocrakcer of 1.2 million tonnes a year in the October-December quarter for catalyst replacement. A catalyst change typically takes 30-45 days. (

HPCL aims to restart fire-hit gasoline unit

March 13, 2015. Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) aims to restart a catalytic reformer (CCR) gasoline-making unit following a minor fire caused by a leak, the company said. HPCL's 166,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Vizag refinery in southern India has one CCR and an isomerisation unit. The plant also has two naphtha hydrotreaters (NHT), each attached to the gasoline-making units of fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) and the CCR. The company has already re-started the NHT that had been shut down. (

Transportation / Trade…………

Indian refineries step up oil imports from newer geographies like Mexico, Iraq

March 17, 2015. Indian refineries have consistently reduced imports from traditional markets like Saudi Arabia and Iran and have stepped up purchases from other geographies such as Mexico, Iraq and Venezuela while building inventories, as crude prices remain weak due to lower demand. Availability of cheaper crude variants and softening of shipping cost have encouraged Indian companies to look at different sources to buy crude oil for refining, and has therefore helped them achieve a more diversified portfolio. India has also significantly cut imports from Iran, which stood at its lowest in almost 18 months in February, to keep it within the limits allowed as per the deal aimed at curtailing the latter's nuclear programme. The change in imports by Indian companies is helping the country move closer to its long pending target of diversifying its energy sources. Industry officials said while the share of imports from the Middle East would change, given the higher imports from other countries, the volume imported from OPEC may not fall drastically. (

AP pips Telangana at the post, clinches gas deal with Gujarat

March 11, 2015. The Gujarat government has come to the rescue of Andhra Pradesh (AP) by agreeing to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Krishna-Godavari basin wells. The Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has entered into an agreement with the AP government to supply 1.6 million metric square cubic metres of gas every day, with which the state will generate 300 MW power. The deal comes at a time when all the southern states are desperately scouting for gas supplies to cater to the increasing power demand in summer. Though both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had approached GSPC, AP managed to swing the deal in its favour. (

Policy / Performance………

Sri Lanka, India to partner on oil storage project: PM Modi

March 13, 2015. India will help Sri Lanka develop its Trincomalee town as a regional petroleum hub and Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has reached a joint-development pact with Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. The agreement as well as a task force to implement it were announced after a meeting between Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Lanka IOC, IndianOil's subsidiary in Sri Lanka, is the only private oil company other than the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) that operates retail petrol and diesel stations in the island nation. Lanka IOC operates about 150 petrol and diesel stations in Sri Lanka and its major facilities here include an oil terminal at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka's largest petroleum storage facility and an 18,000 tonnes per annum capacity lubricants blending plant and state-of-the-art fuels and lubricants testing laboratory at Trincomalee. (

Govt committee suggests key steps for O&G sector

March 12, 2015. A government panel has recommended key measures such as amending public sector procurement rules, setting up manufacturing zones and targeting 50% local input in the upstream oil and gas (O&G) sector in three years, in a bid to boost local manufacturing. A steering committee with members from the ministries of oil and commerce department of industrial policy and promotion, state-run oil firms and industry bodies Ficci and CII has identified some "actionable areas" in short (one year) to medium (three year) term, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The government planned to offer a sizeable chunk of business in the oil and gas sector to local firms through a slew of measures. The government is targeting an investment of ` 6-7 lakh crore in oil and gas sector in the next five years to contribute to its 'Make in India' plan. The government had stopped giving a 10% price preference to local companies as public sector firms complained the policy had led to high costs for them. Industry bodies have been demanding review of the withdrawal of the price preference policy for oil and gas equipment makers. (

Oil Ministry to give CNG marketing licence

March 12, 2015. Oil Ministry is looking to wrest powers to give CNG retailing licence from sectoral regulator PNGRB as it has issued draft guidelines detailing eligibility for rights to sell fuel to automobiles. The Ministry issued 'Draft Guidelines for granting Marketing Rights for CNG as Transportation Fuel, including setting up CNG Stations' wherein any entity that has invested ` 500 crore in oil and gas infrastructure can get rights/license to retail the fuel to automobiles by setting up CNG stations. While the Union government had authorised entities like Indraprastha Gas Ltd and Mahanagar Gas Ltd for retailing CNG to automobiles in Delhi and Mumbai respectively in early 2000, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has been doing so through bid rounds since its establishment in 2006. In the draft guidelines, the ministry stated that like the companies which invested a minimum of ` 2,000 crore in oil and gas infrastructure were granted marketing rights for petrol, diesel and ATF through the March 2002 notification, entities investing a minimum of ` 500 crore will be eligible for marketing rights for CNG. Also, entities authorised by PNGRB or Central Government would also be eligible. Since 2006, entities apply to PNGRB and not the government for rights to retail CNG alongside selling natural gas as fuel within city limits. While PNGRB has been issuing the licence to retail CNG as well as piped cooking gas (PNG), the ministry guidelines pertain only to rights to sell CNG. In 2002, Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) besides Reliance Industries, Essar Oil, Royal Dutch Shell and Numaligarh Refineries had won authorisation to set up petrol pumps to sell petrol and diesel. Besides these firms, fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) as well as gas utility GAIL India Ltd will be eligible for CNG marketing rights. Firms who get CNG marketing rights will get natural gas allocation and can book capacities in existing pipelines to transport the fuel, the guidelines said. PNGRB recently opened fifth round of bidding for city gas distribution (CGD) licences even though it had issued license to entities for only first two rounds. Licences for the remainder are stuck over disputes. (

Govt asks GAIL to remit incremental KG-D6 gas price every month

March 11, 2015. Government has asked GAIL to remit to the exchequer on a monthly basis the incremental gas price from RIL's KG-D6 field towards recovery of profit share it claims is due from the private firm. The government had in November last year hiked domestic natural gas prices by 33 percent to $ 5.61 per million British thermal unit. In case of RIL's main gas field in KG-D6 block, it, however, ordered buyers to pay the firm old rate of $ 4.2 and deposit the balance $ 1.41 in the gas pool account maintained by GAIL. The revenue collected in the gas pool account was to recover $ 195.34 million in profit petroleum due from RIL after $ 2.376 billion in cost was disallowed for KG-D6 output lagging projections. GAIL has also been directed to keep on depositing the amounts to the government's revenue account on monthly basis till the amount of additional profit petroleum due to the government is fully recovered, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The incremental $ 1.41 would become due to RIL if it can legally prove that Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas output dropping to a tenth of projected 80 million cubic meters per day was due to geological reasons and not because of hoarding. RIL and its partners are paying the government statutory levy of royalty at the rate of 5 percent on the $ 4.2 gas price they got and GAIL pays the same from the gas pool account on the remainder payments of $ 1.41. Pradhan said the ministry had disallowed development cost of $ 2.376 billion because cumulative production lagged production estimates in the approved field development plan. (

Govt to scrap allocation of CBM block given to GEECL

March 11, 2015. The Government will cancel award of a coal-bed methane (CBM) block in Tamil Nadu to Great Eastern Energy Corp Ltd (GEECL) for not fulfilling contractual requirements, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. GEECL was awarded block MG-CBM-2008/IV for extraction of gas lying below coal seams, called CBM, under the fourth round of CBM block auction in 2010. The production sharing contract (PSC) for the block was signed on July 29, 2010. GEECL has not initiated any exploration activity on the block and the first phase of exploration expired on November 3, 2013. GEECL was awarded CBM block MG-CBM-2008/IV, measuring 667 sq km in Tamil Nadu for exploration and exploitation of CBM gas in Mannargudi area, he said. The Government has so far awarded 33 CBM blocks in four rounds of auctions. Of these, 13 blocks have either been relinquished or offered to be relinquished due to poor CBM prospectivity. GEECL has begun production from Raniganj (South) block in West Bengal and is currently producing 0.38 million standard cubic metres per day, while Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has entered the development phase in four blocks, including Raniganj (North). Reliance Industries (RIL) has entered the development phase in its Sohagpur East and West CBM blocks in Madhya Pradesh, while Essar Oil has done the same in case of RG(E)-CBM-2001/1 block in West Bengal. Pradhan said exploration activities have not started in six oil and gas exploration blocks “due to delay in grant of Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) by the respective State Governments in the last two years.” Of these blocks, two are in Madhya Pradesh, one in Rajasthan and the remaining three in Gujarat. The Madhya Pradesh blocks were awarded to Deep Energy, while Focus Energy bagged rights for the Rajasthan block. The Gujarat blocks pertain to Deep Energy, Pratibha Oil and Natural Gas Pvt Ltd and Sankalp Oil and Gas Resources, he said. (



Tata Power commissions 2nd unit of Dagachhu project in Bhutan

March 17, 2015. Tata Power has successfully commissioned the second unit of 63 MW of its 126 MW Dagachhu hydro power project in Bhutan. The Dagachhu project is a joint-venture initiative between Tata Power and Druk Green Power Corp, which is owned by Royal Government of Bhutan and National Pension & Provident Fund of Bhutan. It is a run of river hydro project located in DaganaDzongkhag, Bhutan. Dagachhu Hydro Power Corp Ltd has entered into a 25 year power purchase agreement with Tata Power Trading company Ltd for selling power generated from the project. (

960 MW hydro power project in Himachal Pradesh fails to find takers

March 17, 2015. The 960 MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydro power project in Himachal Pradesh has once again failed to find a suitor, compelling the State Government to again extend the last date for bid submission. The project has failed to find takers and the deadline for bid submission has been regularly extended since November 5, 2014. While Adani Power, Tata Power, Reliance Power, JSW Energy, Flex Industries and NBCC had bought tender documents, only Flex Industries had submitted a bid. Flex had also withdrawn its bid at the last minute. The new date will be announced soon but there are no changes being made to the original tender documents. Bidders for the project were required to go over and above the minimum 35 lakh/MW and were mandated to provide 12 percent free power for the first 12 years, 18 percent power for the next 18 years and 30 percent for the balance 10 years of the project’s operations. (

Work for 3, 4 units in KNPP to begin in April 2016

March 15, 2015. The first phase of the work for setting up the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) would begin in April 2016. India and Russia had signed an agreement for building units three and four of the KNPP at a cost of ` 33,000 crore. The first 1000 MWe unit at the Indo-Russian joint venture, which faced prolonged protests from anti-nuclear activists, commenced its commercial operations in December last year. The second 1,000 MWe unit has got clearance for the hot run from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and currently undergoing "hot run" (releasing of steam into atmosphere). (

Power generation loss to be at 4 year low in 2015

March 12, 2015. The improved supply of coal is set to bring down power generation loss in the country to a four-year low this year, Parliament was informed. The loss of generation to thermal power stations due to shortage of coal during the past three fiscal years stood at 11.6 billion unit (BU), 15.8 BU and 8.1 BU respectively, Minister of State for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal said. Till February in current fiscal, the loss was to the tune of 2.7 BU, the minister said. Coal to power firms is now supplied under a Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) where supply of indigenous coal has been assured to the tune of 90 percent and 65 percent of committed quantity for plants commissioned up to March, 2009 and thereafter. The despatch of 348.5 million tonnes (MT) is 84 percent of committed FSA quantity of 413.37 MT during the April-February period of the current fiscal is more than the assured level of supply, the minister said. This has resulted in the number of power plants with critical stock coming down from 66 to 13 during the same period, Goyal said. Despatches by Coal India could have been better but for intermittent law and order problems particularly in Odisha and Jharkhand, mismatch between indents and wagon supply, and heavy rains during monsoon season among others have hampered the movement of the dry fuel, he said. (

Hawaii-based Company to generate electricity from outflow of Idukki reservoir

March 12, 2015. In a novel initiative, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has permitted Hawaii-based Natural Power Concepts company to generate power using In-stream Auger Turbine (IAT) system which can capture and convert energy from flowing water. Such a technology is being used for the first time in the country. Using this technology 0.25 MW power will be generated at the tail race of Idukki Hydro Electric project. Natural Power Concepts will bear the cost of the project by itself (which will be over ` 1 crore) and would sell the power to KSEB at a tariff determined by the Electricity Regulatory Commission. Under the IAT system, the tidal and river flow auger turbine captures greater energy from flowing water than any other rotating hydro turbine of the same diameter, while remaining wildlife friendly and impervious to debris and ice damage, the company claims.

Hence the KSEB requested the state government to relax the Kerala Small Hydro Policy 2012, which stipulates a competitive bidding while sanctioning such projects. Subsequently the state government gave nod to the request. The project will be implemented soon after getting a detailed report from the company. According to Kerala Load Dispatch Centre estimate of the total requirement of 64 million units in a day, the state generates only 20 million units, 44 million units are being imported. (

After Land Bill, BJP and Shiv Sena pitted against each other on Jaitapur project

March 12, 2015. Ruling partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Senaare pitted against each other on the development of the 9,900 MW Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra. BJP has been supporting the project development, saying nuclear power is clean power. But the Shiv Sena has stepped up its opposition against the project, saying the Centre can shift the "monstrous" project to Gujarat as it will have adverse impact on environment and people residing in its vicinity. Shiv Sena has organised a day long agitation slated for March 16 at the Jaitapur nuclear power project site in Ratnagiri district. Jaitapur project is being developed by state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). French major AREVA will initially supply two evolutionary pressurised reactors (EPRs) of 1,650 MW each and subsequently another four of the same capacity. Thackeray went on to add that the project cost and the per unit tariff of the Jaitapur project is still not known. However, he said if the project is developed in Gujarat or elsewhere in the country, Maharashtra can purchase the quantum of power that the state requires. The Jaitapur power project director S Singharoy said at present various pre-project activities are going on at the project site. Besides, NPCIL and AREVA are currently engaged in talks to reach a techno-commercial agreement. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Investors fret as Centre defends reopening coal mine bids

March 17, 2015. The Union Coal Ministry said it would decide the fate of nine winning mine bids it was re-examining to rule out any price discrepancies, despite criticism that its move to reopen some of the tenders would hurt business sentiment. The government, which started auctioning off coal mine sites after a court said a previous method of awarding concessions was illegal, was re-examining ‘outlier’ bids for the 33 mines auctioned so far, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said. The winning bids for the nine mines were the highest in their individual auctions, but were considered low when compared with the winning bids for other similar blocks. Swarup said the government had the right to examine bids by comparing the value for mines that have a similar quality and quantity of coal. (

Assam-Agra transmission line to help north India this summer

March 16, 2015. A 1,800 km transmission line from Assam to Agra is likely to provide some relief to electricity-starved north India this summer, thanks to a power surplus in otherwise economically backward northeast India. The 1,800-km-long 800 Kv HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission corridor would be operationalised by May, facilitating the supply of power from northeast India to north India, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) said. The PGCIL erected the vital transmission line from Biswanath Chariali in Assam to Agra for ` 11,000 crore, PGCIL said.

According to the PGCIL, the transmission line would be capable of transmitting 6,000 MW of electricity. The PGCIL, a "Navaratna" power transmission company, also signed a 10-year agreement with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to provide an underground telecommunication cable link in the northeastern region. The northeast is going to be power surplus and it was an enormous problem to transmit the excess power from the region to the country's power-starved regions. The eight northeastern states' off-peak and peak demand on an average is 1,500 MW to 2,500 MW against the current installed capacity of 4,730 MW. (

Opposition stands divided on crucial Coal, Mines Bills

March 16, 2015. The Narendra Modi-led Government has managed to break the Opposition’s unity, with the Trinamool Congress, the Biju Janata Dal, and the AIADMK deciding to toe the Centre’s line in the select committees on Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2015.  The draft reports of both the committees have suggested no changes to the Bills in their present form. The divided Opposition, including Congress, Left parties and JD (U), has decided to submit dissent notes to both the reports. The SP and BSP are yet to make up their minds on the subject. In meeting of the select committee on the Coal Bill, the Opposition protested the decision not to accommodate even unanimous suggestions from the members. The BJP, particularly Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, had reached out to several Chief Ministers for an easy passage of the Bill.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari turned down the demand from the Opposition leaders that the select committees should be given an extension. Raising the matter in the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the panels should not be allowed to complete the procedures on two crucial Bills within five days. The Government said it cannot be done as the Rajya Sabha has already fixed a deadline to submit the report. (

State discoms seek upto 26 percent hike in power tarrif

March 16, 2015. Power distribution utilities in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand have sought tariff hikes ranging from 15% to 26% from April 1, while those in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana have asked for 3% to 8% increase, according to a report by rating agency ICRA. The report said that a few states have not sought any increase in tariff while power utilities in 14 states are yet to file their tariff petition with the electricity regulatory authorities. As per an ICRA analysis, the revenue gap projected by distribution utilities for 2015-16 is significant in most states. This is primarily because of increase in cost of power procurement and other operation and maintenance expenses proposed for FY2016 and the impact of additional cost estimate arising from final cost incurred in the previous periods based on the availability of audited accounts. The aggregate unrecovered revenue gap projected as per the tariff petitions filed by the distribution utilities in 11 states is estimated at ` 25,300 crore, of which 86% is from utilities in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha and Telangana. (

World Bank grants ` 13.7 bn for power T&D network in Tripura

March 11, 2015. The World Bank has granted ` 1,376 crore to create infrastructure in power transmission and distribution sector in Tripura. The World Bank and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) would ink an agreement March 13 next in presence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and state Power minister Manik De, officials of PGCIL, World Bank, Central Electricity Authority, Tripura State Electricity Corporation and Tripura power department. The World Bank has altogether granted ` 8,150 crore in the 'North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project' for Tripura Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland, which would be operational this year itself. Under this project, power transmission and distribution and transmission sub-stations would be modernised. (

Policy / Performance………….

Govt holds back awarding 5 coal blocks from round II for examining low bids

March 16, 2015. The government has put on hold the award of five nonoperational coal blocks bagged by companies like Hindalco Industries, Jindal Steel & Power and Jaypee Cement at close to the ceiling prices during an auction. These blocks were part of the second round of auction. Award of three producing blocks auctioned in round I has also been held back for similar reasons. A decision on those is likely to be made. The coal ministry declared the winners for eight of the 13 coal mines auctioned during March 4-9.  The coal blocks whose final results were yet to be declared include the Tara mine in Chhattisgarh, for which the top bidder was Jindal Power at an offer of ` 126 per tonne, while also agreeing to forego the mining cost that power producers are allowed to pass on to consumers. At this price, revenue to the state will be less compared with other blocks auctioned to power firms in the second round. Other blocks whose awards are being held back are Brinda & Sasai (Usha Martin), Meral (Trimula Industries), Dumri (Hindalco) and Mandla South (Jaypee Cement). GMR Energy won the Ganeshpur coal mine at ` 704 per tonne and Utkal-C was bagged by Monnet Ispat & Steel at ` 770 a tonne. These companies also agreed to forego mining cost. The coal ministry is already reviewing bidding of the three coal blocks remaining to be allotted from the first round: Gare Palma IV/2&3, for which Jindal Power was the top bidder; Gare Palma IV-1 (Bharat Aluminium) and Marki Mangli III (BS Ispat). An inter-ministerial committee, chaired by coal ministry additional secretary A K Bhalla, has placed its views on these three blocks to the ministry that is expected to announce its decision on the matter. (

Electricity tariff raised nominally in Bihar

March 16, 2015. The Bihar Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) announced to nominally increase in the power tariffs in the state. Electricity consumers in Bihar will have to shell out 10-15 paisa per unit more with effect from next month. The increase will generate ` 113 crore for the power distribution companies (DISCOMs). Disclosing the details of the annual revenue requirement (ARR), filed by the (DISCOMs), the BERC said. Out of this amount, sum of ` 480 crore would be provided by the state government to the DISCOMs as resource gap assistance, leaving a revenue gap of ` 229 crore. In this amount, the BERC has asked the two state-owned DISCOMs to increase the revenue and garner about ` 116 crore by increasing their efficiencies. The commission has abolished Monthly Minimum Charges for the rural industrial consumers having single phase connection. The commission has also withdrawn existing flat rate of 5 percent of power factor surcharge to the LT consumers. Meanwhile, the commission has ordered the DISCOMs to make Time of Day (TOD) tariff mandatory for all HT consumers. Meanwhile, the commission has expressed concerned over the high distribution losses in the state. The DISCOMs have projected distribution losses of around 37 percent for the next fiscal. (

AERB nod to NPCIL to erect major equipment at Rajasthan N-power plant

March 15, 2015. India's nuclear power regulator the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has given its clearance for the erection of major equipment at the two units of 700 MW each (7 & 8) of Rajasthan Atomic Power project. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd NPCIL), which will develop these units based on pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs),  will however, have to strictly comply with 10 various conditions laid down by AERB while giving its approval. These two reactors are part of 19 new reactors with a total capacity of 17,400 MW where the construction will begin during the ongoing 12th five year plan. (

No power cuts in TS from May: Telangana CM

March 15, 2015. Chief Minister (CM) K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced there will not be any power cuts in Telangana State from May this year with about 1,000 MW being added to the grid in phases. There were power cuts to industry in Telangana from January itself last year as the region in the undivided State faced a severe power crisis, but nothing of the sort was resorted to so far this year, he said. He said there might be some load shedding at the power stations from March 20 to April 20 when consumption by agriculture sector would peak. He reiterated that the State would give nine-hour uninterrupted power supply from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for agriculture from 2016 and would maintain 24-hour supply to all sectors from 2017. After careful consideration, the UPA government provided 53.89 percent output to Telangana from AP-based power stations and 46 percent to AP from Telangana power plants in the AP State Reorganisation Act. But, Andhra Pradesh’s reluctance to give Telangana its share of power in Hinduja and Krishnapatnam power projects proved to be a blessing in disguise, Rao said. The government had represented to the Centre to re-allot the coal block at Tadicherla in Karimnagar district, which was cancelled as part of all India cancellations last year. (

Assam may hike commercial power tariff

March 14, 2015. The Assam Government will not hike consumer electricity prices this year, although a 7-12 percent hike for the commercial sector is under consideration, the State electricity regulatory commission said. The former general manager of State-owned Assam Petrochemicals Ltd said increasing operational expenses is the reason behind the price hike and taxing the industrial sector alone will be enough to meet the rising expenses. While the peak-hour power requirement in the State is 1,300 MW, Assam produces 700 MW of power annually, he said. The State Government is exploring avenues to produce alternate electricity as well as setting up thermal coal-based power units. The Central Government is setting up a 250-270 MW coal-based power generating station at Bongaon in Jorhat district that will cater to the North-eastern State’s electricity requirements. (

Uttarakhand, Centre push for power projects

March 12, 2015. In their affidavits submitted in the Supreme Court, the Uttarakhand Government and the Union Environment Ministry seem to push for hydroelectric power projects (HEPs) in the State. Work on HEPs on the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi basins was stalled after the August, 2013 order of the Supreme Court. From the list of 24 projects that were to be reviewed, according to the Supreme Court order, the discussion in the Supreme Court has come down to six projects – NTPC’s Lata Tapovan (171 MW), GMR’s Alaknanda Badrinath (300 MW), NHPC’s Kotlibhel 1A (195 MW), THDC’s Jhellum Tamak (108 MW), and Bhyundar Ganga (24.3 MW) and Khirao Ganga (4 MW) of Super Hydro Electric Power. In its December 16, 2014 order, the Supreme Court asked that the Environment Ministry to see if the six projects, work on which is stalled after the 2013 disaster, had adequate clearances before the June, 2013 disaster. Based on the order, the Environment Ministry formed a committee of four experts to review the clearances of the six projects. (

AP to invest ` 43.6 bn in power sector

March 12, 2015. Andhra Pradesh (AP) Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, announcing a ` 4,360 crore provision in 2015-16 budget for energy sector, said the State is on course to achieve the programmed capacity additions in current fiscal. The total capacity addition during 2014-15 will be 1,650 MW, he said. Two hydel units of Nagarjuna Sagar Tail Pond Dam are set to be commissioned in March. The Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (APGENCO), he said, had planned to add 1,650 MW in the current financial year consisting of two units of Sri Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Project, Krishnapatnam, Nellore district with supercritical technology. In 2015-16, a total of 10,000 solar pump sets are proposed to be installed, he said. Power availability remains a key differentiator between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is also one of the contentious issues between the two States and has seen Telangana initiating several efforts to address the shortfall, through purchases in the short term and adding capacities to improve its position. Telangana Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao said the State would become power surplus by 2018. According to Ramakrishnudu, Andhra Pradesh government is committed to provide reliable, adequate and affordable 24/7 power supply to domestic, industrial and commercial users. For the 14.85 lakh agriculture consumers in the State, it wants to provide 7-9 hours of supply. (

Delhi govt eyeing coal block to set up own power plant

March 11, 2015. The AAP-led government has taken a step towards making the capital self sufficient in power generation and is banking on enhancing generation by up to 4,000 MW by establishing a coal-based power plant in another state. Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain recently met Union power minister Piyush Goyal over the government's proposal for a coal block allocation for Delhi. The minister said that transmission was not a concern as long as corridors were available. In its manifesto, AAP had promised to make Delhi self reliant in power generation. The city witnesses an annual growth of 10-15% peak power demand and produces less than 20% of electricity. Currently, Delhi produces less than 2,000 MW and peak demand this summer is expected to be about 6,500 MW. Experts predict that power demand will cross 10,000 MW in the next five years.

Due to dismal internal generation, Delhi is dependent on the central sector to meet demand. The state government plans to bring in a private firm after getting allocated a coal block. Currently, there are four power stations specifically meant for Delhi - Rajghat, Pragati-I, Pragati-II in Bawana, Gas Turbine and NTPC's Badarpur Thermal Power Station. A 108 MW power plant in Rithala has also been installed by Tata Power Delhi, but it has not been operating for the last two years due to gas shortage. Rajghat and Badarpur are coal-based power plants. The Bawana power plant generates only up to 350MW due to gas unavailability. The city gets 3,500 MW from various power plants under the central quota. (

No dilution of India's Nuclear Liability Act: Govt

March 11, 2015. The government sought to allay concerns that the Indo-US talks may lead to dilution of India's Nuclear Liability Act and asserted that the law has not been amended and the onus of any damages remains with the supplier. Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh also assured members in the Lok Sabha that the safety standards in India's nuclear plants were as good as anywhere in the world and in fact, “more than many other countries”. Following the recent talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, both sides had claimed a “breakthrough” over the nuclear impasse. The concerns were raised as the US firms were opposed to those aspects of the Nuclear Liability Act, that hold the operator liable for any nuclear incident. Responding to the concerns expressed by some members over radioactivity in nuclear plants and other safety-related issue including those concerned with local population in case of any incident, Singh said the government has enough evidence to prove that radioactivity emitted in plants is “negligible”. Noting that India has adopted a closed fuel cycle where the spent fuel is regarded as a resource material and none of it is disposed of, the minister said all the spent fuel is reprocessed to recover useful fissile and fertile materials to recycle back in the reactor as a fuel. (

Cement, fertilizer companies disappointed over electricity duty

March 11, 2015. The companies in cement and fertilizer sectors expressed deep disappointment over the state government's proposal to levy electricity duty on captive power generation and said the move will have a significant impact on their balance sheets. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje proposed in the budget presented that captive power plants other than diesel generators will attract electricity duty of ` 40 paise per unit. There was no duty earlier. Captive power plants are put up by companies to meet their own requirement and reduce dependence on state utilities whose reliability is always not guaranteed. There are many states in the country where captive power generation doesn't attract any duty.

The power department said that the duty will be levied only on thermal power and this decision has no bearing on the renewable energy sources, which are already exempted from the duty. The state is set to announce a mining policy. The policy draft, circulated earlier for comments from the stakeholders, underlines a bigger role for private sector which will also benefit the cement industry. (



Eni makes 'significant' gas, condensate discovery offshore Libya

March 16, 2015. Italy's Eni reported that it has made a "significant discovery of gas and condensates" offshore Libya at the Bahr Essalam South exploration prospect in Area D, some 50 miles from the coast of the country. The discovery was made through the B1-16/4 well, drilled at a water depth of 490 feet, which encountered gas and condensates of Eocene age in the Metlaoui Formation. During a production test the well produced 29 million cubic feet per day of natural gas and more than 600 barrels per day of condensate. Eni said that the well could deliver in excess of 50 million cubic feet of gas per day and 1,000 barrels per day in condensate in a production configuration. The company said that the new field could be developed quickly due to its proximity to the already-producing Bahr Essalam field. Eni announced that it has completed post-drilling studies on the Merakes-1 gas discovery, located in the Indonesian deep offshore East Sepinggan block. (

KUFPEC inks exploration agreement for Pakistan's Paharpur Block

March 16, 2015. Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company K.S.C. (KUFPEC) signed an exploration license and petroleum concession agreement with Pakistan, with the South Asian state awarding the Kuwaiti firm exploration rights in the Paharpur Block in the country. The deal was inked by KUFPEC CEO Sheikh Nawaf Saud Al-Nasser Al-Sabah and Pakistan's Secretary for Petroleum and Natural Resources Arshad Mirza in a signing ceremony in Islamabad witnessed by Pakistan Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Paharpur Block, located in the D.I. Khan District spread over an area of approximately 873 square miles, will be KUFPEC's second operated asset in Pakistan and its first in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, company CEO Sheikh Nawaf said. The Kuwaiti partners in the Paharpur Block are State Oil and Gas Company of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other national exploration and production companies of Pakistan, he said. KUFPEC currently operates the Jati Exploration Block in Sindh, where drilling activities are expected to commence soon. The firm also has producing interests in Qadirpur, Zamzama, Kadanwari, Bhit, Badhra, Sukhpur and Zarghun Blocks, and is the third largest gas producer amongst foreign exploration and production companies operating in Pakistan. KUFPEC has invested more than $1 billion in Pakistan since 1987 in "our efforts to make Pakistan a core business center for KUFPEC," Sheikh Nawaf said. KUFPEC, a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, is an international oil company engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas outside Kuwait. It is currently active in 15 countries worldwide with 63 oil and gas projects across Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and North America. (

Triple Energy signs drilling contract with Beijing Jiuzun in China

March 16, 2015. Australian oil and gas company Triple Energy, along with its partner Blue Sky Power Holdings, has signed a drilling contract with Beijing Jiuzun Energy Technology. The contract will cover the drilling and production testing of two coal bed methane wells at the Aolong Project in the Hegang area of China's Daqing Basin. Upon completion of drilling, the wells will be production tested for a period of six months. Triple Energy owns an 80% stake in coal mine gas project in Hielongjiang province in China. It focuses on investing in the oil and gas projects in conventional and unconventional sectors, including coal seam gas, and shale oil and gas. (

Japan's JX, GDF Suez find new oil in UK North Sea

March 13, 2015. JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corp said it had discovered new oil in the UK Central North Sea. The 22/16-6 (P1799 License) well on the Dalziel structure flowed at rates in excess of 8,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, the company said. GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd is the operator with a 30 percent stake. Others are JX and RWE Dea UK SNS Ltd, both 25 percent, and Total E&P UK Ltd with a 20 percent stake. (

Kashagan oil production to resume in 2017: Shell

March 13, 2015. Production from Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oilfield is expected to resume in 2017, more than three years after being suspended due to a pipeline leak, stake holder Royal Dutch Shell said. Operations at the major field, expected to reach production of 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent, started in September 2013 and were halted a month later due to gas leaks from the sour gas pipeline. Italian oil service company Saipem said it had won a contract to lay the replacement pipelines at Kashagan worth around $1.8 billion. It said it planned to finish the work by the end of 2016. Shell holds an 16.8 percent stake in the offshore field in the Caspian sea which is operated by a consortium of international oil companies and Kazakh state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGas. (

Husky says $2.5 bn Sunrise oil sands project begins production

March 11, 2015. Husky Energy Inc , Canada's No.3 integrated oil producer and refiner, said it has started oil production at the C$3.2 billion ($2.5 billion) Sunrise oil sands project it co-owns with BP Plc. The company said it does not expect the 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) thermal project, where steam is pumped into the ground to liquefy tarry bitumen from the world's third-largest crude reserve, to reach full output until the end of 2016. The company has been working at the site, 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, for more than four years after sanctioning the project in late 2010. A second phase could boost output to 200,000 bpd if the two partners decide to go ahead with the expansion. (

Azerbaijan's oil output seen down 4 percent in 2015

March 11, 2015. Azerbaijan is likely to cut oil production by 4 percent to 40.3 million tonnes (806,000 barrels per day) this year while keeping gas output unchanged, the state energy company SOCAR said. Crude oil and condensate production in Azerbaijan rose to 3.7 million tonnes in January from 3.6 million tonnes in the same 2014 month, the first monthly increase since 2013. Crude oil and condensate production in Azerbaijan fell to 41.9 million tonnes last year from 43.1 million tonnes in 2013, while gas output reached 29.2 billion cubic metres (bcm). Falling output at the main Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli (ACG) oilfields operated by British major BP has been a cause of concern in Baku. BP and its partner, Azeri state energy firm SOCAR, tried to ease those concerns in 2013, saying production had stabilised. Total oil output rose in 2013 for the first time since 2011 but the decline continued last year. (


Saudi Arabia needs more oil to feed local refinery expansion

March 17, 2015. Saudi Arabia’s plans to expand local refineries while maintaining its share of the global crude market point to one thing: higher production. The world’s largest oil exporter will probably increase output this year to feed new refineries, deepening a global supply glut, according to analysts at Societe Generale SA and DNB ASA. The kingdom may go as high as 10 million barrels a day by April, according to Torbjoern Kjus, an analyst at DNB in Oslo. That would be the most in more than two years, according to data. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain and Oman will raise their combined refining capacity to 5.4 million barrels a day this year, an increase of 17 percent from 2014, according to Vienna-based JBC Energy GmbH. They will be able to process 6 million a day by 2020, the consultant estimates. Saudi Arabia plans to start the main unit for making gasoline at the new 400,000 barrel-a day refinery at Yanbu on the Red Sea by the middle of the year. Another plant with the same capacity is scheduled to begin operation in 2017 at Jazan. The kingdom’s oil-product exports rose 44 percent last year following the start of the Jubail refinery, according to the Riyadh-based Joint Organisations Data Initiative. In the U.A.E., the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is more than doubling the capacity of the 400,000 barrel-a-day Ruwais refinery. The International Petroleum Investment Company, a fund that focuses on energy, is also considering opening a 200,000 barrel-a-day refinery in the emirate of Fujairah. Kuwait is planning the 4 billion-dinar ($13 billion) Al-Zour refinery that could open in 2020 with a capacity of 615,000 barrels a day. Oman will award a contract next year to build a 230,000 barrel-a-day plant to start production by the end of 2019. (

Nigeria's Dangote Group says new $9 bn refinery seen onstream in 2017

March 17, 2015. A new $9 billion refinery in Nigeria producing 500,000 barrels per day being developed by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, is expected to come onstream within two years time, Dangote Group said. The refinery in Lagos will cut reliance on international markets for Africa's largest oil producer, which imports about 80 percent of its fuel needs. The lack of sufficient refining capacity is a major brake on Africa's biggest economy. (

Ethiopian oil marketer sees $5 bn refinery within 10 yrs

March 17, 2015. Ethiopia's leading private oil marketer plans to build a $5 billion refinery within ten years to meet the growing demand for refined products in a region experiencing fast economic growth. A refinery could compete with imports from India, the Gulf and beyond, and also help African countries extract more value from their own oil discoveries. Eastern Africa is the latest frontier in the global hydrocarbon hunt after gas discoveries off Tanzania and Mozambique and oil finds in Uganda and Kenya. National Oil Ethiopia said the final decision to build a refinery producing between 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day was yet to be taken. (

RT Global-led consortium looks to develop $2.5 bn oil refinery in Uganda

March 12, 2015. A consortium led by Russia's RT Global Resources is negotiating with Ugandan government for the construction of a $2.5 bn oil refinery. Uganda Foreign Affairs State Minister Henry Oryem Okello said that the company has commenced negotiations in Kampala to conclude the project agreements. Financing and engineering of the project will be managed by a joint venture between government and the consortium. Okello said the firm expects to raise financing to commence construction of the 60,000 barrels of oil per day oil refinery, despite sanctions being imposed on Russia. According to Uganda Energy Ministry, the refinery will be 60% owned by RT Global. Uganda will have an option to sell its remaining 40% stake to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. About 2.5% stake has already been acquired by Kenya in the refinery, Okello said. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Oil heads toward bear market as glut sends price to six-year low

March 17, 2015. Oil fell to a six-year low on speculation that U.S. crude inventories climbed from the highest in more than three decades. Crude supplies rose 4.4 million barrels, according to a survey before an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. April oil in New York rebounded from the session’s lows and the spread between it and contracts for later delivery narrowed because of the expiration of front-month options, said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. U.S. output has risen to the highest in three decades even as oil explorers idle an unprecedented number of drilling rigs. Price swings in crude will ease in the second half of the year and U.S. production will probably start contracting by December, Vitol Group’s chief executive officer said, predicting no return to $100 a barrel within three years. U.S. supplies of gasoline and distillate fuel, a category that includes diesel and heating oil, probably fell in the week ended March 13, according to analysts surveyed. Gasoline futures for April delivery rose 0.15 cent to settle at $1.7301 a gallon. April ultra low sulfur diesel slipped 0.47 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $1.6939, the lowest close since Jan. 30. Regular gasoline at U.S. pumps is following futures lower. The average retail price slipped 0.9 cent to $2.415 a gallon, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group. (

Kurdish oil deal with Baghdad unravels as tensions rise

March 13, 2015. A four-month-old oil deal between Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region is close to unravelling after payments from Baghdad dried up, prompting Arbil to threaten to sue buyers and ramp up independent oil exports. The dispute highlights fundamental differences between the two sides over who controls oil resources and revenues and will reinforce the views of many Iraqi watchers that Kurdistan would seek bigger if not full independence from Baghdad one day. Baghdad cut budget payments to the Kurds in January 2014 as punishment for their attempts to export oil independently, plunging the semi-autonomous region into economic crisis and forcing it to seek loans at home and abroad. Under a new deal, the Kurds committed to export an average of 550,000 barrels per day in 2015, in exchange for Baghdad resuming budget payments of over $1 billion a month to Kurdistan in 2015. The agreement was hailed as a breakthrough that would help Iraq increase oil exports at a time when revenues are strained by low global prices and the cost of financing a war against Islamic State insurgents in the north and west. (

Chile's ENAP to build $30 mn oil pipeline in Egypt

March 13, 2015. A subsidiary of Chile's state oil company ENAP will invest $30 million to build a 90 km oil pipeline in Egypt's Western Desert, the country's ambassador said. Jose M. De la Cruz said the pipeline would allow the company to extract oil from a new discovery west of Cairo and sell it to the Egyptian government which is facing a severe energy crunch. (

Argentina's YPF tenders for 11 Shipments of LNG: Traders

March 12, 2015. Argentina's state-controlled YPF is tendering to buy 11 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), traders said. The traders said the tender includes six full cargoes and five partial cargoes of LNG with a shipping period between April and June. The tender is due to close on March 17. Traders have been expecting a tender from Argentina for some months, after YPF delayed it from September last year due to ample supply and low demand. (

Policy / Performance…………

EU energy chief voices concern over Russia's Turkish pipeline plan

March 17, 2015. Any decision to build a pipeline to transport Russian gas through Turkey should be made in consultation with the European Union (EU) and should not breach pre-existing legal commitments, the European Commission's energy chief said. Russia in December abandoned its $40 billion South Stream project after objections from the EU over potential excessive Russian control of European gas supplies through a pipeline that would have passed under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and carried up to an annual 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to Europe. Instead, Russian gas exporter Gazprom announced in January its intention to build an undersea gas pipeline with the same capacity to an as yet un-built hub on the Turkish-Greek border by the end of 2016. During a visit to Turkey, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission's Vice President in charge of Energy Union, said that no details on the Russian proposal had been received and that any plans should be economically viable and compatible with Gazprom's obligations to its long-term European customers. He expressed concern over the potential switching off of existing routes via Ukraine in favour of the proposed Turkish Stream. The EU is the world's largest energy customer, spending € 400 billion ($423.7 billion) a year on oil and gas imports. (

Russian oligarch close to bowing to UK pressure to sell North Sea fields

March 17, 2015. Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman is preparing to sell North Sea gas fields at the heart of its fierce battle in Britain, bowing to government pressure and choosing to avoid a legal battle he previously threatened. Fridman’s LetterOne Group is close to asking Morgan Stanley, which previously consulted it on the purchase of the fields as part of the acquisition of Germany's DEA from RWE, to find new owners for the fields. The deal alarmed the British government which argued that future sanctions against Russia could shut down the fields and imperil North Sea supplies. It told LetterOne to propose a better structure for the deal or face a demand to sell the fields to a third party. LetterOne still believed its legal case was robust but a lawsuit could be a costly and time-consuming distraction. The fields represent 3 to 5 percent of UK gas output and are not the biggest assets of DEA, which is also producing oil and gas in Norway, Egypt, Libya, Germany, Poland, Turkmenistan and Algeria. (

Brazil's Eletrobras approves Petrobras debt renegotiation plan

March 17, 2015. The board of Brazil's state-run power company Eletrobras approved a plan to renegotiate a 8.6 billion reais ($2.6 billion) debt payment to state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras). Eletrobras said 6.1 billion reais of the debt would be paid directly to Petrobras and its subsidiary BR Distribuidora. The board's approval concludes a process that started in December of last year, when Eletrobras agreed to pay its debt to Petrobras in 120 monthly installments. (

Noble set to declare Cyprus natural gas find viable: Energy Minister

March 17, 2015. Noble Energy is expected to declare its Aphrodite natural gas reserve off Cyprus commercially viable, paving the way for exports, Cyprus's Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said. The move would be an important milestone for Cyprus, which required an international bailout in 2013 and is looking at an economic turnaround based partly on offshore reserves. Cyprus is seeking to develop the energy sector to bolster an economy that relies mostly on tourism, business services and shipping. Cyprus and Egypt are looking into the possibility of transferring gas from the Aphrodite deposit to Egypt via an undersea pipeline. The island has, for now, shelved plans to create its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Noble is the only company licensed by Cyprus to have made a discovery, with an estimated 4.54 trillion cubic feet in its Aphrodite field. (

Iran can add million barrels a day of oil if sanctions halt

March 16, 2015. Iran could raise oil exports by 1 million barrels a day without international sanctions, its oil minister said as talks resumed with the U.S. over the nation’s nuclear program. The Persian Gulf nation shipped 1.2 million barrels a day last month, the International Energy Agency said in a report. Iran and six world powers are negotiating an agreement to end a decade-long dispute over the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program. Diplomats from the U.S. and Iran, working toward an end-March deadline, resumed talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. Negotiations are in a critical phase, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. Iran exported 2.5 million barrels a day before the U.S. and European Union tightened restrictions in mid-2012, when the EU banned purchases of Iranian crude. Shipments have fallen by an average of 1.2 million barrels a day, the International Energy Agency said. The country may boost crude and condensate shipments by 300,000 barrels a day by June, regardless of the outcome of the nuclear talks, Barclays Plc said in a report. The increase would result from lower domestic demand and rising condensate exports from the South Pars field, the bank said. The potential to boost exports from last month’s level would be offset by lower stockpiling requirements in Asia as refineries there conduct maintenance work, according to Barclays. (

Oil & Gas UK urges further tax measures in 2015 Budget

March 16, 2015. Oil & Gas UK called for further tax measures in order to boost oil and gas development and production in the UK North Sea. Ahead of this UK Budget, the trade body urged Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to take immediate action to reduce and simplify North Sea oil and gas taxation. Previously, Osborne announced measures that included improvements in tax supplements on oil and gas production and the introduction of a new Cluster Area Allowance for offshore fields. (

US LNG projects hit by energy price slide

March 13, 2015. Sinking oil and gas prices have put the brakes on the development of the U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, with planned projects being delayed or even scrapped altogether. U.S. natural gas production has soared to record levels in recent years due to advanced drilling techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, triggering a new LNG export market. A halving of energy prices has dramatically changed the economics of export projects and cut investment plans, however, with only one of dozens of planned projects expected to win a final investment decision this year. Global gas prices have fallen so far that the economics for everyone looks difficult, Trevor Sikorski, analyst at UK-based consultancy Energy Aspects said. Sikorski estimated Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi project had already sold around 90 percent of its expected gas output for the first two trains via long-term sales agreements. Before the gas price fall, Energy Aspects had expected three or four projects to reach final investment decisions in 2015. Excelerate Energy's Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has already been put on hold, while the final investment decision on BG Group's Lake Charles project has been delayed until 2016 from 2015. Next Decade is working towards final investment decisions on two U.S. projects in Texas but has no target start dates yet. A recovery in energy prices could help get projects back on track but few are forecasting this in the near future. Still, projects under construction including Sabine Pass, Freeport LNG, Cove Point and Cameron LNG mean the United States will become one of the world's top suppliers of LNG in the next five years, even with other projects being delayed or cut. (

China, India drive global energy needs: Ex-OPEC official

March 12, 2015. The global energy industry has seen huge demand from two fast-growing major economies - China and India - even as consumption dropped in Europe. These two countries have launched themselves to a high growth zone, said Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah President of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA). China and India would need huge amounts of energy to achieve their growth targets. He said OPEC (Organisation of Pertroleum Exporting Countries) is unlikely to change policy at its next meeting unless other producers cut first. (

European ports set to lose LNG supply to Egypt

March 11, 2015. Europe is likely to attract fewer liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments than previously expected this summer as Egypt gears up to become the region's top-paying importer, traders said, potentially increasing gas prices in northwest Europe. While analysts still expect more LNG to land in Europe this year than in 2014, forecasts will be tempered by increased competition with Egypt, signalling tighter supplies at a time when Dutch authorities move to limit production from Europe's biggest gas field. That may force gas prices higher in northwest Europe as utilities look to refill depleted inventories, analysts said. A year-long demand slump in Asia, the world's biggest LNG market, has triggered a rush of sea-borne deliveries to typically overlooked European ports over the past two months, raising expectations that more will come during the summer. Qatar is the world's biggest LNG exporter and a major supplier to Europe's most highly traded gas markets in Britain, Belgium and less frequently the Netherlands. But with Egypt beginning LNG imports from April with roughly 31 cargoes due this summer at price premiums to Europe, some traders are working to re-route supplies. Qatar is due to supply Pakistan and Poland under new supply deals starting this summer, further tightening availability to key terminals in northwest Europe. The remaining Egyptian supply will need to be sourced from nearby Atlantic production plants, picking off cargoes otherwise earmarked for Europe. Any strong Asian spot LNG price recovery could bleed away more Atlantic supply into eastern markets. One Asia-Pacific trader said that companies are competing to buy spare Nigerian cargoes to supply Egypt. Another trader at a Spanish energy company, which holds several LNG import deals, was approached to resell LNG to traders or re-export imported cargoes from Spain's domestic terminals. (

Greece to seek benefits from TAP gas pipeline transit

March 11, 2015. Greece is seeking to secure benefits from the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which is set to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, the Greek energy minister said. TAP is the largest project underway to bring new supplies to European buyers after Russia shelved plans in December to build its South Stream gas pipeline to southern Europe. The 870-km (540-mile) pipeline will link Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz II field with Italy, crossing through Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea. Greek Energy Minister Lafazanis met Azeri officials in Athens, including executives from TAP stakeholders BP and Azeri state energy firm SOCAR, and agreed to start discussions on the benefits Greece could expect from allowing the pipeline to cross its territory. Azerbaijan aims to transport 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from the Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea to Turkey and on to Europe by the end of the decade. (



Indonesia coal mining company set to build mine-mouth power plants

March 17, 2015. Publicly listed coal miner PT Bukit Asam (PTBA) is set to build new mine-mouth power plants in a move to support the government's ambitious plan of developing huge electricity projects. PTBA corporate secretary Joko Pramono said his company would develop up to 4,400 MW mine-mouth power plants near its mining site in Sumatra. The government is targeting to have an additional electricity capacity of 35,000 MW within five years, a programme that is expected to support growing energy demand along with economic growth in the country. Joko said that the project gave the opportunity for his company to develop its power plant portfolio. Out of the total 35,000 MW plan, as much as 10,000 MW will be developed by PLN and the remainder will be developed by private players. (

Siemens inks US$10.5 bn power plant deal with Egypt

March 16, 2015. German industrial giant Siemens agreed to invest US$10.5 billion to build power plants in Egypt that will boost the country’s electricity generation capacity by 33 percent. The agreements were the largest single package of new deals signed at an international investment conference that Egypt hopes will spur its sagging economy after four years of unrest following a 2011 uprising. Siemens said the package included binding agreements worth about $4.6 billion, including a new 4.4 GW power plant in southern Egypt, a project to generate 2 GW of wind power and a new wind rotor blade factory. The other agreements were memorandums of understanding to build other plants and substations over the coming five years. (

Toshiba wins 688 MW STG order for coal power plant in Vietnam

March 16, 2015. Toshiba Corporation announced that it has received an order to supply 688 MW super-critical steam turbine and generator (STG) for Duyen Hai 3 Extension coal-fired power plant in the Duyen Hai district of Tra Vinh Province, Vietnam. The contract was awarded by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. Toshiba will make delivery in 2016 and the plant will start operation in 2018. Toshiba has a track record for supplying electric generation equipment for large coal-fired thermal power plants in Vietnam.

In the last six years, the company has been awarded orders for Vung Ang 1 Thermal Plant, Thai Binh 2 Thermal Plant and Vinh Tan 4 Thermal Plant, another of the three urgent projects. This experience, and the performance and reliability of Toshiba’s STGs, won a positive evaluation from Sumitomo Corporation. Toshiba will continue its effort to develop thermal generation equipment with the world’s highest level of efficiency for super-critical coal fired plants and for combined cycle thermal power plants, and to reinforce its thermal power plant business in emerging countries. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Appalachian Power seeks approval to improve existing transmission facility

March 16, 2015. Appalachian Power is filing for an application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission requesting approval for improvements to existing electric transmission facilities in Tazewell County. According to Appalachian Power, the project is needed to improve electric reliability and reinforce the area’s infrastructure for future load growth. The proposed in-service date for the project is June 2017. The project represents an investment of $38 million to reinforce the area’s infrastructure. The proposed Tazewell-Bearwallow 138 kV Transmission Line Rebuild Project will upgrade approximately 12.5 miles of 69 kilovolt (kV) transmission line to 138 kV standards. The plan will also complete necessary upgrades to three existing substations along the planned route.  Nearly 7.8 miles of the transmission line will be rebuilt. (

Finland's Fortum to sell Swedish power grid for $6.9 bn

March 13, 2015. Finnish utility Fortum has agreed to sell its Swedish electricity distribution business to a consortium including Canada's Borealis for about € 6.6 billion ($6.9 billion), completing its exit from Nordic power grid assets. The deal is the latest in a series of regulated grid sales by European energy firms seeking to cut debt and focus on potentially more profitable power generation. It follows Fortum's sales of its smaller Finnish and Norwegian distribution businesses, from which the state-controlled company raised € 2.9 billion. (

PG&E to develop two new transmission substations in US

March 13, 2015. The California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) has selected Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to build, own and operate two new electric substations in Central Valley and South Bay, California, US. Planned to be built at Wheeler Ridge Junction, the new high voltage substation will help enhance electric service reliability in Bakersfield, especially in the hot summer months when demand for power is higher. The new Spring substation will boost service reliability as well as provide additional grid resiliency for customers in the Morgan Hill area. The two projects are scheduled to be commissioned in 2020 and 2021, respectively and are due to undergo an approval process by the California Public Utilities Commission. The substation projects have been approved by the CAISO during its annual Transmission Planning Process in 2014. (

Spanish firm to build overhead lines for Maritime Link

March 12, 2015. The Spanish multinational conglomerate Abengoa will build just over 400 kilometres of overhead power transmission lines for the Maritime Link in a contract valued at about US$155 million. Everything is proceeding on schedule and on budget, and electricity will flow in late 2017. Abengoa announced it was selected to do the work by NSP Maritime Link Inc., a subsidiary of Emera Inc., along with Emera Newfoundland & Labrador.

The work includes the development of several overhead transmission lines in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. On the Newfoundland and Labrador side, Abengoa will develop about 160 kilometres of 230-kilovolt alternating current transmission line from the Granite Canal substation to the Bottom Brook substation, 142 kilometres of 200-kilovolt high-voltage direct current line from Bottom Brook to Cape Ray and 23 kilometres of five-kilovolt grounding line from the Bottom Brook converter station to Indian Head. On the Nova Scotia side, the company will build 46 kilometres of 200-kilovolt high-voltage direct current transmission line from Point Aconi to the Woodbine substation and 41 kilometres of five-kilovolt grounding line from the Woodbine converter station to Big Lorraine. Abengoa said it has constructed more than 25,000 kilometres of transmission lines and 280 electrical substations in the last 10 years. (

AEP Ohio to build two transmission lines in US

March 11, 2015. AEP Ohio Transmission has secured approval from Ohio Power Siting Board to construct two 138kV transmission lines in south central region of the US state. The projects are expected to boost the electric transmission system in the Chillicothe and Circleville areas. The company will build the Biers Run-Hopetown-Delano 138kV transmission line, which will connect the Biers Run substation, under construction in Chillicothe, to the existing Delano substation, passing through the proposed Hopetown distribution-level substation. The transmission line will be developed along the 17.3-mile long route that passes through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Pleasant Valley Wildlife Area. (

Policy / Performance…………

EU deadline on GE's $13 bn Alstom deal extended to August 6

March 17, 2015. European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have extended their deadline for a decision on General Electric's € 12.4 billion ($13.15 billion) bid for Alstom's power equipment business after a request from the U.S. group. The European Commission, which opened a full-scale investigation on concerns that the deal could result in price increases, will make its decision by August 6 instead of July 8. General Electric said it is optimistic of obtaining EU clearance. The company has received the green light for more than 50 deals since the Commission blocked its planned $42 billion takeover of Honeywell International Inc in 2001. (

North Korea behind nuke power plant data leakage

March 17, 2015. North Korea is believed to be linked to a series of recent data leaks from South Korea's nuclear power plants, investigators said. Late last year, an unidentified hacker posted blueprints of nuclear power plants and threatened to destroy the facilities while demanding they be shutdown. The hacker posted more files on Twitter that included documents concerning the country's indigenous advanced power reactor 1400, while demanding money. Pointing out that the compromised data "are far from critical," the investigators said the hackers stole it through hacking e-mails and online communities former and current officials of the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. have used instead of directly infiltrating the operator's network. (



Govt yet to devise policies for scaling up solar capacity to 100 GW by 2022

March 17, 2015. The government's ambitious plan to install solar plants with 1 lakh MW capacity looks set to be a non-starter in 2015-16. This is because the departments that need to contribute with supportive policies on issues such as rooftop solar panels, tax breaks and subsidies, have not made the necessary commitments so far. As a result, the clean energy ministry has kept the solar installation target for 2015-16 the same as last year at 1,100 MW, instead of accelerating it significantly to achieve the ` 6 lakh crore target of scaling up solar capacity from the current 3,000 MW, or 3 GW, to 100 GW by 2022. The target, which was announced in November last year, was reiterated in the Budget recently. The budget allocated ` 2,700 crore to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for 2015-16. MNRE had prepared a cabinet note, breaking up installation of 100 GW into yearly targets till 2022 and circulated it among other ministries in mid-January. This included targets on projects ranging from ultra mega solar parks (above 500 MW) to micro grids and rooftop installations. The cabinet note requested for transmission and distribution infrastructure from power ministry to enable solar installations, for tax breaks from the revenue department on manufacturing and making rooftop installation compulsory at certain locations from the urban development ministry, according to MNRE. MNRE is looking for less expensive ways to kick-start solar energy projects such as micro grids that supply electricity to a small number of houses in villages. (

GSFC introduces Sardar Package Scheme in 19 Gujarat districts

March 17, 2015. Gujarat State Fertilisers Company Ltd (GSFC) has launched its Sardar Package Scheme in 41 talukas (sub-divisions) spread across 19 districts in the state to promote use of renewable energy in irrigation. The scheme has been launched in Vyara village of Waghodiyataluka in Vadodara. The main purpose of this scheme is to spread awareness for solar pumps among farmers and encourage them to use of them for drip irrigation, the company said. As per the scheme, two lakh hectare land will be added to drip irrigation every year. It will offer solar pumps and drip set packages to state's farmers under the package. The Sardar Scheme will also educate farmers about use of water soluble fertiliser (WSF) and their benefits with many other modern agricultural practises. Also, GSFC is planning to launch this package in Uttar Pradesh after Maharashtra. Like Gujarat and Maharashtra, many other states have been encouraging farmers to use solar power pumps for irrigation. The use of renewable energy is an ideal method to uplift water for irrigation, sanitation and many other purposes. India is all set to scale up the use of solar energy pumping systems by taking a number of steps to make it more than 10 percent of the energy mix by 2020. (

VMC draws ` 2.5 bn plan to turn it into 'Solar City'

March 17, 2015. The Vijayawada Municipal Corp (VMC) has drawn up a ` 250 crore plan to turn the city into a ‘Solar City’ as directed by the state government. As a first step in the implementation of the plan, the VMC would install roof-top solar panels at its main office and council hall and its buildings at the Ajitsingh Nagar Sewage Treatment Plant, Ramalingeswara Nagar and Dr KL Rao Head Water Works and generate 100 KW of power at each them to meet its power requirements. Each of these units would cost ` 5 crore, they explained. The VMC authorities are keen on harnessing the solar energy and reducing the power bills. (

Welspun to set up 100 MW solar plant in Tamil Nadu

March 16, 2015. Welspun Renewables has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) for setting up a 100-MW solar project in the State. Welspun’s 100 MW is among the 146-MW worth of PPAs the Government has signed so far under the existing solar power purchase programme. Under the scheme, the developers who set up projects before September will sell their power to Tangedco at a rate of 7.01 a kWhr.

Welspun wanted to do more — a figure of 300 MW has been indicated. But like many other solar power developers (such as American company SunEdison), Welspun fears it may not be able to complete more projects within the September deadline. Several developers have asked for an extension of the deadline, on which the state Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) will have to take a call. Many in the solar industry are of the view that TNERC might extend the deadline till March 2016. (

Govt hires PwC for solar energy scale-up plan

March 16, 2015. Government said PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been engaged as a consultant for formulation of a plan to scale up solar energy in the country. Power Minister Piyush Goyal said some of the work undertaken by PwC includes assessing the power scenario in the country and analysing the efficacy of ongoing initiatives by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) as well as brining out a realistic demand projection and capacity addition plan. He said there is a proposal to scale up grid connected solar power projects from 20,000 MW to 1,00,000 MW by 2022 under National Solar Mission. (

Organic Recycling Systems develops green mode of generating electricity from solid waste

March 16, 2015. A Maharashtra-based company has developed and commercialised a green and safe method to not only generate electricity from municipal solid waste, but also reduce its disposal cost, burden on land filling and environmental pollution. The method that Organic Recycling Systems has developed uses biogas generated from waste to produce electricity. While there are similar systems already available, Suhas Bhand, founder-chairman of the company, said its system uses less water and generates gas about half the time compared with traditional plants. Moreover, its plants can take unsegregated waste and the system will segregate organic and inorganic material. The company is seeking patent for the technology.

According to Bhand, Indians generate about 68.8 million tonnes of waste a year. Disposal of this is a major environmental and health hazard. Organic Recycling Systems uses dry anaerobic digestion technology to break down biodegradable material. The company claims its method to be India's first indigenous technology that uses anaerobic digestion to convert municipal solid waste into power and compost without burning the mass. It currently operates a plant at Maharashtra's Sholapur and is considering setting up two more, in Pune and Bengaluru, at an investment of ` 140-160 crore each.

The Sholapur plant is designed to treat 146,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste annually to generate 24.94 million units of electricity, which is supplied to the grid. From the plant, the company also sells around 20,000 tonnes of residual organic compost annually to fertiliser companies Zuari and Deepak Fertilisers, Bhand said. Upon completion, the Pune plant will have a capacity to treat 273,750 tonnes of waste each year and generate 44.55 million units of electricity, the company said. The Phase I of the Bengaluru project will have a capacity to handle 219,000 tonnes of waste and generate 35.64 million units of electricity and 39,600 tonnes of organic compost. The Bengaluru plant is likely to be commissioned by April 2016. It is in the process of financial closure for the Pune plant. The land for setting up these plants and raw material for generation are provided by municipal corporations, Bhand said. The company gets about ` 12 crore a year selling electricity and ` 3.50 crore from organic compost. (

Adani plans 1 GW solar power plant at Ramanathapuram

March 15, 2015. Tamil Nadu's solar power sector is set to get a shot in the arm with Adani Group, an infrastructure company with presence in diverse sectors including logistics, agriculture and power, planning to set up a 1,000 MW solar plant in Ramanathapuram. Ramanathapuram, one of the backward and dry districts with poor rainfall and sizzling temperatures, along with neighbouring Tuticorin and Tirunelveli are considered hot spots for setting up solar plants in the state. Adani Enterprises signed a deal with the Rajasthan government to set up the country's largest solar park with a capacity to generate 10,000 MW for a period of ten years, with an investment of ` 40,000 crore. As the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC), in its comprehensive tariff order in September, proposed a one-year control period (i.e. tariff is valid till September 2015) due to volatile capital cost of solar modules, the applicants were awaiting extension of the control period. (

Punjab to launch 'solar power generation scheme' for farmers

March 15, 2015. Punjab government will launch a 'solar power generation scheme' for the farmers to meet the growing challenges of land scarcity, alarming ground water table situation and depleting soil health in the state. The scheme will offer the land-owning farmers 'solar power projects' ranging 1 MW to 2.5 MW. It will have multiple purposes of generating clean and green energy, meeting the challenge of land scarcity as well as developing the entrepreneurial skill amongst them thereby enhancing their income. The initial target is fixed at generation of 500 MW power under this scheme. (

India 3rd least efficient coal-fired power generating nation

March 13, 2015. According to a research by Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford, 39% of total global "sub-critical" capacity is located in China, 21% in the US, and 9% in India. Chinese and US companies generate power through "least efficient and most polluting form of coal-fired generation", followed by Indian firms at the third position globally, a report said. According to a research by Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford, 39% of total global "sub-critical" capacity is located in China, 21% in the US, and 9% in India. The report further said that 10% of these sub-critical portfolios are in the European Union (EU), a politico-economic grouping of 28 member states. Sub-critical is the least efficient and most polluting form of coal-fired generation as it requires more fuel and water to generate the same amount of power, and creates more pollution as a result, the study said. Sub-critical generally refers to the technology that is used to generate power. The average sub-critical coal-fired power station (SCPS) emits 75% more carbon pollution than an average advanced ultra super-critical -- the most up-to-date form of coal-fired power station -- and uses 67 percent more water. The study said that India has 391 companies with SCPS assets and there are 15 Indian companies in the largest 100 SCPS portfolios. Moreover, the percentage of companies in the largest 100 company SCPS portfolios that are government-owned is 87 percent. Among the top 10 SCPS portfolios, ranked in terms of total generation of least efficient and pump out most greenhouse gas, state-run NTPC was ranked at the fifth position, the only Indian company in the top 10. Other Indian firms that generate the least efficient and most polluting form of coal-fired power include Maharashtra State Power Gen Co (ranked 34), Tata Group (44), Vedanta Resources Plc (61) and Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (62). Andhra Pradesh Power Gen Corp (63), Adani Power (67), Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut (71), West Bengal Power Dev Corp (75), Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (77), Punjab State Electricity Board (81), Rajasthan Rv Utpadan Nigam (84), Neyveli Lignite Corp Ltd (85), MP Power Generating Co Ltd (94) and Damodar Valley Corp (100) are part of the list. In order to limit global emissions to a level consistent with the goal of containing earth's temperature to 2 degree celsius, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that it will be necessary to close 290 GW (2,90,000 MW) of sub-critical generation worldwide by 2020. (

West Bengal CM gets green nod from Modi govt for 43 projects

March 11, 2015. As a major takeaway from West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee's first meeting with PM Narendra Modi, the environment ministry has cleared the way for 43 projects - spanning coal, power, oil and steel industries - to take off in the state. The clearances, ranging from environmental nod to diversion of forest land, cover projects in the Central, state as well as private sector and would help kick-start industrial activities in almost all the districts of the state. This was the first time during nine months of the Modi regime that such a large number of projects have been cleared by the Centre for Bengal, state finance minister Amit Mitra said. During her meeting with the PM, Banerjee had discussed the state's economic situation and mentioned even Central projects that were pending in the absence of green nod. Banerjee had met several Central ministers, including environment minister Prakash Javdekar and power minister Piyush Goyal, during her two-day visit to Delhi. Mitra followed up on her meeting with Javdekar with a detailed discussion on the stalled projects. (


Al Gore proposes to 'punish climate change deniers'

March 17, 2015. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore proposes to "punish climate change deniers." Gore suggests that politicians who reject "accepted science" should also pay the price. Gore, an active environmental activist, spoke about the climate crisis at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, revealed that many smart investors are now investing in alternate energy companies rather than on companies that invest in fossil fuels. Gore, who is the chairman and founder of the Climate Reality Project, made a presentation at the SXSW that highlighted weather events, which may have been responsible due to human activities and negligence. His presentation also linked the issues of Middle East with the current climate change issues. Gore suggests that weather changes has caused drought in the region, which has forced Syrian refugees to flee to cities that are already full with refugees due to the Iraq war. The presentation had a slide that showed Pope Francis. Gore revealed that even the Pope is concerned about the climate changes that are occurring on the planet and he asked Christians to address the issue. Pope Francis is expected to release a document on climate change in around June or July this year. During his one and a half hour presentation Gore revealed many facts about global warming and the steps taken to reduce carbon emission. He pointed out that Bangladesh is working aggressively to install solar panels on rooftops. He also revealed that Dubai's state utility has accepted a bid for a solar power plant. SXSW festival brings together people from various industries. Gore asked the attendees to promote climate change and global warming issues with the help of social media websites. Al Gore is behind the Academy Award winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" that was released in 2006. The documentary focused on global warming and its effects on the Earth. Gore hopes that his appearance at SXSW will help in promoting the war against climate change and also help in pressurizing those who claim that climate change is not an issue. (

Dubai introduces residential rooftop solar panel initiative

March 16, 2015. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has started a new smart initiative Shams Dubai to regulate the generation of solar energy in buildings and their connection to its grid. Shams Dubai is one of the three projects launched by Dewa in 2014 to support the Smart Dubai initiative of UAE Prime Minister HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. As part of Shams Dubai initiative, tenants and building owners will be encouraged to install photovoltaic solar panels on their rooftops to generate electricity. The clean electricity generated will be used onsite and the surplus will be exported to Dewa's grid. The initiative is expected to encourage the use of renewable energy, increase its share in electricity production and diversify the energy mix. (

Renewables Infrastructure Group raising money for clean power

March 16, 2015. The Renewables Infrastructure Group Ltd., a London-based clean energy fund, said it’s raising money through a placing of new shares. The fund is issuing shares at 102.25 pence apiece, it said. It declined to disclose how much it’s raising in total. The money will be used to enable it to “take advantage of its pipeline of attractive investment opportunities,” it said. The fund is managed by InfraRed Capital Partners Ltd. It has the rights to buy projects built by Renewable Energy Systems Ltd., a developer of renewable-power plants. (

Brazil’s next solar power supply auction scheduled for August

March 16, 2015. Brazil’s Ministry of Mining and Energy will auction solar power plant electricity agreements on Aug. 14. Solar project developers will compete for contracts to sell power starting in August 2017, the ministry said. Developers bid down the price at which they’re willing to deliver electricity in an effort to win contracts to sell power to distributors for as long as 20 years. (

Global energy-related emissions of CO2 stalled in 2014

March 16, 2015. Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate that global emissions of carbon dioxide from the energy sector stalled in 2014. This marks the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn. Global emissions of carbon dioxide stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the preceding year. The preliminary IEA data suggest that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought. The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries. In China, 2014 saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal. In OECD economies, recent efforts to promote more sustainable growth – including greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy – are producing the desired effect of decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. In the 40 years in which the IEA has been collecting data on carbon dioxide emissions, there have only been three times in which emissions have stood still or fallen compared to the previous year, and all were associated with global economic weakness: the early 1980’s; 1992 and 2009. In 2014, however, the global economy expanded by 3%. More details on the data and analysis will be included in an IEA special report on energy and climate that will be released on 15 June in London. (

Europe carbon trade would gain extra $1.1 bn from biomass

March 16, 2015. European carbon trading will probably bring in as much as an extra € 1 billion ($1.1 billion) a year to combat climate change if wood-burning power stations are included in the system for limiting greenhouse-gas emissions. The assumption that burning wood doesn’t mean more carbon because greenhouse gases are sucked up by growing trees ignores the effect of changes in land use, emissions from transporting the so-called biomass and unsustainable operations, said a report from the Transport & Environment campaign group, BirdLife Europe and the European Environmental Bureau. The 7 percent of all emissions in the system from biomass are now assumed to be carbon neutral; meaning the amount of carbon released equals the amount absorbed. Changing that may bring in € 630 million to € 1 billion into the system, while at least half of that would be reinvested in climate-related measures, they said. The European Commission is reviewing its Emissions Trading System, which gives emitters allowances to release greenhouse gases and lets them trade those that they don’t use, to extend the program to 2030. Of the € 3.6 billion the system made in 2013, € 3 billion was used for climate and energy measures. Biomass demand is forecast to rise 40 percent by 2020 and at least 15 percent will have to be imported, the report said. Moreover, the time lag from the release of carbon dioxide from burning to its being absorbed by plant growth can be from zero to 500 years. European Union (EU) member states are turning to biomass as it produces cleaner power and heat while still producing energy around-the-clock unlike renewables such as solar and wind. Renewables represent about 24.2 percent of total electricity generation in the EU, with 18.7 percent of that from biomass, according to a report from the European Biomass Association. (

China carbon emissions decline as 2014 global CO2 stays flat

March 13, 2015. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide fell last year for the first time in more than a decade, helping stall global production of climate-warming gases. The finding, along with new data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), is a sign that efforts to control pollution are gaining traction. Total carbon emissions in the world’s second-biggest economy dropped 2 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year, the first drop since 2001, according to a estimate based on preliminary energy demand data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The China results show that the country’s battle to rein in pollution is having a tangible effect. The world’s biggest carbon emitter, has poured money into clean energy sources such as solar, wind and hydro developments, while cutting its dependence on coal. (

GDF Suez wants to double renewable capacity in Europe by 2025

January 13, 2015. GDF Suez SA plans to double renewable power production capacity in Europe over the next decade as the utility shifts its focus away from developing more historic natural gas and nuclear energy sources in the region. GDF Suez wants to raise renewable output capacity in Europe to 16,000 MW by 2025 from almost 8,000 MW in mid-2014. Most output currently comes from hydroelectric dams, then wind and solar, while new developments will also come from offshore wind, tidal power and seawater pumps. The operator of Europe’s biggest natural-gas network is expanding in Latin America, Asia and Middle East markets to counter sluggish growth in energy demand at home. Courbevoie, France-based GDF Suez has been hurt by lower demand for gas-fired power in Europe and nuclear outages in Belgium. The utility will have about 21 GW of renewable capacity at the end of the year. (

Wind power without US subsidy to become cheaper than gas

March 12, 2015. Wind power will be cheaper than electricity produced from natural gas within a decade, even without a federal tax incentive, according to a U.S. Energy Department analysis. Cost reductions and technology improvements will reduce the price of wind power to below that of fossil-fuel generation, even after a $23-per-megawatt-hour subsidy provided now to wind farm owners ends, according to a report. That may drive up demand for turbines from companies like General Electric Co. and Vestas Wind Systems A/S. Increasing wind energy to 35 percent of U.S. electricity supplies by 2050 will cause power prices to decline 2.2 percent and result in $400 billion in benefits related to reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Wind energy provided 4.5 percent of U.S. power supplies in 2013. Taller towers that can reach faster winds, bigger rotors and advanced control systems will drive down operating costs. The report assessed the costs and benefits of wind supplying 10 percent of U.S. power generation by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent in 2050. While power prices will increase by 1 percent in the first 15 years, expanding wind power will save Americans $149 billion in fuel and development costs through 2050. The cost of operating a wind farm in breezy states like Iowa and South Dakota dropped by more than a third to $45 a megawatt-hour in 2013 from $71 in 2008. Costs will continue declining as tower heights increase by as much as 50 percent to 150 meters and capture more energy. As utilities idle coal-fueled power plants, demand for wind energy will increase, said Dan Utech, an adviser to President Barack Obama for energy and climate change. The federal production tax credit that helped the U.S. become the world’s largest producer of wind energy in 2014 expired, again, Dec. 31. Developers who began construction before then will qualify for the incentive if they begin producing power by the end of next year. The on-again-off-again status of the credit has made it difficult for the wind industry to make long-term plans. It expired at the end of 2012, was renewed days later at the start of 2013, then lapsed again at the beginning of last year, only to be revived for a brief window at the end of 2014. Renewing the tax credit is main focus of the American Wind Energy Association, a Washington-based industry group. Obama has asked for a permanent extension. The power industry will use 23 percent less water if wind power meets 35 percent of U.S. electricity demand by 2050. Other benefits include adding 600,000 jobs related to wind energy, and avoiding 23,000 premature deaths due to air pollution. (

Trina to supply India’s ACME with 48 MW of solar panels

March 12, 2015. Trina Solar Ltd., the biggest supplier of solar panels, will provide 48 MW of products to renewable-energy developer ACME Cleantech Solutions Ltd. of India. The Chinese manufacturer will complete the panel delivery to two of ACME’s solar farms in the first quarter. The Indian solar power market expects “clear” growth this year and Trina can benefit, Zhu Zhiguo, Trina’s chief operating officer, said. (

Southern hemisphere’s largest solar power plant set to start

March 12, 2015. A project in the Australian Outback that will more than double the country’s large-scale solar output should begin generating its initial power as early as this week, according to First Solar Inc. The A$290 million ($220 million) Nyngan solar plant in New South Wales state will start at 25 MW before increasing to full capacity of 102 MW, said Jack Curtis, Asia-Pacific manager at First Solar, a partner in the project led by AGL Energy Ltd. The plant will be fully operational by July, Sydney-based AGL said. The solar project is expected to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere until a 141 MW First Solar project in Chile begins in late 2015. AGL and First Solar, the U.S. panel manufacturer, are also building a 53 MW solar plant in Broken Hill, west of Nyngan in New South Wales. While the government says Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent, solar accounted for less than 2 percent of its electricity generation in 2013, the Clean Energy Council estimated. (

Three China solar-panel groups may lose EU duty exemption

March 12, 2015. The European Union (EU) plans to apply tariffs on three groups of Chinese solar-panel makers that have been exempted from the levies, potentially reviving tensions in the EU’s biggest trade case of its kind. The three producer groups, which include Canadian Solar Inc. subsidiaries, breached the terms of a price-floor accord that underpinned the exemption, according to a European Commission document. The ET Solar and ReneSola groups are the other two accused in the document of violating the agreement to respect a minimum selling price. Repealing the undertaking would expose weaknesses in an EU-China agreement in late 2013 to curb European imports of Chinese solar panels. The accord set a minimum price and a volume limit on European imports of the renewable-energy technology until the end of 2015. Chinese manufacturers that opted to take part in the pact are spared EU tariffs meant to counter alleged below-cost sales, a practice known as dumping, and subsidies. The Canadian Solar and ET groups would each face an anti-dumping duty of 43.1 percent and an anti-subsidy levy of 6.4 percent were their undertaking to be repealed. The Renesola group would face an anti-dumping duty of 43.1 percent and an anti-subsidy levy of 4.6 percent. Canadian Solar and ReneSola Ltd. issued statements on the matter. Canadian Solar said that the commission “has informed the company of potential issues.” The company said it has “strived to fully comply” with the undertaking. ReneSola said that it had been notified by the commission of “a potential compliance issue.” The company said it “has fully complied with the undertaking agreement” and is cooperating with the commission. (

Danish pension funds invest in UK biomass power plant

March 12, 2015. A group of Danish pension funds has bought a biomass-fired power plant project in the north of England for DKK1.6bn (€215 mn) via investment fund Copenhagen Infrastructure II. The Brite power plant is located in Rotherham near Sheffield and will be fuelled with waste wood from the local area, sourced from a long-term contract with Stobart Biomass Group. It is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017, and will have a capacity of 39.3 MW. The plant will be built by a consortium consisting of Babcock & Wilcox Vølund, which is based in the Danish town of Esbjerg, and UK firm Interserve. On completion, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund will be responsible for operating and maintaining the installation on a 15 to 20-year contract. For PensionDanmark, the Brite power plant will be the third biomass facility in England the pension fund has invested in. (































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Publisher: Baljit Kapoor 

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Contact: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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                                           Editor: Akhilesh Sati

                                           Content Development:                           

                                            Ashish Gupta,                                           

                                            Dinesh Kumar Madhrey









About Observer Research Foundation


Observer Research Foundation was established on September 5, 1990 as non-profit public policy think-tank. It provides informed and viable inputs for the policy and decision-makers in the government and to the political and business leadership of the country by providing informed and productive inputs, in-depth research and stimulating discussions.


ORF Mission: Building partnerships for a Global India

ORF Objectives:


·        Aid and impact formulation of policies and evolve policy alternatives.

·        Create a climate conducive to effective implementation of these policies.

·        Strengthen India’s democratic institutions to enable coherent, reasoned and      consistent policy-making.

·        Provide reasoned and consensual inputs representing a broad section of opinion to improve governance, accelerate economic development, and ensure a better quality of life for all Indians.

·        Monitor strategic environment

·        Work towards achieving international peace, harmony, and co-operation.

·        Give direction to India’s long-range foreign policy objectives.


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