MonitorsPublished on Apr 03, 2015
Energy News Monitor | Volume XI; Issue 42

[Growth without Emissions]

                             “One of the significant announcements made last month in the context of energy was that the economy had decoupled from emission of carbon-di-oxide (CO2). The evidence is from preliminary data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) which says that global emission of CO2 stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014 which is the same as that in 2013 even though the global economy grew by 3 percent in this period. The IEA observed that in the 40 years in which it has been collecting data on CO2 emissions, there have been instances when emission of CO2 has stalled but all these were associated with a decline in economic growth rates…”

Energy News


Fall in domestic gas prices shows that market based prices can go both ways – up or down!                                   


Reviving sub-prime gas power generation assets with subsidies will privatise profits and socialise costs!


Delhi Discoms must come clean on their accounts if they want consumer sympathy!




·          Growth without Emissions


·          3rd Green Energy Summit (Summary of Proceedings)


·          Hydro Generation- Targets for 2015-16



·          RIL signs production sharing pact for offshore blocks in Myanmar

·          ONGC plans to optimize production from wells

·          ONGC to invest ` 400 bn in KG Basin in 4 yrs


·          MRPL seeks rare low sulphur fuel oil for May

·          IOCL to join hands with Chhattisgarh for "total energy solution"

Transportation / Trade………………

·          India skips Iran oil imports in March under US pressure

·          PM Modi sets sight on 10 percent cut in oil imports by 2022

·          GAIL seeking 7 LNG cargoes from Oct 2015-Dec 2016

Policy / Performance…………………

·          Domestic natural gas prices slashed by 8 percent

·          ` 49.4 bn budgetary support to oil cavern programme

·          1 lakh homes in Indore, Ujjain to get piped gas supply: Oil Minister

·          ONGC renews insurance 35 percent cheaper from United India for $20 mn

·          Govt targets 1 crore consumers to give up LPG subsidy

·          Need to look at our oil exploration programme: FM

·          Gujarat govt spent more than ` 130 bn on KG Basin

·          Govt approves supply of cheap LNG to power plants

·          India 'throws up' investment opportunities for Qatar investors



·          RINL commissions green power project to generate 120 MW

·          BHEL to set up power plant in Telengana

·          Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP fully operational

·          NTPC invites tenders for 4 GW power plants in Vizag

·          Steam release valves to be tested at Kudankulam n-plant

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Distribution companies expect Delhi's power demand to touch 6.4 GW

·          Crompton Greaves wins ` 1.1 bn order from PGCIL

·          APTCL commissions transmission line

·          Kamarajar Port to import 18 mn tonnes of coal in 2 yrs

·          Torrent Power surges as govt to provide subsidy directly to power firms

·          Power distribution arms of Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power faces severe financial crunch

·          Tata Power to buy 50 percent stake in Zambia's Itezhi Tezhi Power

Policy / Performance…………………

·          SC lets Adani Power defend compensatory tariffs

·          CIL asked to light up 30 ongoing power projects

·          J&K govt seeks to harness 20 GW power potential of state

·          Telangana will be a power surplus State by 2018: CM

·          Coal India may surpass 1 bn tonne output target by 2020: Goyal

·          Coal ministry eyeing 15-20 blocks for next auction round

·          OERC hikes farm power tariff by 36 percent

·          AAP to allocate ` 16.9 bn towards power, water subsidies

·          New round of coal block auctions from April: Goyal

·          Chhattisgarh’s power tariff among lowest: CM

·          Cabinet allows use of imported gas to revive stuck power plants



·          ExxonMobil starts production at Hadrian South gas field off Gulf of Mexico

·          Maersk Oil commences production from new platform in Danish North Sea

·          Statoil discovers more gas offshore Tanzania

·          PetroChina to swap North American oil and gas assets to cut costs

·          OGDCL discovers oil at Palli Deep-1 well in Pakistan's Sindh Province


·          Japan Okinawa refinery closure could cut oil product exports

·          Qatar companies to invest $5 bn in China for LNG projects

·          Tokyo Gas to build second LNG tank terminal in Hitachi

·          Total, DNO keep pumping oil and gas in Yemen after airstrikes

Transportation / Trade…………

·          Japan's Toho Gas to buy LNG from Malaysia's Petronas

·          Pemex to sell 45 percent stake in two Mexican natural gas pipelines for $900 mn

·          Shell reopens Nigeria's Nembe Creek oil pipeline

·          BP sees TANAP gas pipeline project deal

Policy / Performance………………

·          Gazprom asks state to extend Ukraine gas discount until July

·          New Zealand opens Block Offer 2015 for exploration permits

·          Alberta budget deficit soars to record on oil collapse

·          Russia may allow more firms to offshore oil: Energy Minister

·          Indonesia's Pertamina to operate Mahakam block from 2018: Energy Minister

·          Canada govt asks pipeline regulator for safety guidelines by 2016

·          Oil to reach $100 a barrel by end of 2016: Pickens



·          Ayala plans to expand power generation by another 500 MW

·          Toshiba to support 308 MW Upper Yeywa hydropower project in Myanmar

·          Emerson wins $76 mn power plant contract in Poland

·          Dominion plans to build natural gas power plant in Southside

Transmission / Distribution / Trade……

·          Major power outage leaves Turkey in darkness

·          EDF Energy secures £1 bn electricity supply contract in UK

·          Hydro One to invest $688 mn in transmission upgrade projects in Canada

·          PSC chooses route for Badger-Coulee transmission line

·          GDF Suez Energy extends electricity supply contract with baseball team Philadelphia Phillies

·          EBRD lends €65 mn for Ukrenergo’s transmission network in Ukraine

Policy / Performance………………

·          Regulators plan to drop case at closed California nuke plant

·          Ghana launches ambitious program to hike power generation

·          Coal miners say Obama change to royalties aims to shut them down



·          India wants a global agreement to focus on climate change prior to 2020

·          KSEB to take solar route to overcome power crisis

·          Cheap power must be balanced with green energy: Goyal

·          Odisha to encourage people on renewable energy: CM

·          UP power watchdog approves rooftop solar regulation

·          India to rich world: Give us cash and we’ll cut emissions faster

·          Every house in Goa will soon get three LED bulbs: CM

·          Goyal eyes bidding in dollar to cut solar tariff


·          Cheap oil unlikely to slow growth of renewable: Citigroup

·          Asian solar spending helps drive renewable energy boom

·          Southern acquiring wind power plant in Oklahoma

·          Climate change making droughts in Australia worse as rain patterns shift

·          China contemplates development of space solar power station

·          Bluefield buys UK solar power plant for $84 mn

·          SEFA to support solar power plant in Chad

·          UN GCF can be spent on coal-fired power generation

·          Mexico pledges to cut emissions 25 percent in climate-change milestone

·          EU nations reach deal to start carbon-market reserve in 2021

·          EGP commences construction on 74 MW US wind project

·          UK Green Bank agrees $298 mn of lending to Africa, India




Growth without Emissions

Lydia Powell & Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation  


ne of the significant announcements made last month in the context of energy was that the economy had decoupled from emission of carbon-di-oxide (CO2). The evidence is from preliminary data of the International Energy Agency (IEA) which says that global emission of CO2 stood at 32.3 billion tonnes (BT) in 2014 which is the same as that in 2013 even though the global economy grew by 3 percent in this period.  The IEA observed that in the 40 years in which it has been collecting data on CO2 emissions, there have been instances when emission of CO2 has stalled but all these were associated with a decline in economic growth rates. 

Chart 1: Growth in CO2 Emissions and Carbon Intensity

Source: CDIAC Data; Le Quéré et al 2013; Global Carbon Project 2013 

The Chart 1 which maps emissions from 1960 to 2012 shows the trend of increasing emissions that is broken by brief periods of stagnation in emission growth linked to periods of economic stagnation or decline. What one would infer from the above chart is that emissions decrease only when economic growth slows down. Latest data from the IEA appears to contest this observation.

The IEA attributes the halt in emissions growth in 2013-14 largely to changes in energy consumption patterns in China and OECD countries. Increase in renewable energy use in China and in OECD countries and gains in energy use efficiency in OECD countries are given most of the credit.

If the economy has decoupled from emissions it must be celebrated as it will pave the way for a prosperous, equitable and clean world.  However two questions must be considered before we open the champaign bottle. 

The first is whether it is accurate to draw lines of causation from the share of renewable energy/increase in efficiency of energy use to the decoupling of the global economy from CO2 emissions. The second is whether the developed world is using information ‘creatively’ to nudge developing countries towards its own instrumental goals. 

Ever since man started using modern fossil fuel based energy sources to improve his life, he has consistently improved the efficiency of energy use either by shifting to more efficient energy sources or by using energy sources more efficiently. 

Chart 2: Falling Hydrogen to Carbon Ratio

Source: Nebojša Nakićenović, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Vienna University of Technology, 2nd HyCARE Symposium, Laxenberg, Austria, 19-20 Dec 2005    

As shown in Chart 2 the ratio of hydrogen to carbon has been increasing since 1800 which means that the world’s energy system is de-carbonising naturally. The shift towards hydrogen marks a shift towards more efficient sources of energy as the oxidation of hydrogen releases more energy than the oxidation of carbon. 

This shift is likely to continue naturally as technologies are developed to harness low carbon energy sources.  This does not necessarily mean the use of solar or wind energy. If we track the natural course of global energy systems, the shift so far has been from solid (wood, coal) to liquid sources (oil) and then towards gaseous sources (natural gas).

Experts believe that the final shift would not be towards new sources of primary energy but towards efficient ways of generating zero carbon secondary energy carriers such as electricity and hydrogen. Nuclear power is seen as a front runner in generating electricity and hydrogen (during off-peak hours as a store of energy and for use as fuel for transportation). 


Chart 3: Shift Towards Gaseous Fuels

Source: Nebojša Nakićenović, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Vienna University of Technology, 2nd hycare Symposium, Laxenberg, Austria, 19-20 Dec 2005    

BPs Energy Outlook for 2040 observes that fading industrialisation will slow growth in energy demand in the future and that dramatic increase in the rate of decline of energy intensity on account of technological improvements will widen the gap between GDP and energy consumption. It adds that gains in energy efficiency would lead to far greater reduction in projected energy demand than improvement in fuel mix such as increasing the share of renewable energy in power generation. This means that increasing the share of renewables is not necessarily the only means of decoupling emissions from economic growth.  

The second concern is over the creative use of data and information by OECD countries to nudge development countries towards investment in expensive energy sources. The press release of the IEA on the decoupling of emissions and economic growth includes statements by the high ranking officials of the IEA appear to convey a hidden message for participants in the upcoming climate summit in Paris that increasing the share of renewables is an effective means of controlling carbon emissions.

The IEA has been accused of under-estimating oil supply in order to nudge oil producing countries in the Middle East to invest in enhancing oil supply. Improved oil supply favoured OECD economies through lower oil prices. But IEAs persistent projection of oil supply shortages has created a glut in oil production today. The IEA may be indulging in yet another nudge towards investment in renewables to create a market for OECD technologies. Developing countries will do well to focus on efficient use of energy rather than rushing into grand programmes for renewable energy.  

Views are those of the authors                    

Authors can be contacted at [email protected], [email protected]



3rd Green Energy Summit

(Summary of Proceedings)

K K Roy Chowdhury, Energy & Environment Expert, Delhi


he 3rd Green Energy Summit with the Theme, “Renewable Energy: A Key Enabler for Sustainable Growth” was organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in association with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India in New Delhi on 21st March 2015. ICF International was the Knowledge Partner in the event. The day-long programme was inaugurated by Mr Piyush Goel, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Power, Coal & Renewable Energy, Government of India, and had two plenary Sessions followed by a closing Session. More than 100 energy professionals from the industry, equipment manufacturers, operators, financial institutions, government agencies, consultants, NGOs and the media participated in the highly interactive event. The key proceedings are presented below.

Inaugural Session

Dr Rajeev Singh, Director General, ICC, in his welcome address, noted that Green Power and Renewable Energy (RE) have got a fresh thrust with the new Government at the Centre that would enhance the capacity of the sector, and would be good for India and renewable energy companies. Dwelling upon some facts and figures, that, 1.3 billion of global population including 400 million in India are still without electricity, and by 2040, 20 percent of the global population will be residing in the Asian Region with 70 percent of that belonging to the working age group, Dr Singh observed that this threw a dual challenge to meet their energy needs and at the same time to consider the environment. Renewable energy (RE) constitutes 20 percent globally, and in India, the share was 12-13 percent, which implied that RE had definitely grown in India and so no longer a marginal source he mentioned.

Mr Anil Razdan, former Power Secretary, Government of India and Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Energy, delivered the keynote and theme Address as the Summit Chairman. In appreciation of the assembly in quest for a route to sustainability, he drew attention to ICC’s new mission to explore solar and wind now following hydro. Stressing on the need to rediscover ourselves for sustainability, since we had to live the way nature wanted us to, Mr Razdan pointed towards the dilemma in tracking the nature! Calling for productivity and efficiency to move in this path to rediscover nature, he stressed on the need for identification of technologies from this perspective, for which India had huge opportunity as it was blessed with nature’s bliss, namely, long coastline, large insolation, less dark spaces, etc. A commercial sense had to be derived from this opportunity he said. The challenge is to provide electricity to the consumers at the right rate he observed! To achieve this, he stressed on the need for developing batteries for storage of energy, indigenously, in a manner similar to the one adopted in hydro-power for water (energy) storage, that would also work towards judicious use of peoples’ money.

Mr Nitin Zamre, managing Director, ICF International, spoke on transforming the current energy landscapes in the country with the power of renewables. Underlining the need to leap-frog into modern energy sources he sought for ways and means to move in this direction. He gave an overview of the Indian Power Sector with highlights on the facts and figures published by Central Electricity Authority and MNRE in this regard and pointed out that targets had been revised, 5 folds for solar to 1,00,000 MW by 2022, and for wind to 60,000 MW by 2022, etc. He also mentioned the proposed development plans for solar/ green cities, and informed the participants that five cities had been accorded approval for implementation of renewable energy, with INR 100 crores per city allocated for the purpose. He also touched upon the aspect of grid connected power and the intricacies in its evolution. Summing up his presentation, Mr Zamre mentioned that there lay huge opportunity for significant scale-up in renewable energy in India.

In his address on Integration of Renewables into the Grid: Importance of Green Energy Corridors to boost renewable capacity, Mr S K Soonee, CEO, POSOCO, stressed upon the importance of Distribution System Operators. He said that we had to consider our time diversity, seasonal diversity, and climate diversity. He said that we had to adjust to falling heat rate as well as the load curve/ load factor. He pointed out that connectivity and standards were important for renewable to reach critical mass since renewable energy was a low-voltage phenomenon, Mr Soonee outlined.

Dr Ashwini Kumar, Managing Director, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), talked about capacity addition targets for the next 5 years. On the question of solar scale-up potential, land was one of the major issues, he observed. Land area requirement is more for solar power, at 5 acres/MW he said. Therefore, sufficient capital needs and funding requirements are to be addressed too, he said. Given the fact that waste land had to be utilised for solar power, considering even 5 percent of the waste land available in the country, our purpose will be more than served as it would give more than 1000 GW against our target of 100 GW, Dr Kumar stated. He also talked of tariff consolidation with cheaper interest rate and long-term loans. He talked of the initiative taken for the Solar Park Scheme to support 20,000 MW capacity. NTPC had also undertaken grid based capacity for 3000 MW, he informed. He also touched upon the MNRE scheme for development of a solar park with targets of 500 MW and above to reach 20,000 MW, and in this direction, he said that Andhra Pradesh had come forward for 2000 MW park and Karnataka for 2000 MW at a single site.

A special address was delivered by Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Government of India. He highlighted on the success of wind energy in India. Banks are lending finance, with 95 percent of technology being available indigenously in the wind sector he said. Good demonstration of wind power and its performance had also prompted the state utilities to purchase wind power at the rate of Rs 2.25 per unit without escalation to facilitate wind power he said. Business models, interconnectivity and capacity are the three issues that need to be focused upon, Dr Mathur said.

Mr Piyush Goel, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Power, Coal & New & Renewable Energy, Government of India, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. In his address, Mr Goel assured fast-track growth in the RE sector that would keep up with the ongoing tempo in the new Government at the Centre. He stressed upon the need for boosting investment to facilitate sale of power, given the fact that the country had surplus power. In order to facilitate growth of RE on a fast-track mode, he drew attention to the following five essential issues:

·         credibility of the power-purchase agreement for reducing risk

·         life of the equipment and cost to keep technology in focus

·         Intra- and inter-state aspects

·         RE off-grid plants for rural electrification

·         Net metering for economic viability

Further, Mr Goel referred to the success in the wind sector and said that domestic manufacturing needs to be enhanced in the case of solar as well. ‘While targeting to realise 175 GW of solar power by 2022’, he said, ‘we have to do it without subsidy’. He called for a white paper with details to address the five issues flagged by him that would also reduce coal-based power since coal had the largest environmental costs.  Drawing attention to the amendments in the Electricity Act 2003, he invited people to raise issues before the Standing Committee and drive consumer choice towards best supplier of electricity. ‘We cannot ignore the developmental imperatives of India keeping in mind a good government has to do good economics as well’, he observed.

The Minister also released ICC Knowledge Report on Green Power.

The summit also hosted two plenary Sessions, one on the Theme of Wind Power: Key to Future Sustainability, and the other on the Theme of 100 GW Solar Power by 2019.

The closing session revolved around the theme of ‘India’s perspective for unconventional Energy sources & their deployment.

Views are those of the author                    

Author can be contacted at [email protected]


Hydro Generation- Targets for 2015-16

Akhilesh Sati, Observer Research Foundation


Likely Installed Capacity- MW

(as on Mar 31, 2016)

























































(including import)




All India- Monthwise Generation (MU) Targets (2015-16)

Source: Central Electricity Authority




RIL signs production sharing pact for offshore blocks in Myanmar

March 31, 2015. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) said it had signed an agreement with Myanmar for a production sharing contract for two offshore blocks. RIL will be the operator of the blocks with a 96 percent participating interest while United National Resources Development Services Co. Ltd, a Myanmar company, will hold the remaining stake. RIL said its participation was in line with its strategy to expand its international asset base by investing in attractive oil and gas destinations. (

ONGC plans to optimize production from wells

March 30, 2015. Oil Natural Gas Company (ONGC) has decided to optimize the production from existing wells in Tripura from April, ONGC onshore director V P Mahawar said. Mahawar said gas production in Tripura has now increased to 44 lakh standard cubic metres from 17 lakh standard cubic metres in 2012, which is the highest in India. To enhance the productivity, ONGC has brought most effective and modern hydro-fracturing technology, used for breaking the sand layer deep inside the surface of the earth to facilitate better flow of gas, he said. The ONGC management has agreed to go for massive exploration across the potential areas of India to find out new source of oil and natural gas to meet the growing demands of hydro-carbon across the globe, Mahawar said. He said that India has world's 0.7% gas reserve and 0.3% oil reserve and added that if the demand remains stable, production would be sustained for only four to five years. The productivity must be enhanced with improved technology. He said ONGC has drilled as many as 176 wells in 11 stretches of the state and of which 82 have been producing gas since 1972. The highest rate of success in exploration has convinced the authorities to make commitment to supply 36 lakh cubic meters of gas to 726 MW Palatana power project for 20 years and five lakh cubic metres to Monarchak power plant. (

ONGC to invest ` 400 bn in KG Basin in 4 yrs

March 25, 2015. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said it would invest ` 40,000 crore in Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin in a phased manner over the next four years. ONGC informed this to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. ONGC aims to extract 25 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) gas in KG Basin by 2018 and would also look into the exploration of oil by 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government said. (


MRPL seeks rare low sulphur fuel oil for May

March 30, 2015. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) is seeking a rare cargo of low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) to meet pollution standards of Karnataka, a southern Indian state, the company said. The 25,000-tonne LSFO cargo to be delivered over the second half of May will be for the refinery's own consumption, and purchased on an on-demand basis. MRPL needs to stay under maximum sulphur limits on domestic production, which would necessitate a LSFO import as per sources. This could be due to increased output of higher sulphur refined products such as bitumen, which is used to build roads and demand for which rises over March to May. LSFO purchase could also be the result of refinery upgrades that have reduced MRPL's fuel oil production. While MRPL used to export one to two cargoes of high sulphur fuel oil and vacuum gasoil a month, shipments have been sporadic since late last year after its refinery upgrade. MRPL planned to shut its 120,000 barrel per day crude distillation unit for about 10 days from early April for maintenance. MRPL operates a 300,000 bpd refinery in Karnataka. (

IOCL to join hands with Chhattisgarh for "total energy solution"

March 30, 2015. The Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL), a Maharatna national oil company would seal a deal with the Chhattisgarh government for developing natural gas infrastructure, city gas distribution and supply of gas. The company said under the plans for increasing its presence in the gas sector, the IOCL wished to develop the 'total energy solutions' especially natural gas in Chhattisgarh. Besides the development of natural gas infrastructure such as pipelines and city gas distribution networks, the company would set up CNG stations in the state for ensuring availability of natural gas to consumers in domestic, commercial, industrial and transport sectors. The agreement would also help the company to involve the state agencies in the marketing and supply of natural gas to various consumers across the state. A Joint Coordination Team (JCT) would be formed for expediting and monitoring the progress of the project. The team would comprise of four members. The state government would coordinate for the grant of all necessary permissions, approvals, clearances, statistics and other details available with various state agencies for the work. The technical and commercial expertise of the IOCL would be used to study various options and evaluate energy demand of the state. Both the parties would explore the option of forming Joint Ventures (JVs). Equity participation in such JVs by other entities would be decided mutually at appropriate time. (

Transportation / Trade…………

India skips Iran oil imports in March under US pressure

March 31, 2015. India halted oil imports from Iran for the first time in at least a decade in March as New Delhi responded to U.S. pressure to keep its shipments from Tehran within sanction limits during the last month of negotiations on a preliminary nuclear deal. India is Iran's second-biggest buyer on an annual basis after China, yet it did not take any crude from Tehran in March, according to tanker arrival data. The halt in March comes after February imports hit a 1-1/2-year low for monthly imports, which together brought India's annual crude and condensate purchases from Iran in the year to March 31 to an average 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) or 11 million tonnes, slightly below shipments in the previous year.

Days ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to India in January, the oil ministry had told Essar Oil, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd and Indian Oil Corp - the Indian refiners that buy from Iran - to cut their imports over February and March to keep the fiscal-year figure in line with sanctions limits. Refiners in India had raised imports during the April-December period by more than 40 percent, leading U.S. authorities to raise the alarm with India's foreign ministry ahead of Obama's visit. The sanctions currently restrict Iran's overall exports to 1 million-1.1 million bpd, with Asian buyers required to keep their purchases near end-2013 levels. In February, imports by Iran's four biggest buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - though down on-year, bounced back to average 1.02 million bpd, a two-month high, government and tanker-tracking data showed. (

PM Modi sets sight on 10 percent cut in oil imports by 2022

March 28, 2015. India needs to reduce oil imports by 10% over the next seven years through efficient use and speedier exploration and production from domestic fields to become self-sufficient in energy, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said. India imports 77% of its oil requirement and spent ` 1.89 lakh crore, or roughly $80 billion, in 2013-14. Modi said if imports were cut by 10% by 2022, the country could look at halving it by 2030. India is the fourth largest oil importer in the world after US, China and Japan. In terms of consumption, it is the fifth largest after US, China, Japan and Russia.

The government was working towards piping gas to one crore households in the next four years, expanding the coverage of PNG (piped natural gas) from 27 lakh at present. The PM said ` 100 crore in subsidy had been saved by 2.8 lakh people, who voluntarily gave up subsidy on cooking gas. Reflecting PM's vision, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that India was a welfare state.

The government could not overlook the paying capacity of consumers but would create a conducive environment for investment through decisive action and fair and transparent policies. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said volatility of oil prices added to the unpredictability of the economic situation. The other consequence was flow of "disproportionate" amount from consuming economies to producing nations. (

GAIL seeking 7 LNG cargoes from Oct 2015-Dec 2016

March 26, 2015. GAIL is looking to buy seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes for delivery from Oct 2015 until Dec 2016, according to the tender document. Deliveries are to be split between India's Dabhol, Dahej and Hazira import terminals, according to preferences and vessel sizes, the document states.

The delivery windows are Oct-Nov 15, Jan-Feb 16, March-April 16, May-June 16, July-August 16, Oct 16 and Nov-Dec 16. Prices will be based on a percentage, or "slope", set at 10 percent of the three-month average of ICE Brent crude oil benchmark settlements prior to the month of delivery, plus a certain premium added by bidders. (

Policy / Performance………

Domestic natural gas prices slashed by 8 percent

March 31, 2015. The Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), the pricing cell of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, gave consumers of electricity and piped natural gas some reprieve. It slashed the price of domestically produced natural gas by almost 8 percent to $4.66/unit (gas is measured in million British thermal units) on the back of weak international prices. The new rate, calculated on the gross calorific value which measures the heat of the gas, will be applicable from April 1 for the next six months. Domestically produced natural gas was priced 39 cents higher at $5.05/mmBtu till now. Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) said the move will result in reduction in retail price of CNG and domestic PNG. Indraprastha Gas is currently working out the net impact on retail prices and the revised price will be announced in a day or two. (

` 49.4 bn budgetary support to oil cavern programme

March 31, 2015. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved allocation of ` 4,948 crore for gross budgetary support (GBS) to the scheme for the Indian Strategic Storage Programme for Storage of Crude Oil (ISSPSCO). ISSPSCO involves construction of three crude oil reserves totalling 5.33 Metric Million Tonnes to meet the nation's energy security needs. Under the initiative, the entire cost for filling crude oil in Visakhapatnam cavern will be met by the central government. The CCEA decided that the petroleum and natural gas ministry will continue to explore alternative models for financing the remaining cost of crude oil to fill the Mangalore and Padur caverns which will include commercial utilization by "other interested parties". The government said the annual Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs are estimated to be ` 47 crore for the Vishakhapatnam storage and ` 179 crore for all the three caverns. (

1 lakh homes in Indore, Ujjain to get piped gas supply: Oil Minister

March 30, 2015. Nearly one lakh houses in Indoreand Ujjain districts will get piped gas supply within two years as a CNG mother station is being set up in the city, Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. In next two years nearly one lakh houses in Ujjain and Indore districts would get piped gas supply, Pradhan said after inaugurating the CNG Mother Station set up by GAIL and HPCL's joint venture, Avantika Gas Limited in Ujjain. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister for Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar among others were present on the occasion. The 2,000-km long pipeline passes through Madhya Pradesh and the state would benefit from it, Pradhan said. Chouhan said that with the availability of CNG, the prospects of setting up more fertilisers plant in the state has become brighter. (

ONGC renews insurance 35 percent cheaper from United India for $20 mn

March 30, 2015. ONGC has driven a hard bargain to renew its insurance and re-insurance covers, at USD 20 million -- a discount of 35 percent -- for its offshore assets valued at USD 34 billion from state-run United India Insurance and two global re-insurers. The insurance cover, due for renewal on May 11, has been renewed in the London markets. Global general insurance prices have been heading south as claims have been lower unlike the previous year wherein claims were higher due to many catastrophes and aviation accidents. The cover was underwritten by United India Insurance, while the reinsurance cover has come from two global reinsurers -- Endurance and Aspirin -- which outbid GIC Re, the country's sole reinsurer to bag the ONGC account until now. ONGC, which holds the biggest insurance policy in the country at USD 33 million, had floated a tender to underwriters to primarily cover its offshore assets. Air India paid USD 27 million for its cover in the outgoing fiscal, making it the second biggest account. The cover for large corporates like Reliance Industries, Jet Airways among others are about to be renewed and they may get benefit of the softening general insurance market. However, airlines may be forced to shell out more following the German wings airline crash. The Chennai-based United India Insurance, which was covering the oil and gas major for the past three years, was able to retain the account. (

Govt targets 1 crore consumers to give up LPG subsidy

March 29, 2015. Government expects that about one crore well off consumers will surrender the subsidy on cooking gas after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to people not to take subsidy if they can afford to buy LPG at market price. There are about 15.3 crore LPG consumers in the country. PM Modi said that as many as 2.8 lakh people have surrendered LPG subsidy which has led to savings of ` 100 crore. Since the government started the new scheme of direct benefit transfer (DBT) for cooking gas, several persons opted out of the subsidy scheme. Under the DBT, the subsidy amount is directly credited into the bank accounts of consumers even as they pay full amount for LPG cylinder at the time of purchase. Consumers are currently entitled to 12 14.2-kg cylinders or 34 five-kg bottles in a year at subsidised rates. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has already urged ministers, MPs, MLAs, senior government officials and executives of public sector companies to give up their subsidies. Public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) have given an option to existing LPG consumers to convert their existing domestic LPG connection into a non-subsidised domestic connection. This can be done by submitting a written request to the distributor or electronically Giving up subsidised LPG will help cut the government's subsidy bill. In 2015-16 Budget estimates, petroleum subsidy has been halved to ` 30,000 crore, from estimated ` 60,270 crore in the current fiscal. Of ` 30,000 crore for next fiscal, ` 22,000 crore has been earmarked for LPG subsidy and the rest is for kerosene. (

Need to look at our oil exploration programme: FM

March 27, 2015. Union Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley said that decreasing oil prices helped tame inflation. Jaitley said that the government is taking steps for long-term financing in infrastructure projects. Jaitley said that the government is undertaking some important steps to bring reforms on tax front. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country should cut oil imports by 10 percent by 2022, while exhorting domestic firms to become global players and the well off to give up subsidised cooking gas connections. Modi said if imports, which account for a staggering 77 percent of the demand, are cut by 10 percent by 2022, the country to look to halving it by 2030. India spent ` 189,238 crore on import of crude oil in 2013-14. Jaitley said that the principal challenge before the govt has been to restore credibility of Indian economy. (

Gujarat govt spent more than ` 130 bn on KG Basin

March 27, 2015. Government-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has spent ` 13,469.51 crore till December last year on exploration of natural gas in Krishna- Godavari (KG) Basin block but the commercial production is yet to begin. Gujarat state energy and petrochemicals minister Saurabh Patel admitted that commercial production of oil or gas from the KG Basin block has not yet begun, but there was a "possibility" of commencement of production in "the near future". As per GSPC's annual report for the year 2013-14, which was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly, the KG-OSN-2001/3 offshore block was awarded to the GSPC under a production sharing contract with the Government of India in February 2003. (

Govt approves supply of cheap LNG to power plants

March 26, 2015. The Cabinet has approved the supply of cheap liquefied natural gas (LNG) for power plants to rescue investments worth ` 60,000 crore that was on the verge of sinking because of fuel scarcity, for which the government has squarely blamed the fall in output from the KG-D6 field of Reliance Industries. As the supply of gas is limited by import capacity, companies that need fuel will compete in a reverse auction by bidding the lowest amount of subsidy they need to supply electricity at ` 5.50 per unit. To make gas affordable, states would forego some taxes, while gas transporters and import terminals would also offer discounts on the charges for their services rendered to import LNG for this purpose, the government said. The government said that power plants were stranded because of the steep fall in production from the KG-D6 block of Reliance Industries although the company had earlier communicated to the previous government that it could not be held responsible for the plight of the power sector. The government said the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) had decided in 2009 that subject to the availability of gas, necessary allocations from RIL KG-D6 fields will be made to projects. Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) will purchase LNG in the international spot market for supply to power plants in Gujarat and the rest of India, respectively. India's capacity to regasify LNG is a limiting factor, power minister Piyush Goyal said, and which is why only 10 million standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) of LNG during rains and 18 mmscmd in other season will be imported for supply. A larger import could have allowed plants to operate at more than the proposed 30% plant load factor. (

India 'throws up' investment opportunities for Qatar investors

March 25, 2015. India invited investors from energy-rich Qatar to invest in sectors like railways, defence production, infrastructure, retail and development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. The Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadhwa highlighted the sectors which offer immense opportunities to Qatari investors to invest in India, including railways, defence production, infrastructure, retail and development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. He observed that with the country developing industrial corridors in several parts of the country, Qatar could consider investing in some of these projects. The development of LNG terminals also provides an opportunity for investment by Qatar, Wadhwa said. (



RINL commissions green power project to generate 120 MW

March 31, 2015. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), crossed another milestone with the launching of a novel project to generate a completely pollution-free 120 MW captive power generation by using 100 percent blast furnace and coke oven gas. This is the first of its kind in the Indian steel Industry. The average power requirement of VSP at 6.3 million tonne stage will be 418 MW. The RINL is currently having three turbo generators each 60 MW (180 MW) capacity and two turbo generators of 67.5 (135 MW) each taking the total captive power generation capacity to 315 MW. (

BHEL to set up power plant in Telengana

March 30, 2015. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) said it is setting up four 270 MW units valued at ` 5,000 crore for Telangana State Power Generation Corp Ltd (TSGENCO) in the state. The units would be set up at Manuguru in Khammam district of Telangana. The company said, in December last year, the Telengana state-owned power company had placed an order with BHEL to set up Telangana's first supercritical thermal power plant of 800 MW rating at Kothagudem in the state. BHEL's scope of work in the project includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, construction, erection, testing and commissioning of the four 270 MW thermal units on EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) basis. (

Reliance Power’s Sasan UMPP fully operational

March 30, 2015. Reliance Power Ltd has announced the commissioning of the sixth and last 660 MW unit of the 3,960 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP). With this, all the six units of Sasan UMPP have been commissioned 12 months ahead of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) schedule, the company said. The Sasan UMPP is the largest integrated power plant cum coal mining project at a single location involving investment of over ` 27,000 crore. With this unit, Reliance Power’s generation capacity has increased to 5,945 MW which includes 5,760 MW of thermal and 185 MW of renewable energy based capacity. (

NTPC invites tenders for 4 GW power plants in Vizag

March 25, 2015. State-owned NTPC has invited tenders for sourcing equipment for its proposed ` 20,000 crore thermal power project in Andhra Pradesh. NTPC is establishing 4x1,000 MW imported coal-based thermal power plant in Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh, which will come up at an investment of ` 20,000 crore. Approximately Rs 5 crore outlay is needed for generation of one megawatt thermal power. NTPC is executing 1,000 MW coal based units with supercritical technology, thereby the efficiency will be at the maximum and emissions are reduced drastically. The power plant requires 13.7 million tonnes coal per annum to achieve 90 percent plant load factor, NTPC said. (

Steam release valves to be tested at Kudankulam n-plant

March 25, 2015. India's atomic power plant operator, the Nuclear Power Corp Ltd (NPCIL), will soon test the steam release valves of the second 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, it was announced. During these tests, only steam release (water vapour) to the atmosphere will take place for a very short period of 2 to 3 minutes. During the testing, the ambient noise level is likely to go up marginally, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) site director R.S. Sundar said. The tests will be conducted during day time only. Sundar had said that the reactor is expected to be loaded with real fuel around June 2015. The NPCIL is setting up two 1,000 MW Russian reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district. The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of the fission process, July 2013. Subsequently it was connected to the southern power grid in October 2013 but the commercial power generation began only December 31, 2014. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Distribution companies expect Delhi's power demand to touch 6.4 GW

March 30, 2015. The national capital's power demand, already the highest among Indian cities, is heading for a new peak of 6,400 MW this summer, according to cash-starved electricity distribution companies that have started making preparations to meet the additional load. Last year, the peak summer demand was 5,900 MW. The power distribution arms of Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power supply electricity to Delhi. The distribution companies, including Reliance's BSES, can also buy power from exchanges. According to Delhi discom, half the cost of between ` 4.5 and ` 5 per unit consists of a fixed component that has to be paid to generating companies whether or not power is bought. At ` 5 per unit, the cost of buying power in Delhi is the most expensive in the country compared with the national average of ` 2.93, as per the tariff order of financial year 2013-14. Delhi's power requirement is dwarfed when compared with global metro cities such as Singapore, which has a fourth of Delhi's population and six times power usage, according to Anish De, partner, infrastructure and government services at KPMG. (

Crompton Greaves wins ` 1.1 bn order from PGCIL

March 30, 2015. Crompton Greaves has bagged an order worth ` 115 crore from the Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) for supply of transmission equipment for the latter's Vemagiri and Srikakulam sub-stations in Andhra Pradesh, the Avantha Group company said. The order entails supply of shunt reactors, which are used high voltage energy transmission systems to stabilize the voltage during load variations, for 765kV transmission system. (

APTCL commissions transmission line

March 29, 2015. The Amravati Power Transmission Company Ltd (APTCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of RattanIndia Power Ltd, has commissioned the transmission system for evacuation of power from Amravati power plant. The transmission system includes 104-km 400kV double circuit Quad Moose line from Amravati Project to Akola Substation and 7-km long LILO 400kV single circuit line connecting to Koradi-Akola line, informed the company. The Amravati Thermal Power Plant would supply the entire power generated, to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd, under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement, the company said. The completion of the Amravati power plant would contribute towards achieving the goal of the central government of supplying 24x7 reliable and affordable power to all by 2019. (

Kamarajar Port to import 18 mn tonnes of coal in 2 yrs

March 26, 2015. The state electricity board will soon be able to import 18 million tonnes of coal from Kamarajar Port in the next two years after Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) accorded environmental and coastal regulation zone clearance for development of two additional coal berths. Kamarajar Port said that the clearance by MoEF was given on March 12 and now they are awaiting clearance from the state pollution control board. Kamarajar Port said that with the addition of two coal berths, Kamarajar Port would be handling 40 million tonnes of coal.

Currently, the port is handling 22 to 23 million tonnes of coal. Interestingly, Ennore Port is also planning to add another coal berth. Tamil Nadu requires an additional 3.4 million tonnes of imported coal to stave off power crisis this year. It is 60 percent more than what it imported last year. Ennore Port said that Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has asked Ennore Port to increase its coal handling to 34 million tonnes in the next five years. (

Torrent Power surges as govt to provide subsidy directly to power firms

March 26, 2015. Shares of Torrent Power has surged 5% to ` 170 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in otherwise weak market after the government approved pooling of imported gas and domestic gas for gas based power plants. Torrent Power has a generation capacity of 3202 MW and distributes power to 2.87 million customers annually in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Bhiwandi and Agra.

Recently the company implemented a 1200 MW gas based power project at Dahej in South Gujarat. According to media reports, gas based power producers have agreed to forgo return on equity as government would help them by arranging for buyers of the power. Government will provide subsidy directly to the distribution companies for purchasing gas based power. (

Power distribution arms of Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power faces severe financial crunch

March 25, 2015. The power distribution arms of Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power, which supply electricity in Delhi, are facing a severe financial crunch as they have taken a hit of another ` 1,000 crore due to an unfavourable regulatory decision that can eventually make electricity more expensive for consumers. The worsening cash positions can potentially disrupt power supply in Delhi over the coming weekend if the distribution companies fail to resolve the issue of their dues to transmission and generation firms. The companies are seeking Power Purchase Adjustment Charges (PPAC) to compensate them for fluctuations in fuel cost. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission had approved the charge of up to 7% but withdrew it the next day. The cash-starved discoms are desperate to seek this compensation due for the past nine months since July 2014. While Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) faces a cash crunch of about ` 330 crore, Reliance Infrastructure's BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani are staring at a gap of ` 700 crore. This further financial hit is making it difficult for the companies to access bank loans for their operational needs. BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani were recently served supply cut notices by Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), which may cause blackouts in parts of the capital. The Delhi electricity regulator DERC allows PPAC on a quarterly basis but that has been denied for the past two quarters. In November 2014, DERC provisionally granted BYPL (7%), BRPL (4.5%) and TPDDL (2.5%), before withdrawing the same within 24 hours. Political pressure due to Delhi polls was the reason behind the rollback, an executive alleged. Delhi has PPAC mechanism since 2012. In India, over 21 states have this mechanism. (

Tata Power to buy 50 percent stake in Zambia's Itezhi Tezhi Power

March 25, 2015. Tata Power will acquire 50 percent stake in Zambia's Itezhi Tezhi Power Corp Ltd (ITPC) from Tata Africa for an undisclosed amount. ITPC, a 50-50 joint venture with the Zambian parastatal utility ZESCO Ltd, is a special purpose vehicle which has been set up to build and operate a 120 MW hydro power plant in Itezhi Tezhi district in Zambia. ITPC has a 25 year power purchase agreement with ZESCO and is expected to commission the power plant by Q4 2015. The closing of the transaction will be subject to various approvals and consents as required under the applicable law, the company said. Tata Power is the country's leading integrated power company with a growing international presence. The company together with its subsidiaries and jointly controlled entities has an installed gross generation capacity of 8,747 MW in India and a presence in all the segments--fuel security and logistics, transmission, distribution and trading. (

Policy / Performance………….

SC lets Adani Power defend compensatory tariffs

March 31, 2015. The Supreme Court (SC) allowed Adani Power Ltd to defend its grant of compensatory tariffs from Haryana state power distribution companies based on grounds of change in law and unforeseeable circumstances. Adani Power Ltd had moved the court appealing against an order of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel), which had refused to consider the company’s pleas to nullify its contracts with power distribution utilities over claims of change in law and unforeseeable circumstances. The court asked Aptel to continue its proceedings in the matter of compensatory tariffs. It had stayed the same on 11 November to hear the contentions of the parties. In August, the Supreme Court had asked Aptel to expedite hearings in this case. Aptel was hearing appeals by Haryana state discoms from a 2013 order of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), which had granted Adani Power compensatory tariffs owing to the increased cost of production of power. (

CIL asked to light up 30 ongoing power projects

March 31, 2015. In a move that would help 30 power companies that are nearing their project completion and scouting for fuel supply, the Coal Ministry has directed Coal India Ltd (CIL) to supply coal till further arrangements are made. There are around 18 coal blocks, which are recently put for auction but will come under production in next 2-3 years period. Meanwhile, almost 18,000 MW of capacity, either completely ready or close to completion needs fuel linkages. These 30 power projects are mainly in the southern parts of the country, facing acute shortage of power. With the assurance given by the Coal Ministry, these projects can hope for early fuel supply arrangements. According to industry experts, loss-making discoms have been shying away from signing pacts with power producers for long-term supply of power because they do not want to bear the additional cost.  Earlier, power projects were directly awarded coal linkages. However, scarce resources and an increasing number of applicants prompted the government to introduce a system of awarding letters of assurance that required the standing linkage committee approval. (

J&K govt seeks to harness 20 GW power potential of state

March 29, 2015. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government said it would explore all possibilities to harness the 20,000 MW power potential of the state with the help of private players. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who holds the charge of Power, Housing and Urban Development Departments, said the government was committed to ensure greater improvement in power generation, its transmission and distribution. He said the PDP-BJP coalition government would like to see the state becoming self-reliant in power generation and increasing energy generation capacity to such an extent that it is able to sell it to rest of the country. He said the issue has already been taken up with the Centre and the state government would actively pursue the case. He said that a transformer bank will be set up to meet the requirements of transformers, on account of frequent cases of damages being reported in this regard. He said the government would also initiate steps to phase out the old and frequently damaged transformers and replace them. He said the Power Ministry has taken serious note of frequent damage to transformers due to use of sub-standard and underweight material in the workshops and overloading of transformers due to power theft. The deputy chief minister said the government was contemplating stringent measures to prevent such things from happening. (

Telangana will be a power surplus State by 2018: CM

March 29, 2015. Telangana will be a power surplus State by the first quarter of 2018 generating 24,000 MW power, said Chief Minister (CM) K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Rao said energy from all sources – solar, hydel and thermal – will be used to achieve power-surplus status. On the occasion, he unveiled a pylon. The project, estimated to be constructed at a cost of ` 5,000 crore, is expected to be commissioned in the next three years. Rao said an 800 MW unit would come up at Kothagudem thermal power station, SCCL’s new power plant, and another unit of 600 MW at Bhoopalpalli in Warangal district. He said for the first time, there was no power cuts during the beginning of summer. (

Coal India may surpass 1 bn tonne output target by 2020: Goyal

March 26, 2015. With the production of thermal coal on the rise, the government is hopeful that state-owned Coal India will surpass its one billion tonne excavation target by 2020. The production of thermal coal in the country has increased by 8 percent, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. The government has set an ambitious one billion tonne coal production target for Coal India by 2020. Even as the Minister is optimistic that Coal India will achieve its target by 2020, the PSU firm is likely to miss the set production target for the current financial year. Coal India may miss its output target of 507 million tonnes (MT) by 10 MT, during the current fiscal, on account of various delays in operationalising mines. However, the government may set a target of 550 MT coal output for Coal India in the next financial year (2015-16). Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and Coal India on the same is likely to be signed shortly. Coal India's output for April-February period was 436.96 MT as against the target of 450.14 MT, as per official data. The company had missed its output target of 482 MT in the last fiscal (2013-14) by producing 462 MT of coal. (

Coal ministry eyeing 15-20 blocks for next auction round

March 26, 2015. The coal ministry is identifying 15-20 blocks for the next - third - round of auction, but cannot give a deadline for completing the process for all 204 blocks whose allotments were annulled by the Supreme Court, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. The government completed the auction of 33 coal mines in two rounds. The Delhi High Court had granted interim relief to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. and restrained the central government from allocating to Coal India the two coal blocks - for which JSPL had emerged as the successful bidder in the recent round of auctions. The ministry said it was "re-examining" nine winning bids out of the 33 coal blocks auctioned so far, on whether there were any price discrepancies in case of the nine winning bids, including those made by companies like Jindal Steel and Balco. It was considering whether these bids were too low when compared with the winning bids for other similar blocks through an analytical tool called "outlier", which looks for unusual observations that are far removed from the mass of data. (

OERC hikes farm power tariff by 36 percent

March 25, 2015. The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has increased the tariff of electricity used for agricultural purpose by 40 paise a unit — a rise of 36 percent — for FY16. OERC has increased the rates for other category of consumers in the state for FY16. The average rise in retail supply tariff is 20 paise a unit, which works out to 4.2 percent hike over the current rates, across all slabs. The new rates will be effective from April 1. The revised tariff of power used for agricultural purposes will be ` 1.50 a unit, compared to ` 1.10 a unit, which was last fixed in 2000. Consumers belonging to the below-poverty-line (BPL) category will now have to pay ` 80 a month, compared with ` 65 earlier, for 30 units. For industrial users, the OERC has allowed some benefits such as additional power up to 20 percent more than the contract amount during off-peak hours without having to pay penalty. Similarly, reliable surcharge, applicable for high tension and extra high tension consumers, has been halved to 10 paise a unit. Power transmission charges and open access charges for short-term consumers have been kept unchanged in the tariff order, providing relief to power generators using the network of Odisha Power Transmission Corporation. (

AAP to allocate ` 16.9 bn towards power, water subsidies

March 25, 2015. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi proposed ` 1,690 crore towards power and water subsidy to domestic consumers for 2015-16 in a vote-on-account presented for the first three months of the next financial year, FY16. It also sought additional expenditure of ` 91 crore under these two heads for March 2014-15. As of now, the Delhi government will have a fiscal surplus of ` 834.18 crore for 2015-16. This amount will change once the full Budget for 2015-16 is presented. (

New round of coal block auctions from April: Goyal

March 25, 2015. The government is ready to launch the next round of coal block auctions from April, as it is facing litigation by Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), which saw its bids being cancelled in the latest round of auctions. Power Minister Piyush Goyal did not give the exact number of the blocks to be sold in the next round. The government was looking at auctioning 15-20 blocks. The government has already garnered over ` 2 lakh crore by auctioning just 33 blocks, surpassing the ` 1.86 lakh crore loss estimated earlier by the comptroller and Auditor General of India for allotment of mines without auctions. The Supreme Court had in September cancelled the allocations of 204 blocks in all, terming the process as "fatally flawed", leading the current round of auctions. The government has rejected bids received in the last round for four coal blocks. The mines whose bids were rejected include Gare IV/2, Gare Palma IV/3 and Tara coal blocks in Chhattisgarh in which JSPL had emerged as the highest bidder, and Gare Palma IV/1 mine bagged by Bharat Aluminium Company. Parliament had approved Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill of 2015, which forms part of National Democratic Alliance government's reforms agenda, on the last day of the first half of Budget session and the Ordinance on this were to lapse on April 5. Goyal who also oversees the coal portfolio, said there has been over seven percent increase in the domestic coal output this financial year to 478 million tonnes, against the low single-digit growth in the previous United Progressive Alliance government. On the controversial Dabhol power project, Goyal said very soon there will be some solution which will be announced. (

Chhattisgarh’s power tariff among lowest: CM

March 25, 2015. Chhattisgarh's power tariff is lowest in the country, Chief Minister (CM) Raman Singh said. He said Chhattisgarh has initiated a series of steps to drastically reduce transmission and distribution losses and to provide cheapest possible power to its consumers. He said average cost of supply during 2014-15 has been ` 4.40 per unit which, he said, is low compared to other states. He said average cost in Maharashtra is ` 4.62, Gujarat ` 5.28, and Delhi is ` 7.80 per unit. Under state's urban electrification scheme, he said, electric lines are being extended to provide power to non-electrified areas while free power connection is also being provided to people living below the poverty line. He said a budgetary provision of ` 50 crore has been made for this purpose during next fiscal. State has implemented a scheme to provide safe drinking water in remote and inaccessible areas by installing solar pumps. He said more than 2,395 solar pumps have been installed during the last three years. (

Cabinet allows use of imported gas to revive stuck power plants

March 25, 2015. Coming to the rescue of stranded gas-based power plants, the Government has decided to come out with a mechanism for importing natural gas. A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs. About 14,000 MW, with an investment of over 60,000 crore, which have no domestic fuel supply, faced immediate risk of becoming non-performing assets. In addition to these, about 10,000 MW of power plants are receiving limited quantity of domestic gas and most of them are operating at very low plant load factor. The power plants are both in public as well as private sectors. In order to revive these plants, the Government decided to intervene, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said. To ensure that electricity generated from imported gas does not become expensive, the Government has fixed a preliminary price of 5.50 a unit to begin with. Depending on the fluctuations in the imported gas price, an empowered pool management committee will review the rates, Goyal explained. Besides, the Government nominees to import the gas — GAIL and GSPL — have agreed to reduce the transportation tariff, marketing margins and re-gasification charges, while the Central and State Governments will exempt the fuel from certain applicable taxes and levies. Power developers would completely forego the return on their equity. The Government proposes to provide support to discoms from the Power System Development Fund through a transparent reverse e-bidding process. But, industry is quick to point out that only time will tell how whether there are any takers for electricity at even 5 a unit. (



ExxonMobil starts production at Hadrian South gas field off Gulf of Mexico

March 31, 2015. ExxonMobil has commenced production at the Hadrian South gas field in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater, located in the approximately 240 miles south of the Louisiana’s coast, US. The Hadrian South field produces through two subsea wells which are connected to the nearby Anadarko-operated Lucius field facilities. Daily capacity of the Lucius platform is 80,000 barrels of oil and 450 million cubic feet of gas, of which 300 million are committed to Hadrian South. The field's daily production is estimated to reach 300 million cubic feet of gas and 2,250 barrels of liquids, for a total of about 52,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Daily production share of the company is expected to be around 16,000 boe once both of Hadrian South's wells are ramped up. (

Maersk Oil commences production from new platform in Danish North Sea

March 31, 2015. Maersk Oil commenced production from a new unmanned platform Tyra Southeast-B in the Danish North Sea, with the platform expected to add 50 million barrels of oil equivalent of reserves over the next 30 years to Danish production. Drilling of the first well, which is projected to flow 2,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), commenced in December 2014 with the jackup Ensco 72. Maersk Oil plans to drill a total of 8-12 horizontal wells between 2015 and 2017. The new platform, located 137 miles off Denmark’s west coast, will produce around 20 million barrels of oil and 170 billion standard cubic feet of gas, with peak production of 20,000 boepd in 2017. (

Statoil discovers more gas offshore Tanzania

March 30, 2015. Norwegian energy firm Statoil has made another natural gas discovery in Block 2 offshore Tanzania, boosting gas volumes by 1.0-1.8 trillion cubic feet of gas (28.5-51.3 billion cubic metres) the company said. That brings the total discovered gas volumes in Block 2 to approximately 22 trillion cubic feet, it said. The company believes more discoveries can be made in the area, but said it will now concentrate on appraising one of its previous seven discoveries. The company has said it may build a liquefaction plant with Britain's BG Group, which operates neighbouring exploration blocks. (

PetroChina to swap North American oil and gas assets to cut costs

March 27, 2015. Oil and gas producer PetroChina is planning to swap its assets in North America, and cut its capital spending in exploration and production, to deal with global slump in oil prices. The company has decided to cut its capital spending by about 10% to approximately $43 bn, after it recorded a 67% fall in earnings for the fourth quarter. PetroChina is planning to swap assets, mostly oil sands in Canada, with foreign companies. The company plans to complete a multi-billion dollar plan to divest parts of its gas and oil pipelines this year. (

OGDCL discovers oil at Palli Deep-1 well in Pakistan's Sindh Province

March 26, 2015. Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) reported an oil discovery at the exploratory well Palli Deep-I in District Tando Allah Yar, Sindh Province, Pakistan. The structure of Well Palli Deep # 01, drilled to a depth of 13,287 feet was delineated, drilled and tested using OGDCL's in house expertise. Significant reserves of oil have been found at Well Palli Deep # 01 in (Basal Sand & Middle Sand) Lower Goru Sand formation which produced 1,095 barrels of oil per day at 32/64 inch choke size. This discovery will add remarkable oil reserves to the reserve base of the Company, OGDCL said. (


Japan Okinawa refinery closure could cut oil product exports

March 30, 2015. Japan's oil product exports are expected to be cut slightly to fill domestic demand after the closure of 100,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Nishihara refinery on Okinawa, traders said. Brazil's state oil company Petrobras said that it has decided to shut the refinery it owns on the Japanese island of Okinawa and has started the plan to withdraw. Oil demand in Okinawa is not big enough for the shutdown of the refinery to have an impact on the island, traders said. The closure of the refinery could reduce Japan's oil products exports, though the cut is not expected to be substantial, traders said. Japan is a net exporter of oil products such as diesel and jet fuel. The country's imports of jet fuel could rise during winter as refineries switch yields to maximise production of heating fuel kerosene and produce less jet fuel, traders said. (

Qatar companies to invest $5 bn in China for LNG projects

March 30, 2015. Two Qatari companies agreed to pay about $5 billion for a 49 percent stake in Shandong Dongming Petrochemical Group to help the Chinese business build an LNG receiving terminal and expand into retail gasoline sales. The investment by Hamad bin Suhaim Enterprises and Qatra for Investment and Development will pay for the construction of a receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas, with a capacity of 3 million metric tons a year, and an LNG storage facility, Ibrahim El-Tinay, Qatra’s chief executive officer said. Shandong Dongming will also use the money to built 1,000 gasoline filling stations in six provinces south of Beijing, he said. Qatar, an OPEC member and the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied gas, has been expanding investments in China and Asia, where it already sells most of its oil and LNG. The emirate and its sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, plan to invest as much as $20 billion in Asia by 2020. China is the world’s largest energy consumer. Shandong Dongming, which operates an oil refinery processing as much as 450,000 barrels a day, expects to sell about a third of its output through the new gas-station network, the company said. (

Tokyo Gas to build second LNG tank terminal in Hitachi

March 26, 2015. Tokyo Gas Co, Japan's biggest natural gas utility, said it would build a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) tank at a receiving terminal northeast of Tokyo, to meet growing demand in the area. The company expects to start using the terminal in Hitachi, equipped with a 230,000-kilolitre LNG tank that can hold about 100,000-110,000 tonnes of LNG, as well as a large jetty, in March 2016. The company will start building the second 230,000 kl LNG tank in 2018, with construction to be completed by March 2021. (

Total, DNO keep pumping oil and gas in Yemen after airstrikes

March 26, 2015. Total SA and DNO ASA said they continue to pump oil and natural gas in Yemen after Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed rebel targets in the nation. Total is the largest of seven owners -- with a 40 percent stake -- in a $4.5 billion liquefied natural gas plant on the southern coast that is Yemen’s biggest industrial investment. Since production began in 2009, the French company and its partners have grappled with security issues including rocket attacks and pipeline blasts. Saudi Arabia and a coalition of 10 Sunni-ruled nations began airstrikes against Shiite rebel positions after an appeal from Yemen President Abdurabuh Mansur Hadi. Yemen’s government collapsed in the face of an offensive by Houthis, whom Saudi Arabia has said are tools of its Shiite rival Iran. It has vowed to halt their advance. The Oslo-based company reported output in Yemen dropped in 2014 compared with the previous year. New drilling activities were suspended due to the security environment. The Yemen LNG plant, with a capacity of 6.7 million tons a year, is located in Balhaf and supplied with gas from a field in the center of the country. The gas is transported to the plant through a 320-kilometer pipeline. (

Transportation / Trade……….

Japan's Toho Gas to buy LNG from Malaysia's Petronas

March 31, 2015. Japan's third-biggest city-gas supplier, Toho Gas Co, said it signed a basic agreement with a wholly-owned unit of Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company is set to accept seven to nine LNG cargoes a year during the 10-year contract starting in April 2017, it said. The prices will be linked to crude and U.S. Henry Hub prices, with an option to change the destination on condition of obtaining the seller's prior consent, it said. (

Pemex to sell 45 percent stake in two Mexican natural gas pipelines for $900 mn

March 30, 2015. Mexico's state oil and gas company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has signed an agreement to sell 45% equity interest in two natural gas pipelines, Los Ramones Phase II North and Los Ramones Phase II South, for $900 mn. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackRock and First Reserve will jointly acquire the 45% stake in 744 km of pipelines, which are expected to be operational by mid-2016. The pipelines are under transportation service agreement (TSA) for 25 years with Pemex Gas y Petroquímica Básica. The Ramones I, which was commissioned in 2014, runs from Eagle Ford in Texas to Los Ramones, Nuevo León while the Phase II will reach Guanajuato to supply the central and western parts of the country. The Los Ramones II Projects is part of a broader initiative to transport abundant, natural gas from the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, aimed at meeting the growing demand for natural gas in central Mexico. (

Shell reopens Nigeria's Nembe Creek oil pipeline

March 26, 2015. Royal Dutch Shell reopened the Nembe Creek oil pipeline after planned maintenance, Shell said. Shell said it had closed the pipeline, which carries Nigeria's Bonny Light crude, for "short term" engineering work. There was no indication that the work affected exports of Bonny Light, one of the larger crude streams from Africa's top producer. (

BP sees TANAP gas pipeline project deal

March 25, 2015. British oil major BP expects to sign a deal with the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project within two months to become a stakeholder in the multi-billion dollar project that aims to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian gas. Chris Schlueter, BP country manager for Georgia, said that all main documents were signed. BP said it wanted a 12 percent stake in the TANAP project. Azeri firm SOCAR holds a 58 percent stake in TANAP, while Turkish pipeline firm Botas raised its stake to 30 percent from 20 percent in 2014. TANAP envisages carrying 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world's largest gas fields, which is being developed by a BP-led consortium.

The pipeline will run from the Turkish-Georgian border to Turkey's border with Bulgaria and Greece. The preliminary cost of the pipeline has been estimated at $10-$11 billion. Schlueter said the BP-led consortium was on track in Georgia and Azerbaijan with its works on the project, despite the decline in global oil prices. He said the consortium planned to spend about $6 billion in 2015 on the Shah Deniz II and the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (SCPX) projects. The TANAP project was inaugurated and the 1,850 km pipeline's construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 and start deliveries of gas from Shah Deniz II to Europe in 2019. (

Policy / Performance…………

Gazprom asks state to extend Ukraine gas discount until July

March 30, 2015. Russia is weighing natural-gas exporter OAO Gazprom’s request to extend a discount for Ukraine by three months before a price agreement expires amid a lull in a yearlong conflict in the neighbouring country. Ukraine plays a key role in the European Union’s energy security as Russia uses its pipelines to supply more than 10 percent of the 28-member bloc’s gas needs. The former Soviet republics are planning to hold EU-brokered energy talks in mid-April, while Ukraine warned it might halt gas imports from Gazprom if a new price accord isn’t signed. Deliveries to Ukraine were halted for six months last year over a pricing and debt dispute, as Russia’s relations with its neighbour, the U.S. and the EU slumped to a post-Cold War low. Russian Energy Ministry received a request on extending Ukraine’s gas discount from the European Commission, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

The government in Moscow will consider an extension after trilateral talks, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. The country may reduce Ukraine’s gas price retroactively once a new agreement is reached as the talks are likely to continue after the current accord expires April 1. Russia expects EU to take steps as well to help Ukraine purchase gas if needed, Novak said. In October, Russia agreed to decrease Ukraine’s gas price by as much as $100 per 1,000 cubic meters, or about 30 percent of the cost, in an EU-brokered interim deal to keep gas flowing during the heating season. Ukraine resumed imports in December after deliveries stopped in June. The coming round of energy negotiations is being planned as casualties have waned in the fight between the government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine following a cease-fire pact signed in February. (

New Zealand opens Block Offer 2015 for exploration permits

March 30, 2015. New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced the opening of the country's annual petroleum exploration permit tender Block Offer 2015. New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals (NZP&M) General Manager James Stevenson-Wallace says the tender, which closes Sept. 30, covers more than 165,638 square miles (429,000 square kilometres) of offshore and onshore acreage. To support Block Offer 2015, NZP&M have recently released an updated Petroleum Exploration Data Pack, available on a two terabyte hard drive. Stevenson-Wallace says this year’s data pack adds 11 new projects to the comprehensive compilation of open-file seismic and well data, interpretation projects, reports and studies available in previous editions. (

Alberta budget deficit soars to record on oil collapse

March 27, 2015. Alberta will increase gasoline and income taxes and introduce a new health-care levy to counter a record budget deficit after oil prices plunged by half. Canada’s biggest oil-producing region forecast a budget gap of C$4.99 billion ($4 billion) this fiscal year, marking the seventh time in eight years the province will fail to balance its books. The deficit will narrow to C$3.05 billion next year before shifting to surplus the following year, according to budget documents. Sworn in last September as the price of oil began to collapse, Prentice has promised to reduce Alberta’s dependence on petroleum revenue while keeping pace with a growing population for 4.2 million people. Alberta, with the lowest taxes in the country, faces more job cuts as corporate profits for its leading industry sink 50 percent this year and energy investment falls 30 percent, according to budget documents. To wean itself off the oil habit, Alberta will devote 50 percent of its energy revenue to finance its budget by 2019-20, down from 100 percent now. A portion of the energy royalties will be used to restock its savings funds. The oil collapse forced the government to draw down C$4 billion from its contingency fund for fiscal year 2015-16, reducing the balance to C$2.5 billion. Alberta relied on royalties from oil and gas for almost a fifth of its revenue this current fiscal year, which led to a budget surplus of C$248 million. In the next fiscal year it will account for less than 7 percent, rebounding to 17 percent in a decade. (

Russia may allow more firms to offshore oil: Energy Minister

March 27, 2015. Russia may allow more oil companies to access its offshore projects, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. An existing law stipulates that only state energy majors Rosneft and Gazprom can explore offshore fields. But Lukoil, Russia's No.2 oil producer, has long called for extending access to private firms as well. (

Indonesia's Pertamina to operate Mahakam block from 2018: Energy Minister

March 27, 2015. Indonesia's state-run oil company PT Pertamina will operate the Mahakam natural gas block offshore East Kalimantan starting from Jan. 1, 2018, the energy minister Sudirman said. The energy minister said Pertamina had met with Total and Inpex, the current operators of the block, to discuss the transition process. Analysts have questioned Pertamina's technical and financial capacity to operate Indonesia's single-largest source of natural gas and maintain its production level - around 1.76 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) last year and expected at around 1.7 bcfd this year. The Mahakam block is the main source of gas for Indonesia's Bontang LNG plant in East Kalimantan. Pertamina and its future partners should sign a new production sharing contract with the government before the current contract expires in 2017, the energy minister said. Pertamina had said it would invest around $2 billion annually into the gas block if given control of Mahakam, and target output of 1.2 bcfd to 1.5 bcfd. Indonesia is one of the world's top five liquefied natural gas (LNG) shippers, although its exports have been declining in recent years. With domestic output slipping and local demand growing, the country has begun consuming more of its own production and seeking overseas supplies. (

Canada govt asks pipeline regulator for safety guidelines by 2016

March 26, 2015. Canada's Conservative government has given the energy regulator about a year to deliver up-to-date guidelines for pipeline companies to improve safety and protect the environment. Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford instructed the National Energy Board to study the issue and report its findings with new safety guidelines by next year. The instructions coincide with several major crude oil pipeline expansion projects proposed in Canada by companies such as Kinder Morgan, Enbridge and TransCanada Corp. The projects face strong opposition from many landowner and environmental groups that have expressed concerns about spills, as well as impacts on climate change from expanded oil and gas development. Rickford said the regulator could address some of these concerns through a comprehensive study of construction methods, materials, emergency plans and new technologies available in the pipeline industry. An internal memo sent to Rickford from his deputy minister, also released through access to information legislation, noted that the new study would promote improvements that are not covered by proposed pipeline safety legislation under review by Canadian lawmakers. Rickford asked the regulator in his letter to consult with academic and industry experts in its research, and report its findings by March 31, 2016. He said the board would get no additional funding to do this work since it is already part of its mandate. Canadian pipeline industry association said it is well positioned to provide meaningful input for the study. (

Oil to reach $100 a barrel by end of 2016: Pickens

March 25, 2015. Oil prices could hit $100 a barrel by the end of next year, U.S. oil magnate T. Boone Pickens said, revising his previous forecast which said they would reach that level as early as this year. Oil prices have fallen sharply amid weaker Asian and European demand and a boom in North American production. U.S. crude futures have dropped more than 60 percent since highs last summer and were at around $47.40 a barrel. Pickens said the idea of "peak oil" – the point in time at which oil production will go into an irreversible decline – shouldn't be dismissed on account of the increase in U.S. production. Other regions are seeing their output decline, he said. (



Ayala plans to expand power generation by another 500 MW

March 31, 2015. Ayala Corp. (AC) sees its power-generating capacity expanding by another 500 MW after meeting its target of 1,000 MW attributable capacity next year. AC Energy Holdings, Inc. President John Eric Francia said expansion of its current wind and coal platforms could increase their attributable capacity by 50 percent, apart from expansion through new platforms. Francia disclosed AC Energy’s plan to invest in new platforms, including solar and hydro, as well as putting up new plants near their existing project sites. Although there is a projected excess of power supply by 2016, Francia said. Francia expects power to be a significant contributor to Ayala Corp.’s equity earnings by 2020. (

Toshiba to support 308 MW Upper Yeywa hydropower project in Myanmar

March 30, 2015. Toshiba’s Chinese subsidiary Toshiba Hydro Power (Hangzhou) has been awarded a contract to supply four units of 77 MW hydro turbine and generator for the Upper Yeywa hydropower plant in northeast of Mandalay, Myanmar. Under the contract, Toshiba will supply four power generators and equipment to the 308 MW Upper Yeywa hydropower plant, which is being developed by Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise. Deliveries will commence in March 2016. Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the hydropower plant project. The Upper Yeywa hydropower project is scheduled to commence commercial operation in 2018. Hydroelectricity accounts for approximately 75% of the total power supply of the country, making it Myanmar's primary source of electricity. The country is planning to develop more power plants to address growing energy needs. Till date, Toshiba has delivered approximately 2,000 hydro power generators with over 56,000MW generating capacity around the world. (

Emerson wins $76 mn power plant contract in Poland

March 30, 2015. Emerson’s Process Management business segment has been awarded a $76 million contract to automate a power station in Poland for Tauron Wytwarzanie, a power generation company. Emerson will serve as the project’s main automation contractor and main electrical contractor. The contract calls for Emerson to automate a new 910 MW generating unit at TAURON Wytwarzanie’s power station, which is expected to go online in Jaworzno, Poland, in 2019. Emerson is controlling a new 1,075 MW, ultra-supercritical, coal-fired power generating unit at the Kozienice Power Station in Poland. (

Dominion plans to build natural gas power plant in Southside

March 26, 2015. Dominion Resources Inc. announced that it plans to build a 1,600 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Southside Virginia. The company said the plant would cost about $1 billion and that it could power 400,000 homes when operating at peak capacity. The plant, which would need to be approved by the State Corporation Commission (SCC), would open in 2019. Dominion Generation, the subsidiary of the Richmond-based energy company that builds and operates power plants, said it will seek to have the property zoned so it potentially could hold large-scale solar facilities. The site is about 4½ miles from a 1,300 MW gas-fired plant that Dominion is building in Brunswick. That plant is more than half complete and is expected to begin generating power next year. The company has filed zoning permit applications in both counties. It plans to submit regulatory paperwork to the SCC in July and begin construction in 2016 if it receives state and federal approvals. (

Transmission / Distribution / Trade…

Major power outage leaves Turkey in darkness

March 31, 2015. A major power outage hit cities and provinces across Turkey, including the capital of Ankara and the biggest city, Istanbul, where parts of the subway and tram system shut down and shopping malls plunged into darkness. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said all possible causes of the outage were being investigated and did not rule out sabotage, but said that trouble with transmission lines was the most likely reason for the problem. People carrying jerry cans queued at petrol stations to buy fuel for generators as the power cut dragged on for more than four hours. Road junctions were clogged as traffic lights went out. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz later said around 80 percent of Istanbul's power supply had been restored and that the rest of the country would follow soon. Turkey's electricity consumption has risen strongly in recent years, thanks to robust economic growth and a rising population. It has been forced to ramp up energy investments and imports of natural gas, its biggest source for power generation. (

EDF Energy secures £1 bn electricity supply contract in UK

March 30, 2015. EDF Energy has been awarded £1 bn annual electricity supply contract by the UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service. The Crown Commercial Service, a Government agency which provides commercial and procurement services for Government departments and the UK public sector, has renewed its agreement with EDF Energy. The renewal contract follows a 10-year agreement signed in 2013 to supply Network Rail. Under the recent four-year contract, EDF Energy will continue to supply electricity to buildings and sites across central and local government. The company will supply about 9.6 TWh of electricity a year which is equivalent to power supply for 2.3 million UK homes. (

Hydro One to invest $688 mn in transmission upgrade projects in Canada

March 30, 2015. Hydro One is planning to invest over $688 mn in additional transmission upgrade and replacement work projects between 2015 and 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The company has completed over $157 mn in upgrades through ten transmission station projects located across Toronto and the GTA in 2014. The transmission projects, which are currently underway in the GTA and due to be completed by 2018, include New Clarington in Clarington; Leaside to Bridgman transmission expansion; Richview; Connection of Toronto Hydro Copeland Tunnel; and Manby in Toronto. The projects also include Bridgman, Wiltshire, Gerrard, Leaside, Ellesmere, Scarboro, Carlaw, and Strachan in Toronto as well as Trafalgar transmission station in Oakville. The Province of Ontario-owned Hydro One owns and operates Ontario's 29,000 km high-voltage transmission network which delivers electricity to large industrial customers and municipal utilities, as well as a 122,000 km low-voltage distribution system. (

PSC chooses route for Badger-Coulee transmission line

March 26, 2015. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has chosen one of two routes to build a transmission line through northern Dane County and parts of western Wisconsin. The commissioners voted on what’s called the northern route of the Badger-Coulee transmission line, which follows Interstate 94 from Wisconsin Dells to Black River Falls. The $500 million-plus, 345-kilovolt transmission line would run 160-180 miles from the Coulee Region near La Crosse through northern Dane County.

American Transmission Co. (ATC) said that the power line would help make electric systems across the Midwest more reliable. ATC said that if the project is approved, construction will begin in 2016, with the grid up and running by 2018. (

GDF Suez Energy extends electricity supply contract with baseball team Philadelphia Phillies

March 25, 2015. GDF Suez Energy Resources will continue to supply electricity to Citizens Bank Park, the home of the baseball team Philadelphia Phillies, under an extended contract. The company has been supplying electricity to the Major League Baseball team since 2011, under a multi-year contract. GDF Suez serves over 60,000 accounts for customers having a peak demand ranging from 50 KW to more than 200MW, with an estimated peak load totaling nearly 10,000 MW. The company offers electricity service to residential and small business customers under the brand Think Energy. (

EBRD lends €65 mn for Ukrenergo’s transmission network in Ukraine

March 25, 2015. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted €65 mn to Ukrainian national transmission network operator Ukrenergo for infrastructure development in Kiev. Ukrenergo will utilize EBRD's funds for the construction of a 330kV substation in Zahidna and two 330kV lines, which will connect the new substation to the grid. The new infrastructure will enable Ukrenergo to reduce the burden on its four existing 330kV substations in the Kiev region, which usually operate above their design load. EBRD said that the project will help Ukraine and Ukrenergo improve the security of electricity supply, increase energy efficiency, meet growing demand for power in the Ukrainian capital and tackle problems linked to power shortages and blackouts. Ukrenergo is financing the project with the savings achieved in the implementation of the Zaporizhzhia-Kakhovs'ka high-voltage transmission line project. EBRD financed the project in 2010 with a €175 mn loan. The bank has, so far, committed €10.9 bn in 344 projects in Ukraine. (

Policy / Performance…………

Regulators plan to drop case at closed California nuke plant

March 30, 2015. Federal regulators intend to close a lingering case involving the installation of faulty equipment at the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California. The environmental group Friends of the Earth had asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to review whether plant operator Southern California Edison sidestepped rules when it replaced steam generators in a $670 million overhaul 2009 and 2010. A proposed decision released from the NRC's Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation said the issue is no longer relevant because the plant closed in 2013. The environmental group said the agency is trying to cover up problems that eventually led to the plant closing down. (

Ghana launches ambitious program to hike power generation

March 29, 2015. An ambitious programme to hike electricity generation has been launched in Ghana to help alleviate the frequency of blackouts, with a particular focus on expanding the role of the private sector. President John Mahama announced that 3665 MW of power generation capacity – more than double the amount of existing capacity – would be added to the national grid over the next five years. He said that new supply would be sufficient to meet domestic as well as industrial needs. Ghana, which gets roughly half of its power from hydro and half from thermal, has an installed capacity of about 2800 MW, although actual generation capacity is 2125 MW, according to the Ministry of Energy, with demand rising 200 MW annually. The 3665 MW of new capacity pledged by Mahama will come from sources including independent power producers (IPPs) and plants under development by the Volta River Authority, he said. (

Coal miners say Obama change to royalties aims to shut them down

March 26, 2015. The Obama administration has proposed to change how it collects royalties on coal mined from federal land, a move that environmentalists hope, and the industry worries, will cut use of the fuel linked to climate change. The Interior Department says the accounting change is needed to update rules adopted almost three decades ago, and streamline the program for companies such as Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. More changes are on the way. For industry, the changes are seen through the prism of their ongoing complaints that President Barack Obama is waging a “War on Coal.” Sales of federally owned coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana -- the biggest source -- topped 350 million tons last year, generating initial company revenues of almost $5 billion, government data showed. The Interior Department wants to assess the royalty when mining companies sell the coal to an unaffiliated buyer, not when sales are made to related intermediaries as is often the case now and has raised suspicions that the prices are artificially low. Environmental advocates are prodding Obama to halt sales of coal from federal lands, thereby living up to his soaring rhetoric on climate change. They say he has ignored the impact of mining and drilling for fossil fuels on government land. A report by the Wilderness Society said 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions come from coal extracted on federal land. In order to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of global warming, 90 percent of U.S. coal needs to stay in the ground, according to a paper in the journal Nature this year. Powder River Basin coal is some of the cheapest to mine, and companies like Cloud Peak are hoping to sell to customers in China, Taiwan and other energy-hungry Asian nations. Wyoming coal production doubled from 1990 until 2008, to more than 400 million tons. The 10 largest U.S. mines are in the Powder River Basin, nine in Wyoming and one in neighbouring Montana. Coal accounts for nearly 40 percent of U.S. electricity generation, the largest source. The Interior Department said its proposal is a technical fix only. The 12.5 percent royalty is now assessed on the price paid by whatever entity first buys the coal, such as an electric utility or cement maker. (



India wants a global agreement to focus on climate change prior to 2020

March 31, 2015. India wants a global agreement that will address intensified efforts to tackle climate change between 2015 and 2020 and has questioned the single-minded focus on finalising a global compact for the post-2020 period, which is to be inked in Paris in December. With barely nine months left for the crucial climate change meeting in Paris, the pressure on countries to draw plans to reduce the amount of carbon produced after 2020 has increased. New Delhi has told the UN climate change body that there needs to be equal focus on the pre-2020 period, arguing that without active efforts to tackle climate change between 2015 and 2020, slowing down the rate of global warming will be different. India has submitted a written request to the chairs of the negotiations being held under the aegis of the United Nations to consider an agreement that will spell out the efforts to reduce the amount of carbon being produced and to adjust to the impacts of climate change. At the talks in Geneva in February, Indian negotiators had raised the issue that countries, especially the industrialised nations, need to do much more to address rising emissions and the impact of unchecked climate change between 2015 and 2020. (

KSEB to take solar route to overcome power crisis

March 30, 2015. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has entered the solar energy generation sector to meet the growing power deficiency in the State. Construction of a 1 MW solar plant began at Panampully, Kanjikode. The plant, visualised as a joint venture with the government, will be ready for power generation in six months. The government will meet the cost, expected to be ` 8 crore. It decided to become a partner after the board failed to get financial assistance from the NABARD. The plant is coming up on a vacant plot located close to the KSEB’s 220-kV substation at Kanjikode. Though the 2013-14 budget earmarked funds for the project, its implementation was delayed owing to technical hurdles. The amount will be used for installation of solar power generation units on the plot. The board has plans to start similar units on plots located close to substations and powerhouses. (

Cheap power must be balanced with green energy: Goyal

March 27, 2015. Piyush Goyal, Minister for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy, said cheap power has to be balanced with green power. Making energy affordable and reliable for users, has been a challenge so far, he said. At a session on ‘Global Dependence and Energy Security’ at Urja Sangam – 2015, Goyal said one way to address the problem of energy security is by strengthening it by harnessing and utilising domestic resources such as coal, sun and wind. Innovative financial systems can also help in making energy affordable, Goyal said citing the example of LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs. The first LED lamp made in India in 2010 was sold for 1,200.  

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the Power Ministry, initiated a systematic process to exploit the energy-saving potential of LEDs to bring them into large-scale use. Together with EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Ltd), BEE worked with electricity distribution companies to develop a business model under which EESL procures LED bulbs in bulk and sells them to households at 10 instead of the market price of 400 a piece. Electricity distribution companies then repay EESL over a period of 5-8 years from the savings that accrue due to use of this energy-efficient lighting technology. Since September 2014, bulk purchases have seen costs drop from 215 to 149, to 102, and last month it was 81.93 a bulb, he said. (

Odisha to encourage people on renewable energy: CM

March 26, 2015. The Odisha government plans to bring in a policy which would encourage people to harness and utilise renewable energy on their rooftops and in backyards, Chief Minister (CM) Naveen Patnaik said. Sensitising legislators at a programme on renewable energy development, the chief minister said the government was taking an ambitious programme of energising deep bore wells through solar power, particularly where conventional power is yet to reach or is too expensive to reach.

Emphasising on commercial production of energy through renewable sources, he said the government has already set up more than 100 MW of renewable capacity and it would be increased in the coming years. He said the Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd will set up a 20 MW solar power project at Manamunda and a 5 MW rooftop solar project in Bhubaneswar-Cuttack shortly. He said the government was identifying land to set up a 500 MW ultra mega solar park in the state. The chief minister urged lawmakers to promote renewable energy in various sectors that would counter global warming and climate change. (

UP power watchdog approves rooftop solar regulation

March 26, 2015. The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has approved the state rooftop solar regulation, which would allow consumers in the state to install solar rooftop systems. Such systems could both be harnessed for self-consumption and also feed the state grid with excess solar power generated. The power regulator has notified provisions regulating to the rooftop solar segment contained in the state Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant Policy, 2014.           UPERC (Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Grid Interactive System Gross/Net Metering) Regulations, 2015, was approved by the state power sector watchdog on March 20, 2015, after studying similar regulations in other states, including Gujarat and Delhi, UPERC said. The regulation applies to both distribution licensees and consumers. The rooftop solar plant can be installed either under gross metering or net metering basis. Under gross net metering, the entire solar power generated is injected into the grid, while in net metering, only surplus power after consumption of electricity will be injected in grid. The rooftop solar system to be installed by a consumer should be of minimum one kwp (kilowatt peak) capacity. The solar rooftop system installed by a consumer or third-party owner would be exempted from payment of wheeling and cross-subsidy surcharge. The Indian Industries Association (IIA) has welcomed the announcement of regulation by UPERC. IIA has been a votary for promotion and development of solar energy in the region and had organised North India Solar Summit-2014. The 2015 edition of the summit is scheduled for the next month. IIA said solar energy-based power plants, both off-grid and grid-connected, were best suited for Uttar Pradesh to overcome power crisis and improve availability of power in the state. Further, it has suggested that proper implantation of the policy would boost the manufacturing companies, consultants and distributors engaged in the solar energy space, while benefiting the consumers. (

India to rich world: Give us cash and we’ll cut emissions faster

March 26, 2015. India, the world’s third-biggest polluter, is considering a sharper cut in emissions if rich nations cough up money and technology. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says he may present the world with a choice ahead of a December global climate meeting: one set of commitments India can fund itself to reign in emissions, and a second more ambitious set if it gets money pledged by developed economies. The climate talks are one of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most important diplomatic tests since he swept to power last May. India could make or break a global deal, and pressure is mounting after the U.S. and China -- the world’s top two polluters -- agreed in November to cap emissions. The British government has put 80 attaches at its embassies working solely on issues related to the talks, David King, the U.K. Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, said in a interview in New Delhi. Fractious negotiations to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol - - the only international treaty to control greenhouse gases -- have stretched over a decade. They’ve pitted rich nations that created the problem against poor nations unwilling to make environmental pledges that could sacrifice growth. India is calculating what promises it could make if developed nations provide “finance and technology free of intellectual property rights cost,” he said. Under a 2003 World Trade Organization deal, global patent rules were loosened to allow drug makers in countries including India to sell inexpensive copies to poor nations to battle AIDS and malaria. In 2009, the world agreed in Copenhagen to limit the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. Rich nations also pledged to help get $100 billion a year by 2020 to poor nations to nudge them onto a greener developmental path. By a December summit in Paris, more than 190 nations are supposed to say how those targets will be met. (

Every house in Goa will soon get three LED bulbs: CM

March 25, 2015. Every household in Goa will soon get three LED bulbs as part of an energy saving spree, Chief Minister (CM) Laxmikant Parsekar said. Parsekar said that the BJP-led coalition government was working on a scheme to replace all conventional street lights with the more energy efficient LED bulbs. LEDs are known to save energy costs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in January this year launched a scheme for Delhi state for promotion of energy saving bulbs. (

Goyal eyes bidding in dollar to cut solar tariff

March 25, 2015. The green energy ministry is toying with the idea of using some 'dollar power' to make electricity from solar projects affordable. The novel plan under discussion has the potential to bring down tariffs in the region of ` 4-5 a unit — more or less similar to supplies from gas-fired plants and a tad more than generation from thermal units. A brainchild of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, the plan revolves around the idea of dollar-denominated tariff bidding. Under this arrangement, discoms would quote their price in dollars while tying up solar power for 25-year contracts but charge consumers in rupee. A 'hedging cost' of 1.5 cents, or 90 paise, would then be added to the tariff. This money would be put into an escrow account used to cover depreciation in value of rupee. The final tariff thus would work out to be 7.5 cents — ` 4.50 a unit, which would make it easy for discoms to sell directly or bundle with supplies from traditional sources. The ministry expects to generate a 'hedge fund' of ` 6,000 crore. The 'hedge fund' would be enough to cover 3% depreciation in value of rupee over the 25-year contract. But, if the rupee devalues by 5% against the dollar, then the money would be good for 15 years. Admittedly, it's still early days and the plan would take fine-tuning. But, as and when it is rolled out and solar power tariff comes down as expected, the plan would remove a major niggle in the Modi government's effort to ramp up solar power capacity to 100,000 MW in the next five years or so. The government's thrust on solar power is a major component of India's game plan in the global talks on climate change. (


Cheap oil unlikely to slow growth of renewable: Citigroup

March 31, 2015. Cheap oil will do “little to derail” the long-term growth of renewable power, according to Citigroup Inc. Oil generates about 5 percent of global electricity and doesn’t generally compete directly with wind and solar power, Citigroup researchers wrote in a report. Only 11 countries get more than 20 percent of their electricity from oil, mainly in the Middle East and the Caribbean. Large-scale solar farms in the Middle East are competitive with oil at $30 a barrel, and on-shore wind can hold its own against oil at $23 a barrel. Oil would have to drop into the $20 to $30 range before mature renewable energy sources like wind and solar could be “seriously threatened,” according to the report. Researchers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG also expect renewable energy to shrug off crude’s decline, and expect significant investment in wind and solar projects this year. Slumping oil prices may even increase demand for clean power, especially if fossil fuel companies curtail production. That could lead to a shortage of natural gas, driving up prices and making wind and solar more competitive. (

Asian solar spending helps drive renewable energy boom

March 31, 2015. Almost half of global investment in new electricity generation last year was in renewables, thanks to a hike in investment by developing countries, a UN report said. Global investment in green energy rose 17 per cent, but developing countries saw a surge of 36 per cent. The big spending was on solar power in Asia, as well as on wind turbines in the North Sea. Chinese investment – up 37 per cent at $83 billion – again beat the US. But Brazil, India and South Africa were all in the top 10 investors, while Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya and Turkey all invested more than a billion dollars in green electricity in 2014. Japan was third and, for the second year running, the UK beat Germany into fourth place, says the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report from the UN Environment Programme. Europe, once the green pioneer, dominated only one sector: offshore wind, where it launched seven projects worth $1 billion or more. Among these was a $3.8 billion North Sea wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands – the largest non-hydro renewable energy plant to get the go-ahead anywhere in the world in 2014. In the US, the 103 GW of renewable electricity generating capacity that came on stream last year equalled that provided by the country's nuclear power plants. Excluding large hydro-plants – which have environmental drawbacks – 9.1 per cent of the world's electricity was generated using renewable sources in 2014, up from 8.5 per cent the previous year. This rise cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes, the report said. (

Southern acquiring wind power plant in Oklahoma

March 31, 2015. Southern Co. announced that it is acquiring a wind project in Oklahoma that will be the Atlanta-based company’s largest renewable electric generating plant to date. The company’s Southern Power subsidiary is acquiring the 299 MW Kay Wind facilities in Oklahoma from Apex Clean Energy. While Southern did not disclose terms of the deal, Apex announced that it had closed on a $397 million construction loan for the project. Southern Power has been growing its renewable energy generating business and now has nearly a dozen solar projects either completed or in the works, including several planned for Georgia in Taylor and Decatur counties. The wind plant in Kay County, Okla., will be able to supply electricity to about 100,000 homes. It will use 130 wind turbines made by Siemens Energy, which has a major presence in metro Atlanta. (

Climate change making droughts in Australia worse as rain patterns shift

March 31, 2015. Climate change is making drought conditions in south-west and south-east Australia worse, with serious ramifications for people’s health and the agriculture industry, a new paper has warned. The Climate Council report states that since the mid-1990s, south-east Australia has experienced a 15% drop in rainfall during late autumn and early winter, with a 25% slump in average rainfall in April and May. A drought that has gripped western Queensland and northern New South Wales since 2012 has put pressure on farmers and forced wildlife into starvation. Average annual stream flow into Perth’s dams has fallen by 80% since the 1970s, according to the paper, while Sydney dams such as Warragamba and Shoalhaven could experience a 25% drop in water inflows by 2070 if greenhouse gases are not curbed. Melbourne’s four main reservoirs could suffer an 18% decrease in annual stream flows by 2050. The Climate Council said that increasingly severe droughts were linked to a drop in agricultural productivity and a 15% increase in suicide risk for rural males aged between 30 and 49. (

China contemplates development of space solar power station

March 31, 2015. Chinese scientists are contemplating development of a solar power station approximately 36,000 km above Earth to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and address the energy crisis. The scientists are currently assessing the pros and cons of the solar power station. The concept involves a super spacecraft on a geosynchronous orbit featuring huge solar panels while the electricity generated will be transmitted to a collector on the Earth in the form of microwaves or lasers. Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) said that the space-based solar panels are capable of generating about ten times more electricity compared to ground-based photovoltaic (PV) panels per unit area. Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the International Academy of Astronautics said that the space solar power station development is possible only when the wireless power transmission technology efficiency reach around 50%. China is seeking to develop a cheap heavy-lift launch vehicle, as well as very thin and light solar panels in order to solve the weight challenge associated with the commercially-viable space power station. (

Bluefield buys UK solar power plant for $84 mn

March 30, 2015. Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd., listed in London, bought a ground-mounted power plant for 56.5 million pounds ($84 million) in Norfolk, England. The solar farm has a capacity of 49.9 MW, Bluefield said. The acquisition takes the fund’s combined capacity to more than 250 MW. Solar-energy developers in Britain are rushing to complete projects before April, when the government will end subsidies to plants of more than 5 MW under its Renewables Obligation program. Thereafter developers must compete with onshore wind farms for premium payments for their power as part of reforms to the energy market. (

SEFA to support solar power plant in Chad

March 30, 2015. The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a $780,000 preparation grant for the development of 40 MW solar PV plant in the Central African country of Chad. The Starsol Solar PV Plant is the first independent power producer project to be connected to the national grid. The Starsol plant is backed by a consortium that includes solar project developer NewSolar Invest, engineering group CIEC Monaco and infrastructure and renewable energy project financier Arborescence Capital. The solar plant will provide reliable power to address power shortages hampering economic growth in the country, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), which manages SEFA. The Chad government is looking to increase development of renewable energy in the country, where less than 2% of the population has access to electricity. Most of the power in the country is generated by privately owned diesel generators, putting the price of electricity in the country at a high XAF 345 ($0.57) per kilowatt hour. The project is aligned with the AfDB Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2015 and Energy Policy as well as the bank’s Strategy 2013-2022, which focuses on inclusive and green growth in Africa. (

UN GCF can be spent on coal-fired power generation

March 29, 2015. The UN fund to help developing countries fight climate change can be spent on coal-fired power plants – the most polluting form of electricity generation – under rules agreed at a board meeting. The green climate fund (GCF) refused an explicit ban on fossil fuel projects at the contentious meeting in Songdo, South Korea. The fund was set up as part of the ongoing UN climate negotiations to help developing countries finance clean energy and measures to help adapt to climate change. It has struggled for support, however, with industrialised countries paying only about 1% of the $10.2 bn (£6.9 bn) committed at the UN climate negotiations in Lima last December. The deadline for contributions is 30 April. With no clear rules on climate finance, much of the funds can be channelled to dirty energy, campaigners said. Japan designated $1 bn in loans for coal plants in Indonesia as climate finance. Japan counted another $630 mn in loans for coal plants in India and Bangladesh as climate finance. (

Mexico pledges to cut emissions 25 percent in climate-change milestone

March 28, 2015. Mexico has become the first developing nation to formally promise to cut its global-warming pollution, a potential milestone in efforts to reach a worldwide agreement on tackling climate change. Mexico expects greenhouse-gas emissions to peak by 2026 and then decline, Environment Minister Juan Jose Guerra Abud said. The nation has pledged to curb the growth of pollutants 25 percent from its current trajectory by 2030. The United Nations is encouraging more than 190 countries to submit by March 31 formal plans detailing how they will curb greenhouse-gas emissions. These documents are a key step leading up to a December meeting in Paris where negotiators expect to complete a global climate-change agreement, and most nations are going to miss the deadline. Mexico’s plan is only the fourth submission, after the European Union, Switzerland and Norway. Mexico’s pledge has two components. It will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 22 percent and will halve the production of so-called black carbon -- particles created by burning wood, diesel and other fuels. The net effect will reduce by 25 percent the generation of air pollution that’s causing global warming. (

EU nations reach deal to start carbon-market reserve in 2021

March 26, 2015. European Union (EU) member states agreed on a compromise to seek the start of automatic supply cuts in the world’s biggest carbon market in 2021, giving up plans to push for an accelerated introduction of the fix. The deal, approved in Brussels, allows EU governments to begin on March 30 negotiations with the European Parliament about the final version of the draft law on a market stability reserve. The reserve would ease a glut of permits that has pushed emission allowances down about 75 percent since 2008 to levels that fail to deter industry from burning coal, the most-polluting fossil fuel. The agreement includes a provision to transfer permits delayed at government auctions in 2014-2016 into the reserve, preventing their return to the market in 2019-2020. The postponed, or backloaded, allowances account for almost half of the average annual pollution limit in the EU cap-and-trade carbon program. The compromise was reached at a second attempt after member states failed to adopt a negotiating mandate during the first part of their meeting. The deadlock this morning pushed carbon prices down by as much as 4.4 percent as a U.K. and Germany-led coalition fought for an early start of the fix in 2017 and an alliance headed by Poland opposed bringing the reform forward. The draft law on the reserve needs qualified-majority support from national governments and majority support by the European Parliament to be approved or amended. In its previous plan, Latvia sought nations’ approval for a start of the fix “no later than 2021,” a wording that could enable an earlier introduction and was objected to by the Poland-led alliance. The group headed by the U.K. and Germany, which endorsed the launch of the reserve four years earlier than originally proposed by the European Commission, wanted to break the deadlock and avoid delay in talks with the Parliament. The reserve would automatically absorb carbon allowances in the EU emissions-trading system, or ETS, if the surplus exceeds a fixed limit, and release them to the market in the event of a shortage. The glut swelled to about 2.1 billion permits last year, according to EU estimates. The Parliament’s environment committee voted in February to push for a start of the reserve by the end of 2018 in negotiations with governments. It recommended loading the reserve with the backloaded permits as well as adding allowances that aren’t allocated in the 2013-2020 trading period of the ETS. (

EGP commences construction on 74 MW US wind project

March 26, 2015. Enel Green Power North America (EGP-NA), a subsidiary of Enel Green Power (EGP), has commenced construction on a 74 MW wind project in Oklahoma, US. Situated in Kiowa and Washita counties, the Little Elk wind farm will produce about 330GWh of power annually. Being developed with an investment of around $130 mn, the wind farm is expected to be operational by the end of this year.

The company has already entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with People's Electric Cooperative of Oklahoma (PEC) to supply electricity from the project. Little Elk wind project will provide electricity to around 27,000 households, curbing emissions of 150,000t CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Currently, EGP-NA runs three wind farms in Oklahoma, generating about 534 MW. It is building 350 MW wind projects in the state, including the 200 MW Goodwell wind farm. With an installed capacity of around 2,000 MW, EGP-NA owns and operates 90 facilities in 21 US states and two Canadian provinces. (

UK Green Bank agrees $298 mn of lending to Africa, India

March 25, 2015. The U.K.’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Department of Energy and Climate Change agreed on a 200 million pound ($298 million) pilot program to invest in low-carbon projects in Africa and India. The money will be channeled into clean-power plants and projects that cut energy waste in East Africa, South Africa and India, the Edinburgh-based bank said. It aims to lure private capital into the projects. The bank said it may lend money to projects in emerging markets to fight climate change. The money is in addition to the 3.8 billion-pound pot of funding for U.K. projects. The GIB will begin finalizing the details and sourcing investment opportunities, it said. (

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