MonitorsPublished on Apr 29, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 46


Monthly Power News Commentary: March – April 2017


It is well known that subsidies for power is appropriated by those with the highest consumption within the limits of the subsidy slab. Subsidies for agricultural power is largely appropriated by the farmer who has the largest pump and the largest piece of land. Likewise maximum subsidies for household consumers always go to those who consume more of the subsidised power.  This is the conclusion reiterated in a study by Brookings India which has quantified the extent of subsidies.  Poor households who consume less than 400 units a month that is the limit to subsidies apparently get ` 1000 per year as rebate while consumers who take in more than 400 units a month rake in ` 9000 a year in rebates. The ` 1,600 crore power subsidy is said to be eight times more than allocation for the Smart City project, more than one-third of the total budget for medical and public health services and nearly 20 per cent of the total budget allocated for education.

However this is not a conclusion that would corner the ruling party in Delhi. This is exactly what all other parties ruling all other states in India are doing. Delhi does not have agricultural consumers and so power subsidies are offered to households (voters) who account for 80 percent of power consumption in Delhi. In states that have large agricultural consumption, subsidies are offered to both households and farmers. The ruling party at the centre promotes restructuring of power tariff to reform the distribution end of the power sector but offers generous power subsidies when it is a ruling party in a state and also protests when tariff is hiked when it is an opposition party as in the case of Bihar.

A young French economist studying the Indian power sector summed it up beautifully: If the Soviet Union was communism plus electricity India is democracy plus electricity. One could raise a big hue and cry over power and energy subsidies in India if we define subsidies narrowly as a problem of economic inefficiency. But the problem is far more nuanced and complex but only simplified views are taken note of.


The blame game for the dire state of the power sector in UP has begun. The current government has accused the previous government of understating electricity demand in the run-up to the recent assembly election to gloss over the power crisis in the state. The CEA data shows that the energy deficit in UP in January 2016 stood high at 11.5 percent. The energy requirement was showed at 8,340 million units against supply of 7,384 million units. In January this year, the state showed 0.8% deficit, with demand of 8,747 million units and availability of 8,673 million units. In the past few months, UP had started calculating electricity demand to meet power supply for 18 hours against the norm of 24 hours. The previous government is also accused of signing bilateral power purchase deals at high cost while cheaper power was available. Apparently a legislation that envisages jail for power theft, a strategy borrowed from the so called Gujarat Model that seeks creation of dedicated police stations to deal with power theft cases is on the cards. The state government estimates that there is about ₹150 billion worth of dues from customers which include surcharge over delayed payments. A white paper is needed on the UP power sector to expose the “deep rot” of past 15 years, “mind-boggling and terrible” data on the situation says the new government. UP will sign the 24×7 ‘Power for All’ (PFA) document, which aims to provide round-the-clock affordable electricity. The UP Chief Minister has ordered 18-hour power supply in villages, 20-hour at tehsil level and in Bundelkhand region besides deciding to ink a pact with the Centre to ensure electricity in all UP villages by 2019. The CM directed the officials to ensure uninterrupted supply to the villages from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning so as to help the students prepare for exams. It has also been decided to change defective transformers within 48 hours not in 72 hours, the time fixed earlier, and 24 hours in urban areas. All BPL households in the urban and rural areas of UP will get free power connection while those APL will be given 100 percent financing option with easy EMIs. According to the power ministry, the major decisions that were taken during the meeting included giving free electricity connections to the urban and rural BPL households and to APL households at reasonable EMIs by giving 100 percent financing option. These electricity connections would be given without any discrimination on caste or religious lines and would be based on the latest Socio-Economic Census data, it said. Further, it said that an amnesty scheme would be given to all those households and commercial connections that want to take legal electricity connections. Other important decisions that were taken during the meeting include making 100 percent feeder separation and smart metering expeditiously, waving off of interests on electricity dues and provision of option of EMIs to pay off the principal amounts and bringing in zero government official discretion. The UPERC constituted an investigating authority to probe into the distribution loss figure reported by UPPCL in feeders of Saharanpur and Ghaziabad in January 2016.

Telangana CMs promise of nine-hour uninterrupted free power supply to the farm sector is causing tremors in the ground water department as the water table is hitting new lows in Telangana. The government’s free power sop to the farmers commenced about 8 months ago. The ground water department submitted a report to the state government cautioning it on overexploitation of ground water in several districts. The energy department too has started feeling the heat of the 9-hour power supply. Thanks to the dwindling ground water level, farmers are operating their agricultural bore-wells without a break. To meet the ever increasing demand, the distribution companies have been purchasing power from the exchanges on a daily basis to meet the demand. As a result, purchase of power is crossing 500 MW per day due to the intense heat conditions and increased demand from the agriculture sector.

Farmers across the state owe ₹170 billion to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. This amount is a cumulative of their bills of electricity consumption for pumps that they use in their fields to draw water from the wells for last several years. The state gives power to farmers at subsidized rates for atleast 8 hours a day. A scam to the tune of ₹500 billion has been executed by signing ‘illegal’ PPAs with the six private power producers by state government, alleged the Delhi Government on the basis of the documents procured under the RTI Act 2005. Not only the PPAs were signed with all the five on the same day, but two of officials who signed it on January 5, 2011, were not even posted on the designations which empower them to sign those agreements, however they signed it showing fake designations. These illegal PPAs forced state to pay ₹ 21.63 billion every year to these companies even as power is not purchased from them, as state is power surplus, alleged the government.

The Uttarakhand government has alleged that the previous government had “favoured” some gas based plants while entering into power purchase agreements which had led to a hike in electricity tariff in the state. The previous government struck a deal with gas based power plants in Kashipur to purchase power from them for 35 years at the rate of ₹ 4.70/unit at a time when its rate should have been just ₹ 2.74/unit, causing a loss of ₹ 500 million/month to the state exchequer. The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulation Commission had recently effected a 5.72 percent hike in power rates evoking sharp reaction from opposition Congress which had criticised it saying that it would increase the burden on the common people. Those wishing to get into politics must take note of the close connection between political power and electrical power!

The NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company Ltd has issued a notice for regulation of power supply to Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Karnataka to the extent of 1,229 MW from its Vallur Thermal Power Station (1500 MW), for non-payment of long outstanding dues of ₹ 13.88 billion. The JV was formed for setting up a 1,500 MW coal-based power station at Vallur, Ennore in Tamil Nadu utilising the existing infrastructure facility at Ennore and supply power mainly to Tamil Nadu and also to Kerala, Karnataka and Pondicherry.

The government has identified old power projects totalling 7,738 MW capacity owned by the Centre and states for replacement with energy-efficient supercritical plants, which will generate a gross 18,560 MW. The replacement will result in creation of 18,560 MW of capacity as per the assessment of power generation utilities. The move is expected to not just save natural resources, but help in boosting generation capacity of the plants. The 440 MW of the Haryana Power Generation Corp in Panipat will be replaced with an 800 MW energy efficient plant, which will almost double the generation capacity. Breaking down the numbers, state power generation utilities have marked out 6,608 MW for the purpose, which will lead to creation of 16,580 MW. The central utilities have marked 1,130 MW for replacement that will create 1,980 MW, going forward. According to power ministry estimates, as on March 31, 2016, the capacity of coal-based thermal plants that are more than 25 years old was about 37,453 MW, including 35,509 MW in the government sector and 1,947 MW in private space.

Andhra Pradesh started its journey with a power deficit of 22.5 million units per day when it came in being after bifurcation in June 2014. Within a year, it transformed itself to a power surplus State. In the past 33 months, it has the distinction of achieving 100 percent electrification to become third State in the country to achieve this. On April 11, 2017, the State Grid managed to handle the demand of 7233 MW when the demand and supply was 169 million units per day. Given the current demand supply situation and requirements, the State utilities are confident of meeting the increased demand during the summer months and claim they can meet the energy need of up to 200 million units per day. The State-owned energy generator AP Genco too managed to add capacity commissioning expansion and new project at Krishnapatnam.

India’s power deficit dropped to a historical low of less than 1% last fiscal, thanks to record electricity generation capacity added over the last few years, adequate coal stocks and transmission facilities, coupled with meagre growth in electricity demand. The deficit was lowest since the CEA started maintaining the reports in 1992. The demand-supply gap for power in the period between April 2016 and March 2017 was at 0.7%, down from 2.1% in FY16, CEA data showed. In March, the deficit was at 0.3%, the lowest for any month, down from 0.5% in February. The All India electricity requirement grew 2.5% year on year to 1142 billion units in the last financial year, CEA data showed. In FY16 the growth was 4.2% at 1114 billion units. All India peak energy shortage — the maximum demand requirement faced by the country — in last financial year was at 1.6%, down from 3.1% in the previous year. The fall in power deficit levels may simply be due to lacklustre demand and poor attendant offtake.

30,000 rural feeder meters are connected to national power portal and the remaining 75,000 will be connected by December 2017. The Rural Feeder Monitoring Scheme is to monitor the quality and quantity parameters of power supply in rural areas of the country.  The entire data shall also be hosted on National Power Portal on real time basis and may be accessed by various stake holders through web services. The Urja Mitra launched by the minister, is an application which provides a central platform for state power distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to rural as well as urban consumers through SMS/email/push notifications. Consumers can also view real time power outages in any part of the country, lodge complaints.

The Supreme Court rejected the plea for compensatory tariff by Tata Power and Adani Power for the additional costs they were incurring on raised prices of the coal imported from Indonesia for their power plants in Gujarat.  The apex court overturned the order issued by the Appellate Tribunal of Electricity (ATE) in April 2016 which allowed relief to Tata Power subsidiary CGPL. CGPL’s 4,000 MW Mundra UMPP relies entirely on imported coal, which is primarily sourced from Indonesia. The order by the ATE would have benefited CGPL by allowing compensation for higher coal prices, the extent of which was to be determined by the CERC. Tata Power is supplying power under a PPA to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana and Adani Power under PPA is supplying power to Gujarat and Haryana from its plant in Mundra. In the judgement, the Supreme Court has clarified that changes in the cost of fuel or the agreement becoming onerous to perform are not treated as force majeure events under the PPA.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is likely to approve the amendments in the Mega Power Policy to push 31 GW stuck projects entailing an investment of ₹ 1.5 trillion. Besides, the initiative is aimed at bringing down the power tariff for making electricity more affordable for domestic as well as industrial and commercial consumers. Out of these stuck project which have not imported or not inked power purchase agreement would get extra time to seek various benefits under the policy. The Mega Power Policy was unveiled in 2009 with an objective to increase power availability, to boost overall growth of the country and also to ensure that consumers are reasonably charged for electricity supplied.

The policy was later amended in 2014 mandating developers to tie up at least 65 percent of installed capacity/net capacity through competitive bidding and 35 percent under regulated tariff of host state under long term PPA with discoms/State designated agency to avail benefits under the policy. The amendment had provided this dispensation would be one time and limited to 15 projects which are located in the states having mandatory host state power tie up policy of PPAs under regulated tariff. The other amendment was for extension of the maximum time period to 60 months instead of 36 months from the date of import for provisional mega projects, for furnishing final mega certificates to tax authorities. The benefits under the policy include zero customs duty, deemed export benefits and income tax benefits. The mega power projects include an inter-state thermal power plant of a capacity of 700 MW or more, located in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Kerala, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are all set to join the government’s power distribution reform scheme UDAY. With this, the number of states joining the UDAY bandwagon becomes 25. UDAY was launched by the government in November 2015 to ensure financial stability for debt-ridden distribution utilities. Sikkim’s power department had nil outstanding debt at the end of March 2015. UDAY involves several measures to support reform initiatives of states and discoms including demand side management, increased power supply in areas where AT&C losses are reduced, measures to reduce cost of power generation, reduction of interest costs and exemption of debt-taken over from borrowing limits under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. So far, 92 percent of the total debt of state discoms has been covered under UDAY. This includes Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, UP, Uttarakhand and union territory of Puducherry.

Residents of the city can now look forward to submitting their electricity meter reading online or through SMS message by themselves instead of relying on line-men or power department officials to generate their meter readings. Under trust billing, consumers having online billing facility can opt for submission of their meter reading to the licensee discom through email, SMS or at the discom’s web portal/designated office of the licensee. The bill generation and payment are done according to the billing cycle prescribed by the licensee discom. However, the onus of submitting correct meter reading would lie on the consumers. Consumers opting for this facility will have to get their e-mail address or mobile number registered with the licensee discom on the designated website. The move is expected to empower the consumer while promoting transparency at the same time.

Moving across to India’s neighbours, there are some unexpected positive developments. India has become a net exporter of electricity during the April-February period this fiscal for the first time, the power ministry said. According to the power ministry, during the current year 2016-17 (April-February), India has exported around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which is 213 million units more than the import of around 5,585 million units from Bhutan. Export to Nepal and Bangladesh increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively in the last three years. Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-80s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and UP respectively. On an average, Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000-5,500 million units to India, it said. At present, around 600 MW power is being exported to Bangladesh.

The Cabinet approved a proposal for signing an agreement to establish electricity grid interconnection among BIMSTEC countries. The MoU will be signed by member states of the BIMSTEC at the upcoming 3rd BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Nepal shortly. The agreement will provide a broad framework for the parties to cooperate towards the implementation of grid interconnections for the trade in electricity with a view to promoting rational and optimal power transmission in the BIMSTEC region. This MoU will facilitate the optimisation of using the energy resources in the region for mutual benefits on non-discriminatory basis subject to laws, rules and regulations of the respective parties.

Reliance Power said it has signed agreements with Bangladesh Power Development Board for phase I of 750 MW LNG power project at Meghnaghat near Dhaka entailing an investment of around $1 billion. According to Reliance Power, these agreements include Power Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement for the proposed integrated combined cycle power project.

Rest of the World

SP Energy Networks, the power distribution arm of ScottishPower, has started testing new lightbulbs that will remain switched on even during a power-cut. A pilot project in this regard is being trialled by the utility’s customers in the UK. Dubbed as the iViTiON bulb, the new invention according to SP Energy, can detect when there is a cut in electricity supply following which it moves into the battery power mode to stay on. Although it screws in like any other normal electric bulb, the iViTiON bulb has a battery inside it that gets charged during routine usage. Apart from that, the new lightbulb can distinguish between an actual power cut and someone just playing around with the light switch. The iViTiON bulb which uses LED technology is said to give out the same brightness intensity as that given by a conventional 60-watt bulb. Presently, the bulb hasn’t yet arrived in the markets and is being tried and once successful, it will be further evaluated in towns and villages across the network region.

Australia’s antitrust regulator said it plans to let two dozen companies in the state of South Australia bargain collectively for electricity purchasing contracts, saying the move would guarantee supply and improve competition. The country’s fifth biggest state, which is heavily dependent on wind and solar energy, was crippled by several power outages last year after heavy winds knocked out an interstate power connector and cut electricity to residents and industry. The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy said it expects the regulator to give its final decision in June.

The 300 MW expansion of two units at Botswana’s Morupule B coal fired power plant has been delayed due to a dispute with the contractor over an $800 million guarantee. Builders were due to start work in January but demanded the payment of a $800 million guarantee in case the loss-making Botswana Power Corp failed to pay. Only parliament, which is on a recess until July, can approve such a payment. The plant would eventually generate a total of 1,200 MW when all the expansions are completed by May 2020. The government hopes to export power to other countries in the region after the expansion is completed.

Anglo American will sell its Eskom-linked thermal coal operations in South Africa for $166 million marking an important step in the mining giant’s strategic overhaul to sharpen its focus on three commodities. The mines, along with four closed collieries, have a supply agreement with Eskom, under which South Africa’s sole power utility paid for their running costs in exchange for guaranteed coal supply at a pre-set price. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and consent from Eskom for the transfer of the coal supply agreement and is expected to close by year-end.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has brought in Japanese development agency JICA to invest $30 million in a Bangladesh power plant. The Sembcorp North-West Power Company Ltd, a joint venture of Sembcorp Utilities and Bangladesh’s North-West Power Generation Company Ltd, is building a 414 MW dual-fuel combined-cycle power plant at northern Sirajganj. The plant will “significantly” expand power-generation capacity in Bangladesh, the IFC said. The total project cost is estimated at around $412 million. The project is expected to be one of the “most efficient” plants in Bangladesh that will help modernise Bangladesh’s power sector, JICA said. The power plant will be the second largest power plant in power-starved Bangladesh and represents the largest foreign direct investment in this sector in recent years, the IFC said.

CEA: Central Electricity Authority, CM: Chief Minister, BPL: Below Poverty Line, APL: Above Poverty Line, EMIs: Equated Monthly Instalments, UPERC: Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, PPAs: Power Purchase Agreements, FY: Financial Year, MW: Megawatt, GW: Gigawatt, UMPP: Ultra Mega Power Project, CGPL: Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd, discoms: distribution companies, AT&C: Aggregate Technical and Commercial, UDAY: Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana, kV: kilovolt, BIMSTEC: Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, MoU: Memorandum of Understanding, LNG: liquefied natural gas, LED: light emitting diode, IFC: International Finance Corp, JICA: Japan International Cooperation Agency, UK: United Kingdom


PM Modi push for safer kitchens makes India number 2 LPG importer

April 24, 2017. India toppled Japan as the world’s second-largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s pledge to provide cooking gas cylinders to the poor and wean them off polluting fuels drove up consumption. Imports of LPG, mostly used as cooking fuel, soared 23 percent during the financial year that ended March 31 to 11 million tonnes, according to data from oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC). Japan’s imports slipped 3.2 percent during the same period to 10.6 million tons, according to its finance ministry. Modi’s government in May 2016 embarked on a drive to provide free cooking gas connections to women from extremely poor households, aimed at reducing the use of polluting fuels such as wood and dried cow dung that, according to the World Health Organization, causes 1.3 million premature deaths in India every year. This push led to a record distribution of 32.5 million new cooking gas connections during the year. Free gas connections coupled with at least two other government programs have taken India’s active LPG user count to about 200 million, about 60 percent more than Japan’s entire population. India aims to increase LPG usage to cover 80 percent of its households by March 2019, against 72.8 percent as on April 1. India’s consumption of LPG during the year to March 31 was 21.55 million tons, registering a 9.8 percent growth from the previous year. Demand for the fuel may touch 35 million tons by 2031-32 due to an increase in the penetration of cooking gas connections in rural areas, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. According to estimates by the PPAC, India’s LPG consumption is expected to grow 9.7 percent in the current financial year that started April 1 to 23.7 million tons. Overseas purchases are poised to become the dominant source of the fuel in 2017-18, as consumption surpasses local production, according to the oil ministry. India imports 40 percent of its LPG requirements, predominantly from the Middle East, and is discussing long-term import contracts with exporting nations, Pradhan said.

Source: Bloomberg

Oil Minister discusses land identification for oil depots with J&K CM

April 23, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan discussed with Chief Minister (CM) Mehbooba Mufti the issue of identification of land to set up oil depots and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plants in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). These LPG bottling plants and oil depots are proposed to be set up at Anantnag, Rajouri and Kargil in the state. Pradhan advised a committee set up for the purpose to coordinate with the J&K government to expedite the proposals. The Minister also directed the committee to collect the list of locations identified by the state government on a priority basis for a feasibility study for commissioning of the new LPG distributorships and petrol pumps in the state. The list will also include oil/gas distributorships in remote/inaccessible areas, which will be allotted to the state Food and Civil Supplies Department. The state government has decided to facilitate land allotment to oil marketing companies to shift oil depots in Jammu.

Source: The Economic Times

Fuel outlets in Pune will remain open on Sundays

April 21, 2017. Officials of the Petroleum Dealers’ Association in Pune said they have decided to not shut down petrol pumps in the city on Sundays. A few days ago, the office bearers of the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers decided to shut down fuel stations on Sundays from May 14. The oil ministry denounced the consortium’s decision saying such a move will inconvenience the general public. Following Modi’s appeal, the consortium had decided that petrol stations in eight states-Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana-will be closed.

Source: The Times of India

India to double its refining capacity: Oil Minister

April 21, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the country will augment its refining capacity to 600 million metric tonnes from the present 230 million metric tonnes to meet the growing demand. Pradhan said his ministry has been emphasising on innovation and strengthening R&D (Research and Development) wing. Stating that Prime Minster Narendra Modi wanted 10 percent cut in the imports by 2022, the minister said three fourth of the demand would be met by 2040.

Source: The Economic Times

Petroleum products may be delivered home soon: Oil ministry

April 21, 2017. India is considering a plan for home delivery of petroleum products to consumers if they make a pre-booking, to cut long queues at fuel stations, the oil ministry said. About 350 million people come to fuel stations every day, it said. Annually, ` 25 billion ($387.00 million) worth of transactions takes place at fuel stations. India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, will be introducing daily price revision of petrol and diesel in five cities from 1 May, ahead of a nation-wide roll out of the plan.

Source: Livemint


India’s CBM production jumped more than 44 percent to 565 mmscm last fiscal

April 25, 2017. India’s production of Coal Bed Methane (CBM), a clean energy source extracted from coal seams, grew more than 44 percent last financial year to around 565 million standard cubic metres (mmscm) as compared to 393 mmscm in 2015-2016. This comes as a major boost for the government’s efforts to cut down India’s import dependence for energy supply. The huge growth in CBM output in 2016-17 was, however, lower than the government’s projections. India’s upstream regulator DGH had informed a parliamentary panel India’s CBM production was pegged to quadruple to 1,449 mmscm at the end of 2016-2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said CBM is likely to contribute to five percent of natural gas production by 2017. Data published by petroleum planning and analysis cell (PPAC) shows that in 2016-2017 domestic production of CBM contributed to 1.78 percent of India’s total natural gas production of over 31,000 mmscm. In a bid to incentivize production, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had last month approved a new policy allowing marketing and pricing freedom for CBM gas. The new policy allows contractors to sell CBM at arm’s length price in the domestic market. CBM producers hailed the new policy. The oil ministry gave multiple reasons for slow production of CBM including overlapping with coal blocks, delay in land acquisition and statutory clearances, water handling problems and lack of gas infrastructure in CBM blocks. Despite the hurdles, the ministry is confident of healthy growth in output going forward that will result in the share of CBM in total gas production rising to 5 percent from the current less than 2 percent.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s H-Energy leases LNG import terminal, agrees supply

April 24, 2017. Indian gas company H-Energy is to begin importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the third quarter of 2018 via a ship-based terminal leased from French group Engie, its chief executive officer (CEO) Darshan Hiranandani said. India is the world’s fourth biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer even though gas accounts for just seven percent of its coal-dominated energy mix, but consumption is growing fast in response to cheap LNG prices as new cities and industry get added to the grid. The government aims to more than double LNG import capacity to 50 million tonnes per year and grow gas’s share in the energy mix to 15 percent by late 2020. Under the deal with Engie, H-Energy will be able to import up to 4 million tonnes a year (mta) of LNG from late next year once the terminal, dubbed GDF Suez Cape Ann, is in place, Hiranandani said. The terminal, known as a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU), will be berthed at India’s west coast port of Jaigarh, also the starting point for a 635 kilometre coastal pipeline H-Energy is building to open up new gas markets. The FSRU will convert LNG shipped from multiple suppliers back into gas, before transferring it onshore.

Source: Reuters

ONGC plans $11 bn investment to boost gas production by 30 percent

April 24, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) expects to increase gas production by nearly 30% over the next three-four years with an investment of around $11 billion. ONGC will put its blocks in the Krishna Godavari basin (KG-DWN-98/2) and Ratna and R-Series oilfields in Mumbai offshore into production by 2019. The coal bed methane (CBM) blocks in Jharkhand will begin production by 2020, while the Daman offshore fields, which have been pressed into production this month, will be ramped up next year. ONGC said, while KG-DWN-98/2 will be pushed into production by 2019, Daman will begin production shortly and be ramped up by 2018. ONGC currently produces around 23 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year, which is expected to go up to 29-30 bcm in four years. However, gas production at some existing fields is projected to drop to 11.8 bcm in four years from the current 19.73 bcm. The company plans to invest more than $10-11 billion in exploration, a major chunk of which would go towards developing the KG block. ONGC approved the field development plan for fields falling under Cluster II, the first cluster to be developed. The development will involve a capital expenditure of $5.08 billion, ONGC said. Cluster II will produce its first gas by June 2019, according to the ONGC.

Source: Livemint

RIL starts commercial production of CBM in Sohagpur

April 24, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announced that it has commenced commercial production from its coal bed methane (CBM) block SP (West)-CBM-2001/1 from March 24, 2017 and is currently supplying CBM for commissioning the Shahdol Phulpur Pipeline (SHPPL). The production from RIL’s Sohagpur CBM fields will gradually ramp-up in the next 15-18 months making RIL among the largest unconventional natural gas producers in India. CBM is an environment-friendly natural gas extracted from coal-bed and has become an important source of unconventional gas in many parts of the world. RIL was awarded the licence to explore two adjacent CBM blocks SP(West) and SP(East) with an area of 995 sq km in the round 1 of CBM block bidding by the Government of India in 2001. RIL has drilled more than 200 wells connected to two gas gathering stations in the first phase of development. The company expects to drill 600-800 wells further and develop associated infrastructure over the next phases of development. Reliance Gas Pipelines Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of RIL, laid a 302 km Shahdol Phulpur Gas Pipeline that connects Sohagpur CBM fields from Shahdol to Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline network of Gail at Phulpur. With this new pipeline network, these CBM gas fields are now connected with the Indian Gas Grid.

Source: Business Standard

Cost concerns may delay PNG project in Kochi

April 22, 2017. The project to provide piped natural gas (PNG) connections within the Kochi Corp is likely to get delayed with the project implementing agency and the corporation unable to reach a consensus on road restoration charges and track rent (for laying the pipelines). The Kochi Corp has not yet given its nod to Indian Oil-Adani Gas Pvt Ltd (IOAGPL) for digging up the city roads as the company was not ready to pay the road restoration charges and track rent, which it considers too high. IOAGPL wants the corporation to bring down the rates by at least one-fifth but the corporation has been maintaining that the prices were uniform and that other agencies such as Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board were charged the same rates. As per the existing rates, IOAGPL will have to pay ` 50,000 per one km as track rent to the corporation every year.

Source: The Economic Times


CIL allows power companies to swap fuel supplies

April 22, 2017. State-run power generating companies will now have the flexibility to swap their coal supplies and divert them to more efficient power plants. Coal India Ltd (CIL) signed agreements for aggregation of contracted quantity of coal with state and central power generating companies for flexible movement of coal that would help reduce the cost of power generation. The move will allow all coal linkages given to plants of state and central utilities like NTPC to be combined. That is, if a utility has many plants all over the country and has different fuel supply agreements (FSA) for each plant, all these linkages will be considered as one FSA. The utilities will have the option of deciding the effective way of utilising the coal, so that efficient plants are run at higher capacity to reduce costs. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for allowing flexibility in utilisation of domestic coal amongst state-owned power generating stations. The scheme is gradually proposed to be extended to enable coal swaps between government-run and private power plants. The government has said that improvement in coal quality and efficiency in supply chain have lowered power generation cost of NTPC stations. Data shows that coal cost for generating power has declined by 39 paise to less than ` 2 per unit in 2016-17.

Source: The Economic Times


Power ministry to assist cos to take up R&D initiatives

April 25, 2017. Power ministry is looking to assist public sector entities who are planning to take up Research and Development (R&D) initiatives and has asked its nodal agency Central Electricity Authority to invite applications for the same. Apart from addressing the letter to major power sector PSUs NTPC, NHPC, Power Grid Corp, Steel Authority of India, Coal India, Bharat Heavy Electricals, Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corp, it has also been sent to power distribution and transmission companies. It said that the whole process will in turn help in increasing efficiency if the sector which is major aim of the R&D i.e. achieving improvement in material, products and processed and achieving economic advantage.

Source: The Economic Times

PM Modi permits surplus power sale to Pakistan: Punjab CM


April 25, 2017. Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh said that Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has given green signal to the state to sell surplus power to Pakistan. The CM had earlier sought Centre’s sanction to supply power across border to curtail expenditure on fixed costs and costly power that state is obligated to buy as per power purchase agreements. The CM had sought permission to sell its surplus power to Pakistan or Nepal in the economic interest of the cash-crunched state. The state is left with 1000 MW surplus power after meeting its domestic demand, and consumers are forced to pay extra taxes to sustain fixed cost of power generating units.

Source: The Economic Times

AIPEF demands review of Punjab’s power generation policy

April 24, 2017. All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has demanded the review of Punjab power generation policy and early revival of existing power purchase agreements (PPAs) between Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL) and independent power producers (IPPs). As per their demand, IPPs should be free to sell the power in market instead of taking fixed charges from state distribution companies (discoms) without generating or supplying a single unit of electricity as per deemed generation clause. AIPEF said the Punjab power generation policy of 2010 was supposed to be on the model of Gujarat policy of 2009. The Gujarat policy contained several safeguards regarding right of refusal and surrender of unwanted power without paying for capacity charges, whereas the Punjab policy was heavily twisted in favour of IPPs with safeguards for state power utility removed.

Source: The Economic Times

MSEDCL to appoint local people to look into supply issues in villages

April 24, 2017. Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) will appoint a gram vidyut vyavasthapak to manage issues related to power supply in villages. There are over 1,500 villages where locals will be appointed as gram vidyut vyavasthapak or village electricity supply manager to shoulder the responsibility. According to the Government Resolution, adopted on October 20, 2016, the vyavasthapak will hail from the same village. He will be given an honorarium for carrying out all jobs as a ‘manager’ for the village with strength of up to 3,000 agriculture as well as domestic consumers. MSEDCL is short of line staff to maintain power supply issues in smaller villages as one line staff has to manage more than one or three villages which are spread over a huge distance. The power utility came up with the idea of appointing a vyavasthapak, who will be from the same village. He will be appointed by the grampanchayat for an 11-month period.

Source: The Economic Times

India may move gas-fired power plants to Indonesia


April 23, 2017. India is discussing with Indonesia the possibility of relocating its natural gas-based power plants to the South-East Asian nation. The Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Ignasius Jonan, said that a 19-member team of energy officials from Indonesia will visit India soon, and one of the topics discussed will be the relocation of gas-fired power plants. India has 25,329 MW of gas-based power plants, of which 14,305 MW are technically “stranded” — fully or partly inoperative due to want of gas supply. These plants are estimated to have consumed investments of ₹ 1.24 lakh crore. In 2016-17, they operated at a mere 22.51 percent plant load factor, producing 49 billion units of electricity. The relocation of gas plants to Indonesia is also seen as a means of balancing trade between the two countries. India imports a lot of coal from Indonesia — worth $3.5 billion in 2016.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Kerala’s flagship ring main project to eliminate power cuts to be commissioned soon

April 23, 2017. Seven years after its inception, the Kerala State Electricity Board’s ring main project, which envisages automation of power distribution network in Kochi and its suburbs, is likely to be commissioned before the monsoon. Once the project, implemented under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) is completed, it will ensure minimal disruption to electricity supply. If a substation develops technical snags, electricity will automatically be drawn from the neighbouring station. So far, around 300 km of overhead lines in Kochi and the suburbs have been replaced with underground cables under the project. The Power Grid Corp of India conducted inspections in Kochi prior to the commissioning of the project. Around 900 ring main units, which control power supply in different areas, have already been installed. Testing of the underground cables along 250 km has been completed. As per the R-APDRP norms, the Union government will provide ` 207 crore for the project as grant provided that the transmission losses are brought down.

Source: The Economic Times

VIPs indulging in power theft would not be spared: UP Power Minister

April 23, 2017. VIPs, including former Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Ministers, indulging in power theft will be dealt with an iron hand, UP Power Minister Srikant Sharma said. Sharma, who was inaugurating the power consumers’ amnesty scheme, envisaging 100 percent waiver of surcharge for domestic consumers, said that power theft was turning out to be the bigger menace than the technical line losses. The statement comes close on the heels of the recent report of UP energy department changing the low load electricity meter with a higher one at the Etawah residence of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses account for over 30% of the total power wheeled out to the consumers by the UP Power Corp Ltd. This is almost twice the stipulated limit of 15% suggested by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Central Electricity Authority.

Source: The Times of India

Tata Power inks pact for electricity distribution in Ajmer

April 21, 2017. Tata Power said it has signed an agreement with Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (AVVNL) for electricity distribution in Ajmer for 20 years. Tata Power signed the Distribution Franchise Agreement (DFA) with AVVNL to cater to power requirements of customers in Ajmer for a period of 20 years, Tata Power said. Subsequent to winning the bid for distribution franchise of Ajmer circle, Tata Power has formed a special purpose company (SPC), TP Ajmer Distribution Ltd. The SPC will be operating and maintaining the distribution network in the Ajmer city, which includes city division 1 and 2 areas, and would also be responsible for managing the billing and collections, it said.

Source: Livemint

Soon, buy power only when you need it via prepaid meters

April 20, 2017. Pay and use may become the maxim in the power supply sector too. Apartment complexes with more than 200 units and industries may have the option of buying prepaid meters in future. The move proposed by Bescom (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) aims to benefit residents who stay out of home for long and wonder why they should pay the power bill. The proposed system will help solve problems of power pilferage, meter tampering, revenue leakage and will help manage peak- hour crisis. The project was recently started on a pilot basis in the Indiranagar subdivision, where old meters were replaced with prepaid ones. Changing meters for 2,500 connections in Indiranagar has augmented Bescom’s revenues by 30%. Bescom is in talks with the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to take forward the proposal.

Source: The Times of India

Clear dues forthwith or supply will be shut off, NTPC warns Tangedco

April 20, 2017. Power giant NTPC has issued notices to Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp (Tangedco) as well as distribution companies (discoms) in Karnataka and Telangana for not paying dues of 1,379.77 crore. Power generated by three units of 500 MW each by NTPC-Tangedco joint venture (JV) NTPC TN Energy Company at Vallur has provided power to these discoms but since November last year the companies have not paid dues to NTPC. The JV company has warned that supply would be cut if the money is not paid forthwith.

Source: The Times of India

Denied power for 7 yrs, residents of UP village threaten to leave

April 19, 2017. It has been four years since Ruksana, moved to Amir Garden in Lisari village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh (UP) with her family. She had brought all the necessary electrical equipment needed in a house – a refrigerator, a television, fans, tubelights. But little did she knew that during her stay, her refrigerator would be used as a cupboard to keep her clothes. After the founding of three colonies in Lisari village seven years ago – Azaad Nagar, Amir Garden and Rihan Garden – which house nearly 450 families comprising 2,700 people, there has been no electricity. Now, some of the villagers have put up “for sale” notices outside their houses and have threatened to leave if electricity connection is not given to them.

Source: The Economic Times


ISRO develops android app for computing solar energy potential

April 25, 2017. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said its Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre has developed an android app for computing the solar energy potential of a place. Developed at the behest of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the app is considered to be a “very useful” tool for installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that is used for tapping solar energy, it said. The ISRO said the app provides monthly and yearly solar potential and the minimum and the maximum temperatures at any location. It also displays the location of a place on the satellite image as well as the day’s length there during different periods in a year. According to the ISRO, features of the app include providing of solar energy potential at any given location, the required location can be keyed in or can be obtained through GPS. It said it also gives monthly and yearly solar potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data, and also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate the realistic solar potential. The obstruction of sunlight due to terrain is also calculated using Digital Elevation Model with the help of the app which also suggests optimum tilt angle for the solar PV installation.

Source: Hindustan Times

India’s wind power capacity crosses 32 GW mark: IWTMA

April 25, 2017. Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) said the wind power generation capacity in the country has crossed 32 GW mark. However, according to the Central Electricity Authority’s monthly report for March 2017, the installed wind power generation capacity is around 28.7 GW, lower than the ITWMA estimates. India’s installed wind power generation capacity has crossed 32 GW so far and there should be at least 6 GW of capacity addition every year to meet the target of having 60 GW by 2022, IWTMA said. IWTMA said the latest data indicate that country’s wind power generation capacity is over 32 GW after addition of 5.4 GW in last fiscal. The government has decided to go through the bidding route as the first ever auction of wind power projects in February 2017, where power tariffs dropped to all-time low of ` 3.46 per unit. Wind power capacity of 1 GW was auctioned by the Solar Energy Corporation of India in February. Globally, India is at the fourth position after China, the US and Germany, in terms of wind capacity installation.

Source: The Economic Times

Modi government plans major policy push to promote e-vehicles

April 25, 2017. India will soon embark on an ambitious programme aimed at switching most, if not all, of its vehicles to battery power by 2030. In an audacious move worthy of Elon Musk, the key to the plan’s success will be the eschewing of subsidies driven by a battery leasing strategy. The scheme, which kicks off in the next few months, includes limited tax breaks for manufacturers and the sale of vehicles without batteries to improve affordability. The strategy is in marked contrast to the approach of most countries including the United States, Japan and China, which have earmarked billions of dollars in subsidies for electric vehicles and have advised India against schemes that aren’t funded this way. India, however, is forging ahead with its contrarian strategy that will start with public transport in the first phase. While Indian manufacturers are keen on being part of the initiative, most of the overseas ones favour hybrid technology. Two-wheelers, three-wheelers and non-air-conditioned city buses made by automobile companies in India will be sold without batteries as part of the plan, thus slashing prices by as much as 70%. The batteries will be leased at a specified cost and can be swiftly swapped with recharged ones at stations. Vehicle manufacturers expect the fine print of the policy to be made public soon. The ministries of road transport, power, petroleum and heavy industries are involved in the programme being framed by the government. For taxis, the government is considering fast-charging electric stations. Specifications and guidelines for each type of electric vehicle, lease plans, battery swaps and charging stations are being worked out. The government sees a clear cost advantage in shifting to electric. If battery and vehicle are paid for, a sedan powered by an internal combustion engine costs ` 7 per km to run, as opposed to ` 1per km for an equivalent electrical vehicle.

Source: The Economic Times

India aims to cut petroleum imports as it boosts alternative fuel use

April 24, 2017. India is aiming to cut its oil products imports to zero as it turns to alternative fuels such as methanol in its transport sector, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said. But he could not provide a specific timeline for the target due to challenges with the distribution and availability of alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) in India, he said. India is also planning to start 15 factories to produce second generation ethanol from biomass, bamboo and cotton straw as it aims to develop its mandate to blend ethanol into 5 percent of its gasoline, he said. India imported about 33 million tonnes of oil products over April 2016 to February 2017, up nearly 24 percent from the same period a year ago, government data showed. The majority of the imports comprise petroleum coke and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). To cut the country’s carbon footprint, New Delhi wants to raise the use of natural gas in its energy mix to 15 percent in three to four years from 6.5 percent now. India is developing LNG bunker ports and plans to develop its electric vehicle fleet, Gadkari said.

Source: Reuters

Indian Railways to set up ₹ 2 bn solar power plant in Bhilai

April 24, 2017. The Indian Railways is looking to set up a solar power plant in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), where it has spare land, through Railway Energy Management Company Ltd (REMCL). The project cost of the 50 MW plant is estimated at ₹ 200 crore. Of the total cost, 20 percent will be borne by the Railways, while the remaining 80 percent will be raised through debt. This means, the Railways will bear ₹ 40 crore of the construction cost, while the power will be purchased through a developer model, wherein the developers will be asked to operate and maintain the solar project. Funds mobilisation for the ₹ 200 crore project — estimated at ₹ 160 crore — could be raised from firms, such as Power Finance Corp and Rural Electrification Corp. Till date, the Railways has largely implemented rooftop-based projects. In 2017-18, the national transporter has a target to source 140 MW solar power through rooftop units, while 150 units can be sourced through land-based units, Railways Electrical Energy Management Directorate report said.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

UP to revise renewable energy policy

April 24, 2017. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government is planning to revise the state’s solar power policy to align it with the policies of other states. The UP government is also going to rework the renewable energy policy of the state. Under the UP Solar Power Policy 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd was to sign a power purchase agreements (PPAs)) with successful bidders for a period of ten years. Comparably, the other state power distribution utilities sign PPAs for up to 25 years from renewable energy projects. The UP government will also increase focus on off-grid solar power in rural regions.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Goyal reviews hydel power development projects in Arunachal Pradesh

April 24, 2017. Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal reviewed issues relating to hydro power development in Arunachal Pradesh with Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal. Reiterating his stand over the Lower Subansiri Project, Khandu during the meeting, said the project has been stuck for a long time. Khandu and Sonowal assured Goyal that the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri project will be put on track immediately and there will no further delay. Khandu raised the issue of fast tracking the Khuppi-Bomdila-Tawang 132 KV transmission line and Bomdila-Kalaktang 132 KV transmission line. Khandu raised the issue of establishing a Centre of Hydro Power Excellence to build local engineering capabilities for project preparation, to which Goyal agreed to support the project and house it in North East Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST).

Source: India Today

Vestas to increase Ahmedabad plant’s capacity to 600 MW

April 24, 2017. Wind power solutions provider Vestas will ramp up its equipment manufacturing capacity at Ahmedabad plant to 600 MW in 2-3 years from existing 200 MW to get a bigger share of over 5,000 MW annual market in India. Vestas Director, Marketing & Public Affairs, India & South East Asia, Amar Variawa said he expects a lot of wind power generation capacity addition in the country especially after the recent drop in tariff to new low of ` 3.46 per unit in an auction conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India last fiscal. India had added around 5,400 MW of wind power generation capacity in the last fiscal. After the recent tariff based bidding of 1,000 MW wind power capacities, the government has planned to auction 4,000 MW capacities in the current fiscal. India has set a target of having around 60,000 MW of wind power capacity by 2022. At present, India’s wind power generation capacity is around 28,000 MW. India needs to add 5000-6000 MW capacity each year in coming years to achieve the target. Vestas design, manufacture, install, and service wind turbines across the globe, and with more than 82 GW of wind turbines in 76 countries.

Source: The Economic Times

Allahabad Museum switches to solar power, becomes first energy self-reliant museum

April 23, 2017. With the inauguration of a new entrance gate, solar panels, a 3D website and a new sales counter, the 87-year-old Allahabad Museum can now boast of many new facilities. Terming the new entrance as an ‘architectural marvel’, Governor Ram Naik dedicated various facilities of the museum to public. Naik said that Allahabad Museum, by using solar photovoltaic (SPV) technology, has become the first museum in the country to become self-reliant in power generation. He said on the Earth Day, it was a welcome initiative by the museum management. At least 220 solar panels have been set up on the roof-top of the museum.

Source: The Economic Times

Haryana Renewable Energy Minister urges people to adopt clean energy

April 23, 2017. Haryana Renewable Energy Minister Banwari Lal appealed to the people to adopt clean energy to protect the environment. The Minister was speaking at a function organised by the Department of New and Renewable Energy as part of the ‘Swarna Jayanti Year Celebrations’ to mark World Earth Day at Panchkula. While hundreds of school children participated in a walk to spread the message of ‘clean energy-green energy’, political leaders, administrators and experts also appealed to the people to adopt clean energy. He said the state should take the lead in adoption of clean and green energy. He said the government aims to encourage every household to set up rooftop solar power plants.

Source: The Economic Times

MP government to provide subsidised solar water pumps to farmers


April 23, 2017. The Madhya Pradesh (MP) government would soon provide nearly 18,500 solar-powered water pumps to farmers in the state at subsidised rates. MP Urja Vikas Nigam (MPUVN) would be the nodal agency to make available the solar pumps to the farmers, New and Renewable Energy Department Principal Secretary Manu Srivastava said. He said that earlier Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan governments had provided 11,000 and 10,000 solar pumps respectively to farmers at subsidised rates. The state energy department said in the last fiscal, the MP government provided power subsidy of ` 70 billion (` 7,000 crore) to farmers for use of the water pumps. The sale of solar pumps is going to rev up the agricultural productivity of the state, he said. The use of solar pumps will increase the cultivable land area, reduce dependence on diesel pumps and make multi-cropping possible, he said.

Source: The Times of India

CIL projects converting floral waste to fertilisers at temples

April 23, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) has started two projects at Dakshineswar Kali temple and Babadham temple in Deoghar to produce organic fertiliser from floral waste. The project helps in implementing Swaach Bharat programme using huge floral waste generated daily at temples. The wastes pollute environment and river. The projects were funded by the coal behemoth as the infrastructure cost varied between ` 15-19 lakh for civil work, plants and machinery which is handed over to an NGO which manages the project. CIL said that funds would not be a constraint for implementing such projects in various temples across the country.

Source: India Today

Coal consumption has changed due to non-conventional power: Steel Minister

April 22, 2017. Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said there was a perceptual change in the consumption of coal because of the setting up of more non-conventional power plants in the country. Around 1 lakh MW of power is being generated in the country from non-conventional energy sources and that around 3 lakh applications were received for setting up of solar/wind power plants in the country. More non-conventional power plants in the country using wind energy, solar energy are being set up, the minister said after dedicating to the nation, the most eco-friendly 120 MW gas based power plant in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). He underlined the need to be self-sufficient in power generation and said the shore based Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL), the corporate entity of VSP has rightly proved its progress in that direction. He advised RINL to take advantage of the opportunity of huge usage of steel for the construction of new capital Amaravati and other projects in Andhra Pradesh. RINL said latest technologies and green initiatives were implemented in setting up of the power plant.

Source: The Economic Times

India shows the path for cheaper solar energy: World Bank

April 21, 2017. It is better to move towards solar energy than to continue to build coal plants, World Bank President Jim Young Kim said, citing India’s massive efforts in solar energy which has made it “cost effective” and “quite competitive”. He said there was need to keep doing that as the options around the world, even in emerging markets, have gone down below three cents a kilowatt hour at which point it “becomes cost effective”. He said climate change issue continued to be a priority for the Bank. On coal, he identified six countries – China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam which are putting most of the coal-based carbon in the air. However, he rued that a grant of hundred billion was promised, but is not coming. Kim said the bank was going to put on the table a different kind of platform where all the different groups that are trying to have an impact on climate can work together to put the financing tools together.

Source: The Economic Times

Solar power may become cheaper than coal in India

April 21, 2017. India’s solar power prices may be set to fall below those of thermal (coal) energy. This is based on an expected cost of around ` 2.90 per unit for the solar power projects at Bhadla in Rajasthan that have received 51 bids. This price is less than the average rate of power generated by the coal-fuelled projects of India’s largest power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at ` 3.20 per unit. Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), which is running the bid process for 750 MW of solar power capacity at two parks, has received bids totalling 8,750 MW. The solar space has already seen a significant decline in tariffs from ` 10.95-12.76 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2010-11. The previous low was ` 3.15 per kWh, bid by France’s Solairedirect SA in an auction to set up 250 MW of capacity at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.

Source: Livemint

NIT students build solar-power vehicle

April 21, 2017. A solar electric hybrid vehicle with innovative tags, including a seat belt sensor device and temperature sensor water sprinkler, has been developed by a group of prospective engineers of National Institute of Technology (NIT). The light vehicle, weighing 111 kilograms, was developed by a 25-member team over a span of three months and is expected to run at a speed of 45 km per hour both on solar panel as well as electricity. The speed efficiency of the vehicle will be kept under check if the temperature outside increases beyond 70°Celsius. The car also has a GPS tracking system and an attached GSM camera. Manufactured at a cost of ` 1.5 lakh, the vehicle has been termed as the future vehicle of India.

Source: The Economic Times

Suzlon wins 100.8 MW project order from ReNew Power

April 20, 2017. Wind energy company Suzlon Group has won a 100.8 MW project order from ReNew Power Ventures for the latter’s Limbwas project in Madhya Pradesh. As part of the order, Suzlon will install 48 units of their S111 120m wind turbine generators with a capacity of 2.1 MW. The company provide will also provide a comprehensive range of services including operation and maintenance services and dedicated life-cycle asset management services for an initial period of 10 years. This turnkey project for Suzlon is scheduled to be completed by March 2018. The project has the potential to provide power to over 54,000 households and reduce 0.20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum. With this order, Suzlon’s portfolio with ReNew Power would exceed more than 600 MW spanning across the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Source: The Economic Times

Deonar abattoir generates power from slaughtered animal waste

April 20, 2017. The city-based Deonar abattoir, one of the biggest slaughter houses in the country, has started generating power by using the waste of the slaughtered animals. In the last 40 days, the abattoir has produced around 1,000 units of electricity, which it is using internally. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp (BMC), which manages the slaughter house, had signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in 2014 to set up a biomethanisation plant to use bio-waste for power generation. BMC said on an average, 3,000 goats, sheep and 150 buffaloes are slaughtered on a daily basis at the abattoir, which producing almost eight tonnes of bio-waste.

Source: The Economic Times

Solar power presents huge refinancing opportunity: Ind-Ra

April 20, 2017. India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates a possible refinancing opportunity for more than ` 56000 crore out of the total debt of ` 1.73 lakh crore across various infra sub-sectors in its portfolio till FY19. Of this, solar is expected to be in the forefront in terms of the number of deals with refinancing to the tune of 33%, followed by 27% in the highway sector. Ind-Ra believes that the renewable energy sector, especially solar energy, would reduce its borrowing costs further by at least 100bp through bond issuances or bank loans. Around 45% of the potential refinancing candidates in Ind-Ra’s portfolio are from the renewables space. The sector is also likely to be benefited from the government’s thrust on the development of the second phase of 20 GW solar energy and evolving payment security mechanisms. However, the limited improvement in the current issues such as grid curtailments, receivable days, plant load factor volatility could hinder the refinancing prospects for renewables. Ind-Ra estimates that around ` 6000 crore could be refinanced by the first four infrastructure investment trusts which are likely to hit the primary markets in FY18.

Source: The Economic Times

In 10 yrs, half of India’s energy capacity will be from non-fossil fuel sources

April 19, 2017. Non-fossil fuels — renewables, nuclear and large hydroelectric power plants — will account for more than half (56.5 percent) of India’s installed power capacity by 2027, according to a draft of the third National Electricity Plan (NEP3). The draft notes that if India achieves its target to install 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 — as committed under the 2015 Paris Agreement — it will not need to install, at least until 2027, any more coal-fired capacity than the 50 GW currently under construction. NEP3 outlines how the government expects the electricity sector to develop over the five years from 2017 to 2022, as well as the subsequent five years to 2027. When the draft was released, India had installed just over 50 GW of renewable power capacity, of which wind energy made up 57.4 percent and solar 18 percent. This gave renewables a 15 percent share in total installed capacity of just over 314 GW, while coal made up 60 percent — the remaining being large hydropower, nuclear, gas and diesel. NEP3 projects that not only will the 2022 target be achieved, renewable power capacity will reach 275 GW in 2027. This is three times the projection made in NEP2, of 70 GW, and significantly more ambitious than publicly proclaimed targets. Comparing NEP3 with India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) under the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015 shows a higher level of ambition to reach a low-carbon economy faster. In its INDC, India had said it planned to achieve 40 percent cumulative installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030. NEP3 is significantly more upbeat, predicting that non-fossil power will make up 46.8 percent of total installed capacity by 2021-22 and 56.5 percent by 2027 — 10 years from now. If the NEP3 target is met as per the projected timelines, total installed renewable capacity will surpass coal-based capacity around 2024.

Source: The Economic Times

To give rooftop solar power a boost, Modi government axes duties

April 19, 2017. In a bid to encourage the use of rooftop solar power, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has exempted customs and excise duties on materials used in solar rooftop projects of more than 100 KW capacity. The move is expected to cut down the overall cost of power generation through solar rooftop projects. Currently, grid tariff for rooftop solar hovers around ` 6 per unit. Solar tariff touched a new low last week as the final levelised tariff for a 250 MW solar project in Andhra Pradesh was discovered to be ` 3.15 per unit. The development also coincides with the Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) extending the bid-submission deadline for 1,000 MW grid-connected rooftop solar scheme for government buildings. SECI has received no bids for tenders for the scheme. By 2022, India aims to achieve 40 GW of grid connected solar rooftops. So far, only about 500 MW have been installed and about 3,000 MW has been sanctioned. Apart from the private sector, the railways, airports, hospitals, educational institutions and government buildings have been spotted as potential solar rooftop sites. The MNRE had said that at least 5,900 MW power and annual financial savings of ` 830 crore can be achieved through rooftop solar projects in government properties.

Source: The Financial Express


Amazon natives in Peru take over oil field in land use dispute

April 25, 2017. About 600 natives of Peru’s Amazon region took control of a non-producing oil field operated by Canada’s Pacific Exploration & Production Corp and demanded payment for use of the land, the protesters said. The field, oil lot 192 near the Ecuadorean border, has been idle since last year due to pipeline ruptures. Pacific Exploration & Production said a group of 30 indigenous people began the protest. Wilmer Chavez, president of the Oriap indigenous organization, said that the number of protesters had grown since then to 600. Pacific Exploration & Production said the field is near 19 indigenous communities, 18 of which have signed land use deals with the company. Chavez said two communities, Los Jardines and Alianza de Capahuari, have no agreements with the company and are demanding $308,000 as compensation for use of their lands.

Source: Reuters

East Coast refiners eye Texas oil as North Dakota alternative

April 25, 2017. US (United States) East Coast refiners are looking to buy increasing volumes of domestic crude oil from the Gulf Coast, the latest twist in a trade flow upheaval in the wake of the opening of the Dakota Access pipeline. Major US East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars. Now, at least two East Coast refiners, Phillips 66 and Delta Air Lines Inc’s subsidiary Monroe Energy, are looking to move more crude by ship from Texas into the Philadelphia area. The Dakota Access pipeline starts up in May, giving the Gulf access to the Bakken shale play, and will likely sap any lingering economic incentive for Bakken-by-rail, which is more expensive. This option is more expensive than oil imported to the East Coast, typically from Nigeria. Analysts and traders expected that once the Dakota line came into service, East Coast and West Coast refiners would rely on foreign barrels.

Source: Reuters

Russia may raise oil output if sees no risks of price fall

April 25, 2017. Russia is ready to keep its oil production stable, but may increase output if it feels that prices are unlikely to fall as a result, the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said. Dvorkovich said a fragile balance has been reached in the global oil market, which should not be disturbed by any “sharp moves”. He said that a decision on whether to extend a deal to curb oil output into the second half of the year would depend on how well the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers stick to their production cut pledges. OPEC, along with Russia and other non-OPEC producers, pledged to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017. The option of extending the cuts was set out in last year’s deal.

Source: Reuters

Venezuelan crude sales to the US declined again in March

April 25, 2017. Venezuelan crude oil sales to the United States (US) declined in March for the third month in a row this year to 651,710 barrels per day (bpd) due to falling exports of main grade Merey, according to trade flows data. Venezuela’s crude output fell in 2016 to its lowest level in 23 years. Analysts expect another decline in 2017 due to lack of investment and to cash flow problems affecting state-run oil firm PDVSA, which controls more than 40 joint ventures for exploration and production. The volume of Venezuelan crude that PDVSA and its joint ventures exported in March was down by 2.3 percent from February and by 18 percent from a year earlier. Exports of Merey blend crude to the US, which started decreasing in February, averaged 165,320 bpd last month, their lowest since August, according to the data. PDVSA’s refining unit in the US, Citgo Petroleum, was the largest receiver of Venezuelan crude in March, with 10 cargoes, followed by Valero Energy Corp and Chevron Corp. This year Phillips 66 has received five or six monthly cargoes of 500,000 barrels each of Venezuelan Merey crude. PDVSA announced a tender to buy up to four 500,000 barrel cargoes of US light crude, mainly to feed its 335,000 bpd Isla refinery in Curacao, which recently resumed operations after planned maintenance work.

Source: Reuters

Unsung Gulf of Mexico tracks new crude oil production record

April 25, 2017. Far from the $40,000 per acre land rush for shale in the Permian Basin, operators in the Gulf of Mexico are toiling offshore to outpace their own production records. In January, Gulf of Mexico production totaled 1.75 million barrels per day, less than a percentage point away from the previous record set in 2009, according to Housley Carr, an analyst at RBN Energy LLC. Within the next month or so, the 2009 record is expected to fall. By 2018, the United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects a total of 1.9 million barrels per day in 2018, Carr said. The EIA has projected growth in the Gulf of Mexico between 2016 and 2018 to be 300,000 barrels per day, which will account for roughly 30 percent of the total US production increase forecast.

Source: Rigzone

Mexico’s Pemex hedges oil output for first time in 11 yrs

April 25, 2017. Mexican oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) said it has hedged its output through December, the first time it has done so in 11 years, in a bid to protect its balance sheet from a potential drop in oil prices. Pemex said the oil hedging program will run from May to December and guarantees a price of $42 per barrel for up to 409,000 barrels per day. It will cost the company $133.5 million. The Pemex hedge is separate from the much larger oil price hedge undertaken by the finance ministry. Pemex said the hedge will provide protection if the average monthly price of the Mexican oil mix is between $37 and $42 per barrel, adding that if prices fall below $37, Pemex will receive the maximum amount of “contracted protection.” In its latest budget forecast, Mexico’s finance ministry forecast average Mexican oil prices of $42 per barrel in 2017 and $46 per barrel in 2018. The Mexican government is implementing an energy industry revamp finalized in 2014. It ended the decades-long production monopoly enjoyed by Pemex, which has led to the first-ever competitive oil auctions and joint venture partnerships.

Source: Reuters

South Africa anti-trust body wants LPG supply deals capped at 10 yrs

April 24, 2017. South Africa’s anti-trust body said liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) producers should cap supply agreements at 10 years as deals lasting longer favoured big wholesalers and deterred new competitors entering the market. The Competition Commission launched an inquiry in 2014 into the LPG sector, where 90 percent of the wholesale market is shared between Afrox, Easigas, Totalgas and Oryx Energies. LPG, widely used for cooking, is produced at South Africa’s five refineries with competition from imports limited by regulations and inadequate infrastructure that make importing the fuel costly. The commission recommended a cap of 10 years on contracts and the scrapping of automatic renewal clauses. It said the new measures should be implemented between 2017 and 2019.

Source: Reuters

Norway’s Statoil plays down risks ahead of Arctic drilling

April 24, 2017. Norway’s Statoil played down concerns that drilling in the Arctic is risky, days before it kickstarts its drilling campaign in the Barents Sea, where the country believes around half of its remaining resources could be located. Despite opposition from environmentalists, the company plans to drill five wells in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, including Korpfjell, which will be the world’s northernmost well and in a formerly disputed border area with Russia. Greenpeace, which is taking the Norwegian government to court over Arctic drilling plans, said any permanent oil platforms in the region would be particularly risky. Statoil said the statistical probability of a blow-out, an uncontrolled oil spill from a well, was 0.014 percent – or one for every 7,100 exploration wells. Statoil said Norway and Russia had a joint contingency plan in case an oil spill from the Korpfjell well drifted to Russian waters some 37 kilometers away.

Source: Reuters

Oil market situation improving, surplus shrinking: Russian Energy Minister

April 21, 2017. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the oil market was improving with production cuts by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC members, including Russia, trimming surplus supply that had squeezed prices for years, but declined to say whether the output reductions would be extended. Novak, speaking to reporters on a visit to Tokyo, said prospects for an extension of the deal, set to expire at the end of June, into the second half of the year would be discussed next month. OPEC and non-OPEC countries meet on May 25 to discuss extending curbs agreed last year that cut crude oil output by 1.8 million barrels daily, two-thirds of that from OPEC. Novak said that current oil prices are reflective of the oil market situation, with benchmark Brent prices now around $53 a barrel. The Minister said Russia will cut its crude oil production by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the end of April as agreed with other major producers.

Source: Reuters

BP mulls sale of stakes in Canadian oil sands assets

April 20, 2017. BP Plc is considering the sale of its stakes in three Canadian oil sands projects, as part of the British oil company’s strategy of retreating from noncore businesses. BP’s 50 percent stake in the Sunrise project near Fort McMurray in Alberta, where Husky Energy Inc owns the rest and is the operator, is the most valuable of the three assets. If the sale proceeds, BP would deploy capital in more attractive regions, such as the Permian basin in the United States, where the rate of return tends to be higher. BP’s planned move comes after other global energy majors, including ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell have cut their exposure to Canada’s oil sands operations, which are among the world’s most expensive oil plays to develop. BP is focusing its operations in Egypt, Azerbaijan, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and Trinidad in the coming years. Husky said in February that current production at the Sunrise project is about 36,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). It is in the process of ramping up the project to full capacity of 60,000 bpd but progress has been slower than expected and the company is drilling extra wells to try to speed up production. Husky lowered the 2017 production forecast to 40,000-44,000 bpd from 60,000 bpd.

Source: Reuters

Marathon plans Galveston Bay HCU overhaul in early 2018

April 20, 2017. Marathon Petroleum Corp’s 459,000 barrel per day (bpd) Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, plans to overhaul the Ultracracker 3 hydrocracking unit (HCU) between January and May 2018. The refinery will perform work on other units at the refinery and continue the Star Project to tie together the Galveston Bay Refinery with Marathon’s 86,000 bpd Texas City Refinery, across the street. The 60,000 bpd Ultracracker 3 produces motor fuel, primarily diesel, by processing gas oil under high heat and pressure in the presence of hydrogen and a catalyst.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait signal likely extension of oil supply cuts

April 20, 2017. Leading Gulf oil producers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait gave the clearest signal yet that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) plans to extend into the second half of the year a deal with non-OPEC producers to curb oil supplies. Consensus is growing among oil producers that their supply restraint agreement should be extended after its initial six-month term, but there is as yet no agreement, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said. Kuwait’s Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq, at the same event, said he expected to see an extension of the agreement. If OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers decide to extend their six-month agreement, the cuts may become less deep as oil demand is expected to be stronger for seasonal reasons in the second half of 2017, Marzouq said.

Source: Reuters

Iraq may seek exemption from OPEC oil cuts to boost own output: Hakim

April 20, 2017. Iraq may seek to be exempt from a deal between oil exporters to reduce global supply in order to support crude prices and ask to boost its own output, the leader of the nation’s Shi’ite ruling coalition Ammar al-Hakim said. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is due to meet in May to decide on an extension of supply curbs decided late last year to lift prices. Hakim cautioned that Baghdad could ask to be exempted from taking part in the supply curbs as the nation needed its oil income to fight Islamic State. Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia, with an output of 4.464 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, a reduction of more than 300,000 bpd on levels before OPEC cuts were implemented from January 1. Baghdad reluctantly agreed to take part in the current agreement to restrain output.

Source: Reuters

Oil prices could tumble again on US shale influx: Total CEO

April 20, 2017. Oil prices could fall again by the end of the year due to a rapid increase in US (United States) shale production, French oil and gas giant Total chief executive officer (CEO) Patrick Pouyanne said. Crude has recovered from lows reached in January 2016 and has mostly hovered above $50 a barrel since the beginning of the year following an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production. US shale oil producers are planning to expand production following the rebound in prices. Pouyanne said it will take another 18 to 24 months, rather than six months, for demand to outstrip supply. Oil prices regained some ground after steep losses the previous day, as Kuwait said it expected the OPEC-led effort to cut supplies would be extended beyond the middle of the year.

Source: Reuters

Petrobras to raise Brazil diesel, gasoline prices

April 20, 2017. Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) said it would raise refinery prices for diesel by 4.3 percent and for gasoline by 2.2 percent on average. Petrobras said in a securities filing that a rise in global prices had more than offset a stronger local currency since its last price-setting decision.

Source: Reuters

OPEC, non-OPEC committed to restore market stability: Barkindo

April 19, 2017. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said that all oil producers taking part in a supply-cut pact are committed to bringing global inventories down to the industry’s five year average and restoring stability to the market. Barkindo said compliance data in March is showing better conformity by the oil producers with the agreement than in February. OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed in December to cut supplies for six months, helping lift oil prices to about $55 a barrel after a two-year slump. OPEC will review policy for the second half of this year at a May 25 meeting.

Source: Reuters

Syncrude oil sands project to run at lower rates through June

April 19, 2017. The Syncrude Canada oil sands project will run at reduced rates in May and June while maintenance work that was brought forward after a fire at the plant last month is completed, majority-owner Suncor Energy said. Two trading sources in Calgary said Syncrude issued an update to customers reiterating its most recent forecast that it will produce 5.3 million barrels in May and 6.6 million barrels in June. The plant in northern Alberta has capacity to produce 350,000 barrels per day, nearly 11 million barrels per month, but cut production in April to zero after a fire in March that damaged the facility and forced Syncrude to advance planned maintenance. Suncor said pipeline shipments would restart at approximately 50 percent of capacity in early May and production is expected to return to full rates by the end of June. Traders said production rates for May and June were expected to be lower even before the fire because of the scheduled turnaround, but the outages still sent synthetic crude prices surging higher in early April.

Source: Reuters


Gazprom CEO sees share of EU gas market rising despite LNG rivals

April 25, 2017. A new pipeline from Russia’s Arctic fields to Germany will boost Moscow’s share of the European gas market despite competition from Qatar and the United States, and will also mean much less fuel goes via Ukraine, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said. Supplies via Ukraine would fall after 2020, but not stop entirely as Moscow has previously threatened, when the world’s largest gas firm opens a pipeline under the Baltic Sea, Gazprom chief executive officer (CEO) Alexei Miller said. Gazprom’s Western partners agreed to provide half the financing for the €9.5 billion ($10.32 billion) Nord Stream 2 pipeline, removing a big hurdle for a Russian plan to pump more gas to Europe from 2019. Gazprom supplies a third of Europe’s gas needs, with its share rising from a quarter in the past two decades. It believes it could ship more despite the European Union (EU)’s fears that the bloc is becoming too reliant on Russian energy. Gazprom sold a record 179 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Europe in 2016, helped by a collapse in oil prices on which gas is priced and cold weather on the continent. Customers are requesting more gas this year and Gazprom believes in the next 15 years it can provide the bulk of an additional 100 bcm a year for Europe, which the continent needs by 2035 as domestic output falls. The EU has sought to reduce reliance on Russia after a decade of gas disputes between Moscow and Ukraine over pricing, which led to several supply disruptions during harsh winters. Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its incursion in east Ukraine have made Europe more reluctant to rely on Russia for energy, which critics say the Kremlin uses for intimidation or blackmail. Moscow has dismissed the accusations. Europe “could get its gas from anywhere” given its investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, but pipeline gas remained cheaper, he said.

Source: Reuters

Azeri Absheron gas field could start production at end-2019

April 25, 2017. Natural gas production at Azerbaijan’s Absheron field in the Caspian Sea could begin in late 2019 or early 2020, Azeri state energy company SOCAR said. Absheron is an offshore gas field in the Caspian Sea located 100 km southeast of Baku and 25 km northeast of the Shah Deniz gas field. It covers about 270 square kilometres and is operated by French major Total. The field, discovered in 2011, is expected to contain 350 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 45 million tonnes of condensate.

Source: Reuters

Chevron to sell Bangladesh gas fields to Chinese consortium

April 24, 2017. Chevron Corp is selling its three Bangladesh gas fields, worth an estimated $2 billion, to a Chinese consortium as the United States (US) oil and gas group looks to shed non-core assets this year. The deal, if completed, would mark China’s first major energy investment in the South Asian country, where Beijing is pumping in billions of dollars in a race with New Delhi and Tokyo for influence. The gas fields, which account for more than half of the total gas output in Bangladesh, are being sold to Himalaya Energy, Chevron said. ZhenHua Oil had signed a preliminary deal with Chevron to buy the Bangladesh natural gas fields. Chevron sells its entire output from the Bangladesh fields — 16 million tonnes a year of oil equivalent — to state oil company Petrobangla under a production-sharing contract. The gas fields — Bibiyana, Jalalabad and Moulavi Bazar — had average net daily output of 720 million cubic feet of gas and 3,000 barrels of condensate, or liquid hydrocarbon produced with gas. Chevron said that it planned to sell assets worth about $10 billion by 2017, including the Bangladesh gas fields and geothermal projects in Indonesia and the Philippines, amid a prolonged slump in energy prices.

Source: Reuters

China March fuel exports soar as LNG imports jump

April 22, 2017. China’s gasoline, diesel and kerosene exports jumped in March as refiners continued to turn to foreign markets to sell their excess product, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports jumped 18 percent to 1.99 million tonnes, customs data showed. Gasoline exports rose 25 percent in March compared with the same month a year earlier to 840,000 tonnes, while diesel exports jumped 53 percent to 1.91 million tonnes, data showed. Kerosene shipments abroad were up 21.4 percent at 1.25 million tonnes. China became a net exporter of fuel products in late 2016.

Source: Reuters

ConocoPhillips, partners weigh expansion of Darwin LNG

April 19, 2017. ConocoPhillips and its partners are considering expanding their Darwin liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Australia, with backing from other companies with undeveloped gas resources that could feed the plant. ConocoPhillips has previously talked only about developing a new gas field for around $10 billion to fill the plant’s single production unit, or train, when supply from its current gas source, the Bayu-Undan field, runs out around 2022. The United States (US) oil major has also previously said an expansion in the current market would be challenging due to low oil and LNG prices, and costs that have risen steeply since Darwin LNG was built more than a decade ago.

Source: Reuters

Engie to lower gas prices in France by 3.3 percent in May

April 19, 2017. French utility Engie will lower consumer gas prices in France by 3.3 percent from May 1. Since the opening of the French gas market in 2007, former monopoly Engie continues to sell gas to retail customers at tariffs set by energy regulator CRE, but also sells gas at unregulated prices to retail and corporate customers.

Source: Reuters

Australian government “encouraged” by steps to avert gas crunch

April 19, 2017. The Australian government said it was “encouraged” on steps taken to avert a gas crisis after meeting with producers and the energy market operator, but it held out the threat of regulatory steps to address any supply shortages. Australia’s energy market operator and east coast liquefied natural (LNG) gas exporters updated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on measures taken since a March meeting to discuss a domestic gas crunch expected to emerge from 2019. Since then, companies like France’s Engie SA and Origin Energy, have sealed deals to ensure gas supply to power plants at peak times, easing some short-term concerns about shortages that have already helped to trigger blackouts. The Australian Energy Market Operator warned in March of a shortage set to hit eastern Australia just as the country becomes the world’s top LNG exporter. At least one of the east coast LNG plants, Gladstone LNG – operated by Australia’s Santos – is drawing gas out of the domestic market to help meet its export contracts.

Source: Reuters


China will encourage coal miners to merge, restructure

April 25, 2017. Beijing will encourage coal companies to merge and restructure to increase efficiency in the industry and take measures to return thermal coal prices to a “reasonable” range, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said. The comment by the NDRC came after a meeting with coal mining firms as thermal coal prices continue to rally while utilities that consume the fuel lose money. The NDRC issued a similar release following a gathering with utilities.

Source: Reuters

Goonyella coal line restarts after cyclone damage: Aurizon

April 25, 2017. Aurizon Holdings said it had restarted its main Goonyella coal haulage line on a limited basis nearly a month after Cyclone Debbie brought the line to a halt, cutting off much of the world’s sea-traded coal used in steelmaking. Goonyella, used extensively by BHP Billiton was the last of Aurizon’s four rail systems to re-open to coal trains, although they are operating under reduced capacity. The Goonyella coal rail system, which typically carries 52 percent of Queensland state’s coal to port, was worst hit by the rains that accompanied Cyclone Debbie.

Source: Reuters

Enforcing North Korea coal ban seriously, no violation: China

April 21, 2017. China is enforcing its policy against North Korean coal imports seriously, and there have been no violations, the foreign ministry said after a report that North Korean ships had entered a Chinese port where coal imports are offloaded. Following repeated North Korean missile tests that drew international criticism, China in February banned all imports of coal from its reclusive neighbour, cutting off its most important export product. Several North Korean cargo ships, most fully laden, were heading home after China’s customs department issued an official order, on April 7, telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes. But the website reported several North Korean ships in and around Tangshan port, in northern China. The Su Pung, which also flies a North Korean flag, was shown to be at a berth at the port’s Jintang coal terminal, data showed. North Korea is a significant supplier of coal to China, especially of the type used for steel making, known as coking coal. In April last year China said it would ban North Korean coal imports in order to comply with sanctions imposed by the United Nations and aimed at starving the country of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But it made exceptions for deliveries intended for “the people’s wellbeing” and not connected to the nuclear or missile programmes. March customs data this year showed that China did not import coal from North Korea.

Source: Reuters


Brazil to auction more power transmission licenses in 2017

April 24, 2017. Brazil’s power sector regulator Aneel will auction more licenses to build and operate power transmission lines. Earlier in the day, Aneel received bids for 31 licenses to build and operate Brazilian power lines that will require investments of about $4 billion.

Source: Reuters

Galfar bags OMR18 mn power transmission line project

April 24, 2017. Galfar Engineering and Contracting Company has bagged a OMR17.79 million contract for building two transmission lines from Oman Electricity and Transmission Company. The completion period is 24 months in addition to 6 weeks for mobilization, Galfar Engineering and Contracting said.

Source: Times of Oman


China to boost non-fossil fuel use to 20 percent by 2030

April 25, 2017. China aims for non-fossil fuels to account for about 20 percent of total energy consumption by 2030, increasing to more than half of demand by 2050, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said. The NDRC said carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will peak by 2030 and total energy demand will be capped at 6 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2030, up from 4.4 billion tonnes targeted for this year.

Source: Reuters

Converting coal would help China’s smog at climate’s expense

April 25, 2017. China’s conversion of coal into natural gas could prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. But there’s a catch: As the country shifts its use of vast coal reserves to send less smog-inducing chemicals into the air, the move threatens to undermine efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said. The environmental trade-off points to the difficult choices confronting leaders of the world’s second largest economy as they struggle to balance public health and financial growth with international climate change commitments. Between 20,000 and 41,000 premature deaths annually could be prevented by converting low-quality coal in the country’s western provinces into synthetic natural gas for residential use, according to the findings of researchers from the United States and China published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Bloomberg

Saga Governor green-lights restart of Genkai nuclear reactors

April 24, 2017. Saga Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi approved the restart of two reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant, with each scheduled to go online as early as this summer. The decision to clear reactor 3 and 4 at the Kyushu Electric Power Co. facility in the town of Genkai is likely to draw strong reactions from municipalities and residents opposed to their reactivation amid persisting widespread concerns about the 2011 Fukushima disaster. All four reactors at the Genkai plant were halted by December 2011 in light of the Fukushima disaster.

Source: The Japan Times

Innogy favours cost control in wind power push: CEO

April 24, 2017. Innogy, Germany’s largest energy company, will keep a tight handle on costs when bidding for wind power projects, its chief executive officer (CEO) said, less than two weeks after smaller peer EnBW said it could build offshore parks without any state subsidies. EnBW said it received approval for a new 900 MW offshore wind park called He Dreiht in the North Sea as part of Germany’s first public auction process, saying its bid did not include any subsidies. Innogy, in which utility RWE holds a 76.8 percent stake following a separate listing last year, plans to invest €1.5-1.7 billion ($1.6-1.9 billion) in renewable projects between 2017 and 2019, about a quarter of total capex.

Source: Reuters

Hawaiian Electric Companies note progress in reducing emissions, use of fossil fuel

April 21, 2017. To mark Earth Day 2017, the Hawaiian Electric Companies noted their progress in replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources for power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading efforts to switch to zero-emission electric vehicles. The Hawaiian Electric Companies reached a milestone in 2016, with 26 percent of the electricity used by customers coming from renewable resources – up from 23 percent the year before. Hawaii Island customers’ use of renewable electricity passed the halfway mark for the first time, with 54 percent of electricity coming from renewables, up from 49 percent in 2015.

Source: Energy Business Review

Environmentalists slam planned Bangladesh power plants near protected Sundarbans

April 21, 2017. More than 70 environmental groups have warned the construction of power plants near the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, a mangrove forest that is home to the Bengal tiger, would damage the environment and affect the livelihoods of millions. The coal-fired 1,320 MW Rampal power plant will be built on the edge of the Sundarbans forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site. A smaller plant is planned a short distance away. The Rampal plant will directly impact the livelihoods of about half a million people – including fishermen, farmers and forest dwellers – and make millions more vulnerable to natural disasters, according to lobby group the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports. Dhaka plans to set up 25 coal-fired power plants by 2022 in order to meet rising electricity demand. The government has indicated it is unlikely to abandon its push to build more coal-fired power plants, despite growing opposition from local people and environmentalists. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, responding to criticism from former US Vice President Al Gore at the World Economic Forum this year, said Bangladesh desperately needs more power, and that the planned coal plants are far from the Sundarbans. Environmentalists said the risks that fossil fuel plants pose to nature and the livelihoods of people are not being assessed.

Source: Reuters

World Bank’s IFC, Amundi to create $2 bn green bond fund

April 21, 2017. The World Bank’s private sector investment arm and European asset manager Amundi have agreed to form a $2 billion green bond fund to help provide more financing for low-carbon investments in emerging markets, they said. Green bonds are used to raise funds for projects which help tackle environmental problems such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and waste management. The International Finance Corp (IFC) said it would invest up to $325 million in the so-called Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, which will buy green bonds issued by banks in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Source: Reuters

Sweden and Norway extend common green certificate scheme to 2030

April 20, 2017. The Swedish and Norwegian governments agreed to extend a joint renewable energies subsidy scheme up to 2030. Norway and Sweden have had a common green certificate market since 2012, which will run until end-2021, although certificates can be issued until 31 December 2035. The scheme is aimed at increasing renewable energy production by 28.4 TWh between 2012 and 2020.

Source: Enerdata

China renewable power waste worsens in 2016

April 19, 2017. The amount of electricity wasted by China’s solar and wind power sectors rose significantly last year, environment group Greenpeace said. China promised to improve what it called the “rhythm” of construction of power transmission lines and renewable generation to avoid “curtailment,” which occurs when there is insufficient transmission to absorb the power generated by the renewable projects. But Greenpeace said wasted wind power still rose to 17 percent of the total generated by wind farms last year, up from 8 percent in 2014. The amount that failed to make it to the grid was enough to power China’s capital Beijing for the whole of 2015, it said. Greenpeace said total solar and wind investment between now and 2030 could reach as much as $780 billion. But, rising levels of waste had cost the industry as much as 34.1 billion yuan ($4.95 billion) in lost earnings over the 2015 to 2016 period, it said. China produced 12.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar power in the first quarter of 2017, up 31 percent year-on-year but accounting for just 1.1 percent of total generation over the period, according to data. Wind rose to 62.1 billion kWh, 4.3 percent of the total, but was dwarfed by the 77.9 percent share occupied by thermal electricity.

Source: Reuters


Scenario of Open Access in Electricity Market in India

Total Electricity Availability in India (2016-17)                  1,134.63 Billion Units

Trading in day ahead market by IEX (2016-17)                39.8 Billion Units

Trading in day ahead market by PXIL (2015-16)*            78.78   Million Units

Share of open access (2016-17) market                            3.5 percent

State-wise power trading by IEX and PXIL for year 2015-16

State Power purchase (in Million Units) by industrial consumers in day ahead market
Rajasthan 5,218 14.55
Gujarat 2,784 63.60
Haryana 1,998 0.02
Karnataka 1,221 0.61
Telangana 1,051
Dadra & Nagar Haveli 791
Essar Steel 2,261
Punjab 1,993
Andhra Pradesh 319
Madhya Pradesh 432
Daman & Diu 423
Kerala 145
Odisha 270
Uttarakhand 276
Assam 154
Himachal Pradesh 277
Tamil Nadu 338
Meghalaya 205
Delhi 4
Maharashtra 14
Arunachal Pradesh 50
Regional Entity 59
Total 20,283 78.78

*industrial consumers only


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

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