MonitorsPublished on Jun 12, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIII: Issue 52


Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: May 2017


India’s solar energy generation capacity rose at a record pace of 81 percent last financial year. India’s total solar power capacity currently stands at 12,288 MW as against 6,762 MW at the end of March 2016. The MNRE in April announced that the country’s solar capacity expanded by a record 5,526 MW in 2016-2017. In comparison, India added 3,010 MW capacity in 2015-2016. With 8.8 GW of projected capacity addition (growth of 76 percent over 2016) in 2017, India is set to become the third largest solar photovoltaic market, overtaking Japan, according to a report by solar energy consulting firm Bridge to India. By the end of 2017, India’s solar power capacity is expected to touch 18.7 GW, which will be about five percent of global solar capacity, growing by 89 percent over last year. As of March 2017, India had installed 12.2 GW of utility scale solar capacity.

Solar power tariffs in India have fallen to a new record low of ₹ 2.44/kWh unit in the bidding for Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park in Rajasthan. SECI is developing the 500 MW solar park at Bhadla with SauryaUrja Co. of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corp Ltd. Renewable energy firm ACME has bagged 200 MW and SBG Cleantech has bagged the rest 300 MW at Bhadla phase-III. This comes within days of the 250 MW capacity of Bhadla phase IV solar park auction which had received the lowest ever bid till then at ₹ 2.62/kWh. Solar power tariffs have gone lower than coal-fuelled thermal power tariffs, the lowest for which stands at ₹ 3.20/kWh for NTPC Ltd. The previous low solar tariffs of ₹ 3.15/kWh had been witnessed for the Kadapa Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh for NTPC’s auction of 250 MW.

With solar rooftop power plant installations gaining momentum following financial assistance from Central and state governments, a growing number solar water heater makers are now venturing into the business of solar photovoltaic rooftop systems. Apart from growing emphasis on solar rooftop projects by the state and Union government, the stagnancy in the solar water heaters market is also driving these manufacturers to get into the solar rooftop systems business. The central government offers a subsidy of 30% in capital cost (which is ₹ 20,700/kW for solar rooftop projects, while the state offers additional assistance of ₹ 10,000/kW. The estimated cost of grid connected 1 kilowatt solar rooftop system is ₹ 69,000/kW. STFI feels solar water heaters lack encouragement from the government, which should come up with policies to provide level-playing to solar waters as well. Solar panel makers have been offered yet another sop in the context of GST.  Solar panel equipment will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 percent under the GST regime, as against the initially proposed 18 percent. Solar water heater and system, renewable energy devices and spare parts for their manufacture, bio-gas plant, solar power-based devices, solar power generating system and windmills and wind-operated electricity generator will attract a 5 percent tax rate.

West Bengal is going solar this time to run generators that will pump water to a reservoir uphill in Purulia’s Ayodhya Hills during off peak hours, 10 years after the successful installation of Purulia Pumped Storage Project. The state power department will set up a 1,000 MW solar-hydro power project when the existing project is a thermal-hydro mix. The proposal was cleared in the state cabinet meeting. The purpose of this multifunction power plant is to pave the way for energy generation without fossil carriers, a first of its kind in the country, when Bengal has a lopsided 96:4 thermal-hydro ratio in power generation. The objective is to use the afternoon sunlight to run turbines to lift stored water from a reservoir at a lower altitude in Ayodhya Hills to a reservoir on the upper side during off-peak hours that can help meeting the peak demand. Planned to be installed within 81 months, the second project is being funded by the JICA. The generated energy will be wheeled to the power grid to meet the peak demand.

Obscured somewhat by developments in the solar space, wind energy in India has experienced steady development in the last 7-8 years as the government plans a major ‘green corridor’ project to transport surplus renewable energy to deficient states. MNRE held a successful tender for 1 GW of wind power for inter-state sale last year.  Three main challenges in wind energy were forecasting, transmission and the competitive bidding framework for trade. A scheme for auction of wind power projects of 1,000 MW capacity that will kick off soon. The scheme is open for all obligated entities purchasing wind power for compliance of their non-solar RPO. SECI will sign Power Purchase Agreements with selected wind developers and back-to-back Power Sale Agreements with buying utilities. According to the memorandum of agreement, the distribution utilities of Uttar Pradesh will buy 449.9 MW electricity, Bihar 200 MW, Jharkhand 200 MW, Delhi 100 MW, Assam 50 MW and Odisha will buy 50 MW of wind power for meeting their non-solar RPO.

India has been placed in the second spot in the renewable energy country attractiveness index by EY. Over 10 GW of solar power was added between 2015 and 2017 and wind energy capacity grew to 5.4 GW in FY18.  EY said falling bids tracked lower technology costs and cheaper capital, allowing developers to maintain margins. But those margins were already squeezed by competition. In the medium term, as renewable energy penetration increases, the government will also have to ensure the grid can manage intermittent renewable energy. EY said the cost and availability of energy storage technology could dictate how close India would get to its renewables targets. The Centre’s proposed compensation mechanism for existing renewable energy projects will protect the cash flows to an extent from grid curtailments and will also ensure a favourable operational environment for renewables, Ind-Ra said. Historically, PPAs signed for renewable energy projects have failed to address the grid issues and lacked a mechanism to compensate for energy loss. According to Ind-Ra, the annual debt service coverage ratio slips by 0.12 times for 10 percent of energy curtailment and the 50 percent proposed compensation at PPA tariff will restrict the fall by half at 0.06 percent. The compensation will also incentivise grid operators and distribution utilities to reduce curtailments and benefit renewable energy developers in scheduling and forecasting and enable integration of increasing renewable energy capacity. In FY17, grid curtailment was prevalent for wind projects in Rajasthan (up to even 45 percent energy curtailed compared to 90 percent of plant load factor) and solar projects in Tamil Nadu.

India’s decision to cancel nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power stations coupled with a record low solar tariff are the strongest indications that the country’s energy transformation is gaining rapid momentum, the Cleveland-based IEEFA said. IEEFA said 13.7 GW of planned coal power projects in India have been cancelled. Experts said India’s rapid shift towards low-carbon economy is a step towards the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that aims to cut greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. The government approved raising of ₹23.6 billion through bonds for renewable energy projects in the current fiscal. The bonds will be raised by the MNRE through IREDA during FY18.

The Bihar government has come up with a new renewable power policy for the state where it looks to set up over 3,400 MW projects based on non-fossil fuel-based resources in the next five years. The policy is likely to spur investments to the tune of 200 billion in energy projects, according to CEED, a non-profit organization. The state’s Cabinet cleared the policy called ‘Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Sources, 2017’ and is likely to notify the same soon. Under the policy, the state government is mulling setting up 2,984 MW capacity based on solar energy, 282 MW on biogas and 200 MW small hydropower plants. Of the total solar capacity, the state plans to set up 1,000 MW rooftop solar projects and 1,00 MW as mini grid projects. Composed of solar modules, a battery bank, and an inverter, a mini-grid system can offer solar power as the primary power source and later switch to alternative power sources when solar power is insufficient for meeting demand. The renewable energy capacity addition of Bihar is in line with central government’s plan to have capacity of 175 GW built on alternative sources of energy by 2022. Of this 175 GW, the government plans to add 100 GW solar power capacity, 60 GW wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro projects. CEED said the provisions to de-risk private sector investment in mini-grid projects are also included in the policy given the fact that remote areas of Bihar possess huge potential for mini-grids and it is important to tap those potential with suitable investment climate. Held up for nearly a decade with several glitches, the ball has set rolling for the Parwan Dam project in Baran district. The dam once constructed is likely to benefit the people of Baran, Jhalawar and the entire Kota division with drinking water for over 820 villages and irrigation water for over a 100,000 ha agricultural land. The project was embroiled in several controversies regarding displacement of tribals, the forests land getting submerged and most important the project being brought in only to benefit two thermal power projects. Work on a mega drinking and irrigation project, held up for a decade for want of integration of various design and contractual obligations, is likely to be completed in 48 months, the company said. The dam to be built 120 km from Kota town in Akawad village of Jhalawar district was likely to submerge 10,000 ha including more than 1,600 ha of forestland. The MOEF&CC granted environmental clearance to the project in November, 2011. The clearance letter states the dam will completely submerge 17 villages and partially inundate 30 villages, affecting over 3,000 families including 461 tribal families. The 100 MW Sainj Hydroelectric Project being constructed by HPPCL in Kullu district would be commissioned partially this month. The ₹ 8 billion hydro project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, will generate 322 million units per annum. The state is expected to earn revenue of ₹ one billion by selling electricity from it, HPPCL said. The first unit of the project will start generation by May 20 and the second unit by next month, HPPCL said. The mechanical spinning of the first unit of the project was done on April 25, HPPCL said. It has installed capacity of 100 MW with two generating units of 50 MW each. The run-of-the-river project is located on the Sainjriver, a tributary of the Beas. The project comprises a diversion barrage on the river near Niharni village, and an underground powerhouse on the right bank of the river near Suind village. The project has a 6.36-km-long headrace tunnel of 3.85-metre diameter with two Pelton turbines coupled with generating units of 50 MW each. After commissioning the project, the HPPCL said, each family affected by the project will be provided 100 units of electricity per month for a period of 10 years. State’s hydroelectricity generation potential is 27,436 MW, about 25 percent of India’s total potential in the sector. However, only 10,351 MW has been harnessed till December 2016, which is 37.73 percent of the total potential, the state’s Economic Survey 2016-17 said. The second unit of the KNPP was reconnected to the southern power grid. The unit was shut down due to water and steam leakage. KNPP said that the second unit was reconnected to the grid and touched a level of 500 MW during the course of the day. India’s atomic power plant operator, the NPCIL has two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at KNPP built with Russian equipment. The first unit was shut down on April 13, for annual maintenance and refuelling, a process that would take around two months. Every year, one third of the reactor’s 163 fuel assemblies, or 54 assemblies, will be replaced. In a major decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, the union cabinet approved construction of 10 units of indigenous PHWRs. India’s installed nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW from 22 operational plants, and another 6,700 MW is expected to be generated by FY22 through projects under construction. The government had in July 2014 set a target of taking nuclear power capacity to over 14,000 MW by 2024. The move will give manufacturing orders to domestic industry to the tune of nearly ₹ 700 billion and is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment. It would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in the nuclear power sector. It is also linked the government’s clean energy goals and low-carbon growth strategy.

In a bid to make India ‘economically independent’, the home-grown FMCG company, Patanjali Ayuveda, is working on a unique renewable source of energy — Bull Power. Detailed research, conducted over a period of one and a half years, on the idea of generating electricity utilising a bull’s pulling power has yielded initial success. The aim is to prevent the animals from being sent to slaughter. Till now, the design, which involves a turbine, has managed to yield nearly 2.5 kilowatts of power, the report said. Ongoing research at Haridwar, is aimed at finding out how many watts of power could be produced in order to light a household by a farmer. A bullock’s strength goes unutilised after about 90 days’ work in the fields, which can be used to generate power. The energy thus generated can also be easily stored. A detailed cost-benefit analysis will be required to ensure that cost of fodder required by the bull is less than the cost of electricity produced.

Rest of the World

New global solar capacity will continue to grow this year, after lower costs drove it to record levels in 2016, and could surpass 80 GW, Europe’s solar industry forecast. Solar photovoltaic module prices have fallen 80 percent since 2009 as capacity has risen and technologies improved. A record 76.6 GW of new solar capacity was installed and connected to the grid last year, 50 percent up on 2015, solar power association Solar Power Europe said in a report. China connected 34.5 GW of solar to the grid last year, representing nearly half of the world’s new capacity and 128 percent more than in 2015. Although many experts say Chinese solar installations could slow this year, China has already commissioned 7.2 GW in the first quarter, slightly higher than what was installed in the first quarter of last year, the report said. Installed solar photovoltaic capacity increased by a third to 306.5 GW by the end of last year, up from 229.9 GW in 2015. That could increase to 400 GW in 2018, 500 GW in 2019, 600 GW in 2020 and 700 GW in 2021, the report said. The US has launched an investigation into imports of photovoltaic or solar cells, to determine if they pose a threat to American industry, the WTO said. This decision followed a request by Suniva, an American manufacturer of solar cells, the US said in a document sent to the WTO. Photovoltaic cells are used to convert sunlight into electricity, for example in solar panels. If that is found to be the case then a WTO member may restrict imports of a product “temporarily,” the trade body said in its statement.

Three fossil fuel industry groups dropped their attempt to intervene in a court case over climate change this week after failing to reach an agreement on a unified legal position on climate science, court filings show. The API and the NAM, prominent trade groups in the oil and gas industry, along with the AFPM, intervened in a federal case in which a group of teenagers sued the US government for violating their constitutional rights by causing climate change. A lawyer representing the three groups said in a court hearing that they were unable to agree on the causes and effects of human activity and greenhouse gas emissions on the climate, transcripts of the proceedings show. One issue for the industry groups is that laying out in court the scientific findings they accept on climate change could bind them to specific positions in other legal proceedings. Exxon Mobil, for instance, a member of both API and NAM, is battling with attorneys general in Massachusetts and New York who are investigating the company for fraud based on apparent discrepancies between its public stance on global warming and internal documents on climate science. According to the RET 2016 Administrative Report released by the Clean Energy Regulator, Australia is on track to meet its 2020 renewable generation target. The report highlights progress toward the RET, which requires Australia to generate 33 TWh of new renewable generation capacity by 2020, resulting in covering more than 23% of power generation with renewables by 2020.In 2016, renewable power plants generated 18.3 TWh. One-third of the new build required to meet the target of 33 TWh was either fully financed or supported by a power purchase agreement in 2016. Once built, this will increase large-scale generation to more than 23 TWh in 2018. During the year, 98 large-scale renewable power plants were accredited, corresponding to a total capacity of 494 MW. The total capacity of committed projects in 2016 reached 1.35 GW, which should generate more than 3.9 TWh per year.

Thousands of Syrian refugees will be able to light their homes, charge their phones and chill their food by solar power as Jordan’s Azraq camp became the world’s first refugee camp to be powered by renewable energy, the UN refugee agency said. Each family in almost 5,000 shelters in the desert camp will be able to use electricity generated by a solar plant. The Azraq camp, in northern Jordan, is home to 36,000 Syrians refugees who will all be able to rely on solar power by 2018, UNHCR said. The switch to solar power will save the agency $1.5 million per year and function even if funding dries out, UNHCR said. The solar plant – which cost almost €9 million ($10 million) – was funded by the IKEA Foundation, which donated €1 to UNHCR for each lightbulb sold in the furniture chain’s stores. The plant will be connected to the national grid and any surplus electricity generated will be sent back for free.

Iowa’s Republican senator raised concerns that United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry has commissioned a “hastily developed” study of the reliability of the electric grid that appears “geared to undermine” the wind energy industry. In a letter sent to Perry, Senator Chuck Grassley asked a series of questions about the 60-day study he commissioned. Grassley said the results were pre-determined and would show that intermittent energy sources like wind make the grid unstable. Perry ordered the grid study and said Obama-era policies offering incentives for the deployment of renewable energy had come at the expense of energy sources like coal and nuclear. Grassley said Iowa gets 36 percent of its electricity from wind and that its largest utility, MidAmerican Energy Co, is on track to generate 90 percent of its electricity from wind in a few years. Grassley said MidAmerican has the ninth lowest electricity rates in the country. Grassley has been a leading proponent in Congress for the continuation of a wind energy production tax credit. The current credit is due to phase out over the next few years before ending in 2020.

Swiss voters will determine the fate of a law proposing billions of dollars in subsidies for renewable energy, a ban on new nuclear plants and a partial utilities bailout. Polling so far suggests the law will be approved in the binding referendum, but support has slipped. A survey this month by research institute gfs.bern for state broadcaster SRG showed 56 percent of voters backed the law, down from 61 percent. The Swiss initiative mirrors efforts elsewhere in Europe to reduce dependence on nuclear power, partly sparked by Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011. Neighbouring Germany aims to phase out nuclear power by 2022. Nearby Austria banned it decades ago. Debate on Switzerland’s “Energy Strategy 2050” has focused on what customers and taxpayers will pay for the measures and whether a four-fold rise in solar and wind power by 2035, as envisaged in the law, can deliver reliable supplies. Energy Minister Doris Leuthard, whose government proposed the law, dismisses opposition estimates as highly inflated. She said the package would cost the average family 40 francs more a year, based on a higher grid surcharge to fund renewable subsidies. The law will ban building new nuclear plants. Switzerland has five plants, with the first slated to close in 2019. Voters have not set a firm deadline for the rest, allowing them run as long as they meet safety standards.

According to the EIA, the nuclear power capacity in the US could decrease by more than 20 GW between 2018 and 2050, as 9.1 GW of new capacities are expected over this period, while the retirements of 29.9 GW of nuclear capacity are scheduled over the period. Nearly all operational nuclear plants started operation between 1970 and 1990 and would then require a subsequent license renewal before 2050 to operate beyond the 60-year period covered by their original 40-year operating license and the 20-year license extension that nearly 90% of plants currently operating have either already received or have applied for. According to the EIA’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook, only four reactors currently under construction and some uprates at existing plants are projected to come online by 2050.

Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, will start producing nuclear fuel for Chinese power plants in 2019 through a JV set up by the two countries, the Ulba Metallurgical Plant said. The JV, Ulba-FA, is now building on land at the Ulba plant, Kazakhstan’s main uranium processing factory. By contrast, the JV between Kazakh state nuclear company Kazatomprom and China’s CGNPC aims to produce ready-to-use fuel assemblies. It will procure enriched uranium either in China or in Russia. The first stage of the JV will produce about 200 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year using technologies and equipment supplied by France’s Areva. Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that borders China, has no nuclear power plants of its own.

E.ON has partnered with Google to bring the US search giant’s Sunroof tool to Germany. Around seven million buildings are covered by the website, including those in major urban areas like Munich, Berlin, Rhine-Main and the Ruhr. Using this technology, homeowners can easily and precisely determine their home’s potential solar capacity and generate plans for installing a solar system. All they need to do is enter their address online. E.ON, Google and software producer Tetraeder are joining forces to promote the expansion of solar energy in Germany. The Sunroof website brings together technologies like Google Earth & Maps, 3D models, and machine learning in order to answer inquiries as precisely as possible. Sunroof calculates how much sunlight falls on a roof during the course of a year. It takes into account weather data, the position of the sun in different seasons, the area and slope of the roof as well as shadows from surrounding buildings or trees. Then Sunroof “converts” the data on sunlight into energy and calculates the potential cost savings. During the platform’s launch in Germany, “Sunroof” will be available exclusively at Interested homeowners not only can determine their solar potential, they can also assemble a suitable all-in-one package consisting of a photovoltaic module, an Aura battery storage unit and E.ON Solar Cloud. Moreover, with its “Sunshine Guarantee,” E.ON promises that a solar power system will actually produce the returns calculated – and the company provides financial compensation for any shortfall.

Carl Icahn’s big bet on falling prices for biofuels credits generated a rare profit in that area last quarter for the billionaire investor’s refining company CVR Energy. CVR Energy’s refining unit posted a net gain of $6.4 million associated with the credits, a $50 million turnaround from the year-ago period when CVR shelled out $43.1 million, the company said. Such a gain is extremely rare. Normally, independent refiners spend tens of millions of dollars on biofuels credits. But CVR, majority owned by Icahn, delayed the purchase of about $186 million in credits into 2017 and instead sold millions of them. This occurred as the U.S. government weighed an overhaul of its renewable fuels policy. In February, Icahn, an informal advisor to President Donald Trump, delivered a proposal to revamp the program to the White House. Under the RFS program, the government awards credits to firms that blend biofuels like ethanol in their fuel pool and requires firms that don’t, such as CVR, to buy credits from competitors. Icahn has been among the biggest national critics of the program, arguing it puts merchant refiners at the mercy of speculators operating in an opaque market.


 ‘Petrol pumps, gas agencies to be governed by Centre’s law’

June 6, 2017. In a relief to petrol pump and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) gas operators in the state, the Rajasthan High Court has done away with the system of obtaining licenses and renewing these under the state government’s Rajasthan Petroleum Products (Licensing & Control) order of 1990. The petrol pump and LPG gas operators would now be governed by the Centre’s government’s LPG (Regulation of supply and distribution) order of 2000, which provides for monitoring and operation of gas agencies as well as petrol pump. The district supply officer (DSO) will, therefore, have the power of search and seizure over these for any violation of law. The DSOs were governing the gas agencies/petrol pumps under the order of 1990, even though the state government issued a notification on February 22, 2001 to implement the order of 2000. As such, license were not been renewed on the ground that either the location of petrol pumps/gas agencies/godowns was not as per the master plan or conversion of land had not been done. The High Court ruled that petrol pumps/gas agencies/godowns would, however, have to operate in consonance to the judgement in Gulab Kothari case.

Source: The Times of India

Indian basket of crude oils goes below $50 per barrel

June 6, 2017. The Indian basket of crude oils closed below the psychologically important $50 per barrel mark as geopolitical tensions in the West Asia raised market concerns. Crude prices continued on their downward spiral following the OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel’s decision to extend output cuts. According to the data, the Indian basket, comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, closed trade at $48.58 for a barrel of 159 litres. It had previously closed lower at $48.53. While the OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to extend until March 2018 their ongoing oil output cuts, India has reached an understanding with the global oil cartel to establish a joint working group to serve as a forum for “producer-consumer dialogue” to address mutual concerns. Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was present in Vienna at the time of the OPEC meeting that agreed to extend the ouptput cuts, and led the Indian side at the India-OPEC Energy Dialogue. In the talks with OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Indian Oil Minister told OPEC to address concerns of major buyers like India at a time when there were multiple options in a situation of supply glut caused by US (United States) shale oil. Making their fortnightly revision in fuel prices on June 1, state-run oil marketing companies in India raised the price of petrol by Rs 1.23 per litre, and of diesel by 89 paise, excluding state levies. Petrol in Delhi currently costs Rs 66.91 a litre, while diesel costs Rs 55.94.

Source: Business Standard

Aadhaar mandatory for kerosene subsidy

June 4, 2017. The Aadhaar card has now been made mandatory for government subsidy on purchase of kerosene and benefits of Atal Pension Yojana. Those availing kerosene subsidy or contributing for the pension scheme will now be required to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo the enrolment process to get the benefits. The last date to get the Aadhaar or enrolment for getting it will be September 30, in case of Kerosene subsidy. It has been also decided to link the Aadhaar number with the ration card issued to households availing the benefits or with the bank account for cash transfer benefit. The oil ministry has introduced Direct Benefit Transfer through which subsidy is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, who purchase the PDS (Public Distribution System) kerosene at non-subsidised rate.

Source: The Times of India

Petrol price hiked by Rs 1.23 per litre, diesel by 89 paise

June 1, 2017. Petrol price was hiked by Rs 1.23 per litre and diesel by 89 paise a litre in sync with rising international fuel rates. The increase in price, effective midnight tonight, comes on the back of a Rs 2.16 per litre cut in petrol and Rs 2.10 a litre reduction in diesel prices effected from May 16. Petrol price in Delhi will cost Rs 66.91 per litre from June 1 as against Rs 65.32 a litre currently. Similarly, a litre of diesel will be priced at Rs 55.79, as compared to Rs 54.90 at present. Announcing the price hike, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) said the rates have been hiked excluding local state levies or Value Added Tax (VAT) and actual increase will be higher depending on tax rate.

Source: The Times of India

Government’s new policy on EOR contracts can help double India’s oil output

May 31, 2017. The government will formulate a bold new policy this year to bring private capital and technology to substantially increase crude oil production in major oilfields such as Mumbai High that were given to state-run firms Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) without an auction or a production sharing contract. The new policy, in which private companies will be able to bid for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) contracts in line with best global practices, will be announced in the current fiscal year. It is based on Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s decision to regularly monitor each nominated field.  All nomination fields will be covered by the policy but ‘a case-by-case evaluation’ would be made to decide which field can gain from private capital and technology, Pradhan said. If state-run firms can raise output to a certain level using EOR in some fields, those may not be auctioned, he said. EOR techniques, which require heavy investment, are used to extract more crude from depleting fields by using gas, heat or chemical injections to push up oil from difficult traps. Most of India’s producing fields are ageing and can use EOR methods to boost output. Applying EOR techniques is capital-intensive, time-consuming and requires technological knowhow. A state oil firm executive said different fields require different EOR techniques and methods need to be tested in laboratories before being applied to wells. It can take about three years to take a laboratory solution to wells, he said. In recent times, Cairn India has undertaken these techniques with good results. The government has been pushing state firms to use EOR techniques to raise output.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC, partners in talks to buy stake in Russia’s Vankor oilfield

May 31, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and its partners are in talks to buy 49 percent stake in Russia’s Vankor cluster oilfields to consolidate their presence in the energy-rich Arctic region. IOC, Oil India Ltd (OIL) and Bharat PetroResources Ltd (BPRL) is looking at buying a stake in Suzunskoye, Tagulskoye and Lodochnoye fields — collectively known as Vankor Cluster, sources privy to the development said. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is also interested in the fields. OVL may possibly take 26 percent in proportion of the stake it bought in the main Vankor oilfield. OIL-IOC-BPRL may take 23.9 percent stake in line with its holding in the main Vankor field. Last year, OVL first acquired 15 percent stake in Russia’s second biggest oilfield of Vankor for $1.268 billion and then bought another 11 percent for $930 million. The 26 percent stake would give OVL 7.31 million tonnes of oil. The consortium of OIL-IOC-BPRL acquired 23.9 percent stake in the field at a cost of $2.02 billion, giving them 6.56 million tonnes of oil. Besides, the OIL-IOC-BPRL consortium has taken another 29.9 percent stake in a separate Taas-Yuryakh oilfield in East Siberia for $1.12 billion. The investments have taken the total outlay in Russia this year to $5.46 billion. These investments will give India 15.18 million tonnes of oil equivalent. The investment made compares to $28.48 billion investment by Indian companies overseas in the past 50 years, giving it about 10 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

Source: The Economic Times


Assam Gas submits expression of interest for 750 km Barauni-Guwahati natural gas pipeline

June 6, 2017. A 750 kilometre (km) proposed natural gas pipeline will link the Northeast with the national grid to meet increasing fuel needs of households and factories in the region, as part of the Modi government’s plan to expand gas availability and double the gas pipeline network in the next few years. Assam Gas, a state government enterprise, has submitted an expression of interest to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), the downstream regulator, to lay, build and operate the pipeline from Barauni in Bihar to Guwahati via Bongaigaon. It has also proposed to build spur lines to link both the banks of the river Brahmaputra to connect with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Another spur line is proposed to connect to Tripura through Meghalaya and Barak Valley. PNGRB has begun a consultation process and sought views from all stakeholders on the proposed pipeline. The demand for natural gas in its operational area far exceeds the existing supply, Assam Gas said in its proposal, highlighting that it had identified an additional demand of at least 13 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) in Assam. The company currently handles about 5.5 mmscmd of natural gas. The proposed pipeline will have a capacity of 15 mmscmd and will source gas at Barauni from Jagdishpur-Haldia pipeline being built by GAIL (India) Ltd. GAIL is building a 2,620 km gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal, Bokaro in Jharkhand and Dhamra in Odisha. The pipeline will have the capacity to transport 16 mmscmd of gas, which is expected to be received from multiple sources including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from import terminals at Dahej, Dabhol and Dhamra, and coal bed methane field of Reliance Industries in Madhya Pradesh. The proposed pipelines of Assam Gas, GAIL and other companies are expected to significantly enhance the country’s gas pipeline network. The government aims to double the gas pipeline network to 30,000 km in the next few years.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil ministry forms super-board to monitor ONGC, OIL performance

June 5, 2017. The oil ministry has formed all- powerful review committees to monitor performance of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL), and will have power to relinquish any oil and gas field for auctioning to private firms. Being dubbed as super-boards, the committees will be headed by the ministry’s upstream nodal authority DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons), and will review and monitor performance of areas given to ONGC and OIL on nomination basis. The two panels – one each for ONGC and OIL, will review from annual work programme and budget to declaration of a discovery as commercial as also reservoir and production performance, monitoring of development activities and collaborations with other explorers. The order follows ministry’s unhappiness with state explorers particularly on delays in projects linked to output enhancement. It has already ordered a detailed review of board of directors of ONGC for a possible revamp of the functional heads. ONGC produced 86 percent of its 26.13 million tonnes of crude oil in 2016-17 fiscal from fields given to it on nomination basis. Natural gas production from nomination fields accounted for 93 percent of the total output of 25.34 billion cubic meters. The review committee will meet at least once every three months. Field development plans, feasibility reports of commercial discoveries in nomination fields and monitoring of development activities for early monetisation will also fall within the ambit of the committees.

Source: India Today


CIL to offer coking coal to other consumers after meeting PSUs demand

June 6, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) will offer coking coal through auction route to other consumers only after it meets long-term supply commitments of the dry fuel to public sector undertakings (PSUs), including Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). Coking coal will be offered only after meeting long-term commitment of steel plants, including integrated steel plants of SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) and other such consumers taking into account those coal fuel supply pacts, the official said. However, the washed coking coal and steel Grade-II coal can be offered for metallurgical purposes. SAIL is a prime consumer of coking coal as well as a major customer of CIL’s metallurgical coal. Recognising limited availability of metallurgical coal as an ‘disadvantage’ for Indian steel sector, the draft steel policy aims at increasing supply of domestic coking coal to cut dependence on imports by half and a production of 300 million tonnes of the alloy by 2030-31. The National Steel Policy aims at achieving increased domestic availability of washed coking coal so as to reduce import dependence on coking coal by 50 percent by 2030-31. CIL accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production.

Source: The Economic Times

Unbundling of CIL will lead to a competitive market: Panagariya

June 2, 2017. Government think tank NITI Aayog’s Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said unbundling of Coal India Ltd (CIL) will have favourable impact on the sector as it will lead to a competitive market. Panagariya said right now the sector works almost through administrative allocation.

Source: The Economic Times

CIL misses April-May output target by 7 mt

June 1, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) produced 79 million tonnes (mt) of coal in the first two months of the ongoing fiscal, missing the target by 7 mt. CIL which accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal production is eyeing one billion tonnes of output by 2020. The company’s production target in April-May was 86.5 mt, CIL said. CIL produced 40.7 mt of coal in May against the target of 44 mt. CIL produced 38.44 mt of coal in April, falling short of the target of 43.58 mt. The company had missed the annual production target by 44.48 mt against a target of 598.61 mt for 2016-17.

Source: The Economic Times

Adani’s Australia coal mines project back on track after royalty payments deal

May 31, 2017. Adani Enterprises Ltd said that it has reached an agreement with Australia’s Queensland government on royalty payments for its controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project. The royalty arrangement means the project is back on track, the company said. Adani Enterprises will take a final investment decision on the project at its next board meeting.  Adani said that the agreement, which meets its expectations and requirements, shows a strong commitment by the Queensland state government to the project. The company plans to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Queensland, where it has already invested over $3.3 billion. The Carmichael coal mine project, announced in 2010, ran into resistance from environmentalists, resulting in delays of at least three years. The Adani group expects to complete the first phase of the project by 2020-21.

Source: Livemint


Adani Power to consider hiving off Mundra plant

June 6, 2017. The board of Adani Power will meet to consider hiving off its flagship Mundra power station to a new subsidiary in which the Gujarat government entity may take a majority stake. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) — the Gujarat government entity — which buys bulk of the 4,260 MW electricity generated at Mundra – may take 51 percent stake in the new subsidiary. Adani Power had discontinued 1,250 MW power supply to GUVNL in a phased manner, mainly due to the unviability of running its power plant at Mundra on imported coal. Of 2,000 MW power provided by Adani Power to GUVNL under different power purchase agreements (PPAs), 1,250 MW supply was discontinued. The company had told the state government that operating Mundra power plant at the tariff specified in the PPA using imported coal (from Indonesia) was unviable after the Supreme Court disallowed raising power tariffs to compensate for rise in price of coal from Indonesia. Adani Power had entered into a long-term PPA with GUVNL in 2007 for supply of 1,000 MW of electricity at a levelised tariff of Rs 2.35 per unit for a period of 25 years. More supplies were contracted under PPAs signed at different times. It also contracted to sell 1,424 MW of power to Haryana. Mundra plant has a capacity of 4,620 MW, comprising of four units of 330 MW each and 5 units of 660 MW each. The 330 MW units are based on sub critical technology and the 660 MW units are based on supercritical technology.

Source: The Economic Times

Delhi’s power demand hits all-time high

June 5, 2017. As the temperature soars, the Capital’s demand for power broke previous records and reached an all-time country-wide high. Delhi’s peak power demand is also the highest peak power demand recorded in any city in India. The previous record was 6,261 MW recorded on July 1, 2016. To offset this demand, Delhi’s distribution companies (discoms) have signed long-term power purchase agreements and banking arrangements with states. Delhi’s increasing power demand, crossing the 6,300 MW mark, reflects positively on the capital’s distribution and transmission system. On May 15, Delhi’s peak power demand had crossed the 6,000 MW for the first time in 2017 – clocking 6,021 MW at 3.32 pm. This was the highest peak power demand for May 2017. Delhi’s power demand is almost thrice that of Kolkata (around 2,100 MW), over twice of Mumbai (3,700 MW), four times the demand of Chennai (1,500-1,800 MW). Compared with the states, Delhi’s demand alone is nearly four times the demand of Himachal Pradesh (1,500 MW), two-and-a-half times the demand of the seven North-East states taken together (around 2,500 MW) and almost one-and-a-half times the peak power demand of Odisha (around 4,000 MW). Peak power demand in south and west Delhi areas served by BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd reached 2,669 MW during the summers of 2016. This year, demand from there is expected to touch around 2,800 MW. In BSES Yamuna Power Ltd-served areas of east and central Delhi, the peak power demand touched 1,493 MW last year. This year, the demand is expected to touch around 1,600 MW.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Karnataka to end power deficit in a year: Energy Minister

June 5, 2017. Karnataka is on the road to becoming self-sufficient in power by next year. If all goes as per plan, the power-deficient state will also supply electricity to other southern states after meeting its needs. Among the major thermal and solar projects that will be ready for commissioning in the next two years are NTPC’s super-critical thermal power project in Vijayapura’s Kudgi. As the host state, Karnataka will get 50% of the power generated while the rest will be supplied to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala. Energy Minister D K Shiva Kumar said the state will begin to generate 1,000 MW of power by the year-end and another 1,000 MW will be added in 2018. Kumar said Karnataka should have become power self-sufficient by this year but for the inordinate delay in the launching of NTPC and solar projects. Karnataka needs about 220 million units power a day and it’s falling short of 20 to 30 units. Adding 2,400 MW in two years, it will translate to about 48 million units a day, bringing a huge relief.

Source: The Times of India

Summer power consumption dips in Kerala, KSEB baffled

June 4, 2017. In a bid to shed light on the unprecedented negative growth in power consumption recorded during this summer, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has decided to carry out a comprehensive study. While the daily power demand in the state reached 4,004 MW during the peak of the summer in 2016, the same recorded during the 2017 summer was 3,843 MW only. This happened at a time when the board was expecting an average six percent annual growth in power consumption. The fact that the negative growth in power consumption took place during one of the worst summer the state has ever faced has baffled the board. The consumption forecast the board prepares every year plays an importance role in its planning and decisions regarding power purchase and internal generation. If the consumption dip is not a onetime wonder, the long-term power purchase agreement the board had signed with various generators would backfire.

Source: The Times of India

More states coming on board allowing Indian Railways direct procurement of electricity

June 2, 2017. The Indian Railways, which is working on a mega energy saving plan, is looking forward to more states coming on board in allowing Non-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for procurement of electricity directly from a supplier of the transporter’s choice and reducing its dependence on state distribution companies (discoms). This comes following the nod given by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) in 2015 to Indian Railways granting the national transporter the status of deemed distribution licence under the Electricity Act, 2003 bringing railways on a par with discoms. CERC has issued directions to state transmission utilities and state load dispatch centres to facilitate open access to railways on existing transmission network as deemed licensee. Railway Board, Member (Traction), Ghanshyam Singh also said railways expects the governments of West Bengal and Odisha too to come on board soon. As other states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala start allowing direct sourcing of electricity from generators, railways expects total savings of Rs 1,050 crore in the current financial year in our energy bill, he said. The railways expected savings of Rs 3,000 crore accruing as a result of the 2015 CERC order. The national transporter contracted about 500 MW power from Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd in 2015 for consuming it in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand at about Rs 4.70 per unit. Railway Energy Management Railway Energy Management Company Ltd, an arm of Indian Railways, contracted 50 MW power through open tender at Rs 3.69 per unit in its central transmission utility-connected network from Dadri to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in December 2015, according to the railways ministry. The railways, which expects its energy demand to go up to 49 billion units by 2030, currently consumes 18 billion units of electricity annually drawing a bill of around Rs 10,000 crore. The transporter’s power bill stood at Rs 9,200 crore last financial year.

Source: The Economic Times

Power sector lender PFC allays fears on stressed assets

June 2, 2017. Power Finance Corp (PFC) tried to allay fears of rising stressed assets on its books, saying that it was caused by the lender’s decision to apply new central bank rules and not because of any sudden deterioration in asset quality. The company will expand into refinancing and launch special financial packages for power transmission projects won through competitive bidding. The state-run company, the largest financier of the power sector, posted a net loss for the fourth quarter and a sharp drop in fiscal 2017 profit as it made a huge retroactive provision against the stressed assets. PFC has been applying the guidelines spelt by the power ministry for treatment of loans sanctioned to electricity generation projects before April 2015

Source: The Economic Times


Solar cell firms seek anti-dumping duty on imports from 3 nations

June 6, 2017. The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) has sought the imposition of an anti-dumping duty on imported solar equipment products. In its petition to the Directorate of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties, the association said solar cell and equipment imports from China, Malaysia and Taiwan are hurting the domestic industry. A decision on this is expected in three months. The association has proposed a 12-month period of investigation up to March 2017. According to industry watchers, in May 2016, there was a difference of up to ₹ 65 lakh per MW between domestically sourced, produced panels and imported ones. The price difference has risen since. ISMA noted that almost 81 percent of the market share has been held by dumped imports during the period proposed for investigation.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Manipal University goes greener with latest PV power generation plant

June 6, 2017. Manipal University added another green energy cover to existing rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation plant at indoor sports complex. Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd, inaugurated the 119 kilowatts peak solar rooftop PV plant at the indoor sports complex. With this, the university now has eight buildings with rooftop solar plants and helped the university achieve 55% of energy-demand from a green source. It may be mentioned here that Manipal University is ranked the second green campus in India.

Source: The Times of India

SoftBank’s India solar ambitions may gain from Modi’s EV push

June 5, 2017. SoftBank Group is in talks with the Indian government to facilitate the use of renewable energy like solar to charge electric vehicles (EV) in the country. India is considering electrifying all its vehicles over the next 15 years, a plan that could boost SoftBank’s solar ambitions in the country if the government adopts renewable energy to charge the vehicles. SoftBank, which has said it will invest up to $20 billion along with Foxconn Technology and Bharti Enterprises in solar projects in India, estimates the electrification drive could create a requirement for over 150 GW of additional power. India has an ambitious target to generate 100 GW of solar power by 2022 and while President Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change, India is sticking to its renewable energy commitments. SoftBank is also one of the biggest investors in ride-hailing firm Ola, which is preparing for a large-scale rollout of electric vehicles by next year and in May launched its first trial project to test viability. In a few years when the number of electric vehicles and charging stations is significant there may be need for dedicated solar plants to supply energy for transportation, Manoj Kohli, executive chairman of SB Energy, SoftBank’s solar business, said. In a strategic shift, India’s most influential government think-tank, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unveiled a policy blueprint last month aimed at electrifying all vehicles in the country by 2032. The blueprint, designed to help India reduce emissions and cut its oil import bill, suggests lower taxes and loan interest rates for electric fleet taxis like Ola while capping sales of petrol and diesel models. SB Energy has held discussions with government officials on ways in which countries in Europe and the United States are using solar power to charge electric vehicles and the potential solutions for India, Kohli said.

Source: Reuters

Bengaluru leads as green city

June 5, 2017. Bengaluru has been ranked as the top green city and environmentally responsible city owing to the spike in demand for solar as well as garden products, a survey, led by retail giant, has showed. The survey found the demand for solar power products such as solar lights, inverters, power banks and torches, grew nearly 400 percent year-on-year with over 55 percent of the demand coming in from the tier-II and tier-III cities. Increased demand has also been witnessed from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Further, the demand for garden products such as seeds, plants, garden tools, pots and planters, also witnessed a growth of nearly 300 percent year on year, with tier-II and tier-III cities contributing to over 55 percent to the demand. Increased awareness and consciousness about the urgent need to reduce our carbon footprint is becoming an important factor driving this demand surge, the survey noted. While solar lamps and lanterns are the top selling products with over 60 percent demand in the solar power category, seeds and fertilisers are the top selling products in the Garden category, with over four times growth year-on-year, followed by plant containers and watering equipment that have seen three times growth over the last year. New concepts like hydroponics, organic gardening, home composting, air purifying plants and drip irrigation are also witnessing an uptake among customers across the country, the survey revealed.

Source: Business Standard

Solar energy boom turns to bust for Indian manufacturers

June 5, 2017. Some of India’s biggest solar equipment makers are facing financial collapse, priced out by Chinese competitors as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government prioritizes cheap power over local manufacturing despite his ‘Make in India’ push. Though President Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris accord on climate change, India is sticking to its huge renewable energy program. That has created a multi-billion-dollar market for Chinese solar product makers, who are facing an overcapacity at home and steep duties in Europe. India’s solar power generation capacity has already more than tripled in three years to over 12 GW as Modi targets raising energy generation from all renewable sources to 175 GW by 2022. Chinese companies have gained the most from that increase, accounting for around 85 percent of India’s solar module demand and earning around $2 billion, according to industry data. The total annual market could jump to more than $10 billion in the next few years going by the government’s capacity targets. Local companies such as Jupiter Solar, Indosolar Ltd and Moser Baer India Ltd, however, are struggling to win contracts. Indian solar power plant developers – including companies backed by Japan’s Softbank and Goldman Sachs – are quoting ever-lower tariffs in auctions to win big projects, encouraged by steep drop in Chinese solar equipment prices. That is squeezing out Indian cell and module makers, many of which have inferior technology, depend on imports of raw materials, have limited access to cheap loans and operate below capacity. India’s promise, and need, as a market for solar is obvious. It is one of the lowest per-capita consumers of electricity in the world and more than 200 million of its people are still not connected to the grid, making it crucial for the government to aggressively push for cheap power. Indian companies produced an estimated 1.33 GW of modules last year out of the total capacity of 5.29 GW, according to Bridge to India. Total consumption of modules – 60 percent of a solar project’s cost – was around 4 GW.

Source: Reuters

Government schools in Chandigarh lead in sun-charging the grid

June 5, 2017. Government schools in Chandigarh are leading the charge when it comes to generating solar power. With 64 schools in the city having rooftop solar plants, the annual power generation at these buildings is 32.6 lakh kilowatt -equal to reducing 226 metric tonnes of CO2 during the same time, or planting 2.44 lakh trees in a year. But that’s not all. This form of renewable energy has also been saving money for them, and that too in lakhs. In some schools, solar plants have installed either under net metering or under gross metering. Under net metering, solar energy generated is first consumed locally in the respective building loads and the excess, if any, is exported to the grid. In gross, all electricity generated goes to the grid and school doesn’t use it. Schools get paid for all units they send to the grid. All Government Schools have modern concrete and multi-storied buildings in Chandigarh, with sufficient rooftop space for solar power generation. Including the 64 schools, there are 159 solar plants installed at government buildings in Chandigarh.

Source: The Times of India

NWR turns innovative, plans energy from plastic

June 5, 2017. The authorities of North Western Railways (NWR) have drawn up an innovative plan to generate energy from plastic bottles and cups that are disposed of at the Jaipur junction every day. The NWR would set-up a waste-to-energy plant that would generate energy from the plastic waste. The capacity of the plant will be 5 ton MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) per day. Chief public relations officer of NWR. The new plant would use recycled water to clean platforms and help railways save ground water for non-drinking purposes. NWR has become leading player in the nation for using solar panels on trains to generate energy for coaches. NWR said that if the test run yields successful results, then the same model will be replicated on the trains too.

Source: The Times of India

One-year ban for 71 solar panel companies

June 5, 2017. The government has barred 71 firms from rooftop solar projects for a year by removing them from the panel that makes them eligible to bid. These include Amra Raja Electronics Ltd, Cleantech Synergy, Hollandia Power Solutions, IL&FS Energy Development Co and Jindal Green Technologies. The government has written to the companies saying they had failed to update details of the projects that they had executed. Hero Future Energies said the government probably wants to prune the number of empanelled firms to 100 serious companies from 400. Jindal Green Technologies said plunging tariffs did not make it worthwhile to be in the panel.

Source: The Economic Times

5 percent GST on solar panels may impact costs marginally: Schneider Electric

June 4, 2017. Anurag Garg, Vice-President, Solar & Energy Storage Business, Schneider Electric India, has said the government’s decision to levy 5 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on solar panels as against the earlier classification of 18 percent comes as a major reprieve to the industry. He said the fact that it is still higher than the present effective tax rate of zero will, no doubt, impact project costs marginally. Also, under the new tax regime, solar has been placed at par with coal, which seems to indicate that the country is moving towards grid parity in the true sense.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Indian Railways to reduce emission by 33 percent by 2030

June 4, 2017. Going green, the Indian Railways is stepping up efforts to reduce emission by 33 percent in the next 10-12 years through sustained energy efficiency measures and and maximum use of clean fuel. Promoting low carbon mass transportation system, the Railways will be using 5 percent bio diesel and compressed natural gas/liquefied natural gas for traction while stepping up use of renewables up to 10 percent of its energy needs by 2030. Besides, state-of-the-art energy efficient locomotives and regenerative braking system will be the order of the day for the Railways to reduce emission level considerably. The Indian Railways is 12 times more energy efficient in freight traffic and three times more in passenger traffic compared to roadways. Use of renewable sources of energy will be promoted for which a big target has been set to achieve 1000 MW of solar power and 170 MW of wind power installed capacities. While about 20 MW of solar power plant on roof top has already been commissioned, wind power of 36 MW has been commissioned. In order to reduce carbon footprint, a low carbon growth strategy has been adopted to reduce emission intensity by 33 percent by the year 2030 with 2005 as the base year by improving traction fuel and energy efficiency. On the water front, the national transporter has decided to recycle water and promote rain water harvesting systems and revival of water bodies across the country. The target of tree plantation on rail land is 5 crore trees in the next three years. Railways have also commenced recycling of solid waste and generating energy from it. Fitting bio-toilets in its entire 55,000 strong fleet of coaches by 2019 is another green initiative of the Railways.

Source: The Economic Times

SBI approves 100 MW of rooftop solar projects

June 3, 2017. The State Bank of India (SBI) announced its decision to finance solar rooftop projects worth Rs 400 crore, with private developers, thus aiming to add 100 MW of solar rooftop capacity to the grid. To this regard, the SBI availed a loan worth $625 million from the World Bank for on-lending to viable Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar photovoltaic (PV) projects undertaken by PV developers/aggregators and end-users, for installation of rooftop solar systems on the rooftops of commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. Implementation of the program by the SBI will support the installation of more than 600 MW of rooftop solar capacity. With the World Bank-funded capacity development program, the SBI aims to expand and incentivise the market for rooftop solar power by way of low cost financing. The World Bank-Clean Technology Fund loan will support a number of solar PV business models, to expand the reach of rooftop PV systems to a variety of customer groups. A range of options available to investors under the SBI Rooftop PV Program will include third-party ownership, leasing, rooftop rental, as well as direct end-user ownership.

Source: The Economic Times

Varanasi, Munich in race to be world’s first clean energy city

June 3, 2017. India aims to make Varanasi the first fully renewable energy powered city in the world, ahead of the German city of Munich, which is working towards reaching the goal by 2025. Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Minister Piyush Goyal has instructed officials to start building the required infrastructure for the project, including the power storage and distribution network. Goyal is back from a four-day visit to the German cities of Berlin, Leipzig and Munich that ended on 1 June. Goyal decided to make Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fully reliant on clean energy before Munich reaches its goal. The project reinforces India’s clean-energy ambitions and sends a strong signal to the rest of the world about its commitment to climate-change goals. The announcement comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change deal, which was agreed to by more than 190 nations, on grounds that it unfairly benefits countries like India and China. Goyal has said that India would stick to its goal of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. At the moment, the country has 12 GW of solar power, over 32 GW of wind power, 4.4 GW of small hydropower and 8 GW of bio-power generation capacity. The minister explored the availability of long-term funding and partnerships in grid balancing and electric vehicle development. Goyal met businesses keen to set up manufacturing units in India and explored the availability of funding from Germany’s KfW Development Bank for developing the rooftop solar power sector in India.

Source: Livemint

High air pollution levels may hit India’s solar power generation plans

June 3, 2017. High pollution levels could play spoilsport in India’s solar power generation plans, experts said. For instance, in the National Capital Region (NCR) centred on Delhi, high pollution levels have hit the efficiency of solar rooftop projects to the extent of 10%, the experts said. Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world. The World Health Organization ranked Delhi as the most polluted city in the world in 2014. In 2016, it ranked 11. The loss on account of pollution assumes significance as the average efficiency of a solar panel is usually only around 16-22% of total capacity. Experts said solar power generation is impacted by the dimming effect, a phenomenon wherein the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface decreases due to the presence of pollutants in the air that absorb solar radiation and reflect it back into space. The annual mean of particulate matter (PM) under 2.5 micrograms found in every cubic metre of air or PM 2.5 in the data released in 2014 for Delhi was 153 ug/m3. It declined to 122 ug/m3 in 2016. Driven by the government’s ambitions for a green economy, India’s solar power generation capacity has more than tripled to over 12,228 MW as of 31 March 2017 from 2,650 MW in May 2014.

Source: Livemint

Assam refinery to process bio fuel from Arunachal bamboo

June 3, 2017. A bio fuel refinery, the first of its kind in India, set up at the Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) in Assam, will soon process bio fuel from bamboo, abundantly found in Arunachal Pradesh, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The Arunachal Pradesh government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NRL for sourcing three lakh tonnes of bamboo per year from the frontier state. The Minister informed that only 5 percent of bamboo resources of the state is used for paper production, while another 5 percent goes in manufacturing of furniture and other building materials.

Source: The Economic Times

India, Russia ink key pact for two nuclear power units in Kudankulam

June 1, 2017. In a big boost for the country’s clean energy requirements, India and Russia signed an agreement for setting up of Units 5 and 6 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin inked five pacts on wide ranging issues like trade, technology and regional cooperation, but the deal to build the last two units of India’s largest nuclear power plant is the highlight of the annual summit. The reactors will be built by India’s Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex. Each of the two units will have a capacity to produce 1,000 MW of power. A document titled ‘A vision for the 21st Century’ issued at the summit said the future of Indian-Russian cooperation holds great promise across a wide spectrum covering nuclear power, nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear science and technology. The growing partnership in the nuclear power sector between India and Russia has opened opportunities for developing advanced nuclear manufacturing capabilities in India in line with India’s “Make In India” initiative, the declaration said. The two countries said that there has been a “steady and demonstrable” achievements in bilateral civil nuclear partnership, including advancing nuclear power projects at the Kudankulam site and transforming it into one of India’s largest energy hubs.

Source: The Times of India

Hydropower generation precedes monsoon

June 1, 2017. Hydropower generation in the country has made a resounding recovery in the current financial year much ahead of monsoon that has just drenched the Southern coast. The overall generation has jumped by 30 percent for month of April compared to same month in the last year as the generation has picked across the country. The increase in generation is buttressed by output in hydro power projects of National Hydro Power Project Ltd and SJVN Ltd that witnessed growth of 31 percent and 102 percent respectively for April compared to the last year. The overall generation in the country had dropped by 17.5 percent in April in 2016-17. This year the rise in hydropower generation much before monsoon signals revival in the output that was marred by scanty rains in the last few years. The hydropower generation has been patchy in the last five years witnessing an increase of 0.77 percent in FY 17 after it dropped by 6% in FY 16 and 4% in FY15 compared to the respective corresponding period.

Source: The Economic Times

IIT Kharagpur researchers develop new technology to manufacture biofuel

May 31, 2017. Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a new technology which will change the way biofuel is manufactured by making the process cheaper, quicker and pollution-free. The ‘soil-to-soil’ manufacturing technology developed at the P K Sinha Centre for bio-energy at IIT-KGP is in the process of being patented, IIT-KGP said. The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ had set the target at 20 percent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017. With the government expecting bio-fuel business in India to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2022 this new green technology with lesser manufacturing cost and time can become a game changer. The green leafy part of corn and sugarcane plants, the waste part of paddy straw, bamboo, banana plant, pineapple and cotton plants, kans grass (kassh phool), castor plant and even non-edible weeds that grow in dry and waste land and a mix of all has been used by IIT-KGP to produce biofuel.

Source: The Economic Times

Goa government urges industries to adopt solar energy

May 31, 2017. In a bit to promote solar power generation in Goa, the state government urged industrial estates to adopt solar power technology, which would help bring down costs for industrialists. Speaking at the Verna industrial estate state secretary for power Sanjay Goyal presented the salient features of the Goa State Solar Policy while urging industrialists to take benefit of the Goa state solar policy. Industrialists were given a detailed presentation on technical and commercial aspects of the solar installations and their maintenance. The state government has joined hands with Goa Chamber of commerce and industry to convince the private sector to take up solar energy.

Source: The Times of India

India to be first in world to run all government ports on green energy

May 31, 2017. All 12 major domestic ports will soon switch to renewable energy to meet their entire power requirements, making India the first country to have all government-owned ports running on solar and wind energy. The government plans to install almost 200 MW solar and wind power generation capacity at the ports by 2019. Almost 150 MW of this will be solar power and 50 MW wind power generation capacity. The capacity could be ramped up to 500 MW in the next few years. A high-level conference attended by shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, top officials and chairmen of several port trusts was held at JNPT in Mumbai to discuss the road map of implementing the green ports project. The government has decided to meet the power requirements of smart port industrial cities coming up at Kandla Port and Paradip Port to be met though green renewable power sources. The wind energy projects will be executed at three major ports – Kandla, VO Chidambaranar Port and Kamarajar Port. The total capacity of the wind energy projects is estimated to be 70 MW. A total of 7 MW of solar projects has already been commissioned at Vishakhapatnam Port, Kolkata Port, New Mangalore Port, VO Chidambaranar Port and Mumbai Port. The remaining solar power projects will be commissioned in phases and are expected to be completed by 2019. These projects are part of the green port initiative launched by the shipping ministry.

Source: The Economic Times

French company Engie likely to invest Rs 65 bn in solar energy in India

May 31, 2017. Engie, the French power giant with a global installed capacity of 115.3 GW across all forms of energy, expects to invest a minimum of $1 billion (Rs 6,500 crore) in the solar segment in India over the next five years. But it all depends upon whether the projects on offer suit the company that reported 66.6 billion euro of revenue in 2016. In March this year, Engie, through subsidiary SolaireDirect, won a 250 MW solar project in an NTPC-conducted auction at the Kadapa Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh, bidding a tariff of Rs 3.15 per kWh. In January 2016, it had won 140 MW at another NTPC auction at the Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan. Engie is also an investor in Petronet LNG, which owns India’s first LNG terminal, and in the Kakinada LNG project. In renewable energy, Engie has so far confined itself to solar in India, but is keen to diversify. In 2015, Engie decided to get out of conventional energy altogether and has been selling off all such assets worldwide. In India, it sold its majority stake in Meenakshi Energy, which runs coal-fired thermal plants in Andhra Pradesh. French companies are taking increasing interest in India’s renewable sector, with Engie’s main rival EDF also pledging to set up 2,000 MW in India at a cost of $2 billion

Source: The Economic Times


Venezuelan refinery reels as PDVSA ships light oil to Cuba, Curacao

June 6, 2017. Venezuela’s 187,000 barrel per day Puerto la Cruz refinery is running at 16 percent of capacity, mainly due to a lack of light oil as state-run PDVSA ships a portion of its Mesa 30 crude to Cuba and Curacao, according to internal trade reports and workers. PDVSA in March resumed exports of Mesa 30 to Cuba after an eight-month pause. It has shipped between 850,000 barrels and 1.4 million barrels per month to the Caribbean island since then, documents show. Mesa 30 – one of Venezuela’s lightest crudes – is used by PDVSA and its partners to dilute the extra heavy oil produced in the vast Orinoco Belt and to feed several domestic refineries. But with its oil output falling, the company is struggling to satisfy its domestic network and its foreign clients. The refinery is producing about 29,500 bpd of gasoline, diesel and residual fuels. Venezuela’s refining network has been running at historic lows this quarter, causing intermittent gasoline shortages in the OPEC-member country and in Cuba. Only PDVSA’s smallest refinery, the 146,000 bpd El Palito, has increased output since April.

Source: Reuters

Platts restricts Qatari-loading crude in pricing process

June 6, 2017. Oil pricing agency S&P Global Platts said it will not automatically include Qatari-loading crude in its Middle East benchmark after Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states cut ties with Doha, a move that disrupted traditional shipping routes. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain said they would sever all ties including transport links with Qatar, escalating past diplomatic disagreements. Platts’ move is unlikely to have a significant impact on the broader oil market because Qatar is one of the smaller producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Platts said it would continue to assess and publish independent values for other Qatari-loading crudes during the review. It said that the process would not immediately impact existing nominations for cargoes loading in June and July against trades previously reported in the Platts pricing process, known as the market-on-close.

Source: Reuters

US EIA cuts 2017 world oil demand growth forecast

June 6, 2017. The United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) cut its 2017 world oil demand growth forecast by 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.54 million bpd. In its monthly forecast, the agency cut its oil demand growth estimate for 2018 by 10,000 bpd to 1.62 million bpd.

Source: Reuters

South Sudan to almost double crude output by December: Petroleum Minister

June 5, 2017. South Sudan expects to drill 30 new wells this year and almost double the current oil output to 200,000 barrels a day, Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said. The East African country and world’s newest nation will also resume stalled negotiations with Tullow Oil and Total over Block B1 and B2 after stopping direct talks in April due to “irreconcilable differences”.

Source: Reuters

Big oil, small US towns see new reward in old production technique

June 5, 2017. Amid the frenetic activity of American shale oilfields recovering from a two-year recession sit a handful of oil towns that seemed impervious as many producers went into bankruptcy and the economy around them sank. Occidental Petroleum Corp and a few other oil producers with wells near this town on New Mexico’s border with Texas steadily pumped low-cost oil through the downturn, using a technique that has been heralded worldwide as a way to reduce carbon emissions and boost oil output. Such a move could extend by decades the producing life of hundreds more wells, increasing oil supply which would be a drag on prices. To date, the technique has been employed only at conventional oilfields, rather than on shale deposits. Some firms are studying how to put the technique to work in shale drilling, too. The drilling method harnesses the carbon dioxide produced during the extraction of oil or from power plants, and forces it back into the fields. That boosts the pressure underground and drives more oil to the surface. The technique, one of several so-called enhanced oil recovery (EOR) strategies used to prolong the productive lifespan of oilfields and increase output, underpins around five percent of US (United States) oil output, or about 450,000 barrels per day, according to energy consultancy Advanced Resources International. EOR can help firms to produce between 30 percent and 60 percent of all the oil held in a reservoir. That’s far more than the 10 percent usually recovered from initial traditional drilling, according to the Department of Energy.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s oil price hike to Asia may be self-harming

June 5, 2017. Saudi Arabia’s dilemma is shown quite neatly by its decision to raise crude oil prices for Asian refiners even though the kingdom is steadily surrendering market share in China, its biggest customer. Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, lifted the official selling price (OSP) for its benchmark Arab Light grade to Asian refiners by 60 cents a barrel for July shipments. Arab Light cargoes for July will now be sold at a discount of 25 cents a barrel to the Oman-Dubai crude price, up from a discount of 85 cents for June shipments. Saudi Aramco sets the OSP based on recommendations from customers and after calculating the change in the value of its oil over the past month, based on yields and product prices. The Saudis are leading the efforts to lower output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), a move that aims to drain inventories by enough to lift prices over the longer run.

Source: Reuters

Russia to revise macro forecasts after new oil output cut deal

June 5, 2017. Russia’s economy ministry will revise a set of its macroeconomic forecasts after the recent extension of the global oil output cut agreement, Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev said. Oil prices are expected to fall to $40 per barrel after the expiration of the current oil output deal, Kolychev said. He said that the dependence of the rouble on oil prices was now declining.

Source: Reuters

BP to sign Azerbaijan oilfield extension deal at end of June

May 31, 2017. British oil company BP expects to sign a contract at the end of June extending its production sharing deal for Azerbaijan’s biggest oilfields until 2050, the company’s regional head for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Gary Jones said. The existing deal is due to expire in 2024 and BP-led consortium and Azeri state oil firm SOCAR signed a letter of intent in December to continue developing the giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshly (ACG) offshore fields until 2050. Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said he expected the contract to be signed soon. BP came under fire from Aliyev earlier this decade when the country’s leader criticised the oil firm for lower than promised output levels. Oil output at ACG totalled more than 7.1 million tonnes in the first quarter of this year.

Source: Reuters

World Bank to provide Senegal $29 mn to bolster oil sector

May 31, 2017. The World Bank will provide $29 million to help Senegal as it negotiates oil and gas contracts with producers. Oil firms including BP and Total are developing previously untapped oil and gas fields off Senegal’s Atlantic coast that could bring billions of dollars of profits to the impoverished country in the next decade. It was not immediately clear where the money would go, but the World Bank said it would help the government oversee the oil and gas development and be more transparent in its negotiations.

Source: Reuters


US natural gas output seen up in 2017, but still below 2015 record

June 6, 2017. The United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) said dry natural gas production in 2017 would rise to 73.30 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) from 72.29 bcfd in 2016, according to its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in June. That output projection is down from EIA’s forecast in May of 74.07 bcfd and falls short of the record high 74.14 bcfd produced on average in 2015. EIA also projected US gas consumption would fall to 73.41 bcfd in 2017 from a record 75.12 bcfd in 2016. The 2016 high was the seventh annual demand record in a row. That 2017 consumption projection in the June STEO report was up a bit from EIA’s 73.38-bcfd forecast for the year in its May report.

Source: Reuters

Qatar has no plan to shut Dolphin gas pipeline to UAE despite rift

June 6, 2017. Qatar has no plan to shut the Dolphin pipeline that transports natural gas to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) despite the severing of diplomatic ties between the two Gulf Arab nations. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said they would cut all ties including transport links with Qatar, the world’s top seller of liquefied natural gas (LNG), accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the accusation. Qatar supplies roughly a third of global LNG – natural gas that has been converted into liquid form for export. The pipeline was the first cross-border gas project in the Gulf Arab region. It pumps around 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day to the UAE. Tankers load Qatari crude along with UAE oil as shipping ban eases. The diplomatic dispute has stoked concern that any supply disruption could spill over into global gas markets. Even a partial shutdown would force the UAE to seek replacement LNG supplies. The UAE could cope with Qatar suspending its two to three monthly LNG deliveries by calling on international markets, but Dolphin piped flows are too large to replace fully.

Source: Reuters

BP, Eni deepen blockchain trading in European gas

June 5, 2017. Oil majors BP and Eni are deepening their foray into blockchain technology, starting to run blockchain trades in parallel with their live trading systems, according to developer BTL Group. The energy traders, together with Austria’s Wien Energie, had previously tested BTL’s Interbit blockchain platform over 12 weeks, carrying out trades in European natural gas.

Source: Reuters

Equatorial Guinea sees Fortuna FLNG off-taker decision in August

June 5, 2017. Equatorial Guinea has short-listed Royal Dutch Shell and oil traders Gunvor and Vitol for an off-take agreement at its Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) export terminal and expects to make a final decision by August, its oil ministry said. Fortuna FLNG will be Africa’s first deepwater floating liquefaction facility, with production capacity of 2.2 million tonnes per year and an estimated start-up in 2020. British oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy said it plans to borrow $1.2 billion from Chinese banks to back the development of Fortuna. Earlier Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony and Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil producer, signed a production-sharing contract for offshore block EG-11 with US oil major ExxonMobil, for one of the blocks on offer.

Source: Reuters

BPTT makes 2 ‘significant’ gas discoveries offshore Trinidad

June 2, 2017. BP Trinidad & Tobago (BPTT) has made two ‘significant’ gas discoveries with the Savannah and Macadamia exploration wells, offshore Trinidad, according to the company. The results of these wells have unlocked approximately 2 trillion cubic feet of gas in place ‘to underpin new developments in these areas,’ BPTT said. The Savannah exploration well, which was drilled into an untested fault block east of the Juniper field in water depths of over 500 feet, penetrated hydrocarbon-bearing reservoirs in two main intervals with approximately 650 feet of net pay. Based on the success of the Savannah well, BPTT expects to develop these reservoirs via future tieback to the Juniper platform that is due to come online mid-2017.

Source: Rigzone

Global LNG prices inch lower as Gorgon plant restarts production

June 2, 2017. Asian spot LNG (liquefied natural gas) prices edged lower this week as the early restart of Chevron’s Gorgon production facility in Australia weighed on sentiment, projects offered supply and demand from Japan stayed weak. Spot prices for July delivery LNG-AS were assessed at $5.40 per million British thermal units, down 5 cents from last week. The early restart of Gorgon’s first production line provided an unexpected boost to Asian supplies after operator Chevron initially estimated the outage would last until mid-June. Project stakeholder Exxon Mobil launched a tender to sell one cargo for delivery in the second half of June days before news of the facility’s restart was made public. The various supply tenders from Angola, Nigeria and Australia, which offered June-loading cargoes, came amid muted summer demand from north Asian buyers. Any downside to Asia spot prices could be capped by relatively firm European demand, including in Spain, traders said. Results from the Nigerian and Angolan sell tender are expected to emerge in the coming days, but Asian LNG market participants said it was unlikely that the cargoes would be sold to Asia given the strength in Atlantic prices.

Source: Reuters

Japan’s Mitsui aims to expand LNG trading operation

June 2, 2017. Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd plans to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading operation as demand for the cleaner fuel spurs more spot transactions in Asia. The move comes amid a big shift in the market in Asia, which takes in about 70 percent of global shipments of LNG, with traders and end users increasing their ability to trade in anticipation of a supply influx from Australian and US (United States) projects. Mitsui traded 2.8 million tonnes of LNG in the year ended March 31, but will receive more supplies from next year when the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana starts operations. The Japanese company has signed up to take 4 million tonnes of LNG annually from the project, with some of it tied up in term contracts leaving it with volumes to trade. China currently imported about 26 million tonnes of LNG in 2016, up by a third from a year earlier. The company is also looking for buyers for supplies from an LNG project in Mozambique led by Anadarko in which Mitsui has a stake.

Source: Reuters


China’s Shenhua, Guodian in power asset merger talks

June 5, 2017. Coal giant Shenhua Group Corp Ltd and top-five state power producer China Guodian Corp are in talks to merge some assets. The talks come as the government seeks to streamline state-owned enterprises, including those in the energy sector, by creating huge, globally competitive conglomerates. In the latest merger talks, China’s largest coal miner, Shenhua Group, would take over Guodian unit GD Power Development Co Ltd.

Source: Reuters

Italy’s Enel aims to sell Russia’s Reftinskaya coal power plant in 2017

June 2, 2017. Italy’s Enel has mandated Sberbank to arrange the sale of its Reftinskaya coal power plant in Russia and hopes to do the deal in 2017, Enel Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Francesco Starace said. Enel is one of several foreign firms which bought into the Russian power sector in the last decade when the state monopoly was broken up.

Source: Reuters


Outsized gains for utilities stocks may be short-lived

June 6, 2017. Sharp gains in US (United States) utilities stocks have driven the safe-haven group to expensive levels, leaving doubts about how far the rally can go as equity investors look elsewhere for returns. Utility stocks, with hefty dividends, are among the sectors considered “bond proxies” and have benefited from declines in longer-dated Treasury yields this year. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse have recommended since last year that investors be “underweight” in utilities. The sector includes power and energy companies such as NextEra Energy, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy and offers an overall dividend yield of 3.4 percent. Utilities are trading at a 2 percent premium to the broader market, based on price-to-earnings ratios. Historically, the group has traded at a 7.5 percent discount.

Source: Reuters

EIB lends €300 mn for Nordlink 1.4 GW power line from Germany to Norway

June 5, 2017. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €300 mn loan agreement with Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett for the completion of the 500 kilovolt Nordlink interconnector between Germany and Norway. The construction of the €1.5-2 bn NordLink project, consisting of a bipolar High Voltage Direct Current 1,400 MW subsea interconnector between Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and Tonstad (Norway), started in September 2016. Commercial operations are expected to come onstream in 2019-2020. Germany would then be able to import hydropower surplus from Norway, while Norway would be supplied with German wind and solar surplus.

Source: Enerdata

Brazil’s Eletrobras CEO eyes sale of six distribution units by year-end

June 2, 2017. Brazilian state-run power holding company Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA (Eletrobras) plans to sell six energy distribution companies by early December, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wilson Ferreira Jr. said. Eletrobras is also looking to raise around 5 billion reais ($1.5 billion) from the sale of power generation and transmission assets, Ferreira said.

Source: Reuters


Statoil eyes Japan, US for floating wind expansion

June 6, 2017. Norwegian oil company Statoil is targeting Japan and the United States (US) states of California and Hawaii to expand its floating offshore wind turbine business, Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of Statoil’s New Energy Solutions business, said. Statoil will later this year open the world’s first floating wind turbine park off the coast of Scotland, a technology that allows wind energy to be harnessed further out at sea where wind speeds are typically higher. Statoil’s floating wind turbines are anchored in place, unlike other offshore turbines which need to be tethered to a permanent foundation on the seabed that is more expensive to build in deep areas. The turbines for Statoil’s Hywind floating wind park off Scotland will be installed this summer and will be fully operational by the end of the year. Rummelhoff said floating wind farms use the same turbine technology as traditional wind farms, meaning projects could make use of the existing wind power supply chain.

Source: Reuters

Retired military brass urge US to lead world on clean energy

June 6, 2017. The United States (US) must lead in the global transition to clean energy or risk losing influence in South Asia and Africa, a coalition of retired US generals and admirals said in a report. Energy, whether oil and natural gas, or wind and solar power and advanced batteries, is an important part of the economic power Washington has that can influence developing economies, the CNA Military Advisory Board report said. Meanwhile, China and countries in Europe are leading the way in investing in clean energy in Africa and India, where energy demand is expected to grow strongly for decades. The report did not mention the Paris Agreement on climate which President Donald Trump pulled the US out of.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s FRV to sell 100 MW Clare solar plant in Australia

June 5, 2017. Saudi Arabia’s Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has agreed to sell the 100 MW Clare solar plant in Australia to a consortium of Lighthouse Infrastructure and DIF. The solar plant has been developed by FRV and it will continue to provide operations and maintenance services for the solar plant. The company claims that the solar plant has been one of the first large scale projects in the country to have received funding without government subsidy through a power purchase agreement. Presently, the solar plant which is located 35 km southwest of Ayr in northern Queensland, is under construction and it could be completed in the later part of this year. The solar plant will offset about 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Recently, FRV has started the construction of two solar plants Mafraq I and Mafraq II in Jordan.

Source: Energy Business Review

Paris climate agreement irreversible: French President

June 2, 2017. French President Emmanuel Macron said the Paris climate change agreement is irreversible despite US (United States) President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the pact. Macron said that China, Russia and India had confirmed their commitment to the agreement.

Source: Reuters

California to discuss linking carbon market with China

June 2, 2017. California Governor Jerry Brown said he will discuss merging carbon trading markets in his state and China when he travels to Asia, a sign of the governor’s ambition to influence global climate change policy. Brown discussed his plans in a telephone interview after US (Unites States) President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the US from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, a global agreement to fight climate change. The move fulfilled a major Trump campaign pledge, but drew condemnation from US allies and business leaders. California has the largest carbon trading system in the US and has frequently hosted officials from China, which has launched seven pilot regional trading schemes.

Source: Reuters

Investors expect to meet with Exxon on climate

June 2, 2017. Exxon Mobil Corp investors will push to meet with oil company officials this summer to hash out elements of a climate-impact analysis following a shareholder vote calling for studies of technology and climate-related risks to its business. Exxon has said that it will reconsider its opposition to the request, not that it would begin discussions or initiate new studies.

Source: Reuters

Norway’s $960 bn fund wants banks to disclose carbon footprint of loans

June 2, 2017. Norway’s $960 billion sovereign wealth fund will ask the banks in which it has invested to disclose how their lending contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) Chief Executive Officer Yngve Slyngstad said. The world’s largest wealth fund, which is managed by NBIM and invests in stocks, bonds and real estate outside Norway, has in the past measured the carbon footprint of its investments in equities and bonds.

Source: Reuters

OECD’s Gurria holds out hope US may return to Paris climate pact

June 2, 2017. The head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held out hope the United States (US) might row back on President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, saying the pact was good for growth. OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said research by the Paris-based policy forum had found that strong climate action combined with fiscal and other reforms would boost growth.

Source: Reuters

Syria opens its first solar-powered hospital aiming to save more lives

May 31, 2017. After months of testing, a hospital in Syria will have uninterrupted power, charged by solar power in a project designers hope will save lives and can be repeated across the country. Syria’s electrical grid has taken an big hit after six years of a volatile civil war with most the electrical infrastructure bombed, dismantled or destroyed, leaving hospitals relying on diesel generators but at the mercy of fuel shortages. So the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), an international coalition of international medical organisations and NGOs, said it hoped creating the country’s first solar-power hospital would save lives. The France-based UOSSM launched the initiative, “Syria Solar”, with the aim of getting hospitals less dependent on diesel which the organisation says is expensive and not reliable. The first solar hospital – the name and location of which the UOSSM would not release for safety reasons – runs on mixture of a diesel generator and 480 solar panels built near the hospital that link to an energy storage system. If there is a complete fuel outage the solar system can fully power the intensive care unit, operating rooms and emergency departments for up to 24 hours without diesel, which is 20 to 30 percent of the hospital’s energy cost.

Source: Reuters

US carbon emissions seen declining over next decade

May 31, 2017. President Donald Trump will follow through on a campaign pledge to pull the United States (US) out of a global pact to fight climate change. US carbon emissions fell last year to a 24-year-low and are expected to continue declining over the next decade as power companies keep shutting old coal plants to generate more electricity from natural gas and renewables. The US Energy Information Administration projected total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy consumption would fall to 5,135 million metric tons in 2017, down from 5,171 million metric tons in 2016, lowest since 1992.

Source: Reuters


Scenario of Imports of Petcoke and Coal

Million Tonnes

Year Petcoke Coal
2010-11 1.02 68.92
2011-12 1.81 102.85
2012-13 3.34 145.79
2013-14 3.57 166.86
2014-15 5.81 217.78
2015-16 10.04 199.88
2016-17 14.18 164.07*

* for April to January period.

Note: Y-o-Y growth for Coal for 2016-17 is based on April-January period.

Source: Compiled form Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Various Questions of Lok Sabha

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

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