MonitorsPublished on Sep 26, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 15


Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: August – September 2017


The upward trend in imported PV module prices is likely to affect viability of recently awarded solar projects, rating agency ICRA said. The imported PV module price has been rising over the last 3-4 months, up by about 15 percent, to 35-37 cents per watt in August, from about 30-32 cents in May, ICRA said. ICRA also flagged risk of delays along with cost overruns due to disruption in delivery schedule and dishonouring of price terms agreed earlier by Chinese (original equipment manufacturers) OEMs to Indian independent power producers (IPPs). According to ICRA estimates, a 6 cent per watt jump in PV module price will result in an increase of about 11 percent in capital cost and decline in project internal rate of return (IRR).

Chinese solar modules are seeing a hardening of prices for the first time in years, with the average selling price (ASP) going up in India on a quarterly basis, Mercom India said. According to the clean energy communications and consulting firm, this has posed a significant challenge to India’s solar industry. Developers not just in India, but across the world have been modelling their auction bidding strategies based on the assumed perpetual decline of Chinese module prices. The uptick in price has come after a decline of nearly 5 percent in the second quarter of 2017. Short-term fluctuations do not usually make a huge difference, the firm acknowledged, but cautioned that if module prices continue to rise or even stay flat for a couple of quarters, it will start hurting developers who cannot wait indefinitely to procure the lowest priced panel. High Chinese demand generally firmed up module prices in June before feed-in tariff deadline at the end of the month, it said.

India’s MNRE has issued an order for new set of standard specifications for solar PV modules which will come into force after one year from the date of their notification. As per the order, under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act of 1986, any manufacturer who manufactures, stores for sale, sells or distributes solar photovoltaics systems, devices or components will make an application to the bureau for obtaining registration for use of the ‘standard mark’ in respect of the Indian standard.

The domestic solar industry has broadly welcomed the new standards for solar PV modules announced by the government calling it as a positive step to ensure upgradation of quality. The new standards would help significantly in improving the quality of modules manufactured in the country, according to experts. While it is a good step for retail and rural customers who are usually unaware of the quality of the modules they are purchasing, the notification should not become a trade barrier for modules which were already meeting the international standards. New standards issued by the government are at par with the global standards. There could be some cost escalation initially for new solar installations but it will eventually be beneficial as Operational & Maintenance (O&M) costs of solar installations will reduce significantly due to better quality of modules.

Central Delhi could soon be generating up to 20 MW of power on the rooftops. The EESL, a union ministry of power venture, has signed a MoU with the NDMC to install 65,000 solar modules on major buildings located in the areas under the civic body’s jurisdiction. EESL is currently carrying out a field study to assess roof-top solar power generation potential of various institutions before beginning the work of installing the required infrastructure. Based on the findings, the owners of the buildings will be asked to choose between two models. The capital expenditure model will involve the building owners putting in the money and EESL supplying, designing, installing and commissioning the solar set-up. Under the other model, the operational expenditure one, the entire burden, including financing, will be borne by EESL. The buildings that finance the installation of the solar photovoltaic panels will be allowed free use of the power generated, according to the MoU signed by EESL with NDMC. In the second model, where building owners depend on EESL to finance and erect the generation system, the users will be billed a lower power charge of ₹ 3.87/kWh for the use of the energy generated. The company said that EESL would invest ₹ 1.15 billion for rooftop project. Government buildings and private institutions earmarked for the project include Andhra Bhawan, Chhattisgarh Bhawan, Gujarat Bhawan, Hyderabad House, Nirman Bhawan, Maharashtra Bhawan, Mizoram Bhawan and Jeevan Bharti Building. EESL expects to finish the work by the end of the year. The rooftop panels are expected to have a cumulative capacity for 20 MW of solar power, or an annual 30 million units of power.

As per reports poor quality Chinese solar modules, rejected by developers, are being sold in the domestic market at a discount. With their project deadlines approaching, some Indian developers have taken recourse to this route to meet cost pressures and timelines. Modules account for nearly 60% of a solar power project’s total cost. With the average efficiency of a solar panel usually only 16-22%, any sub-standard quality will impact generation. India is also conducting an anti-dumping investigation on solar equipment from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Major Chinese solar module manufacturers include Trina Solar Ltd, Jinko Solar, JA Solar Holdings, ET Solar, Chint Solar and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. Experts said that the quality of imported modules in India has always been suspect.

Experts said air pollution is diminishing India’s capacity to harness power from the sun, undermining billions being invested in renewables as the energy-hungry giant emerges as a solar superpower. New research has found the smog and dust that sickens millions across India every year is also sapping solar power generation by more than 25 percent, far beyond levels previously thought. In the first study of its kind, US and Indian scientists measured how manmade particles floating in the air and deposited as grime on solar panels combined to seriously impair sunlight from converting to energy. This interference causes steep drops in power generation, they found. At present levels in India, it could amount to roughly 3,900 MW of lost energy, six times the capacity of its largest solar farm, a gigantic field of 2.5 million panels. India, the world’s third-largest polluter, is banking on solar to electrify homes for hundreds of millions of its poorest citizens without adding to its sizeable carbon footprint. At the Paris climate summit in 2015, India pledged cuts to its future emissions and vowed to source at least 40 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, a target it is well on track to exceed. Dust has long been a menace for solar projects in desert states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, where robotic wipers are deployed to ensure panels are cleaned after sandstorms. But the new research confirmed what solar installers had long suspected that choking smog from cars, coal plants, crop burning and trash fires was particularly adept at bleeding energy.

India has barred state authorities from unilaterally cancelling or modifying solar PPAs after six state governments in last two months pushed developers to lower tariffs, threatening to derail projects worth $7.5 billion. The capacity has already more than tripled in three years to more than 12 GW. The government said it will impose a minimum penalty of 50 percent of the tariff if the purchase agreement is arbitrarily scrapped by the state or the developer. Over the last four months, debt-laden power distribution companies in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jharkhand were pushing developers to renegotiate signed or previously agreed upon PPAs, risking closure of 7 GW of solar projects, a report from ratings agency CRISIL noted. Indian states and developers had clashed in May after the solar tariff for the 500 MW Bhadla solar power park in the western state of Rajasthan slumped to a record low of ₹ 2.44/kWh for 200 MW. However, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, which accounts for the highest number of solar projects in the country, is not looking to sign new PPAs in the near term.

The MNRE said its guidelines for tariff-based bidding for procuring solar power would reduce risk, enhance transparency and increase affordability. The MNRE had issued the new guidelines for tariff based competitive bidding process on August 3. The guidelines have been issued under the provisions of Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for long term procurement from grid-connected Solar PV Power Projects of 5 MW and above, through competitive bidding. Besides, it said, the move will help protect consumer interests through affordable power. It will also provide standardisation and uniformity in processes and a risk-sharing framework between various stakeholders involved in the solar PV power procurement, it said.

The government has implemented new rules for buying power from grid-linked solar power projects through competitive bidding under the National Solar Mission to improve transparency and standardise auctions. These guidelines, prepared by the MNRE, cover the grid-connected PV power projects with a size of 5 MW and above. The norms provide that the minimum PPA tenure will be 25 years that will help ensure lower tariffs. Besides, unilateral termination or amendment of PPA is not allowed. The new framework also contains provision for force majeure. Now, the PPA would have provisions with regard to force majeure definitions, exclusions, applicability and available relief as per the industry standards.

A June order by the power ministry on inter-state electricity transmission charges could affect DMRC’s plan to buy power from one of the world’s largest solar power project at a single site in Madhya Pradesh, forcing both DMRC and the state government to seek relief from the ministry of new and renewable energy. DMRC may have to bear an additional ₹ 0.91/kWh cost due to inter-state transmission charges and losses from the marque project, thereby increasing the tariff from ₹ 3.30/kWh to ₹ 4.21/kWh from the 750 MW plant at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. The 14 June order of the power ministry limits the waiver of inter-state electricity transmission charges to discoms meeting their renewable purchase obligations. Since DMRC is not a discom, it will have to pay this additional tariff referred to as the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges. The PPAs for the project were inked on 17 April. The record low-winning bids of ₹ 2.97/kWh at Rewa in February marked a turning point for India’s solar power sector with the delivered cost of electricity to DMRC being ₹ 3.30/kWh. The Rewa project is also India’s first solar project to conduct inter-state sale of electricity with its PPA accepted by the union government as a standard model to help achieve lowest electricity tariff rates through competitive bidding.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Generation and Distribution Corp (TANGEDCO) has created a record in selling wind power to other states for 2017. The power utility has so far sold 11.938 million units to various states and has also earned a few millions of rupees from the sale. Apart from selling wind power to other states, Tamil Nadu has also evacuated the maximum amount of renewable energy from wind this year. On an average, nearly 3500 MW to 4000 MW of wind power was used by the distribution company to distribute power. Wind power is generally available from evening to early morning. According to Electricity Act 2003, each state has to meet a percentage of power generated there annually through renewable power like wind and solar.

The MNRE signed an agreement on technical cooperation under the “Indo-German Energy Programme Green Energy Corridors (IGEN-GEC)” with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The two countries began collaboration on the Green Energy Corridors in 2013 following Indo-German Consultations held in Berlin. The MNRE is in the process of implementing the first phase of the Green Energy Corridor. Germany has been supporting India in achieving its goal for sustainable development through bilateral cooperation for almost six decade now.

International Water Management Institute (IWMI) managed to fund a pilot project with a view to promote the use of solar power for irrigation purposes. The project which was initiated in Dhundi village in Anand district some two years ago, with a team of six farmers has now managed to generate 100,000 kWh of power, some 45% of which they use for irrigation purposes. The six farmers formed a cooperative and later adopted using of solar irrigation pump, as part of the project. According to IWMI, the pumps have a unique capability to pool and inject surplus solar power to electricity grid, and therefore, farmers earn ₹ 4.63/kWh. The connection of the pumps to state electricity grid has therefore proven to be a major incentive for the farmers. Till date, these pumps have generated nearly 100,000 kWh of green energy of which 43,897 kWh was used for irrigation. Therefore, the cooperative injected more than 52,000 kWh of green energy into the grid and generated an income of around ₹ 400,000 from sale of surplus solar power.

RIL is considering entering the power-storage business with its partner BP Plc to expand into the country’s growing renewable energy sector. The companies are considering a plan to set up energy-storage projects near solar- and wind-energy installations. A decision on investment and implementation will be taken by December. The push into power storage dovetails with efforts to boost the country’s reliance on renewable power and set it on track to sell only electric cars by 2030. Global oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp are investing in new-energy technologies to improve electricity grids and develop fuels from renewable resources. RIL has been seeking to enter the business since 2009, when it first announced plans for alternative-energy businesses. RIL and BP in June said they were extending their partnership to sell conventional fuels as well as explore opportunities in clean energy. RIL is planning to sell liquefied natural gas at its fuel-retailing outlets and set up charging stations for electric vehicles. LNG and electric-vehicle charging would be an extension of RIL’s current retail fuel business, though the company hasn’t firmed up a business plan as the market is at a nascent stage. India’s solar-power capacity has surged fourfold since December 2014 to about 13 GW. Wind installations reached almost 33 GW from 22.5 GW over the same period.

A Fitch Group Company BMI Research revised upward the non-hydro renewable energy capacity in India to 155 GW from 130 GW by 2026 on the back of higher than expected solar installation and successful wind auctions.  Positive developments in the renewables sector over the last six months, specifically in the wind and solar segments, have led us to upwardly revise our non-hydro renewables capacity forecasts, it said. The BMI Research expects wind capacity to total 35.5 GW by end 2017, up from its previous estimate of just over 31 GW. By 2026, it forecasts the Indian wind capacity to reach 68 GW, a revision from its previous forecast of nearly 54 GW. It has revised its solar forecasts upwards, with solar capacity totalling 19.2 GW by end 2017 and 71.5 GW by 2026. This is from a previous 17 GW and 64.7 GW previously, over the same time period.

Overemphasis on renewable energy would result in reducing viability of coal-fired thermal power plants in India, adding to the massive NPAs of state-run lenders, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian said. The declining viability of thermal power plants and the rising NPAs of state-run banks, which have lent to power companies “seems a double whammy for the government,” he said. For India, which is struggling to provide basic electricity to about 25 percent of its population, coal will provide about 60 percent of the country’s power needs until 2030, he said. India’s total renewable generation capacity has crossed 57 GW, with an increase of 24.5 percent being registered in the last fiscal year. The capacity addition in solar energy last year stood at 81 percent.

The Centre is set to finalise the creation of a ₹ 160 billion hydropower development fund to revive stalled projects in the country. The power ministry was bringing out the policy to revive the sector that has gone “sluggish”. The policy would include a proposal for considering hydropower as renewable energy, he said.

The CERC did not approve the proposal of the IEX to introduce spot trading of renewable energy on its platform. While the IEX expected the mechanism to provide more options to fulfil RPOs of discoms, encourage new capacity addition and address the uncertainties around signing of long term PPAs  and cost recovery issues for renewable energy players, CERC felt that the current market condition is not yet ready for the product. The proposed G-DAM was based on the existing framework in regular day-ahead-market, which is also known as spot-market in market parlance. IEX said that renewable energy traders could trade solar or wind power in regular spot market if bids in G-DAM were partially cleared. Under the scheme, renewable energy sellers would have got equivalent amount of RECs for bids cleared in the spot market. One REC is treated as equivalent to one thousand units of green electricity. CERC said that since there is no substantial data available which can reflect the quantity of surplus renewable power, it is not advisable to introduce this instrument in the power exchange for trading. CERC also said that G-DAM would come in conflict with the existing products such as feed-in tariff and REC. Renewable energy is traded through the REC mechanism in the spot market. It aims to address the mismatch between availability of renewable energy resources in the states and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet their RPO, which mandates that all electricity distribution licensees should purchase or produce a minimum specified quantity of their requirements from renewable energy sources. REC trading is supposed to take place once in a month in the exchange.

Rest of the World

China’s parliament passed a new nuclear safety law aimed at improving regulation in the nuclear power sector as new projects are built across the country. The law will give more powers to the regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), and establish new systems that will improve the disclosure of information on issues like radiation, and prevent or minimise risks from nuclear accidents. China is in the middle of an ambitious reactor building programme aimed at bringing total nuclear capacity to 58 GW by the end of the decade, up from 35 GW now. But weak and opaque governance has long been seen as an industry problem, especially when it comes to determining the precise roles of the government, the military and state-owned nuclear enterprises on issues such as the handling of nuclear materials and the disposal of spent fuel. The new law focused on strengthening China’s nuclear safety regime, and would create “institutional mechanisms” and a “division of labour” among regulators and enterprises to clarify responsibilities for safety.

China has approved a plan to promote the Hualong One nuclear reactor as a single integrated nuclear reactor brand to accelerate its development overseas and to compete with advanced models such as Areva’s EPR or Westinghouse’s AP1000. The CNNC and the CGN have been jointly developing the Hualong One design, while continuing to work separately on their own nuclear reactor design. This variety of reactor brands has delayed the approval of new projects in China and abroad, while China aims to raise its nuclear capacity to 200 GW by 2030. CNNC and CGN will transfer intellectual property rights to Hualong International, their joint venture created in 2016 and will use integrated technical standards when building Hualong reactors.

Saudi Arabia and China are to cooperate on nuclear energy projects following discussions between the two countries on ways to support the kingdom’s nuclear energy programme. Saudi Arabia has been for years trying to diversify its energy mix so that it can export more of its oil, rather than burning it at power and water desalination plants. It launched a renewable energy programme this year with the announcement of the winning bid for its first utility-scale solar project due in November. In addition to that programme, Riyadh is in the early stages of feasibility and design studies for its first two commercial nuclear reactors, which will total 2.8 GW. China’s leading state nuclear project developer CNNC has now signed a MoU with the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) to promote further existing cooperation between the two sides to explore and assess uranium and thorium resources. Nuclear energy will help Saudi Arabia to develop water desalination plants, of which it is a leading producer.

The price Britain will pay for new offshore wind power has plunged below new nuclear generation for the first time, according to figures from a power auction. The rapidly falling cost of wind power may stoke criticism of the government for promising much higher prices to investors in the long-delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, the first to be built in Britain for more than 20 years. Britain needs to invest in new capacity to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants that are due to close in the 2020s. Renewables, such as wind power and solar, can only meet part of those needs because of their variable supplies determined by the weather and, for now, there are no large scale energy power storage options. Nuclear plants can offer a steady supply, but plans for Hinkley Point C have been beset by delays and rising construction costs. Britain’s subsidy auction for new offshore wind projects awarded contracts between at 74.75 pounds and 57.50 pounds per MWh depending on the delivery date. The eleven renewable energy projects that won contracts are expected to deliver up to 3 GW of new electricity generation capacity from 2021-2023, with the contracts worth up to 176 million a year, the government said.

The Egyptian government has approved contracts for the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant project. The plant is expected to be built with the participation of Rosatom and will consist of four units, each with capacity to produce 1,200 MW of electricity, and take 12 years to complete. The reactors will use Rosatom’s third generation VVER-1200 design. As for the project cost, the total bill is put at $30 bn and the Russian government proposes to lend $25 bn. Egypt is hoping that private investors will cover the shortfall while it will start repaying its loan from Russia in 2029 over 13 years with an interest rate of 3%.

Coal-dependent Poland aims to build its first nuclear power plant by 2029 to reduce carbon emissions. Warsaw announced the project in 2009, but hit numerous delays due to falling power prices and Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, which eroded public support. Last year, the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) revived the plan after it won elections in 2015, and said it aimed to build the plant within ten years. Poland’s state-run firms have been busy building new coal-fuelled power plants.

Southern Company said it would seek to complete two unfinished nuclear reactors in the US state of Georgia despite billions of dollars of cost overruns that pushed the main contractor, Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, into bankruptcy. The project known as Plant Vogtle is the first new US nuclear power plant to be built since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, and completing it would provide hope for a struggling US nuclear industry. Southern said it expected the two reactors to be completed by the end of 2022. The project was initially expected to produce power in 2016.

China’s Trina Solar, the world’s largest maker of photovoltaic panels, is looking to grab a piece of Brazil’s nascent solar power market despite tough economic conditions. Trina opened an office in Brazil this year, aiming to become a major player by focusing on small-scale projects such as those that place solar panels on residential and business rooftops. Trina has ruled out building a plant in Brazil, as some competitors have, preferring to initially import panels from China. Brazil has turned to solar energy later than other countries in Latin America. Heavily dependent on hydropower projects, the country only recently decided to diversify its energy mix by adopting solar-friendly policies. But Brazil’s deepest recession on record, with a total economic contraction of 8 percent for 2015 and 2016, dealt a blow to early solar projects, with some being cancelled outright. Trina’s plan to import all its panels means it cannot tap Brazilian government financing for projects that use locally produced panels.

The EU is likely to reduce the minimum price that Chinese solar panel producers are allowed to sell into Europe after a meeting of trade representatives from EU countries. Chinese solar panel imports have been subject to measures to counter dumping and subsidies since 2013, with an 18-month extension agreed by EU countries earlier this year. Chinese companies that sell below a set minimum prices are subject to import duties. The European Commission has proposed a gradual phasing out of the measures, including a schedule that reduces the minimum import price every three months. The EU and China came close to a trade war in 2013 over EU allegations of dumping by Chinese solar panel exporters.

A bitterly divided US solar power industry descended on Washington to testify before a government panel that has been asked to impose steep tariffs on imported solar panels. The trade case, brought by panel maker Suniva, has created a rift between the sector’s struggling US manufacturers and the much bigger domestic industry that installs and develops solar projects. Suniva filed a petition seeking the tariffs with the International Trade Commission in April, nine days after the company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Suniva, which has been majority owned by Hong Kong-based Shunfeng International Clean Energy since 2015, makes panels in Georgia and Michigan. The company contends that a glut of panels manufactured abroad has depressed prices and made it difficult for American producers to compete. The petition has drawn support from an Oregon-based subsidiary of Germany’s SolarWorld AG. Much of the industry, including the powerful Solar Energy Industries Association trade group, has said tariffs on overseas panels would drive up the price of solar power just as it has become competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal.

US solar installations rose 8 percent in the second quarter as robust utility demand offset a sharp pullback in residential rooftop systems, according to an industry report published. The industry installed 2.39 GW of photovoltaic solar, up from 2.2 GW a year ago, the report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association said. Utility projects accounted for 58 percent of the total. Most new projects for utilities were procured voluntarily rather than because of a need to satisfy government mandates, reflecting the low cost of solar. Voluntary procurement is biggest in the Southeast, though solar is growing most rapidly in the Midwest as utilities see it as a complement to wind farms. The non-residential market soared 31 percent to 437 MW, boosted by development of community solar projects in Minnesota and Massachusetts and corporate and industrial demand in California. Community solar plants provide power to more than one customer but are far smaller than utility-scale plants. In both Massachusetts and California, developers rushed to complete projects under solar incentive programs.

The prospect of China banning fossil fuel-powered vehicles is failing to alarm investors in the oil producers likely to lose out. Shares in the listed units of China’s biggest oil companies, PetroChina Co, Cnooc Ltd and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, barely budged after the government said it’s working on a timetable to end production and sales of vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel and other fossil fuels. By contrast, electric car producers and the companies that supply their components surged. From the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to BP Plc, the world’s biggest oil producers have started to take electric vehicles seriously as a long-term threat to demand. The head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc has warned oil liquids demand could peak in the early 2030s as electrification accelerates.

Argentine biodiesel exports will be priced out of the US market, its leading industry body said, after Washington decided to impose steep duties on imports that it said were unfairly subsidized. The countervailing duties on soy-based Argentina biodiesel could be as much as 64.17 percent, according to the US Commerce Department. Duties of up to 68.28 percent will be imposed on palm oil biodiesel imports from Indonesia. Argentina accounts for two-thirds of U.S. biodiesel imports, which totalled 3.5 billion litres in 2016, according to US government data. Total US biodiesel consumption is about 7.5 billion litres. The Commerce Department’s decision comes after the US National Biodiesel Board (NBB) asked the government in March to impose duties, claiming the imports were below market value and undercutting US biodiesel producers. Argentine biodiesel association Carbio, which represents producers including Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co, denied there were subsidies on the country’s biodiesel exports and called the duties protectionist. Indonesia exported 420,000 kilolitres of biodiesel to the US in 2016, according to data from the country’s biodiesel producers association, jumped from 270,000 kilolitres a year ago.

Tanzania has invited bids to build a 2100 MW hydroelectric plant in a World Heritage site renowned for its animal populations, despite opposition from conservationists to the long-delayed project. It expected construction of the power plant to be completed within three years. The deadline for bids is October 16, which specifies that work must be completed within a period of 36 months, with a maximum mobilisation period of three months. The government did not say how much the project would cost and how it would raise financing. Investors have long complained that a lack of reliable power is an obstacle to doing business in East Africa’s second biggest economy. Tanzania aims to boost power generation capacity to 10,000 MW on the next decade from about 1,500 MW now by using hydropower and some of its vast natural gas and coal reserves.

Saudi Arabia aims to exceed its target to generate 9.5 GW of electricity from renewable energy annually, to highlight its long-term commitment to green energy. The government has said it plans to generate 9.5 GW of electricity from renewable sources a year by 2023 through 60 projects, involving an estimated investment of between $30 billion and $50 billion.

Emissions by 90 largest carbon producers contributed almost half of global surface temperature increase and roughly 30 percent of global sea level rise since 1880, an international study said. They blame 50 investor-owned carbon producers, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Peabody, Shell and Total, for roughly 16 percent of the global average temperature increase from 1880 to 2010, and around 11 percent of the global sea level rise during the same time-frame. The first-of-its-kind study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change links global climate changes to the product-related emissions of specific fossil fuel producers. Focusing on the largest gas, oil and coal producers and cement manufacturers, the study calculated the amount of sea level rise and global temperature increase resulting from the carbon dioxide and methane emissions from their products as well as their extraction and production processes. The study quantified climate change impacts of each company’s carbon and methane emissions during two time periods: 1880 to 2010 and 1980 to 2010. By 1980, investor-owned fossil fuel companies were aware of the threat posed by their products and could have taken steps to reduce their risks and share them with their shareholders and the public.

The study, “The rise in global atmospheric CO2, surface temperature, and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers”, builds on a landmark 2014 study by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute, one of the co-authors of the study published. Heede’s study, which also was published in Climatic Change, determined the quantity of carbon dioxide and methane emissions that resulted from the burning of products sold by the 90 largest investor-and state-owned fossil fuel companies and cement manufacturers. The study led by Ekwurzel found that emissions traced to the 90 largest carbon producers contributed to approximately 57 percent of the observed rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, nearly 50 percent of the rise in global average temperature, and around 30 percent of global sea level rise since 1880.


IOC pays Rs 29.3 bn to Odisha government towards VAT payment of Paradip Refinery

September 19, 2017. Resolving the contentious Paradip refinery tax incentive row between Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and the government of Odisha, IOC made payment of Rs 2,935 crore towards Value Added Tax (VAT) payment for the period between November 2015 and July 2017, the company said. Odisha government, as per the revised tax incentive agreement, agreed upon extending the deferment of VAT on products produced by Paradip Refinery and sold in the state to 15 years from 11 years decided earlier with a cap of Rs 700 crore per year. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the new arrangement will give a big boost to industrial growth in Odisha. IOC in 2004 signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Odisha whereby the state government extended several incentives to the fuel retailer for setting up Paradip Refinery.

Source: The Economic Times

Fuel prices may come down by Diwali: Oil Minister

September 19, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that fuel prices may come down by Diwali, which falls next month. The comments come amid criticism by opposition parties of a sharp rise in oil prices+ after the daily rate revision mechanism was introduced by the government recently. Pradhan said prices of refinery oil went up because production of oil dropped by 13 percent in the United States (US) due to floods. On being asked about margin of the oil companies, he said they are being run by the government. When asked about bringing oil under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Pradhan said that he hoped that it might be brought under the GST.

Source: The Times of India

Government may offer control of ONGC oil fields to private players

September 19, 2017. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) may soon look very different from how it has all these years. Thanks to a host of policy measures India’s largest oil and gas producer and the most profitable company until a few years ago, is set to have fewer upstream assets, lesser control over those fields and significant revenue flowing from refining and fuel sales. The oil ministry is finalising a policy that envisages offering control to private players in several producing fields that were given to ONGC in the past without an auction. Players promising higher production will get majority interest in the so-called nomination fields while ONGC will retain minority interest. Nomination fields, which account for about 85 percent of ONGC’s crude output, are already being supervised by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). A May order resulted in setting up of supervisory panels, comprising three nominees of DGH and two from ONGC, whose orders must be complied with. Last year, the government auctioned ONGC’s 63 small discovered fields which it had not developed. It’s planning to take away another 20 idling fields this year for the next auction. A draft policy issued by DGH last month proposed an exit of ONGC from six fields where the company is not finding it viable to pay the full cess and royalty. The draft proposes taking over of fields by private partners if they agree to bear government dues. But the oil ministry said the measures were needed to raise national oil and gas output that has stagnated for years.

Source: The Economic Times

Maharashtra, Gujarat and UP gained the most from petro taxes

September 18, 2017. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (UP) top the list of states earning the most from Value Added Tax (VAT) on petroleum products, fresh data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), the statistical arm of oil ministry shows. Maharashtra earned Rs 23,160 crore in 2016-2017 followed by Gujarat at Rs 15,958 crore and UP at Rs 15,850 crore in the same year. Collection of VAT on petroleum products contributed to over eight percent of the state governments’ total revenue receipts last financial year and collection of excise duty on petroleum products by the centre contributed to over 24 percent of the centre’s total revenue receipts in the same period, PPAC data indicated. The central government earned around Rs 3,34,534 crore in 2016-2017 from levy of central excise on petroleum products, a growth of 30 percent over Rs 2,58,443 earned in the previous fiscal year 2015-2016. Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh charge the highest VAT on petrol and diesel but fall behind in total VAT collections as compared to states like UP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan due to the higher quantum of Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) sold in the latter states. Andhra Pradesh registered 6,584 thousand metric tonnes (tmt) of POL products sale in 2016-2017 as compared to 15,926 tmt of POL products sold in the same period in Uttar Pradesh. UP earned more than Andhra Pradesh despite its significantly lower VAT on POL products. Similarly, 6,962 tmt of POL products were sold in Madhya Pradesh (MP) in 2016-2017 as compared to 13,285 tmt of POL products sold in the same period in Tamil Nadu (TN).

Source: The Economic Times

IISER Kerala scientists develop wood-pulp balls to clean oil spills

September 18, 2017. IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) Kerala scientists have found an inexpensive and efficient way to clean up marine oil spills by using marble-sized balls made of wood pulp. Marine oil spill is one of the common disasters worldwide, which has long-lasting, negative impacts for economy and the environment. Researchers from IISER in Kerala wanted to look for methods that can both clean the water as well as recover the precious spilt oil. Current methods of cleaning up oil spills include on-site burning, which do not efficiently remove the oil, researchers said. Moreover, there is no way to recover the spilt crude oil. The researchers tested their material on various crude oil varieties from various parts of the world including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. All crude oils were instantaneously absorbed by the material, researchers said.

Source: The Economic Times

Need tax uniformity on petroleum products: Oil Minister

September 17, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he has requested the finance ministry to bring petroleum products under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the interest of consumers. Justifying the move, he said there has to be a “uniform tax mechanism” all over the country. Justifying the daily price mechanism which is in place for petrol and diesel, Pradhan said states are getting 42 percent share in whatever levy is being collected by the Centre and clarified domestic rates are determined by international prices.

Source: The Financial Express

DMK urges PM Modi to withdraw daily revision policy of fuel prices

September 17, 2017. DMK working President M K Stalin urged Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi to withdraw the policy of daily revision of petrol, saying the increase was affecting the people. Stalin, who is the Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly, wanted the oil ministry to take steps to halt the increase in prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas.

Source: The Indian Express

Government taxing poor by raising oil prices: Congress

September 15, 2017. The Congress said the Centre was targeting the poorest of the poor by not reducing the taxes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene and other petroleum products. The principal opposition party said the prices of essential commodities were mounting due to the Centre’s apathy towards the poor. Party spokesperson Ajay Maken said the Centre had been providing “absurd reasons” such as ‘Hurricane Harvey and Irma’ for the increase of petrol and diesel prices. He said the central excise duty was increased 11 times in last three-and-a-half years, resulting in a cumulative rise of 133.47 percent on the price of petrol and 400.86 percent on diesel. He said that while the Consumer Price Index recorded an increase of 3.36 percent in August from a year earlier, the Wholesale Price Index rose to a four-month high to 3.24 percent compared to the year-ago period. He said the Centre earned a windfall of around ₹2.5 lakh crore from the reduced price of crude oil.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Government may quit O&G management panels

September 15, 2017. The oil ministry is considering withdrawing from management committees of oil and gas (O&G) fields, crucial bodies comprising nominees of the ministry, upstream regulator and the contractor, which oversee field development plans, annual work programme and budgets. The government hopes the proposed move would enhance ease of doing upstream business, but industry executives say that the presence of bureaucrats in these committees also has some benefits. The O&G fields auctioned under the previous policy are guided by a production-sharing contract, which provides for a management committee to ensure that the spending proposed and incurred by the operator of the field did not adversely affect the government’s revenue interests. There are about 250 production-sharing contracts operational in the country. For each contract, there’s a management committee comprising one nominee each from the oil ministry, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), and all companies with stake in the field. DGH is the technical arm of the oil ministry and also acts as the upstream regulator.

Source: The Economic Times

India plans larger oil auctions as PM Modi pursues import cuts

September 14, 2017. India will offer larger areas with higher oil and natural gas reserves in the next auction of discovered fields later this year as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to curtail rising crude oil imports. India last year offered 67 small oil and gas fields holding about 625 million barrels of reserves in its first auction in six years allowing new entrants such as drugmakers and engineering companies to try their hand at boosting local production. The government also relaxed rules by allowing pricing freedom for oil and gas and a uniform policy for extraction of all hydrocarbons under a single license to encourage investments. Cairn Oil & Gas is producing more than a quarter of India’s crude oil output through the six blocks it operates in India. Modi, who is targeting a 10 percent cut in oil imports by 2022, has a lot of work ahead. A burgeoning appetite for energy has increased India’s import dependence to 82 percent last year from 76 percent five years ago. The International Energy Agency estimates India will be the fastest-growing oil consumer through 2040. The South Asian nation’s oil imports are estimated to touch $85 billion in the year to March 2018, according to India’s oil ministry. Modi’s cabinet approved spending more than Rs 29 billion ($452 million) for appraising new areas with limited data. The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has created a data bank of the nation’s sedimentary basins and has launched an open-acreage licensing program, that gives explorers the freedom to carve out areas for exploration.

Source: Bloomberg

India’s August Iran oil imports drop to lowest in 18 months

September 14, 2017. India imported 335,400 barrels per day (bpd) oil from Iran in August, the lowest level since February 2016, posting a fall of about 42 percent from a year ago, according to ship tracking data. August imports from Iran were down 19.2 percent compared with July, the data showed, as the world’s third largest oil importer is reducing intake of Iranian oil in retaliation to Tehran’s decision to award a giant gas field to a Russian company. India’s oil imports in August declined 5.3 percent from a year ago to 4.05 million bpd, the data showed. During the month, imports from Latin America and Central Asia including Russia surged from a year ago, making up for reduced purchases from the Middle East and Asia. Purchases from Africa were largely flat, the data showed. Iraq continued to top Indian oil purchases for the fifth month in a row followed by Saudi Arabia, the data showed.

Source: The Economic Times

Petrol, diesel prices at three-year high

September 13, 2017. Petrol and diesel prices have risen to their highest in three years in some cities in the country, following a sharp rise in international rates driven by the hurricane-induced shutdown of refining capacity in the United States (US). Petrol price in Mumbai rose to its highest since August 2014 while diesel prices reached their peak since August 2014 in Kolkata and Chennai. In Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, petrol prices are at their peak since January this year. Since July 1, petrol has climbed Rs 5.18 per litre in Mumbai, and diesel by Rs 5.75 per litre in Kolkata, and Rs 5.71per litre in Chennai. Indian fuel retailers such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum started daily revision of prices of petrol and diesel from the middle of June, replacing the previous practice of fortnightly revision. Companies align local fuel prices with international rates and account for currency fluctuations in daily revision. Daily price changes are small and rarely make it to the headlines and go largely unnoticed. The recent price spike is expected to result in enormous gains for oil companies who while charging higher fuel prices also benefitted from lower crude rates as refinery shutdown in US cut demand for crude oil.

Source: The Times of India


India’s GAIL hires French Total ship to ferry US LNG

September 17, 2017. GAIL (India) Ltd has chartered an LNG (liquefied natural gas) tanker from French major Total SA for three years to haul gas from the United States (US) beginning early 2018. GAIL had through the Shipping Corp of India (SCI) invited bids for hiring four LNG carrying tankers. Some 30 LNG ships were offered, with Total offering the lowest day rate of $44,900 for a ship with 165,000 cubic meters of storage capacity. The French company had chartered the ship till 2029 but due to turmoil in the country, Yemen LNG project was temporarily shut in 2015. GAIL had resorted to short-term chartering after its $7 billion tender for hiring newly build ships fell due to bidders not agreeing to ‘Make in India’ terms. In the tender, GAIL had sought to time-charter nine newly built LNG ships of cargo capacity of 150,000-180,000 cubic metres to ferry LNG it has tied up from Sabine Pass and Cove Point LNG projects in US.

Source: The Economic Times

Lower price of imported gas to benefit Indian companies

September 13, 2017. The southward movement in global gas prices is benefiting consuming nations such as India, with New Delhi succeeding in negotiating better terms for the Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract that supplies the fuel to Petronet LNG. The Gorgon contract involving Exxon Mobil’s output in Australia is the second long-term deal to be repriced after RasGas reworked the pricing formula in 2015 in favour of Indian companies. The new prices provide relief to Petronet LNG, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), GAIL (India) Ltd, and Indian Oil Corp (IOC). India was among the first countries in Asia to rework its longterm gas contacts when Petronet LNG re-negotiated with Qatar’s Rasgas. India consumed about 19 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of gas in the last fiscal, with half the requirement being met by imports. Under the new gas pricing formula, the Gorgon output will cost 13.9 percent of Brent crude as compared with an earlier ratio of 14.5 percent of Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) -an Asian benchmark for gas. If one assumes Brent at $50 a barrel, this means gas prices will come down to $6.95 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) from $7.25. The new prices will include shipping costs, saving Petronet LNG the transportation expenses. Gas pricing with the 14.5 percent JCC ratio has been considered one the most expensive LNG contracts globally. The savings could translate into a decline of $1 per mmBtu in gas prices. For the entire contract period of 20 years, this would mean savings of around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore. The delivered price of Gorgon contract will be nearly equivalent to RasGas contract prices at around $7 per mmBtu.

Source: The Economic Times


CIL allows power companies within 60 km to lift coal beyond their quota

September 19, 2017. In an effort to improve the stock situation at power stations and help increase electricity generation, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has allowed power plants to lift as much coal as they can, even beyond their quota, if they are within 60 kilometre (km) of pitheads and use trucks to transport it. For plants beyond 60 km, CIL has decided to send as much additional coal as possible so that their stocks reach a comfortable position. It has also urged power utilities to stock up adequate quantities to avoid criticality. Rising demand for thermal coal has given CIL an opportunity to liquidate some 33 million tonne of stock lying at its pitheads. Backed by a 20 percent rise in coal supply in August at 34.4 million tonnes, power plants managed to generate 17 percent more against the previous corresponding period. Average rake loading in September 2017 grew 22 percent as CIL has taken it up on a war footing to shore up coal stocks at thermal power stations, raising the rake loading to 197 rakes per day against to 162 rakes in the previous corresponding period. Since September 14, loading is at 215 rakes a day

Source: The Economic Times

Mahanadi Coalfields may face Rs 200 bn penalty on SC order

September 19, 2017. Coal India Ltd subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd can face a penalty of more than Rs 20,000 crore in the wake of a Supreme Court (SC) order that rendered illegal all mineral production in violation of environmental laws. The Odisha government is evaluating the company’s liability after the top court in its August 2 verdict ordered the state to recover the value of all minerals produced without or in excess of caps under environment, forest laws, pollution control rules and mining plans. The SC ruling — in a case filed by social organisation Common Cause against the Union of India and others over violations of iron ore and manganese miners in Odisha — has also prompted the expert appraisal committee of the central environment ministry to defer clearances to coal projects. Odisha directorate of mines has already sent notices to 152 errant lessees, including Orissa Mining Corp, Tata Steel and Aditya Birla company Essel Mining, to recover Rs 17,576.17 crore. The state has time till the end of the year to recover from another 34 lessees the value of ore mined from forest areas without permission. The Odisha government is of the view that the order may apply to coal, chrome and other major minerals. State Mines Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik said his government has sought the state advocate general’s view on what coal and chrome miners owe the government.

Source: The Economic Times

CIL nears coking coal asset acquisition in Australia

September 14, 2017. On the lookout for acquisition of coking coal assets abroad, government-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) is in an advanced stage of talks with an Australian coal mining company based out of Queensland, where it plans to acquire substantial stake. In this regard, CIL had floated a closed tender for empanelled merchant bankers of which PwC and Ernst & Young have shown interest, to carry the transaction forward. For taking the equity stake, CIL will have to commit a minimum purchase of coking coal every year from the Australian company. The proposed agreement includes a technology transfer clause, from which CIL hopes to improvise its own Indian mining operations in open cast mines. Around 30 percent of the 50-60 million tonnes (mt) annual demand for coking coal is met by domestic supply. The rest is catered from import, mainly from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. Estimates suggest that by 2030, the steel sector will be demanding 180 mt of coking coal a year, when steel production is targeted to reach 300 mt. In August last year, CIL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South African government’s African Exploration Mining and Corporation to identify, acquire, explore and develop coal assets, namely, the coking variant, in South Africa. However, the deal got stuck at South Africa’s end.

Source: Business Standard

Hike in coal output saved Rs 259 bn forex in 3 yrs: CIL

September 14, 2017. Hike in coal production in the last three years has helped mining major Coal India Ltd (CIL) save Rs 25,900 crore in foreign exchange, interim Chairman and Managing Director Gopal Singh said. Singh said coal imports accounted for 25 percent of the country’s total consumption in 2015-16, and 23 percent in 2016-17. Coal stock in at least over a dozen thermal power plants in the country turned critical, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission had said in a recent report. Singh emphasised on swift exploitation of domestic fossil fuel reserves in order to meet future demand and reduce imports. Singh said the share of coal in India’s commercial primary energy supply was 55 percent in 2015-16, and is expected to remain high at 48-54 percent, even in 2040. CIL has maintained its projection of one billion tonne coal production target by 2022. The company produced 554.14 million tonne of coal in 2016-17, while coal off-take was 543.32 million tonne during the same period.

Source: The Economic Times


Relief expected for consumers from over 22 percent power tariff hike in UP

September 19, 2017. Power consumers might be in for partial respite as far as the proposed 22.6% hike in power tariff is concerned after Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) reduced its annual revenue requirement (ARR) by around Rs 5,000 crore for financial year 2017-18. The ARR document filed by the UPPCL in August had mentioned revenue requirement of over Rs 70,000 crore. This has now been revised to just over Rs 66,000 crore. The UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), which received the fresh ARR, is learnt to be considering to pass on the benefit to domestic consumers in urban as well as rural areas. UPERC said while the proposed hike in power tariff up to 300 units may not be changed, there could be some relief for those consuming between 301and 500 units. Under the 301-500 unit consumption slab, the UPPCL had suggested an increase from Rs 5.60 unit in 2016-17 to Rs 6.20 unit as per the new ARR. The increase may now be limited to Rs 6 per unit, UPERC said. Rural consumers, however, may be in for more relief with the commission contemplating to lessen the increase in per-unit charge for metered consumers in villages. UPPCL had proposed hike for rural domestic consumers from Rs 2.20 to Rs 3.90 per unit. The raise may now be restricted to Rs 3 only, UPERC said. UPERC Chairman S K Agarwal said the idea is to rationalise the tariff structure so that consumers are spared a tariff shock and at the same time UPPCL does not face financial burden in supply power to consumers. He said that despite reduced ARR by UPPCL, revenue gap to the tune of more than Rs 7,000 crore remains. UP government announced it will double the penalty on consumers caught pilfering electricity. So far, a penalty is slapped on a consumer based on an assessment of power consumption over a period of one year. The penalty assessment will now be based on two years. The decision was taken at a meeting of higher authorities of power department with their counterparts in the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC). He said that the UPERC has decided to change the distribution code to pave way for higher penalty on power consumers. Sources said UPPCL too had petitioned the commission seeking to double the penalty on those engaged in power pilferage. High line losses of around 31% have posed challenge to the state government.

Source: The Economic Times

Karnataka to import 1 GW power

September 19, 2017. Karnataka will buy an additional 1,000 MW of power for eight months as it faces a shortage of power supply from plants designated to the state. The tenders have been won by Sembcorp (400 MW), JSW Energy (300 MW) the Nigrie and the Bina thermal units of Jaiprakash Power Ventures (100 MW each) and Shree Cements (100 MW). The state would buy the power at Rs 4.08 per unit. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission had allowed the state to float two separate tenders of 500 MW for the power procurement, one from power plants based in southern states, and the other from the rest of the country. Recently, State’s Energy Minister DK Shivakumar reportedly said the state expects power demand to rise from around 8,500 MW to 9,500 MW — 10,500 MW in the upcoming festive season. The peak demand of power in Karnataka in September 2016 was 9,500 MW. The state is currently facing a shortage of 3,300 MW from its designated power plants.

Source: The Financial Express

India to be number one in power generation, consumption: Power Minister

September 18, 2017. Power Minister R K Singh said that the Centre proposes to make India the number one country in both generation and consumption of power but set no time-frame to achieve the goal. Pegging India’s power generation at 3.3 lakh MW, he said that out of this, 70,000 MW is generated through renewable energy which the government intends to increase to 1.75 lakh MW. Lauding the Bihar government for doing good work in power sector, he said Bihar has done better than other states in carrying out rural electrification and asked officials to further expedite the works going on various projects in the state. The government has also set a target of providing “24X7 power supply” with a “no power cut” regime, he said while making it clear that this goal is not only confined to Bihar alone but for the entire country. The government has already set a target of carrying out rural electrification by the end of this December, he said while asking all the states to submit list of those villages which have been left out of the rural electrification work as government is committed to complete electrification of these villages by the end of March, 2018. The Centre has provided various funds for carrying out strengthening of distribution network in Bihar, he said. The work on various projects and schemes worth Rs 20,000 crore is already underway in the power sector. To check power pilferage, he advocated installation of “pre-paid meters” that would do away with the problems of meter reading,distributing energy bills and revenue collection.

Source: NDTV

PM should fulfil poll promise of free power to state: Former Maharashtra CM

September 17, 2017. The Prime Minister should fulfil his promise to supply free electricity worth Rs 400 crore to the state that is currently reeling under acute shortage of power, Former Maharashtra Chief Minister (CM) Ashok Chavan said. During an election rally at Tasgaon in Sangli district in 2014, Modi had announced that once the Sardar Sarovar Dam is complete, the state will start getting Rs 400 crore worth of electricity each year. Modi inaugurated the dam and leaders of the Opposition have been reminding the PM about poll promises he made during the state assembly elections. The state Congress president said the state is witnessing power cuts even as the festival of lights — Diwali is nearing. Modi had said in the rally that electricity worth Rs 400 crore will be given every year for free to Maharashtra after the Narmada Hydro Power project is complete. Recently, the state announced that electricity generation has dipped due to coal shortage and so it is forced to impose power cuts. The government also said it is facing a deficit of 2,500 MW to 2,800 MW. At present, rural areas of the state face power cuts that last up to six to eight hours despite the fact that power consumption during the monsoon drops as agriculture pumps are switched off. The total demand for power in the state is around 15,500 MW.

Source: The Times of India

Spot power prices peak at Rs 9 a unit, average price high at Rs 5 on low supply

September 13, 2017. Spot market power prices in India have peaked at Rs 9 per unit, a three-year high, while the average price on India Electricity Exchange also rose to Rs 5 per unit on low electricity supply. The prices are expected to remain high until the warm weather conditions recede. Wind-based generation dropped by 70 percent due to unfavorable weather conditions across states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The hydro generation declined due to less rainfall in southern and western states. Data available with India Energy Exchange showed that the trading volume stood at an all time high of 183 million units, while the prices peaked to Rs 9.2/unit across India for a 15-minute slot. The maximum clearing prices was Rs 7.90 per unit.

Source: The Economic Times


India records highest-ever renewable energy generation

September 19, 2017. The month of June 2017 will go down in the history of India’s energy sector as the period when the nation recorded the highest monthly power generation from renewable energy sources, reinforcing hopes the country is on track to meet its ambitious green energy targets. India generated 10.2 billion units of electricity in June from green energy sources including solar, wind, biomass and small hydro — 26 percent more than 8.1 billion units of renewable energy generated in the same month last year and 17 percent more than 8.6 billion units generated in the previous month (May 2017), research and ratings agency India Ratings said in a report. The report analyses data for monthly renewable power generation for two years between August 2015 and June 2017 drawing the data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the power ministry’s planning wing. Cumulatively, the country’s power generation from renewable sources in the first three months of the current financial year (2017-2018) grew 27 percent to 25.39 billion units as compared to the corresponding period a year ago. India’s total installed solar power generation capacity grew three-fold to 13,652 MW in the last two fiscal years leading to increased generation from solar. The Modi government has set an ambitious target of setting up 175 GW of renewable power capacity by end 2022. This includes 60 GW from wind, 100 GW from solar, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro.

Source: The Economic Times

Kudankulam nuclear power plant’s second 1 GW unit to restart on October 7

September 19, 2017. The second 1,000 MW nuclear power unit at Kudankulam is expected to restart power generation on October 7, the Power System Operation Corp Ltd said. The mega nuclear power plant was shut down on August 4, due to hydrogen concentration in the stator. The unit was earlier expected to restart generation on September 4. India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd has two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at KNPP built with Russian equipment.

Source: The Economic Times

MYSUN and GCL announce partnership for household solar rooftop kits

September 19, 2017. MYSUN, India’s solar rooftop marketplace and GCL System Integration Technology, a group company of Hong Kong-based $20 billion Golden Concord Holdings, announced they have partnered to launch GCL’s G-Home rooftop solar kits tailor-made for the Indian market. The companies said the kits are designed with standardized, modular components that speed up installation, enhance performance and safety, and are built to last. GCL claims it is the world’s largest renewable energy company engaged in manufacturing of solar materials and products and development, construction and operation of new energy projects. The company has presence in the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Source: The Economic Times

Government won’t force makers of petrol, diesel cars out of business: Gadkari

September 19, 2017. Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government has asked automakers to develop vehicles that run on alternative fuels and fuel companies to develop bio-fuels, but doesn’t intend to shut their business even as India pushes the pedal to the metal on its electric vehicle ambitions. The minister earlier this month urged the industry to give up making petrol and diesel cars for vehicles that run on electricity and alternative energy. He had threatened to “bulldoze” his way into implementing the plan to transition India to all-electric mobility. Indian automakers are feeling the pressure of the government’s plans to have only electric vehicles for sale from 2030, as they feel that it does not give them enough time to develop a strategy for the shift in business and produce new models to fit the requirement. Globally, countries and carmakers are using hybrid vehicle as the bridge to arrive at the final vision of electrification, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has an ambitious plan to leapfrog to complete electrification. Gadkari said the government is keen to run vehicles on low-carbon-emitting indigenous fuels which will help reduce dependence on fuel import and also keep emissions on check. The biggest challenge to move to electric mobility is the price of electric vehicle, which continues to be high due to expensive batteries.

Source: The Economic Times

AP aims to increase its green cover to 50 percent by 2029: CM

September 18, 2017. Expressing concern over rise in pollution levels world over, Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister (CM) N Chandrababu Naidu said his government has set a target to increase the green cover to 50 percent by 2029. Naidu advocated the use of renewable energy and said the contribution of renewable energy will be increased to 50 to 60 percent by 2029. At present, the share of renewable energy was around 25 percent. Naidu said nearly five lakh farmers in the state would shift to organic farming. He said that the state will be 100 percent open defecation free by 2018.

Source: The Economic Times

NALCO to tap renewable energy for power requirements

September 17, 2017. National Aluminium Company (NALCO) is betting big on renewable energy resources to meet its rising power requirements. NALCO has commissioned its wind power plants with 50 MW and 50.4 MW capacity in Rajasthan and Maharashtra, respectively, at a cost of Rs 669 crore. The company plans to set up another wind power plant of 50 MW capacity and looking at suitable location in the country. Techno-commercial bids for selection of wind power developer were opened in last December and price bid is in the process of being opened, the company said. The company plans to set up a 20 MW solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh. The project is registered with Madhya Pradesh New & Renewable Energy Department.

Source: The Economic Times

Follow emission norms or pay: NGT

September 16, 2017. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has observed that it may take action against the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) as well as coal-based thermal power plants in case they don’t implement the emission standards set by them for these plants to control pollution. The counsel of the ministry was further asked to ensure compliance of the directions in notification by the thermal plants concerned and file the report within a week when the case is heard again on September 18. In 2015, MoEFCC had set January 1 and December 7, 2017 as deadlines for new and existing coal-based thermal power plants to reduce air pollution emissions and high water consumption by them. The case filed by Dahiya challenged the ministry for the lack of implementation of emission standard norms for coal power plants in May 2016. The notification issued by the ministry had expected these power plants to retrofit their power generating units with pollution control equipment and devices that reduce emission of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and mercury which pose hazards to public health and environment. The notification also seeks steps by these plants to reduce water consumption.

Source: The Times of India

Army looks to tap renewables to supply power to jawans deployed at high altitudes

September 16, 2017. The Army is looking for durable power supply in high altitudes to enhance the living conditions of its personnel. The plan is to have renewable energy in place of fossil fuels that are unreliable and face transportation and maintenance hassles. The project has been placed under the Technology Development Fund scheme and the Army is discussing the project with the industry and subject experts. The scheme envisages funding the industry that can develop technologies or prototypes for potential use with the help of scientists. The first option is fuel cell, which would convert chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a reaction of hydrogen-containing fuel with oxygen or another oxidising agent. To start with, the power to be generated would be pegged at around 5 KW. Solar and wind energy, in abundance at high altitudes, are also under consideration. According to a study report, Ladakh is a region where such renewable energy can be easily harnessed. The region is not connected to the national grid. There are hydel power projects here but freezing of water in winter sees considerable fall in production. Solar power projects are few in number and are unable to meet the peak power demand for 21 military stations in winter. Jawans deployed at altitudes as high as 22,000 feet in the northern and eastern sectors have to deal with sub-zero conditions almost throughout the year. Uninterrupted electricity supply, hence, becomes essential for cooking, heating, boiling water and recharging batteries of communication and surveillance devices. Due to the absence of regular electric, generators are used at present. Apart from the huge amounts of fuel consumption, transporting diesel and kerosene is a logistic challenge and costly proposition. Fuel is often carried by soldiers and mules. Oil pipelines are susceptible to breakages due to landslides and avalanches. Stoves and generators often break down during winters and sending a generator for repairs is a transportation nightmare.

Source: The Economic Times

Closed hydropower plant of NHPC in Darjeeling is back to life

September 15, 2017. After remaining silent for around two months, mainly due to ongoing political unrest, national hydropower giant NHPC’s 160 MW TLDP stage IV in Darjeeling hills of northern West Bengal has come back to life again. One more closed NHPC plant of 132 MW, there TLDP III, is also likely to start producing soon. As per existing system, NHPC sends a ‘schedule’ or report of preparedness to State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC). It keeps track of power demand as well as supply from all sectors. Based upon that, SLDC allocates distribution and coordinates production to maintain proper balance between demand and supply.

Source: The Economic Times

Vikram Solar commissions 80 MW plant in Gujarat

September 15, 2017. Vikram Solar, one of the largest module manufacturers and solar EPC players, has announced the commissioning of an 80 MW (2×40 MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant for Gujarat Industries Power Company in Gujarat. Spread across 385 acres, the plant has 2,50,429 modules and will have a generation capacity of 18,86,000 million units. The project has been developed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Phase II Batch IV Tranche-I Scheme with grid at Gujarat Solar Park, in Charanka. Vikram Solar will provide Operations and Maintenance (O&M) service to the plant for 10 years. By September, the company has commissioned more than 440 MW of ground mounted solar projects across the country. Its annual PV module production capacity stands at 1 GW.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Indo-Japan civil nuclear pact will open a new chapter in cooperation of clean energy: PM Modi

September 15, 2017. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said that the civil nuclear pact between India and Japan would open a new chapter in cooperation in the clean energy sector between both countries. Modi said Indo-Japan ties were not limited to bilateral or regional spheres. The two sides also closely cooperated on key global issues and discussed ways to deepen ties in trade, security and civil nuclear energy. The nuclear cooperation agreement was signed last November during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Tokyo. The deal allows Japan to export nuclear technology to India, making it the first non-NPT signatory to have such a deal with Tokyo.

Source: The Economic Times

Wind companies withdraw High Court plea against Tamil Nadu auction

September 14, 2017. Wind energy developers and equipment manufacturers who moved the Madras High Court to stop Tamil Nadu from holding its wind auction have had second thoughts and withdrawn their petition. The Indian Wind Energy Association had filed the petition after Tamil Nadu Generation & Distribution Co (TANGEDCO) invited bids for 500 MW at the end of May. The developers had contested the holding of the auction when a price of Rs 4.16 per unit had already been set by the state regulator and was valid till April next year.  Tamil Nadu was the first state to put out a wind energy tender after the auction held by the Solar Corp of India Ltd, an arm of the ministry of new and renewable energy, in February. The winning bid at this auction was Rs 3.46 per unit, which was set as the reserve price for the TANGEDCO tender. The petitioners had argued that the wind power tariff set by the Tamil Nadu power regulator was valid up to April 1, 2018, and no auction should be held until then. They also said the ministry had not circulated the final guidelines for conducting wind auctions. The court, however, allowed the auction process to continue pending a verdict.

Source: The Economic Times

Uttarakhand government, Indian Institute of Petroleum to sign MoU for making biofuel soon

September 14, 2017. Uttarakhand government and Indian Institute of Petroleum have agreed in principle to make biofuel and turpentine oil from “Perule” (pine needles). In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is likely to be signed between them soon. Centre for collecting pine needles (Perule) would be set in the state’s eight hilly districts- Almora, Chamoli, Nainital, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Tehri and Uttarkashi. Incentives would be also given to locals engaged for collecting the “Perule”. The government is also under plan to use modern technologies for it. Pine forests cover a major part of the Uttarakhand. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the government also aims to control forest fires during summer with the help of this particular initiative. He said initially about 40 tones pine needles would be required. It would be purchased from the village panchayats. He hoped the initiative would help generate employment also.

Source: The Economic Times

French Ambassador opens solar plant in Uttarakhand

September 13, 2017. A solar power plant commissioned by a French firm with an outlay of €4 million was inaugurated by French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler in a Uttarakhand village. The plant strengths India’s ambitious plans to achieve optimum renewable energy targets. The plant, built by Technique Solaire in Maheshwari village in Haridwar district, would generate 5.5 megawatt peak (MWp), which is the equivalent of the local electricity consumption of 13,500 inhabitants. France actively supports India’s programme for developing renewable energy, which is a key tool in the common combat against climate change. Several French companies are committed to contributing to the development of non-fossil fuel energies in India. JLTM Energy India Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Technique Solaire, was awarded the project, spread over 25 acres, in Maheshwari in October 2015. The company has evolved a model that makes local farmers stakeholders in the project, providing them the added benefit of a yearly income from the plant. With this first success, and the ambition of the Indian government to develop solar energy with a goal of 100 GW by 2022, Technique Solaire intends to develop more than 200 MWp of projects in India in two to three years.

Source: Business Standard

Haryana government to install 1 lakh solar pumps for irrigation

September 13, 2017. The Haryana government has set a target to install one lakh new solar water pumps in the state for irrigation purposes and 25,000 of such pumps would be installed during the next year. A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting of new and renewable energy department, held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The department would initially install 25,000 solar water pumps and gradually increased this number to one lakh. The department had requested the Ministry of New And Renewable Energy (MNRE) for allocation of 20,000 solar pumps to the state for the year 2017-18.

Source: The Times of India


Oryx Midstream to build 354 km long crude oil pipeline in Delaware Basin

September 19, 2017. Quantum Energy Partners-backed Oryx Midstream Services II (Oryx II) plans to construct a new 354 kilometre (km)-long inter-state regional crude oil pipeline system in the Delaware Basin. The pipeline system will initially have a transportation capacity of up to 400,000 barrels per day. It will also have the ability to expand depending on shipper requirements and will cover the US states of California, Nevada, Texas and New Mexico. Construction of the pipeline system is set to commence with immediate effect and will be done in phases. The Oryx II crude oil pipeline system is anticipated to be in full service by 2018 end.

Source: Energy Business Review

US shale output set to rise for 10th consecutive month: EIA

September 19, 2017. US (United States) shale production is set to rise for the 10th month in a row in October, the US government said, spurred by US oil prices rising above the $50 a barrel threshold. Output across seven shale plays is forecasted to rise by nearly 79,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.1 million bpd, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). North Dakota’s Bakken output is set to rise by 7,900 bpd to 1.06 million bpd, the highest since May 2016. In Texas, Eagle Ford oil output is set to fall by 9,000 bpd to 1.27 million bpd, the first monthly decline since April, the EIA said.

Source: Reuters

Russian government approves 2018 hike in fuel excise tax: Finance Minister

September 18, 2017. The Russian government has approved a plan to hike excise tax on fuel by 0.5 rubles ($0.0087) per liter on both January 1 and July 1, 2018, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. He said the tax increase would bring in an additional 40 billion rubles to the state budget next year.

Source: Reuters

China’s Cnooc looks for Gulf of Mexico oil partners

September 15, 2017. Cnooc Ltd is searching for partners to develop oil prospects deep into the Gulf of Mexico as the Chinese giant extends its global reach. After bidding alone for exploration rights in Mexico’s first-ever deep-water auction in 2016, Cnooc is seeking deals known as farmouts, a common type of joint venture where a stake in an oil prospect is exchanged for help with drilling and production. The company has yet to choose partners. China has sought a foothold in crude production everywhere from Africa to Canada as it looks to ensure supplies to its fast-growing economy.

Source: Bloomberg

Venezuela publishes oil prices in Chinese currency to shun US dollar

September 15, 2017. Venezuela published the price of its oil and fuel in Chinese currency in what it called an effort to free the socialist-run country from the “tyranny of the dollar,” echoing a plan recently announced by President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro said his government would shun the dollar after the United States (US) announced sanctions that blocked certain financial dealings with Venezuela on accusations that the ruling Socialist Party is undermining democracy. The global oil industry overwhelmingly uses the dollar for pricing of products.

Source: Reuters

China’s Unipec to ship first VLCC of diesel to Europe from Tianjin

September 15, 2017. Unipec, the trading arm of China’s state-owned Sinopec, is shipping its first very large crude carrier (VLCC) of diesel from China to Europe. The company is loading the vessel with 10 parts per million (ppm) diesel from its refinery in the northern port city of Tianjin, near Beijing, in second-half September to head to the Mediterranean or northwest Europe. It will also match the more stringent winter specifications required by Europe.

Source: Reuters

Global use of liquid fuels to grow by nearly a fifth by 2040: EIA

September 14, 2017. Global use of petroleum and other liquid fuels will grow by nearly a fifth by 2040, driven by the transportation and industrial sectors, the US (United States) government said. Consumption is set to grow from 95 million barrels per day in 2015 to 104 million bpd in 2030 and 113 million bpd in 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s international energy outlook for 2017. That reference case would mean a 19 percent increase between 2015 to 2040. Countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development account for most of the increase, with demand rising by 1.3 percent per year, compared with a slight decrease for those in the group.

Source: Reuters

Kazakhstan to remain part of global oil pact: President

September 14, 2017. Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest oil exporter, will support future efforts to prop up the price of crude, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said. Some of the countries that joined a global pact of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC producers to reduce output have suggested expanding it beyond December 2017 when the deal is set to expire. On a visit to Kazakhstan, Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino said global oil inventories remained too high.

Source: Reuters

Brazil says 17 firms registered to bid for pre-salt oil exploration

September 14, 2017. A total of 17 companies have registered to take part in two rounds of bidding for licenses to explore pre-salt oil areas in Brazil, Oil and Gas Secretary Marcio Felix said. The auctions next month include some of the most promising oil blocks in the world. Pre-salt oil, referring to reserves found beneath a deep layer of undersea salt, has been said to be of high quality and commercial value. The Brazilian government is rushing to award new exploration licenses as part of a broader program to attract private investment and spur economic growth. Brazil’s oil and gas regulator ANP has said previously that 15 companies have expressed interest in the third round and 10 in the second, but it was not clear how many companies had pre-registered in total.

Source: Reuters

Oil prices expected to stay in a range of $50-$60: BP CEO

September 14, 2017. Oil prices are expected to hold between $50 and $60 a barrel as bloated global stocks fall after a deal between OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and other producers to trim output, BP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Dudley said. The OPEC and other producers, including Russia, are reducing crude output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until next March in an attempt to support prices by cutting a glut of crude oil on world markets. OPEC top producer Saudi Arabia and several other countries have held talks in recent days on a possible extension of the deal.

Source: Reuters

Uganda signs oil exploration deal with Australia’s Armour Energy

September 14, 2017. Uganda signed an oil exploration deal with Australia’s Armour Energy Ltd, the first under a protracted competitive licensing round launched in 2015. The production-sharing agreement covers Kanywataba block, a 344 square kilometre area in the Albertine rift basin near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said at the signing in the Ugandan capital Kampala. Kanywataba was previously licensed to existing operators, Frances’ Total, China’s CNOOC, and Britain’s Tullow. But the three firms, which now own all of Uganda’s crude discoveries, gave back control of the block to the government in 2012 after explorations failed to find oil. Energy Minister Irene Muloni said low oil prices meant “protracted negotiations” with firms that participated in the licensing round. Uganda discovered petroleum in the Albertine basin in 2006. Gross reserves are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels and recoverable oil estimated at between 1.4 billion-1.7 billion barrels.

Source: Reuters

Shell set to draw line under a century of Iraqi oil

September 13, 2017. Royal Dutch Shell is set to end a century of oil production in Iraq by withdrawing from two of the Arab state’s flagship fields to focus on more profitable gas development. Shell’s retreat highlights the challenges foreign operators face with low-margin oil contracts in Iraq, an OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) member that sits on some of the world’s biggest oil reserves and wants to boost production after years of conflict hindered development. The Anglo-Dutch firm said it had agreed with Iraq’s oil ministry to relinquish operations at Majnoon field to the government after unfavorable changes to fiscal terms. Shell is also selling its 20 percent stake in West Qurna 1 oil field in the south of the country. The field is operated by Exxon Mobil. Shell produced almost 20 million barrels of oil from Iraq during 2016, which accounted for about 3.5 percent of the firm’s total oil output last year, according to Shell’s annual report. Foreign firms in Iraq have long urged Baghdad to revise oil production contract terms to encourage development of reserves that Iraq estimates at about 153 billion barrels, the fourth biggest in the OPEC.

Source: Reuters


US approves drilling along Rover gas pipeline: ETP

September 19, 2017. Oil and gas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) said it received approval from US (United States) energy regulators to resume drilling along its $4.2 billion Rover pipeline project. The Rover project from Pennsylvania to Ontario is the biggest gas pipeline under construction in the US.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Gazprom signs LNG supply deal with Ghana

September 18, 2017. Russian gas giant Gazprom has signed a 12-year deal to supply Ghana National Petroleum Corp (GNPC) with liquefied natural gas (LNG), a subsidiary of Gazprom Marketing & Trading Group said. Gazprom Global LNG Ltd (GGLNG) said LNG supplies were due to start in 2019. The agreement is the first stage in a planned series of partnerships between GGLNG and GNPC, with both companies working to develop the infrastructure and services required to manage and market the projected gas flows from the region, Gazprom said.

Source: Reuters

Algeria’s Sonatrach to boost output from Rhourde El Baguel field

September 18, 2017. Algeria’s state-run energy firm Sonatrach will boost gas output by 10 million cubic metres (mcm) per day at its giant Hassi Messaoud field and will then increase output by 6 mcm a day at nearby Rhourde el Baguel oil field, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour said. CEO said Algeria could use boosting techniques to increase output at existing fields as the government looks to offset a fall in oil prices that has cut energy revenues. The Rhourde El Baguel field is located in Ouargla province, 600 km south of the capital Algiers. Algeria’s energy earnings have fallen to $27.5 billion in 2016 from $60 billion in 2014.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Rosneft clinches gas pipeline deal with Iraq’s Kurdistan

September 18, 2017. Russian oil major Rosneft will invest in gas pipelines in Iraq’s Kurdistan, expanding its commitment to the region ahead of its independence vote to help it become a major exporter of gas to Turkey and Europe. Now Rosneft is widening its investments to gas by agreeing to fund a natural gas pipeline in Kurdistan, Rosneft and the Kurdistan Regional Government said. The investments would amount to more than $1 billion. The arrival of Rosneft will speed up gas development, which has so far largely been driven by mid-sized companies. For Rosneft, the deal is a major boost to its international gas ambitions. Rosneft has long sought to challenge Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, in supplying gas to Europe. For Turkey, it means the arrival of new supplies for its energy-hungry economy and the potential to become a major centre for gas supplies to Europe. The pipeline’s capacity is expected to handle up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas exports a year, in addition to supplying domestic users. Kurdistan sits on some of the largest untapped gas deposits on Europe’s doorstep. The pipeline will be constructed in 2019 for Kurdish domestic use, with exports due to begin in 2020.

Source: Reuters

Netherlands to receive LNG cargo from US Sabine Pass plant

September 14, 2017. The Netherlands will receive its second-ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass export facility in the United States (US) on October 6, according to shipping data. The vessel, with a capacity of 166,031 cubic metres, is currently berthed at Sabine Pass, live ship-tracking data shows.

Source: Reuters

Shell Canada shuts some gas operations due to southern Alberta wildfire

September 13, 2017. Shell Canada, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, is shutting some gas operations in its Waterton complex in southern Alberta as a precaution against an uncontrolled wildfire raging nearby, the company said. The Waterton complex includes natural gas wells and a processing plant and has production capacity of nearly 179 million cubic feet per day. So far the company has not shut its Waterton gas plant but is closely monitoring the situation.

Source: Reuters

Bangladesh set to sign 15-year LNG import deal with Qatar

September 13, 2017. Bangladesh will sign a 15-year deal with Qatar’s RasGas Co to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) starting in 2018 as the South Asian country turns to the supercooled fuel to fill a domestic supply gap for power generation. The deal will be signed on September 25 in Qatar, the Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Co, a unit of state-owned oil firm Petrobangla, said. Under the deal, RasGas will supply 1.8 million tonnes a year of LNG for the first five years and 2.5 million tonnes a year for the next 10 after that. The deal is Bangladesh’s first LNG import agreement and will help to cover the country’s domestic natural gas shortfall. The contract with the world’s biggest LNG exporter underscores the rise of South Asia as a new market for the fuel. The deal is for less gas than the 4 million tonnes a year Bangladesh agreed to take in a 2011 memorandum of understanding with state-owned RasGas, since it instead plans to take more spot cargoes amid a supply glut that has lowered prices. In June, Rupantarita Prakritik Gas posted a notice on its website looking to shortlist suppliers of LNG spot cargoes starting in 2018. Bangladesh’s first floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), supplied by Excelerate Energy of the United States, is to be commissioned by April 2018. Its second, supplied by the country’s own Summit LNG of the Summit Group, is due for commissioning by next October. Bangladesh is also looking to add two additional floating LNG terminals next year. Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million people, could import as much as 17.5 million tonnes of LNG a year by 2025, Nasrul Hamid, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Energy and Power, said. The country’s own gas reserves are depleting at the same time it is seeking to almost double its power capacity to 24,000 MW by 2021. Bangladesh is planning to tap the currently cheap and plentiful global LNG supplies and invest heavily in importing the fuel. South Asia is emerging as a hotspot for LNG, with Pakistan and Bangladesh set to join India as major consumers and help ease the oversupply that has dogged the market for years.

Source: Reuters

Norway gas pipeline investors go to top court over tariff cut

September 13, 2017. A group of investors in Norway’s gas pipeline network are going to the country’s highest court in a final attempt to overturn a government decision to cut pipeline tariffs that came into effect in October 2016. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear the case in late 2017, one of the investors, Solveig Gas, said. The hearing, if accepted, will take place in 2018. The government owns 45.8 percent of the Gassled pipeline network via state-owned Petoro, while majority state-owned Statoil has 5 percent. In June, a Norwegian appeals court ruled against the four in a lawsuit that argued the cut in gas pipeline tariffs was unlawful and would cost them a combined 15 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.8 billion) in lost earnings through 2028. That verdict overturned a previous decision, and awarded the government 42.2 million crowns from the plaintiffs. Some of the companies involved have said the unexpected decision to lower gas transportation tariffs would hurt the image of Norway as a country to invest in.

Source: Reuters


New Hope says looking for more coal acquisitions in Australia

September 19, 2017. New Hope Corp is chasing more coal mine acquisitions in Australia over the next year to drive growth, its boss said after reporting a huge rise in annual profit on the back of an earlier expansion and higher coal prices. New Hope Managing Director Shane Stephan said the company sees more opportunities to supply coal to Asia, including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, particularly for new high efficiency-low emissions power stations, and would look for acquisitions to help meet that demand. New Hope, one of two listed independent coal producers in Australia, bought a 40 percent stake in the Bengalla mine in New South Wales state from Rio Tinto two years ago for $606 million. Australia’s Newcastle coal prices have traded between about $72 and $106 this year, well above lows around $47 last year. The current Japanese benchmark price is around $85. Stephan said his firm could also benefit from Asian coal buyer concerns about Glencore’s expansion in Australia following its recent acquisition with China’s Yancoal Australia of Rio Tinto’s Coal & Allied unit.

Source: Reuters

Chinese in talks to invest $1.2 bn Bosnia coal power project

September 15, 2017. Chinese energy conglomerate China Energy Engineering Corp (CEEC) said it is in talks about investing €1 billion ($1.2 bn) in a coal power project in Bosnia, one of the biggest energy schemes in the Balkans. If a deal is reached CEEC would fund virtually the entire project to build a 430 MW coal-fired power plant and develop a coal mine in Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation, which is seeking to revive its energy sector as many of its coal-fired power plants are past their prime. Yu Gang, vice president of state-owned CEEC, said the talks with Bosnian private company Lager, which holds a 30-year concession to operate the Kamengrad coal mine in Sanski Most in northeast Bosnia, were well underway and could soon lead to an agreement. The mine has 115 million tonnes of proven coal reserves and an estimated 400 million tonnes of untapped coal reserves. Coal is widely available in the Balkans, making it appealing to governments seeking ways to ensure security of supply and keep energy prices low while also placating influential mining lobbies. As the European Union, the World Bank and other institutions cut back on coal financing, Balkan states are encountering difficulties in securing finance for their projects, prompting Chinese institutions and contractors to step in.

Source: Reuters

Indonesian coal miner shares tumble on possible new pricing rules

September 13, 2017. Share prices of some of Indonesia’s biggest coal miners plunged after the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said he would be open to revising domestic coal pricing rules. Jonan was considering drafting new rules on marketing coal for domestic supply, as part of government efforts to reduce electricity prices. Recent high coal prices have put pressure on state electricity utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), which buys the bulk of the roughly 90 million tonnes of coal consumed domestically each year. Indonesia requires miners to set aside a portion of their output, based on assumptions of domestic demand. PLN has been pushing for the government to adopt a cost plus margin mechanism for coal purchases, which would allow it to maintain pricing stability, but which analysts say would hurt coal producers’ profits.

Source: Reuters


US demand for power transmission components to reach $78.5 bn in 2021

September 18, 2017. US (United States) demand for power transmission components is forecast to reach $78.5 billion in 2021, according to the Freedonia Focus Reports. Suppliers will benefit from increases in domestic output of durable products such as machinery and motor vehicles (MVs) that incorporate power transmission components. MV transmissions and powertrain parts will remain the largest product segment over the forecast period. Gains will be driven by growth in domestic MV production, which will boost MV manufacturers’ demand for transmissions and powertrain parts.

Source: Energy Business Review

Maryland Utilities issue requests for proposals for supply of wholesale electric power

September 15, 2017. The Potomac Edison Company (PE), Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), Delmarva Power, and Pepco have issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for full-requirements, wholesale electric power supply to meet their Standard Offer Service (SOS) obligations in their Maryland service territories. Each utility will provide market-based supply service to some or all of its electric customers who do not take service from competitive retail suppliers. The RFPs will consist of supply contracts ranging in term from three to twenty-four months. For BGE, Delmarva Power, and Pepco, the bidding for Residential contracts will occur in two procurements – October 2017 and April 2018, and the contract term will be twenty-four months.

Source: Energy Business Review

First UK-Belgium power cable sections installed

September 14, 2017. The first sections of a power cable to run between Britain and Belgium were installed this week and the project is on track to start operations in 2019, increasing the United Kingdom (UK)’s capacity to send or receive electricity from the continent by 20 percent. Nemo Link, a joint venture between the UK’s National Grid and Belgium’s Elia System Operator, said it had started laying 59 km of a subsea cable in Kent, on the British east coast, while work at the Belgian end would commence next year. The National Grid, owner and operator of much of Britain’s gas and electricity distribution network, voiced concern in January that Brexit could dampen investment as the UK loses its say over EU regulations of networks and power trading. Average UK daytime demand for electricity is about 32 GW, depending on the season, with generation primarily from gas-fired power stations, wind turbines and nuclear plants. Interconnectors to Europe increase Britain’s flexibility to supply consumers with power. Britain plans to build three new cables to France, adding 3.4 GW of capacity to the existing 2 GW, as well as its first interconnector to Norway with 1.4 GW of capacity and to Denmark with 1 GW of capacity, according to UK energy regulator Ofgem.

Source: Reuters

CPFL seeking to expand in Brazil’s power transmission sector

September 14, 2017. CPFL Energia SA, Brazil’s largest private electricity company, wants to grow its power transmission business, including by bidding in coming rounds for new licenses to build and operate lines, the company said. The company, which is controlled by State Grid Corp of China, the world’s largest electricity utility, plans to bid for lines to be built near areas where it operates in Brazil, such as in Sao Paulo state and the Northeast region.

Source: Reuters


Total steps up renewables drive with EREN, GreenFlex deals

September 19, 2017. Oil major Total has stepped up its expansion into renewables with investments in solar and wind energy producer EREN RE and energy efficiency firm GreenFlex. Bruised by pressure on oil prices over the last two years, Europe’s biggest oil companies have been intensifying their push into renewable energy to seek new sources of future revenue. Total said it was buying a 23 percent stake in renewables company EREN RE for €237.5 million ($285 million), and could later acquire full control of the business. Last year, Total’s start-up ventures unit bought a stake in wind turbines company United Wind, while it also announced plans to install solar panels at 5,000 service stations.

Source: Reuters

Enel commissions 546 MW solar power projects in Brazil

September 19, 2017. Enel Green Power Brasil Participações has commenced the operations of 546MW solar photovoltaic projects in Brazil. The company has commissioned 254 MW Ituverava solar park situated in the municipality of Tabocas do Brejo Velho in the north-eastern state of Bahia. Enel has also began the operations of 292 MW Nova Olinda solar park located in the municipality of Ribeira do Piauí in the north-eastern state of Piauí. The company invested around $300 mn to construct Nova Olinda facility. It includes around 930,000 solar panels in an area of 690 hectares in the semiarid region. Enel invested around $400 mn to develop 254MW Ituverava solar plant. It features around 850,000 panels in a 579 hectare area.

Source: Energy Business Review

Toshiba signs package deal agreement for geothermal power projects in Turkey

September 19, 2017. Toshiba has entered into a package deal agreement (PDA) with Turkey-based Zorlu Energy Group for geothermal power generation projects. As per terms of the PDA, Toshiba will study steam flow, pressure levels and other factors in three locations where Zorlu is planning to build geothermal power plants by October 2020. If the survey results are in line with the agreed terms and conditions, Toshiba will exclusively negotiate with Zorlu to supply steam turbines and generators (STGs) for geothermal power plant to be developed in Turkey. In January 2016, Toshiba entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zorlu Energy for the development of geothermal, thermal and hydro power plants in Turkey.

Source: Energy Business Review

Energy firms back EU plan for COcap on power subsidies

September 19, 2017. A group of energy firms has backed a disputed plan by EU (European Union) regulators to attach emissions limits to subsidies for providing back-up power capacity to avert blackouts. The proposal by the European Commission, which would set a cap of 550 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour for new power stations, ruling out less-efficient coal and gas-fired plants, has been fiercely contested by Poland and some other EU member states. It is part of a draft reform of Europe’s electricity market that calls for stricter rules on capacity mechanisms used in countries such as Britain and France to fund power generation that may not be cost-effective or as clean as renewable energy but is needed to guarantee supply during periods of peak demand. In an open letter to the bloc’s Environment Ministers, the proposal was backed by 22 signatories from energy majors, renewable energy groups and utilities including Eni, Shell, Siemens, Iberdrola, Statoil and Wintershall. The bloc’s 28 Environment and Energy Ministers are currently debating the reform for Europe’s power grid after 2020 that aims to help meet its pledge under the Paris climate accord to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Source: Reuters

BHP pressed to quit Australian mining lobby over climate views

September 19, 2017. BHP urged shareholders to vote down a resolution aimed at getting the mining giant to quit Australia’s top mining lobby group, but said it will separately review its membership of industry bodies. BHP agreed to let shareholders vote on the resolution submitted by an ethical investing group, the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), which says BHP should quit any industry groups whose views on climate change and energy policy conflict with the company’s own views. The dual-listed miner will hold annual general meetings in London on October 19 and in Australia on November 16. BHP has long acknowledged that global warming is occurring and that the world must limit climate change. It has called for Australia to put a price on carbon, allow energy markets to operate freely and adopt a technology-neutral clean energy target as recommended by the country’s chief scientist. In contrast, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) vociferously campaigned to kill Australia’s carbon price, and is pushing for government support for new coal-fired power plants. The ACCR is calling for BHP to review its membership or representation in industry bodies lobbying on energy and climate change and quit any bodies where it pays a membership fee if their positions do not align with the company’s views.

Source: Reuters

France plans new incentives to phase out polluting vehicles

September 18, 2017. The French government is planning a series of new incentives and taxes to phase out polluting vehicles and to boost energy-saving insulation in houses, Environment and Energy Minister Nicolas Hulot said. Hulot said he would propose that a €500 to 1,000 incentive to switch to a less polluting vehicle, so far only available to low-income families, should be available from 2018 to all citizens who own cars with petrol engines registered before 1997 and cars with diesel engines registered before 2001. The sum will not only be for buying new cars but also relatively new second-hand vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions. Hulot said that for low-income households the incentive would be doubled to €2,000. He said that for a low-income family buying a small second-hand car, the incentive could add up to more than half of the vehicle’s value. Some three million old cars are eligible for the conversion incentive and the ministry hopes around 100,000 of these will be replaced next year. All car owners who switch to an electric vehicle will receive a €2,500 switching incentive on top of a €6,000 subsidy if the measure is approved. The government plans subsidies of up to €3,000 for low-income families who switch from old, polluting diesel fuel heating systems to renewable energy heating systems, such as wood-fired heaters or heat pumps. Hulot denied that President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reduce red tape in the building industry would lead to lowering insulation requirements for new buildings. Hulot said the government would push France’s carbon tax to €44.60 per tonne in 2018 from the current €30.50 per tonne and would continue to increase it to €100 per tonne by 2030 as laid out in the 2015 energy transition law.

Source: Reuters

China welcomes EU decision on solar panel import prices

September 18, 2017. China’s commerce ministry said a European Union (EU) move to reduce the minimum price imposed on imported Chinese solar panels as a “positive step” and that it hoped that duties would end as soon as possible. The EU announced that it would progressively reduce the minimum prices that Chinese solar panel makers are allowed to sell their products for in Europe. The prices will be cut every three months, first on October 1 and finally on July 1 next year. Chinese companies that sell below these set minimum prices are subject to import duties of up to 64.9 percent. EU member states cleared an 18-month extension of import duties on Chinese solar panels in February. The European Commission said at the time that it envisaged a gradual phase-out of the duties over the period.

Source: Reuters

US could stay in Paris climate accord: Tillerson

September 17, 2017. The United States (US) could remain in the Paris climate accord under the right conditions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, signaling a shift in tone from the Trump administration, which angered allies with its decision to pull out of the agreement. President Donald Trump is willing to work with partners in the Paris agreement if the US could construct a set of terms that are fair and balanced for Americans, Tillerson said. The accord, reached by nearly 200 countries in 2015, was meant to limit global warming to 2 degrees or less by 2100, mainly through pledges to cut carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Trump has said the Paris accord is soft on leading polluters like China and India, putting US industry at risk. But the Republican president has shown flexibility on some campaign promises, and US allies have been vocal on the importance of the climate accord.

Source: Reuters

Waste toilet paper can be converted into electricity

September 17, 2017. Waste toilet paper can be used to generate renewable electricity through a two-step process at a cost comparable to residential solar power installations, scientists said. If implemented, the process could tackle the problems of overflowing municipal landfills and dependency on fossil fuels. Waste toilet paper is not often considered an asset. Yet it is a rich source of carbon, containing 70-80 percent of cellulose on a dry basis. On average, people in Western Europe produce 10-14 kilogrammes waste toilet paper per person per year. Accumulating in municipal sewage filters, it is a modest yet significant part of municipal waste. At the same time, waste toilet paper is a businessman’s dream because people will actually pay to take waste toilet paper off their hands. According to the researchers from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, using waste toilet paper for generating electricity is ‘the ultimate waste recycling concept’. Researchers proposed a simple two-step process for the conversion of waste toilet paper, creating a direct route from unwanted waste to a useful product. They examined the possibility of combining devices for the gasification of waste toilet paper with high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells able to directly convert the waste toilet paper-gas into electricity. The project’s goal was to assess the feasibility of such a system at a scale of 10,000 tonne waste toilet paper per year, based on real-life parameter values. Using techno-economic analysis methods, the team presented a basic process design, an overall energy balance and an economic study for this concept. In a study published in the journal Energy Technology, they presented the basic system design, as well as its electricity yield and overall efficiency, based on detailed mass and energy balance calculations.

Source: The Economic Times

Dubai awards $3.9 bn solar energy contract to Shanghai Electric, ACWA Power

September 16, 2017. Dubai’s state energy utility awarded a $3.9 billion contract to build and run a 700 MW solar power plant to a consortium comprising Shanghai Electric and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, the government said. The project will feature a 260-metre tower receiving focused sunlight, the world’s tallest such tower, the government said. The consortium bid to supply electricity to Dubai for 7.3 US cents per kilowatt hour. The first stage of the project is due to be commissioned in late 2020. It is part of the Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Solar Park, a vast complex which is projected to generate 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000MW by 2030. The government aims to use the solar park and other energy sources to increase the share of clean energy in Dubai’s power output to 7 percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050.

Source: Reuters

California bill to wean power sector off fossil fuels dies for this year

September 16, 2017. A long-shot plan to wean California’s power sector entirely off fossil fuels by 2045 was put on hold until 2018, as lawmakers recessed for the year without hearing the measure. The bill was strongly opposed by the state’s investor-owned utility companies, who said it would not protect consumers from the expense of speeding up the switch to renewable and carbon neutral fuels. Assemblyman Chris Holden, who held the measure in his Utilities and Energy Committee, said he would consider it again when the legislature returns in January for the second half of its two-year session.

Source: Reuters

US nuclear firm Westinghouse sees end to bankruptcy proceedings in 2018

September 15, 2017. US (United States) nuclear reactor maker Westinghouse does not expect to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings before the end of 2017 but hopes to complete restructuring in early 2018, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jose Gutierrez said. Cost overruns at four nuclear reactors it was building in the US pushed Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba Corp, into bankruptcy in March. Utilities in the US state of South Carolina abandoned construction of two of those reactors in July. He said it could happen quickly once a solution was found for the remaining two US reactors under construction in Georgia, adding that the rest of the firm was in good shape. Southern Co, the utility building two reactors at Georgia’s Vogtle plant, has hired Bechtel to finalise work and is in talks with Westinghouse about the nuclear part of the project, scheduled for completion by 2022, six years late. He said the Sanmen 1 reactor has been delayed due to new requests from the regulator and requests for small modifications by the customer. He said all four should be online next year. Once the first AP1000 goes online, he said the Chinese government would consider a plan to build six to eight more. Additional plants would not be built by Westinghouse, which has transferred the technology to China, but the firm would be a contractor to provide some services. Gutierrez said the India had confirmed an interest in buying six AP1000 reactors despite announcing plans in May to build 10 reactors of Indian design.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Rosatom aims to start building Turkish nuclear plant in early 2018

September 14, 2017. Russia’s Rosatom expects to sell a 49 percent stake in its Turkish nuclear project to a consortium of Turkish companies by the end of the year, and aims to start construction of the Akkuyu plant by the end of March, the company said. Kirill Komarov, Rosatom’s first deputy chief executive for corporate development and international business, said Rosatom was on course to sell the stake in Akkuyu to Turkey’s Cengiz-Kolin-Kalyon consortium after signing a preliminary deal in June. He said the project continued to get strong support from the Turkish government, which is keen to get it launched as soon as possible. Rosatom has been expanding its order book rapidly in recent years, and the $20 billion Akkuyu project in energy-hungry Turkey is one of its largest contracts. Komarov said under the agreed Build-Own-Operate (BOO) model Turkey would pay Rosatom an average electricity price of 12.35 US cents per kilowatt-hour, not adjusted for inflation, for 15 years. He said Rosatom would also pay Turkey 20 percent of its profits from the plant once it had recouped its investment. In South Africa, where Rosatom is one of several nuclear vendors hoping to win a future tender to expand the country’s nuclear capacity, Komarov said Rosatom was willing to consider all business models, including an outright sale. Last year, Rosatom earned net profit of $1.4 billion on revenue of $10.4 billion from its civilian nuclear activities.

Source: Reuters

Japan’s Mizuho quietly withdrew from Chilean hydro project

September 13, 2017. Japan’s Mizuho Bank quietly withdrew from the Alto Maipo hydroelectric project in Chile earlier this year, writing off about $20 million it had disbursed, amid concerns over the project’s financial viability. Alto Maipo – which includes two power plants and a vast array of tunnels running deep under the Andes Mountains – slid into technical default in July after it dismissed one of its contractors, leading to cost overruns.

Source: Reuters


All India Households Electricity Access Scenario

State Total Households Un-electrified Households State Total Households Un-electrified Households
Andhra Pradesh 1,12,22,966 22 Mizoram 1,10,386 10,957
Goa 1,28,207 0 Uttarakhand 17,32,607 1,85,034
Gujarat 66,57,206 23,071 Nagaland 1,59,695 87,895
Haryana 34,23,320 6,84,070 Jammu & Kashmir 12,90,952 2,71,211
Kerala 71,04,123 103 Manipur 3,87,628 1,07,100
Maharashtra 1,39,14,472 3,70,772 Madhya Pradesh 1,13,96,980 45,02,951
Puducherry 1,01,788 375 Rajasthan 89,89,081 20,28,056
Punjab 36,88,646 0 Meghalaya 4,63,022 1,39,267
Sikkim 37,281 5,628 Chhattisgarh 45,23,425 6,45,549
Tamil Nadu 1,02,83,550 12 Uttar Pradesh 3,02,26,258 1,46,76,192
Telangana 59,71,579 4,12,974 Arunachal Pradesh 2,32,151 81,200
West Bengal 1,38,20,342 1,27,581 Jharkhand 54,77,797 30,48,271
Tripura 7,96,485 2,15,830 Bihar 1,23,37,048 65,05,346
Himachal Pradesh 14,68,938 12,846 Assam 51,88,613 24,14,618
Karnataka 94,84,602 7,47,804 Odisha 86,43,668 31,70,743
Total 17,92,62,816 4,04,75,478

Source: Ministry of Power (GARV Dashboard)

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

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