MonitorsPublished on Oct 24, 2017
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 19


Monthly Power News Commentary: September – October 2017

he Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an ambition of providing electricity connections to all 40 million off-grid  families by December 2018. Connecting 40 million off-grid families under Saubhagya will increase the electricity requirement by 28,000 MW or 80 billion units in a year. The government said power will not be provided free of cost to any category of consumer under the recently launched Saubhagya scheme, which aims to provide electricity to all. The scheme is expected to increase the energy requirement by 28,000 MW per year. This may bring some good news to discoms. However, under the scheme the poor families will be provided electricity connections free of cost. Other families will pay ₹ 500 only, which shall be recovered by the distribution companies/power departments in 10 instalments along with electricity bills. A large proportion of coal-based power generation capacities in the private sector, under stress due to multiple factors, will remain depressed for a long time despite a raft of alleviation measures from the government, according to Crisil Research. As of August 2017, about 21 GW of commissioned private sector coal based capacities were under stress for want of long-term power purchase agreements or because of poor offtake. With demand growth expected to remain tepid, the outlook for these capacities is bleak for at least the next few years. Perhaps the Saubhagya scheme may bring some good fortune to these stranded generating companies.

The ADB, with co-financing from AIIB, will provide $150 million in an ongoing power transmission project in India, with an aim to deliver more clean energy. AIIB said that the project is being carried out to enhance energy connectivity in the country by strengthening its electricity transmission system. The new funding from the partners will be used for additional power transmission network components that will connect with the ADB-financed Green Energy Corridor and Grid Strengthening Project. According to the Manila-based ADB, the clean energy project will be expanded further to increase energy transmission to cover more states in the country. The project will include 400 kV transmission components in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to connect at Pugalur with the long-distance grid systems funded by ADB. The development bank will deliver $50 million, while AIIB will be co-financing $100 million for the component, which will be built at a cost of $303.5 million. India’s state-owned transmission company Power Grid will fund the remainder. India’s new grid system will mainly transmit solar and wind power, aimed at covering more locations.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice to various authorities in Punjab on the electricity subsidy given to rich farmers for their agricultural pump sets. Notices were issued to the Punjab government, the Punjab Electricity Regulatory Commission and the PSPCL on a PIL which seeks to abolish the subsidy to those who are financially well-off. The plea also seeks to identify the creamy layer among farmers on the lines of OBC reservation. Punjab has been providing free electricity for tube-wells for several years. The subsidy, which is reimbursed to PSPCL by the state government, was ₹ 61.13 billion during 2016-2017. The argument is that the method of giving subsidy is full of loopholes and some system to measure consumption of electricity should be evolved. While small farmers should be extended the benefit of free electricity on the basis of optimum consumption per acre as excessive use of tube-wells is resulting in receding water table, which is not in the interest of the state.

Power consumers might be in for partial respite as far as the proposed 22.6% hike in power tariff is concerned after UPPCL reduced its ARR by around ₹ 50 billion for financial year 2017-18. The ARR document filed by the UPPCL in August had mentioned revenue requirement of over ₹ 700 billion. This has now been revised to just over ₹ 660 billion. The 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 301 and 500 units. Under the 301-500 unit consumption slab, the UPPCL had suggested an increase from ₹ 5.60/kWh in 2016-17 to ₹ 6.20/kWh as per the new ARR. The increase may now be limited to ₹ 6/kWh, 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 ₹ 2.20-₹ 3.90/kWh. The raise may now be restricted to ₹ 3/kWh only, UPERC said. UPERC 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. Despite reduced ARR by UPPCL, revenue gap to the tune of more than ₹ 70 billion 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 UPERC. UPERC has decided to change the distribution code to pave way for higher penalty on power consumers. 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.

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 ₹ 4.08/kWh. 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. 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.

The centre promised to electricity worth ₹ 4 billion 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.

Spot market power prices in India have peaked at ₹ 9/kWh a three-year high, while the average price on India Electricity Exchange also rose to ₹ 5/kWh 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 unfavourable 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 ₹ 9.2/kWh across India for a 15-minute slot. The maximum clearing prices was ₹ 7.90/kWh.

Power Grid Corp’s board has approved an investment of ₹ 1.98 billion for setting up India portion of Baharampur-Bheramara (Bangladesh) 2nd 400 kV double circuit transmission line with 24 months commissioning schedule.

India has said that it would give Ethiopia a line of credit of $195 million for power transmission sector and medicines worth $2 million. The two countries will also work together in the UN and other multilateral bodies. India thanked Ethiopia for its participation in the International Solar Alliance, established in 2015.

Rest of the World

French oil major Total said it would undercut EDF and Engie in the French power retail sector with a 10 percent price discount, setting the scene for a possible price war. Total wants to win a 10 percent market share – or 3 million customers – within five years before expanding deeper into Europe. Total told investors in September that it targeted 5 GW in power capacity in five years’ time. Alternative energy suppliers are gradually clawing market share from EDF, but the state-controlled company still retains a stranglehold on the electricity market with an 84 percent share nearly a decade after the French market was opened up.

The Estonian state-run utility Eesti Energia has received approval from its shareholders to extend its retail sales businesses in the Swedish and Finnish power markets. The company will start the retail sale of electricity to private customers in both countries by the first half of 2018. The company has been selling electricity both in Latvia and Lithuania for around 10 years and entered the Latvian gas market along with the Polish electricity and gas markets in 2017. Eesti Energia entails a power generation unit and its 2016 installed capacity reached 2,109 MW.

Construction recently began work on a giant power supply pylon, believed to be the world’s tallest in east China’s Zhejiang Province, State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power Company announced. A pylon is a large vertical steel tower-like structure that supports high-tension electric cables. At an impressive 380 metres tall, the pylon will be four times the height of London’s Big Ben. According to the power company, the new pylon is a part of a new ultra-high voltage power line project between cities of Zhoushan and Ningbo.

The Iranian government expects to synchronize its domestic electricity network with Iraq by the end of November 2017, which would significantly increase the amount of power exchanges between the two countries. The rationale behind this plan is to enable the exchange of power between the two markets and in particular during peak demand hours. Iran estimates that it has been producing enough power throughout 2017 to be able to satisfy a significant portion of Iraq’s power needs without causing shortages in the domestic power grid. Iran already trades power with four neighbours, namely Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Iraq. Under swap deals, Iran imports electricity from Armenia and Azerbaijan in summer, when domestic demand soars, and exports electricity in winter.

The first sections of a power cable to run between Britain and Belgium were installed and the project is on track to start operations in 2019, increasing the 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.

MW: Megawatt, GW: Gigawatt, discoms: distribution companies, ADB: Asian Development Bank, AIIB: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, kV: kilovolt, PSPCL: Punjab State Power Corp Ltd, PIL: public interest litigation, UPPCL: Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd, ARR: annual revenue requirement, UPERC: Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, kWh: kilowatt hour, UN: United Nations, UK: United Kingdom, EU: European Union


MP government cuts VAT on petrol, diesel

October 13, 2017. The Madhya Pradesh (MP) government reduced VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel by 3% and 5%, respectively. The state government also withdrew the additional cess of ₹ 1.50 per litre on diesel. Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat and Maharashtra states had reduced VAT on these fuels. Following the rate cut, the petrol will be cheaper by about ₹ 1.70 per litre and diesel by about ₹ 4 per litre in the state, State Finance Minister Jayant Malaiy said. The decision would cause a revenue loss of about ₹ 1,000 crore to the state exchequer in the remaining six months of the current fiscal, he said.

Source: Livemint

Rationalisation of GST rates to give the petroleum sector a positive push: Pradhan

October 13, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said further rationalisation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates will give the petroleum sector a positive push. The GST council, in order to reduce the cascading impact of taxes on the oil and gas industry due to non-inclusion of key petroleum products, had recommended a tax structure for offshore oil and gas services, import of oil rigs, transportation of natural gas and sale of bunker oil. The reduction in GST rate for bunker fuel to 5 percent from 18 percent earlier will enhance its sale to foreign vessels and the GST rate reduction in offshore contracts to 12 percent from 18 percent earlier will reduce tax burden on offshore hydrocarbon activates, Pradhan said. He said that exemption from 5 percent Integrated Good Service Tax (IGST) for the import of rigs and ancillary equipment in the hydrocarbon sector will promote activities in the upstream sector and rate reduction in transportation of natural gas through pipeline to 5 percent from 18 percent earlier will make the fuel more affordable. The government rolled out GST on July 1. While the new tax regime included most of the goods and services, core petroleum products including crude oil, natural gas, petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel were kept out of its ambit due to stiff opposition from state governments. Also, other oil products such as kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas and naphtha were included in the GST. This resulted in oil companies having to comply with both the old and the new tax regimes as well as deal with stranded taxes. According to ratings agency ICRA, the recommendations made will fare well for upstream companies and help them control their capital expenditure.

Source: The Economic Times


RIL plans to exit shale gas business in US

October 17, 2017. With shale gas business becoming uneconomical due to low crude oil prices, India’s largest private sector firm, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has said it would sell its remaining shale gas assets in the United States (US) — if any company makes it an “attractive offer”. RIL has invested almost $9 billion in US since 2010. RIL’s Joint Chief Financial Officer Srikanth Venkatachari said the company was not a distress seller of its shale gas assets and at the same time is not looking to acquire any more assets. At present, RIL owns 45 percent stake in Pioneer Natural Resources’ Eagle Ford shale block and 40 percent stake in Chevron’s asset. On October 11, the company had announced that it sold its Marcellus shale assets for $126 million to BKV Chelsea, an affiliate of Kalnin Venture. RIL had bought stake in Marcellus shale-gas areas of Pennsylvania for $392 million In August 2010. RIL was one of the early investors in the US shale gas assets, but was earning negative returns on its investments since fall in crude oil prices made shale gas production unviable.

Source: Business Standard

RIL, BP submit revised investment plan for KG-D6 gas finds

October 17, 2017. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its partner BP Plc of UK (United Kingdom) submitted a revised investment plan for bringing to production the satellite gas discoveries in the flagging KG-D6 block. RIL and BP plan to develop four deep sea satellite gas finds, named D-2, 6, 19 and 22, together with two other nearby finds, D-29 and D30, in the Krishna Godavari basin block. The four satellites and the other two finds (D29 and D30), R-Series and MJ gas discoveries, are the ones on which RIL and BP had in mid-June this year announced investing ₹ 40,000 crore to reserve the flagging production from KG-D6 block. Sources said development of the six satellite finds are being taken up together while D-34 or R-Series and D-55 (MJ) would have separate development plans. They, however, did not indicate the investment RIL-BP would make to produce gas from the fields by 2021-22. The government had in 2012 approved a $1.529 billion plan to produce 10.36 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from four satellite fields of block KG-D6 by 2016-17. The four fields have 617 billion cubic feet of reserves and can produce gas for eight years.

Source: The Economic Times

India, Japan have discussed forward movement on LNG technologies: Pradhan

October 17, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is currently on a visit to Japan, has said that both governments have taken their discussions of liquefied natural gas (LNG) technologies in inland water and coastal shipping forward. He also said that new developments in global LNG business were also taken up. The visit is important to enhance bilateral engagements in the oil and gas sectors within the overall framework of the India-Japan Energy Dialogue. The visit is also aimed at enhancing cooperation in establishing a transparent, efficient, truly global and balanced LNG market. The LNG Producer-Consumer Conference is a global annual dialogue to promote active dialogue among LNG producers, consumers and other stakeholders with a view to deepening shared understandings of market trends and to develop a global LNG market. The conference provided the right opportunity to brief participants on the Indian gas sector and the recent policy reforms.

Source: Business Standard

PNGRB calls for comments on alternate bidding models for CGD network

October 13, 2017. Downstream petroleum regulator Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has called for stakeholder comments on recommendations made by a committee constituted by the oil ministry for alternate models of bidding criteria for development of City Gas Distribution (CGD) network in the country. It said that interested parties can share their views on the report within 30 days from the date of notice uploaded on the regulator’s website. The committee comprising officials from PNGRB, oil ministry, GAIL (India) Ltd, Gujarat Gas Ltd and Indian Oil-Adani Gas Pvt Ltd submitted its report to the ministry in January this year and recommended a slew of changes in the present CGD bidding criteria. Multiple rounds of bidding for CGD have evoked inadequate response from players in the past. The sixth round of CGD bidding held in 2015 included 34 Geographical Areas, of which only 20 areas received biddings. The seventh round of CGD bidding done to set-up CGD infrastructure in 11 smart cities under smart city mission received only 1 bid. The original plan for the seventh round of CGD bidding included setting up infrastructure in Khorda, Jaipur, Jabalpur, Vishakhapatnam, Solapur, Davanagari, Coimbatore, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai and Bhopal. Six of these areas had to be removed from the bidding ambit due to lack of response from players, according to a PNGRB notice. Three more areas had to be excluded from that round later. Of the two remaining areas, only one received bids. According to the committee, the recommendations made are expected to augment the developmental initiatives of the government towards a gas-based green fuel economy in the context of ‘Reduction in pollution as committed in the United Nations Conference’, ‘Gas 4 India,’ ‘Make In India’ and ‘Skill India’ programmes.

Source: The Economic Times

L&T plans to bid for more ONGC work after Daman win

October 12, 2017. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) expects Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) to finalise 3-4 projects worth around ₹ 5,000 crore before March and would be bidding for them. L&T announced that its arm L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering has bagged an order worth ₹ 1,150 crore for ONGC’s Daman Development Project. The order will be executed by April and most of the revenue will be booked this year itself, the company said. L&T would do the engineering, procurement and construction for the project, which is a part of ONGC’s strategy to extract gas from Daman Field, situated in the south-western part of Tapti Daman block in Mumbai Offshore. The decline in crude oil prices led to global energy majors slashing their capex, hurting order flows to companies like L&T. However, the company now believes that the industry has accepted a price range of $45-$60 for crude oil and is revising and reviving investment plans. L&T has shifted its focus back to the domestic market where public sector units continue to invest on expansion even as things remain sluggish in the Middle East. ONGC alone has a capex plan of ₹ 30,000 crore for 2017-18. But some orders in the domestic markets are facing delays. ONGC plans to invest $5 billion on developing deep-water oil and gas blocks in the Krishna-Godavari basin. The project was initially planned to start production by June 2019, but the schedule is now likely to get delayed.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil Minister to send proposal on gas trading exchange to Cabinet

October 11, 2017. The petroleum ministry will soon send a proposal to the Cabinet to set up a gas trading exchange that will replace the current pricing structure for natural gas, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The country will gradually move towards market-determined prices for gas, Pradhan said. He said that priority sectors will get gas at government-determined prices during the transition. The ministry is planning to set up a think-tank to take advice on policy reforms and will consist of industry representatives and experts from India and abroad. Pradhan also said the government is exploring an investment opportunity of $300 billion in hydrocarbons sector over the next 10 years. The petroleum ministry also launched a new ‘Forum for Energy for New India’. The Minister threw a challenge to the industry asking them to put one of India’ basins in the north-east on Super Basin list: Cambay, or the KG Basin. He was referring to the term coined by IHS Markit ‘Super Basins’ for 25 basins around the world that have at least 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable resources remaining.

Source: The New Indian Express

Oil Minister launches prepaid smart cards for CNG consumers

October 11, 2017. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched prepaid smart cards for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) consumers in Delhi. The cards introduced by gas distributor Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) are expected to allow customers to save time at CNG stations. He said the launch is an important step taken by state-owned gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd and IGL and that the initiative is part of Digital India Campaign envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pradhan also distributed smart cards to some of the fleet and retail customers of IGL.

Source: The Economic Times


Coal shortage shuts 40 percent thermal power capacity in Rajasthan, Maharashtra

October 17, 2017. Two of the biggest states in the country, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have around 40 percent of their generation capacity under outage due to coal shortage. Data with the Central Electricity Authority says of the installed 32,973 MW in Maharashtra, 13,555 MW is under outage. In Rajasthan, 4,865 MW of the installed 11,114 MW is shut down. Barring a few under maintenance, major power plants in these states have mentioned “coal shortage” as the reason for the shutdown of the generating unit. In Rajasthan, a 250 MW unit at Chhabra, 600 MW at Kalisindh, two units of 110 MW each at Kota, 693 MW at Surtagarh and 600 MW at the Kawai thermal power station (TPS) have indicated coal shortage on the CEA website for outage. The TPS in Maharashtra which are shut due to coal shortage are Chandrapur (720 MW), Khaparkheda (420 MW), Koradi (210 MW), Paras (2×250 MW), Amravati (3×70 MW), GMR Warora (2×300 MW), Mauda (2×500 MW) and Solapur (600 MW). Neither state’s energy secretary responded to calls or SMS sent to them for comment on the coal supply shortage. Coal stocks at power plants across the country have declined to a point where they can meet the requirement for an average of only five days. The average was six days a week before.

Source: Business Standard

State power companies seek to import coal to tide over supply crisis

October 16, 2017. Some state-owned power producers, who had stopped imports, are now looking at importing coal at a time when the Centre’s focus is on reducing imports and eventually bringing it down to zero. They have been forced to take this move to tide over coal availability issues and the resulting dip in generation. Power generation companies in Andhra Pradesh and Bengal have been the first movers. While the Andhra Pradesh government has already allowed Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corp Ltd to import one million tonnes of coal, West Bengal Power Development Corp has asked for the state government’s permission to import a similar quantity.

Source: The Economic Times

Karnataka misses out on cheap power, sticks to costly coal transport mode

October 15, 2017. Karnataka is missing an opportunity to reduce cost of power by 84 paise per unit by ignoring the railway ministry’s advice to discontinue the practice of transporting half of the coal supplies to Raichur power station by rail-cum-sea route and move the entire fuel supplies by rail. Karnataka is losing the opportunity to reduce coal cost by ₹ 1,200 per tonne by sticking to the rail-cum-sea route even after augmentation of rail capacity. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had sought additional coal from the Centre and urged it to allot a captive mine in Odisha. Raichur power station is supplied coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd mines in Odisha’s Talcher district. The company also supplies fuel to power stations in other southern states. Because of limited capacity in southern rail routes, these states were traditionally advised to move part of coal through the costlier rail-cum-sea route, involving movement from Talcher through Paradip and Krishnapatnam ports in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. Under pressure from the Karnataka government for moving 100% supplies through rail, the Railway Board in 2014 relented and agreed to move half the supplies through rail, which is cheaper. Karnataka government has said power stations in Bellary and Raichur districts are facing shortage and have coal stock of less than a day. Besides Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd  (SCCL) are the main suppliers. During the first six months of this fiscal, both MCL and SCCL have met their supply commitments of 26.70 lakh tonnes, but WCL has supplied about 49% of the allocated 11.63 lakh tonne of coal.

Source: The Times of India

Gujarat’s tender to buy 1 GW of coal-based electricity received dismal response

October 14, 2017. Gujarat’s tender to buy 1,000 MW of coal-based electricity received dismal response with only one company participating in the bid, that too with an offer to sell only 500 MW of power. State electricity department said that GMR Chattisgarh offered to sell power to the state under the ‘flexible utilisation of coal’ scheme. While the ceiling tariff for the reverse auction was kept at ₹ 2.82/unit, GMR agreed to sell electricity at ₹ 2.81/unit. The state is now awaiting the approval of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission to complete the deal. The tender under the ‘flexible utilisation of coal’ scheme, popularly known as ‘tolling’, were invited in August — the first of its kind after the Centre introduced the scheme in May 2016 to bring some respite to 28,000 MW of thermal power plants without regular fuel supply arrangements with Coal India. Under the mechanism, Gujarat will transfer the coal allocated to power generating stations owned by Gujarat State Electricity Corp (GSECL) to more fuel-efficient private plants. Coal-powered GSECL plants’ power-sale price range between ₹ 2.92-5.42/unit. GSECL has allocation from Korba coalfield in Chhattisgarh and Korea Rewa coal field in Madhya Pradesh in ratio of 80:20.

Source: The Financial Express

CIL’s coal production grows 13 percent in October so far

October 13, 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL) said its production grew by 13 percent in October so far and the growth in coal dispatch to power sector was around 22 percent till October 12.  Goyal enthused the coal workers by stating that it was heartening to note that the growth in coal dispatch to power sector moved into high orbit with 21 percent in September 2017 and around 22 percent till October 12, CIL said

Source: Business Standard

Indian Railways’ freight earnings increased 6 percent in September on higher coal demand from utilities

October 13, 2017. Indian railways witnessed a growth of 5.76 percent in freight earnings to ₹ 8,139 crore in September after higher demand from power utilities jacked up coal loadings. Total freight earnings stood at ₹ 7,695 crore in the same month last year. In a review meeting of the coal sector, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar had issued a set of directions in a bid to ramp up coal supply. The ministry had decided to increase coal loading through railway rakes to 250 rakes per day by Coal India Ltd (CIL) of which 225 rakes per day were to be supplied to the power sector. Coal, which accounts for 47.54 percent of the national carrier’s freight basket, saw a growth of 3.13 percent over last fiscal year. The coal loading in September stood at 42.84 million tonnes (mt) as compared with 39.71 mt in the same period, last year. Indian railways even surpassed its monthly target in September by 0.65 percent which stood at 42.19 mt. The national carrier’s freight loading target for the current financial year stands at 1,165 mt of which the target for coal amounts to 555 mt. Fresh power ministry data shows coal based thermal power generation grew 17 percent in August after hydro power generation dipped 12 percent and nuclear power generation dropped 36 percent over the corresponding month last year.

Source: The Economic Times

Workers of CIL, subsidiaries to get one-time advance on Diwali

October 13, 2017. Ahead of Diwali, the Centre announced higher one-time advance of ₹ 51,000 instead of ₹ 40,000 to each of the three lakh non-executive employees of Coal India Ltd (CIL) and its subsidiaries by October 17. The one-time advance would be paid to employees currently on the rolls of the company. It will be paid before Diwali, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. Lauding state-run CIL workers for their efforts in achieving higher coal output, the minister exhorted the employees to continue on the path of growth in coal production and break all the previous records.

Source: The Times of India


Punjab government fixes industrial power tariff at ₹ 5 per unit for 5 yrs

October 17, 2017. In an attempt to attract investments, Capt Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government announced industrial power tariff at ₹ 5 per unit. The announcement, as part of Punjab’s new industrial policy, comes at a time when the centre and states are working for electricity tariff slab rationalization to make them uniform across the country. This will help in reduction of cross-subsidies borne by the industry, and make tariffs more competitive for businesses thereby pushing the government’s “Make in India” drive. Electricity has been used as a sweetener by various state governments to kickstart industrial activity. For instance, subsidized electricity is being offered as part of the industrial policy announced by Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government in July allowing electricity duty exemption. The Punjab government’s move comes in the backdrop of India’s clean energy tariffs reaching a record low. While wind power tariff fell to ₹ 2.64 per unit in an auction conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India, India has also witnessed record low solar tariffs of ₹ 2.44 per unit in May which firmed up to ₹ 2.65 per kilowatt hour in an auction conducted by the Gujarat government last month.

Source: Livemint

Maharashtra government announces  13.5k bonus for power company staff

October 15, 2017. Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule has declared ₹ 13,500 ex-gratia for all regular staff members of three power companies that came into being after bifurcating the Maharashtra State Electricity Board. Zaheeruddin said that technical workers union had demanded that the government grant ex-gratia to all workers including staff, employees, engineers and officers as well as those who were serving as assistants.

Source: The Economic Times

NE Power Ministers call for development of power projects

October 11, 2017. Power Ministers from the northeastern (NE) states has called for development of power projects for the overall socio-economic development of the region. Arunachal Pradesh Power Minister Tamiyo Taga, who attended the North Eastern Region Power Committee (NERPC) meeting, was more critical on the non-starter of power projects in his state citing opposition by several groups in Assam. Nagaland Power Minister C Kipili Sangtam urged the Central government to completely fund power projects in the northeastern states for the overall socio-economic development of the region. Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey accused Union Ministry of Power of depriving the NE states while sanctioning centrally sponsored schemes like Integrated Power Development Scheme & Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. Assam’s Minister of State for Power, Pallab Lochan Das advocated for creation of robust transmission system within the region as weel as inter regional links with 90 percent grant from the central government to accelerate the pace of capacity addition in the region. NERPC Chairman Comingone Ymbon, who is also Meghalaya Power Minister, urged the central government to give a special focus on the overall development of power sector in the region.

Source: Nagaland Post

Government calls for speedy implementation of power sector schemes in J&K

October 11, 2017. Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh pitched for speedy implementation of various schemes being undertaken in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s power sector for realising the Prime Minister’s initiative of providing electricity to every household by December 2018. Singh asked the concerned officials to take necessary measures for ensuring that the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘power for all’ is realised and electricity is provided to the consumers. The Minister directed the officers to ensure timely completion of Central government schemes in the power sector. He said the officers and executing agencies should work in a coordinated manner to ensure successful closure and completion of the developmental initiatives. He said the Centre would very liberally provide the requisite funds and other logistics for upgrading and augmenting the power generation and transmission as well. Singh also called for exploring the possibility of installing smart and prepaid meters so that the revenue realisation is increased and the losses can be compensated.

Source: The Times of India


Purchase pacts for wind power will be cleared at new rates: KERC

October 16, 2017. Rejecting the requests of both wind developers and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Karnataka’s power regulator has reiterated its earlier decision that power purchase agreements (PPAs), which had not been approved before it set a new wind power tariff, would be okayed only at the new rate. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) had passed an order on September 4, setting a fresh feed-in tariff for wind power at ₹ 3.74 per kWh (kilowatt hour), considerably lower than the tariff of ₹ 4.50 per kWh, set by it in October 2015, which had prevailed till then. The order, however, put into jeopardy 599 MW of wind capacity whose developers had already signed PPAs with various distribution companies (discoms) in Karnataka at the old rate of ₹ 4.50 per kWh, but the PPAs had still to be ratified by KERC. Around 273 MW had already been commissioned and were supplying power to the state discoms at ₹ 4.50 per kWh, but following the new order, would have to renegotiate their PPAs at ₹ 3.74 per kWh. The remaining 326 MW are still under construction. Of the 273 MW of wind power in Karnataka, which have already been commissioned but have PPAs awaiting approval, PPAs for 242.50 MW were signed before March 31 this year.

Source: The Economic Times

In Ludhiana, 20 MC buildings to be solar powered

October 13, 2017. Five more Municipal Corp (MC) buildings will get solar panels as the company handling installation of roof top solar systems has demanded more space. Earlier, civic officials made a list of 15 buildings that would be solar powered. The number has now reached 20. This is the first project to be taken up under the smart city mission more than two years after Ludhiana made it to the list of 20 cities to be developed as smart cities by the Union government. Solar panels are to be installed at all four zonal offices of the MC, fire stations at the local bus stand and Hambran Road, MC buildings at Gill Road and multi-level car parking near Mata Rani Chowk. The total roof area of these buildings is 3,075 square meters.

Source: The Economic Times

India Inc is No 1 globally in funding solar sector: Mercom

October 12, 2017. The larger chunk of investments in the solar sector across the globe in the quarter ended September was bagged by Indian companies, clean energy consultancy firm Mercom Capital Group said in a latest report. The deals where Indian companies topped the chart included venture capital funding, bond issuance and merger and acquisitions. Indian rooftop solar developer CleanMax Solar raising $100 million was globally the largest venture capital deal in the September quarter. Apart from expanding its rooftop business outside India, the company also plans to foray into the electricity storage.

Source: The Financial Express

Renewable equipment prices to fall further: Power and Renewable Energy Minister

October 12, 2017. Exuding confidence that energy consumption will rise over 4 times Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh urged investors to invest in renewables saying the equipment prices will come down further. The country will require $100 billion investment to achieve the target of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022, as per the government estimates. The Minister said the prices of equipment would further come down with expansion of manufacturing of solar cells and modules as the world expands to use of solar energy. He was of the view that fossil fuels will left behind not because those are bad for the world, but because it also makes sense economically to go in for solar or renewables. The efficiency of solar panels has already increased to 30 percent and price will come down due increase in usage, the Minister said.

Source: The Times of India


US issues permit to expand Enbridge cross-border oil pipeline

October 17, 2017. The United States (US) issued a long-awaited permit covering a three-mile segment of Enbridge Inc’s Line 67 crude oil pipeline, allowing the company to nearly double capacity on the cross-border conduit. The permit from the US State Department for the so-called Alberta Clipper line will allow Calgary-based Enbridge to ship 890,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Canadian crude from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, up from 450,000 bpd currently. Enbridge said it welcomed the issuance of the permit after a nearly five-year review process. All cross-border crude oil pipelines require presidential approval. Enbridge first filed for the expanded Alberta Clipper permit in 2012. But like TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL, the company ran into delays obtaining the permit from the administration of then President Barack Obama.

Source: Reuters

EU imposes oil embargo on North Korea in symbolic gesture

October 16, 2017. The European Union (EU) banned the sale of oil and oil products to North Korea, in a largely symbolic move aimed at encouraging countries that have more significant levels of trade with the country to follow suit. EU Foreign Ministers also imposed a blanket ban on doing business with North Korea in sanctions that go beyond the latest U.N. measures. The EU does not sell oil to Pyongyang. Following North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council capped North Korean imports of crude oil, but China and Russia resisted an outright ban.

Source: Reuters

China’s Hengyi opens Singapore trade office for Brunei oil-petchem project

October 16, 2017. Privately-run Chinese company Hengyi Group has started a trading office in Singapore to buy crude and trade oil products from its $3.4 billion Brunei project. The office will also handle third-party trading and use derivatives to hedge risks, Michael Zhang, managing director of the trading arm Hengyi Industries International Pte Ltd, said. The refinery-petrochemical project will be mechanically completed by the end of 2018 and start operations in the first quarter of 2019, Zhang said. The project, at Brunei’s Pulau Muara Besar island, includes a 175,000 barrels per day refinery that will produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Hengyi also signed in September a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brunei’s Economic Development Board to expand the project in a second phase.

Source: Reuters

No impact on oil supply from Iraq, Iran tensions: Kuwaiti Oil Minister

October 16, 2017. Kuwait’s Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq said that there were no signs at the moment of oil supply disruptions as a result of the United States hardened stance on a nuclear deal with Iran or a dispute in Iraq between Baghdad and Kurdish authorities.

Source: Reuters

South Korea’s September Iranian crude oil imports rise to six month high

October 15, 2017. South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil hit the highest level in six months in September amid Iran’s push to regain its lost market share during years it was under sanctions over its nuclear program. The world’s fifth-biggest crude importer shipped in 1.83 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in September, or 446,148 barrels per day (bpd). That is a 22.8 percent increase from nearly 1.5 million tonnes a year ago, customs data showed. South Korea mainly buys an ultra-light oil from Iran, also known as condensate, but the data does not provide a breakdown of imports. Iran has continued to expand its oil production since sanctions were lifted last year. The Middle Eastern country aims to maintain its combined exports of crude and condensate at around 2.6 million bpd for the rest of the year, even though Tehran had cleared excess oil stored onshore and offshore in recent months and its domestic demand growth keeps a lid on outbound shipments, National Iranian Oil Company (NOC) said. South Korea’s oil imports from Iran jumped 43.1 percent to 14.03 million tonnes in January-September of 2017, or 377,059 bpd, from 9.81 million tonnes over the same period last year, according to the data. Asia’s fourth-largest economy’s total crude imports in September were steady at around 12.3 million tonnes from the previous year, or 3.0 million bpd, the data showed. In the first nine months of this year, Korea’s crude oil imports rose 3.4 percent to 110.51 million tonnes, or 2.97 million bpd, compared with 106.86 million tonnes during the same period a year earlier.

Source: Reuters

US oil pipeline rivals look to consolidate West Texas projects

October 13, 2017. As shale oil producers have rushed back into the Permian Basin after a downturn, US (United States) pipeline firms have scrambled to plot new pipelines to take all that petroleum from West Texas to refineries, export hubs and petrochemical plants. But operators with plans for up to 20 new lines are now selling stakes in some of those projects amid concerns that production could fall short of the volumes needed to fill them.

Source: Reuters

Global oil market seen balanced in 2018, even with rising output: IEA

October 12, 2017. Global supply and demand for crude oil will be largely balanced next year, as growth in consumption helps erode a three-year-old overhang of unused fuel and should mostly offset a steep rise in output, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The Paris-based IEA said it continues to see global demand for crude growing by 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, before moderating to 1.4 million bpd in 2018. Commercial oil stocks likely fell in the third quarter of this year, only the second draw since the crude price crashed in 2014, thanks to a drop in the amount of oil held in floating storage or in transit, the IEA said. Commercial stocks in industrialized countries fell in August by 14.2 million barrels to 3.015 billion barrels, leaving a surplus of 170 million barrels above the five-year average, the IEA said. However, the IEA said its numbers implied a build of up to 800,000 bpd could take place in the first quarter of next year, meaning the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners cannot afford a slip in adherence to their supply-restraint deal. OPEC supply was little changed in September at 32.65 million bpd, but down 400,000 bpd from a year earlier, meaning the group’s compliance with its self-imposed 1.2-million bpd output cut stood at 88 percent last month and 86 percent for the year to date, the IEA said. Together with its partners, which include Russia, Oman and Kazakhstan, the group has agreed to restrain output by 1.8 million bpd until March next year. The IEA said it expects demand for OPEC’s crude to rise to 32.98 million bpd in the fourth quarter of this year, above September’s output, and then to fall to 31.87 million bpd in the first three months of 2018. The IEA said it sees non-OPEC crude supply rising by 700,000 bpd in 2017, and by 1.5 million in 2018 to reach 59.6 million bpd, with the United States (US) being the largest contributor. U.S. crude production, aided in large part by resurgent shale output, grew by 550,000 bpd in July compared with a year earlier to 9.24 million bpd, its highest since November 2015. The impact of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US Gulf Coast in late August, is expected to have curtailed production in August and September. But for 2017 as a whole, the IEA expects US crude output to grow by 470,000 bpd and by 1.1 million bpd in 2018.

Source: Reuters

Singapore bunker fuel supplier Uni Petroleum does not renew license

October 11, 2017. Singapore-based marine fuel supplier Uni Petroleum Pte Ltd did not apply to renew its supply license with the city-state’s government, marking it the third supplier to leave the market this year in the world’s biggest refueling hub. The departure should have little impact on the marine fuel, or bunker, market in Singapore as the company has been inactive for most of the year. In 2016, Uni Petroleum was the 45th largest bunker fuel supplier by volume in Singapore, down from 29th in 2015, Singapore’s Maritime & Port Authority (MPA) said. Uni is the latest supplier to exit the Singapore market after Panoil Petroleum and Universal Energy. The MPA revoked Panoil’s supply craft license in August and did not renew the company’s supply license.

Source: Reuters


Japan to offer $10 bn to back Asia LNG infrastructure push

October 16, 2017. The Japanese government will offer $10 billion to support firms bidding to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure around Asia. It will allow Japanese firms to bid aggressively for work to build facilities such as LNG receiving terminals and power plants, backed by loans and investments from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and insurance from Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), it said. Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko will announce the initiative in Tokyo at the annual LNG Producer-Consumer Conference.

Source: Reuters

Greek firm Gastrade signs LNG deal with state-owned DEPA

October 12, 2017. Greece’s state controlled natural gas firm DEPA signed a cooperation agreement on with natural gas company Gastrade to participate in the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in northern Greece, DEPA said. Greece currently has one LNG terminal on an islet off Athens. Gastrade, part of Greek energy group Copelouzos, is planning a second LNG terminal near the northern city of Alexandroupolis. Gastrade will hold at least 20 percent stake in the scheme with LNG carrier operator GasLog another 20 percent. The facility, with an estimated annual capacity of 6.1 billion cubic metres, will seek to supply gas to southeastern Europe via another natural gas pipeline scheme that will cross through Greece, the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria.

Source: Reuters


China’s Shanxi plans nine more coal mine closures this year

October 14, 2017. Authorities in Shanxi, one of China’s biggest coal-producing regions, said they plan to close nine more coal mines by the end of this year, according to a post on a government website. The planned closures come after authorities in the region vowed to suspend or slow the construction of 12 million tonnes of coal production capacity from 2016 to 2020 to battle oversupply. The closures will mean the suspension of production in mines which produced a total of 5.25 million tones of coal a year, said Shanxi authorities. In May, the province said it would shut 18 collieries and cut 17 million tonnes of coal capacity this year.

Source: Reuters

Enel to divest stake in Indonesian coal producer Bayan

October 13, 2017. Enel has agreed to divest its 10% stake in Indonesian coal producer Bayan Resources, held through its subsidiary Enel Investment Holding to Bayan’s controlling shareholder Low Tuck Kwong, for a consideration of $85 mn. Enel purchased a 10% stake in Bayan coal producer in August 2008, during the Initial Public Offering (IPO) resulting in the listing of the Indonesian company in the Jakarta Stock Exchange. Bayan is an Indonesian integrated coal producer. Bayan is engaged in open cut mining of various coal qualities from mines located primarily in East and South Kalimantan, Indonesia and is also working through its subsidiaries in various business sectors, including port service management, coal loading, barging, contractor and heavy equipment rentals.

Source: Energy Business Review

Rio Tinto’s $2 bn coal assets attract investor consortium

October 12, 2017. A group of investors including buyout firm Apollo and pension fund Canada Pension Plan is bidding for coal assets put up for sale by mining giant Rio Tinto, which could fetch $2 billion. The sale, run by Credit Suisse, of the Kestrel and Hail Creek coking coal mines is part of Rio’s planned exit from Australian coal to focus on iron ore, copper and aluminium. Interested parties have been invited to submit tentative offers by a December 8 deadline. Rio Tinto has just completed the sale of its Australian Coal & Allied thermal coal unit to China-backed Yancoal Australia for $2.69 billion.

Source: Reuters

Bloomberg’s charity donates $64 mn to ‘war on coal’

October 12, 2017. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity gave another $64 million to a campaign that aims to slash the number of US (United States) coal-fired plants by two thirds by 2020, he said. Bloomberg Philanthropies made the donation to the Beyond Coal campaign run by non-profit Sierra Club, and other organizations fighting the burning of coal. Including this latest donation, the charity has given $110 million to Beyond Coal since 2011. The pledge was made a day after President Donald Trump’s environmental regulator announced a move to scrap former president Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan that would have reduced carbon emissions from coal plants. The Trump administration labeled the Clean Power Plan part of a “war on coal” by Obama. But Bloomberg said that since the plan has been tied up by the courts and never came into effect, the real threat to coal comes from competing power sources, such as cheap natural gas, solar, and wind power, as well as communities, local governments and companies concerned about public health. Since 2011 nearly half of the country’s coal-fired power plants, or nearly 260 plants, have been closed. Beyond Coal wants to push communities to fight coal plants which emit carbon and particulates blamed for lung and heart problems. It aims to increase closures to some two-thirds of the US coal fleet by 2020. While domestic coal use is under pressure, coal exports have risen this year amid high global demand. The Energy Information Administration, the independent statistics arm of the Department of Energy, said that US coal exports were up 62 percent from January to July, compared to the same period in 2016. But US coal-fired power plant closures have continued apace since Trump came to office in January.

Source: Reuters


Chile power auction attracts 24 bids

October 12, 2017. A Chilean power auction attracted 24 bids, including several from European renewable energy firms, to supply the country with 2,200 gigawatts per hour annually for two decades beginning in 2024, the government said. Bidders included Spanish firms Acciona SA, Cox Energy and Ibereolica, as well as Italian utility Enel and several Chilean energy companies. Offers also included several wind and solar projects. The winners will be revealed on November 3. Results of the tender will be closely watched following the country’s largest-ever power auction last year, in which wind and solar companies offered record low bids and won the right to supply millions of Chileans with power for 20 years beginning in 2021. The average winning price in the massive 2016 auction was $47.6 per megawatt hour, well below market expectations. Chile’s National Energy Commission said that aggressive bidding this time around could help assure equally competitive prices for Chilean consumers.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia sees progress in electricity privatisation

October 11, 2017. Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Electricity Minister Saleh Al-Awaji said he hoped for progress next year in privatising the power sector including the unbundling of state-run Saudi Electricity Company (SEC). Awaji said factors impacting privatisation included the Citizens Account a government plant to compensate low- to medium-income citizens – and revisions to energy prices. Electricity tariffs still do not match the cost of producing electricity in the kingdom. The Saudi government has said energy prices will be subject to gradual increases until 2020. Investments of more than 250 billion riyals are expected to be made in the electricity sector by 2022 to cover a peak load of 80,000 MW. Power demand grew slightly this year compared to last year said Abdulla al-Shehri, the head of the electricity regulator.

Source: Reuters


Australia shuns clean energy target in policy overhaul

October 17, 2017. Australia’s government rejected calls to set a clean energy target, instead scrapping aid for renewable projects and adopting a fuel-neutral energy policy that it said could keep the country’s lights on and cut power prices. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull won support from his Conservative party for a plan to end subsidies for renewable energy after 2020, while requiring energy retailers to guarantee an energy mix that would bring both reliable power and lower carbon emissions. Turnbull set out to overhaul energy policy a year ago to end a decade of political strife over carbon targets – amid rising power prices for domestic consumers – and stabilize the nation’s grid after a huge storm blacked out the country’s most wind power-dependent state. Australia’s energy supply woes have grown as states promoted rooftop solar and wind power over the past 10 years in the absence of a consistent national policy on carbon emissions.

Source: Reuters

French regulator highlights safety risks at nuclear reactors globally

October 17, 2017. Safety levels at nuclear power plants globally are worrying, and although there are no immediate dangers, there are systemic risks that should be dealt with urgently, the head of French nuclear watchdog ASN, Pierre-Frank Chevet, said. In the past few weeks, the regulator has ordered heightened supervision at EDF’s Belleville nuclear plant citing failures in safety standards. It also demanded a temporary halt in production at the Tricastin nuclear power plant due to flaws at a canal dike that could lead to flooding. Chevet said some cases warranted a serious probe, which was why they were classified as “Level 2” incidents on the international nuclear and radiological event scale, where Level 1 marks the lowest level of risk while Level 7 is the highest. He said the number of such incidents have been on the rise. Chevet said this was happening while companies in the sector were facing financial difficulties. He said that the regulator was still examining requests to extend the lifespan of the French nuclear fleet, and was particular looking at several key factors such as anomalies that have gone undetected over the years.

Source: Reuters

China to speed up construction of hydropower project in PoK

October 17 2017. China plans to complete ahead of schedule a $2 billion hydropower project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to ease an energy crisis in Pakistan. The Karot Hydropower Project is being built on Jhelum river on a “build-own-operate-transfer” basis for 30 years.

Source: Livemint

Trump’s nuclear deal policy not to have high impact on oil prices: Iran

October 15, 2017. President Donald Trump’s hardened stance on a multinational nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers will not have much impact on global oil prices, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said. Trump refused to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors say it is. He warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

Source: Reuters

Mandalay to build 3k Arizona homes with solar and Sonnen batteries

October 13, 2017. German battery maker Sonnen GmbH said it would partner with home builder Mandalay Homes to outfit 3,000 new Arizona homes with batteries to store the excess energy generated by their rooftop solar installations. Mandalay plans to build the homes in Prescott, Arizona with the batteries, which can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. The cost would be part of the home’s sale price and wrapped into the mortgage. The companies want utilities to pay the homeowners to use the stored power in the 3,000 batteries, which would create a virtual power plant with 8 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power about 5,000 average homes for a day. Even if utilities do not buy the power, homeowners would save money by not having to buy as much or any power from the grid, Sonnen said.

Source: Reuters

Oxford to become first UK city to ban petrol and diesel cars from center

October 12, 2017. The university city of Oxford has unveiled plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from its center as part of the most radical set of proposals so far in Britain to curb pollution. Whilst London is rolling out an “ultra low emission zone”, which will see the most gas-guzzling vehicles pay daily charges to enter the city center from 2020, Oxford’s “Zero Emission Zone” will ban emitting vehicles from entering part of the city center from that date. Since German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating US emissions tests, politicians around the world have unveiled plans to clamp down on diesel vehicles in a bid to improve air quality and meet more stringent targets. The zone will be gradually widened to include more streets and further vehicle types until 2035 when all emitting vehicles, including trucks, will be banned from the center. Local politicians will draw up the final plans after a consultation closes on November 26. Britain has said it will ban the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2040, replicating plans by France and the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens, who aim to ban diesel vehicles from their city centers by 2025.

Source: Reuters

China Power buys 3.9 GW of renewable energy assets from SPIC

October 11, 2017. The Chinese utility China Power International Development Ltd will purchase renewable energy assets from its state-held parent company State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) for CYu4.97 bn ($750 mn). The company intends to phase out coal and the transaction will boost its attributable installed capacity by 11.83% and raise the share of renewable energies in its capacity mix up to around one third (32.93%) and up to 40% once all projects currently under construction and included in the deal become operational. The assets involved within the deal entailed approximately 1,994 MW of attributable installed capacity in operation and 1,875 MW of attributable installed capacity under construction as of 30 June 2017. The transaction encompasses seven indirect affiliates of SPIC which run hydropower, natural gas, wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

Source: Enerdata

BNP Paribas stops funding shale energy firms, boosts green projects

October 11, 2017. BNP Paribas, France’s biggest listed bank, said it would no longer work with oil and natural gas companies that primarily do business in shale or oil sands as it plans to boost support for renewable energy projects. The bank previously said it planned to spend €15 billion ($17.72 billion) to finance renewable energy projects by 2020 and invest 100 million euros in start-ups specializing in energy storage and efficiency. BNP Paribas’s smaller rival Societe Generale said in October last year that it would quit financing coal-powered electricity plants from January and increase its support for renewable energy projects.

Source: Reuters

South Africa to introduce climate change legislation

October 11, 2017. South Africa will introduce a climate change legislation by 2018, as part of its commitments to the Paris Agreement, the Parliament has said. The Parliament has been informed of this development by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (PCEA) said. The legislation, once adopted, will oblige the DEA to make a climate change impact assessment as a prerequisite for opening any coal-powered stations. The PCEA believes that a climate change legislation will assist in avoiding litigation cases and judgments.

Source: Business Standard


India’s Uranium & Other Energy Imports

‘ Billion

Country 2014‐15 2015‐16  2016‐17
Russia 4.02 8.69 3.95
Kazakhstan 2.17 8.94
Canada 1.58 5.38
Total Uranium Imports 6.19 10.27 18.27

Share of Uranium Imports in Total Energy Import Basket of India

Source: Compiled from Ministry of Commerce & Industry & Lok Sabha Questions

This is a weekly publication of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It covers current national and international information on energy categorised systematically to add value. The year 2017 is the fourteenth continuous year of publication of the newsletter. The newsletter is registered with the Registrar of News Paper for India under No. DELENG / 2004 / 13485.

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