MonitorsPublished on Jan 31, 2018
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 33

Coal News Commentary: December 2017 – January 2018


Coal India’s new pricing policy, which involves selling coal on the basis of total energy content in each consignment, is expected to bring down cost of power generation that would be passed on to consumers. In its new coal pricing policy, which will come into effect from April 2018, the monopoly has graded coal on the basis of total energy content. Each of these grades will have a different rate for one unit of energy within these slabs with higher prices for higher calorific value. For every 100 unit reduction in energy content measured in kilo calorie, prices would reduce by a minimum of ₹ 19/tonne for the lowest grade and a maximum of ₹ 48/tonne for the highest grade. According to a CIL there are nine slabs in the new system. For example, coal with total energy content varying between 3,101 kcal/kg and 4,600 kcal/kg will be billed at 23 paise per unit of energy. This means that the price of coal per tonne for this grade will vary between ₹ 713/tonne on the lowest side for the grade and ₹ 1,058/tonne on the highest side of the grade. The current price for this grade is fixed at ₹ 886/tonne as long as energy content per kg lies within the grade.

What is interesting is that in 1954 when the concept of UHV was proposed by the Coal Washeries Committee as basis for pricing, power generators were using better grades of coal, the reserves of which were depleting fast.  The objective of adoption of UHV concept was therefore to encourage and popularize the use of poor grades of non-coking coal by the power utilities.  This was a built- in incentive for a general shift towards usage of E, F and G grades of coal with calorific value of about 4000 kcal/kg. The price of these coal grades for ‘million calories’ was significantly lower compared to the superior coal grades A & B with calorific value of about 5800 kcal/kg. The Tariff Commission recommended UHV basis of pricing in 1966 and it was adopted in 1979.  Under the UHV system of pricing, the coal producer had an incentive to produce coal at the highest ash level of a particular grade.  It also allowed significant slippage of grade in delivered coal.

When the UHV concept was adopted, more than 95 percent of the coal was burnt on either fixed or moving grates where the thermal efficiency dropped steeply with increasing ash content.  Following adoption of UHV, the consumption of inferior grade coals increased and it stood at about 119 mt in 1990-91.  Power plants, whether located near the pithead of away from the coalfields used ROM coal with ash content up to 47 percent.  The shift in pricing policy may incentivise the use of higher quality of coal.

CIL has also raised prices of the fuel used to fire power plants for the first time in about a year-and-a-half, as the world’s biggest coal producer shores up efforts to pay for higher salaries. Higher prices will boost the company’s revenue by about ₹ 19.56 billion ($308 million) in the financial year ending March 31, it said. The price increase will add ₹ 64.21 billion to its annual revenue. This is the first increase in thermal coal prices by the company since May 2016. Thermal coal accounts for about 90 percent of CIL’s revenue. CIL’s shipments in December rose to the highest for the month in data going back to 2013, as power plants, its biggest customers, bought more to replenish their depleted inventories.

CIL introduced evacuation facility charges of ₹ 50/tonne on all coal despatches (except despatches through rapid-loading arrangement) with immediate effect. This is expected to generate incremental annual revenue of ₹25 billion, adding ₹8 billion to revenue in the current fiscal alone. Analysts believe volume growth outlook will start looking better in the coming days. During April-November 2017, CIL’s production increased 1.8% year-on-year, whereas offtake (despatches/sales volume) improved at a faster pace of 8.1%. However, offtake in November alone was relatively slower at 5.2%. So far, CIL has achieved 95% of its production target and 97% of its offtake target. Analysts expect the company to miss its full-year targets this year. CIL’s FSA (fuel supply agreement) volumes realizations had improved quarter-on-quarter in the September quarter and it will be worth watching whether the trend continues.

The government said that the annual production target CIL has been kept at 630 mt for the upcoming financial year. Against the target of 408.6 mt, CIL produced 385.6 mt of coal till January 1 in the ongoing financial year. In the Annual Plan of CIL for 2017-18, the production target has been pegged at 600 mt. From the production level of 554 mt in 2016- 17, the PSU has envisaged to enhance its coal output to one billion tonnes by FY’20. CIL has identified mines with a production capacity of 908 mt so far. Considering the demand for coal from various segments, while finalising the Annual Plan of 2017-18, CIL was given the offtake target of 600 mt by the coal ministry. In a bid to achieve the annual target, CIL is required to increase its daily production to more than two mt during the remaining day of the ongoing financial year.

CIL has achieved a 7.6% growth in sales during April-December 2017 against the previous corresponding period when it achieved a 0.6% growth. During this period, CIL sold almost 421 mt of coal reducing pithead inventory by about 37.5 mt. In the previous corresponding period CIL sold almost 392 mt. Western Coalfields achieved the highest sales growth of 30.2% followed by Central Coalfields and Northern Coalfields at 17.1% and 17.7% respectively. South Eastern Coalfields achieved near 12% growth In December last year it sold 53.44 mt against 51.46 mt produced in December 2016 thus achieving a near 4% growth.

SCCL will be investing about ₹ 100 billion during the next five years on expansion programmes with a target to achieve ₹ 340 billion revenues by then. SCCL said the investment involves expansion of new mines, adding 800 MW to the existing 1,200 MW power plant and setting up 500 MW solar power project. The government-owned coal mining company is poised to clock ₹ 240 billion income this year from both selling coal and power and aims to take this figure to ₹ 340 billion in five years. Currently, the miner has 47 coal mines spread across the northern part of Telangana with about 10 billion tonne reserves. Under Sridhar, who took charge three years ago, SCCL has been showing growth in both production and dispatches. The average price of coal the SCCL sells currently is about ₹ 2,500 per tonne with different rate structure for power producers and others.

The government is looking at 2018 with renewed optimism for the coal sector in the wake of demand upturn and expecting 6-7 percent growth in supply of the dry fuel next year. Also, the government is hopeful of a better show by CIL which is expected to achieve an output of 600 mt in 2017-18. In 2017, there has been a resumption in demand for coal and this has been the greatest difference from the last year. Bottlenecks in coal supply to power plants turned out to be a big issue this year. While power producers held the coal ministry responsible for inadequate coal supply, the latter blamed the former for the low stock of fuel at plants. The coal ministry went to the extent of saying that there was no shortage of the dry fuel and power plants should have adhered to the Central Electricity Authority’s guidelines for stocking of coal. Hoping that coal supply will grow at 6-7 percent in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17, he predicted that 2018-19 will see a more improved performance. In October, the Karnataka government had asked the Centre to ensure adequate supply of coal and early allocation of a coal block in Odisha to meet the severe fuel shortage faced by power units.

To bring back lost coal freight revenue, the ministry of railways has prepared a scheme for a bypass rail route near the 35-km line between Chandrapura and Dhanbad that was closed due to underground fire at the Jharia (Jharkhand) coalfields in June. This will be funded by CIL, holding company of Bharat Coking Coal that operates the Jharia mines. Closure of the line meant an annual estimated loss for the railways of at least ₹27.5 billion. RITES, the railways’ engineering arm, was asked to do the detailed project report and the Railway Board is expected to approve the proposal the coming week. The earlier line went through Jharia and was under threat of caving in due to underground fire. On an average, the route used to carry around 25 mt of coal traffic a year, the annual loss of which was ₹ 25 billion. The line also used to carry 12.4 million passengers a year, leading to annual loss of around ₹ 2.5 billion. The railways had to shut the Dhanbad to Jharia route in 2007 for a similar reason. It is likely to be safe for operations from 2022 onwards. Only around 10 underground fires out of 80 have been extinguished since the government take-over of coal mines in 1971.

Polish companies may explore opportunities at commercial coal mining in India if conditions are right. The Indian mining sector has been using Polish technology and machinery extensively and many Polish companies are now looking beyond Europe to find new markets and opportunities. India is currently working on a methodology for offering coal blocks for commercial mining. The European country will showcase Silesia region in the Bengal business gathering as a potential region for economic partnership between Bengal and the province.

The power ministry has asked the coal ministry to issue directions to CIL to start coal supply to the winners of coal contracts auctions without waiting for approval from the power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). In a meeting held by the power ministry, representatives from banks expressed concerns about delay in issue of coal allocation letters to auctions conducted by CIL for PPA holders under Shakti, the office memorandum said. Signing of firm coal supply agreements may take 2-3 months after issue of the coal allocation letters as the requirement of PPA and approval of the appropriate commission may take time, it said. CIL’s board had approved the winning bids of a bunch of power producers including Adani Power, GMR Energy and KSK Energy who had quoted the highest discount in electricity tariffs to receive coal from the state-run miner.

The system of coal blocks allocation could undergo an overhaul, with New Delhi leaning towards the oil-and-gas industry model that involves sharing production or revenue instead of the existing practice of auctions. The coal ministry has set up an expert committee to examine challenges facing the current bidding system and to suggest changes to the process for conducting future auctions of coalmines. The formation of the committee follows an advisory by a government department to the coal ministry, pointing out the annulment of the last two tranches of coalmine auctions due to tepid response from the industry. The fourth and fifth rounds of coalmine auctions to non-power firms have been shelved as companies were not too keen. The present coalmine auction mechanism has become provided under the Coal Mines Special Provisions Act and the amended Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act.

The coal ministry is devising methods to penalise coal block operators falling behind targeted production and revenue payment to states. According to the coal ministry, of the 34 auctioned or allotted mines, vesting order has been issued for 29. Of these, 15 have started production of close to 15.32 mt. Coal production from the auctioned 29 mines stood at 15.32 mt during 2016-17. This, the government said, was close to the production by these mines in 2014-15 when they were re-allocated. Cumulative production was 15.8 mt then. Of the eight power companies that were allocated coal blocks, five have moved court to challenge the government’s decision to disallow pass-through of quoted discount on coal cost on the final power tariff. The Jharkhand government started marking forest and non-forest land for ease of doing business. But the process is far from over, thereby putting in soup a lot of coal mine owners who received the mine in the 2014-15 auction but haven’t started any work yet. After the Supreme Court cancelled all coal blocks allocation of the past two decades in August 2014, the ministry of coal started re-allocation reserves via transparent e-auctions. It allocated 34 operational coalmines to private companies through auctions and to states through allotment — for power and non-power sectors. The revenue estimated to be collected was ₹28.5 million over 30 years for mine-bearing states. In the first e-auction of coal blocks during 2014, 34 coal blocks went to private companies, including Hindalco, Balco, Jindal, JSW, Adani, GMR and Essar.

Rest of the World

China’s central government-owned enterprises will target coal capacity cuts of 12.65 mt in 2018. It provided a separate 80 mt target for consolidation of coal capacity by central government-owned firms in China, the world’s largest coal producer, this year. The NDRC, China’s state planner, said it planned to create several “super-large” coal mining companies by the end of 2020, each with capacity to produce 100 mt per year of coal by the end of 2020 as the world’s biggest producer of the fuel ramps up years of efforts to streamline the fragmented sector and slash outdated capacity. These super large companies will compete on the global market and help to modernise the sector.

Last year, China had more than 4,000 coal mines with a total capacity of 3.41 bt a year, the NEA said in November. Only six of China’s coal mining companies are currently capable of producing more than 100 mt per year, according to the China National Coal Association. Those include top coal miner Shenhua Group, China Coal Energy Group and Datong Coal Mine Group. The NDRC’s plan follows the acquisition last year of state power company China Guodian Group Corp by Shenhua to create the world’s largest utility. Among the steps proposed, the NDRC said it would encourage the coal industry to undertake more deal making with chemical coal, shipping and iron and steel firms. Under its five-year plan to 2020, China has pledged to eliminate around 800 mt of outdated capacity and add around 500 mt of advanced output. Coal output will be around 3.9 bt a year by 2020.

China’s top state coal miners have cut spot prices for the fuel to dampen a month-long price rally that was triggered after Beijing reversed a ban on using coal in households and some industrial plants amid the nation’s winter heating crisis. Seven firms in China’s top coal mining province of Shanxi, including Shanxi Coking Coal Group, Datong Coal Mine Group and Jinneng Group, have issued statements announcing have lowered their coal prices by 15-20 yuan ($3.10) per tonne, according to the CCTD. Except for Yangquan Coal Industry Group, who did not respond to Reuters, the coal mines confirmed the price adjustments as outlined by CCTD. The move came after coal prices jumped by more than 10 percent since heating season kicked off in mid-November, with demand at coal-fired power plants continuing to surge as freezing weather swept across the country.

China has urged coal miners to increase high-grade coal supplies to ensure heating fuel for winter, the NDRC said. The NDRC asked miners to put more high-grade coal projects into operation “as soon as possible”. Coal-fired power plants are also encouraged to increase their thermal coal stockpiles and upgrade

Chinese imports of coal from key supplier Australia slipped in November from a year ago, China’s General Administration of Customs data showed, hit by heavy traffic congestion in Australian ports. Shipments from Australia fell 0.3 percent in November from the same month a year ago to 5.59 million tonnes, customs data showed. That compared with October’s 5.61 million tonnes. More than 300 large dry cargo ships have been waiting outside Chinese and Australian ports in a maritime traffic jam for over a month, choking supplies to the world’s second largest economy. High-grade coal from Australia, with lower pollutants such as sulphides and higher energy value, has seen increasing demand from utilities and industrial plants in China. As part of battle against air pollution, China aims to reduce consumption of low-grade bulk coal by 200 mt by 2020. China is expected to import around 260 million tonnes of coal in 2017, according to data from China National Coal Association. Arrivals from Russia rose 10.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.92 mt in November, while imports from Mongolia were down 17.8 percent at 2.76 mt customs data showed. Indonesian coal supplies tumbled 33.9 percent from a year ago to 3.41 mt.

China’s industrialized province of Shandong plans to eliminate 10.23 mt of coal capacity, two days after the central government criticized Shandong officials for failing to take action to curb coal capacity. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) issued a statement accusing Shandong officials of deceiving authorities to evade capacity cuts in the polluting coal, steel, aluminium and chemical sectors. Criticism came after the central government dispatched inspectors to Shandong in August and September to check its environmental situation. Shandong said it has met the 2017 target of eliminating 2.55 mt coal capacity.

China has eased restrictions on coal imports by quickening the customs clearing process, dampening record high prices as cheaper foreign supply lands at ports. The country tightened imports by banning small ports from receiving foreign coal cargoes and delaying the process of issuing quality reports for imports from July 1. Traders said it took as many as 40 days to clear customs compared with one to two weeks previously. Prices of the most-active thermal coal futures have fallen more than 5 percent from a record high of 641 yuan ($98.77) per ton hit on December 18. Authorities at major coal import hubs have shortened the time it has taken to issue a quality inspection report for foreign coal cargoes and have cut random checks since late December. A campaign to switch millions of households from using coal to natural gas has created a shortage of natural gas, forcing factories and many gas power plants to shut. The campaign also unexpectedly boosted demand from coal-fired power plants, which are operating at higher rates to provide electricity for winter heating.

Asian benchmark thermal coal prices have pushed to their highest levels since 2016, fuelled by demand in China and loading delays in Indonesia that have ramped up shipping congestion outside major coal ports. Spot cargo prices for Australian Newcastle coal have risen nearly 15 percent from lows in late November after China loosened import restrictions to help meet a winter fuel shortage. The move by the NEA also followed an ambitious gasification program that moved too many households and factories from coal to gas for its utilities to keep up. Bottlenecks at import terminals across China and delays at loading ports in Indonesia’s Kalimantan island, one of the world’s biggest thermal coal mining regions have added to the tighter market.

Germany imports of hard coal in 2017 fell 10.5 percent to 51.2 mt from 57.2 mt preliminary data from coal importers’ lobby VDKI showed. The figure fell short of a VDKI forecast made last summer and mainly reflected a 16 percent fall to 36 mt in steam coal imports used by power generators Imports of coking coal used in steelmaking rose by 0.6 mt to 12.9 mt and those of coke, a related product, rose by 0.3 mt to 2.3 mt in 2017, VDKI data showed. VDKI said some old coal plants closed and wind power expanded helped by its higher priority on power networks

A company that plans to build a coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest to ship western US coal to Asian markets sued the state of Washington for blocking construction last year. Lighthouse Resources Inc filed a lawsuit in federal court against Washington Governor Jay Inslee and two state regulators for allegedly violating the US Constitution’s commerce clause by denying permits to allow the company to ship coal mined in Wyoming, Montana and other western states through its proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal to clients in Japan and South Korea. Lighthouse Resources’ complaint, filed in US District Court in Tacoma, claims that state regulators “unreasonably” refused to process permits to develop a site on the Columbia River where an existing Washington state lease allows coal exports. Lighthouse, a privately held company based in Salt Lake City, said that by rejecting necessary permits, regulators imposed an “embargo” on new coal exports and discriminated against Lighthouse’s efforts to transport coal mined in Montana and Wyoming through Washington. The Millennium Coal Terminal is the last of six proposed coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest that was denied approval by state regulators or the US Army Corps of Engineers amid opposition from states and the Lummi Tribe, which argued that coal terminals interfered with their fishing rights.

The Czech Republic can seek hundreds of millions in funds seized by Swiss authorities from bank accounts linked to the disputed privatization of one of the nation’s coal mines two decades ago, Switzerland’s highest court said. The sale of lignite miner MUS became one of the biggest Czech post-communist privatization scandals, among a string of murky disposals of state-owned companies. Swiss authorities seized more than 660 million Swiss francs ($677 million), giving them jurisdiction over the case that delivered its verdicts in 2013. The Czech Republic had originally been excluded by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court from intervening as a private party after missing judicial filing deadlines relating to the case, despite saying it had been damaged by the MUS deal. The Swiss Federal Tribunal directed the Swiss criminal court to now take up the Czech claims. The tribunal, in Lausanne, also said its judges had rejected most of the appeals lodged by the five former MUS managers seeking to challenge their convictions four years ago in which they received prison sentences of 36 months to 52 months and financial penalties. MUS now has different owners, with its name changed to Czech Coal and Severni Energeticka.


India’s oil ministry seeks cut in excise duty on petrol, diesel in budget

January 22, 2018. India’s oil ministry is pushing for a cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel in the upcoming 2018/19 budget to cushion the impact of rising oil prices on its vast consumer base, the oil ministry said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces elections in key states later this year, and a nationwide election in early 2019, has faced pressure over a rise in retail prices of petrol and diesel to a record level. India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for about 40-50 percent of the pump prices. A litre of petrol costs Rs72.23 ($1.13) while diesel is sold at Rs63.01. Petrol and diesel account for about half of India’s refined fuel consumption. A cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel in the budget, due to be unveiled on February 1, would pose challenges as the government is struggling to tackle a widening fiscal gap amid falling tax revenues due to the implementation of a goods and services tax (GST) regime from July. In 2016/17, the petroleum sector contributed around Rs5.2 trillion ($81 billion), about a third of total revenue receipts, for federal and state finances. India raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up federal finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax last October by Rs2 a litre. The ministry has also sought inclusion of petrol, diesel, jet fuel and natural gas in the GST to help companies claim tax credits against the tax paid on the purchase of equipment meant to produce refined fuel. The oil ministry said the addition of refined products in GST will help reduce retail prices even if the government levies a charge on top of its highest GST rate of 28 percent. The ministry has also sought federal support for laying fuel and gas pipelines in the northeast of the country to give the region a boost. Economic development in India has largely been concentrated in the western and southern states that have better infrastructure and more accessible energy supplies.

Source: Reuters

India to showcase oil sector policy reforms at IEF Ministerial in April

January 22, 2018. Indian will showcase its oil sector policy reforms and the investment opportunities at the 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial, slated for April in New Delhi, where scores of ministers, top officials and industry executives from across the globe are expected to participate, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. IEF, comprising 72 member countries, is one of the biggest global forum of oil and gas producers and is currently headed by Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the latest edition of the ministerial that is being co-hosted by China and South Korea. The Ministerial will be held from April 10 to 12. Ninety percent of the oil and gas producers and consumers would be represented at the event, which would therefore be a good opportunity to present India as an investment destination, Pradhan said. The issue of ‘reasonable and responsible pricing’ and the long-standing Indian demand of junking the so-called Asian premium will also be discussed at the Ministerial, Pradhan said. Oil consumers have become ‘more assertive’ and they will have a bigger say in the global oil market now, Pradhan said referring to how the global oil industry dynamics has changed over the years. A supply glut resulting in lower prices for the last three years has given heavy consumers like India and China a bigger say in the global markets.

Source: The Economic Times

ONGC-HPCL merger not to be equated with disinvestment: Oil Minister

January 22, 2018. The ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp)-HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd) merger is an innovative vertical economic integration of companies being done with a motive that goes beyond mere financial consideration, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. He was addressing a media interaction on state-run explorer ONGC’s decision to acquire fuel retailer HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore. He said that the government’s aim behind the move was not just financial consideration and that the merger decision was taken considering the price volatility in the oil and gas industry which created the need for a company which could cushion the shocks of oil prices. The government has set a disinvestment target of Rs 72,500 crore for the financial year 2017-2018, of which Rs 54,337 crore has been raised so far. He said that the government is bound by rules as per the nationalisation act of HPCL and the aim was to ensure an innovative vertical economic integration and calling it as disinvestment is not the government’s perspective.

Source: The Economic Times

Trying to bring petrol, diesel under the purview of GST: Oil Minister

January 21, 2018. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said his ministry is trying to bring petrol and diesel under the purview of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He said the spike in petrol rates in the international market has impacted the cost of the fuel in India. The Congress had demanded that petroleum projects be brought under the GST ambit. In Indore, Pradhan rode a bicycle at “Saksham Cyclothon” to send the message of save fuel and environment. Pradhan said cycling promotes healthy life and helps in conservation of energy.

Source: Business Standard

Keeping close watch on petrol, diesel rates: Oil Minister

January 18, 2018. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan remained non-committal on cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel, which have touched record highs, saying merely that the government is keeping a close watch on the situation. Petrol price rose to Rs 71.56 per litre in Delhi, the highest since August 2014. Rates in Mumbai are almost touching Rs 80. Diesel prices soared to their highest level of Rs 62.25 per litre in Delhi. It is being sold at Rs 66.30 in Mumbai, where the local sales tax or VAT (Value Added Tax) rates are higher. Pradhan said the Centre had in October cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre. Some states had followed it by reducing VAT. He said it was not under his ministry’s purview to revises taxes. He however side-stepped the query whether his ministry has suggested to the finance ministry to reduce excise duty. Petrol and diesel prices have been on the rise since December 15, 2017. Diesel in Delhi on that day was priced at Rs 58.34, and in past one month has risen by Rs 3.91. Petrol price had during the period risen by Rs 2.49, according to oil companies. The rally in oil prices has renewed calls to the government to cut excise duty to cushion burden on common man.

Source: Business Standard

As global crude rallies, petrol prices in Delhi hit 3-year high of Rs 71

January 18, 2018. The rise in Indian basket of imported crude oils pushed the petrol price in the national capital to Rs 71.56 a litre, its highest level in over three years. According to data from Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the previous high for petrol prices in the national capital was Rs 73.60 reported on July 1, 2014. According to the daily revision of fuel prices, the petrol price was hiked by 17 paise a litre and diesel by 19 paise per litre. The daily revision allows any rise in international oil rates to be reflected in domestic prices with immediate effect rather than having a waiting period of 15 days as earlier. Besides daily revision, petroleum products do not come under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and prices vary at locations according to state taxes. The Indian crude oil basket comprises 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, closed December 2017 at $62.29 per barrel, according to the oil ministry.

Source: Business Standard


Centre has approved connecting Guwahati and Barauni by gas pipeline: Assam Industry Minister

January 21, 2018. Assam Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patwary said that Centre has in principle agreed to come up with gas pipeline from Barauni in Bihar to Guwahati in Assam. Patwary said that at Baruni the pipeline will be connected with national grid. Patwary informed that Centre is working on new fiscal package to attract investment into the state. The earlier policy of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, 2007 has expired. He said that earlier policy has failed to attract desired investment in Assam. Patwary said that to give impetus to industrial activity the government has notified 160 kilometre long industrial corridor near Guwahati.

Source: The Economic Times

RIL, BP seek out customers for gas from R-series field in KG basin

January 18, 2018. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and BP Plc, partners in a gas block in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, have started approaching prospective customers to sell gas that will start flowing from their R-series field in 2020. The firms will sell gas through India Gas Solutions (IGS), an equal joint venture they formed in 2011 for the sourcing and marketing of gas, the two people said on condition of anonymity. New gas production from the D6 field in the KG block will flow from 2020 and is expected to bring a total 30-35 million cubic metres of gas a day, phased over 2020-22. So far, only the D6 field in KG block is producing gas. The R-Series and other satellite fields are yet to be developed. The six satellite fields include D2, 6, 19, 22, 29 and 30, in the KG block. While the development of the six satellite fields would be taken up together, D-34 or R-Series and D-55 (MJ) would be developed separately. RIL and BP announced an investment of Rs 40,000 crore in their satellite fields, R-Series and MJ gas discoveries, to reverse flagging production from the KG block. This investment will boost production as much as fivefold over the next three to five years. IGS is also pursuing options to import and market LNG into India and looking to pick up stake or administer capacity in LNG regasification facilities and gas transportation pipelines. RIL and BP are partners in the KG block, which currently produces around 7-8 million standard cubic metres of gas per day. While RIL holds a 60% stake in the gas block, BP owns 30%. Canada-based Niko Resources Ltd owns the rest. The D6 field began gas production in April 2009 and was to hit a peak output of 69.43 million standard cubic metres per day in March 2010. However, water and sand ingress forced the closure of some wells, leading to a drop in production. BP and RIL began their partnership in 2011, when BP picked up a 30% stake in RIL’s 21 oil and gas blocks for $7.2 billion.

Source: Livemint

India put up 55 blocks on auction for oil, gas exploration

January 18, 2018. India put on auction a record exploration acreage for prospecting of oil and gas, from 55 blocks, in the first bid round in eight years. Each block on offer has been carved out by prospective bidders under the open acreage licensing (OAL) of the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said launching the round. Blocks would be awarded to the company which offers highest share of oil and gas to the government as well as commits to do maximum exploration work by way of shooting 2D and 3D seismic survey and drilling exploration wells. Increased exploration would lead to more oil and gas production, helping the world’s third largest oil importer to cut import dependence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of cutting oil import bill by 10 percent to 67 percent by 2022 and to half by 2030. India had in July last year allowed companies to carve out blocks of their choice with a view to bringing about 2.8 million square kilometres of unexplored area in the country under exploration. Under this policy, companies are allowed to put in an expression of interest (EoI) for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is presently not under any production or exploration licence. The EoIs can be put in at anytime of the year but their are accumulated twice annually. The blocks or areas that receive EoIs at the end of the cycle are put up for auction with the originator or the firm that originally selected the area getting a 5-mark advantage. The 55 blocks have a total area of 59,282 sq km. This compares to about 1,02,000 sq km being under exploration currently. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Cairn India – a unit of Vedanta Ltd, had put in 41 out of 57 bids received in November last year. Private player Hindustan Oil Exploration Co (HOEC) bid for one area in a round. Of the 57 EOIs put only 55 blocks were cleared for bidding after eliminating areas that are under no-go zone or overlapping with existing mining lease. He said the opening up of 2.8 million sq km of sedimentary basins for oil and gas exploration will help raise domestic production and cut excessive dependence on imports. The new policy replaced the old system of government carving out areas and bidding them out. It guarantees marketing and pricing freedom and moves away from production sharing model of previous rounds to a revenue sharing model where companies offering maximum share of oil and gas to government are awarded the block. Till now, the government has been selecting and demarcating areas it feels can be offered for bidding in an exploration licensing round.

Source: Business Standard

PNGRB changes bid norms for CNG, PNG retail licence

January 17, 2018. After “one paisa” bids spoilt the initial auction rounds, oil regulator PNGRB (Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board) has proposed to radically change the bidding parameters for obtaining a licence to retail CNG (compressed natural gas) and piped cooking gas in cities. The PNGRB has proposed to conduct future auctions by asking companies to quote the tariff they will charge for transportation of CNG and piped natural gas or PNG within the city, with lowest rate getting preference. They would also be asked to quote the number of CNG stations and households proposed to be connected within a given timeframe, according to PNGRB. Besides, bidders will also have to quote how much pipeline would they lay on winning the licence. PNGRB has so far held eight rounds of bidding where companies were asked to quote the tariff for pipeline that carries gas within the city limits. This bidding criteria did not include the rate at which an entity would sell CNG to automobiles or piped natural gas to households using the same pipeline network, leading to companies offering one paisa as tariff to win licences. PNGRB in the notice invited comments on the draft bidding regulations by February 2 after which it will finalise the criteria.

Source: Business Standard


Sasan plant may shut down in March for lack of coal: Reliance Power to HC

January 23, 2018. The threat of a shutdown is looming large over the operation of Reliance Power’s 3,960 MW power project in Madhya Pradesh if it is not allowed to mine coal in excess of the cap set by the Centre, the company told Delhi High Court (HC). Sasan Power Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance, moved an application before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, contending that the cap of 17 million tonne per annum (mtpa) on mining from its two coal blocks Moher and Moher-Amlohri blocks was not enough to carry out operations till the end of this financial year. It said the approved quantity of coal would not meet the requirement for running the plant for the last 10 days of March this year, severely affecting 42 crore consumers. The company has contended that if it was not allowed to mine another 2 mtpa, that is up to 19 mtpa, in this financial year, it will not be able to meet the requirements of its Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) that supplies electricity to 14 distribution companies (discoms) in seven states. Such a situation will also entail a loss of around Rs 130 crore for the company, while the discoms would have to shell out more than Rs 200 crore to purchase power from other sellers to provide electricity to their 42 crore consumers, it claimed. The company said in its plea that it supplied electricity under a 25-year long term power purchase agreement on a tariff of Rs 1.196 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 14 discoms across the states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In its application seeking permission to mine 19 mtpa, Sasan has contended that this will also help it to maintain additional stock of coal of 1.25 million tonne for meeting any exigency which might disrupt coal production. It has also claimed that it has exhausted most of its accumulated stock last year to run its plant when it had to stop mining after hitting the 17 mtpa cap. The application was submitted in the main writ petition filed by Reliance Power and Sasan challenging the Centre’s May 7, 2015, decision to cancel one of the three coal blocks allocated to Sasan UMPP. The government had justified the cancellation saying the unit’s coal requirement could be met by the other two mines, Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension in Madhya Pradesh.

Source: Business Standard

Goa Congress MLA Lourenco writes to PM Modi over coal, rivers

January 21, 2018. Congress Curtorim MLA Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco has said that Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan ‘should respect the public opinion of Goans’ and the opposition to proposals to turn the state into a coal hub and coal corridor as well as against the nationalisation of six rivers. He said that Modi and Vardhan should intervene in the matter as both these proposals are bound to ruin Goa’s pristine beauty and reputation as a preferred tourist destination. In a recent letter to Modi and Vardhan, Lourenco brought to their notice that the gram sabhas of over 100 (out of 189) villages in Goa have passes resolutions to oppose both the proposals.

Source: The Times of India

CIL allotted 11 new mines in Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar: Coal Minister

January 20, 2018. The ministry of coal would allot 11 coal mines to Coal India Ltd (CIL), which will add 225 million tonnes (mt) to the annual production capacity of the company by 2022. CIL has set a target to produce 1 billion tonne coal by March 2020. In the last fiscal, CIL’s production stood at 554 mt. For this fiscal, the target is to touch 600 million tonnes of coal production. The government has decided to allot 11 coal mines to CIL, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. CIL has requested the government to allot the additional coal mines to make all its subsidiaries 100 mt capacity units. Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) do not have adequate reserves of the dry fuel at present. Of the 11 mines, it has been decided to allot three to ECL and four each to BCCL and WCL. These mines are located in Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha. The coal ministry said with these mines, there would be the direct employment of 18,000 and indirect employment of 90,000.

Source: Business Standard

Panel looking into coal blocks auction process to submit report in 6-8 months: Coal Minister

January 19, 2018. A panel headed by former Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Pratyush Sinha to review coal blocks auction mechanism is likely to submit its report in six-eight months, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. Goyal said that the panel will also be exploring the revenue sharing model for coal blocks allocation. The coal ministry has set up a high-power expert committee to examine challenges of the current bidding system and suggest changes for conducting future auctions of coal mine. The committee will be headed by former chief vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha, former SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya and ex-chief of Union Bank of India. The panel will also suggest changes in the future coal block bid process in its report to be submitted within a month. The formation of the committee follows an advisory by a government department to the coal ministry pointing out at annulment of last two tranches of coal mine auctions due to tepid response from the industry. The fourth and fifth round of coal mine auctions to non-power firms have been shelved due to tepid response from companies. The present coal mine auction mechanism has been provided under the Coal Mines Special Provisions Act and the amended Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act. The procedure, laid down under the Coal Block Allocation Rules introduced by the NDA government, provides for reverse online auctions for power projects and forward bidding for other uses.

Source: The Economic Times

Coastal shipping of coal to double in 6 yrs: CRISIL

January 18, 2018. Coastal transportation of coal is expected to near double to 63 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by in six years, CRISIL Research said. The bulk of the coastal movement of coal in India happens along the eastern coast, from the mines of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), via the Paradip and Dhamra ports in Odisha, to power plants in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The mechanised coal handling plant berths at Paradip, through which most of coastal coal is loaded, have occupancy well above the benchmark norms of 70 percent, CRISIL said. It said an addition of 22 mtpa of coal-handling capacity at Paradip is expected by calendar year 2020. CRISIL said in the longer term, the heavy-haul rail corridor connectivity between Ib valley and the Paradip and Dhamra ports will be a booster.

Source: Business Standard

Odisha government seeks revision of coal royalty in Union Budget

January 18, 2018. The Odisha government asked the Centre to revise the coal royalty and also for change in the sharing pattern of the State Disaster Response Fund. Odisha Finance Minister, Sashi Bhusan Behera made the demands while participating in the pre-budget consultation meeting held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. As per norm, the rate of royalty on coal should be revised every three years, which was due for revision in April 2015. Hence, Government of India should revise the royalty on coal immediately without further delay, Behera said.

Source: Business Standard


PM Modi’s constituency checks power theft with underground cables

January 23, 2018. In a country that loses a quarter of its electricity to theft, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency — Varanasi — has shown a way out by pushing distribution cables underground and deploying technology to track illegal connections. Since work on overhauling the rickety distribution network began a year ago, power losses have dropped from 45% to below 10% in the Old Kashi area of the holy city, while the number of legal connections have jumped nearly 14% and improved the distribution company (discom)’s revenue collection. As work on underground cabling and removal of overhead supply lines progressed, consumers find tapping —a common practice in semi-urban India —nearly impossible. Tripping devices in the network have made it easier to detect illegal connections and identify the guilty. This is evident from over 100 FIRs filed for power theft. The Central transmission utility was entrusted with the task of modernizing the rickety distribution network in a 16 kilometre (km) square area, spanning an 8 km arch along Ganga and running two km into the city from its banks, under the Centre’s Integrated Power Development Scheme. The main work of laying cables, adding distribution transformers for improved efficiency with smaller cluster of households, interlinking substations into a ring form and other technical upgrades have been completed in the entire scheme area, including all heritage sites. Only work on dismantling poles and shifting meters on outside walls of houses in some areas remain.

Source: The Economic Times

J&K government actively pursuing transfer of power projects: Deputy CM

January 22, 2018. Asserting that the flagship schemes have been launched to achieve round-the-clock power supply for all by 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government said it was actively pursuing with the Centre the transfer of power projects to the state. The government is actively pursuing the transfer of power projects as it is an important part of the developmental agenda of the present coalition government, state Deputy Chief Minister (CM) Nirmal Singh said. Listing the reasons forcing power cuts in peak winters and summer seasons in Kashmir and Jammu, respectively, the deputy CM said against registered 3,101 MW load, the demand should not exceed 1,551 MW, but it is around 2,950 MW (un-restricted) that reflecting that there exists huge unregistered load. He said the use of unauthorised load creates system constraints by way of overloading the system at transmission, sub-transmission and at distribution levels, thereby causing further distress cuts in addition to the scheduled cuts. Listing flagship schemes launched to overcome chronic problems at various levels, Singh said Re-structured Accelerated Developmental Programme has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 151.99 crore under part-A and Rs 1,665.27 crore under part-B. It is aimed at strengthening, upgrading and renovating sub-transmission and distribution network, adoption of IT application for meter reader, billing and energy accounting, in 30 identified towns of the state, including 17 of Kashmir division, 11 of Jammu division and 2 of Ladakh region. He said energy mapping and energy auditing is subservient to 100 percent metering at all voltage levels. He said with meagre resources, Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department has been able to bring down the transmission & distribution (T&D) losses from 61.58 percent in 2011-12 to 52.87 percent in 2016-17. He said that with the launch of various centrally sponsored flagship schemes which are primarily reform centric, it is projected that the present high T&D losses shall be appreciably reduced post execution of these schemes.

Source: The Indian Express

Government may consider import duty hike on certain power items

January 22, 2018. The government may consider increasing import duty on certain items related to power, capital goods and chemicals sectors in the forthcoming Budget with an aim to boost domestic manufacturing. The move would also help promote the government’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ initiative. Imports of cheap power equipment have been affecting domestic manufacturers as well as created issues for independent power producers in view of poor quality and after sales service. The Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association in its pre-Budget recommendations have asked the government to remove concessional basic customs duty on imports of certain items in the power sector. It has also said that various finished products of electrical industry attracts a basic customs duty, ranging from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. However, the same finished products are imported at a concessional basic customs duty of 5 percent.

Source: Business Standard

Gujarat power discoms seek hike in fuel surcharge

January 21, 2018. Power distribution companies (discoms) in state have approached Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) seeking a hike in fuel price and power purchase adjustment (FPPPA) base price or fuel surcharge. However, none have sought any increase in basic electricity tariffs for fiscal 2018-19. A power company is allowed to offset increase or decrease in fuel cost by way of FPPPA, also known as fuel surcharge. The four distribution companies — UGVCL, MGVCL, DGVCL and PGVCL — have proposed raising basic FPPPA by 6 paise per unit from Rs 1.43/unit to Rs 1.49/unit for the fiscal 2018-19. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) affiliated discoms have filed petitions with the GERC for determination of power tariff for the next fiscal. The final quantum of FPPPA increase, however, will be fixed by GERC after hearing all the stakeholders. While private sector company Torrent Power Ltd supplies electricity to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat, the state discoms cater to the rest of Gujarat.

Source: The Economic Times

UP owes Rs 35 bn to power plants; units warn of shutdown

January 20, 2018. Even as it gears up to woo investors in the state, mounting dues towards thermal power plants, including private ones, have come to stare in the face of UP (Uttar Pradesh) government. UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) owes around Rs 3,500 crore to some of the major power plants such as NTPC Ltd, NHPC, Lalitpur power plant and Rosa power plant. The situation could turn serious as Lalitpur Power Generation Company has issued a letter to UPPCL saying it does not have enough funds to buy coal and keep its units functioning. The company said that outstanding dues by December-end had crossed Rs 1,200 crore. Of these, over Rs 830 crore had been pending for 60 days. The company said the situation was “worsening” day by day. According to UP State Load Dispatch Centre, the 1,980 MW Lalitpur power plant has already shut one of its super-critical units of 660 MW citing “shortage of coal”. The situation is equally bad for NTPC. Records show that UPPCL is yet to pay over Rs 1,400 crore to the company which supplies 3,182 MW of power per day to the state.

Source: The Times of India

Bihar to pitch for uniform power purchase tariff for all states in Budget 2018

January 19, 2018. Bihar will pitch for increase in budget allocation of centrally-sponsored schemes, uniform power purchase tariff for all states and commencement of financial year from January 1 among several other provisions for being included in the upcoming Union budget for the fiscal 2018-19. Deputy Chief Minister (CM) and Finance Minister Sushil Kumar Modi will put forth such demands in a pre-budget meeting of state finance ministers convened by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on August 13 last year, had also pitched for uniform tariff rates across the country on the lines of railway fares. The deputy CM said that Union budget has already been preponed from February 1 from 2017 and the financial year should now start from January 1.

Source: The Economic Times

ABB launches new factory for power distribution products in Nashik

January 19, 2018. ABB India, the local arm of the Swedish-Swiss multinational electrical giant ABB, announced it has inaugurated a new factory for production of power distribution products in Nashik, Maharashtra. The facility, spread over five acres, was inaugurated by ABB India Managing Director Sanjeev Sharma. The factory will be equipped with smart manufacturing features with connected people, processes and assets to relay real-time data and web-based integrated traceability system for daily planning and review, the company said. The factory will be export focused and will manufacture outdoor products for substations including live tank vacuum-circuit breaker, auto reclosers and indoor products including gas-insulated switch-gear. The company said Nashik is emerging as a hub of electrical, auto, defence and food and beverage industries and reliable power distribution will be an imperative to power growth in the region.

Source: The Economic Times


India considers ways to lower hydropower tariffs

January 22, 2018. India is considering lowering tariffs for new hydro-electric power projects to help them compete against cheaper forms of electricity. Nearly 100 GW of electricity potential in India’s rivers is lying untapped because of high tariffs. Hydropower projects, often located in remote regions, are crucial to stabilize the grid as India looks to add 175 GW of renewable capacity. These plants can be swiftly turned on and off, helping the grid withstand fluctuations caused by intermittent supplies from solar and wind. Besides balancing the electricity grid, hydropower is also strategically important for India, as it can boost economic expansion in states that border its neighbours, China and Pakistan. China lays claim to a part of the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which is among Indian states with the greatest hydro-electricity potential. The proposals also include making it mandatory for power retailers to include a share of hydro-electricity in their purchases and providing longer-term loans for such projects to even out tariffs over time, the people said. The proposals have been sent to other ministries for consultation. Once finalized, the power ministry will seek approval from the cabinet. India has installed hydropower capacity of about 45 GW, compared with a potential of almost 149 GW, according to the Central Electricity Authority, the planning wing of the power ministry.

Source: Bloomberg

PMC to save Rs 10 mn by using solar power

January 22, 2018. Pune Municipal Corp (PMC) can save around Rs 1 crore annually on electricity bills thanks to the civic body’s plan to install solar power plants on civic properties. As many as 14 rooftops solar plants will be set up on PMC buildings. The standing committee approved the proposal. The civic body spends around Rs 4 crore annually on paying electricity bills of various properties owned by the civic administration. The capacity of these plants ranges between 100 MW and 500 MW. PMC will have to pay Rs 3.62 kilowatt hour to use electricity generated from these plants. The proposal states that the company will monitor, operate and maintain the plants for 25 years. The plants will be set up with the help of Solar Energy Corp of India. PMC will carry out the project on the lines of Renewable Energy Service Company. According to PMC, Pune was included in a list of “solar cities” in 2016.

Source: The Economic Times

Madras HC stays safeguard duty on solar power equipment

January 22, 2018. The Madras High Court (HC) has issued a temporary stay on a preliminary report of the Director General (DG) of Safeguards recommending imposition of 70% safeguard duty on imported solar equipment. Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure, a contractor-cum-developer of solar projects and part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, had petitioned the court against the recommendation, maintaining the company was never given a chance to respond to the original petition on the basis of which DG (Safeguards) suggested imposing 70% duty. The DG had on December 19 last year sent a notice to all stakeholders saying it had initiated an enquiry into the matter on the basis of a petition filed by Indian Solar Manufacturers Association claiming that large scale imports of solar panels and modules from China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore were causing “serious injury” to domestic manufacturers of similar equipment. The notice gave stakeholders 30 days to reply. However, the DG (Safeguards) announced preliminary findings on January 5.

Source: The Economic Times

Himachal Pradesh mulls rehabilitating stray cattle to produce biogas

January 21, 2018. The Himachal Pradesh government mulling rehabilitating stray cattle to produce biogas to provide a clean source of energy to the people. The panchayati raj and rural development department has asked a company to start the pilot project at Thanakalan in Una district, and if the project is successful then it would be implemented in other parts of state. The state has around 32,000 stray cows and the government has planned to ensure their rehabilitation by constructing cowsheds. By setting up biogas plants, government was thinking to make optimum use of green energy.

Source: The Economic Times

ReNew Power to maintain its lead in green energy, but with caution

January 21, 2018. A diversified power generation portfolio and innovative financing models are helping ReNew Power, one of India’s biggest renewable energy company, hedge its sectoral risks. The company, which is targeting to hold on to 10 percent share of the generation capacity in renewable space, is planning to expand both through acquisitions and bidding for fresh capacity. The company last month completed a 100 MW acquisition of K C Thapar Group’s wind assets. With this, its operational wind power generation capacity reached around 1,600 MW. ReNew has operational and under-construction capacity of 3500 MW in 16 states. Of this, 1600 MW is from wind and 1100 is from solar projects, all commissioned. The company has a diversified portfolio of assets across both wind and solar, allowing it to hedge to a certain extent short-term regulatory uncertainties. The industry expects more capacity to be auctioned in solar and also wind, where the regulatory aspects are more stable.

Source: Business Standard

India restricts use of imported petcoke in Delhi region

January 20, 2018. India’s environment ministry has placed restrictions on the use of imported petroleum coke (petcoke) in the capital Delhi and its surrounding region, in the latest effort to curb rising air pollution. As the world’s largest consumer of petcoke, India imports over half its annual petcoke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp. The ministry has also banned imports of petroleum coke for trading purposes in the capital region, the notice said, adding that even industrial units allowed to use petcoke will not be allowed to store more than three months worth of their consumption. India is the world’s biggest consumer of petroleum coke, which is a dark solid carbon material that emits 11 percent more greenhouse gases than coal, according to the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

Source: Reuters

Surat emerges as leading ‘solar smart city’ in country

January 19, 2018. The Diamond City has emerged as the country’s leading ‘solar smart city’ as per Akshay Urja, the bimonthly newsletter of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India (GoI). A recent article in Akshay Urja says the Diamond City is among one of the few cities in India to have met the expectations in the field of renewable energy after the launch of ‘Smart Cities Mission’ by GoI in 2015. The guidelines of the Ministry of Urban Development, which identified 100 smart cities in the country, said at least 10 percent of the smart city’s energy requirement should be met by solar power only. Surat Municipal Corp (SMC) had sought out project management consultancy of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, for carrying out feasibility studies and implementation of solar and energy efficiency projects. TERI estimated that of the rooftop potential of 11,924 MW to be distributed among various smart cities of the country, nearly 418 MW or 3.5 percent existed in Surat. The solar revolution under SMC kick-started with the launch of solar rooftop programme in September 22, 2016, and a website launched to create awareness on grid connected rooftop (GCRT) system. A team of 200 solar friends were appointed for spreading awareness on GCRT system, which resulted in Gujarat Energy Development Authority (GEDA) declaring SMC as the nodal agency for receiving all applications regarding installation of GCRT in the city. SMC successfully achieved a massive GCRT installed capacity of 3.67 megawatt peak (MWp) on various government buildings. More than 3,600 applications had been received for cumulative installation of more than 15 MWp, including both residential and non-residential consumers. Of these, more than 800 installations of approximately 5 MWp have been completed. Akshay Urja said SMC is in the process of converting nearly 208 of its primary schools into model green schools under green campus scheme of MNRE. These schools have been surveyed by TERI and cumulative potential of nearly 3.4 MWp estimated.

Source: The Economic Times

India will set up $350 mn solar fund to start mobilisation under ISA

January 19, 2018. In order to kick-start fund mobilisation under the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the central government will set up a $350 million solar development fund. Nine companies and banks have agreed to develop and finance various solar projects, which include a $1-billion partnership corpus of NTPC Ltd and CLP India to the ISA. The fund was announced by R K Singh, Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, at the first ever outreach programme of the ISA in Abu Dhabi’s World Future Energy Summit 2018. Upendra Tripathy, interim director general, ISA, said the letter of intent/memoranda of understanding of nine solar-related projects of various companies and bankers had been signed at the WFES. The firms are: Vyonarc Development, Greenko Solar, Gensol Group and SOLARIG from Spain, Shakti Pump, Refex Energy, Amplus Solar, TATA Power, Jackson Solar, and Zodiac Energy.

Source: Business Standard

New thermal power plants will have to comply with emission standards: NGT

January 18, 2018. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the union environment ministry to not grant environmental clearance to any new thermal power plant unless they comply with emission standards notified in December 2015. NGT was hearing a petition by environmental activist, Sunil Dahiya on the delay in implementing the standards and the resulting air pollution from thermal power plants across the country. The principal bench of NGT also directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to not grant any environmental clearance to new thermal power plants unless they show mechanisms in place to implement and achieve the emission standards and water consumption requirements as stipulated in the new notification, Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) said. The new standards aim to reduce particulate matter (PM), SO2 and NOx emissions from thermal plants which are known to be one of the leading sources of air pollution in India. A recent study by “Burden of Disease Attributable to Major Air Pollution Sources in India” also found that PM 2.5 exposure was second highest from coal burning, after residential biomass burning. Dahiya has appealed that NGT also direct MoEFCC to issue directions to power plants on submitting an implementation plan for complying with standards and information regarding compliance be made online.

Source: The Times of India

Yes Bank to mobilise $1 bn by 2023 for solar projects

January 17, 2018. Private sector lender Yes Bank said it will mobilise $1 billion by 2023 for financing solar energy projects in India. The announcement was made at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) conference at Abu Dhabi. Yes Bank signed five solar energy co-financing Letters of Intent with Tata Power Delhi Distribution, Hero Future Energy, Greenko Group, Amplus Solar and Jakson Group for their solar projects in India to be completed by 2023. The ISA was jointly launched in November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then President of France Francois Hollande, on the sidelines of UNFCCC COP21 at Paris. It is a treaty-based alliance of 121 prospective solar rich member nations and aims at accelerating development and deployment of solar energy globally.

Source: Business Standard


Qatar sees oil market balancing in third quarter of 2018

January 23, 2018. Oil markets should reach balance after several years of supply glut some time in the third quarter of 2018, Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said. Al-Sada said the majority of the surplus has been taken away by the market but he still sees excellent opportunities for OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC members to continue cooperation beyond 2018. He said that oil producers could also target the flow of investments into the sector. Supply shock is a possibility if the flow of investment remains restrained, as it has done over the past several years, he said.

Source: Reuters

Trafigura signs deal to ship oil from Permian to Corpus Christi

January 23, 2018. Commodities trading house Trafigura said it signed a new agreement with Plains All American Pipeline to transport 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Permian basin to the port of Corpus Christi, in a move aimed at boosting exports. Trafigura said it would transport the oil via the Cactus II Pipeline, which is targeted for service in the third-quarter of 2019.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Exxon-led Sakhalin-1 rolls back plan for oil output hike

January 23, 2018. Russia’s Sakhalin-1 oil project, led by ExxonMobil, has ditched plans to raise output by a quarter this year after it was ordered by the authorities to return to previous lower production limits. Sakhalin-1 operates under a Production Sharing Agreement struck in the mid-1990s and all plans must be run by local government. ExxonMobil had received preliminary approval for a new quota in December and set output for January at 250,000 to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from 200,000 bpd last year. But the firm was ordered by the authorities this month to return to the old quota of 200,000 bpd. Sakhalin-1 was now operating under the production quota of 200,000 bpd. Russia’s energy ministry said Sakhalin-1 would continue to operate under previous quotas until the Natural Resources Ministry finished approving a new production scheme. The withdrawal of approval for increased production meant Sakhalin-1 shareholders had to reduce their schedule for Sokol crude loadings for January-March. Under the original schedule based on a production rise, 13 cargoes of 95,000 tonnes each were to be loaded from the De-Kastri terminal on Russia’s Pacific coast in January, compared to nine in December, traders said. In February and March, Sokol crude exports had been set at 11 and 12 cargoes, respectively, traders said. After ExxonMobil was instructed to cut production, loading plans were decreased to 11 cargoes in January, nine cargoes for February and 10 cargoes for March, traders said.

Source: Reuters

BP, Kosmos win rights to two oil blocks in Sao Tome and Principe

January 23, 2018. A consortium composed of BP and Kosmos Energy has won exploration rights to two offshore oil blocks in Sao Tome and Principe’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The two companies won blocks 10 and 13 in a restricted tender. They beat a second consortium of Portugal’s Galp Energia and Total.

Source: Reuters

Abu Dhabi gets bids for offshore oil in plan to expand capacity

January 22, 2018. Abu Dhabi’s government oil producer received bids in the fourth quarter from international energy companies seeking stakes in offshore fields that pump about 25 percent of the Persian Gulf emirate’s crude. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is reviewing commercial bids from the companies it will choose from to help develop the deposits in a new joint venture, ADNOC said. Plans to expand production at the offshore block are part of Abu Dhabi’s effort to raise output capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day later this year from about 3.15 million currently. The new contracts will govern operations at the deposits for several decades. The fields currently produce about 700,000 barrels a day, with a target to pump 1 million barrels a day by 2021. Middle Eastern producers are trying to wring more crude from aging fields. With global demand seen rising about 2 percent this year to about 100 million barrels a day, producers such as Abu Dhabi are turning to international partners, increasingly from oil-importing countries in Asia, to help boost their capacity to meet future demand. Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, holds about 6 percent of global crude reserves. Under the contract for the new venture, international companies will no longer receive a fixed fee for each barrel of oil they produce. Instead, the partners will receive shares of the oil produced at the fields and any profit from sales of the crude minus costs, taxes and royalties paid to the government.

Source: Bloomberg

Cepsa, Sonatrach to redevelop Algerian oilfield with $1 bn investment

January 22, 2018. Spanish oil and gas firm Cepsa and Sonatrach, an Algerian state-owned energy company will redevelop the onshore Rhoude el Krouf (RKF) oilfield in Berkine basin, Algeria with an investment of about $1 bn. In this connection, the two firms have signed a new concession contract for the RKF oilfield with Alnaft, Algeria’s oil licensing body. The contract happens to be the first production field in the country that will be ruled under the hydrocarbon law 05-07. The new agreement, which will have a term of 25 years, allows for the redevelopment of a mature oilfield, 19 years after being in production. The objective of the redevelopment project is to boost production of crude oil from the field significantly. Discovered 25 years ago, the RKF oilfield was the first oilfield to be put into operation by Sonatrach and Cepsa in Algeria. Its redevelopment will also pave way for the production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for the first time, owing to availability of new hydrocarbon recovery techniques. According to Cepsa, the project will see drilling of 30 new wells along with construction of a new processing plant, an LPG recovery unit, and LPG shipping facilities. The new treatment facilities will have a production capacity of 24,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 10,000 barrels per day of LPG.

Source: Energy Business Review

Oil market ‘heading in the right direction’: Iraq

January 22, 2018. The global oil market is stabilizing as crude inventories are falling, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. The market “is heading in the right direction … it will continue to stabilize until the end of the year,” he said. Global oil producers agree that they should continue cooperating on output after their deal on supply cuts expires at the end of this year, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said. Iraq is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), after Saudi Arabia. The deal to curb supply, which also includes some non-OPEC exporters such as Russia, is meant to support crude prices.

Source: Reuters

Oil producers have consensus on cooperating after 2018: Saudi Energy Minister

January 21, 2018. OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC oil producers have a consensus that they should continue cooperating on production after the end of 2018, when their current agreement on production cuts expires, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said. If oil inventories increase in 2018 as some in the market expect, producers may have to consider rolling the supply cut agreement into 2019, but the exact mechanism for cooperation next year has not yet been decided, Falih said.

Source: Reuters

Egypt pays $200 mn in foreign oil company arrears in January: Finance Minister

January 21, 2018. Egypt’s Finance Minister Amr El Garhy said the country had paid $200 million in arrears owed to foreign oil companies in January, and would pay another $550 million in February and March. Egypt owed foreign oil companies $2.4 billion at the end of June 2017, the petroleum ministry said.

Source: Reuters

Alaska oil producers focus on efficiencies, not $70 oil

January 20, 2018. The rebound in the price of crude oil in recent months that has helped producers will be temporary, and the industry must prepare for competition from energy sources elsewhere, the head of the Alaska operations of BP Plc said. Average daily production has exceeded 280,000 barrels since 2015, accomplished through operating efficiencies, new technology and extra efforts to wrest new oil from the 40-year-old field. The company is expanding its CD5 field in NPR-A, which is producing more than 26,000 barrels per day, well above the predicted 16,000 per day peak. The Alaska Department of Revenue, in budget documents submitted last month, predicted North Slope crude prices would average $56 a barrel for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The department forecasts slight increases in the price over the coming years, exceeding $60 a barrel after 2020.

Source: Reuters

IEA sees oil markets tightening as Venezuelan output collapses

January 19, 2018. Global oil markets are tightening quickly on falling supply from Venezuela, which posted 2017’s biggest unplanned output fall and could see a further decline in 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Debt and infrastructure problems cut Venezuela’s December output to 1.61 million barrels per day (bpd), somewhere near a 30-year low. That helped oil prices top $70 per barrel in early January, their highest level in three years. As a result of lower Venezuelan production, the IEA said OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)’s crude output in December fell to 32.23 million bpd, boosting the group’s compliance with a deal to curb output to 129 percent. OPEC agreed to lower production in 2017 and has agreed to maintain output cuts for the whole of 2018 to help bring oil stocks in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) industrialized countries down to their 5-year average. The IEA said that if OPEC and its non-OPEC allies maintained good compliance with the output deal, oil markets would balance in 2018. The recovery in oil prices and a decline in global oil stocks has been helped by robust global demand growth in 2017 but it will slow down in 2018, the IEA said. It kept its oil demand growth estimate for 2018 unchanged at 1.3 million bpd, down from 1.6 million bpd in 2017, mainly due to the impact of higher oil prices and changing patterns of oil use in China.

Source: Reuters

BP signs MoU with Iraq to ramp up production from Kirkuk oil fields

January 19, 2018. Iraq’s oil ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with British oil major BP to boost oil fields’ production capacity in the northern Kirkuk. The deal comes as the government seeks to restore output and ramp up production at the oil-rich region, after Iraq regained the control of the area in October 2017. Days after the takeover of the Kirkuk region, Iraq Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi had initiated negotiations with BP to restore production at the oil fields. As per the MoU, BP will study ways to increase production from the oil fields in Kirkuk to 750,000 barrels a day. BP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Townsend said that the company will undertake seismic survey operations and studies to develop the oil fields of Kirkuk. Earlier, BP has provided technical assistance for the redevelopment of the Kirkuk fields for the Iraq’s state-run North Oil. The Kirkuk’s fields including Bai Hassan and Avana currently pump 140,000 to 150,000 barrels a day, which is supplied to local refineries, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.

Source: Energy Business Review

Nigeria passes major oil reform bill after 17 year struggle

January 18, 2018. Nigeria has moved closer to turning an oil industry bill into law after a 17 year struggle to complete the legislation which aims to increase transparency and stimulate growth in the country’s oil industry. Nigeria’ lower house of parliament has passed a version of the bill which is the same as one approved by the Senate last year. This is the first time both houses have approved the same version of the bill. It still needs the president’s signature to become law. The legislation – known as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)- was broken up into sections to help to get it through. The House of Representatives passed the first part called the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB). The passage of the first bill means that the government can move forward with new taxation legislation, which could make it more attractive for companies to invest, particularly offshore. Uncertainty over terms affecting taxation of upstream oil development has been the main sticking point holding back billions of dollars of investment for the oil industry. Shell, Chevron, Total, ExxonMobil and Italy’s Eni are major producers in Nigeria through joint ventures with the state oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC). The governance section deals with management of the NNPC. The National Assembly Joint Committee is working on two more bills as part of the PIB. The PIGB would create four new entities whose powers would include the ability to conduct bid rounds, award exploration licenses and make recommendations to the Oil Minister on upstream licenses. Nigerian lawmakers ordered an investigation into whether the government could recover $21 billion in revenues from international oil companies.

Source: Reuters

Iraq, BP to sign deal to boost Kirkuk oil production capacity

January 18, 2018. Iraq aims to sign a deal with BP to boost production capacity from the northern Kirkuk oilfields, which were taken back in October by Iraqi government forces. Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi will attend the ceremony to sign the agreement at the offices of Iraqi state-run North Oil Company which operates the fields. Iraq had asked BP to boost Kirkuk’s output capacity to more than 700,000 barrels per day, more than twice existing capacity, days after Iraqi forces dislodged Kurdish fighters from the area. Oil exports from the field, transported by pipeline to Turkey, came to a halt after the Iraqi military operation, which was in retaliation to an independence referendum held on September 25 by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. Iraq plans to start trucking crude from Kirkuk to Iran at the end of the month. Kirkuk is one of the biggest and oldest oilfields in the Middle East, still estimated to contain about 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to BP. BP has provided technical assistance in the past to the North Oil to aid the redevelopment of the Kirkuk field.

Source: Reuters


SDX Energy makes gas discovery at Moroccan well

January 23, 2018. SDX Energy makes a gas discovery at its ONZ-7 development well, located on the Sebou permit in Morocco. North Africa focused oil and gas company, SDX Energy Inc, has made a gas discovery at its ONZ-7 development well, located on the Sebou permit in Morocco. Drilled to a total depth of 1,167 metres, the ONZ-7 well encountered five meters of net conventional natural gas pay in the Hoot formation. The well will now be completed, tested and connected to existing infrastructure. SDX expects to provide a further update on testing results in early February.

Source: Rigzone

Iraq, Orion sign deal to process gas from giant oilfield

January 22, 2018. Iraq agreed a deal with US (United States) energy company Orion to process natural gas extracted at its giant Nahr Bin Omar oilfield. The memorandum of understanding, signed in Baghdad by representatives of the oil ministry and the US company, will allow Orion Gas Processors to build facilities to capture the gas from the field located in southern Iraq and to transform it into usable fuels. Nahr Bin Omar, operated by Basra Oil Company, is producing more than 40,000 barrels per day of oil (bpd) and 25 million cubic feet a day of natural gas. Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted alongside crude oil at its fields because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel for local consumption or exports. Orion will capture and process 100 million to 150 million cubic feet/day (mcf) of gas, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. The gas captured will be used to feed power stations and to produce up to 10 million liters of gasoline, equivalent to 32 percent of Iraq’s total imports of the fuel, he said. Gas flaring across Iraq should end by 2021, he said.

Source: Reuters

US approves construction of Pennsylvania to New Jersey PennEast natural gas pipeline

January 22, 2018. US (United States) energy regulators approved construction of the PennEast natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, the companies seeking to build the roughly $1 billion project said. The approximately 120 mile (190 km) pipeline will deliver gas from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania to customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey The companies building the project said they expect to start construction this year, with the pipe entering service in 2019

Source: Reuters

Significant commercial gas discovery found onshore Italy

January 19, 2018. A significant commercial gas discovery has been made at the Selva gas field in northern Italy, Po Valley Energy Ltd has confirmed. The company announced Friday that strong gas flows had been encountered during the flow testing of the recently drilled Podere Maiar 1dir exploration well, which is located within the Podere Gallina Exploration license. Two gas reservoirs were intersected during drilling operations at the well, C1 and C2, in the Medium-Upper Pliocene sands of the Porto Garibaldi Formation.

Source: Rigzone

Woodside bullish on Australian Pluto LNG expansion prospect

January 18, 2018. Woodside Petroleum expects to reveal plans for expanding its prized Pluto LNG (liquefied natural gas) project and connecting it to the North West Shelf LNG complex soon, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Coleman said. Talks with the owners of the Scarborough gas resource off Western Australia, led by ExxonMobil Corp, as well as drilling of an exploration well, Ferrand-A, around March, and other tie-ins could help underpin the expansion, Coleman said. Some analysts had speculated that recent drilling disappointment on Woodside’s Swell exploration well could limit any expansion. Woodside said that it has looked at a range of options for expanding Pluto LNG by up to 1.5 million tonnes a year. Pluto, Wheatstone – run by Chevron Corp – and the North West Shelf, Australia’s biggest LNG plant – run by Woodside – are all candidates for processing gas from a number of undeveloped assets off Western Australia, either for expansions or for supplying gas when their existing fields dry up. Woodside is still targeting growth in Myanmar, where it discovered gas last year and expects to drill three wells this year, starting around March or April, even amid a humanitarian crisis involving Rohingya refugees.

Source: Reuters


China’s major coal province to cut 23 mt of capacity in 2018

January 19, 2018. China’s Shanxi province, responsible for about a quarter of the country’s total coal output, will cut its production capacity by 23 million tonnes (mt) this year as part of its efforts to streamline the sector, it said. Shanxi, which produced 832 million tonnes of coal in 2016, has been part of a national campaign to reduce coal capacity by around 500 million tonnes over the 2016-2020 period in order to bolster prices and improve efficiency in the sector.

Source: Reuters

US President Trump’s coal job push stumbles in most states

January 19, 2018. US (United States) President Donald Trump’s effort to put coal miners back to work stumbled in most coal producing states last year, even as overall employment in the downtrodden sector grew modestly, according to preliminary government data obtained. Trump made reviving the coal industry, and the declining communities that depend upon its jobs, a central tenet in his presidential campaign and has rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations to give the industry a boost. But the effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with US (United States) utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas – moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump. Unreleased full-year coal employment data from the Mining Health and Safety Administration shows total US coal mining jobs grew by 771 to 54,819 during Trump’s first year in office, led by Central Appalachian states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania – where coal companies have opened a handful of new mining areas for shipment overseas. Overall, the number of US coal jobs is still lingering near historic lows at less than one-third the level in the mid-1980s, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as the industry loses market share to cheaper natural gas.

Source: Reuters


Puerto Rico Governor plans to privatize island’s troubled owned power utility

January 23, 2018. Puerto Rico has announced plans to privatize the assets of the United States (US) territory’s troubled power company, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). The decision by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló to privatize PREPA comes as the island’s electric system is yet to recover from the Hurricane Maria that occurred in September last year. The Governor said that the island’s generation system is 28 years older than the average in the electric power industry in the US. Privatization of PREPA is expected to help in transforming the generation system into a modern, efficient, and less expensive one. The sale of the US territory’s troubled power utility will take about 18 months to complete and includes three phases. First phase comprises defining the legal framework through legislation followed by second phase which includes evaluating bids. In the third phase, the government will negotiate the terms of awarding and hire the selected companies for the transformation and modernization of energy system.

Source: Energy Business Review

Chinese power consumption climbed over 6 percent in 2017: NEA

January 22, 2018. China’s power consumption rose 6.6 percent in 2017 from the year before to 6.31 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh), according to the National Energy Administration (NEA) data. The nation’s industrial power consumption climbed 5.5 percent to 4.36 trillion kWh in 2017, the NEA said. China’s total installed generation capacity reached 1,777.03 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2017. The world’s No.2 economy consumed a total of 574.6 billion kWh of electricity in December, up 7.4 percent from the year before, according to the NEA data.

Source: Reuters


US solar panel import tariff to hit European, Asian manufacturers

January 23, 2018. US (United States) President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on solar panel imports is a blow to a booming global industry, and hit stocks in European and Asian solar groups on fears their business might suffer. Although the move was intended to help American manufacturers, some in the sector said it would slow US investment in solar power and cost thousands of US jobs. Trump approved a 30 percent tariff on solar cell and module imports, dropping to 15 percent within four years. Up to 2.5 GW of unassembled solar cells can be imported tariff-free in each year. German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier said the cost of solar products in the US was likely to increase, and that Berlin would discuss the matter with Washington. The US has the world’s fourth-largest solar capacity after China, Japan and Germany. Globally, solar capacity soared to almost 400 GW last year from under 10 GW in 2007, according to the International Renewable Energy Administration.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Rosatom wants to build nuclear power plant in Argentina: Putin

January 23, 2018. Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom has proposed building a nuclear power station in Argentina, President Vladimir Putin said. Putin was speaking after talks with his Argentine counterpart, Mauricio Macri, in Moscow.

Source: Reuters

Scottish government launches low carbon innovation fund

January 22, 2018. The Scottish government is launching an $83 million (GBP 60 million) fund to ‘keep Scotland at the forefront of low carbon innovation’. The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Program, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, will help large scale projects which support the ambitions of Scotland’s Energy Strategy. Projects which deliver low carbon heating solutions, integrated energy systems, and ultra-low emission vehicle charging infrastructure will be able to apply for up to $138,964 (GBP 100,000) to develop investment-ready business cases.

Source: Rigzone

Stanford University scientists showcase how to create low-cost solar cells

January 20, 2018. A team of scientists at Stanford University, including a researcher of Indian origin, has shown how nanotechnology can be used to create crystalline silicon (c-Si) thin-film solar cells that are more efficient at capturing solar energy. The discovery can reduce the cost of solar energy production globally, they noted. The team used optical modelling and electrical simulations to show that a thin-film crystalline silicon solar cell with a 2D nanostructure generated three times as much photo current as an unstructured cell of the same thickness. The longer the light spends inside the solar cell – the greater its chance of getting absorbed. The discovery reveals a simple method to improve the efficiency of all silicon solar cells.

Source: Business Standard

EDF sees UK Hinkley C nuclear plant online by end of 2025

January 17, 2018. EDF Energy said its Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, southwest England, will come online by the end of 2025 and give the developer the experience to lower the costs of subsequent nuclear plants planned in the country. Hinkley Point C will be the first nuclear plant built in Britain in decades. It is expected to provide 7 percent of Britain’s power needs while helping to replace the country’s ageing nuclear fleet and closing coal plants. The plant, being built by the British arm of France’s EDF with China General Nuclear Power Corp, has been beset by delays and higher cost estimates.

Source: Reuters


Scenario of Investments & Funds Allocated in Renewable Energy Sector in India


Total Contribution/Funds Released by Ministry of  New & Renewable Energy (MNRE)

(Rs Crore)

Promotion of R&D Activities in Renewable Energy Sector by MNRE

(Rs Crore)



Expenditure Incurred
2013-14         1,127.47 142.05 147.61
2014-15         1,838.43 147.99 132.43
2015-16         3,575.14 89.74^ 47.58^

^figures are for April 2015 to February 2016 period.

Year-wise share of investments in different renewable energy sources

Source: Compiled from various questions from Rajya Sabha

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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