Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 45

     April,Energy Monitor,ENM

    SOLAR BIDDING FRENZY PEAKS

    Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: March - April 2018

    India

    Winning tariffs in Gujarat’s latest solar reverse auction showed significant increase over those in its last auction in September last year, lending further credence to the view that solar tariffs have bottomed out. The lowest bid in the 500 MW auction conducted by GUVNL came from Kalthia Engineering and Construction Ltd, which sought and won 50 MW at a tariff of ₹ 2.98/kWh. Other winners were GSECL, which has also turned developer, and which won 150 MW at ₹ 3/kWh Acme Solar Holdings, which won 100 MW at ₹ 3.06/kWh and Azure Power, which got 200 MW at the same price of ₹ 3.06/kWh. In the last solar auction held by GUVNL in September 2017, also for 500 MW, winning tariffs had varied between ₹ 2.65 and ₹ 2.67/kWh. GSECL and Azure Power had been among the winners in that auction as well, picking up 75 MW at ₹ 2.66/kWh and 260 MW at ₹ 2.67/kWh respectively. This amounts to a 33-39 paise increase in solar tariff in the same state within just six months. The lowest tariff reached so far has been ₹ 2.44/kWh at a SECI held auction at Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan, in May last year. However, tariffs have been climbing steadily since then. Indeed, recent solar auctions by Maharashtra and Karnataka have evoked tepid response and there was much speculation as to how Gujarat’s auction would fare. GUVNL’s auction, however, was oversubscribed more than three times, attracting technical bids of 1,750 MW against the 500 MW tendered. The main reason, developers believe, is that GUVNL did not set any reserve price for the auction, but allowed them to reach their own level. Gujarat’s solar tariffs are lower than those in Maharashtra and Karnataka because it is among the states with very high solar radiation.

    In a reversal of the upbeat sentiment prevailing in solar energy last year, two recent solar auctions – one in Maharashtra and the other in Karnataka – have failed to attract enough bidders, leading to their repeated postponement. Though India added a record 7,295 MW in 2017-18 until February end, and bid out another 10,500 MW through the year, Maharashtra’s latest 1,000 MW solar auction received bids of only 530 MW and thus had to be postponed for the fourth time. The auction, first announced by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd in December last year, had been put off three times earlier already. Its third deadline of February 23, received only two bids, while the fourth for March 9, again drew bids of just 530 MW. Similarly, Karnataka’s 1,200 MW auction for projects at the Pavagada Solar Park drew bids of only 550 MW at the second effort. The KREDL, which is holding the auction, initially set the last date for bid submission at February 21 but attracted only two bids of 100 MW each. The second deadline was set for March 2, and drew bids of just 550 MW. In KREDL’s last solar auction for 860 MW, conducted across different talukas of Karnataka, winning tariffs had varied between ₹ 2.94/kWh ₹ 3.54/kWh. KREDL set the ceiling tariff at ₹ 2.93/kWh in the subsequent auction in a bid to drive prices further down, but clearly developers feel prices have already reached their limit.

    In a setback to CREST and Chandigarh Municipal Corp, JERC has turned down the request for allowing solar power generated by the Corp to be fed to grid in gross metering arrangement but to get the billing done on net metering. Net metering is an agreement that allows a consumer to sell excess solar energy to the utility, while in gross metering total solar power generated is exported to grid. According to the solar tariff, the administration has fixed a buying rate at ₹ 8.57/kWh for gross metering connection. According to JERC regulation 2015, 15 MW solar plant cannot be allowed to be installed against the total sanctioned connection load of 3,913 KW under net-metering. CREST has installed solar power plant with sanctioned load of 3,913 KW at Sector 39 water works. CREST had submitted a petition before the petition stating that it can install 15 MW solar power plant at water works in Sector 39 as per gross metering arrangements but the power department has objected in purchasing the solar power at a higher tariff on grounds that it will increase the average power purchase cost. Chandigarh has been selected by the central government to be developed as a “model solar city” and has set an ambitious target of generating 50 MW of solar energy — both residential and government — by 2022. CREST is struggling due to shortage of space in the city, which is spread in an area of just 114 square kilometre. The society has done well by installing solar plants in 159 government buildings. The response from private sectors has not been impressive so far despite various initiatives taken by the administration. On a request by CREST, JERC cumulative capacity to 50% of the distribution capacity of a transformer, which was earlier restricted to 30%. Last year, CREST had also framed building bylaws making installation of solar power plant on new private buildings mandatory. In the past three years, CREST has generated 20.36 million units, equivalent to reduction of 1,410 metric tonne of CO2 and planting a total of 15.3 lakh trees. Of 20.36 million units, bulk of power has been produced by plants on government buildings.

    The Centre is set to amend the bidding rules to allow the pass through of duty hike in solar energy programme after the recommendation of 70 percent safeguard duty on solar cells. An inter-ministerial committee headed by commerce secretary will finalise the recommendation on the proposal of DGS. The DGS in its preliminary report investigating the dumping of solar cells, has suggested a 70 percent safeguards duty on imports. Meanwhile, a Parliamentary panel has also questioned the proposed 70 percent safeguard duty on solar equipment saying there is no valid ground for it and would affect the viability of existing projects and dampen investor sentiment.

    India will penalize solar power developers who are using foreign equipment in power generation projects that were awarded on the basis that they would only use locally-made solar cells and modules. According to an office memorandum from the MNRE, these actions include filing of criminal case under 420 and related sections of the Indian Penal Code, blacklisting of the developer for 10 years, forfeiting of bank guarantee and disciplinary case against the concerned officers of the state-run firms and the state governments. These projects, awarded under the so-called domestic content requirement route by state-owned firms, are required to use solar cells and panels made in India. Also, under the solar rooftop scheme, the government gives subsidy on the condition that the modules should be made in India wherein solar cells can be imported. This assumes significance as of India’s plan to add 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022, 40 GW is to come from rooftop projects. Solar modules or panels account for nearly 60% of a solar power project’s cost. For China’s solar panel manufacturing capacity, estimated to be around 70 GW per year, the major markets are the US, India and China itself. Seized of the issues, the Indian government also introduced stringent quality norms in August for solar equipment to be sold in the country and made the destruction of sub-standard equipment mandatory.

    Volumes in India’s solar sector plunged by 70% during first nine months this fiscal owing to policy changes, but Suzlon has retained market leadership and is poised to bounce back as a vertically-integrated player. During the plunge in the market, the company worked on significant fixed cost reductions and now hopes to gain significantly once the market reaches 6 GW for executions next fiscal from a low of 1.5GW this fiscal. Award of some 6 GW of bidding was slated for this fiscal to be executed during the next fiscal. Suzlon was also coming up with improved technology products that will help power producers improve productivity and reduce the cost per kilowatt of power generated, helping them to cover up for falling tariffs. Though the pressure on margins will continue, Suzlon expects to significantly improve its top and bottomlines from the next fiscal, he said. Having started offering technologies such as wind-solar hybrid, Suzlon is currently working on technologies like windsolar-gas-based power hybrid, wind-solar-hydro-based power.

    The commerce ministry's investigation arm DGAD said it is terminating its anti-dumping probe on imports of solar cells from China, Taiwan and Malaysia. The Indian Solar Manufacturers Association has made a request to terminate the present investigation, it said. The probe was initiated by the DGAD on July 21 last year following complaints of dumping of the product by the association. Imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the WTO regime. Both India and China are members of the Geneva-based body. The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.

    CIL is planning to generate about 20,000 MW in the next 10 years as part of its diversification plan. India has set a target to generate 100 GW of solar power by 2022. According to industry estimates, a sum of around ₹ 50 million is required to install 1 MW solar project. Today coal-based power is the cheapest. Renewable naturally will be costly. The plan will require 40,000 hectares of land and which is already available with the company. Operating through 82 mining areas, CIL is an apex body with seven wholly-owned coal producing subsidiaries and 1 mine planning and consultancy company spread over 8 provincial states of India.

    Renewable energy firm Avaada Power is in talks with various states governments to set up floating solar projects and expects some large tenders to be floated in the next two months, the company said. The company plans to increase its installed solar capacity to 5,000 MW in the next four years, from 1,000 MW at present, and expects a significant share to come from the floating solar power segment.  Floating solar segment has a potential to generate 300 GW of power across the country. Currently, Kerala has the largest floating solar power plant in India with a capacity of 500 KW. States like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal are likely to float tenders for floating solar projects in the coming months. Apart from that, NHPC Ltd has announced its plans to set up 600 MW of floating solar capacity at the 1,960 MW Koyna hydel power project in Maharashtra. It has also proposed to set up projects in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Ffloating solar projects should be encouraged as land becomes a constraint while setting up ground-mounted solar capacities. Avaada has embarked on a plan to invest ₹ 250 billion to set up and own over 5,000 MW of capacity not just in India but across Asian and African countries. Through its EPC business, the company has also set up many solar and wind projects with a capacity of over 5,000 MW across 10 states in India.

    After solar power, Madhya Pradesh is actively considering to push use of CST technology in industrial clusters in the state because of inherent advantages. In CST technology, mirrors are used to concentrate (focus) solar radiation and convert it into heat to create steam, which can be used in an industry. A meeting with experts and representatives of the UN was held in the state to discuss promotion of concentrated solar thermal-based technologies. The state has already installed 1200 MW capacity of solar projects and further 1100 MW installation is in progress. It was decided that industries operating in the five industrial clusters in the state —Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and areas bordering Nagpur, shall be targeted for promotion of this technology. Industries where steam is a major input in industrial process can benefit from use of concentrated solar thermal based technologies. Textile, pulp and paper, food processing and chemical industries are some of industries where heated steam is used, said sources.

    Jamia Millia Islamia will be only using solar energy on its campus from June-end. The University signed an MoU with the SECI approved company, Sunsource Energy, that would execute the project on a turnkey-basis and maintain the plant for the next 25 years under Renewable Energy Service Company model. Jamia would be supplied electricity at ₹ 3.39/kWh for 25 years. The MoU is in line with the central government’s target of installation of 40 GWp grid connected solar rooftops by 2022. After an agreement with SECI, the University would be placing a 2.50 MWp solar photovoltaic system on several buildings. The university is looking at a possible future where it would rely on solar energy and have minimum carbon footprint.

    BHEL said it has won its largest PV power project for setting up a 75 MW power plant in Gujarat. BHEL said the order has been placed by Gujarat Industries Power Company for setting up a plant at the Gujarat Solar Park in Charanka. With this order, BHEL's solar portfolio has risen to 545 MW, it said. The company is currently executing over 150 MW of ground-mounted and rooftop solar PV projects across the country. The company said it offers EPC solutions both for off-grid as well as grid-interactive solar plants.

    India is set to meet its target of adding 10,000 MW of solar capacity in 2017-18, almost twice that of the increase in 2016-17. The country had added 5,526 MW of solar capacity in the last fiscal, which was itself a record at the time. The total capacity at the end of 2016-17 was 12,288.8 MW, which means that 7,295 MW had been added till end-February and another 2,700 MW is expected to be commissioned in March. The capacity addition is expected to accelerate further in 2018-19. Solar tariffs reached a record low of ₹ 2.44/kWh at an auction held by SECI for 500 MW of projects at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan in May 2017, which compares favourably with the cost of thermal power. India has declared an ambitious target of 100,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, which MNRE officials are hopeful of reaching. Of the 7,295 MW added until end-February, the highest was by Karnataka, which commissioned a record 2,628.62 MW of projects in 11 months. For many years, Gujarat had the highest solar capacity, until it was overtaken by Rajasthan in 2015-16. Rajasthan, which also enjoys the highest solar radiation, was in turn overtaken by Andhra Pradesh in 2016-17, which added the highest capacity of 1,294.26 MW that year. In end March 2017, Andhra Pradesh had a total solar capacity of 1,867.23 MW against Rajasthan’s 1,814.28 MW. But with its spurt of activity in 2017-18, Karnataka is now the new No. 1in solar among Indian states, with a total capacity of 3,657.52 MW as of end-February. Telangana follows in second place, with a cumulative 3,282.67 MW of solar projects. Rajasthan is in third place, with 2,317.11 MW, and Andhra Pradesh in fourth with 2,170.32 MW. Gujarat has fallen to sixth place with 1,587 MW, behind Tamil Nadu at 1,822.57 MW.

    Mahindra Renewables, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mahindra Susten Pvt Ltd, announced it has achieved financial closure for 250 MW solar power project in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. The project is expected to commence commercial operations by December 2018 and is part of the 750 MW Rewa solar park. Mahindra sourced the debt of the project to the extent of ₹ 7.5 from Yes Bank and ₹ 2 billions were raised from other financial institutions. The project is expected to generate over 525 million units of electricity and is envisaged to sell 78 percent of the power to Madhya Pradesh Electricity Distribution Utilities and the balance 22 percent to Delhi Metro Rail Corp. Mahindra Renewables had won 250 MW capacity at levelised tariff of ₹ 3.3/kWh. ACTIS PE-backed Solenergi and ACME Group were other winning bidders. Yes Bank has been a partner to Mahindra Group’s renewable energy venture since 2011 and has so far underwritten five solar projects for the group with a total capacity of 382 MW.

    India has announced specific solar energy projects in parts of Africa in consultation with local governments and is seeking to ensure effective implementation of its LoC of $1billion offered at a time when China is striving to emerge as a partner for much of the developing world. The initiative is part of the external affairs ministry’s efforts to fine-tune its earlier strategy of extending blanket LoC to African countries for implementing projects. The International Solar Alliance meet in Delhi on March 11, extended the LoC specifically for 23 solar energy projects in 13 African countries. This was in contrast to the announcement by France, which made a blanket offer of 700 million euros (about $863 million) for solar projects. The countries where India will be executing solar energy projects include some of its emerging partners in French speaking Western Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Togo, Guinea, besides Democratic Republic Congo in Central Africa and traditional partners Ghana and Nigeria. Some of these countries will house more than one solar project. Other countries where specific solar projects are being executed include Seychelles, Tanzania and Rwanda. The goal is to also produce solar panels in India for these projects at rates which at cheaper than those made in China.

    South Africa’s Phelan Energy Group, which has played a part in lowering India’s solar tariffs with its aggressive bids, is in talks to acquire 200 MW of projects. This is the first buyout in India planned by the Cape Town-based firm that bid ₹ 2.62/kWh in May last year to win contracts to build a 50 MW unit at Bhadla in Rajasthan. The firm is also in partnership talks with investors for its first project in the country. With India’s wind and solar tariffs at a record low, it is the lower cost of foreign capital and the size of the Indian clean energy market that has helped India’s emerging green economy. There is growing overseas interest in India’s clean energy programme, with the government targeting 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022. India registered a record low solar tariff of ₹ 2.44/kWh in May last year. While solar power tariffs rose to ₹ 2.65/kWh at an auction conducted by the Gujarat government in September, last December’s auctions conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India threw up winning bids of ₹ 2.47 and ₹ 2.48/kWh.

    In its Budget for 2018-19, the Delhi government has proposed to encourage renewable energy initiatives to reduce fossil fuel-based power generation. A host of renewable energy initiatives have been lined up for the power department in 2018-19 that will reduce reliance on fossil fuel-based power generation in Delhi. The budgetary allocation for the energy sector ₹ 21.9 billion in 2018-19, is four percent of the total budget expenditure of ₹ 530 billion. The total capacity of renewable energy in Delhi until February 2018 was 133.13 MW, which included 81.13 MW of solar power and 52 MW of electricity generated from waste-to-energy plants. In addition 74 MW of solar power is under progress. The government has already committed to purchase 1,000 MW of green power, solar and wind, in the coming year. The government will bring out a Group Net Metering policy to enable utilisation of huge solar potentials by roping in state-run schools, markets and other buildings of government. The government will pilot a scheme named agriculture-cum-solar farm scheme to incentivise installation of solar panels on raised structures without affecting farming activities.

    The waste-to-energy project proposed to be set up at Brahmapuram that had been mired in controversy will be on track soon. The foundation stone of the first phase of the project will be laid in April. The construction of the first phase of the project, which is to treat garbage will be completed by January 2019. In the first phase, a plant to process the garbage and produce RDF which is in the form of bricks would be set up. In the second phase, the gasification plant to generate energy from the RDF will be constructed. Following Kochi corporation’s difficulty in implementing the waste-to-energy plant proposed at Brahmapuram, the state had entrusted overall monitoring of the project to district collector. The government had viewed that the district collector use powers of revenue department and that of the district magistrate for speedy implementation of the project. Kochi corporation had handed over 20 acres in Brahmapuram to GJ Eco Power Private Ltd for starting the construction of the plant. The construction of the project designed in 2015 had been stuck in controversies and lack of various clearances. The total cost of the project, which will generate 10 MW of electricity, is 295 billion. The promoters of the project envisage that 85% of the total revenue can be generated from electricity produced at the plant.

    Gurugram is going to get the country’s biggest waste-to-energy plant with a power generation capacity of 25 MW, which is being developed as part of the integrated solid waste management plant in Bandhwari. Green activists and local residents are worried about its impact on the environment and viability of the model that has not been very successful anywhere else in the country. The greens claimed a decentralised model of segregation and composting was a better way to deal with the city’s thrash. Eco-green Energy Pvt Ltd claimed the energy plant coming up on Gurugram-Faridabad road would be bigger than the one (with 24 MW capacity) located in Delhi’s Bawana. The plant was likely to be operational by the middle of 2019 and process up to 2,500 tonnes of waste daily. Gurugram currently generates around 850-900 tonnes of solid waste while another 600 tonnes come from Faridabad on a daily basis. Hydropower generation in India is all set to increase by 3.5 percent in the current financial year even as dry winter (63 percent below normal rainfall in January and February) has impacted generation in the last quarter. Scanty rains has decreased the overall hydro power generation by 15 percent in February as projects are affected in North, West and Eastern region by falling water levels in rivers. Lack of snowfall in North this year has already shrunk generation at country’s largest hydropower company, NHPC by half in the month of February and also affected projects in of other power companies in North, West and Eastern. The NHPC generation had grown by 3 percent till month of January in the current financial year compared to same duration in the last year. Despite dry winter spell hydro power generation has recorded a revival in generation this year after two-years of lean generation primarily due to less rain in monsoon. This financial year the overall hydro generation stood at 119 billion units till February compared to 114 billion units in same duration last year, an increase of 104 percent. The hydro power generation posted a marginal growth of under a percent in FY17 after two-years of consecutive dip of 6 % in FY16 and 4 % in FY15 compared to respective corresponding period. The total hydro generation was recorded at 122 billion units in FY17, a marginal increase of 0.8 percent over FY16. The generation had decreased by 6% in FY15.

    State-run power equipment maker BHEL said it has commissioned first unit of 110 MW of the Kishanganga hydro-electric project of NHPC in J&K. Located on the river Kishanganga, a tributary of the Jhelum in Bandipora district, all the three units of the 340 MW project will generate 1,350 million units of clean electricity annually, BHEL said. The other two units are also in advanced stages of commissioning. The equipment was supplied from BHEL's manufacturing units at Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur and Bengaluru while the execution of works on site was carried out by the company's Power Sector Northern Region division and Transmission Business Group. In J&K, BHEL has so far commissioned 31 Hydro sets with a cumulative capacity of 1,257 MW. It is executing hydroelectric projects of more than 2,900 MW in the country and 2,940 MW in Bhutan which are at various stages of implementation.

    The Supreme Court-appointed EPCA reviewed the status of the closure process of Badarpur thermal power plant and asked agencies to increase production at the Bawana gas plant from 250 MW to 500 MW by April 15. In a meeting with government officials and power agencies, EPCA was informed that the process to shut down the Badarpur unit is ahead of schedule and is likely to meet the July 31 deadline. EPCA said it was important to utilise the Bawana plant to avoid wastage of public resources. EPCA members further asked the authorities to ensure that the Bawana plant generates 500 MW from April 15, if not April 1. On February 28, EPCA allowed resumption of operations at the Badarpur plant, but set a deadline of July 31 for its closure. Power department said its closure won’t affect Delhi’s power supply.

    Rest of the World

    Norwegian utility Statkraft is entering the Spanish market after signing a 15-year-long power purchase agreement to buy electricity from a subsidy-free Spanish solar plant, it said. The plant, a 170 MW facility that will be commissioned by end of 2018, is one of Europe’s first solar projects of this size to be built without state aid and will be developed by Germany’s BayWa Renewable Energy. Statkraft plans to supply the electricity via bilateral contracts to commercial companies and also through the wholesale market, where other traders can purchase it from Spain’s power exchange. Statkraft, a major hydropower producer in Norway that also runs an international markets business, will add the solar farm’s output to its portfolio of 15,000 MW trading capacity. BayWa’s solar plant will generate roughly 300 GW of electricity every year, enough to power about 93,000 households in Spain.

    Ukraine’s largest private power producer DTEK and CMEC said they had agreed a joint project to build one of Europe’s largest solar energy generators at a cost of €230 million ($282 million). The solar power station will be built in the central Ukrainian region of Dnipropetrovsk with a planned capacity of 200 MW, making it the third largest in Europe in terms of potential output. The project will be financed with a combination of DTEK funds and a loan from CMEC. The size of the loan was not announced. DTEK is a relative newcomer to solar power, having launched its first solar project - Tryfonivska Solar Power Plant with 10 MW capacity - last August. Ukraine’s energy sector remains heavily dependent on traditional fossil fuels and nuclear power. Last year renewable sources accounted for around 1 percent of total generation. DTEK plans to increase its renewable capacity to 1,000 MW in 2019.

    UAE has broken ground on the 700 MW concentrated solar power phase 4 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Claimed to be the biggest of its kind in the world, the AED14.2 bn ($3.8 bn) phase 4 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is being developed in phases. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is planned to generate 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030. Additionally, the project is claimed to feature the world’s largest thermal energy storage capacity and provide clean energy to power over 270,000 residences while reducing 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

    Chinese solar power led a record 157 GW of new renewable energy capacity added worldwide last year, more than double the amount of new generation capacity from fossil fuels, a UN-backed report showed. Globally, a record 98 GW of solar power capacity was installed last year with China contributing more than half, or 53 GW. The new renewable energy generating capacity, also including wind, biofuels and geothermal energy, dwarfed the 70 GW of net new capacity from fossil fuels in 2017, it said. Fossil fuels, however, still dominate existing capacity. Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1 percent of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2 percent a decade earlier, it said. Climate scientists have advised governments that renewables should be the world’s dominant source of energy by mid-century if they want to achieve the toughest goals set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to combat global warming. Global investment in renewable energy rose by two percent to $279.8 billion in 2017 from a year earlier. China invested the most in renewables at $126.6 billion - its largest amount ever and 45 percent of the global total. The report said the cost of generating electricity from large-scale solar photovoltaic technology fell by 15 percent last year to $86 per megawatt hour. In the United States, renewable energy investment fell by six percent in 2017 to $40.5 billion. However, it was relatively resilient to policy uncertainties under President Donald Trump, who wants to promote fossil fuels, the report said. Europe’s investment in renewables plunged by 36 percent to $40.9 billion due to factors including the end of subsidies in some countries for solar and wind and lower technology costs.

    US President is seriously considering abandoning efforts to remake the nation’s biofuel laws after wading deep into an issue that divides some of his core constituencies. Advisers have urged Trump to instead let Congress tackle the biofuel reforms, but use the threat of administrative action to help rival lawmakers come together and solve the intractable issue. The US RFS has created reliable demand for corn farmers in the nation’s heartland, but merchant refiners like Valero Energy Corp say the costs to comply with the program have taken a huge financial toll. The largest and oldest US East Coast refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, filed for bankruptcy in January, blaming its financial woes on the biofuels program and drawing Trump into the debate over fears of blue-collar job losses in the politically important state of Pennsylvania. The White House has hosted a series of meetings in recent months in an attempt to change the decade-old RFS, which requires refiners to cover the price of blending biofuels like corn-based ethanol into the fuel supply, creating a lucrative market for growers but a headache for refiners who say it costs them a fortune.

    The EU’s removal of duties on low-price biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia could mean a surge in EU imports forcing European producers to cut production in coming months. The EU has removed duties on biodiesel imports for 13 Argentine and Indonesian producers following the end of legal proceedings at the European Court of Justice. The bloc set anti-dumping duties on imports of the renewable fuel from the two countries in 2013, but faced a series of legal challenges at the European Court of Justice and the WTO. Both bodies ruled against the EU measures. US agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland Company said it would suspend production at a biodiesel plant in Germany because of increasing imports of cheap biodiesel into the EU. The EU’s biodiesel market is about 12 mtpa mostly for blending with fossil diesel to achieve EU environmental protection targets. Argentine biodiesel from soyoil and Indonesian from palm oil is unsuitable for winter use and would be sold only for use for the low-frost period starting in April.

    German renewable fuel producer Natural Energy West is reducing biodiesel output by 50 percent because of surging EU imports from Argentina and Indonesia, it said. The output cut will be immediate and for an indefinite period, said the company, which produces about 240,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year at its plant in Marl and is jointly owned by German cooperative AGRAVIS, agribusiness Bunge, France’s Diester International and German oilseeds crusher C. Thywissen. The move is the latest sign of problems in Europe’s biofuel industry after the EU’s March removal of duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia after legal proceedings at the European Court of Justice. The two countries had said the EU duties were unfair. EU producers, meanwhile, say that biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia gains unfair state support that allows it to be sold at low prices in Europe. US agribusiness group Archer Daniels Midland Company said that was suspending production at a major biodiesel plant in Germany because of an increase in cheap imports.

    The ADB will provide $175.3 mn loan to PT SERD to support development of the second phase of the company's geothermal power project in South Sumatra Province, Indonesia. The bank has signed the loan agreement for the 90 MW Rantau Dedap project, which is being developed by SERD, a joint venture between Indonesian company PT Supreme Energy, Japan’s Marubeni and Tohoku Electric Power and French utility Engie. Planned to be commissioned by 2021, the Rantau Dedap geothermal facilities will have capacity to power up to 130,000 homes, create jobs, and avoid over 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Additionally, ADB will administer extra financing provided by the Clean Technology Fund. With a total potential of about 29,000 MW, Indonesia is claimed to hold about 40% of the world’s geothermal reserves. The country’s geothermal resource is expected to contribute to its efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 29% by 2030.

    ADB said it would provide a $250 million loan to Sinopec Green Energy Geothermal Company and Iceland’s Arctic Green Energy Corp to develop clean geothermal heat in smog-prone northern China. Geothermal energy, mainly derived from hot underground springs, generates a quarter of Iceland’s electricity. China had planned to develop geothermal energy in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei belt as part of its anti-smog campaign, the country said. The levels of utilized geothermal resources amounted to around 21 mt of standard coal last year. Coal-fired winter heating has been a major source of air pollution in the region, and an ambitious program to convert more than 5.5 million households from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas ran into difficulties late last year as a result of gas shortages and infrastructure failures. China has been looking at other alternative sources of heating in the region and is hoping to make use of nuclear power, with plans to deploy small-scale “district heating reactors” soon.

    Saudi Arabia has international partners it can work with if the US walks away from a potential deal on nuclear power technology over concerns about nuclear proliferation. US has been quietly working with Saudi Arabia on a civilian nuclear agreement that could allow the kingdom to enrich uranium and reprocess plutonium, technologies that non-proliferation advocates worry could one day be covertly altered to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. The kingdom is also in talks with companies from Russia, China, South Korea and other countries as the race to build two reactors in Saudi Arabia heats up. Saudi Arabia has said it needs nuclear power to move away from burning crude oil to generate electricity and to diversify its economy. Its cabinet approved a national policy program that limits nuclear activities to peaceful purposes. Saudi Arabia is expected to buy nuclear power technology from US companies, including Westinghouse, which went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy this year and abandoned plans to build two advanced AP1000 reactors in the US. Some nuclear analysts believe it is unlikely that the Saudis would choose to work with Russia because it has partnerships with nuclear projects in Iran.

    The leaders of Turkey and Russia marked the official start of work to build Turkey’s first nuclear power station, launching construction of the $20 billion Akkuyu plant in the southern province of Mersin. The plant will be built by Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom and will be made up of four units each with a capacity of 1,200 MW. Despite delays Turkey still planned to start generating power at the first unit in 2023. Erdogan said the cost of the project may exceed the planned $20 billion for the 4,800 MW plant, part of Erdogan’s “2023 vision” marking 100 years since the founding of modern Turkey and intended to reduce Turkey’s dependence on energy imports.

    A science advocacy group urged the US NRC to reject a longstanding industry request to limit cyber-attack protections at nuclear plants, a day after the Trump administration publicly blamed Moscow for hacking into nuclear power and other energy infrastructure. The Nuclear Energy Institute industry group petitioned the NRC in June 2014 to limit the scope of the agency’s cyber-protection safeguards to only systems with a direct impact on safety. The institute said in the petition that such limits would be “less burdensome” for operators of nuclear power plants while being “adequately protective” of public health and safety.

    French utility EDF is confident that nuclear safety regulator ASN will allow it to extend the lifespan of its nuclear reactors beyond 40 years, EDF said. EDF told a parliamentary committee hearing about nuclear safety that the company has been having discussions with the regulator on what safety aspects it should tackle if it wants to extend the lifespan of its reactors. ASN will rule on a potential lifespan extension of EDF’s nuclear reactors in 2020-21.


    MW: megawatt, GUVNL: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, kWh: kilowatt hour, GSECL: Gujarat State Electricity Corp Ltd, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, KREDL: Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd, CREST: Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society, JERC: Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission, CO2: carbon dioxide, DGS: Directorate General of Safeguards, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, GW: gigawatt, US: United States, DGAD: Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties, WTO: World Trade Organisation, CIL: Coal India Ltd, EPC: engineering, procurement & construction, CST: concentrated solar thermal, MWp: megawatt peak, GWp: gigawatt peak, BHEL: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, PV: photovoltaic, LoC: Line of Credit, RDF: refuse derived fuel, FY: Financial Year, J&K: Jammu and Kashmir, EPCA: Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, UN: United Nations, CMEC: China Machinery Engineering Corp, SERD: Supreme Energy Rantau Dedap, RFS: Renewable Fuel Standard, EU: European Union, mt: million tonnes, NRC: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ADB: Asian Development Bank,


    NATIONAL: OIL

    ONGC files arbitration claim against Sudan over unpaid oil dues

    17 April. The foreign acquisition unit of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s (ONGC) has filed an arbitration claim against the government of Sudan in a London court, the company said, seeking to recover dues pending for years from a project hit by the breakaway of South Sudan in 2011. ONGC had filed a claim for $98.94 million, in what they said was a first for the South Asian nation’s top oil and gas explorer against any government. At the centre of the dispute is ONGC’s 25 percent stake the company acquired in the Greater Nile Oil Project (GNOP) in Sudan in 2003. Other stakeholders include China’s China National Petroleum Corp with a 40 percent stake and Malaysia’s Petronas with a 30 percent share. The current arbitration is only for a part of pending dues that add up to about $425 million. ONGC has sued the government as the contracts were backed by sovereign guarantees. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL)’s stake in the GNOP comprised Blocks 1, 2 and 4, and the firm also agreed to build a 1,500 kilometre pipeline to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. But in 2011 South Sudan broke away from Sudan, after decades of civil war, and took control of blocks 1A, 1B and a part of block 4. Meanwhile, because of years of trade sanctions imposed on Sudan by the United States (US) - only lifted in 2017 - Khartoum found it difficult to secure oil for its refineries, and asked foreign companies including OVL to sell their share of oil from the blocks to the African nation. In 2016, OVL signed a separate agreement with Sudan for the sale of its share of GNOP oil. Sudan has not yet paid $90.81 million to ONGC for purchases of oil in 2016 and 2017. OVL had expected Sudan to clear the dues after lifting of the US sanctions last year.

    Source: Reuters

    Centre to give 20 lakh LPG connections under PMUJ to Telangana: Pradhan

    14 April. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said as many as 20 lakh LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections would be given to Telangana households by next year under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). Launching the 'Gram Swaraj Abhiyan', the Minister said the number of LPG distribution points in the state would be increased to 1000 from the existing 707 for quicker and efficient delivery system of gas cylinders. The overwhelming response to the PMUY initiative coupled with its efficient implementation and monitoring made the centre revise the initial target of releasing five crore connections to eight crore by 2020, he said. He said the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (GSA) would be implemented from April 14, the birth anniversary of Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution, to May 5 across the country.

    Source: Business Standard

    India and China can influence crude oil pricing: Pradhan

    13 April. India and China, the traditional rivals, plan to jointly leverage their buying power to influence the crude oil pricing, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said. China and India are world’s second- and third-largest oil consumers and heavily dependent on import. India has been raising its voice against the Asian premium, a practice under which Asian refiners pay a higher price for oil than their Western counterparts. This is not the first time that India and China have spoken about leveraging their purchasing power to influence crude prices but previous efforts frittered due to uneasy relations India and China share and the keen competition they experience in business.

    Source: The Economic Times

    PM Modi calls for responsible pricing for affordable energy to all

    11 April. Prime Minster (PM) Narendra Modi called for reasonable and responsible pricing to provide easy access of affordable energy to all. In the presence of oil cartel OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting) Countries kingpin Saudi Arabian Oil Minister, Khalid A. Al-Falih, PM Modi said efforts at artificially distorting prices were self-destructing. He said India will be a key driver of energy demand in the next 2-5 years.

    Source: The Times of India


    NATIONAL: GAS

    India, US set up joint task force on natural gas

    17 April. India and the United States (US) decided to set up a joint task force on natural gas with a view to promote strategic and economic interest of the two nations. As a first step in realising the full potential of the Strategic Energy Partnership, the US and India are pleased to announce the US-India Natural Gas Task Force. The task force provides a team of US and Indian industry experts with a mandate to propose, develop, and convey, innovative policy recommendations to the Government of India in support of its vision for natural gas in the economy of India. The work of the task force is expected to advance the strategic and economic interests of both the US and India. On the price of gas, US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said the US and India share a lot of values. He was of the view that some countries can give cheaper gas but it is the long-term relation that matters.

    Source: Business Standard

    India to launch gas trading hub

    16 April. The government plans to launch a natural gas trading hub by October, creating an Indian gas benchmark which will spark a surge in consumption of the cleaner-burning fuel. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has sought bids to hire a consultant to help develop a regulatory framework for operationalising the gas trading / exchange hub. Currently, the government fixes the price of the bulk of domestically produced natural gas. The rate, arrived at using price prevalent in gas-surplus nations of US, Canada, UK, and Russia, is $3.06 per million British thermal unit for six month period beginning April 1. In comparison, the cost of imported LNG (liquefied natural gas) into India is around $7.5. PNGRB said the oil ministry has asked it to initiate steps for framing of necessary regulatory framework to enable the establishment and operation of a Gas Trading Hub / Exchange (GTHE). PNGRB would visit USA, UK, and Australia, where the gas trading hub is successfully operating, to decide if there is a need to amend existing regulations. The target for launch of the gas trading hub has been set for October. A hub is used as a central pricing point for a network that could aid better price discovery for domestic as well as imported gas. It isn't clear if the government would abandon fixing the gas price and allow the rates to be discovered on the hub. India is not only country launching trading hub. China plans to launch a natural gas trading hub in Chongqing this year.

    Source: Business Standard

    APSEZ inks pact with IOC for LNG regasification at Dhamra

    16 April. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) said it has entered into a pact with Indian Oil Corp (IOC) to provide LNG (liquefied natural gas) regasification services at its import terminal in Odisha. As per the contract, IOC has booked 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) regasification capacity spread over 20 years, APSEZ said. IOC plans to supply gas to its refineries in Paradip in Odisha and Haldia in West Bengal. The foundation stone of the project was laid in July 2017 and construction has commenced by infrastructure firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T), winning the contract to set up the tankages for gas storage. The terminal is expected to be commissioned during the second half of 2021. APSEZ said the proposed Dhamra LNG import terminal is designed for an initial capacity of 5 mtpa, expandable up to 10 mtpa.

    Source: Business Standard

    Varanasi ready with CNG, PNG services as PM’s energy lifeline speeds along

    13 April. Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi is ready to go green with CNG (compressed natural gas) and PNG (piped natural gas) services, harvesting the first fruits of Prime Minister (PM)'s Rs 13,000 crore energy lifeline for reviving industrial activity in the region. About 5,700 homes have received PNG connection and two CNG stations have been constructed by state-run gas utility GAIL, while the crematorium at Harishchandra ghat too has been converted to run on clean-burning natural gas. The PNG connections have been given to residents of DLW, Bhel and BHU colonies. The CNG stations are located in the city’s periphery and can service roughly 200 autos, they said. GAIL (India) Ltd, which is implementing the project, is making trial runs by filling the pipeline network with CNG to remove impurities such as moisture and sulphur etc. Commercial service will start anytime this month.

    Source: The Times of India

    CBM extraction by CIL opens possibilities for private sector

    13 April. Opportunities are poised to open for private oil and gas producers in coal-bed methane (CBM) extraction. Coal India Ltd (CIL) is likely to float global tenders to appoint service providers on this project. Sources in CIL suggested as the Centre had cleared the grey area which previously stalled CBM extraction by the coal behemoth, it will be on the lookout for service providers which can extract the gas from its mines for commercial sale. However, the tender for this selection will depend on the Centre’s policy decision. In 2015, the Centre had approved CIL exploring and exploiting CBM but required it to apply to the petroleum and natural gas ministry. However, the government amended the rule, permitting CIL to explore and harvest CBM without a licence or grant from the petroleum and natural gas ministry.

    Source: Business Standard

    GAIL to complete phase-1 of Urja Ganga project ahead of schedule

    13 April. GAIL (India) Ltd said the first phase of the 2,655 kilometre (km) gas pipeline from Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh to West Bengal and Odisha will be completed before the scheduled target of December 2018. The company said it has placed pipe-laying order for 530 km between Bokaro in Jharkhand and Angul in Odisha, worth Rs 780 crore. The prestigious 2,655 km long Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project, also known as the 'Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga' project, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2015. The project will usher in industrial development in eastern part of India by supplying environmentally clean natural gas to fertilizer and power plant, refineries, steel plants and other industries. It will also provide clean energy to households and transportation in the cities enroute the pipeline. The city gas network laying activity in Varanasi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack has already commenced. Project activities will start on ground in other cities namely Patna, Ranchi and Jamshedpur by next month, GAIL said. GAIL said the project activities are progressing as per schedule and major contracts for the project have been awarded. GAIL has achieved its annual targeted total capital outlay and has expended around Rs 4000 crore during the fiscal year ending March 2018. The company will be spending its targeted capital outlay of Rs 6,400 crore in the current fiscal largely for the 4,000 km of pipeline and city gas projects it is presently executing.

    Source: Business Standard

    GAIL to import only half of US LNG into India

    12 April. GAIL (India) Ltd said it will bring to India only half of the LNG (liquefied natural gas) it has contracted from the United States (US) as it has either swapped or sold the remaining volumes. GAIL has a deal to buy 3.5 million tonne a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 20 years from Cheniere Energy of the US and has also booked capacity for another 2.3 million tonne (mt) at Dominion Energy's Cove Point liquefaction plant. The first US cargo arrived at the firm's Dabhol LNG import terminal in Maharashtra on March 30. Also, the firm's renegotiated LNG import deal with Russian supplier Gazprom will kick-in from May, with volumes gradually ramping up to fully contracted quantity of 2.5 mt in 5-6 year, GAIL said. GAIL had sold 81-82 million standard cubic meters per day of gas in 2017-18, which would rise to 91-92 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) because of arrival of US and Russian volumes. The company has swapped half of the 5.8 mt per annum of US LNG in a bid to rejig supply portfolio in line with domestic demand. GAIL sold 3.5 mt of the US LNG via time swaps, destination swaps and shipping optimisation.

    Source: Business Standard

    LNG supply from Gazprom will start from May: GAIL

    12 April. GAIL (India) Ltd plans to buy 0.5 million tonnes or eight cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Gazprom in 2018/19, its chairman and managing director B.C. Tripathi said. GAIL renegotiated the terms of a long-term 2.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchase deal with Russia’s Gazprom in January. This was the third such renegotiation by India with LNG suppliers to make the imported fuel more affordable, using its position as one of the world’s biggest energy consumers to strike better bargains for its companies. India has also renegotiated long-term LNG deals with Qatar’s RasGas and Exxon Mobil Corp as spot prices declined substantially amid a supply glut that turned trading of the seaborne gas into a buyers’ market. The much-delayed Kochi-Mangalore natural gas pipeline, which can open up a substantial latent demand in South India, will be ready by November, he said. GAIL is working on implementing a national gas grid that is aimed at connecting the under-served eastern part of the country to the rest of the nation.

    Source: Reuters


    NATIONAL: COAL

    CIL ops unaffected by protest call by CITU: Government

    17 April. To ensure smooth operations, CIL (Coal India Ltd) management put a multi-pronged plan into action at all company mines in the wake of protest call given by trade union CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) against commercial mining, the government said. Four central trade unions of CIL had served notice to go on a one-day strike on April 16, protesting against the commercial coal mining. In a bid to ward off the strike, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal invited the four trade unions -- BMS, HMS, AITUC and CITU -- for a meeting in Mumbai where their apprehensions were dispelled in a proper perspective. Subsequently, a next round of meeting was held with Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar, as a result of which, the four trade unions agreed to call off the strike in principle. However, CITU was the lone union to head off and call for a protest day, the coal ministry said.

    Source: The Times of India

    Government to auction 19 coal mines in June quarter: Coal Secretary

    15 April. After the cancellation of coal mines auction twice, the government is exploring certain relaxations for bidders and plans to put on sale 19 blocks in the current quarter, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said. The government had last year annulled the fifth round of auction on account of poor response from bidders. Of the 19 blocks to go under the hammer, 6 have been identified for the steel sector while the remaining 13 mines are for non-regulated sectors like cement, sponge iron and captive power, he said. In order to attract more bidders and make successful the next round of auctions the coal ministry is also looking at providing certain relaxations but subject to adequate transparency and competition. The fifth round of coal blocks auction was annulled last year in the absence of good response from the bidders as the steel industry was not in a good shape. In December 2015, the government had annulled the fourth round of coal mine auctions planned for January 2016 on account of tepid response from bidders in sectors such as steel besides depressed commodity prices and adverse market conditions.

    Source: Business Standard

    Meghalaya CM meets Coal Minister, discusses coal mining ban issue

    15 April. Meghalaya Chief Minister (CM) Conrad Sangma met Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi and discussed the coal mining ban that has hit the northeastern state hard for the past four years. Goyal assured that he would look into the grievance of the coal miners, the Chief Minister's Office said. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned mining of coal in Meghalaya in 2014 after it received petitions on rampant violation of environment norms and utter disregard for safety measures by miners. Sangma is also likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard. The state cabinet had decided to pursue a resolution passed by the state Assembly to urge Centres intervention for resolving the ban on coal mining in the state.

    Source: Business Standard

    Odisha CM asks Centre to reconsider coal mine allotment decision

    12 April. Odisha Chief Minister (CM) Naveen Patnaik asked the Centre to re-examine its decision to allot four coal mines to Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL), instead of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), which already operates several mines in the state. Operationalisation of coal mines requires close coordination with the local administration for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected families, he said. The WCL, which is headquartered at Nagpur in Maharashtra, may not be in a position to effectively tackle the issues, which are critical to the smooth operationalisation of coal mines, he said. The MCL has achieved a record production of over 143 million tonnes of coal during 2017-18 and with a more focussed approach towards rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected families, it can grow further in partnership with the lcoal communities, he said. In case MCL is unable to handle more coal mines in view of its existing commitments, Coal India Ltd may consider to set up another subsidiary for Talcher Coalfield and the MCL may further scale up its operations in the Ib valley region, he said.

    Source: Business Standard


    NATIONAL: POWER

    Chandigarh industrialists laud 7 percent cut in electricity charges

    17 April. City-based industrialists have lauded the decision of the Joint Regularity Electricity Commission (JERC) to reduce power rate for the industry. In an attempt to promote industrial consumer category, especially small scale, the commission in its recent tariff order decreased the energy charges by 7%. The decision was taken following representations by different industrial bodies to the commission and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). For the ongoing financial year, the commission had brought down power rates of large supply from Rs 5.65 per unit to Rs 5 per unit, while for consumers of medium supply, the rate has been reduced from Rs 5.35 per unit to Rs 4.70 per unit. For small scale industries, the rate has been slashed from Rs 5.30 to Rs 4.80 per unit. The new rates came into effect from April 1. The commission also decreased energy charges being paid by the bulk supply consumer category. With the reduction in rates, power in Chandigarh has become cheaper for industry as compared to residential and commercial categories.

    Source: The Times of India

    Delhiites may soon get money for unscheduled power cuts

    17 April. Citizens would be compensated for unscheduled power cuts lasting longer than one hour if a policy approved by the Delhi government gets a green signal from Lt. Governor Anil Baijal. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the policy to provide compensation to users in case of "unscheduled power cuts by the private power distribution companies" and it was later sent to the Lt. Governor for approval. The compensation would be provided to consumers in their monthly electricity bills. In case of a power cut, a consumer has to file a "no current" complaint through SMS, email, phone, mobile application or website and along with their name, Consumer Account (CA) number and mobile number. The power distribution company would then attend to the complaint and send a confirmation message to the consumer with power restoration date and time. The respective compensation amount would be then credited to the CA number automatically and a message would be sent to the consumer. This amount would be then adjusted in the consumer's monthly electricity bill.

    Source: Business Standard

    More people opting to pay electricity bills online in Maharashtra’s Nashik

    15 April. Of the 23.7 lakh consumers in the Nashik zone of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL), 2.5 lakh pay their bills online. In 2017 March, the figure was 46,933. The money collected through online or digital media has touched Rs 50.38 crore in January this year — a 75% rise against the collection through digital means in April 2017. But, the online payment figures were fluctuating over the months.

    Source: The Times of India

    India’s first filament-bulb-free village panchayat at Pilicode in Kerala

    13 April. Pilicode panchayat in Kasaragod, which won the State Energy Conservation award last year, has added yet another feather in its cap by becoming the first village panchayat in the country that has completely abandoned filament bulbs, and this declaration was made by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He said the government was considering such a possibility of making the entire State filament-bulb-free. Under this project for energy conservation, nearly 40000 filament bulbs were replaced by LED bulbs from the houses, shops and other establishments and this way 120,328 units of electricity was saved last year in the panchayat, according to the panchayat authorities. The project was implemented with the support of Energy Management Centre (EMC) of the State government, which enforces the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. Pilicode panchayat president Sreedharan T V said this is only the first part of the project, which was started in December 2016, and the aim is to initiate more steps in energy conservation to make the panchayat ‘energy positive’. Under the project, the EMC supplied the LED bulbs, and the panchayat gave these bulbs, which cost Rs 77, at a subsidized rate of Rs 50 to the customers.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Bajaj Electricals wins Rs 23.8 bn order from UP power discom

    12 April. Bajaj Electricals said it has bagged orders aggregating to Rs 2,389.03 crore from Uttar Pradesh (UP) distribution company (discom) Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd for rural electrification projects in UP. The company said, scope of work includes rural electrification and related work as per DPR of project mentioned in tender including all other work on turnkey basis and the order value is Rs 2389.03 crore, it said.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Jharkhand CM reviews power situation, calls for improved supply

    12 April. Jharkhand Chief Minister (CM) Raghubar Das said electricity should be made available to 252 villages identified for 'Gaon Swaraj Campaign' between April 14 and May 5.  In case of power cut, the nearest repairing persons should be available to repair, he said.

    Source: The Economic Times


    NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Azure Power commissions 40 MW solar plant in Uttar Pradesh

    April 17, 2018. Azure Power, New Delhi-based solar power producer, announced it has commissioned a 40 MW solar power plant in Uttar Pradesh. The solar project, auctioned by Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), has been set up under the government’s National Solar Mission. It is spread across 225 acres, the company said. Azure will supply power to SECI for 25 years at a levelized tariff of Rs 4.92 per kilowatt hour which is inclusive of Viability Gap Funding (VGF). Azure Power constructed India’s first private utility-scale solar PV (photovoltaic) power plant in 2009 and implemented the first MW scale rooftop project under the smart city initiative in 2013.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Madras HC vacates stay on safeguard duty for solar equipment imports

    17 April. The Madras High Court (HC) has dismissed the petition challenging the Directorate General of Safeguards’ recommendation of 70 percent safeguard duty on the import of solar panels and modules. The court pronounced its oral order dismissing the petition. The dismissal paves the way for a public hearing on the matter, after which a report will be sent to a panel of secretaries of the commerce, revenue, industrial policy, external affairs and new and renewable energy ministries for a final decision. Acting on a petition from domestic solar manufacturers who claimed imports of solar panels and modules were causing their industry serious injury, the Directorate General of Safeguards had in mid January suggested slapping a whopping 70% levy on solar imports. Over 90% of solar equipment used in Indian projects is imported, mostly from China and Malaysia. Solar developers were deeply dismayed by the recommendation, claiming it would raise construction costs and thereby solar tariffs, which have been falling steeply for some years now.

    Source: The Economic Times

    India probes dumping of EVA sheets for solar modules by 5 nations

    17 April. India has initiated a probe into the alleged dumping of EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) sheets used in solar cell industry, imported from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Thailand. The investigation on imports of EVA sheets for solar modules' is carried out by the Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), which is an arm of the commerce ministry. In the probe, the directorate would determine the existence, degree and effect of the dumped products on the domestic industry. The DGAD said that it has found sufficient evidence of dumping of the products from these five countries. The product under consideration for the purpose of present investigation is used in the manufacturing of solar PV (photovoltaic) modules. This is one of the most essential component which keeps glass, cell and backsheet integrated and support the module mechanically during its service life time. According to experts, dumping of these products is happening because of the huge domestic solar market. On January 11, 2010, India had launched its national solar policy, named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The country has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Many foreign companies are interested in supplying solar equipment to tap the growing sector in India. Anti-dumping duties are levied to provide a level playing field to local industry by guarding against cheap below-cost imports. Imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. Both India and China are members of the Geneva-based body.

    Source: Business Standard

    ReNew Power slapped with Rs 119 mn fine for delay in MP solar project

    17 April. The Supreme Court has slapped a penalty of Rs 119 million on Gurugram-headquartered renewable energy company ReNew Power for delaying the commissioning of a 51 MW solar power project in Madhya Pradesh (MP) by more than 210 days. The court, however, set aside the cancellation of the power purchase agreement (PPA), which the state government had initiated. The case pertains to the 51 MW project, which the Goldman Sachs-backed green energy producer had won in a competitive bidding process in 2015 at a tariff of Rs 5.45 per unit. The bidding was for power projects of 300 MW. The remaining 249 MW was won by a Canadian solar company SkyPower Global, whose PPA the MP government has already cancelled.

    Source: Business Standard

    Bihar to hand over its three thermal power plant to NTPC

    17 April. Bihar government decided to hand over its three thermal power plants to central power sector undertaking –the National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC). A meeting of state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar approved an energy department’s proposal in this regard. The three power plants are Begusarai-based Barauni Thermal power station (BTPS), Muzaffarpur-based joint venture—the Kanti Bijli Utpadan Nigam Ltd (KBUNL) and Nabinagar-based joint venture—the Nabinagar Power Generating Company Ltd (NPGCL). Approving another proposal of energy department, the cabinet decided to provide a sum of Rs 4,137 crore as subsidy grant to the electricity consumers of the state in FY 2018-19.

    Source: The Times of India

    Tata Power unit eyes solar power projects in Maharashtra

    16 April. Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) is planning to bid for setting up two solar power projects in Maharashtra totalling 400 MW. The company plans to bid for two separate projects of 150 MW and 250 MW. TPREL, which builds and operates wind and solar power projects, is Tata Power’s primary investment vehicle for clean and renewable energy. In December, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) invited bids for 1 GW of grid-connected solar power projects to meet its obligation to buy renewable energy. MSEDCL supplies power to 1.93 crore consumers across the state. But the tender found no takers as potential bidders feared the central government would implement a recommendation from the Directorate General of Safeguards to impose a 70% duty on solar panels imported from China and Malaysia, which would push up their costs.

    Source: Livemint

    NHPC's 50 MW solar project in Tamil Nadu synchronised with grid

    16 April. NHPC Ltd said it has synchronised a 50 MW solar PV (photovoltaic) project at Theni/Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu with the grid. The Power Station has generated 6.87 million units up to April 15, 2018. The solar project shall provide an annual generation of 105 million units with sale of entire power to the TANGEDCO (Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp) in accordance with the power purchase agreement. The project was executed on EPC (engineering procurement and construction) basis with a time frame of nine months. Domestically manufactured Solar PV modules are used for the project, it said.

    Source: Business Standard

    BHEL's solar plant stuck in limbo as MP government keen to use site for events

    15 April. Despite getting the Centre's clearances for the solar power plant that BHEL proposes to set up on its own land on the city outskirts, the project is yet to take off as the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government apparently wants to keep the site open for public and political events. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) plans to set up the plant on 50 acres of land at Jamboree Maidan on the outskirts of the state capital. The state-owned power equipment major had sanctioned the Rs 54 crore solar power plant in November 2016 and the deadline set for its completion was March 31, 2017. It had got all permissions in place from the Centre one-and-a-half years back. However, the work is yet to begin in the absence of state government's permission.

    Source: Business Standard

    Vice President pitches for renewable energy

    12 April. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the need to tap renewable energy. Renewable energy was a major solution in fighting climate change and meet the increasing energy demand in the country, he said in an interaction with the students of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE). Naidu said IIPE intended to promote the quality and excellence of the education and research in the petroleum and hydrocarbons and it plans to fill in the skill gap in the oil and gas sector. He said the central and state governments should work together as a team for the all-round development of the states.

    Source: Business Standard

    Kerala pursuing hydro, wind and solar power projects to cut costs

    12 April. KSEB will be focusing on small hydel projects to generate power and income. As of now, each year it spends around Rs 7,500 crore to purchase power from other states. If more power generation plants are constructed, KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) can reduce its loss. The government also plans to generate electricity from alternative methods like solar and wind energy.

    Source: The Economic Times

    Government invites expression of interest for 1 GW offshore wind energy project

    11 April. The government has invited expression of interest for the country's first offshore wind energy project, in line with its aim of having 5 GW such capacities by 2022. The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous body under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), has called for Expression of Interest' (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project of India, MNRE said. The global EoI is intended to shortlist prospective offshore wind energy developers for a 1,000 MW (1 GW) offshore wind energy project in Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat. MNRE plans to install at least 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2022. As per the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy notified on October, 2015, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai is the nodal agency to carry out the necessary studies/surveys before final bidding and act as a single window for facilitating necessary clearances required for development of offshore wind projects in India. With the announcement of this first offshore wind energy project, the government is attempting to develop this sector in India and envisages to replicate similar success as on-shore wind power sector.

    Source: Business Standard


    INTERNATIONAL: OIL

    US shale output to rise by 125k bpd in May: EIA

    17 April. US (United States) shale oil production is expected to increase in May for the fourth consecutive month, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed, boosted by record production in the prolific Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico. Total oil output is set to rise by 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 7 million bpd, the EIA said. Production in the Permian Basin is expected to jump by 73,000 bpd to 3.2 million bpd, the largest according to records dating back to 2007. The expanding production there has led to bottlenecks as pipelines transporting the crude have filled more quickly than expected. Bakken output is expected to rise by 15,000 bpd to 1.2 million bpd, the highest since July 2015. In the Eagle Ford shale fields, production is set to rise by 24,000 bpd to 1.3 million bpd, the most since May 2016.

    Source: Reuters

    LPG, fuel oil tankers collide off Singapore coast

    17 April. Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said it is investigating a collision between two tankers in Singapore waters that led to a leak of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from one of the ships. An estimated 1,796 tonnes of butane gas leaked from the LPG tanker involved but this posed no danger to shipping and measures had been taken by the ship’s crew to stop the leak, MPA said.

    Source: Reuters

    Unipec and ENOC place lowest offers in Bangladesh oil import tender

    17 April. Energy traders Unipec and ENOC (Emirates National Oil Company) placed the lowest offers in a tender by Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) to buy up to 1.52 million tonnes of oil products for import in the second half of 2018. Unipec, the trading arm of China’s state-owned Sinopec, placed the lowest offer for the gasoil and jet fuel cargoes, beating eight other traders, BPC said. It has offered to sell gasoil to Bangladesh at a premium of between $3.05 and $3.08 per barrel to Middle East quotes and offered jet fuel at a premium of $4.10 a barrel. ENOC made the lowest offer for fuel oil cargoes, against five other companies. The trader a $17.80 a ton premium to Singapore spot quotes for high-sulphur furnace oil. The tender closed on April 11 and was expected to be valid for 75 days to June 24. Bangladesh typically imports about 3.2 million tonnes of diesel and 2.5 million tonnes of fuel oil annually, making it one of the top 10 such importers in the region. Currently, BPC has term contracts with 10 companies for refined oil product imports.

    Source: Reuters

    South Korea's March Iranian crude oil imports down 39.3 percent year-on-year

    15 April. South Korea’s March crude oil imports from Iran dropped 39.3 percent from a year earlier on slowing demand for Iranian oil, the country’s customs data showed. In March, the world’s fifth-biggest crude oil importer, imported 1.37 million tonnes of Iranian crude, or 324,612 barrels per day (bpd), from 2.26 million tonnes from the previous year when the import volume hit a record high, according the customs data. South Korea, one of Asia’s major Iranian oil customers, mainly buys condensate, or an utlra-light oil, but its data does not provide a breakdown of imports by types. Seoul has reduced its purchases of Tehran’s oil in recent months compared to last year’s levels, despite the Middle Eastern country’s efforts to retain its Asian buyers by cutting official selling prices. Overall, South Korea’s March crude oil imports were 10.91 million tonnes, or 2.58 million bpd, down 14 percent from 12.68 million tonnes from last year, according to the data. In the first three months of this year, South Korea imported 36.70 million tonnes of crude, or nearly 3 million bpd, down 0.4 percent from 36.88 million tonnes from the previous year.

    Source: Reuters

    Mercuria agrees to take stake in ChemChina's oil refining system

    14 April. Global energy trader Mercuria Group has agreed to take an interest in the oil refining system of China’s ChemChina. As part of the deal, ChemChina would increase its stake in Mercuria, one of the world’s largest oil trading firms. ChemChina already holds a 12 percent stake in the Swiss-based company and would remain a minority shareholder. The deal, if completed, would be the first time a global trading house has gained a stake in Chinese refineries. ChemChina operates the country’s largest refining assets outside state oil majors. It has total crude processing capacity of 530,000 barrels per day (bpd), including three plants in eastern Shandong province. The deal, agreed in Beijing, would give Mercuria its first stake in crude refining to go alongside its interests in oil transport, storage and upstream operations.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq's oil development contracts may draw 14 bidders

    14 April. Fourteen companies have expressed interest in oil and natural gas exploration and development contracts to be auctioned by Iraq on April 25, the oil ministry in Baghdad said. The 14 have bought a package containing the bidding documents and terms of the contracts for the 11 exploration blocks to be auctioned, it said. The blocks, located in border areas with Iran and Kuwait, and in offshore Gulf waters, were to be auctioned in June. That date was brought forward to April 15 and then postponed to April 25 to give bidders more time. The oil ministry announced measures to reduce the fees paid to oil companies in the contracts to be auctioned. The new contracts will exclude oil by-products from the companies’ revenue, establish a link between prevailing oil prices and their remuneration, and introduce a royalty element. Oil companies operating in Iraq currently receive a fee from the government linked to production increases, which include crude and oil by-products such as liquefied petroleum gas. The new contracts offered by Baghdad will also set a time limit for companies to end gas flaring from oilfields they develop. Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted along side crude oil at its fields because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel. Iraq hopes to end gas flaring by 2021. Flaring costs the government nearly$2.5 billion in lost revenue each year and could meet most of its unmet needs for gas‐fired power, according to the World Bank.

    Source: Reuters

    China March crude oil imports second highest on record, fuel exports hit new high

    13 April. China’s March crude oil imports climbed from a month earlier to the second highest on record, calculated on a daily basis, as refiners replenished stocks on generous government quotas and ahead of peak maintenance season. March shipments came in at 39.17 million tonnes, or 9.22 million barrels per day (bpd), the General Administration of Customs said. That compared with 8.41 million bpd in February, and January’s record 9.57 million bpd. The three plants - Sinopec’s Zhenhai and PetroChina’s Sichuan and Jilin - have a combined daily processing capacity of 860,000 bpd and will reduce China’s imports from Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Four independent refineries with a combined capacity of 200,000 bpd also started maintenance this month. Analysts said that was in part triggered by a new consumption tax regulation as crude oil prices have risen. State refiners have stepped up exports to help cope with a growing surplus of refined barrels. In one example, Sinopec is lining up its third very large crude carrier (VLCC) shipment of diesel from China to Europe or West Africa.

    Source: Reuters

    New Zealand halts future O&G offshore exploration permits

    12 April. New Zealand will not grant any new permits for offshore oil and gas (O&G) exploration, Prime Minister Jacinda Ahern said. The center-left Labour-led government said the move would not affect the country’s 22 existing exploration permits, and any oil and gas discoveries from firms holding those licenses could still lead to mining permits of up to 40 years. Interest in oil exploration in New Zealand has waned in recent years due to lower global oil prices, with only one permit issued in 2017, compared with 10 in 2014. However, business and regional leaders said they had been blindsided by the move and feared the government was risking jobs in the NZ$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) oil and gas industry.

    Source: Reuters

    Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister concerned about future energy supply situation

    11 April. The future supply situation for a number of energy resources is not reassuring, particularly for crude oil, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Khalid Al Falih said. Investments in oil are not keeping pace with the demand for fuel, Falih said. However, Falih said he was reassured that there are two dozen oil producer that remain committed to maintaining stability in the oil market.

    Source: Reuters

    $60 is a good price for crude oil: Iranian Oil Minister

    11 April. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said that $60 a barrel is a good price for oil currently as the market should avoid volatility. Zangeneh said that he hopes India and Iran can finalize the main issue on the development of the Farzad B natural gas field in the next two months.

    Source: Reuters

    Oil supply a concern as demand growing while output falls: IEA's Birol

    11 April. Global oil supply remains a concern amid OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Russian-led output reductions, with production falling from mature oilfields while demand growth remains strong, the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said. This was despite forecasts of rising oil output from non-OPEC producers, led by the United States (US), which is expected to be able to meet two-third of global oil demand growth over the next five years, he said. First, global oil consumption is still growing strongly, gaining 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, driven by petrochemical, industrial and aviation demand, he said. Second, some older, maturing fields are in decline. Investments in oil and gas exploration remain low, Birol also said, even though global oil prices have returned to 2014 levels. While efforts by the OPEC and Russia to cut output has helped drain excess global supplies, the industry remains wary that growing US shale oil production could cap price gains. Another big worry was the halving of Venezuelan oil production since former President Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, Birol said.

    Source: Reuters

    Iraq completes southern crude oil export pipeline

    11 April. Iraq has completed the construction of a pipeline that will boost its crude oil exports from southern ports, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said. The 11.6 kilometer (7.21 mile) pipeline has an export capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), he said in a statement, and will carry oil from storage to export terminals on the Gulf. Luaibi announced the completion of a pipeline to inject water into oilfields in order to enhance their recovery. The government approved a plan to raise Iraq’s crude oil output capacity to 6.5 million bpd by 2022. Iraq is producing more than 4.4 million bpd in line with an agreement between the 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other exporters including Russia to cut supply to boost oil prices.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: GAS

    China shale gas output to nearly double over three years

    17 April. China’s shale gas production will likely reach 17 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020, nearly double the 2017 level, as local oil companies make big progress with drilling technology and cost cutting, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said. Nearly 700 new wells will come onstream between 2018 and 2020 at three key projects - Sinopec’s Fuling, and PetroChina’s Changning-Weiyuan and Zhaotong - all located in the country’s southwest, and at a total cost of $5.5 billion, Woodmac estimated. The forecast 17 bcm of output in 2020 falls short of Beijing’s goal of 30 bcm, which was slashed by more than half from the government’s initial target set in 2012. That means the world’s No.3 gas user will need to keep its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at elevated levels. Woodmac has separately forecast China’s LNG imports will increase by a quarter to nearly 49 million tonnes this year, from record highs in 2017. China produced 9 bcm of shale gas last year, or 6 percent of its total gas output. Despite estimates that China is home to the world’s largest recoverable shale gas resource, its shale formations tend to be deeper, more fractured and located in densely populated mountainous terrains, leading to higher costs and complications in drilling. Shell, which pledged billions of dollars of investment in China’s shale sector, pulled out of shale operations in Sichuan several years ago.

    Source: Reuters

    Croatia to announce tender results for using planned LNG plant in late May

    16 April. Croatia will announce on May 28 the results of a tender to use capacity at a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northern Adriatic, the company running the project said. LNG Hrvatska is preparing to build the floating terminal, which Croatia hopes will start operations in early 2020. The final investment decision is expected by the end of June. The terminal, with projected capacity of 2.6 billion cubic metres of gas a year, is part of European Union efforts to diversify away from Russian energy imports, most notably for countries in central Europe.

    Source: Reuters

    Chevron greenlights Gorgon LNG expansion off west Australian coast

    14 April. Chevron Corp will proceed with the second stage of its giant Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant off the northwest coast of Western Australia, the company said. Chevron and its joint venture partners plan to sink 11 new wells in the Gorgon and Jansz-Io fields and build offshore pipelines and subsea structures to pipe the gas to the nearby 15.6 million tonne a year LNG plant on Barrow Island. The $54 billion Gorgon project came on stream in March 2016 but suffered numerous unplanned shutdowns in its early stages. Gorgon Stage Two is part of the original Gorgon development plan which includes the expansion of the subsea gas network required to maintain long-term natural gas supply to Barrow Island. Chevron leads the development of the Wheatstone natural gas project, manages a one-sixth interest in the North West Shelf Venture and operates Australia’s largest onshore oilfield on Barrow Island.

    Source: Reuters

    Tanzania seeks consultancy service provider for delayed LNG project

    13 April. Tanzania has invited bids for consultancy services to help the government conclude negotiations with a group of international oil firms on a deal for the construction of a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. Tanzania boasts estimated recoverable reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Construction of an LNG export terminal has however been held up by regulatory delays. BG Group, which was acquired by Royal Dutch Shell in 2016, alongside Statoil, Exxon Mobil and Ophir Energy, plan to build a $30 billion onshore LNG export terminal. The firms plan to develop the project in partnership with the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corp (TPDC) in the south of the country near large offshore gas discoveries. TPDC said it was now searching for a consultant to develop a commercial, legal and technical framework for the LNG project.

    Source: Reuters

    Gas discovery made in Egypt

    12 April. SDX Energy Inc. announced that it has made a gas discovery at its Ibn Yunus-1X exploration well at South Disouq, Egypt. Ibn Yunus-1X was drilled to a total depth of 9,068 feet and encountered 100.8 feet of net conventional natural gas pay in the Abu Madi horizon, which had an average porosity in the pay section of 28.5 percent, SDX revealed.

    Source: Rigzone

    Russia tells European Union it is ready to consider gas supplies via Ukraine after 2020

    11 April. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic that Russia was ready to consider using Ukraine as a gas transit route after 2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a gas pipeline planned to run from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea could not go ahead without clarity on Ukraine’s role as a transit route for gas, appearing to harden her stance on the scheme. The Russian energy ministry said that Novak and Sefcovic had spoken by telephone and discussed the delivery of Russian gas to European markets.

    Source: Reuters

    Exxon expects Papua New Guinea LNG project to restart in May

    11 April. ExxonMobil Corp expects to restart production from its Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at the start of May after it was shut following an earthquake in February, ExxonMobil LNG Vice President Emma Cochrane said. The $19 billion LNG facility, opened in 2014 in a remote location in one of Asia’s poorest and most politically troubled countries, has been closed since the powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The project is considered one of the world’s best-performing LNG operations, despite the challenge of drilling for gas and building a plant and pipeline in the remote Papua New Guinea jungle. Australia’s Oil Search and Santos are Exxon’s main partners in the project. The LNG export terminal may not be able to produce at full capacity at first and will likely ramp up gradually, Cochrane said. Cochrane said the company has recertified the reserves in its P’nyang field in Papua New Guinea, and the reserves are higher than it previously thought. Exxon is likely to take a final investment decision this year on expanding its Golden Pass LNG terminal in Texas - a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, Cochrane said.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: COAL

    China move to restrict coal imports may drive price divergence

    17 April. The price of seaborne thermal coal in Asia may come under pressure as China moves to impose some import restrictions on imports of the polluting fuel. Several ports in southern and eastern China have introduced controls on coal imports, ranging from bans on unloadings to tightening customs clearances. What does appear somewhat clearer is that the authorities in Beijing wish to restrict growth in coal imports in order to support domestic coal prices and encourage an increase in local production. While the authorities don’t officially target domestic coal prices, it’s widely believed in the industry that a range anchored around 550 yuan a tonne is a level that Beijing feels provides miners with sufficient revenue while not unduly boosting costs for power generators. It’s also currently a price level that makes domestic coal attractive versus seaborne supplies, especially once the duties and taxes on imported coal are taken into account. Imports of all types of coal rose 16.6 percent to 75.41 million tonnes in the first three months of 2018, compared to the same period last year, according to China’s preliminary customs data.

    Source: Reuters

    Facing coal shortages at 7 power plants: South Africa's Eskom

    17 April. South African power utility Eskom, which is battling to recover from a financial and leadership crisis, said that it was facing coal shortages at seven power stations. Eskom supplies around 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, predominantly by burning coal. The state-owned utility has been forced to introduce nationwide electricity cuts in the past decade, the latest in 2015, denting economic output. Eskom has asked the finance ministry for permission to procure more coal and is temporarily using diesel-fuelled turbines to meet electricity demand. Part of the reason for the coal shortages is that Tegeta Exploration and Resources has cut supplies to Eskom as it seeks insolvency protection.

    Source: Reuters

    Polish coal miner PGG expects rise in 2018 capital spending

    16 April. PGG, Poland’s biggest coal mining firm, expects capital expenditure to rise this year to 2.56 billion zlotys ($759.67 million) from 1.82 billion in 2017, it said. PGG’s coal output in 2017 was about 30 million tonnes, lower than originally planned as cost cutting pushed down investment. A fall in coal prices and high labour costs pushed PGG to the brink of bankruptcy in 2015. In 2016 state-run utilities bought shares in PGG, helping it avoid collapse.

    Source: Reuters

    China's March coal imports rise as utilities boost buying to replenish stockpiles

    13 April. China’s coal imports rose in March from a year ago as utilities boosted their purchases to replenish inventories amid colder-than-usual winter weather that drew down fuel stockpiles. Coal imports last month climbed 20.9 percent from a year ago to 26.7 million tonnes, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed. That was up from 20.9 million tonnes in February. For the first quarter, China imported 75.41 million tonnes of coal, up 16.6 percent from the same period a year earlier.

    Source: Reuters


    INTERNATIONAL: POWER

    MENA region needs to spend $260 bn for power production

    17 April. Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries need to spend $260 billion over the next five years for electricity production to meet rising demand. The region, which includes oil heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, must make the investments to add 117 GW of power generation by 2022, Arab Petroleum Investment Corp (APICORP) said. The Dammam-based energy development bank said $152 billion is needed for electricity generation and the rest for transmission and distribution projects. It estimated that power capacity in the Middle East and North Africa, currently standing at 321 GW, needs to expand by 6.4 percent on average annually by 2022 to meet growing demand. The six nations belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — need to spend $89 billion to add 43 GW over the next five years, according to APICORP estimates. Iran needs to add 25 GW of power to its current capacity of 77 GW with estimated investments of $50 billion. Iraq, another oil-rich country, is required to invest $39 billion to add 12 GW of electricity by 2022. Egypt, the most populous country in the region, is estimated to need $46 billion of investments to add 22 GW of power to raise its capacity to 60 GW in 2022.

    Source: Arab News


    INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

    Spending on European wind projects seen rising to $28.7 bn in 2018

    17 April. Investment in new European wind farms and equipment is expected to increase this year after a sharp drop in 2017, helped by several large project auctions. Spending is forecast to rise 4 percent to €23.2 billion ($28.7 billion), WindEurope said. Europe is home to a large number of leading players in the global wind power sector, be it project developers or equipment manufacturers, including Vestas, Orsted, Siemens Gamesa, EnBW, Nordex and Innogy. At €22.3 billion, investments in new wind capacity were by far the biggest driver of spending on renewable energy projects on the continent in 2017, accounting for half of investments, WindEurope said.

    Source: Reuters

    US to spend $105.5 mn to advance solar technologies

    17 April. The United States (US) Department of Energy (DOE) will spend $105.5 million to fund 70 projects aimed at advancing solar energy technologies and smoothing their integration into the electricity grid, it said. Technologies that focus on integrating solar onto the grid, like power electronics, energy storage and sensors, will receive the largest share of the funding at $46 million. Late last year, DOE said the cost of solar energy had hit a US government target three years ahead of schedule, prompting it to change the focus of its solar program to integrating higher levels of the renewable power source with the grid. The most widely used solar technology, photovoltaics, will receive up to $27 million. Those projects will aim to halve the cost of generating power from the sun’s light by 2030 to 3 cents per kilowatt hour, DOE said. SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) has been at odds with the Trump administration this year over tariffs imposed on imports of solar panels in January.

    Source: Reuters

    Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe

    13 April. Massachusetts’ top court rejected Exxon Mobil Corp’s bid to block the state’s attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Attorney General Maura Healey had jurisdiction to seek records to probe whether the oil company’s marketing or sale of fossil fuel products violated the state’s consumer protection law. Healey said she hoped Exxon would now turn over documents it has fought hard against disclosing, showing what it knew about climate change and when it knew it.

    Source: Reuters

    EDP bullish on US renewable power despite Trump's support for coal

    12 April. EDP-Energias de Portugal is optimistic about renewable power investments in the United States (US), despite President Donald Trump’s push to support coal and nuclear power plants and a tariff his administration slapped on imported solar panels. US wind and solar power projects represented 65 percent of new investments last year at EDP’s renewables arm EDPR, and are expected to continue at that rate in 2018 and in 2019. EDPR operates renewable projects in 11 other countries in Europe and the Americas. EDPR invests in US solar power, but its latest project is carefully planned to begin operations after the phase out of a tariff on imported solar panels that Trump signed into law on January 23. The 30 percent tariff on the panels drops to 15 percent a few years later before being phased out entirely. EDPR has secured a 200 MW power purchase agreement on the solar project with Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative in Indiana, with the start of operations expected in 2022.

    Source: Reuters

    DATA INSIGHT

    State-wise Electricity Generation from Solar & Wind for 2017-18

    Million Units

    State/UtilityWindSolar
    Andaman & Nicobar03.55
    Andhra Pradesh4715.181936.54
    Arunachal Pradesh00.07
    Assam03.52
    Bihar078.07
    Chandigarh05.09
    Chhattisgarh065.68
    Dadra and Nagar Haveli02.73
    Daman & Diu010.61
    Delhi08.42
    Gujarat6664.991110
    Haryana038.3
    HP00
    J & K00
    Jharkhand011.15
    Karnataka5478.39874.25
    Kerala71.2428.33
    Lakshadweep01.06
    Madhya Pradesh3060.41920.41
    Maharashtra5336.74518.04
    Manipur00.03
    Meghalaya00
    Mizoram00
    Nagaland00
    Odisha0124.37
    Puducherry00.9
    Punjab0919.07
    Rajasthan4219.331895.92
    Sikkim00
    Tamil Nadu10080.931574.45
    Telangana137.891677.84
    Tripura00
    Uttar Pradesh0298.87
    Uttarakhand0147.95
    West Bengal011.15
    Central Utilities174.02707.21
    Total39939.112973.6

    Source: Press Information Bureau


    Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

    Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

    Editor: Akhilesh Sati

    Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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