MonitorsPublished on May 21, 2018
Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 49

Power News Commentary: April – May 2018


Saddled with a debt burden of ₹ 805 billion, discoms in Rajasthan were given a lifeline in 2016 under the UDAY scheme. But after two years, their performance on many parameters shows that the scheme is far from being a panacea for the beleaguered power sector even as it left the state finances in complete disarray, constraining its spending for developmental works. The latest data available till December 2017 shows that the discoms in the state are still struggling to achieve the mandated level operational efficiency in key parameters. The progress in reducing AT&C losses has fallen short by a huge margin. While the target was to bring down the AT&C losses to 18.42%, the reduction has been marginal, falling to 24.44% from 26.02% in the previous year. Similarly, the state discoms have failed to meet the improvement in reducing the aggregate cost of supply and aggregate revenue realization per unit of power. Against a target ratio of 0.2%, the gap is still 0.26% showing an anemic fall from 0.29% in the previous year. The performance on the profit & loss front is neither encouraging. Instead of reducing the losses to ₹ 10.55 billion, they still remain higher at ₹ 14.46 billion.

The Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission has announced revised tariffs for domestic and commercial consumers. Though there has been an increase in the energy charge rates for domestic category of consumers, but the same has been kept same as last year after accounting for the subsidy provision made in the budget. There is average increase of 1.5% in tariff for non-domestic and non-commercial power supply, 1.5% for industries, 2.5% for commercial and 3% for domestic water pumping supply. The state government has made a provision of ₹ 4.75 billion in the financial budget for 2018-19 for providing rollback subsidy to electricity consumers of domestic and agriculture categories during the year. Therefore, there is no effective increase in energy charges for domestic category and they will continue to pay the same energy charges as earlier. For agricultural consumers under the irrigation and drinking water pumping supply category, the energy charges shall be ₹ 0.75/kWh for consumer category up to 20 KW under single part tariff and ₹ 0.75/kWh only for LT category under a two-part tariff. These revised energy charges on account of government subsidy would only be applicable to agricultural and allied activities and which are paid for by individuals/ user groups but shall not be applicable on government supply. The HPSEBL had projected the annual revenue requirement of ₹ 69.55 billion for financial year 2018-19, which includes true-up gap of ₹ 3.65 billion for financial year 2016 (based on final audited account) and true-up gap of ₹ 2.52 billion for financial year 2017 (based on provisional audited account). Total revenue income and expenditure approved for HPSEBL for 2018-19 are ₹ 539.6 million and ₹ 53.89 billion, respectively. The commission has allowed ₹ 419.2 million against the demand of ₹ 3.65 billion for true-up gap of financial year 2016 by the HPSEBL. The commission has not considered the true-up gap of ₹ 2.52 billion for financial year 2017 as the same was not based on final audited accounts. It has also approved a provisional amount of ₹ 2 billion towards arrears liability accruing on account of the Seventh Pay Commission against the total demand of ₹ 6.72 billion made by the HPSEBL on this account. Considering the revenue from the existing tariff, a revenue gap of ₹ 1.38 billion has been observed for financial year 2019. Therefore, it has approved an overall tariff increase to meet this gap.

Electricity bills of consumers in Punjab are expected to inflate with the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission announcing an average power tariff hike of about 2 percent across all categories for 2018-19. The Commission also decided to marginally increase fixed charges along with an increase of about 2 percent over the existing energy charges. In the new tariff order released, the commission assessed the Aggregate Revenue Requirement of power utility PSPCL at ₹ 324.86 billion for 2018-19. The combined average cost of supply for 2018-19 worked out to be 655.49 paise/kWh.

Jharkhand has hiked the electricity tariff for domestic consumers up to 98 percent and slightly reduced the tariff for commercial industries, the State Regulatory Board said. As per the new rates, domestic consumers will have to pay ₹ 5.50/kWh for 200 units as compared to earlier ₹ 3/kWh while the tariff has been reduced to ₹ 6/kWh from the existing ₹ 6.80/kWh for the commercial industries. New tariffs were being imposed to improve the state’s power system. Poor workers, farmers and small traders would be provided subsidy by the state government and an announcement in this regard would be made soon. In rural areas, the new tariff has been set at ₹ 4.40/kWh from the existing 1.25/kWh. The farmers too have to foot more bills as ₹ 5/kWh will be charged for irrigation from existing ₹ 0.70-1.25/kWh.

More than seven decades after independence, India has achieved electrification of all its villages after electricity reached Leisang village in Manipur. All of the country’s 597,464 census villages have been electrified. Electrified means the village is connected to power grid. It essentially does not mean that all its habitants have access to electricity. According to government definition, a village is considered electrified if it has the basic electrical infrastructure and 10 percent of its households and public places have power. When the current government launched its version of the village electrification scheme — the ₹ 760 billion Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana — there were an estimated 18,452 unelectrified villages. An additional 1,275 villages were added to the list subsequently. About 31.4 million rural households, or 17 percent of total 179.9 million rural households, still do not have any access to electricity. The highest number of them are in Bihar, UP, Assam, Jharkhand and Odisha. To take electricity to all households by end 2018, the government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or the Saubhagya scheme. Of the ₹ 163.20 billion needed for the task, ₹ 123.20 billion has already been provided in the Union Budget.

Madhya Pradesh claimed all villages in the state will be electrified by October and ₹ 2 trillion spent on development of tribals in five years.

In a cluster of 50 villages in Bijnor, where power is supplied through 50-year-old overhead cables, villagers have to face hours-long outages almost daily. Electricity is supposed to be supplied for 22 hours in a day to urban areas and 18 hours a day to rural areas. However, such old and dilapidated power lines are proving a significant hurdle. According to data provided by circle office of Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, there over 4,500 km of weak and loose electric wires, which result in accidents causing, on an average, the death of nine people every year and disruption of power supply. Power supply to around 50 villages depends on the velocity of the wind. The two feeders — Kaziwala and Dharamnagari are connected with Bijnor city’s sub power station and from these, power is supplied to around 50 villages where consumers are facing lot of power cut especially at the time when the velocity of the wind increases. As summer season has set in and heat wave has also started lashing the plains, consumers of these villages are facing power cut problems. Villagers said, it will increase with the passage of time.

Over hundred villages in Jammu and Kashmir are “un-electrified”, the state government said adding efforts were on to ensure power supply reaches them by the end of next month. A total of 102 villages in Jammu region remain un-electrified and all out efforts are on to cover these villages. To meet the deadline the department had deployed the Indian Air Force to reach inaccessible areas. The Chenab river alone has a potential to generate 22000 MW of power. Power Grid Corp of India Ltd, India’s largest power transmission utility, will invest ₹ 25,000 billion across various projects in the current financial year ending March 2019. The firm has signed a MoU with the power ministry dealing targets that also include parameters related to human resources, project management, R&D and innovation and efficiency. The company currently owns and operates over 148,800 circuit km of transmission lines, 236 Extra High Voltage sub-stations with transformation capacity of more than 322,000 Milli Volt Ampere. Availability of this transmission network has been maintained at over 99.5 percent, the company said.

All 39,073 villages and 106,249 ‘tolas’ (sub-unit in villages) of Bihar are now electrified. All 2.6 million households in Bihar would be provided free electricity connection by end of coming December. Bihar CM said that the centre adopted ‘Saubhagya’ scheme from Bihar model of “Har Ghar Bijali Lagataar’, a major component of the state government’s ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves) programme which promises free electricity connection to each households across the state. CM had launched the Bihar model of free electricity connection programme at an event on November 15, 2016. The Saubhagya scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 25, 2017, more than 10 months after Bihar launched ‘Har Ghar Bijali Lagataar’ scheme. While the centre’s Saubhagya scheme promises to provide free electricity connection to over 4 billion households by December 2018, Bihar government’s ‘Har Ghar Bijali Lagataar’ has resolved to provide free electricity connection to all 2.6 million households of the state by the same period.

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. 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, 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.

In a bid to curb power theft in the city, state government-owned power distribution company, Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitral Nigam Ltd, is planning to install smart meters in both residential and commercial establishments. Under the new system, through modem (modulator-demodulator) equipped smart meters, data of power consumption by each consumer will be maintained by a central server at the control room. Any theft will immediately be detected and dealt with. Moreover, meter-readers will no longer have to visit each establishment for taking a reading. In the first phase, the power corporation will install the smart meters in those establishments having connections with loads above 10 kilowatt. These include commercial establishments like shopping malls, hospitals and schools besides bulk consumers such as group housing. According to records maintained by the discom (distribution company), in Agra zone, there are about 30,000 electricity connection with loads ranging from 10 KW to 100 KW. Smart meters will also help collect data on real-time or near real-time reading, send power outage notification and monitor power quality like voltage. Smart meters will end the entire work of meter-reading leaving no scope for irregularities on the part of meter-readers and consumers.

The government kicks off a Pilot Scheme for Procurement of Aggregate Power of 2500 MW on competitive basis for 3 years under medium term i.e. from generators with commissioned projects but without Power Purchase Agreement. The power ministry had recently issued the model bid documents, model PAPP and PPSA on 6th April, 2018. The Guidelines for the said scheme were issued on 10th April, 2018. PFC Consulting Ltd has been appointed as Nodal Agency and PTC India Ltd as the Aggregator. PTC India would sign three-year (mid-term) Agreement for Procurement of Power with successful bidders and Power Supply Agreement with the discoms. Under the scheme a single entity can be allotted maximum capacity of 600 MW. The Scheme assures a minimum off-take of 55 percent of contracted capacity. The Tariff will be fixed for three years without any escalation. PFC Consulting Ltd is in process of inviting the bids in first week of May, 2018 under the scheme. The bidding will be conducted on the DEEP e-Bidding Portal and with L1 matching for bucket filling without reverse auction. This scheme is expected to revive the power demand which has affected the generators not having Power Purchase Agreements.

The UP cabinet overturned the decision of the previous government decision to construct the Karchana power plant in Allahabad by the state government. The cabinet instead decided that the project will be developed through competitive bidding. The 1,320 MW power project was to be developed by the state-owned UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam. According to the detailed project report of the state government, the project is expected to cost around ₹ 105 billion. The cabinet also decided to get the transmission substations constructed for Jawaharpur and Obra power plants through a tariff based competitive bidding. The state government plans to construct a 400 kilovolt transmission substation each in Badaun and Firozabad for evacuation of power from Jawaharpur power project.

State Bank of India is preparing a major debt restructuring and takeover plan for stressed power assets, to improve valuations and attract new owners with incentives and a quick resolution process. The country’s largest lender has called all power plant lenders in Mumbai for discussing a proposal that has a direct bearing on loans adding up to ₹ 1.77 trillion in 75,000 MW stressed capacity. It has also asked the power ministry to waive transmission penalties and grant early regulatory approvals to help new promoters. The bank proposes to get debt of the stressed assets rated by credit rating agencies. The projects will be offered to the NIF. The fund will invite bidders with a base price. Otherwise, NIF will take over the projects and hand them to companies such as NTPC or private firms for operations on contract basis. Power sector financiers Power Finance Corp had also mooted a proposal to float joint venture with companies like Rural Electrification Corp, NTPC Ltd and BHEL to acquire stressed assets. The proposal has however been shelved due to lack of concurrence and stringent Reserve Bank of India rules. Currently, more than 75,000 MW generating assets, either operating or under construction are severely stressed due to various reasons like lower availability of coal, lack of power purchase agreements and delays in regulatory clearances. The government is reviewing 34 stressed thermal power projects with an estimated debt of about ₹ 1.77 trillion.

The UPPCL signed an MoU to replace 40 million conventional electricity meters with smart ones. This move of UPPCL, in association with EESL, seeks to address the state’s power woes and ensure customer convenience. Implementing the smart meter programme is one of the operational performance parameters of the Centre’s UDAY scheme. As per the MoU, EESL will invest ₹ 26 billion, enabling discoms to ₹ 80 billion in eight years.

After nearly a decade, the Tamil Nadu government has allowed private power companies based in the state to sell more than 1 MW of power directly to industrial consumers. Companies can sell power after paying the wheeling and cross subsidy surcharge to TANGEDCO. The decision was taken owing to the availability of surplus power, with supply likely to rise in a few days when the wind season begins. A decision not to allow private companies to sell more than 1 MW power directly to consumers was taken in 2009 as there was a power shortage. The latest government decision to allow open access sale of power is likely to be a boon for private power companies as TANGEDCO is not evacuating power from these companies to the maximum capacity. But private companies want the government to lower the cross subsidy surcharge. TANGEDCO said the decision to lower the cross subsidy surcharge depends on the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Himachal Pradesh will take up the issue of its 7.19 percent share in electricity generated from power projects run by BBMB with the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to get the matter expedited. Himachal Pradesh has been demanding its share in electricity generated from BBMB power projects for long. The state would raise its demand of share in BBMB as per the Supreme Court ruling.

Rest of the World

A senior counsel of France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, has recommended that France end regulated electricity prices, state-controlled utility EDF said. The utility said it had noted the recommendation, which argued the regulated tariffs, which some 30 million clients are still subscribed to, did not comply with European competition regulations. EDF said it would make no further comment. The court’s final decision is expected by the end of May. An end to regulated prices could intensify competition in France’s retail electricity market, where EDF faces growing competition from alternative suppliers. French oil and gas major Total in April said it would buy a majority stake in electricity retailer Direct Energie in a €1.4 billion ($1.67 billion) deal. Italy’s energy group Eni and French consumer retailer Casino have also entered the power market. A decade after France liberalized it energy sector, former monopoly EDF still holds around an 85 percent share of the retail power market, with most of its customers on regulated tariffs.

South African power utility Eskom, which is grappling with liquidity problems, pledged that it would not resort to controlled power blackouts this year despite reports that it was facing coal shortages. Eskom supplies about 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 said that six power plants currently had less than the required coal supplies, down from seven recently, and the company has raised 43 billion rand ($3 billion) to run its operations since January.

New York’s power grid operator forecast that demand for power from the system will decline over the next decade due to efficiency programs and as more homes and businesses generate their own electricity on site. The NYISO, the grid operator, projected power demand would decline at a rate of 0.14 percent per year through 2028. Annual electric usage in 2017 fell to its lowest level since 2001, according to the NYISO. In 2017, demand peaked at 29,699 MW, which was 7.4 percent below 2016’s peak of 32,075 MW and 12.6 percent below the record peak of 33,956 in 2013. One megawatt can power about 1,000 US homes. At the same time that demand for power from the grid is declining, the NYISO said the state’s generation mix is changing as energy companies build mostly natural gas-fired units downstate and mostly wind farms update, while coal and nuclear plants retire.

Croatia’s spot power exchange CROPEX said it would merge with its Slovenian counterpart BSP SouthPool on June 19 after a successful completion of testing activities. The merger, initially planned for 2017, was delayed for regulatory and technical reasons. CROPEX said the go live date is subject to final approval by the regulatory authorities. The aim is to join the rest of Europe through the so-called Multi-Regional Coupling project which includes 19 countries that account for about 85 percent of European power demand. Electricity traders expect the link-up to push Croatian trading prices up because of its connection with the more expensive Italian market. Power markets coupling is designed to optimise the allocation process of cross-border capacities through a coordinated calculation of prices and flows between countries. It uses so-called implicit auctions in which players do not actually receive allocations of cross-border capacity themselves but just bid for electricity in their exchange. The exchanges then use the available cross-border transmission capacity to minimize the price difference between two or more areas. The aim is to spur more competition, provide better supply and more stable prices for consumers.

PetroVietnam Power Corp has been granted government approval to build two gas-fired power plants in southern Vietnam at a total cost of nearly $1.5 billion, its parent company said. The Southeast Asian country is developing a wave of new power plants to support economic growth that is among the strongest in Asia. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew 6.81 percent last year, faster than an expansion of 6.21 percent a year earlier. The Vietnamese government has given the go-ahead for the two facilities in the province of Dong Nai, state oil firm PetroVietnam, which holds a 51 percent stake in PetroVietnam. The Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach 4 plants will have a combined capacity of 1,500 MW and will cost 33.3 trillion dong ($1.46 billion) to build, PetroVietnam said. They are scheduled to start generating in 2020 and 2021 respectively. In a separate deal, Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries said its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sembcorp Utilities, signed a MoU with Vietnam to build another power plant in the country.

China will launch its first real-time spot electricity markets in eight regions, the NEA said, as Beijing accelerates efforts to liberalize power prices currently set by the government. In a draft rule, the NEA outlined guidelines for eight regions to set up real-time trading platforms that will set prices for the cash market as well as those for a day ahead, allowing power generators, industrial users and distributors to trade power in real time. The eight regions are Guangdong, western Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shandong, Fujian, Sichuan and Gansu. Their power generation in 2017 was 2.6 trillion kilowatt-hours, 42 percent of China’s total. The move comes after those regions launched electricity markets last year for monthly and quarterly prices.

Middle Eastern and North African 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 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 — 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.

UDAY: Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana, discoms: distribution companies, AT&C: Aggregate Technical and Commercial, kWh: kilowatt hour, HPSEBL: Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd, PSPCL: Punjab State Power Corp Ltd, km: kilometre, MW: megawatt, NIF: National Investment Fund, MoU: Memorandum of Understanding, CM: Chief Minister, CA: Consumer Account, KW: kilowatt, UPPCL: Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd, EESL: Energy Efficiency Services Ltd, TANGEDCO: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp, BBMB: Bhakra Beas Management Board, NYISO: New York Independent System Operator, US: United States, NEA: National Energy Administration, APICORP: Arab Petroleum Investment Corp, GW: gigawatt


First crude oil cargo from Abu Dhabi departs for Mangalore’s strategic crude oil reserve

15 May. The first consignment of 2 million barrels of crude oil from the UAE (United Arab Emirates) for India’s strategic petroleum reserve at Mangalore is en-route to India and will help it deal with supply side disruptions, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. The cargo is the first under an agreement between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL), an Indian government-owned company mandated to store crude oil for strategic needs. The loading of approximately 2 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil was witnessed by Pradhan and Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi. Al Jaber said that the strategic reserve project represents an important new energy partnership with India that leverages the UAE and ADNOC’s expertise and oil resources. Indian energy demand is forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to grow by more than any other country in the period to 2040, propelled by an economy that will grow to more than five-times its current size and by population growth that will make it the world’s most populous country. India’s energy consumption is expected to more than double by 2040, accounting for 25 percent of the rise in global energy, and the largest absolute growth in oil consumption. India is 82 percent dependent on imports to meet its crude oil needs, eight percent of which is supplied by the UAE.

Source: Business Standard

Karnataka polls wipe out Rs 4 bn of OMC revenues

15 May. With the electoral battle for Karnataka over, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) started recovering their revenue loss by hiking prices of petrol by 17 paise and diesel by 21 paise. The freeze on retail prices since April 23, however, meant that the OMCs had to let go up to Rs 350 million per day, according to the analysis based on the average consumption of both fuels. The losses increased gradually — a rough estimate shows the markets suffered a revenue loss of more than Rs 200 million per day in May, which for 19 days cost them about Rs 3.8 billion. On an annualised basis, a Rs 1 reduction in margin results in a Rs 130 billion annual shortfall in OMC revenues. The companies would recover the loss in the coming weeks through successive upward revisions. OMCs may hedge for a bigger retail price hike this time to the tune of Rs 1.5-2 per litre over two to three weeks. Crude oil prices rose 3 percent from January to March and OMCs raised retail prices by about 5 percent during the time.  But from April 1 to May 13, when oil prices rose 18 percent, OMCs increased retail prices by a mere 1-2 percent. Since the retail prices were frozen, IOC (Indian Oil Corp)’s marketing margins reduced from an estimated Rs 3.4 per litre to Rs 0.6 per litre for petrol and from Rs 3.8 per litre to Rs 0.8 per litre for diesel, according to the analysis. OMCs have not voiced a concern as of now and are assessing the potential losses due to the margin squeeze. IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said the price hike has been avoided to reduce pain to the consumer. The government is likely to cut excise duty soon to alleviate the situation of OMCs and prevent resultant increase in selling price at petrol stations.

Source: Business Standard

India’s fuel demand grew 4.4 percent in April on higher LPG and petrol consumption

14 May. India’s fuel demand in April 2018 grew 4.45 percent to 17.66 million tonnes (mt) as compared to the corresponding month a year ago on the back of higher consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and automobile fuels, the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) data showed. India’s LPG consumption in April this year grew 13 percent to 1.87 mt as compared to 1.65 mt in the corresponding month a year ago. LPG usage has grown consistently in the past 56 months, on the back of government’s push towards increasing access of LPG under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The country’s petrol demand rose by 10 percent to 2.28 mt in April 2018 as compared to 2.09 mt in the corresponding month a year ago. Consumption of diesel rose by 2.66 percent to 7.15 mt last month. Also, ATF consumption grew 13.44 percent to 0.69 mt in April on the back of robust growth in domestic air traffic. Demand for polluting fuels including Furnace Oil and Petcoke fell 8.60 percent and 0.72 percent, respectively, in April as compared to the year ago period.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil Minister unveils DSF-II bid round

14 May. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan unveiled to investors India’s upcoming second round of auction of discovered oil and gas fields, and said that over 195 million tonnes of hydrocarbon reserves would be put on offer. The bid dates for the Discovered Small Field round II (DSF-II), where 22 contract areas made up of 60 discovered oil and gas fields would be offered, are yet to be announced. Pradhan said DSF Round-I was a success which has given “immense confidence on the upcoming discoveries under DSF-II”. India is looking at attracting investors from oil-rich Gulf region to give a push to its almost stagnant oil and gas production. Raising domestic output is key to achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of cutting oil imports by 10 percent by 2022. India imports over 80 percent of its oil needs. The 60 discovered fields have been clubbed into 26 contract areas – 15 onland and 11 shallow offshore. As much as 15,000 barrels per day of cumulative peak oil production and 2 million standard cubic meters per day of cumulative peak gas production is expected from the small fields given out in the first round last year, he said.

Source: Business Standard

$300 bn energy investment coming to India in 10 yrs: Oil Minister

13 May. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said about $300 billion will be invested in the energy sector in next 10 years. Pradhan said this at the Indian Embassy while addressing over 250 Indian professionals, business leaders and community representatives working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pradhan informed the gathering that India has become the world’s third largest energy consumer in the world. He said that energy is one of the three to four components of any developing country. Talking about the impact of such visits of Prime Minister Modi, Pradhan said India saved about Rs 10,000 crore after renegotiating the long term contract of liquid natural gas (LNG) with Qatar. He also briefed the gathering that how Modi government changed the lives of poor rural women through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The PMUY or the Ujjwala Scheme is a subsidy scheme launched to provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connection to the families living below poverty line to protect women and children from the smoke emitted during the usage of firewood for cooking purposes. Under the scheme, the government will provide Rs 1,600 per gas connection in the next three years and aims to supply 5 crore connections by the end of 2019.

Source: Business Standard

‘Will support refinery in Vidarbha if people want it’

12 May. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said that he was against the the Nanar refinery project as it would destroy the environment in Konkan. Backing locals in Konkan when protests erupted over the refiner project, Uddhav had said that the unit should be shifted to Vidarbha. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is at loggerheads with Sena leaders over the proposed crude oil refinery, and till date has shown no inclination to change the location. He even ticked off Industries Minister Subhash Desai publicly for unilaterally announcing in front of Nanar residents in Uddhav’s presence that he had cancelled the notification for land acquisition for the proposed refinery.

Source: The Times of India

Government plans to propose nationwide ban on petroleum coke as a fuel

12 May. India’s government plans to propose banning burning petroleum coke as a fuel nationwide to comply with a Supreme Court request as part of a long-running case to clean the country’s air. The government proposal follows a ban ordered by the Supreme Court in October on burning petroleum coke in the region around the capital of New Delhi. The government would expand the New Delhi ban across the country while still allowing petroleum coke to be used in the limestone and cement industries. The proposal must be submitted to the court by June 30. The sulphur emissions that are usually given off when petroleum coke is burned are instead absorbed during the cement-making process. More than half of India’s petroleum coke demand of 27 million tonnes is imported, mostly from the United States, according to industry estimates.

Source: Business Standard

Too early to predict sanctions impact on Iran imports: Oil Minister

12 May. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed concern about the rise oil prices but said it was too early to predict the impact of US (United States) sanctions on his country’s imports of Iranian oil after Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. Crude prices remained just below multi-year highs, with Brent on track for a weekly 2.8 percent gain and US crude a 1.2 percent weekly rise. Brent crude settled down 35 cents at $77.12 a barrel. Pradhan said he was “a little bit concerned” about the impact of the current rise in oil prices on consuming countries but that he did not think oil supply would be an issue. During the last round of sanctions, India enjoyed waivers allowing limited Iranian oil imports paid for in rupees instead of US dollars. When sanctions were loosened against Tehran, India increased imports from Iran to almost 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) in late 2016, but intake has fallen back to around 500,000 bpd this year.

Source: Business Standard

Indian refiners in no rush to seek alternatives to Iranian oil

9 May. Indian refiners said they were in no hurry to replace Iranian oil with alternatives, counting on the fact that many Western countries have so far declined to join the United States (US) in pulling out of a nuclear deal with Tehran. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) hopes to stick to its plans to buy as much as 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in 2018/19, more than double the volume in the last fiscal year that ended in March. It would be difficult to replace Iranian oil given the “commercial terms” offered by Tehran, IOC said. India, which has long-standing ties with Iran but also has close political relations with the US, is Iran’s top oil client after China. Its state refiners had chalked out plans to almost double oil imports from Iran this fiscal year, drawn to the virtual free shipping on oil sales offered by Iran. The South Asian country remained a big buyer of Iranian oil even during previous Western sanctions, though it had to cut purchases to win some waivers as the trade was mostly done in US dollars. Since the 2015 agreement, however, Indian refiners have been settling oil dues with Iran in euros. The Indian oil ministry has not commented on the US pullout, but the foreign ministry called for diplomacy to resolve the dispute over the nuclear deal with Iran.

Source: Reuters


CM inaugurates Uttarakhand’s first CGD system

15 May. Uttarakhand Chief Minister (CM) Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurated the state’s first City Gas Distribution (CGD) network at Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district. It is the country’s eighth City Gas Distribution (CGD) system. The 500 kilometre long pipeline will be completed by 2020 and provide employment to 2,000 people. A total of ten CNG (compressed natural gas) stations, one each in Jaspur, Bazpur, Khatima and Kiccha, two in Kashipur and three in Rudrapur have been identified for this pipeline. The Rs 250 crore project will cover Kashipur to Rudrapur /Pantnagar in Uttarakhand.

Source: Business Standard


Half of CIL’s dues are from 4 power companies

15 May. About 50% of CIL (Coal India Ltd)’s receivables from power companies, estimated at Rs 9,000 crore, are from four state-owned companies. Damodar Valley Corporation, Mahagenco and West Bengal Power Development Corp together owe CIL about Rs 1,000 crore, CIL said. In the case of Damodar Valley Corp, which sells bulk of its power to states like Bihar and Jharkhand, payments from these two states are irregular, leading to large dues. It affects the power company’s ability to settle the outstanding with CIL, though the company is in regular touch with these states for settling dues. CIL’s dues from power companies had touched Rs 12,300 crore in February 2018, which has declined to about Rs 9,000 crore in May following regular follow up by the executives.

Source: The Economic Times

Meghalaya CM discusses restarting coal mining in Meghalaya with Coal Minister

13 May. Meghalaya Chief Minister (CM) Conrad K. Sangma met Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and discussed about restarting coal mining in the state. The Chief Minister and Advocate General also held a separate detailed discussion with the officials from the Ministry of Coal which was also attended by Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal. Recently the State government has formed group of ministers to study the current status on the NGT (National Green Tribunal) ban on coal mining. The ban on coal mining by NGT in Meghalaya was one of the major issues in assembly election held recently. On April 17 2014, NGT banned the rat hole mining, a practice unique to Meghalaya.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s thermal coal imports rise over 15 percent in first quarter

11 May. India’s thermal coal imports rose by more than 15 percent in the first three months of 2018, with Indonesia accounting for about three-fifths of total supplies, according to vessel arrival data from Dubai-based coal trader American Fuels & Natural Resources. India’s rising coal imports are contributing to higher demand across Asia this year, which has pushed benchmark Australian coal cargo prices above $100 per tonne, a price not seen at this time of year in more than half a decade. Imports rose to 39.6 million tonnes during the three months ended March 31, the data showed. That is up from 34.4 million tonnes of thermal coal during the first three months of 2017, according to Indian government data which matched the data from American Fuels. Government data for the first three months of 2018 has not been released yet. India will likely increase 2018 thermal coal imports after two straight years of declines because of domestic logistic bottlenecks, regulatory changes and surging power demand.

Source: Reuters

CIL to transfer 4k executives every year, 20k every 5 yrs

10 May. Coal India Ltd (CIL) has decided to transfer each of its 20,000-odd executives every five years in an effort to improve their skill sets and prevent external parties from forming a nexus with employees. The policy would lead to 4,000 transfers every year on an average. The first set of transfers after fifth year will be interdepartmental for executive working at subsidiary headquarters or at CIL headquarters in Kolkata. For example, an executive employed in the marketing and sales department may be transferred to purchases department within the same headquarters. For executives working at mining projects, the transfer would be from one area to another within the same project. After the 10th year, the executive would be eligible for transfer to a new project under the same subsidiary. On completion of 15th year, the executive will be eligible to be transferred to a new subsidiary or to CIL.

Source: The Economic Times


PFC plans to cut NPAs by Rs 15 bn in current fiscal

15 May. Power Finance Corp (PFC) is planning to cut non-performing assets by 10 percent or around Rs 1,500 crore this fiscal, as per an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) inked with the power ministry. According to the MoU inked by the PFC with the power ministry, the bad loans will be reduced to 90 percent of the NPAs in 2017-18. The company’s NPAs were around Rs 15,000 crore as on December 31, 2017.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s power mess is Enron times 20

15 May. Enron Corp is long gone, but the scandal it left behind in India has beguiled the country’s lenders for almost two decades. However, if the bankers who financed the US (United States) energy company’s unviable power plant in Maharashtra state aren’t ruing that 2,000 MW debacle any more, it’s only because they’re now staring at a mess 20 times bigger. India’s total electricity-generation ability is 344,000 MW, a 72 percent increase over six years. The country, notorious for its outages, still doesn’t have a power surplus. But coal-fired plants in the private sector that ran at 84 percent capacity utilization at the start of the decade are struggling to stay alive with load factors of 55 percent. As much as 40,000 MW of capacity — equal to 20 Enron plants — has become stressed assets for the banking system.

Source: Bloomberg

In UP, over 2 crore power consumers to get 6.75 percent interest on security money

13 May. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) Electricity Regulatory Authority has directed power companies to pay an annual interest of 6.75% on the security money deposited by consumers. The interest amount for financial year 2017-18 will be adjusted in the upcoming power bills. The order has been issued on a proposal by chairman of UP Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad Avadhesh Kumar Verma. The secretary of the regulatory authority, Sanjay Srivastava has sent a letter in this regard to the managing directors of all power companies, asking them to ensure complete compliance of the order. The decision will benefit around 2.10 crore consumers. According to Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (DVVNL), at the time of providing connection, security money at the rate of Rs 300 per kilowatt is charged from the consumer. On one kilowatt, the interest on security money per annum will come to Rs 20.25.

Source: The Economic Times

Steps taken to ensure uninterrupted power supply: Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister

13 May. Electricity Minister P Thangamani said the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) has taken all steps to ensure uninterrupted power supply to people of the state. Chairing a review meeting with electricity board officials at Namakkal collectorate, he discussed the on-going projects, new domestic and commercial connections, employees’ grievances and issues faced by the electricity consumers in Erode Zone. Thangamani said that TNEB has taken a lot of steps to give uninterrupted power supply to the state throughout the day. He appealed the public to call to the toll-free number 1912 for power cut-related issues. He said priority would be given to farmers when they approach for new electricity connections for irrigation needs. The minister appreciated the officials for taking steps against 1,850 complaints received on WhatsApp in the past 171 days. Thangamani also encouraged consumers to pay their electricity utility charges through ‘App’ introduced by TNEB.

Source: The Times of India

India building mega database of unique IDs of power plants

12 May. In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the energy sector, the government has started work on a plan to create a mammoth database of all the power generating units in the country, whether operational or being planned. The idea is to create a National Level Data Registry System under which all the existing and upcoming electricity generating units of the country with capacity of 0.5 MW and above would have to get registered with Central Electricity Authority (CEA), an arm of the power ministry. The CEA had prepared a detailed framework of the database which has been approved by the ministry.

Source: The Economic Times

Banks are designing a scheme for bailing out stressed power assets

11 May. With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) declining any special dispensation for the power sector, leading banks are designing a scheme for bailing out stressed assets. The same might be followed during the proceedings under the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The selected assets will be the ones that can meet the RBI’s 180-day deadline for completing resolution proceedings of stressed assets. The power ministry had asked the RBI to provide a breather to the power sector in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) guidelines. The RBI, in February, mandated banks to classify even a one-day delay in debt servicing as default. Leading bankers met last week to draft a proposal for bailing out stressed power assets outside the IBC route. The initial plan is that banks will identify sustainable debt in an asset and rework the debt-equity at a certain assumed cost. Banks have proposed that an agency similar to the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund can acquire a portion of the equity. Power sector experts said unless issues over coal supply and power purchase agreements were addressed, it would be difficult to get the buyers interested. SBI (State Bank of India)’s plan to have an asset management company kind of resolution might be a second such attempt. Last year, state-owned companies such as Power Finance Corp (PFC), Rural Electrification Corp (REC) and NTPC Ltd were planning to come together to take over the equity and manage operations of the stressed assets. The plan has not seen the light of day yet. The stress in the power industry has left SBI with a 30 percent share in the stressed assets of private power producers. PFC would see close to 14,000 MW of its projects landing in the NCLT as resolution is difficult for power assets due to regulatory and legal issues. These assets are under consideration by SBI for its new scheme.

Source: Business Standard

Maharashtra man gets Rs 8.64 lakh power bill shocker, ends life

11 May. A 40-year-old vegetable vendor, who erroneously received a massive electricity bill of Rs 8.64 lakh for April, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling at his residence at Bharat Nagar. Police said a suicide note found on the man read that he was ending his life after having received the exorbitant bill. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) said it has suspended a billing clerk for the error. The man, Jagannath Shelke, received a bill of Rs 8,64,781 for the consumption of 55,519 units for his two-room tin shed where he lived with his family for the last 20 years. The MSEDCL states the section engineer at its Garkheda station incorrectly punched the meter readings as 61,178 kilowatt hour (kWh) instead of 6,117.8 kWh. Consequently, at the time of validation in March, a bill was generated for more than Rs 8.6 lakh. Shelke’s electricity meter had been replaced on January 10 as there were some doubts about its functioning.

Source: The Times of India

DMRC fined Rs 100 mn for ‘illegal’ power supply

11 May. The power department has slapped a penalty of Rs 10.12 crore on Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for unauthorised supply of power to 11 shops at Botanical Garden metro station at a tariff that is higher than the subsidised rate at which it is being procured. Apart from getting an FIR registered in the case at Sector 39 police station, the power department has also asked DMRC for its outstanding amount of Rs 9.7 crore on account of electricity duty charges since 2009. DMRC has been given 15 days to clear all dues, including the penalty. DMRC has been asked to immediately clear Rs 9.7 crore dues on account of electricity duty charges since September 2009.

Source: The Times of India

Ajmer distribution company flays firm for plight of consumers

10 May. Despite electricity supply being handed over to the private company Tata Power Ltd, city consumers are not getting relief. In fact, consumers complaining are facing humiliation at the hands of company’s guards. This came out at a meeting presided by Ajmer Vidhyut Vitran Nigam Ltd’s managing director BM Bhamu. Bhamu sternly directed the Tata Power officials to improve their work culture. He said that there were complaints about electricity distribution, improper supply even after shut down, delays in temporary connection allotment and in correction of names in bills. Among other complaints against the company was humiliation of consumers by its security guards. Bhamu said that providing regular electricity to customers and high quality service is the aim. Bhamu after the meeting inspected the Tata power office at Vaishali Nagar and directed company to depute an officer to solve the problems and complaints of public representatives as well as of common people without delay.

Source: The Times of India

Consumers to pay Rs 2 per unit till 400 units of power in Delhi

9 May. The Delhi government announced its revised subsidy scheme under which power consumers using up to 400 units will pay at Rs 2 per unit whereas those consuming 100 units will receive a subsidy of 100 per month on fixed charges. The Cabinet of the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government decided to extended its existing subsidy scheme with revisions that will benefit around 41 lakh registered connection holders in Delhi. The decisions were taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said due to revision in existing power subsidy scheme, the electricity bills will remain the same or will decrease in some cases. In March, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had hiked the fixed charges but reduced the per unit rates of electricity consumed, due to which the AAP government’s existing 50 percent power subsidy scheme for the consumption of up to 400 units had varied.  The government said the Cabinet has asked the DERC to conduct a special audit of subsidy amount through an external auditor to ensure its actual passage to the consumers.

Source: The Times of India


India announces new policy for wind and solar hybrid power projects

14 May. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced a new National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy that provides a framework for the promotion of large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. The policy also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. A scheme for new hybrid projects under the policy is also expected shortly, the ministry said.  On technology front, the policy provides for the integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at Alternating Current (AC) as well as Direct Current (DC) level. The Policy also provides for flexibility in the share of wind and solar components in the hybrid project. This is subject to the condition that rated power capacity of one resource should be at least 25 percent of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project. The Policy also provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff-based transparent bidding process for which government entities may invite bids. The new policy permits the use of battery storage in hybrid projects for optimizing the output and further reduce variability. It mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems. With significant capacity additions in renewables in recent years and with Hybrid Policy aiming at better utilisation of resources, it is envisaged that the Hybrid Policy will open-up a new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along with reduced variability.

Source: The Economic Times

Tata Power to ramp up renewable capacity fourfold

14 May. Tata Power is planning to invest as much as $5 billion to ramp up its renewable capacity fourfold. The 103-year-old power utility plans to increase its clean-energy capacity to 12,000 megawatts by 2028, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Praveer Sinha said. That would require an investment of as much as Rs 40 million ($594,000) a megawatt, he said. The company has said previously it expects as much as half of its capacity to be based on non-fossil fuels by 2025 compared with about 30 percent now. The green push comes amid a global shift away from dirty fuels and a drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to more than double India’s renewable power capacity to 175 GW. It will also help Tata Power, part of the country’s top conglomerate, reduce dependence on its coal-based plants, the biggest of which has long been a drag on its earnings.

Source: Business Standard

Renewables major economic opportunity for India: German energy consultant

14 May. Tapping renewable energy is a major economic opportunity for developing economies like India. There is a master plan to clean up cities and this would lead to more jobs. But we need to invest, German environmental and energy consultant Peter Heck, who believes the corporate world is taking money out of the carbon-related business, said. People in Germany’s small towns and rural areas, through energy cooperatives, are turning to renewable energy and this is a new business model for sustainable growth to limit manmade climate change along with strengthening regional purchasing power. On some of India’s most polluted cities in the world, the energy consultant said shifting investment towards renewables will help the economy. Aim for 100 percent and make a proper time schedule. That’s what Germany did and so far, all parties have stuck to 2050 as the final date for goodbye to fossil fuels. The 2018 National Electricity Plan sets India on a similarly ambitious trajectory of a staggering 275 GW of renewables by 2027.

Source: Business Standard

Kerala-NTPC MoU for increasing solar power generation

12 May. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the NTPC Ltd for increasing solar power generation in the state. The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), signed, also includes an agreement to set up a 15 MW solar power unit at the NTPC complex in Kayamkulam. Besides this, the possibility of setting up solar plants at reservoirs, open space and top of buildings also would be explored. The power generated would be given to KSEB at a rate fixed by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The state is expected to make good strides in solar power generation with the MoU becoming operational.

Source: Business Standard

MNRE approves 5 GW Dholera solar park

12 May. The ambitious 5,000 MW solar park to be set up in the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR), has received approval from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The tender for the first 1,000 MW will be floated soon. Dholera, 110 kilometre from Ahmedabad, is now set to have the country’s largest solar park. The state government gave in-principle approval to the project, which will come up on 11,000 hectares of land along the Gulf of Khambhat. The government projects that the park will attract investment of Rs 25,000 crore and generate employment for 20,000 people.

Source: The Times of India

Rika Biofules to invest $100-150 mn to build Bio CNG plants in Punjab

11 May. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Andrew Ayre, Deputy High Commissioner British High Commission, Chandigarh to pave the way for setting up of bio-gas and bio-CNG plants in the State, as part of the state’s concerted efforts to find sustainable solutions to paddy straw burning, which has emerged as a major environmental concern. The MoU has been signed with Rika Biofuels Development Ltd UK by Punjab Bureau of Industrial Promotion (PBIP) and Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA). Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) will facilitate regulatory clearances and incentives by the state Government. Rika plans to build in excess of 10 Bio CNG plants with a total investment of $ 100-150 million, creating up to 1,000 jobs across the whole operation and supply chain with the aim of having the first plant operational in 2019.

Source: The Economic Times

Rays Power sets up 3 solar plants in Karnataka of total 130 MW

10 May. Solar solutions provider Rays Power Infra said it has commissioned three solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Karnataka under the state’s open access scheme. The company said the projects in Jhamkhandi (40 MW), Bijapur (45 MW), and Kustagi (45 MW) took less than 100 days to commission from when the land was acquired. The three projects were erected on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis. The company said the projects reflect the company’s capacity to commission solar power plants at three separate locations simultaneously.

Source: Business Standard

Relief for Indian solar producers as government reneges on import duty

10 May. India has scrapped a duty on solar modules, making it easier to import the products after a sudden change in customs policy last year led to a logjam of shipments at Indian ports. Several consignments of solar modules, worth more than $150 million in total, were held up for more than three months at ports after Indian customs’ officials in August demanded that some of them be classified as “electric motors and generators”, carrying a 7.5 percent import duty. Previously they were subject to no duty. The finance ministry reversed the policy last month, stating in a notice that most solar modules should revert to their original classification and that no tax should be levied on them. Indian component makers have struggled to compete with Chinese companies such as Trina Solar and Yingli and have sought anti-dumping duties as well as long-term safeguards. But the logjam of shipments at ports posed a headache for solar power producers and threatened to delay Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan of nearly tripling the country’s total renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022. The plan has spurred foreign investment in the sector, with Japan’s SoftBank and Goldman Sachs among others investing in solar projects in India. Any duty is bad news for solar power producers such as SoftBank-backed SB Energy but good for local solar component makers such as Indosolar and Moser Baer. The change in policy last August led to logjams as it was not immediately clear which modules belonged to the new classification. To ease the situation customs officials agreed to release shipments if importers paid a bank guarantee to cover any duty they may be required to pay.

Source: Reuters

Ghaziabad plans to start electric buses, shortlists four routes

10 May. The private player roped in by the UP (Uttar Pradesh) government for introducing battery-operated e-buses, conducted a traffic survey and chalked out possible routes. The project is in the nascent stage as GDA (Ghaziabad Development Authority) is yet to deduce a financial model that would be adopted for the project. To start with, the company had conducted surveys on four possible routes — Dilshad Garden to Lal Kuan (Red Line), Kaushambi to Morta (Blue line) Kaushambi to Lal Kuan (Green line) and Bhopura to Morta (Brown Line).

Source: The Times of India

Charge mobile phones directly with your dress!

10 May. Stranded without a charger or electricity? Don’t panic. You could still charge your mobile phone, that too using the dress you are wearing! Why just mobile phones, you could power up laptops with the bags while on a trip. Researchers at Vallabh Vidyanagar-based Sardar Patel University (SPU) have developed solar cells using organic dyes (color) which are not only much less expensive than the traditionally used silicon-based panels but are also flexible. In fact, unlike the silicon panels that are widely available in the market but can be used only as rooftop installation on terraces, the indigenously developed solar cells developed by the SPU team can be fixed on the exterior walls of buildings, windows, doors and even clothes. The dye-sensitized solar cells work on the principle similar to that of photosynthesis in plants where chlorophyll harvests sunlight and produces energy. The research has received patent from the Indian patent office. As compared to the silicon panels, which are expensive due to imported silica and other raw materials, these newly developed panels cost much less. For instance, a 5X5 cm silicon solar panel costs Rs 490 while the dye-sensitized one costs Rs 120. The researchers have so far received an efficiency of 10% using the newly developed panels during laboratory tests and are hopeful that it will reach 14% in future.

Source: The Times of India

NTPC solar auction tariffs hover at Rs 2.8 per unit

10 May. Tariffs hovered at Rs 2.79-2.80 per unit at NTPC Ltd’s latest auction for 750 MW at Ananthapuram Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh, with bidding continuing at the time of going to press. The tariffs are already below those offered at solar auctions conducted so far this year, although still above the record low. At the Gujarat auction of 500 MW in end-March, the bids were in the range of Rs 2.98-3.06 per unit. Unhappy with the relatively high tariff, the Gujarat government cancelled the auction soon after and may re-issue the tender. Similarly, auctions conducted by Karnataka in February saw tariffs of Rs 2.94-2.97 per unit in the first and Rs 2.91-2.93 per unit in the second. The second auction, for 1,200 MW at the Pavagada Solar Park, was also undersubscribed. A 1,000 MW solar auction by Maharashtra has been postponed four times because there were not enough subscribers. In contrast, there are 11 bidders seeking several times the quantity offered at the ongoing NTPC auction, which may lead to the tariff falling further. The difference is attributed mainly to NTPC’s excellent financials and reputation for guaranteeing off-take and timely payments, unlike many state utilities. However, given the tribulations in the solar segment of late, the final price may be higher than the lowest ever price of Rs 2.44 per unit offered at Solar Energy Corp of India’s auction of 500 MW at Bhadla Solar Park in May last year.

Source: The Economic Times

No new hydropower project on Ganga: Gadkari

9 May. Ensuring uninterrupted flow – ‘Aviral Dhara’ – of the river Ganga, the Centre has decided not to approve any new hydropower project on the river. The move will help the government in its river cleaning efforts as the dams of such projects obstruct ecological flow (e-flow) which has self-cleansing ability. The decision, taken in this regard in a recent meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), will, however, not affect the under-construction projects. Since maintaining minimum flow of the river is essential to keep the river clean, the water resources ministry had always held this view and it had even written to the environment ministry in this regard in the past. Even environmentalists and river experts had flagged how the dams did affect the natural flow of the river due to water storage and withdrawal from the river in past. If withdrawal of water from the river is higher than the discharge of waste, it leads to pollution. Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said his ministry was also weighing new interventions to ensure that the river has adequate depth throughout the year.

Source: The Times of India

No GST concession for solar contractors

9 May. Though solar panels and related equipment attract Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a concessional rate of only 5%, solar developers who employ contractors to supply the panels and set up their projects are getting a ‘service’ performed for them, and hence should pay 18% GST, the rate applicable for services, the Maharashtra Authority for Advance Ruling (MAAR) has ruled. Since solar developers hardly ever build their own projects but use contractors, the ruling, which is almost certain to serve as a precedent for other states as well, in effect takes away the advantage of the concessional GST rate for solar panels from them. It will increase their tax burden and in turn may well raise solar tariffs at future auctions. The petition filed before MAAR by Fermi Solar Farms had noted that setting up solar projects usually involve two separate contracts with the developer – one for supply of goods, which includes solar panels and related equipment , and the other for setting up the plant, erecting civil works, connecting transmission lines, etc. MAAR noted that a solar plant consisted of a host of equipment – solar panels and inverters merely being the most prominent – which were put together on the site by the contractor to form a solar power generating system.

Source: The Economic Times

India in top 6 to create most green energy jobs

9 May. With the countries across the globe gradually switching to clean energy in sync with their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, jobs in the renewable energy sector globally crossed the 10 million mark in 2017. All the countries together had created over half-a-million new jobs in the sector last year—a 5.3% increase from 2016. Though most countries are making efforts to move towards a low-carbon economy, six of them – China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan – have created the lion’s share of jobs globally in the renewable energy sector at over 70%. The findings are part of the report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – a global inter-governmental organisation – which released its annual review on jobs in renewable energy (RE) sector in Abu Dhabi. Solar photovoltaic (PV) industry remains the largest employer of all RE (renewable energy) technologies, accounting for close to 3.4 million jobs worldwide including 2.2 million jobs in China and 1,64,000 jobs in India. Biofuels, hydro-power (both small and large) and wind are the other three segments in the RE sector which employ maximum number of people across the globe. With China and India moving fast towards solar and wind, 60% of all renewable energy jobs are in Asia. India has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable power by 2022. This includes 100 GW from solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydro power. India’s cumulative solar installations stand at 19.6 GW as on December, 2017. The country had added record 9.6 GW of solar power last year.

Source: The Economic Times


China’s crude oil futures boom amid looming Iran sanctions

14 May. A US (United States) decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran is supporting China’s newly established crude oil futures, and may spur efforts to start trading oil in yuan rather than dollars, traders and analysts said. Since launching in March, Shanghai crude oil futures ISCc1 have seen a steady pick-up in daily trading, while open interest – the number of outstanding longer-term positions and a gauge of institutional interest – has also surged. The world’s biggest importer of crude oil, China hopes the Shanghai contract will eventually rival international benchmarks Brent LCOc1 and benchmark WTI CLc1. The ascent of Shanghai crude is aided by China’s voracious demand for oil, with imports hitting a record in April of 9.6 million barrels per day. Beijing also wants to establish the yuan in physical oil markets, which would avoid the cost of exchanging dollars and increase the use of the renmimbi in global financial trade. State-owned refining major Sinopec has already inked a Middle East import deal against Shanghai crude, with plans being developed to sign more such contracts. Reimposed sanctions on Iran could give China leverage to demand oil imports from the country be priced off Shanghai’s crude futures. However, Iranian oil is not among the types of Middle East crude deliverable through the Shanghai exchange mechanism. To price it off Shanghai futures, traders would have to agree to transact Iranian crude through buying opposite positions in Shanghai futures and then swapping those positions Exchange of Futures for Physical contract that would account for the price difference between Iranian oil and the Shanghai futures price.

Source: Reuters

Conoco moves to sell North Sea oilfields

14 May. US (United States) oil major ConocoPhillips is preparing to sell its North Sea fields as the company focuses on shale operations in its home market. The disposal of Conoco’s North Sea assets after more than 50 years in the British offshore basin could fetch as much as $2 billion, but it was unclear how much of the portfolio would be put up for sale. The assets include a 24 percent stake in the west Shetlands region’s Clair field, which its operator BP says is the largest undeveloped oil and gas resource in the UK North Sea. The Clair Ridge project is expected to begin production this year, according to BP. Other fields include holdings in the Britannia and J-Block hubs. Conoco’s production in the UK North Sea reached 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2017.

Source: Reuters

Japan’s JXTG may buy other Mideast crude oils to cover any Iran shortfall

11 May. JXTG Holdings, Japan’s biggest oil refiner, will likely turn to other Middle Eastern suppliers to meet shortfalls if it has to curb Iranian crude purchases after the resumption of US (United States) sanctions on Tehran. US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from a 2015 agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and re-impose sanctions after a grace period is raising the prospect that refiners in Japan, the fourth-biggest buyer of Iranian crude in Asia, will have to seek alternative supplies. JXTG buys roughly 4 to 5 percent of its crude supplies from Iran, JXTG Holdings President Yukio Uchida said. That would imply purchases of between 70,000-88,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude, based on JXTG’s average refinery run rate of 91 percent in the year through March. JXTG has refining capacity of 1.93 million bpd.

Source: Reuters

Eni has recouped all outstanding Iran payments: CEO

10 May. Eni has recouped all outstanding payments that Iran owed the Italian oil company for past investments and has no plans for any new projects, chief executive officer (CEO) Claudio Descalzi said. Eni’s only remaining activity in Iran is the monthly purchase of 2 million barrels of oil as part of a contract that expires at the end of the year, Descalzi said. He said that supply could be sourced from elsewhere.

Source: Reuters

ETP plans 600k bpd oil pipeline from Permian to Texas coast

10 May. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said it plans to build a crude pipeline from the Permian basin in Texas to the Houston Ship Channel and Nederland, Texas, which will have an initial capacity of up to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd). The pipeline will be “easily expandable” to 1 million bpd, in order to serve growing export markets at coastal ports, the company said. It is likely to come online by 2020. ETP also said volumes on its Permian Express 3 crude pipeline averaged about “a couple of hundred thousand” bpd in the first quarter. The company said it would continue to evaluate further expansions for that pipeline. Separately, ETP said it plans to ask US (United States) federal energy regulators for permission to put the full Rover natural gas pipeline in service by June 1. The $4.2 billion project is designed to carry up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the US Midwest and Gulf Coast and Ontario in Canada.

Source: Reuters

Nigeria draft oil reforms seek to establish powerful industry regulator

10 May. Nigeria’s government plans to create a powerful energy regulator with broad oversight of the oil and gas sector, according to draft versions of sweeping reforms known collectively as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The PIB aims to improve transparency, attract investors, stimulate growth and increase government revenues. The inability to pass the law and uncertainty around taxation has stunted investment in the west African nation, particularly in deep-water oil and gas fields. The three PIB sections yet to be passed address fiscal and administrative issues and local communities affected by the oil industry. Senate President Bukola Saraki said Nigeria’s parliament aims to pass the long-delayed PIB by the end of July. The administrative bill largely deals with the scope of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, which would be the main body regulating the oil and gas sector in the country. The bill sets the time limits for various kinds of licenses: three years for an exploration license, 25 years for onshore petroleum licenses and 30 years for deep offshore. The fiscal bill sets out the rates of tax and royalties for various oil and gas enterprises, as well as various breaks such as upstream gas operations receiving a tax-free period of five years from the start of production. Additional tax will also be charged when crude prices exceed $60 a barrel, the draft said. The third draft section of the PIB addresses communities that host or are affected by oil and gas sector work.

Source: Reuters

US Treasury’s Mnuchin does not see Iran sanctions hiking oil prices

9 May. US (United States) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he does not anticipate major oil price hikes after renewed sanctions hit Iranian production because some countries are willing to increase output to offset such losses. Mnuchin said that licenses for Boeing Co and Airbus to sell aircraft and components to Iran will be revoked as a result of the reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Source: Reuters

Norway launches new licensing round in mature offshore O&G areas

9 May. Norway will hold a new licensing round for its offshore oil and gas (O&G) fields in already opened areas, further expanding the exploration acreage available to energy firms, the oil ministry said. Areas in the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea will be offered to oil companies, who have until September to submit their applications. The ministry plans to award licenses at the beginning of 2019, it said. The latest licensing round has been expanded by a total of 103 blocks compared to last year, 47 of which were in the Norwegian Sea and 56 in the Barents Sea, the ministry added.

Source: Reuters

Iran deal withdrawal, other global issues risk higher oil prices: Goldman Sachs

9 May. Oil prices are at risk for further gains due to the United States’ decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, coupled with rising tensions in other oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Goldman Sachs said. The investment bank’s current forecast is for Brent crude to hit $82.50 a barrel by the summer; it is currently trading around $77 a barrel. The harsher approach by the United States could result in an initial loss of about 500,000 barrels a day (bpd) in Iran’s output, which is currently 3.8 million bpd.

Source: Reuters


Bangladesh drops Trafigura in LNG talks as Gunvor advances

15 May. Bangladesh has terminated talks with Swiss-based commodity trader Trafigura to install a small floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal due to delays in agreeing terms, while rival trader Gunvor advances with a separate project. Once considered an energy backwater, Bangladesh’s LNG demand is set to hit 17.5 million tonnes annually by 2025 after importing its first cargo last month, and as traders target Southeast Asia’s booming gas markets to boost sales. Trafigura, Vitol and Gunvor were all pursuing LNG import projects in Bangladesh, and smaller peer AOT Energy has provisionally agreed to supply the country with 1.25 million tonnes annually for 15 years. Bangladesh secured more competitive LNG pricing with AOT compared to its contract with Qatar. Under its 15-year, 2.5 million tonnes per annum deal with Qatar, Bangladesh agreed to pay 12.65 percent of the three-month average price of Brent oil plus a constant of $0.50 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu). Bangladesh also has a 10-year LNG import deal with Oman Trading International for 1 million tonnes annually.

Source: Reuters

Russia drops plan to halt gas loadings during World Cup

14 May. Russia has decided not to suspend liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) loadings and transportation at railway stations in regions hosting the soccer World Cup for the duration of the tournament, according to an order from the rail regulator. Some restrictions, including on transportation of explosives, will remain in place, according to the document. Initially, Russia had planned to suspend loadings of LPG, such as propane and butane, from May 25 until July 25. Traders had said the restrictions could have hit the supplies of LPG to processing plants, including Nizhnekamskneftekhim.

Source: Reuters

Global LNG-June prices slip on healthy supply

11 May. Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) edged lower over the past week amid plentiful supply, despite strong oil and coal markets. Asian LNG prices for delivery in June LNG-AS slipped 20 cents to $7.90 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu), and the July contract was assessed at $8.20 per mmBtu. Demand emerged from several countries, including Mexico, Argentina, Taiwan, Kuwait, Turkey and India, but supply kept pace as producers from Indonesia to Trinidad churned out cargoes sold via tenders. LNG markets are in the midst of the northern hemisphere’s low-demand spring season, during which little gas is typically used, except that demand has been relatively strong this year, driven not just by China but also by India and South America. Overall, the LNG market in Asia has tightened over the past year, with the winter seasonal demand peak (December/January) and spring low (April/May) seeing significantly higher prices in 2017/2018 than in 2016/2017.

Source: Reuters

JAPEX seeks LNG cargoes from 2020 after scrapped Canada project

10 May. Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (JAPEX) is seeking liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes after its joint venture LNG project in western Canada was scrapped last year. The oil and gas developer is seeking three to six cargoes a year of LNG starting from 2020. It has given the seller the option of delivering the cargoes over five or 10 years. JAPEX has been looking for a portfolio of LNG supplies since the $29 billion Canadian project, in which it had a 10 percent stake, was scrapped. Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned energy company, in July abandoned plans to build the Pacific Northwest LNG plant in northern British Columbia due to low prices. JAPEX will look for a mix of spot, mid-term and long-term supplies without specifying a supply source, until 2030.

Source: Reuters

As Trinidad LNG output grows, cargoes flow far afield

10 May. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in Trinidad, a top 10 global exporter, is recovering thanks to a new field start up, but competition from US (United States) shale is forcing sellers of its output to go much further afield. Trinidad built LNG facilities during a second wave of the industry’s expansion in the 1990s with the goal of supplying North and Latin America. But supplies from the US shale gas revolution have since dented that strategy. Trinidad’s 15 million tonne a year Atlantic facility, which liquefies natural gas for export and in which BP and Royal Dutch Shell are major shareholders, ran at 75 percent of capacity last year as gas deposits become depleted. Its production fell almost 30 percent from a peak of 34.32 million cubic meters (mcm) of LNG in 2010 to 25.07 mcm LNG last year. The latest data from the energy ministry, issued, showed total March output rose to 2.6 mcm LNG, up 0.4 mcm from February and 0.7 mcm higher than a year ago.

Source: Reuters

Mitsui expects investment decision on Mozambique LNG project in FY2018/19

9 May. Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd expects a final investment decision (FID) on a US Anadarko-led offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique in the year to March 31, 2019, its chief executive officer Tatsuo Yasunaga said. Spending on the 2 trillion yen ($18.3 billion) project will start in the following financial year, he said. The two-train, 12 million tonnes per year project is expected to be completed in 2022-2023, and has secured more than 9 million tonnes a year in total binding and non-binding commitments from buyers, Yasunaga said. Asked whether Mitsui will increase its 10 percent stake in the project if Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp sells its 10 percent stake, Yasunaga said many parties are interested in taking a share in the project.

Source: Reuters

Pakistan asks Iran to resume gas pipeline negotiations

9 May. Pakistan has invited neighbouring Iran to resume the stalled talks over the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project. The Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Power said that the Islamabad has extended an invitation to the Tehran to visit Pakistan and conduct negotiations on the Gas Pipeline Project before the Holy month of Ramadan, which sets in during the third week of May. Pakistan and Iran had signed the Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) in 2009, according to which Pakistan was liable to pay a fine of $1 million per day if it was unable to take gas supplies from Iran. With the gas pipeline project hitting the roadblocks, Iran sought $1.2 billion in damages from Pakistan in February this year as per the penalty clause from January 1, 2015. The Iranian government has threatened to file an international arbitration case against Pakistan at The Hague for unilaterally shelving the two-country gas pipeline project. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi recently instructed the Petroleum Division to invite the Iranian authorities to visit Pakistan for negotiations over the Gas Pipeline Project. The Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project has been in the peril for more than three years. Iranian government has already completed construction of the pipeline on its side of the project. Pakistan said it failed to raise funds for the gas pipeline project largely due to the sanctions on Iran by the United States and the United Nations. The Islamabad requested the Tehran for force majeure to avoid penalty worth $1 million per day but the neighbouring country refused to pay heed to the request.

Source: The Financial Express


China’s April coal output rebounds from 5-month low in March

15 May. China produced 293 million tonnes of coal in April, up 4.1 percent from the same month a year earlier, data from the National Statistics Bureau showed, as miners ramped up domestic supplies after China tightened import curbs. April’s production was also an increase from 290 million tonnes in March, which was the weakest level since October. For the January-April period, output climbed to 1.1 billion tonnes, up 3.8 percent compared with the same period of last year. China’s second-largest producer, China Coal Energy Company, previously said it produced 6.4 million tonnes of coal in April, up more than 6 percent compared with the same period last year. China adopted tighter anti-pollution restrictions on imports of the fuel in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Guangxi and Fujian, helping thermal coal prices bottom out from an eight-month low on April 13.

Source: Reuters

US judge scraps Oakland, California, ban on coal shipments

15 May. A federal judge in California struck down the city of Oakland’s ban on coal shipments at a proposed cargo terminal, siding with a developer who wants to use the site to transport Utah coal to Asia. In a scathing ruling, US (United States) District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the information the city relied on to conclude that coal operations would pose a substantial health or safety danger to the public was “riddled with inaccuracies” and “faulty analyses, to the point that no reliable conclusion about health or safety dangers could be drawn from it.” The decision cheered coal proponents while opponents said they would continue to fight for cleaner air. The issue over coal has rocked then San Francisco Bay Area city that is environmentally friendly but also economically depressed in spots.

Source: ABC News

China approves $347 mn coal mine expansion in Henan

14 May. China approved an expansion of a coal mine project owned by Shenhuo Group in Henan province to 2.4 million tonnes from current 900,000 tonnes, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said. Total investment of the expansion will reach 2.2 billion yuan ($347.4 million). Expansion is part of China’s effort to ensure stable energy supplies and optimise its coal industry ($1 = 6.3331 Chinese yuan).

Source: Reuters

North Korean traders offering cheap coal on hopes sanctions will ease

11 May. Some North Korean traders are offering cheap coal to Chinese buyers who are stockpiling it at ports inside the isolated country, hoping recent diplomatic moves lead to an easing of sanctions barring purchases of North Korean coal, Chinese traders said. Data shows China has not imported any coal from North Korea since October last year, after the United Nations (UN) banned Pyongyang from exporting coal in September. In 2016, China, Pyongyang’s main trading partner, bought 22.5 million tonnes of coal from North Korea worth almost $2 billion. But the Chinese traders said offers of coal had surged after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing in March, and ahead of a planned meeting with US (United States) President Donald Trump. The Chinese traders said they had not personally purchased North Korean coal, but all said they were aware of stockpiling in the hope of sanctions being eased. North Korean coal producers and coal trading houses are allowed to decide prices and volumes for export, even though they are owned by the state and don’t operate in a fully liberalized market, one trader said. If UN sanctions were lifted, the coal could be sold on to steel mills in China. Anthracite produced in China’s Shanxi province currently sells at around 1,020-1,100 yuan ($160-$172) per tonne, data provided by China Sublime Information Group shows.

Source: Reuters

Asia coal industry sees blue skies, ignores storm clouds

10 May. Asia’s coal miners, shippers and traders are seeing strong demand and rising prices for their fuel, and they expect this happy situation to persist for several years to come. It was a challenge to find anybody pessimistic about the outlook for coal in Asia, the world’s largest producing and consuming region, at annual gathering of the industry on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Prices are also performing better recently, with Australian benchmark thermal coal at Newcastle Port up to $101.35 a tonne in the week ended May 6, a gain of 11.6 percent from the low so far this year of $90.68 at the end of March. Even low-rank Indonesian coal is performing better, with Argus Media assessing 4,200 kilocalorie per kilogram (kcal/kg) coal at $42.79 a tonne in the week to May 4, up from the 2018 low of $41.08 on April 13, and 18.2 percent higher than the low for 2017 of $36.20 in May of that year. The main driver of coal’s improving performance is Chinese demand, with traders reporting buying interest from China for a variety of coal grades, from low-rank Indonesian fuel to higher quality coal from Australia.

Source: Reuters


Russian energy ministry has not noticed changes in power consumption by Rusal

15 May. Russian energy ministry has not noticed any changes in electricity consumption at Rusal’s aluminum plants for now, Acting Deputy Energy Minister Vyacheslav Kravchenko said. Rusal, as a part of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska’s empire, was put under US sanctions.

Source: Reuters

UTC to provide power transmissions for King Stallion

13 May. UTC Aerospace Systems will be providing key power transmission components for the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion. It will be providing the power transmission system for the tail rotor including drive shafts, couplings and bearing assemblies. UTC provides the King Stallion’s disconnect mechanism, which decouples the drive shaft in the tail. The King Stallion is on pace to achieve initial operational capability in 2019 and deployment in 2023-2024.

Source: Rotor & Wing International


Valero expands into South America with Peru biofuels deal

15 May. Valero Energy Corp has agreed to purchase Pure Biofuels Del Peru from private equity firm Pegasus Capital Advisors, the companies said, marking the US refiner’s first infrastructure investment in South America. Pure Biofuels Del Peru owns an approximately 1 million barrel liquid storage terminal, a biodiesel production facility, and two refined products terminals at Callao, near Lima, and Paita in the north of the country.

Source: Reuters

Arctic oil ‘undrillable’ amid global warming: UN’s ex-climate chief

15 May. An architect of the Paris climate agreement urged governments to halt oil exploration in the Arctic, saying drilling was not economical and warming threatened the environmentally fragile region. Christiana Figueres, formerly head of the UN (United Nations) Climate Change Secretariat when the Paris accord was reached by almost 200 nations in 2015, said “the Arctic has been rendered undrillable.” The past three years have been the hottest since records began in the 19th century, and Christiana Figueres, formerly head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat when the Paris accord was reached by almost 200 nations in 2015, Figueres said the heat was a threat to everything from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to ice in Antarctica. The former Costa Rican diplomat who campaigns for a peak in global emissions by 2020 said it made no economic sense to explore in the Arctic, partly because it was likely to take years to develop any finds. Capital investment would be better used developing renewable energies such as solar and wind to cut emissions, she said. The Paris Agreement sets a goal of ending the fossil fuel era in the second half of this century. It has been weakened by a planned pullout by US (United States) President Donald Trump, who doubts mainstream scientific findings that global warming is man-made. Global warming is also making the Arctic – shared by Nordic nations, Russia, Canada and the US – more accessible to shipping and mineral exploration.

Source: Reuters

Trump administration axes project to generate power from plutonium

13 May. The Trump administration plans to kill a project it says would have cost tens of billions of dollars to convert plutonium from Cold War-era nuclear bombs and burn it to generate electricity, according to a document it sent to Congress. The Department of Energy submitted a document to Senate and House of Representative committees saying that the Mixed Oxide (MOX) project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina would cost about $48 billion more than $7.6 billion already spent on it. The United States has never built a MOX plant. Burying the plutonium would cost about $19.9 billion, according to the document.

Source: Reuters

China’s environment watchdog targets waste as pollution battle escalates

11 May. China plans to carry out nationwide inspections targeting the illegal transfer and dumping of waste that damages water resources and soil, the environmental watchdog said as Beijing launches a new front in its years-long war on pollution. News of the crackdown came as mayors for seven cities were summoned to a meeting at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in Beijing to account for their cities’ failure to tackle the problem following recent inspections. The ministry ordered them to submit plans within a month to improve their systems for disposing of spent chemicals, oil, medical, animal and other waste, and to step up scrutiny of companies that spew toxic refuse. Plans for sweeping checks mark a shift in focus for the environmental watchdog as it expands its reach beyond curbing emissions from heavy industrial sectors.

Source: Reuters         

Trump biofuel policy overhaul to include fewer refinery waivers

11 May. The Trump administration will scale back the use of biofuels waivers for small refineries and count ethanol exports toward federal biofuels usage quotas as part of a broad overhaul of the nation’s renewable fuel policy. The changes are aimed at easing tensions between the oil and corn industries, rivals that have been clashing for months over the future of the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – a law that requires refiners to add increasing amounts of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline and diesel. While the RFS has helped farmers by creating a 15 billion gallon a year market for corn-based ethanol, oil refiners have increasingly complained that complying with the law costs them a fortune and threatens the very blue-collar jobs President Donald Trump has promised to protect. The biofuels changes include cutting back on the number of waivers that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can provide to small refiners to free them from the regulation, and to ensure that any waived obligations are redistributed to other refiners.

Source: Reuters

Egypt signs MoU with China’s GCL for $2 bn solar panel factory

10 May. China’s GCL Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Egypt’s ministry of military production to build a solar panel facility at a cost of up to $2 billion. Under the MoU, which was signed, the facility will manufacture panels capable of producing 5 GW annually. Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.

Source: Reuters

California becomes first US state to require solar panels on new homes

10 May. Builders in California will be required to fit solar panels on most new homes from 2020 under new building standards adopted, a move that is the first in the United States (US) and could provide a big boost to the solar industry. The decision, adopted unanimously by the five-member California Energy Commission (CEC), is part of the state’s effort to fight global climate change. It came despite estimates it would raise the up-front cost of a new home by nearly $10,000 in one of the most expensive parts of the country. The new building codes include updates to building ventilation and lighting standards. They are collectively expected to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700,000 metric tons over three years, a level equal to taking 115,000 cars off the road. California has one of the most ambitious renewable energy mandates in the country, with a goal of sourcing half of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030.

Source: Reuters

Iran will remain in nuclear deal without US: Rouhani

9 May. President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would remain committed to a multinational nuclear deal despite US (United States) President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 agreement designed to deny Tehran the ability to build nuclear weapons. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the full name for the nuclear deal, struck in 2015 between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – and Germany.

Source: Reuters

Germany’s Uniper makes head start in converting wind power to gas

9 May. German utility Uniper launched a pilot scheme at its Falkenhagen site to produce methane gas from wind power as the country seeks wider uses for renewable energy. The Falkenhagen plant, set up five years ago in Germany’s wind-swept Brandenburg state, already produces green hydrogen by running wind power through water to split it into oxygen and hydrogen. Under the two-year pilot scheme, the company will set out to produce green methane by using carbon dioxide from a bio-ethanol plant and mixing it with the hydrogen, creating a gas-like substance. If Uniper engineers can show the technology is viable, they hope that Germany can lead the way in providing the renewables sector with an entirely new raw material.

Source: Reuters


Per Capita Electricity Consumption Scenario in India


Name of the State/UT 2015-16 2016-17 % Change
Chandigarh 1112 1128 1.4
Delhi 1557 1574 1.1
Haryana 1936 1975 2.0
Himachal Pradesh 1339 1340 0.1
J & K 1234 1282 3.9
Punjab 1919 2028 5.7
Rajasthan 1164 1166 0.2
Uttar Pradesh 524 585 11.6
Uttarakhand 1431 1454 1.6
Chhattisgarh 2022 2016 -0.3
Gujarat 2248 2279 1.4
Madhya Pradesh 929 989 6.5
Maharashtra 1318 1307 -0.8
Daman & Diu 7836 7965 1.6
D. & N. Haveli 15137 15783 4.3
Goa 2738 2466 -9.9
Andhra Pradesh 1230 1319 7.2
Telangana 1439 1551 7.8
Karnataka 1242 1367 10.1
Kerala 704 763 8.4
Tamil Nadu 1688 1847 9.4
Puducherry 1672 1784 6.7
Lakshadweep 649 633 -2.5
Bihar 258 272 5.4
Jharkhand 884 915 3.5
Odisha 1564 1622 3.7
West Bengal 660 665 0.8
Sikkim 687 806 17.3
A.& N. Islands 355 370 4.2
Arunachal Pradesh 600 648 8.0
Assam 322 339 5.3
Manipur 360 326 -9.4
Meghalaya 835 832 -0.4
Mizoram 503 523 4.0
Nagaland 346 345 -0.3
Tripura 329 470 42.9
All India 1075 1122 4.4

 Source: Lok Sabha, Un-starred Q.No. 6375 (Ministry of Power)

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar

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