MonitorsPublished on Oct 15, 2018
Energy News Monitor | Volume XV; Issue 18


Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: September 2018


Solar installations in India plunged 52 percent to 1,599 MW during the second quarter of 2018, mainly due to uncertainties around trade cases and module price fluctuations, according to Mercom India Research's 'Q2 2018 India Solar Market Update'. The installations stood at 3,344 MW during the first quarter. The installations during the quarter under review were down nearly 21 percent in comparison to 2,025 MW installed in the corresponding quarter of 2017. During the second quarter of 2018, large-scale installations totalled 1,184 MW as compared to 2,954 MW in the previous quarter and 1,800 MW in the corresponding quarter of previous year. Also, rooftop installations accounted for 415 MW during the quarter under review as against 390 MW during the previous quarter and 225 MW in second quarter of 2017. Cumulative solar installed capacity totalled 24.6 GW at the end of the second quarter of 2018 with large-scale solar projects accounting for 90 percent and rooftop solar making up the remaining 10 percent.

With just about 7 and 11 GW of renewable energy capacity added in the last two fiscals, the country has a long way to go to meet the Centre’s 2022 target of 225 GW. For this, it must add nearly 40 GW of clean energy every year. Analysis of latest data available with the Central Electricity Authority shows that 20.45% of the total installed capacity of the country is from renewable energy sources. Apart from solar and wind, these also include generation from small hydro projects, biomass, and urban and industrial waste. Further break down of data brings to the fore that total energy generation from renewables was only 8.08% between July 2017 and June 2018. The MNRE reports show that the cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy, including grid-connected and off-grid power (till July 2018), is 72.62 GW. Data mentioned in the 39th report of the standing committee on energy for MNRE shows that in the 2015-16 fiscal, around 7.13 GW of new renewable energy capacity was installed. In the next fiscal, it increased to 11.46 GW.

Solar power agencies of the central and state governments have scrapped bids for projects aggregating 9,000 MW capacity, which will lead to a flat growth in capacity addition next year and delay the goal of achieving 1 GW of solar power capacity by 2022, industry data shows. The cancelled tenders represent half of the 18,000 MW bid out by these agencies till August. The cancellations coincide with the pace of solar capacity addition dropping 52% to 1,599 MW in the April-June period from 3,344 MW in the January-March period of 2018. SECI, the Central agency spearheading the National Solar Mission, and agencies of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka cancelled tenders after failing to attract tariff bids lower ₹ 2.44/kWh, the lowest discovered during bidding of Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park project in May 2017. Enthused by the rock-bottom tariff level, SECI introduced reverse bidding with a ceiling of ₹ 2.50/kWh.

Notwithstanding the negative signals from industry Moody’s has said that the share of renewable energy in the country's electricity generation mix is likely to rise to around 18 percent by 2022, from 7.8 percent at present, owing to the continuous focus on capacity addition from solar and wind. The Moody’s report said India is taking positive steps to align its power generation mix with its NDC commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. The report said that large companies have also announced plans to make their operations more energy-efficient and source more renewable energy. According to the agency, renewable energy's share in the electricity generation mix is likely to rise to around 18 per cent by 2022, from close to 7.8 per cent as of March 2018. It said that eventually, the share of fossil fuel-based generation capacity is likely to fall to 50-55 percent by 2022, from 67 percent currently. India is targeting 40 percent of cumulative capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030, in line with its NDC commitments, which compares with total non-fossil fuel power generation capacity (including nuclear) of 35 percent as of June.

The Supreme Court ruling allowing the government to implement safeguard duty on imported solar panels and modules may also dampen the growth rate.  The Supreme Court ruling set aside an order of the Orissa High Court that stayed the imposition of the levy. The Orissa High Court will continue to hear a petition filed against the safeguard duty, but there will be no stay on imposing it. The Directorate General of Trade Remedies had recommended the safeguard duty on solar panels and modules imported from China and Malaysia in mid-July. It suggested 25% for the first year, 20% for the first six months of the second year and 15% for the remaining six months. The MNRE and solar developers have opposed the safeguard duty, claiming it could potentially put the brakes on India’s programme of setting up 100,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022 because it would lead to higher costs and increased tariffs. India has 23,000 MW of solar capacity.

India has contributed a whopping $1 million for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the imposing United Nations building at the world body's headquarters. The contribution will help reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy, India is the "first responder" to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' call for climate action.

CGHS in the capital will now be able to install solar panels on the rooftops of their buildings without spending a single penny. This has been made possible through the Mukhyamantri Solar Power Scheme. The scheme is applicable to both group housing societies and independent houses. Housing societies will have to sign a tripartite agreement with Delhi government and the service provider for installation of solar panels under Renewable Energy Service Company model. The installation cost would be borne by the private company. CGHS will be able to utilise the energy produced to light up common areas, run elevators and water pumps, among other activities by paying just ₹ 1/kWh. Though solar energy generation would cost about ₹ 3/kWh Delhi government will give a GBI of ₹ 2/kWh on each unit of electricity consumed by the housing societies. In the case of independent house owners, the installation cost of ₹ 45,000-55,000 will have to be borne by them. Though the government will not be a part of the agreement signed between the house owner and service provider, it will still provide GBI of ₹ 2/kWh. Additional energy generated through the solar panels can be sold to the grid.

The West Bengal government is the process of commissioning floating solar power plants by next year. The two plants would come up at Sagardighi and Mukutmanipur with generating capacities of 5 MW and 100 MW respectively. The detailed project report of the projects has been already prepared. In the last seven years, industrial demand had increased 27.22 percent. Talks were on with foreign companies to implement new technology for checking carbon emission from old coal-based power plants like Bandel and to keep it operational for another 25 years.

Hydropower generation company NHPC Ltd will put up a 40 MW solar plant in Odisha with an investment of about ₹ 1.96 billion. The solar power project will come up on about 180 acres of land in the Ganjam district and NHPC is impressing upon the state's bulk power purchaser, Gridco, for buying the power produced. NHPC had evinced interest for setting up a 100-200 MW solar project in Odisha for the supply of power to Gridco so that the latter could fulfil its renewable energy purchase obligation with assured power purchase agreement. The central PSU has already commissioned a 50 MW solar project in Tamil Nadu and another 50 MW wind power project in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Odisha plans to develop a solar park with a production capacity of 1,000 MW. But, land availability is the key hurdle as the mega park needs around 5,000 acres of land. The MNRE has allowed the state government to develop a truncated solar park of 400 MW capacity under the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects. The development of the park assumes significance as the state government, in its newly approved Renewable Energy Policy-2016, plans to add 2,200 MW capacity of solar energy by 2022. The state has about 175 MW of installed capacity of solar power.

Independent power producer ACME said it has commissioned its 200 MW solar power plant at Bhadla in Rajasthan. With the commissioning of the Bhadla solar park, it's total operating capacity in solar power stands at 2,400 MW and the company's total portfolio of solar projects stands at over 5,500 MW making it the largest solar power portfolio in the country, it said. The company won the contract for developing 200 MW at the Bhadla solar project at a low tariff of ₹ 2.44 per unit till and it has so far invested ₹ 980 crore in setting up the plant, it said.

Biofuel authority of Rajasthan, with the help of Indian Railways, is planning to establish a biofuel processing plant in Rajasthan, with ‘buy back assurance’, which means that the processed fuel will be bought by the railways. The plant will have the capacity of eight tonne per day and will cost about ₹ 50 million. The biofuel authority has decided to tie up with the railways as for many years, the state did not have its own processing unit. Oil extracted from the seeds of Jatropha plant are used for the production of Biofuel. There are more than three crore Jatropha plants cultivated in Rajasthan. It is being cultivated on the wastelands and can survive harsh, rocky terrain. Jatropha is suitable for a desert state like Rajasthan, facing water scarcity.

Gujarat's 500 MW solar tender results have delivered India's record low tariff of ₹ 2.44/kWh and this underpins the country's transformation to clean energy, US-based IEEFA said. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd repealed the equivalent auction they held back in March which saw the lowest bid at an unacceptable ₹ 2.99/kWh. IEEFA notes the huge technology breakthrough potential of the new Pervoskite solar cells combined with bifacial modules, trackers and other innovations together which could see solar reach of up to 40 percent efficiency within a decade from sub-20 percent efficiency delivered by current Indian projects. With gains from production scalability the modules prices are on an accelerated deflation path and this will reflect on ever-lower solar tariffs in India, IEEFA forecasts declines of 10 percent annually for the next five-10 years.

The PSERC has decided to revise the renewable purchase obligations for PSPCL till 2022 by inviting suggestions from stakeholders while formulating the new norms. As per Section 86(1) (e) of the Electricity Act, 2003, the PSERC is to promote co-generation and generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy by providing suitable measures for connectivity with the grid and sale of power to any person. As per the proposal, Punjab is likely to seek 21 percent of its total power consumption from renewable sources by 2022. This would include 10.5 percent from non-solar renewable sources, including wind, biogas, small hydropower stations and 10.5 percent from solar generation. Till last year, the state was sourcing only 4.9 percent of renewable energy to meet the total power demand. As per the data submitted by the PSPCL, it has signed two purchase agreements for the procurement of wind power with the SECI for 150 MW at a rate of ₹ 2.72/kWh and 200 MW at a rate of ₹ 2.52/kWh. As per these agreements, the said power is expected to be available in May 2019 and December 2019, respectively. The recent rates of wind power stood at ₹ 2.51/kWh in the auction and that of solar power is between ₹ 3.48 to ₹ 3.55/kWh. The average variable charges of power bought from the independent power producers in the state for 2018-19 has been worked out to be ₹ 2.45/kWh. The corporation stood to strengthen its financial position with the increase in the renewable sources of energy. The move would also have a positive impact on the carbon footprint in the state.

Trina Solar of China, the largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic panels globally and India's biggest supplier, launched its Trinahome product as the country’s first solar home kit suitable for use in residences, small and medium enterprises establishments and other places like schools and hospitals. Trinahome is currently being imported from China, the company aims to assemble it locally in the coming months. The kit includes all the required solar rooftop components, includes modules, inverter, grid box and mounting system, and comes with a 25-year module performance warranty. It is available in capacities of 3 kW, 5 kW and 10 kW and has a dedicated app to enable customers to monitor power generation. The price of the home kit would be announced soon. The country's total solar energy capacity as at the end of July this year, 21.9 GW came from utility sources and only 1.2 GW from rooftop installations. Nearly 90 percent of India's solar panels are imported, while Indian manufacturers have to depend on accessories from China.

In a major relief to solar rooftop consumers, MERC has rejected the proposal of MSEDCL to levy surcharge (wheeling charge) on solar rooftop prosumers at the rate of ₹ 1.28/kWh. Installation of solar rooftop system brings them to lower consumption bracket and in subsidized tariff category thereby reducing MSEDCL’s revenue. More and more consumers are becoming subsidized instead of subsidizing. As of now, 65% of residential consumers use less than 100 units per month and hence are subsidized ones. Net metering of solar rooftop power will increase it further. The commission has also rejected MSEDCL’s proposal to levy surcharge on solar roof top prosumers though it has not given any reason for it. MERC has agreed to MSEDCL’s proposal of creating a separate tariff category for electric vehicle charging stations. These stations would be provided supply at high tension level and the tariff would be ₹ 6/kWh. In addition, time of the day tariff will be applicable to it whereby the stations would get a discount of ₹ 1.50/kWh at night while the day tariff would attract a surcharge.

Tata Power Company Ltd plans to offer a range of services from advice and financing to installation and maintenance as it strives to increase its share of the market for rooftop solar panels. Tata Power Solar, the renewable energy arm of Mumbai-headquartered Tata Power, is currently India’s biggest rooftop solar panel supplier. But with a market share of just 6 percent, it sees plenty of scope for growth and aims to leverage its position as an integrated solar power company - with a presence in manufacturing, engineering, construction and maintenance - to offer customers an end-to-end service. India has plans to install up to 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, out of which 40 GW is expected to come from rooftop solar panels. So far, however, the pace of rooftop installations has been just around 6 percent of the target, according to government figures. Tata Power Solar is also planning to launch a dealer network to better take on its myriad of competitors, which include Chinese companies.

As a part of its plan to create 2,500 MW solar power capacity, MAHAGENCO has decided to build a 100 MW plant at Chandrapur. It will be the biggest solar plant in Vidarbha. MAHAGENCO said unit 1 and 2 of Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station, of 210 MW capacity, had been scrapped due to pollution problems. The EoI for the Chandrapur plant was floated on 27 August. Pre-bid meeting was held on 7 September and many developers showed interest in the project. MAHAGENCO has a 125 MW plant at Sakri in Dhule district and is setting up a 250 MW plant in Dondaicha, also in Dhule district. In Vidarbha, the second biggest plant of 20 MW capacity is coming up at Gavhankund in Amravati district. MAHAGENCO plans to create 1,500 MW solar capacity for directly supplying to farm pump feeders. Another 1,000 MW will be generated through big solar plants. Of the 1,500 MW, MAHAGENCO has already floated tenders for 550 MW. For the remaining 950 MW, 15 districts have been identified where small plants of total 50 MW capacity will be set up taking the total to 750 MW.

Vikram Solar, Kolkata-based solar energy company, announced it has commissioned a 10 MW solar power project for ONGC in Gujarat. The project will power ONGC’s Dhaej, Gandhar and Hazira plant in Gujarat. The solar plant has been built to meet ONGC's captive power usage. The solar firm will also provide Operations and Maintenance service to the plant for a period of three years from the date of commissioning. The project is spread across 56 acres of land and the solar plant has 44,144 modules powering the whole unit. The company currently has 750 MW capacity including commissioned and under execution projects.

Clean energy generation firm LGE said it looks to increase its power capacity to 2 GW from existing operational 751 MW and also plans fund infusion of $300 million. The company is expecting to have an installed capacity of above 2 GW by FY2020, it said. The company currently has an operational capacity of 751 MW of wind assets and 400 MW of under construction wind assets. Currently, LGE operates in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat with plans to enter more states immediately. The institutional demand for wind energy is growing and applicable across functions including malls and shopping centres, hospitals and banks among others. In-terms of wind power installed capacity, India is ranked 4th in the World. The wind power generation has significantly increased in the recent years, India is a major player in the global wind energy market. The current total installed wind power capacity is 34.293 GW and is going to expand to 60 GW by FY 2022, it said.

In one of the major green-friendly initiatives, HSL has commenced production from the State’s largest rooftop solar power plant. The plant is built and operated by Clean Max. While there is no investment on the part of HSL, as per the agreement arrived at with Clean Max, the yard has to buy power from it for 25 years. Out of two megawatt capacity, one megawatt production has already started. The full capacity will be generated shortly. HSL is required to buy the generated power from Clean Max at a cost of ₹ 3.93/kWh as against ₹ 5.60/kWh for grid power bought from Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Ltd.

The Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd would produce electricity from bagasse — leftover sugarcane waste — procured from sugar mills in Bazpur, Nadehi and Kiccha. It was decided at the meeting that the nigam would give power royalty to these sugar mills and would also undertake their modernisation. According to the state government, Bazpur sugar mill would produce 22 MW while Nadehi and Kiccha sugar mills would produce 16 MW of power each.

India has the potential to more than triple its trade with its South Asian neighbours to $62 billion against its actual trade of $19 billion, a World Bank report said. For India, the deeper regional trade and connectivity could reduce the isolation of Northeast India, give Indian firms better access to markets of South and East Asia and allow it to substitute fossil fuels by cleaner hydropower from Nepal and Bhutan.

Rest of the World

China will provide more support for its nuclear firms to go overseas and strengthen their position on the international market, according to new draft legislation submitted to the industry for consultation. China aims to bring its total installed nuclear capacity to 58 GW by the end of 2020, up from 37 GW at the end of June this year, but it also has ambitions to dominate the global market and has created a unified third-generation reactor brand known as the “Hualong One” to sell overseas. China has already signed a series of preliminary agreements with countries like Brazil, Argentina, Uganda and Cambodia and it is also undergoing a technical approval process for the Hualong One in Britain. The government published new guidelines aimed at promoting its own technical standards in foreign markets and play a “leading role” in the global nuclear technology standardization process. However, its only overseas nuclear project so far is the Chashma nuclear complex in Pakistan. China’s new draft atomic energy law sets out the government’s responsibilities when it comes to disclosing information about the safety and environmental impact of nuclear power. It also includes clauses calling for the “convergence” of military and civilian research into nuclear energy. China was once regarded as one of the bright spots for the global nuclear sector, but its ambitious domestic reactor building program has slowed considerably, with no new projects approved since 2016. In a bid to guarantee safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, China promised to deploy only new and safer reactor technology, including Westinghouse’s AP1000 and the EPR designed by France’s Areva. But the untested models have been repeatedly delayed amid design flaws and huge cost overruns, and Beijing is now expected to struggle to meet its 58 GW target.

French gas and power group Engie warned that the extended outages at its Belgian nuclear plants would push its 2018 net recurring income to the low end of its €2.45 billion-€2.65 billion ($2.9 billion-$3.1 billion) forecast range. It said the longer outages would result in a shortfall of around €250 million in core earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and net recurring income. Engie said the availability factor of its Belgian reactors is expected at 52 percent for 2018 and 74 percent for 2019. In the first half of 2018, the Benelux contribution to Engie core earnings nearly halved to €133 million from €242 million. Engie said that following the discovery of problems with the concrete in some of the nuclear plants operated by its Belgian unit Electrabel, it had decided to prolong the outages at its Tihange 2 and 3 reactors. Tihange 2 will now restart on 1 June 2019 instead of 31 October 2018 while Tihange 3 will restart on 2 March 2019 instead of on 30 September 2018. Belgium’s nuclear power regulator said it had detected concrete degradation in two bunkers adjoining Electrabel reactor buildings. Electrabel operates seven nuclear reactors in Belgium, four at Doel and three at Tihange, producing about half the country’s electricity.

Russian state atomic energy firm Rosatom would start the construction of two new reactors at the Paks power nuclear plant in Hungary soon. Hungary plans to expand its Paks nuclear power plant and build two Russian VVER 1200 reactors.

Kenya has postponed its plan to build a nuclear power plant by nine years to 2036 in favour renewable energy projects and coal plant. Updated power development plan prepared by the energy ministry and covering the period 2017 to 2037, now show that the earliest the country can build the nuclear plant is 2036 and not 2027 as initially planned. In the revised plan, the first unit is expected to be completed in 2036, followed by another in 2037, making it the last project in the ministry’s 20-year plan for power generation expansion. Initially, Kenya was to construct two nuclear power plants, each with a capacity of 1,000 MW at a total cost of $4.05 billion per plant. However, the new plan is to have each plant with a capacity of 600 MW at a cost of $4.84 billion (Sh484) billion. Kenya was already hunting for a partner to produce nuclear power by 2022 to help match-up rising demand and diversify from hydropower and geothermal. It joins South Africa South Africa, which in August cancelled plans to add 9,600 MW of nuclear power by 2030 and will instead aim to add more capacity in natural gas, wind and other energy sources.

The Energy Ministry of Kenya expects to set up the body to regulate nuclear electricity next year in a move that will concretise plans to build Kenya’s first nuclear power plant by 2027. The KNEB said the bill providing for the set-up of the regulator as well as other institutions that will oversee the country’s nuclear power over the next decade had received approval from the cabinet. The State expects to put up a 1,000 MW plant once plans are finalised. KNEB said the bill would be tabled in the Parliament in the coming weeks and was hopeful that it would go through the House by the end of the year. KNEB has an analysis of the national electricity grid and is currently undertaking studies on possible sites for a nuclear power plant. Among the locations identified for the initial plant include areas around Lake Victoria, Lake Turkana and along the Kenyan coast. Kenya is short of nuclear skills capacity and KNEB has been training some of its personnel in other countries such as South Korea, China and Russia.

Austria plans to appeal against a ruling by Europe’s second-highest court which rejected its objections to Britain’s plans for a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, the country’s Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Koestinger said. French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp aim to have the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station on line in 2025 with costs for the project seen at 19.6 billion pounds ($25.3 billion). One aspect Vienna objects to is a guaranteed price for electricity from the plant which is higher than market rates. It also opposes state credit guarantees of up to 17 billion pounds being provided for the project. Opposition to nuclear power is widespread in Austria, which built a nuclear reactor but never brought it on line. Voters rejected plans to bring it into operation in a referendum in 1978 and the reactor, at Zwentendorf on the Danube northwest of Vienna, now serves as a training center.

China will speed up efforts to ensure its wind and solar power sectors can compete without subsidies and achieve “grid price parity” with traditional energy sources like coal, according to new draft guidelines issued by the NEA. As it tries to ease its dependence on polluting fossil fuels, China has encouraged renewable manufacturers and developers to drive down costs through technological innovations and economies of scale. The country aims to phase out power generation subsidies, which have become an increasing burden on the state. The guidelines said some regions with cost and market advantages had already “basically achieved price parity” with clean coal-fired power and no longer required subsidies, and others should learn from their experiences. China’s solar sector is still reeling from a decision to cut subsidies and cap new capacity at 30 GW this year, down from a record 53 GW in 2017, with the government concerned about overcapacity and a growing subsidy backlog. According to the NEA, the government owed around 120 billion yuan ($17.46 billion) in subsidies to solar plants by the middle of this year.

Procurement of solar energy by US utilities “exploded” in the first half of 2018, prompting a prominent research group to boost its five-year installation forecast despite the Trump administration’s steep tariffs on imported panels. A record 8.5 GW of utility solar projects were procured in the first six months of this year after President Donald Trump in January announced a 30 percent tariff on panels produced overseas, according to the report by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and industry trade group the Solar Energy Industries Association. As a result, the research firm raised its utility-scale solar forecast for 2018 through 2023 by 1.9 GW. The forecast is still 8 percent lower than before the tariffs were announced. Procurement soared in part because the 30 percent tariff was lower than many in the industry had feared. Utilities are eager to get projects going because of a federal solar tax credit that will begin phasing out in 2020. Next year will be the most impacted by the tariffs, Wood Mackenzie said. Developers will begin projects next year to claim the highest level of tax credit but delay buying modules until 2020 because the tariff drops by 5 percent each year. In the first half of the year, the US installed 4.7 GW of solar, accounting for nearly a third of new electricity generating capacity additions. In the second quarter, residential installations were roughly flat with last year at 577 MW, while commercial and industrial installations slid 8 percent to 453 MW.

Total subsidiaries have won tenders for 15 French solar power projects and 5 tenders for small-scale hydropower generation units which will add around 112 MW of capacity to its portfolio, the energy producer said. The solar power projects will produce around 120 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, meeting the requirements of around 45,000 households, Total said. Total is expanding power generation capacity after its $1.7 billion acquisition of alternative electricity provider Direct Energie as it makes a play for the French power market dominated by former state monopoly EDF. In July, it acquired two gas-fired power plants as part of plans to have a global electricity generation capacity of 10 GW by 2023.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced it has signed an agreement with the government of Afghanistan to design a 40 MW solar power plant that will more than double the country’s current solar energy capacity. In Afghanistan, electricity consumption is among the lowest in the world with only about 28 percent of Afghans connected to the grid. The country imports up to 80 percent of its energy and frequent blackouts reaches up to 15 hours a day in some parts of Afghanistan. The Government of Afghanistan will work with IFC on an initial 40 MW solar plant that will develop a new model for subsequent solar projects, helping the country to reach its 2,000 MW goal. The agreement will see IFC’s public-private partnership advisory experts supporting the government to design and competitively tender the project, helping attract solar companies to develop the solar photovoltaic power plant.

The world’s largest offshore wind farm will open off the northwest coast of England when Danish energy group Orsted unveils the Walney Extension project. The wind farm has a capacity of 659 MW, enough to power almost 600,000 homes, and overtakes the London Array off England’s east coast which has a capacity of 630 MW. Britain is the world’s largest offshore wind market, hosting 36 percent of globally installed offshore wind capacity, data from the Global Wind Energy Council showed. Walney Extension was among the first renewable projects to secure a so-called contract for difference subsidy from the British government in 2014.

Iberdrola SA, the world’s biggest wind power producer, plans to expand its renewable capacity in the US by about 50 percent over four years as part of the Spanish electric utility’s global plan to reduce carbon emissions. The company expects to spend about $15 billion in the US on its transmission and distribution system and increase its renewable generation to around 10,000 MW by the end of 2022. Iberdrola committed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions intensity by 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2007 levels and become carbon neutral by 2050. More than half of its 48,800 MW of generation around the world is renewable with the remainder fueled mostly by natural gas, nuclear and coal. The company wants to shut its last two coal plants, which are located in Spain, by 2020. Through its majority-owned Avangrid Inc subsidiary, Iberdrola has over 6,500 MW of renewables in the US. It is the country’s third-biggest wind power provider behind NextEra Energy and Berkshire Hathaway. Iberdrola is developing an offshore wind farm in North Carolina and in other US East Coast states and a $950-million power transmission line to transport up to 1,200 MW of renewable energy from Quebec to New England.

The US EPA published new data detailing how it drastically expanded a biofuels waiver program for oil refiners since President Donald Trump’s administration took office, responding to pressure from the corn lobby to boost transparency over the opaque program. The details published on the EPA’s website showed the agency issued exemptions for 29 small refineries for 2017, freeing them from their requirement under the RFS to blend biofuels into gasoline and diesel, according to agency data. That was up from 19 waivers granted for 2016 and 7 in 2015, the EPA said. The data provides the most complete picture of the EPA’s expansion of the controversial small refinery waiver program to date. The waivers save the oil industry money, but biofuels groups worry they also cut into the nation’s demand for ethanol and other biofuels, and have criticized Trump’s EPA for over using the exemptions. The data showed that the number of gallons exempted from the RFS under the 29 waivers granted in 2017 amounted to $13.62 billion, nearly double the $7.8 billion exempted in 2016. The EPA is still considering five waiver requests for 2017, and has received a total of 11 requests for 2018, all of which are also still pending, according to the data. The RFS requires oil refiners to blend increasing amounts of biofuels like ethanol into their fuel each year, or purchase credits from those that do.

The European Commission has decided not to impose provisional import tariffs on a flood of low-priced Argentine biodiesel until it gathers more information, although it considers the fuel to be subsidized and a potential threat to local producers. The decision comes as a major blow for European producers of fuels made from vegetable and recycled oil. They have been hit hard since the EU scrapped duties last year in response to a ruling by the World Trade Organisation. The Commission said Argentina provided support to its industry through a set of measures, including export duties on soybeans, a biodiesel feedstock, that depressed prices to an artificially low level to the advantage of the downstream biodiesel industry.

The French government will barely increase spending on renewable energy next year, with a planned rise of 1.3 percent effectively flat after taking inflation into account, France’s ecology ministry draft’s budget showed. Spending on renewables projects will total €7.3 billion ($8.60 billion) next year and will mostly go towards wind and solar projects. France is lagging its European rivals in renewables, and falling behind its long-term target to develop renewables which could help it to curb its dependence on nuclear power that currently accounts for over 75 percent of its needs. Households and businesses face €2.9 billion in additional environmental taxes next year, including €1 billion from scrapping a tax break farmers and construction firms get on heavy vehicles fuel. Meanwhile, the government will increase incentives to help consumers switch to cleaner vehicles.

Nepal’s new government has reversed its predecessor’s decision and has asked China Gezhouba Group Corp to build the nation’s biggest hydropower plant. The $2.5 billion deal with the Gezhouba Group to build the Budhi Gandaki hydroelectric project was scrapped last year by the previous government. Nepal Electricity Authority was to have built it. China and India are both jostling for influence in Nepal by providing aid and investment in infrastructure projects. Nepal’s rivers, cascading from the snow-capped Himalayas, have vast, untapped potential for hydropower generation, but lack of funds has made Nepal lean on neighbour India to meet annual power demand of 1,400 MW.

In the first in a series of corporate announcements ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, one of the world's largest electronics and entertainment companies Sony Corp announced to join RE100. RE100 is a global corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together more than 140 multinationals committed to 100 percent renewable power. RE100 members are creating demand for 182.4 terawatt hour of renewable energy per year -- more than enough to power a medium sized country, such as Thailand or Poland. Sony Corp, with consolidated sales of $77 billion (FY2017), commits to sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity for its global operations, ning Europe, North America and Asia. McKinsey and Company, the first management consultancy to globally step up and join RE100, and Royal Bank of Scotland joined RE100, commit to source 100 percent renewable electricity.

California has set a goal of phasing out electricity produced by fossil fuels by 2045 under a new legislation. The renewable energy measure would require California's utilities to generate 60 percent of their energy from wind, solar and other specific renewable sources by 2030. That's 10 percent higher than the current mandate. The goal would then be to use only carbon-free sources to generate electricity by 2045. It's merely a goal, with no mandate or penalty for falling short.

Scientists have developed a semi-artificial photosynthesis system that uses sunlight to produce hydrogen fuel from water. Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is produced as by-product of photosynthesis when the water absorbed by plants is 'split'. It is one of the most important reactions on the planet because it is the source of nearly all of the world's oxygen. Hydrogen which is produced when the water is split could potentially be a green and unlimited source of renewable energy. Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. They used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and manmade technologies. Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades but it has not yet been successfully used to create renewable energy because it relies on the use of catalysts, which are often expensive and toxic. Researchers not only improved on the amount of energy produced and stored, they managed to reactivate a process in the algae that has been dormant for millennia. The findings will enable new innovative model systems for solar energy conversion to be developed.

MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, NDC: Nationally Determined Contribution, CGHS: Cooperative Group Housing Societies, kWh: kilowatt hour, GBI: generation-based incentive, PSU: Public Sector Undertaking, US: United States, IEEFA: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, PSERC: Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, PSPCL: Punjab State Power Corp Ltd, kW: kilowatt, MERC: Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, MSEDCL: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd, MAHAGENCO: Maharashtra State Power Generation Company, EoI: Expressions of Interest, ONGC: Oil and Natural Gas Corp, LGE: Leap Green Energy, FY: Financial Year, , HSL: Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, KNEB: Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, NEA: National Energy Administration, IFC: International Finance Corp, EPA: Environmental Protection Agency, RFS: Renewable Fuel Standard, EU: European Union


OMCs threaten to cut supply to Air India in case of default

9 October. State OMCs (oil marketing companies) have stepped up pressure on Air India, threatening to suspend supplies in case of default. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) threatened to snap supply at eight airports over pending dues. However, supply was not discontinued, as the airline made a payment of Rs 1 billion. Air India group companies uplift fuel around Rs 220-230 million daily and the amount has risen over last couple of weeks because of increase in fuel prices.

Source: Business Standard

India likely to miss fiscal deficit target due to fuel excise duty cut: Moody's

9 October. India is likely to overshoot its fiscal deficit target for 2018/19 by a small margin following its decision to cut fuel excise duties, Moody’s Investors Service said, describing the move as “credit negative”. The government announced cuts in excise duty on gasoline and diesel, to soften the impact of sharp rise in global crude oil prices on consumers. The move came a few months before elections in three key states this year followed by national elections due by May. Moody’s said the duty cuts will reduce the government’s revenue by Rs 105 billion ($1.41 billion). It said the government could reduce capital expenditure to achieve the fiscal deficit target.

Source: Reuters

Goel rides cycle to drive Kejriwal to cut VAT on fuel prices in Delhi

9 October. Union Minister Vijay Goel rode a cycle in Delhi's Paharganj area to protest against the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for not reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel prices. Goel claimed that the Delhi government was not paying heed to people suffering due to rising fuel prices. The Modi government, being sensitive to problems of people due to rising prices of petrol and diesel, reduced Rs 2.5 on diesel and petrol. Now, it is Kejriwal's turn to do the same and reduce the prices by at least Rs 5, the Minister said. The Kejriwal government realises Rs 29 as VAT on petrol and diesel, he claimed.

Source: Business Standard

India will buy Iran oil despite US sanctions: Pradhan

8 October. Despite the US (United States) pressuring India to cease oil imports from sanctions-hit Iran, the government is going ahead on negotiating greater oil purchases from the West Asian nation, along with Venezuela and Russia. India’s Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the two Indian oil refiners have contracted Iranian crude oil for November. India is hoping to get a waiver from the US as the sanctions are set to be in place on 4 November. He said India has requested Saudi Arabia to increase the supply of crude. Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said India is considering Iran crude oil payments in rupee terms. At present, Iran is the third-largest supplier of crude oil to India. The rupee payment mechanism has been suggested as the best possible way to cut India’s dollar exposure as well as shore up the value of the rupee, which has continued to plummet.

Source: Business Standard

Meghalaya facing financial woes, decision on fuel price cut

8 October. The Meghalaya government is yet to take a call on cutting Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel, at par with other BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-ruled states in the region, as it was battling financial crisis at the moment, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said. The Centre slashed petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre, following which 12 BJP-governed states, including Assam and Tripura, announced matching cuts.

Source: Business Standard

RIL hikes petrochemical prices to offset rising oil

8 October. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) raised prices of at least seven key petrochemicals in the last quarter to offset higher crude oil prices and counter the effect of a weakening rupee. Bulk chemicals traders, suppliers for RIL’s petrochemical products and analysts tracking the company said it raised prices by 10-21% in the second quarter of this fiscal while year-on-year increase is 17-61%. Crude prices, which have been on the rise, are expected to touch $100 per barrel in a few months. RIL is among the top 10 producers for key petrochemicals. Last fiscal, the company saw revenue from the petrochemicals segment increase sharply by 35.5% ₹ 125,299 crore. Operating profit in the segment was up by 63% to its highest ever level of ₹ 21,179 crore. In January, RIL commissioned its refinery off-gas cracker complex of 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity along with downstream plants and utilities, culminating its $16 billion refining and petrochemicals expansion plan that it embarked on in 2014. Commissioning of the plant will help the refiner double ethylene capacity and enter the league of top five petrochemical producers globally, in addition to lowering its fuel cost and boosting profits.

Source: Livemint

ONGC surveys Ganga basin in Kasganj district for O&G reservoirs

7 October. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has started a seismic data survey of Ganga basin close to Kasganj-Etah-Farrukhabad border to determine the location and size of oil and gas (O&G) reservoirs. O&G explorers use seismic surveys to produce detailed images of the various rock types and their location beneath the Earth’s surface. A seven-member team has dug up several small borewells at a farm in Tajpur Tigra village in Kasganj district that comes under the jurisdiction of Patiyali police to carry out a seismic survey for hydrocarbon deposits such as oil and natural gas beneath the ground. Earlier the ONGC had approached Aligarh district administration to explore for petroleum reserves in the Ganga river basin.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian government seeks to reassure markets on deregulation of fuel prices

6 October. The Indian government sought to assure investors that the government would not go back to regulating fuel prices, a day after oil company shares tumbled on concerns about a return to a regime that has hurt their profits in the past. The government said it was cutting petrol and diesel by Rs 2.50 per litre to help Indians struggling to pay fuel prices that had climbed on the back of a rise in global crude prices and a weakening rupee. The move was seen as a reversal of a 2014 decision to scrap regulated fuel prices - a regime that was blamed for deterring state oil marketing firms from expanding and for choking off investment in domestic oil fields by India’s biggest oil producer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi freed up the price of diesel in October 2014 after a decade of regulation, saying it would encourage competition among vehicle fuel retailers and enhance efficiency in oil company services. Experts said it was one of his most far reaching reforms after previous governments failed to free the price of diesel, India’s most widely used transport fuel. Petrol prices were freed up by the former government of the Congress party in 2010. The price cut reduced the government’s excise duty by Rs 1.50 per litre and cut one rupee per litre on the amount charged by state-run oil marketing firms Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp.

Source: Reuters

Finance Minister accuses opposition of hypocrisy on oil prices

6 October. Attacking the opposition parties over their stance on the high oil prices, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his "reluctant allies" of only committing to tweets and media statements on the issue while looking the other way when it came to giving relief to people. Accusing the non-BJP non-NDA states of hypocrisy, he said most of them refused to pass on to the consumers any benefit of increasing revenues on account of rising oil prices. Laying the responsibility on the states to further cut taxes on oil, he said the Centre's oil tax revenues remain static as it charged a fixed amount, even out of which, 42 percent is passed on to the states which independently charge their own ad valorem VAT (Value Added Tax). Jaitley said even last October when the oil prices were rising, the Centre had cut down its excise duty by Rs 2 and had requested the states to make a similar cut which most BJP-NDA states did while others refused. He said while India's macroeconomic fundamentals were fairly stable and tax collections were encouraging, the high cost of crude oil adversely impacts the current account deficit which, in turn, impacts the currency.

Source: Business Standard

India to continue Iran oil imports post US sanctions, to pay in rupees

6 October. In the first clear indication of India's willingness to continue trade with Iran despite US (United States) sanctions, state refiners have contracted import of 1.25 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil from the Persian Gulf nation and are preparing to replace dollar payments with rupee trade. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) have contracted 1.25 mt of Iranian oil for import in November, the month when the US sanctions against Iran's oil sector kick-in. While India wants to continue importing Iranian oil, albeit a reduced volume, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Washington would consider waivers on the embargo but made clear that these would be time-limited, if granted. IOC is importing the "usual" monthly volumes of oil from Iran. It had planned to import of 9 mt of Iranian oil in the 2018-19 fiscal (April 2018 to March 2019) or 0.75 mt a month. US sanctions against Iran kick in from 4 November, which will block payment routes. India and Iran are discussing reverting to rupee trade after 4 November. Oil refiners such as IOC and MRPL could use UCO Bank or IDBI Bank to route oil payments to Iran. India had planned to import about 25 mt of crude oil from Iran in the current fiscal, up from 22.6 mt imported in 2017-18. But the actual volumes imported may be far less as companies like Reliance Industries have totally stopped buying oil from Iran and others, too, are scaling it down in hope of winning a sanction waiver from the US. Nayara Energy, formerly Essar Oil, too, is stopping import from Iran. Iran is open to accepting rupee payment for oil and may use the money to pay for equipment and food items it buys from India. Currently, India pays its third largest oil supplier in euros using European banking channels. These channels would get blocked from November.

Source: Business Standard

Bihar CM hints at reducing taxes on petroleum products

5 October. Bihar Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar said that the state was looking forward to reducing taxes on petroleum products, following the Centre's decision to slash excise duty on the same a day earlier. He was responding to queries as to whether the Bihar government would take a cue from the Centre, besides some BJP-ruled states which have announced a cut in taxes imposed on petrol and diesel. He was responding to queries as to whether the Bihar government would take a cue from the Centre, besides some BJP-ruled states which have announced a cut in taxes imposed on petrol and diesel.

Source: Business Standard


Undue enrichment to RIL in KG-D6 field at $3 bn

9 October. The value of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) alleged “undue enrichment”, owing to migration of gas from ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) block to its KG (Krishna-Godavari)-D6 field off the Andhra coast, has doubled to $3 billion from $1.5 billion estimated in March 2015, according to government. India’s largest private sector oil company had initiated the arbitration proceedings after the government had slapped a recovery notice for $1.5 billion. The government is set to move the court, seeking refund of the undue benefit seen to have been derived by RIL. The government is relying on the fact that RIL-led consortium of RIL-Niko-BP was aware that extraction of gas from its KG-D6 will lead to migration of gas from ONGC’s block and that it failed to bring this to the notice of the authorities. ONGC had in 2014 dragged RIL and the government to the Delhi High Court, seeking appointment of an independent agency to verify its claims as RIL wells were too close to ONGC’s block and that migration of its gas had taken place.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian energy firms eye stake in Russian oilfields, LNG projects

6 October. Indian energy firms are eyeing stake in oilfields in Russia's Pechora and Okhotsk Seas as well as developing the LNG (liquefied natural gas) project in the former communist nation, a statement issued after talks between visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. The two sides are also looking at the possibility of building a gas pipeline from Russia to India to supply energy. The two sides supported continuing dialogue between PJSC NOVATEK and the energy companies of India for cooperation in the field of LNG.

Source: Business Standard

MNGL to invest Rs 16 bn in Nashik to supply CNG

5 October. The Maharashtra Natural Gas Ltd (MNGL) has firmed up its plans to invest Rs 1,600 crore in Nashik to create infrastructure for supply of green fuel. The state-owned PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) has won the bids to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles and piped natural gas (PNG) for domestic purpose in Nashik, Dhule and Sindhdurg districts. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) that has decided the bids have set a schedule that MNGL has to follow in the supply of green fuel in the three districts. The firm will lay over 108 kilometre underground steel pipeline from Jawhar to Nashik via Trimbakeshwar to draw liquefied natural gas from the terminal at Dabhol. The MNGL has set a target of setting up 156 CNG stations in Nashik in eight years.

Source: The Economic Times

Essar begins CBM gas supply to GAIL

3 October. Essar Group has started supply of gas produced from coal seams to GAIL (India) Ltd. Essar Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Ltd (EOGEPL) had in August signed a 15-year contract to supply the block's entire gas production to GAIL. Peak coal-bed methane (CBM) production from Raniganj East block is envisaged at 2.3 million standard cubic metres per day. Essar had in February this year sold its entire CBM production from the West Bengal block to GAIL using the same formula that Reliance Industries used for pricing of its CBM. The price comes to around $8 per million British thermal unit at the current oil price. At the time of the signing of Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement (GPSA) in August, EOGEPL had said it would be focussing on ramping up production from its existing 348 CBM wells and the 150 wells it intends to drill in the future in the block. EOGEPL has already invested more than Rs 4,000 crore in the Raniganj East CBM block in drilling wells, setting up supply infrastructure, and laying customer pipelines to Durgapur and nearby industrial areas. The block has 348 completed CBM wells alongside robust gas and water handling capacity.

Source: Business Standard

ONGC awards Rs 117.4 bn contract to Baker Hughes, McDermott and L&T

3 October. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) said it has awarded a Rs 11,740.86 crore contract for development of its mega KG-D5 oil and gas fields to a consortium of Baker Hughes, McDermott International and L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering. ONGC is developing a cluster of oil and gas discoveries in Krishna Godavari basin block KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) at a cost of over $5 billion. The first gas is targeted for end 2019 and oil in March 2021. Total peak gas production rate from Cluster-2 is envisaged to be about 16 million standard cubic metres per day and peak oil production rate of 80,000 barrels per day. The project is one of the first major deepwater developments in India and a milestone for realizing country's domestic energy potential. Delivery is scheduled for 2020 for the gas system and 2021 for the oil system, it said.

Source: Business Standard


India's coal import rises 35 percent to 21.1 mt in September

7 October. India's coal import increased substantially by 35 percent to 21.1 million tonnes (mt) in September, as against 15.61 mt in the corresponding month previous fiscal. The rise in imports comes at a time when the captive power plants in the country are grappling with the issue of coal shortages. Overall, coal and coke imports during the first half of the current fiscal increased by 13.9 percent to 119.42 mt, compared to 104.81 mt in the April-September period of previous fiscal, according to mjunction services, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL. Steam coal imports during the first six months of 2018-19 increased 17.5 percent to around 82.5 mt, compared to 70.21 mt in the same period previous year, mjunction said.

Source: The Economic Times

Talcher coalfields to produce record 100 mt this fiscal

5 October. Talcher coalfields in Odisha's Angul district will contribute a record 100 million tonnes (mt) of coal as against a target of 162.5 mt of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL). MCL, the leading Coal India Ltd subsidiary, has set a target of 162.5 mt of coal production during the financial year 2018-19. MCL said the Talcher coalfields will be growing at a rate of 50 mt every five years. Talcher coalfields had contributed over 81 mt to the total 143 mt of coal produced by the company during the previous financial year 2017-18.

Source: Business Standard

Coal India plans to pick up 20-30 percent stake in Australian coal mining firm

3 October. Coal India is in talks with an Australian coal mining company to pick up a stake in the range of 20-30 percent. If the deal materialises, it will ensure a steady supply of coking coal to Indian steel and allied companies. The country’s coal giant plans to set up an office in Brisbane this year and the pact will mark its second foray into foreign shores, the first being in Mozambique way back in 2009. It can procure rights over coking coal, which can be supplied back to India at cheaper rates compared to global prices.

Source: Business Standard


Rising electricity demand in India leading to costlier coal imports: ICRA

9 October. The recent energy demand rise in India has improved offtake from the power generators but has also resulted in higher dependence on costlier coal imports as the supply of the dry fuel from domestic sources was insufficient, research and ratings agency ICRA said. The all-India electricity demand growth remained steady at 5.6 percent during the first five-month period of FY2019 and the increased demand is being met from higher generation by both thermal and renewable energy plants, it said. The spot power tariffs witnessed a sharp increase in September 2018 with the average rate on Indian Energy Exchange increasing to Rs 4.7 per unit in September 2018 from Rs 3.3 per unit in August 2018. While spot tariffs are likely to remain firm in the near term, given our expectations of strong demand from distribution companies with elections around the corner, the same is unlikely to be sustained in the medium term and would remain range-bound between Rs 3.5 to 3.8 per unit, given the significant overcapacity in place and an increasing share of renewable energy generation, it said. In a positive development for power generation projects, the power ministry has recently issued directions to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) under section 107 of the Electricity Act 2003 for allowing pass-through of changes in domestic duties, levies, cess and taxes in a time-bound manner.

Source: Business Standard

Daily average power price at record 8.95 per unit on IEX

9 October. India witnessed an all-time high average price of ₹ 8.95 per unit for electricity traded on the exchange market, according to the India Energy Exchange (IEX).  Scanty rainfall and dry weather in the southern states led to only 241 million units of electricity being offered to be supplied on the exchange as compared with a demand for 352 million units. Demand for electricity in the spot market is expected to climb further with the upcoming assembly elections in five states: Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh. A power exchange functions on the lines of commodity exchanges and provides a platform for buyers, sellers and traders of electricity to enter into spot contracts for the same day, coming day, and on a weekly basis. Of around 1,200 billion units of electricity generated in India, the short-term market comprises 130-150 billion units.

Source: Livemint

Parts of Maharashtra to face load-shedding in festive season

9 October. Parts of Maharashtra are likely to face power load-shedding in the coming days in view of the rise in electricity demand, Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bavankule has said. The load-shedding is likely to coincide with the upcoming festive season. The average requirement in this season is generally about 16,000 MW. But this time, due to the rise in demand, the actual requirement is around 20,000 MW, Bavankule said. Power trading takes place on a daily basis and the prices are rising because of the increased demand.

Source: Business Standard

UP government to start 2 power plants before 2019 Lok Sabha polls

8 October. The Yogi Adityanath government is all set to fire up at least two power units - each of 660 MW capacity - to add an installed capacity of 1,320 MW to the state electricity grid ahead of crucial Lok Sabha elections due next year. According to schedule chalked out by state energy department, the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam and NTPC Ltd will light up the 660 MW unit of Meja Thermal Power Plant later this month, during upcoming festive season and just before Diwali. The state government plans to light up a 660 MW unit in Tanda in March next year, just prior to the general elections. According to UPPCL (Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd) estimates, the demand for power in forthcoming festive season is expected to go up to at least 20,000 MW. As on date, state's own generation is to the tune of just above 3,700 MW. The state government relies heavily on Independent Power Producers which generate over 5,000 MW and Central quota which provides more than 6,000 MW. Energy Minister Srikant Sharma said that the state government is committed to provided round-the-clock power supply in the state under Centre’s flagship ‘Power For All Scheme’. But while UP government is pushing the installation of new power plants, the poor power infrastructure is turning out to be a limiting factor in improving the power supply, especially in rural areas. UPPCL said that providing power to the newly added villages was not satisfactory because of poor quality distribution lines and transformers. In fact, UPPCL has been receiving reports of some rural areas not getting power supply as per the roster.

Source: The Economic Times

Ahead of polls, Rajasthan announces free electricity for 1.2 mn farmers

7 October. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced free electricity for farmers up to Rs 10,000, hours before the Election Commission announced schedule for upcoming Assembly elections in the state. According to the announcement, more than 1.2 million farmers of the state will receive free electricity up to Rs 10,000 for a year on their agricultural electricity connection. The scheme will be effective from November 2018 billing month for the general category rural farmers. The Energy Department has already issued orders to the power distribution companies in Jaipur, Ajmer and Jodhpur.

Source: Business Standard

'State government pushing for power projects in Nagaland'

7 October. The Nagaland government is "making all efforts" to engage firms for studying feasibility of power projects in the state, Minister Neiba Kronu has said. The Minister, accompanied by power department executive engineer N Neikha, held a meeting with village council representatives, and other leaders of Lozhaphuhu, Tezatse and Kotis hamlets in the district during the visit. According to the 2017-18 administrative report of the power department, the state's energy consumption during peak hours is tipped at 165 MW and off-peak hours at 100 MW.

Source: Business Standard

Delhi CM writes to BJP CMs over Electricity Act amendments

7 October. Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to all Chief Ministers (CMs) of BJP-ruled states regarding the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003 and asked them to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. He said that if these amendments are passed in the winter session of Parliament, then, all the authorities of the power sector will be vested in the Centre and the state governments will not be able to make any decisions. If the Centre passes the amendments, power tariff in Delhi will become Rs 7.50 per unit for all consumers irrespective of the categories they fall in. Presently, residents of Delhi who use up to 200 units are charged Rs 1 per unit, while those using up to 400 units are charged Rs 2.50 per unit.

Source: Business Standard

Power regulator allows BSES to recover Rs 2.3 bn from consumers

7 October. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) recently allowed the power distribution utility, BSES Yamuna, to recover from its consumers Rs 230 crore in power purchase costs incurred for buying power from Anta, Auraiya and Dadri stations from 2012-13 to 2015-16. DERC had disallowed the same in the 2015-16 tariff order as its permission was not taken for renewing the power purchase agreement (PPA) with these three stations. In its submission, the distribution company said Anta, Auraiya and Dadri gas-based stations were part of the consolidated power purchase agreement signed with NTPC Ltd on 5 June 2008. As per a supplementary PPA, the terms of procurement from these stations were increased beyond their respective expiry dates to the end of their useful life.

Source: The Economic Times

Private players want committee on power transmission reconstituted

3 October. While the government boasts of surplus power, a challenge yet to be addressed is building transmission infrastructure under a conducive business environment. Crying foul over the bias being shown towards Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL) for building transmission network, the private players are knocking at the doors of the Prime Minister’s Office. The private sector players have sought reconstitution of the National Committee on Transmission (NCT) to accord a level-playing field for them. The NCT has been tasked to constitute the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) for a Tariff-Based Competitive Bidding Projects besides other mandates. In a representation to the Centre, industry bodies allege that presence of the Chief Operating Officer of PGCIL on the NCT gives an unfair advantage to the Central transmission utility in these projects. The apprehension of private companies intensified after the 37th meeting of Empowered Committee (EC) on Transmission approved the allocation of 5 transmission schemes to PGCIL under the regulated tariff mechanism.

Source: The Hindu Business Line


KSEB starts measures to install rooftop solar panels

9 October. Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) authorities in Kochi have started measures to facilitate installation of solar panels as part of Soura project. Of the 6,000 applications received from consumers for installing rooftop solar plants across the state, majority are from Kochi. KSEB has given options such as installing the solar plant by consumers on their own or with financial support from the board. The Soura project of KSEB aims to generate 500 MW electricity by installing rooftop panels atop the buildings owned by consumers across the state. KSEB is planning to entrust an independent agency with the installation of solar panels.

Source: The Economic Times

BHEL bags orders worth Rs 29 bn from NTPC for supply of emission control equipments

9 October. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) said it has bagged four orders valued at about Rs 2,900 crore for supply of emission control equipments from NTPC Ltd. These orders involve supply and installation of flue gas desulphurisation systems for control of Sulphur Oxides (SOx) emissions at NTPC's North Karanpura, Mauda Stage-I, Barh Stage-I and Stage-II power projects, BHEL said.

Source: Business Standard

Kerala targets 1 million electric vehicles by 2022

9 October. Amid rising oil prices and pollution concerns, the Kerala government has set a target of putting 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) on road by 2022. The state has rolled out an electric vehicle policy (EVP) studded with tax holidays and creation of common charging infrastructure. Autorickshaws will be the frontrunners of the shift to EVs as the state aims complete electrification of vehicles by 2030. Though Kerala had been mulling a e-vehicle policy since as early as 1988, the trigger came only after Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana expatiated their EV plans recently. The current plan is to adopt swappable battery model as the prime mode of battery recharging. The Kerala Cabinet has assigned a task force to develop e-mobility road-map, with a pilot fleet of 2,00,000 two-wheelers, 50,000 three-wheelers, 1,000 goods carriers, 3,000 buses and 100 ferry boats, ready and in operation, by 2020.

Source: The Financial Express

Badarpur thermal power plant to shut down by 15 October

9 October. The Badarpur thermal power plant will finally shut down this month with the Delhi government confirming that the Tughlaqabad sub-station will be ready in another two weeks. NTPC Ltd has communicated to the government that the oldest power station in the capital will stop operating after 15 October. The 702 MW Badarpur plant is not just the oldest in NCR, but also considered one of the most polluting ones. Ever since environmentalists raised concerns over its functioning — especially due to rising air pollution in Delhi — the plant was being closely monitored by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. Only two of its units have been functioning for the last few years. Delhi has been getting about 400 MW from the Badarpur plant.

Source: The Economic Times

Do away with fossil fuel in 30 yrs: Experts

9 October. Soon after an IPCC report mentioned Kolkata among cities that could face an increased threat of heat waves, environmentalists said the city would have to undergo some unprecedented and sweeping changes to withstand the impact of global warming. According to them, the city first needs to cut down on its use of fossil fuel — at least by half in next 15 years and to do away with it in next 30 years. They also said that all houses in Kolkata should be powered by renewable energy, not coalfired thermal power, by 2050. Instead of wearing a wrist watch, every individual needs to carry a meter to measure his or her carbon footprints. Within the next decade, the experts said, governments and people need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (about 200 years ago) temperature. The IPCC report said that average global temperatures could breach the 1.5 degree level as early as 2030. Calamities like cyclones may assume higher intensity due to global warming, warned experts. According to them, if drastic steps are not taken to reduce carbon emission by every citizen and government, the city will face disasters like floods, heat waves, subsidence and draught at its immediate agro-producing zones.

Source: The Economic Times

Gujarat ideal destination for investment in Renewable Energy: Energy Minister

9 October. Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabhbhai Patel has invited private players of Energy sector to invest in Renewable Energy in Gujarat. He said that, the aim of his government is to provide energy at a cheaper rate to farmers and citizens. He appealed to the private investors to invest in this sector. He said that Gujarat has realised Narendra Modi's vision by being the first state to set up India's first and Asia's largest Solar Park at Charanka in Patan district and the country's first MW scale canal-top solar plant at Chandrasan in Mehsana district of Gujarat. He said that, Gujarat envisions to facilitate and promote gigawatt scale addition of solar power generation capacities while taking into account the interest of all its stakeholders, be it investors, developers, Technology Providers, Grid operators or consumers.

Source: Business Standard

Rooftop solar panels on government buildings from November

8 October. The state has selected an agency to install solar panels on the rooftops of government buildings from November this year. Under the grid connected rooftop scheme, the Centre and state equally share the burden of subsidy for installing rooftop solar panels by individual households, organizations and government buildings. Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA) is the nodal agency for implementing the project in the state. Under the scheme, the individual households would get half the cost as subsidy to be equally shared by the Centre and the state. A total Rs 75,000 is required for installing 1 kilowatt capacity rooftop solar panel by an individual. Bihar government in May last year had approved the Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Energy Sources 2017 to build a capacity to generate 2,969 MW solar power, 244 MW biofuel energy and 220 MW hydel power in the state by 2022.

Source: The Economic Times

BPCL to set up country's first biofuel plant at Bargarh district in Odisha

8 October. Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will complete commissioning of its second generation (2G) ethanol bio-refinery at Baulsingha village in Bargarh district by 2020. The proposed plant will see an investment of Rs 1000 crore. Sanjib Paul, BPCL’s chief general manager (biofuels) said, as per the National Biofuel Policy-2018, India has set the target of 20 percent ethanol blending to petrol by 2030. Currently only 3 percent or 4 percent Ethanol blending in petrol is available due to unavailability of the biofuel. India has surplus biomass availability about 120 to 160 million metric tonne annually, which if converted has the potential to yield 3000 crore litres of Ethanol annually.

Source: The Economic Times

CIL inks pact with NLC for solar, thermal power diversification

8 October. As part of its plan to evolve into an energy company rather than just being a miner, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has signed an initial agreement with NLC India for the formation of a joint venture (JV) company which will generate 3000 MW of solar and 2000 MW of thermal electricity. In the proposed JV, both CIL and NLC will have an equal stake and the total investment is estimated to be around Rs 120 billion. According to the agreement, this JV company will have a timeline of 15 months to complete the solar power projects and for completion of solar power projects and a 5-year period to complete the thermal power projects which will be financed via a debt-equity ratio of 70:30 as per the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission norms. The solar power projects will be set up in some of the identified barren and reclaimed free land of CIL. Besides, additional land may be required to set-up the solar projects. It is estimated that this JV will be needing around 15,000 acres of land to set-up the solar generating stations. In the past, to pursue its ambitious solar power venture, CIL had submitted a Green Energy Commitment letter to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for developing 1000 MW solar power projects and an agreement was also signed with Solar Energy Corp of India to set up part of the project in Madhya Pradesh.

Source: Business Standard

Floating solar power plant at Irai in Maharashtra may be dropped

7 October. MAHAGENCO (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company), which had decided to set up a floating solar plant at Irai dam is now having second thoughts about it. In India, a floating solar power plant exists only in Kerala. A 500 kilowatt plant was recently inaugurated in Banasura Sagar at the cost of Rs 9.25 crore. In Gujarat solar panels have been installed to cover canals but they are not floating. A private solar energy agency — Gensol — had been asked to conduct a feasibility study for Irai but the report was not very favourable. A ballpark calculation had estimated that 250 MW could be generated through floating solar panels. The state government has set a target of increasing solar power generation by another 7,500 MW by 2020. MAHAGENCO will execute projects for generating 2,500 MW while Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) will contribute the remaining 5,000 MW. Of this 2,500 MW, the generation company plans to add 500 MW on its own land and using its own money.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian renewable energy sector will lead world in clean energy: Goyal

6 October. Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said India's renewable energy sector will lead the world to the next level of clean energy. Goyal stressed on the significance of solar energy and how it would transform the energy segment of India.

Source: Business Standard

Lux Industries installs solar power unit at Dankuni plant

6 October. Lux Industries Ltd has recently installed a solar unit at its plant in Dankuni, the industrial city near Kolkata. The initiative, entailing an investment of Rs 5 crore, is expected to help the company cut down on its electricity costs by 40 - 50 %. Installation of 1 MW solar panels at Dankuni unit would generate approximately 13 lakh kilowatt hour of energy per annum, the company said. Going forward, the company plans to set up solar units at its factories in Tirupur, Roorkee, Delhi and Ludhiana in a phased manner.

Source: The Economic Times

Four metro stations in Chennai go solar

6 October. From lights to air-conditioners and even trains, everything at four underground metro stations will now be operated on solar power. Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) has commissioned a 103 kWp (kilowatt peak) capacity rooftop solar power system to cater to these stations. The photovoltaic panels have begun generating power at Thirumangalam, Anna Nagar Tower, Anna Nagar East and Shenoy Nagar stations. Through the panels, CMRL will tap around 13,800 units of power every month, and hopes to save Rs 6.3 lakh a year in power costs. By the end of this year, elevated metro stations too will go green, as another 6 MW capacity rooftop solar power plant will be installed. CMRL began using clean energy in 2016, when it installed a 1 MW capacity solar panel at its administrative building in Koyambedu. Around 5,000 units generated a day from the 1 MW grid power the administrative office and for maintenance of trains at the depot. In September 2018, another 350 kWp capacity panels were added in the depot. CMRL signed a contract with a Mumbai-based company to install solar panels with a capacity of 6 MW at all its existing elevated stations.

Source: The Economic Times

India, Russia ink action plan to set up 6 more nuclear reactors in India

5 October. India and Russia signed a document for cooperation on a new nuclear power project in India with the latest VVER-1200 type reactors powered by advanced fuel. The Action Plan for Prioritisation and Implementation of Cooperation Areas in the Nuclear Field was signed on the sidelines of the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin for setting up six reactors at a yet-to-be designated site in parallel to the ongoing 6,000 MW Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu. Both countries have agreed on a second nuclear power project to follow Kudankulam, which envisages the construction of six reactors of the earlier generation VVER type of 1,000 MW capacity each. The VVER-1200 has 20 percent more capacity than the VVER-1000. India is also collaborating with Russia in setting up Bangladesh's first nuclear plant at Rooppur.

Source: Business Standard

India must add 25 GW renewable energy every year till 2030: Sinha

5 October. India should add 25 GW renewable power capacity every year till 2030 in order to achieve its green energy targets, ReNew Power Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sumant Sinha said. As part of Paris climate agreement, India has committed to ensure 40 percent of its installed electricity capacity is based on non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. Power Minister R K Singh had said the share of renewable energy in India’s electricity mix is set to increase to around 55 percent by 2030, as the country continues to expand its installed capacity in the face of growing power demand.

Source: The Economic Times

Sembcorp commissions 250 MW wind project in Tamil Nadu

5 October. Sembcorp Energy India (SEIL) and Suzlon Group announced completion of a 250 MW wind power project, which was the first wind energy project auctioned by the Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI). Sembcorp Green Infra Ltd, an arm of the SEIL, won this project in the first round of wind energy auction conducted by the SECI in April 2017. The Sembcorp's 250 MW project is the first wind power project, under the first reverse wind auctions in India, with the entire capacity completed ahead of the SECI timelines. Suzlon is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) partner for the project. Under long term power purchase agreement between Sembcorp and Power Trading Corp, power generated from the project will be supplied to the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Source: Business Standard

MPUVN rooftop solar gets lowest ever tariff of Rs 1.38 per unit

5 October. Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam (MPUVN) announced that it has achieved historic low tariff of Rs 1.38 per unit for central government buildings in its RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company) II rooftop solar tender. State government medical colleges, also a beneficiary in the tender, have got a rate of Rs 1.63 per unit for the first year. The rates would increase by 3 percent annually and would roughly double at the end of 25 years, MPUVN said. RESCO sets up solar power projects and then monetises the energy produced. In comparison, a system integrator installs the project and is involved in the execution and implementation of the project for another RESCO. The RESCO II tender issued by MPUVN attracted 9 international and domestic bidders, who oversubscribed its 8.6 MWp (megawatt peak) rooftop tender capacity by more than 630 percent, it said.

Source: Business Standard

Proposal to bring hydro power under renewable energy ambit in Cabinet soon: Singh

4 October. The power ministry is planning to place a proposal to bring large hydropower units under the ambit of renewable energy before the Union Cabinet in a month, Power Minister R K Singh has said. The move, if implemented, could prove to a major positive for capital intensive hydro projects allowing them access to global funds and the benefits available for green energy projects. Singh said hydro projects across the world are considered as part of clean and green energy and the government, therefore, believes that they should be under the ambit of renewable energy. Hydropower projects in India are typically categorized in two segments -- small and large hydro. Projects of up to 25 MW capacity are categorized as small. While the power ministry is responsible for large hydro projects, the mandate for the small hydro power lies with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Renewable energy projects, excluding large hydro, account for around 20 percent or 71,000 MW of the total installed power generation capacity of 345,000 MW. Capacity of large hydro power projects stands at around 45,000 MW, contributing to 13 percent of the total power capacity.

Source: The Economic Times

Himachal Pradesh offering land at Rs 1 per square metre for renewable projects: CM

4 October. Himachal Pradesh is offering land at a rate of Rs 1 per square metre to woo investors to set up renewable energy projects in the state, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said. Thakur said that the state allows for deferred royalty payment, and that the state electricity board would buy power directly from renewable projects.

Source: Reuters

Gujarat invites tenders for 700 MW solar projects sans ceiling tariff

3 October. Gujarat is inviting tenders to set up 700 MW of solar projects in the state under the reverse-auction mechanism. To encourage larger participation, the state has not capped the upper limit for tariff discovery in the auctions by removing the provision for ‘ceiling tariffs’. The tender follows the auction for 500 MW of solar capacity held last month, when the state discovered the lowest tariff of Rs 2.44/unit, matching the record low rate first found in May 2017 for Rajasthan’s Bhadla projects. However, dampening the state’s delight over the discovery of such attractive rates, sources said that Azure Power, which had won 100 MW in the auction by quoting Rs 2.45/unit, has requested the state to withdraw its bids. It may be noted that the aforementioned auction was conducted for the second time in September, after Gujarat cancelled the first bidding process held in March when the lowest tariff discovered was Rs 2.98 per unit. The reverse auction for the 700 MW tender is expected to be completed in the final week of November. About 4 GW of recent solar bids have been scrapped due to high prices discovered. Power Minister R K Singh has pointed out the reluctance of the states towards buying solar power, stating that even if the states agree to buy solar power at the lowest tariff of Rs 2.44/unit, they effectively end up paying Rs 4.04 for every unit electricity. The quantity of intermittent renewable power procured by the states are usually done by refusing the offtake of equivalent capacity of thermal electricity from power plants tied-up with existing power purchase agreements (PPAs). Under PPA conditions, the states end up paying for the fixed-cost component, notwithstanding the amount of electricity being sourced from thermal power plants.

Source: The Financial Express

India to attract upto $80 bn investment in renewable energy in 4 yrs: PM Modi

3 October. Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi said India has made an investment of $42 billion in the renewable energy sector over the past four year and is likely to generate opportunity of business worth between $70 billion and $80 billion in the green energy space over four years. He said it is his belief that ISA (International Solar Alliance) will play the same role in meeting the world energy demand in future as is being played by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He said countries around the world need to share solar energy among each other through effective transmission. He said around 31 crore LED (light emitting diode) bulbs have been distributed in India under the Ujala scheme and the country is saving 40 billion units of energy annually as a result. Overall, the country has saved Rs 16,000 crore on power bills with such measures which has also reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, he said.

Source: The Economic Times


Global growth at risk from $100 oil next year: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

9 October. If oil prices head above $100 a barrel, it could shave 0.2 percentage points from global economic growth next year -- but this hinges crucially on the dollar, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Sanctions on Iran, shale bottlenecks, Venezuelan turmoil and increased demand pose an upside risk to prices, the bank said. Higher prices would slow growth in the euro-area, UK (United Kingdom) and Japan though ramped-up energy production in the US (United States), Australia and Brazil would likely cushion the blow to the world’s economy, it said. While the shale boom in the US means the country is less at risk from higher oil prices, the euro-area, Japan, China and India stand to lose significantly from a spike.

Source: Bloomberg

Pemex finds oil in Gulf of Mexico to boost lagging output

9 October. Mexico’s Pemex said it has discovered up to 180 million barrels of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow waters, a find that is expected to help boost the country’s dwindling oil production. Pemex, whose oil and gas output has been declining since 2004, said light and heavy crudes were found in seven reservoirs along the Mulach and Manik fields in the southern Gulf of Mexico, close to existing infrastructure for production and transportation. Mexico expects the downward trend in its oil reserves to turn positive in two years, following a constitutional energy overhaul enacted in 2013, Mexican Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said.

Source: Reuters

China slashes US LPG imports amid trade war

9 October. China has choked back on imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the United States (US), traders and analysts said, turning to the Middle East for extra supplies amid the two countries’ trade dispute. US imports have come off dramatically over the course of 2018, before stalling completely in late August when China imposed an additional 25 percent tariff on over 300 US goods, including LPG, in retaliation for US tariffs. Consultancy IHS Markit estimates US imports fell to barely 1 million tonnes (mt) during the first eight months of 2018, down from about 2.1 mt for the same period last year, He Yanyu, Executive Director for Natural Gas Liquids said. China’s LPG imports rose about 15 percent to nearly 18.3 mt in 2017, driven partly by new petrochemicals plants which use the propane dehydrogenation method to produce the raw material for plastics. IHS’s He said LPG prices were likely to stay firm in November and December due to higher oil prices and winter demand.

Source: Reuters

Mozambique signs oil exploration agreements with Exxon, Rosneft

8 October. The Mozambican government said it had signed oil exploration agreements with US (United States) energy firm Exxon Mobil and Russia’s Rosneft. Mozambique’s National Petroleum Institute, an energy regulator in the southern African country, said the government was preparing to sign similar agreements with South Africa’s Sasol and Italy’s Eni. The agreements could lead to as much as $700 million of investment in Mozambique as the energy firms are expected to drill a minimum of 10 wells, eight in deep water and two onshore, the institute said. The firms earlier won oil tenders as part of Mozambique’s fifth licensing round in 2014.

Source: Reuters

Oil market is balanced: Qatar’s Energy Minister

7 October. The oil market is balanced in terms of supply and demand, Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said. Oil prices have been rising as US (United States) sanctions against Iran’s crude exports are set to start next month. Brent crude is trading at nearly $85 a barrel, compared to $65 at the beginning of the year.

Source: Reuters

Oil markets could witness modest surplus into early 2019: Goldman Sachs

5 October. Global oil markets could witness a modest surplus into early 2019 as new spare capacity comes online, despite strong demand and uncertainty on the size of supply losses from Iran due to US (United States) sanctions set to start next month, Goldman Sachs said. Goldman said there was a higher initial inventory buffer heading into the fourth quarter due to a production surge in Saudi Arabia in June, and output in volatile regions like Libya and Nigeria was 0.3 million barrels per day above expectations.

Source: Reuters

Rising use of plastics to drive oil demand to 2050: IEA

5 October. Plastics and other petrochemical products will drive global oil demand to 2050, offsetting slower consumption of motor fuel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Despite government efforts to cut pollution and carbon emissions from oil and gas, the IEA said it expected the rapid growth of emerging economies, such as India and China, to propel demand for petrochemical products. Oil demand for transport is expected to slow by 2050 due to the rise of electric vehicles and more-efficient combustion engines, but that would be offset by rising demand for petrochemicals, the IEA said. Global demand for petrochemical feedstock accounted for 12 million barrels per day (bpd), or roughly 12 percent of total demand for oil in 2017. The figure is forecast to grow to almost 18 million bpd in 2050. Most demand growth will take place in the Middle East and China, where big petrochemical plants are being built. Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell plan to invest in new petrochemical plants in the coming decades, betting on the rising demand for plastics in emerging economies.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia agrees to invest in new oil refinery in Pakistan's Gwadar

4 October. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco has agreed in principle to invest in a new oil refinery in Pakistan’s Chinese-funded, deepwater port of Gwadar, the Pakistani Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said. In the Gwadar refinery agreement, state-owned Pakistan State Oil will partner with Aramco, the Saudi state oil giant, he said. Pakistan wants a new refinery to reduce its $16 billion bill for foreign petroleum by importing more cheaper crude oil to refine itself. Rising oil prices have sent Pakistan’s current account deficit soaring. Foreign reserves have dropped to $9 billion, barely enough to cover external debt payments through the end of the year.

Source: Reuters

Russian Energy Minister does not rule out oil price hitting $100 per barrel

4 October. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak does not rule out global oil prices reaching $100 per barrel. He said that Russia and Iran were still considering how to make payments to one another in their national currencies in the face of upcoming US (United States) sanctions against Tehran.

Source: Reuters

Azerbaijan oil output to rise slightly by end of 2018: Energy Minister

3 October. Azerbaijan’s oil output will increase slightly between now and the end of 2018, Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said. Azeri oil production in September stood at 773,000, almost unchanged from August, Shahbazov said.

Source: Reuters

Russia could boost oil output by up to 300k bpd: Putin

3 October. Russia could raise oil production by 200,000-300,000 barrels per day (bpd), President Vladimir Putin said. Oil prices have reached four-year highs to over $85 per barrel due to production declines in some countries, such as Venezuela, and amid fears that US sanctions against Iran will further reduce oil supplies to the markets. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia agreed in June to ease production curbs imposed earlier. Russia would be happy with the oil price at $65-$75 per barrel, Putin said. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak later said that Russia can boost production by up to 300,000 bpd within months. Oil output in Russia hit a 30-year high in September of 11.36 million bpd.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia plans oil output hike in November: Energy Minister

3 October. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom will further raise oil production in November from the level of 10.7 million barrels per day (bpd). He said Saudi Arabia has weekly communication channels with Russia in order to stabilize global oil markets. He said that oil producers have added around 1 million bpd of combined output in “recent weeks and months”.

Source: Reuters


French regulator fines Vitol €5 mn for gas market manipulation

9 October. French energy market regulator CRE fines Vitol €5 million for gas market manipulation. CRE said fines for engaging in market manipulation on the French southern virtual gas trading point “PEG Sud” between 1 June 2013 and 31 March 2014. It said Vitol would issue multiple sell orders, generally at the beginning of the trading day, when liquidity was low. Vitol would then issue sell orders at gradually decreasing prices. Once prices had decreased, Vitol would engage in important purchases. CRE said after having proceeded with those purchases, Vitol would cancel its sell orders to finish the day as a net buyer.

Source: Reuters

China’s Changqing O&G field to produce record amount of gas this year

8 October. China’s Changqing oil and gas (O&G) field, operated by state energy giant PetroChina, is expected to produce record amount of natural gas this year exceeding 38 billion cubic meters (bcm), as more wells were brought online, its parent company CNPC said. Changqing, in northern China, the largest gas producer in the country, has nearly 11,000 wells in production by late September, after over 100 new wells started pumping, CNPC said. At 38 bcm, the output at Changqing makes up about a quarter of China’s total gas production. State oil and gas firms have been stepping up domestic production as well as imports to be prepared for another winter of strong demand growth of the cleaner burning fuel

Source: Reuters

Egypt to receive first Israeli gas as early as March

8 October. Egypt will begin importing natural gas from Israel under a $15 billion deal as early as March if an undersea pipeline connecting the Mediterranean neighbours is found to be in good condition, moving the country closer to its goal of becoming an energy-exporting hub. Mohammed Shoeib, Chief Executive Officer of East Gas Company, a major Egyptian partner in the pipeline, said supplies would begin at 100 million standard cubic feet (scf) of gas per day in the first quarter of 2019 and gradually rise to a maximum of 700 million scf a day. The partners expect to begin testing the pipeline soon before modifying facilities to reverse the flow, Shoeib said. The procedures were expected to take three to four months. Once the gas has been flowing for 30 days, the deal will close, he said. Egypt halted supplies to Israel in 2012 due to a domestic gas shortage and repeated attacks by Islamist militants on a connecting overland stretch of pipeline in the Sinai. Egypt announced it had once more become self-sufficient in gas due to a six-fold increase in production at its own giant Zohr gas field. Egypt has idle liquefaction plants that allow it to export any of its own surplus gas or re-export gas piped in from Israel or elsewhere in the region. For Israel, using existing infrastructure to export via Egypt saves it the cost of building its own facilities.

Source: Bloomberg

Norway expects LNG supply to mean fall in gas export price until 2021

8 October. Norway expects its gas export price to fall by more than a quarter by 2021 as increasing global liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies outstrip growth in European demand. Norway’s 2019 fiscal budget showed it expects the average price for Norwegian gas to fall to 2.05 crowns/standard cubic metre (sm3) and reach a low of 1.70 crowns/sm3 by 2021, then rebounding in 2022. The projections are higher than what Norway, Europe’s second largest gas supplier after Russia, was expecting in its revised budget in May, when 2018’s price was seen at 1.8 crowns/sm3 and 2019 just below 1.5 crowns. The average price for Norway’s gas was about 2.20 Norwegian crowns ($0.2655) per sm3 in 2018. LNG supply to Europe will fall in the period 2022-2025, which will push Norway’s gas export prices up again.

Source: Reuters

CNOOC to expand Jiangsu Binhai LNG project

8 October. China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) plans to expand its LNG (liquefied natural gas) project in eastern Jiangsu province to meet rising demand from more regions. CNOOC will lift the storage tank facility of each of the four tanks linked to the Jiangsu Binhai LNG receiving terminal to 220,000 cubic meters, up from 160,000 cubic meters. The terminal and its storage tanks will be able to serve a broader region including the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan and Shandong, where the government is switching winter heating fuel to gas from coal. The first phase of the project, with a supply capacity of 3 million tonnes, will be completed in September 2021, Chen Jiong, a project manager for the Binhai project, said.

Source: Reuters

Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is 70 percent financed so far

7 October. Seventy percent of funds needed to finance the Nord Stream 2 underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany have been raised. Nord Stream 2, which will double the capacity from the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline from a current 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year, is owned by Gazprom, which is taking on half of the planned costs of €9.5 billion ($11 billion). The rest is divided between five European energy companies - Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Anglo- Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Engie and Austria’s OMV.

Source: Reuters

'Europe may need 100 bcm of gas a year by 2030'

3 October. Europe may need 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of new gas supply each year by 2030 due to falling production, Alexander Medvedev, deputy CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Russian gas exporter Gazprom, said. Russian gas supplies to Europe may hit a record high this year, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

Source: Reuters

World needs access to Russian gas: Saudi Energy Minister

3 October. The world needs access to Russian gas, which is among the cheapest on the planet, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said. Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) could help Saudi Arabia to reduce the amount of oil liquids burnt in the kingdom, he said. He said that oil and gas company Saudi Aramco was in active talks with Russia’s independent gas producer Novatek about participating in the next phase of the Russian Yamal LNG project.

Source: Reuters

Noble Energy cashes out of Tamar Petroleum after Egypt gas deal

3 October. Texas-based Noble Energy sold its 43.5 percent stake in Israel’s Tamar Petroleum after announcing that it would help finance a gas export deal with Egypt. Noble, Israel’s Delek Drilling and the Egyptian East Gas Company said they would buy a 39 percent stake in the EMG pipeline to enable a landmark $15 billion deal to export natural gas from Israel to Egypt to begin next year. The $518 million purchase will enable the supply of 64 billion cubic metres of gas over 10 years from Israel’s offshore Tamar and Leviathan fields.

Source: Reuters


Glencore, Tohoku Electric set coal contract price at $109.77 per tonne

4 October. Global miner Glencore and Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power agreed on a price of $109.77 per tonne for supplies of thermal coal from Australia for the year through September 2019. The agreed price, which serves as an industry benchmark for supplies of seaborne thermal coal in Asia, was 16 percent higher than the contract for the year through September this year. Glencore has two annual supply contracts with Japanese utilities but talks with Tohoku Electric on supplies for April 2018-March 2019 broke down earlier this year, forcing other utilities to set their own prices in the opaque market. Australian spot thermal coal prices have traded around six-year highs in recent months, pushed up by a summer heatwave across the northern hemisphere as well as output cuts in China, the world’s biggest consumer of coal.

Source: Reuters

China's funding for coal draws scrutiny as climate concern grows

4 October. China's leading role in financing a wave of new coal plants across Asia is drawing fresh scrutiny as the world’s top climate scientists weigh calling for much deeper cuts in emissions. China’s thirst for energy supplies is so strong it pushed up the benchmark coal contract to $100 a ton, the most in five years.

Source: Bloomberg


Strike cuts French electricity generation by 2.8 GW

9 October. A power sector strike reduced electricity generation at three French nuclear reactors and two coal-fired generators by 2.8 GW, data by French power grid operator RTE showed. The 24-hour strike by the energy branch of the hardline CGT trade union is part of a nationwide protest by several unions against President Emmanuel Macron’s reforms. RTE’s data showed that power generation was reduced at EDF operated St. Laurent 1, Cruas 2 and Chinon 4 nuclear reactors, while output was at zero at the Cordemais 4 and 5 coal power plants.

Source: Reuters

TCN invests $170 mn to upgrade electricity transmission in Abuja

9 October. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has disclosed plan to invest about $170 million on the construction of five new transmission sub-stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. TCN Managing Director Usman Gur Mohammed explained the project would come under the first phase of TCN’s Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Plan (TREP) and financed by the French development agency – Agence Française de Developpment (AFD). Besides the construction of the five new sub-stations and transmission routes to stabilise electricity supply to Abuja, Mohammed said the TCN would send a complaint letter to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to ask for a special regulatory cover for its transmission facilities especially heavy-duty transformers across the country which he claimed are frequently impacted by electricity accidents from the various distribution facilities of electricity distribution companies.

Source: THISDAY Newspapers

'Gulf countries may export surplus electricity to Iraq'

3 October. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have entered into talks with Iraq to link up to its electric grid, Matar al-Neyadi, undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry, said. Iraq and its southern province of Basra have endured power cuts for years as public services deteriorate. The GCC could export its electricity surplus, Neyadi said. The GCC produces 100 GW annually, of which only 30 percent is consumed in winter, Neyadi said. The GCC is also considering an electric link with the Horn of Africa and the Indian peninsula, Neyadi said.

Source: The Economic Times


Indonesia to convert old oil refineries into biofuel plants

9 October. Indonesia is looking into converting two of the country’s older crude oil refineries into plants for producing biofuels, Rini Soemarno, the Minister overseeing state-controlled companies, said. The government is conducting a study with Italian energy company ENI, which has successfully converted one of its refineries to the production of biofuels, Soemarno said. Indonesia’s biodiesel drive also aims to absorb the country’s rising crude palm oil output amid sluggish global demand. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of the commodity.

Source: Reuters

Bioenergy leads growth in renewable energy consumption to 2023: IEA

8 October. Bioenergy from liquid biofuels and biogas will lead growth in renewable energy consumption to 2023, due to its rising use in the heating and transport sectors, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Overall, renewable energy will continue to grow to 2023, accounting for 40 percent of energy consumption growth as countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions to try and keep global warming in check. While growth in solar and wind power is set to continue in the electricity sector, bioenergy will remain the largest source of renewable energy, the IEA said in an annual report on renewables. China will lead global growth in renewable energy due to policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from all sectors and lessen harmful air pollution and will surpass the European Union as the largest consumer of renewable energy by 2023, the report said. Of the world’s largest energy consumers, Brazil will have the highest share of renewables by far – almost 45 percent of total final energy consumption in 2023, driven by a significant contribution of bioenergy and hydropower.

Source: Reuters

Macquarie joins huge Australian west coast solar, wind project

8 October. Macquarie Group said it has agreed to help back an ambitious A$22 billion ($16 billion) solar and wind power project in outback Australia that could eventually provide power to Indonesia, as well as big miners and hydrogen projects. The project, called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, is looking to build 11 GW of power capacity, with more than half to be allocated to energy users and potential hydrogen producers in northwestern Australia. Macquarie has agreed to provide development capital and take an equity stake in the project, alongside Danish wind turbines giant Vestas and privately owned Intercontinental Energy and CWP Energy Asia, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub said. The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2014, aims to win environmental approval from the state of Western Australia by the end of 2019 and secure financing around 2021.

Source: Reuters

Spain scraps 'sun tax' in measures to cool electricity prices

5 October. Spain took measures aimed at reducing electricity bills which are among the highest in Europe and are often criticized for reducing business competitiveness and consumer’s purchasing power. The government will scrap a controversial levy on solar power affecting households and small businesses, Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said. The toll applied to a system known as “auto-consumption”, using installations with more than 10 kilowatts of capacity that were connected to the national grid. Spanish consumers pay the sixth-highest electricity prices in the European Union, according to Eurostat. Included in the reform was the ‘sun tax’, which put consumers off taking advantage of a plunge in the price of solar panels that has made them an attractive energy source in other countries.

Source: Reuters


India’s Electricity Scenario: Growth in Electricity Generation Vs Installed Capacity of State Sector

Year(s) Installed Capacity (MW) Generation (MU)
2007-08 77523 368888
2008-09 79309 374209
2009-10 82905 380371
2010-11 87417 386037
2011-12 85919 391547
2012-13 89125 394947
2013-14 92265 400126
2014-15 95079 407817
2015-16 101790 389815
2016-17 103967 398440
2017-18 103975 427915

Year on Year Growth in Installed Capacity & Generation of State Sector

Source: Central Electricity Authority

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Advisor: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar

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