MonitorsPublished on Feb 25, 2019
Energy News Monitor | Volume XV; Issue 37


Power News Commentary: January ⎯ February 2019


India is all set to achieve 100 percent household electrification by the month end, with 24.4 million families having received power connections out of the targeted 24.8 million under the ₹163.20 billion Saubhagya scheme. Achieving 100 percent household electrification was one of the aims of the present government. However, it could not meet the self-imposed deadline of December 2018 for the scheme. According to the Saubhagya portal, about 358,000 households are left to be electrified in four states — Assam (1,63,016), Rajasthan (88,219), Meghalaya (86,317) and Chhattisgarh (20,293). The Saubhagya scheme envisages providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining households in rural as well as urban areas.

India is targeting complete electrification of its railway network over the next four-five years, which will make it the only such large rail network. Over 4,000 km of railway tracks were electrified last year, which would increase to 6,000 km this year.

Average spot power price at IEX rose slightly by 4 percent at ₹3.33/kWh in January compared to same month year ago mainly due to subdued demand. According to the day-ahead-market data at IEX, with trade of 3,281 million units, the volume in the day-ahead-market saw an increase of 7 percent on month-on-month basis and decline of 3 percent year-on-year basis. On a daily average basis about 106 million units were traded. IEX said the market clearing price and volume in January 2019 remained almost same as that in December 2018, mainly on account of winter and subdued demand for power, especially in the northern states. IEX said that ‘One Nation, One Price’ was realised for 18 days during the month. The day-ahead-market experienced transmission congestion of 1.6 percent mainly in the import towards southern region. On daily average basis, 686 participants traded in the market during the month. As per the National Local Dispatch Centre statistics, the all India peak demand touched 162 GW on 18 January, registering a 4 percent increase over peak demand registered in January 2018. On all India basis, the energy supplied in January 2019 at 103 billion units registered marginal increase of 3 percent from 100.7 billion units compared to last year. In December last year, short-term power prices declined to ₹3.30/kWh on a month-on-month basis owing to the ongoing winter season, during which there is subdued demand for power, particularly in northern and western states. However, power prices increased on a year-on-year basis compared with ₹3.00/kWh in December 2017. In December 2018, all-India energy requirement increased 4.9% year-on-year and available energy increased 5.0% year-on-year, leaving a power deficit of 0.5% against 0.6% in December 2017.

India proposes to move to the global practice of selling entire power generation through spot market to lower tariffs, promote efficient plants and withstand periodical aberrations that benefit a few plants. It is also expected to ensure that power plants with low tariffs do not get into ‘stressed assets‘ category in future even without power purchase contracts with states. However, Association of Power Producers said the operational and settlement issues have to be looked into for implementation. The proposal put forth by sectoral regulator and followed in Europe and many parts of the United States is expected to result in savings of crores of rupees to the state-owned electricity distribution companies. An exercise by the CERC showed that the mechanism could have last year resulted in savings of nearly ₹60 billion to distribution companies of five states. If implemented, pan-India the savings are expected to be higher. CERC has begun consultations on the proposal on market-based economic dispatch of electricity.

The government has constituted a committee under the CEA to explore prepaid payments by state electricity discoms to power plants. With this the government has deferred a decision on a recommendation made by Cabinet Secretary led panel to put in place a bill discounting mechanism ahead of elections. The committee, constituting chairmen of discoms of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, representatives from Union power ministry and power associations, will look into problems of delayed payments from distribution companies to power generators. The power ministry has already issued an advisory to states to shift to prepaid smart metering for all consumers in the next three years. The CEA–led committee has been asked to submit its recommendations to the power ministry in one month. The committee will study working capital cycles of power distribution companies and generation companies and identify gaps contributing to stress in the sector. Power generators pay in advance to coal companies while delayed receivables from discoms mounted ₹300 billion this year.

The recommendations of a high-level empowered committee on stressed power assets will be placed before the Cabinet soon for approval. The proposals in the upcoming tariff policy have a provision where the regulator would assess if discoms have sufficient long-term and mid-term PPAs to meet their respective annual average demand, warranting new PPAs to be offered. Additionally, the provision of penalty for gratuitous load-sheddings in the tariff policy would also push discoms to have adequate PPAs tied up.

The government expects to put 10,000 MW of stressed power assets on track through auctions, starting with 5,000 MW of power purchase contracts to be offered in the next 15 days. Tenders for procurement of 2,500 MW agreements for three years were issued. The auctions kick-started will be in a reverse e-bid format under which the power producers will have to lower tariffs in the online process. The tariffs will be linked to inflation, unlike the last round where these were fixed for three years. The reverse e-bid auction for PPAs is in a different format than the previous auctions conducted by the power ministry in April last year. In the previous tenders, the bidders had to match the lowest quoted price to bag contracts. Also, the bidders will quote capacity charges this time and the scheme assures minimum offtake of 85% of contracted capacity to the power plants. In the last round, the fixed cost was kept at ₹0.01/kWh with minimum offtake guarantee of 55%. PFC Consulting Ltd has been appointed as the nodal agency for the bidding, while PTC India Ltd will act as the aggregator. PTC India will sign a three-year agreement for procurement of power with successful bidders and power supply agreement with state distribution companies. Recent tenders by discoms seeking short-term power supply have received high bids as generators expect coal shortage, higher demand for electricity from states during summer and the election. Bids floated by state utilities of Chhattisgarh and UP for supply in May-–June received bids as high as ₹5-6.5/kWh. The government had in April last year kicked off a pilot scheme for procurement of aggregate power of 2,500 MW on competitive basis for three years from commissioned projects without PPAs. Seven plants won 1,900 MW power contracts in the pilot round. These include RKM Powergen, Jhabua Power Ltd, MB Power Ltd, SKS Power, Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd, IL&FS Energy and JP Nigrie.

With outstanding dues spiralling to nearly ₹60 billion, NTPC Ltd has threatened to cut supplies to the electricity discoms of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana if the bills are not cleared soon. The cumulative dues, pending for more than 60 days, stood at ₹41.38 billion as on 30 January. If immediate arrangements are not made, the three states could lose 3,470 MW of power supply from NTPC’s Ramagundam, Simhadri, Talcher and Kudgi power plants. As per the regulation notice sent to the discoms from NTPC, some of the bills for which payments have not been made were raised as early as March 2018. NTPC’s outstanding receivable from states (more than 60 days) are pegged at ₹70.2 billion at the end of 31 December 2018. According to sources, dues are also rising significantly from the discoms of UP and Jammu and Kashmir. The dues have been pending in spite of “repeated follow ups at various levels in person as well as through letters”. The company has asked the state to clear the pending dues or face blackout. Of the ₹19.85 billion, ₹16.26 billion dues are outstanding for more than 60 days, the company said.

Nepal and India have agreed to set up an ‘Energy Banking’ mechanism that would help the Himalayan country export its surplus electricity to neighbour India during the monsoon season and import power during its lean season in winter. The agreement on the ‘Energy Banking’ mechanism was arrived at during a meeting between the Nepali and Indian Energy Secretaries in Pokhara, following recommendations by the electricity authorities of both the neighbours. Nepal’s demand for electricity reaches its peak during the summer months, but production slumps to one-third of demand. Likewise, in India demand reaches its peak during the monsoon season and slumps during winter. Following the agreement, Nepal will export its surplus electricity to India during the monsoon season. The NEA stated that in a couple of years, about 4,750 MW surplus electricity that would otherwise have remained unused will now be utilised. With the losses mounting over time, the NEA had stopped signing PPA with the private sector producing electricity. According to a PPA signed by the NEA, almost 2,250 MW run-of-the-river electricity goes waste during the monsoon season. The Energy Banking agreement would be initiated from newly- constructed Dhalkebar-Mujaraffpur 400 kilovolt-amps transmission line. As per the agreement, India has also agreed to provide up to 80 MW electricity to Nepal, through setting up a temporary 50 megavolt-ampere capacity temporary transformer at Tanakpur. India has agreed to set up a new transformer within two months. At present, Nepal is able to import only 30 to 35 MW electricity from Tanakpur. Aiming to make Nepal’s electricity mechanism strong and stable, the Indian side has agreed to extend the capacity of the Raksaul-Parwanipur and Kataiya-Kusaha 132 kV transmission line. An equilibrium of 50-50 MW electricity is being imported through these two transmission lines. With the reformation of the transmission lines, it would be easy for India to import electricity from Nepal based on the Energy Banking mechanism. Besides the two transmission lines, another circuit is vacant and Nepal has proposed adding another one, to which India has agreed India has also given the green signal to Nepal to extend its transmission lines into Indian territory as well as do the repairing. After the transmission line is extended into India it would help the Bhairahawa Industrial Estate manage the load through 132 kV transmission line. Likewise, India also has given its nod to construct the Kohalpur-Nanpara 132 km transmission line as requested by Nepal and would start the feasibility study of the site — covering a distance of 50 km (25 km in Nepal and 25 km in India).

MSEDCL will appoint ‘power managers’ in 23,000 villages to attend to the complaints related to electricity and its theft. MSEDCL will appoint 23,000 ‘village electrical managers’ one at the gram panchayat level. They will attend to the power-related complaints and electricity thefts. The ‘village electrical manager’ will work for the MSEDCL at the gram panchayat level.

As one of the major industrial hubs in the country, Aurangabad is among the areas in the state that have been witnessing huge unrest over the power tariff policies of the state government. The industry players have been particularly unhappy about the revision of the power tariff by the MSEDCL in September 2018 as part of the midterm review, creating a 15 percent hike in power rates for industries. Besides the midterm review, industry captains also are also unhappy with the increase in tax on sale to ₹0.18/kWh and the decrease in power factor incentive up to 3.5 percent. Drawing power from the MSEDCL has become financially non-viable due to the unjust tariff and related policy decisions. MSEDCL has ordered recovery of ₹206.51 billion from industries and other commercial establishments towards the losses that it has been incurring in the generation and distribution of power. Aurangabad and its outskirts have nearly 650 industrial units, which falls in the high-tension category and along with the areas coming under the low-tension category, these two categories have been allegedly facing the consequences of government policies.

All the 15 million consumers in Bihar will be provided smart prepaid electricity meters in the next two years. All the 15 million power connections to smart prepaid meters in the next three years. The department had provided pre-paid meters to 111 consumers at Maurya Lok Complex in Patna on a pilot basis two months back. The trial run has been successful. Prepaid smart meter is a pro-consumer step. Once it is installed, the consumer will not need to pay the entire month’s bill at one go. The consumer can recharge one’s electricity meter as per requirements, another official familiar with the technology said.

Agra and Aligarh divisions, covered by state government-owned discom, DVVNL, have shown high performance in OTS scheme. Here, more than 70 percent of targeted defaulters have availed of the scheme envisaging 100 percent waiver of surcharge (fine imposed on delay in payment of electricity bill) by paying 30 percent of the pending dues to get registered. The scheme covers farmers as well as residential and commercial consumers having a sanctioned load of up to 2 kW and will take into account pending dues till 31 December 2018. The scheme will come to a close on February 15. In contrast to Agra and Aligarh, areas under Jhansi, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh and Mirzapur zones have shown poor performance with target achievement of 12 percent to 18. Of the four worst performing zones in UP Jhansi under DVVNL recorded only 13 percent targeted registration till 2 February. Mahoba, Lalitpur, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot and Orai circles were able to achieve 10 percent to 17 percent of the target. Show-cause notices have been issued to officials of the worst performing areas with strict directives to complete the target by 15 February. DVVNL which covers 21 districts of western UP had 16,17,519 consumers with over ₹10,000 electricity bills pending on them. The target for registration of defaulters under the OTS scheme was 8,24,815. The discom was able to achieve only 35.54 percent of the target. DVVNL administration following strict orders from the ministry of power has directed the officials to send staff to the houses of defaulters and ask them to pay their dues. They have been asked to disconnect the power supply of defaulters if they do not register for the OTS despite formal notice.

The UP government has extended the registration date to avail the OTS scheme from 31 January to 15 February. The government had launched the special OTS scheme in January this year in which 100 percent farmers who could not pay their electricity bill on time will get a waiver of 100 percent surcharge on their bill. The OTS scheme, which came into effect from 1 January 2019, requires farmers to pay 30 percent of their pending dues to get registered and get the surcharge (fine imposed on delay in payment of an electricity bill) waived. The scheme will also cover residential and commercial consumers having a sanctioned load of up to 2 kW and will take into account pending dues till 31 December 2018.

Organised theft of power in Delhi for charging of e-rickshaws has assumed serious proportions with discom sources putting the annual losses due to it at nearly ₹1.5 billion. There are three power discoms — BYPL and BRPL of BSES and Tata Power Delhi Dsitribution Ltd — that supply electricity to the national capital. As per estimates there are over 100,000 e-rickshaws plying on the city roads and only one-fourth of them are registered, despite a subsidy scheme of the government. Power experts and discom sources claim lack of proper charging facilities has led to organised rackets of power theft in prominent parts of the city, especially in areas close to metro stations. On an average, an e-rickshaw consumes around 7-10 units per day. This comes to about 2,500-3,600 units per e-rickshaw per annum. Power theft is at its peak at night due to bulk charging at facilities set up by the rackets, discom said. Sangam Vihar, Kalkaji, Tughlakabad, Sarai Kale khan, Dakshin Puri, Raghubir Nagar, Tagore Garden, Madipur, Seelampur, Yamuna Vihar, Shastri Park, Karawal Nagar, Mustafabad, Nand Nagri, Karol Bagh, Keekarwala Keshampuram, Civil Lines are some areas where power theft for e-rickshaw charging is “rampant”, discom said. In the latest tariff order, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed the rate of ₹5.50/kWh for e-rickshaw charging. Discom said a typical e-rickshaw owner pays between ₹100 to ₹150 to an illegal charging station. This comes down to ₹50 per e-rickshaw if charged through a legal connection. The company is employing technology to track power theft in its area of distribution and has installed AMR based energy systems at distribution transformers. Nearly 1 million households in both city and rural limits have benefited from the Tamil Nadu government’s 100-unit free electricity plan, which was announced in 2016. A statement from the district collectorate claimed that uninterrupted power supply is one of the most important things for the growth. Since 2016 the state government has ensured uninterrupted power supply to all homes, which are benefiting by not having to pay the electricity charges if their usage is less than 100 units. In the rural pockets of the district, the number of electricity connections given by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp is 471,000. The villages have 215,000 consumers who use less than 100 units, and the subsidy obtained by them is ₹366.7 million. The number of consumers using less than 200 units is 146,000 lakh and just 5,874 utilise more than 500 units in the bimonthly cycle.

While the Delhi government is trying woo farmers with a draft agricultural policy, farmers of the national capital do not seem to be very happy with the ruling party on the issue of high electricity charges every month. The fixed electricity charge for agriculture use in Delhi is ₹125/kW/month as per the tariff schedule. Some farmers said that they have to give the fixed charge even when they purchase meters on their own, while some others said they have to pay this charge for the electricity they use in their homes as well. While several farmers are demanding the reduction of the fixed charge, some others demand it free.

Following Delhi Chhattisgarh announced the reduction of electricity bills of all domestic consumers for consumption up to 400 units. A provision of ₹4 billion was made in this regard. Any consumption above 400 units would be charged on normal rates. In view of re-stationing for power supply, the budget proposed a new provision of ₹500 million for establishment of SCADA system in Raipur, Durg-Bhilai and Bilaspur industrial areas. This will be followed by setting-up of smart meters in four cities with an allowance of ₹330 million.

The Chandigarh power department is aiming to earn ₹400 million from regulatory surcharge in the next financial year. The power department would be imposing regulatory surcharge following the directions issued by JERC. The JERC had recently directed the department not to slap 5 percent regulatory surcharge on FPPCA charges. Instead, the panel directed the department to charge 5 percent regulatory surcharge on the total bill. The FPPCA charges are the difference between per unit actual cost of power purchase and per unit approved cost of power purchase. The charge is added on per-unit basis to each electricity bill over and above the regular tariff. The UT power department generates bills bi-monthly for domestic customers and monthly for commercial and industrial consumers. The charges are revised after every quarter. In its tariff order issued on 29 March last year, the JERC had imposed a cap on FPPCA charges to be levied by the department from April onwards. The commission had limited FPPCA charge to 10 percent of the approved cost for a quarter. The commission had also directed the department to charge 5 percent regulatory surcharge on the total bill. However, the department sought clarification from the commission on slapping 5 percent regulatory surcharge on FPPCA as well, which was denied by the commission. The power department caters to 228,000 consumers, who are divided into nine categories. As per official figures, 199,000 consumers are domestic users, accounting for more than 87 percent of the overall figure. The remaining 13 percent consumers are divided into commercial, small power, medium supply, large supply, bulk supply, public lighting, agriculture power and temporary supply categories. Chandigarh does not have its own power plant and buys power from Central power generating stations like Nuclear Power Corp of India, National Thermal Power Corp, Bhakra Beas Management Board, National Hydroelectric Power Corp and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam. Power allocation from each station is fixed for a year, while the deficit is met through an unallocated quota and short-term power purchase.

In a fresh row over electricity employees between the two Telugu states, Telangana Electricity Employees’ Associations alleged their counterparts in AP were giving Telangana options to the Supreme Court-appointed committee despite being relieved by power utilities four years ago. Both states are at loggerheads over electricity employees for the past four years and the Supreme Court in November last year appointed a committee headed by retired judge Justice Dharmadhikari to give recommendations to resolve the bifurcation issues in six months. It started in 2015 when Telangana government relieved nearly 1,150 employees from AP to AP power utilities. But many employees refused to go to AP saying they studied and were settled in Hyderabad. Telangana government has been paying salaries to these relieved employees following directions of Supreme Court and high court for past two to three years.

Reliance Power has been directed by Delhi High Court to pay ₹3 billion for its 4,000 MW Krishnapatnam UMPP to host Andhra Pradesh. The company has been planning to surrender this project for past three years. The Delhi High Court had rejected a plea by CAPL’s to restrain Andhra Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Ltd from invoking a ₹3 billion bank guarantee against the former for non-completion of the project. CAPL is a special purpose vehicle of Reliance Power to implement the Krishnapatnam UMPP. The High Court has asked CAPL to approach either the CERC or any other tribunal that CERC may refer them to for seeking redressal of the issue. Krishnapatnam project has been awaiting clarity over pass through of imported coal cost. Reliance Power had bid aggressively at ₹2.33/kWh for it in 2010.

Rest of the World

China, power consumption, NEA, industrial power, pollution curbs, energy, ORF energy, energy news
China’s total installed power generation capacity reached 1,899.67 GW by the end of 2018.

China’s power consumption rose 8.5 percent last year to 6,844.9 billion kilowatt hours a six-year high, data from the NEA showed. The country’s total installed power generation capacity had reached 1,899.67 GW by the end of 2018, according to NEA. Industrial power consumption increased by 7.1 percent in 2018 to 4,645.6 billion kilowatt hours, NEA said. The rise in consumption was led by China’s manufacturing industry and services sector, the China Electricity Council said. Last year the council had forecast China’s power consumption to rise 5.5 percent in 2018 on economic growth and pollution curbs.

South Africa’s power utility Eskom said it would temporarily turn off the power due to the increasing strain on its power stations and reserve capacity. The cash-strapped state-owned firm supplies 90 percent of the country’s electricity and last implemented blackouts in early December when it faced falling coal supplies. It will switch off the power from 1300 local time and said it was likely to remain off until 2200. South African trade union federation COSATU said that it opposed a proposal to split up Eskom into three different entities, adding that it would not solve the struggling utility’s governance and debt problems. The proposal to split Eskom into three separate firms was made by a task team appointed by the President at a meeting with members of the ruling African National Congress.

French electricity generation saw its biggest increase in ten years, up 3.7 percent at 549 TWh compared with 2017, thanks to a surge in power output from nuclear and renewables sources, French electricity grid operator RTE said. The increased output from nuclear and renewables enabled France cut is carbon emissions from power generation by 28 percent year-on-year in 2018, RTE said. RTE said renewable wind, and solar power in France rose 15.3 percent and 11.3 percent respectively in 2018 thanks to favourable weather conditions and a rise in installed renewables capacity, which added 2,400 MW during the year, the equivalent of two nuclear reactors. It said power consumption was stable for the sixth year in a row at 474 TWh, in line with its forecast. It helped to keep France as the top, net electricity exporter in Europe with 86.3 TWh exported, while 26 TWh was imported during the year.

California utility PG&E Corp plans to increase the controversial practice of shutting off the power to communities at risk of wildfire when dangerous conditions such as high winds and dry heat are present. The San Francisco-based utility, which serves 16 million customers, said it would increase nearly tenfold its efforts to turn off the power to communities threatened by wildfire, increasing the number of households and businesses potentially affected by fire-prevention blackouts in 2019 to 5.4 million. California’s power grid operator said the bankruptcy filing by PG&E Corp and its Pacific Gas and Electric Co utility, the biggest US power company, has not had any effect on the state’s power grid and energy markets. The California Independent System Operator said it is continuing normal day-to-day operations with the utility and has not detected any material change in market trends that could be attributed to PG&E since the utility announced its intention to file for bankruptcy protection. PG&E provides electricity and natural gas to 16 million customers in northern and central California and employs 24,000 people.

IBM Corp has developed technology to predict and monitor when and where trees and vegetation threaten power lines which could help improve power supply operations and reduce outages, it said. Vegetation can cause disruption for energy companies, often growing over or obstructing power transmission lines. Energy suppliers usually deal with this by conducting regular inspections and trimming. IBM’s system uses data collected by satellites, drones, aerial flights, sensors and weather models to help companies monitor the state and maintenance of hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution lines. As well as identifying and predicting outage threats, the system can also help with grid reliability, wildfire prevention, storm management and assessment, the company said.

A plan by the Australian government to force power companies to cut prices has come under heavy attack from the industry, big users and regulators, who warn the proposed legislation could deter badly needed investment and drive up energy costs. The conservative government tried to rush the so-called “big stick” legislation through parliament in December, looking to appease voters who have seen power tariffs more than double over the past decade. The legislation, designed to carry out recommendations from Australia’s competition watchdog but which the industry says is unnecessary, seeks to prevent bad behavior in the spot, contract and retail power markets. The push to cut power prices came after the Liberal Party last August scrapped a widely supported energy policy designed to cut emissions, lower prices and make the grid more reliable. Australia’s biggest power generators, retailers and large energy customers told the Senate panel the legislation would likely drive up power prices, weaken competition and chill investment. Under the legislation power retailers must pass on to consumers reductions in their underlying cost of procuring electricity. The legislation would allow the Treasurer to force a power producer to offer hedging contracts, if it were deemed to have refused to offer contracts in order to limit competition. The legislation would also bar generators from manipulating spot electricity prices. In a serious breach, the Treasurer could apply to a court to force a generator to divest assets, the measure most feared by the industry, including the state government of Queensland which owns three power generation companies.

British energy regulator Ofgem said it had appointed independent power supplier Utilita Energy to take on the customers of Our Power which ceased trading earlier this month. Our Power is the tenth small British energy supplier to cease trading in the past twelve months leading to questions over the viability of some of Britain’s 50 or so smaller energy suppliers which have taken market share from the “big six” suppliers over the past few years. Ofgem said any outstanding credit balances of Our Power’s 31,000 customers would be honoured and the switch of supplier would take place on 31 January. Utilita Energy is an independent energy supplier with around 600,000 customers.

Russia has approved the start of a 1.9 trillion ruble ($29 billion) modernisation plan for domestic power plants. Power is one of the most competitive sectors in Russia, with state players, private investors and firms such as Italy’s Enel, Finland’s Fortum and Germany’s Uniper. The 2022-2031 modernisation covers 41 GW, a sixth of Russia’s existing power plant capacity, and will replace an earlier state-backed program where investors were given the opportunity to build the new capacity. Investors will bid to take part in selected upgrades and granted 16-year agreements with customers who will pledge to pay higher prices in exchange to the access to the capacity. Using Russian equipment may be a challenge. Russia began building two power stations in Crimea to provide electricity to the peninsula which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, but the facilities became embroiled in a row over sanctions. German engineering firm Siemens has said Russia clandestinely delivered several of its turbines to Crimea, despite European sanctions which ban the supply of energy technology to Crimea. Russia wants the new program to be a catalyst for local producers, including subsidiaries of foreign firms, to create domestic versions of the global power sector equipment, cutting Moscow’s reliance on Western suppliers.

Germany is planning to protect consumers and manufacturers from the impact of abandoning cheap coal-fired power, which Berlin is looking to ditch for environmental reasons, according to a government body’s draft paper. The Coal Commission, which is tasked with organising the exit from coal, said that companies and private households should be spared from heavy price increases. According to the draft, fees for the use of electricity grids should be reduced for both industry and private consumers and operators of coal-fired power stations should receive compensation for early closure.

Germany’s energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BnetzA) has decided on the route for the first part of a high-voltage line that will ultimately send wind power from the North Sea to consumers in the southwest. The Ultranet power line is to run from Duesseldorf in the regional state of North-Westphalia to Philippsburg in Baden Wuerttemberg and the 60 kilometre corridor approved is one of four that are needed to bring the project closer to completion in 2023. German grid company Amprion, partly held by utility RWE , plans to lay cables using direct current electricity transmission along existing lines, in order to speed up delivery and avoid transmission losses over long distances. The new high-voltage power line will help supplying Baden-Wuerttemberg’s big industrial players, such as Daimler and Bosch, with round-the-clock energy.

IEX: Indian Energy Exchange, kWh: kilowatt hour, CERC: Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, CEA: Central Electricity Authority, MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, km: kilometre, discoms: distribution companies, PPAs: power purchase agreements, NEA: Nepal Electricity Authority, kV: kilovolt, MSEDCL: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd, DVVNL: Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd, OTS: one time settlement, kW: kilowatt, UP: Uttar Pradesh, AMR: Automated Meter Reading, SCADA: supervisory control and data acquisition, JERC: Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission, FPPCA: fuel and power purchase cost adjustment, UT: Union Territory, AP: Andhra Pradesh, UMPP: Ultra Mega Power Project, CAPL: Coastal Andhra Power Ltd, TWh: terawatt hour, NEA: National Energy Administration


Oil Minister lays foundation stone for LPG bottling plant in Odisha

19 February. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan laid the foundation stone of HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd)’s LPG bottling plant in Odisha’s Rayagada. The LPG plant of HPCL will be spread over 21 acres and will have the capacity of filling 42 lakh cylinders per year. The plant is expected to be operational by September 2020. The LPG bottling plant will be the second plant of HPCL in the state and will be constructed with a capex of ₹910 million. The plant in Rayagada will cater to the LPG markets in various districts in Odisha-Bolangir, Boudh, Gajapathi, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malakangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada and Sonepur.

Source: Business Standard

Indian state to move planned Saudi Aramco refinery after farmers protest

18 February. Opposition from farmers has prompted India’s western state of Maharashtra to move the location for what would be the country’s biggest oil refinery, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. Stare-run oil companies and Saudi Aramco have teamed up to build the $44 billion refinery, which is aimed at giving India steady fuel supplies while meeting Saudi Arabia’s need to secure regular buyers for its oil. But thousands of farmers are refusing to surrender land, fearing it could damage a region famed for its Alphonso mangoes, vast cashew plantations and fishing hamlets that boast bountiful catches of seafood. After their protests, land acquisition has been stopped for the refinery at the proposed site at Nanar, a village in Ratnagiri district, some 400 kilometre (250 miles) south of Mumbai, Fadnavis said. The refinery will be built at a place where local population won’t oppose the project, Fadnavis said. The location of refinery was one of the contentious issues between the parties, with Shiv Sena opposing the refinery. The announcement comes as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to arrive in India and is expected to announce investments in energy and infrastructure during the visit. The Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd, which is running the project, said the 1.2 million barrel per day (bpd) refinery, and an integrated petrochemical site with a capacity of 18 million tonnes per year, will help create direct and indirect employment for up to 150,000 people, with jobs that pay better than agriculture or fishing.

Source: Reuters

IOC signs first annual deal for US oil

18 February. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has signed its first annual deal to buy US (United States) oil, paying about $1.5 billion for 60,000 barrels a day in the year to March 2020 to diversify its crude sources, its Chairman Sanjiv Singh said. IOC is the first Indian state refiner to buy US oil under an annual contract, in a deal that will also help boost trade between New Delhi and Washington. The company has previously purchased US oil from spot markets and signed a mini-term deal in August to buy 6 million barrels of US oil between November and January. He said the annual contract will begin from April. IOC signed the deal with Norwegian oil company Equinor which will supply a variety of US crude grades.

Source: Reuters

High-level panel for reverting to older system of auctioning oil blocks

17 February. Two years after the government shifted to revenue sharing contracts for oil and gas block auctions, a high-level panel has suggested reverting back to older system of awarding areas in most basins based on exploration commitment. The six-member panel, headed by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar, which was formed on directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in its report submitted on 29 January stated that “unexplored areas in Category II & III basins be bid out exclusively based on exploration work programme”. The BJP-led NDA government had two years back moved from production sharing contracts, where acreage for exploration of oil and gas was allocated to firms offering the largest work programmes (such as carrying out seismic survey and drilling of wells), to revenue sharing contracts, where the firm offering highest revenue to the government was given the blocks. The move to revenue sharing was contrary to most of the industry players being against the new regime. He had stated that a high-level inter-ministerial committee has made several specific recommendations, including transforming the system of bidding for exploration, changing from revenue sharing to exploration programme for Category II and III basins.

Source: Business Standard

IOC gets environmental nod for Telangana storage and distribution terminal

17 February. The Expert Appraisal Committee under the Environment Ministry has given “green signal” to Indian Oil Corp (IOC) for setting up a grass root petroleum storage and distribution terminal in Telangana. The proposal involves setting up petroleum storage and distribution terminal comprising 28 tanks with combined capacity of nearly 165 million litres with an investment outlay of ₹5.7 billion at Malkapur village, Yadadri district.

Source: Business Standard

ONGC sells second Russian Sokol crude cargo loading in April at lower premium

15 February. ONGC has sold a second Russian Sokol crude cargo loading in April at a lower premium than the previous deal. The cargo loading on 17-23 April was sold to Shell at a premium just above $3.40 a barrel to Dubai quotes, about 20 cents lower than the previous deal

Source: Reuters

India advises refiner to avoid US system for Venezuela oil buying

15 February. India has asked one buyer of Venezuelan oil to consider paying the South American nation’s national oil company PDVSA in a way that avoids the US (United States) financial system, Indian government said, after Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela. The sanctions mean that if oil buyers pay PDVSA through the US banking system, the funds could be seized by US authorities. India, Venezuela’s second-biggest oil market after the US, has already restricted oil imports from Iran to win a waiver from US sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear and missiles programmes. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Nayara Energy, part-owned by Russian oil major Rosneft and trader Trafigura, are the two Indian buyers of Venezuelan oil.

Source: Reuters

India’s oil imports from Iran plunged 45 percent in January

15 February. India’s oil imports from Iran fell by 45 percent in January to 270,500 barrels per day (bpd) oil, ship tracking data showed, below the estimated 300,000 bpd for the month as some cargoes were delayed. The United States (US) introduced sanctions aimed at crippling Iran’s oil revenue-dependent economy in November but gave a six-month waiver to eight nations, including India, which allowed them to import some Iranian oil. India is restricted to buying 1.25 million tonnes per month, some 300,000 bpd. January imports from Iran were 10.4 percent lower than December, the tanker arrival data showed. Iran was the seventh biggest oil supplier to India in January compared with sixth in December, and slipped from third position it held a year ago. In the first 10 months of this fiscal year that began in April, India’s oil imports from Iran rose by 14.5 percent to 507,000 bpd as refiners boosted purchases ahead of the US sanctions drawn by discounts offered by Tehran, the data showed. Iran was hoping to sell more than 500,000 bpd of oil to India in 2018/19, its Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said last year, and had offered almost free shipping and an extended credit period to boost sales to the country. Indian refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Mangalore Refinery and Petroleum Corp Ltd (MRPL) and Indian Oil Corp (IOC) would lift same volume in March as they took in February. In February, IOC placed an order for 5 million barrels, MRPL for 2 million barrels and HPCL and BPCL for 1 million barrels each. India’s oil imports from Iran in this fiscal year would be higher than the 452,000 bpd, or 22.6 million tonnes, it imported in the previous year, were correct. India’s total oil imports in January were about 4.6 million bpd, a decline of about 10.4 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Source: Reuters


GAIL offers new swap of US LNG volumes

19 February. GAIL (India) Ltd offered a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) loading from the United States (US) on 27-29 June this year. GAIL is also seeking an LNG cargo for delivery into India’s Dahej or Hazira terminals on 8-12 September. The tender for both cargoes closes on 21 February. Including this tender, GAIL has offered 10 cargoes from its US offtake for loading in 2019 and 2020.

Source: Reuters

GAIL team inspects CNG, PNG stations in Patna

15 February. A 10-member team of officials from the GAIL (India) Ltd are in the state capital to conduct trial run of the piped natural gas (PNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) supply system. Three newly-built CNG stations at Raja Bazar, Bypass and Naubatpur, respectively are set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 February from Barauni. The PNG supply system will also be inaugurated the same day. The set-up of the PNG and CNG stations was inspected by the GAIL team, headed by K B Singh, executive director of eastern region.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian LNG importer might join Louisiana project

14 February. Petronet LNG Ltd (PLL) may invest in Tellurian Inc.’s proposed Driftwood LNG liquefaction and export facility near Lake Charles, La., Tellurian reported. Petronet is India’s largest LNG importer, operating 20 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of receiving terminal capacity with an additional 2.5 mtpa of capacity under construction at its Dahej expansion and a further 5 mtpa proposed at Gangavaram, Tellurian President and CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Meg Gentle said. The approximately 27.6 mtpa Louisiana project would also include natural gas production, gathering and processing infrastructure as well as the 96 mile (154.5 kilometre) Driftwood Pipeline.

Source: Rigzone

Natural gas price to be hiked by 10 percent for ONGC, RIL

13 February. In a boost to firms like ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the government is likely to raise the price of domestically produced natural gas by over 10 percent to over $3.72 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu) with effect from 1 April. The price of gas produced from difficult fields will rise to about $9 per mmBtu from current $7.67. The increase in price will boost earnings of producers like ONGC and RIL but will also lead to a rise in price of CNG (compressed natural gas), which uses natural gas as input. It would also lead to higher cost of natural gas piped to households (PNG) for cooking purposes as well as of feedstock cost for manufacturing of fertilisers and petrochemicals. India imports half of its gas which costs more than double the domestic rate. Natural gas prices were last hiked on 1 October 2018, by 10 percent when rates moved up to $3.36 per mmBtu from $3.06. The increase will translate into a higher cap price based on alternate fuels for undeveloped gas finds in difficult areas like deep sea, which are unviable to develop as per the existing pricing formula. The price for such fields from 1 April would be about $9 per mmBtu for six month beginning 11 April as compared to $7.67 currently. All of its gas, as well as that of Oil India Ltd and private sector RIL’s KG-D6 block, are sold at the formula approved in October 2014. This formula, however, does not cover gas from fields like Panna/Mukta and Tapti in western offshore and Ravva in the Bay of Bengal.

Source: Business Standard


New Mangalore’s coal handling boosts Palakkad rail division’s freight loading

19 February. The loading of coal at New Mangalore Port has helped the Palakkad division of Southern Railway to record growth in freight loading during the current financial year. The total freight loading in Palakkad division stood at 5.039 million tonnes during April-January of 2018-19 as against the target of 4.762 million tonnes, recording a growth of 5.8 percent against the target. The Palakkad division of Southern Railway said the coal loading from New Mangalore Port had helped the division to register improvement in freight loading. The Palakkad division transported 3.645 million tonnes of coal during the period.

Source: The Hindu Business L ine

Supreme Court refuses to allow transportation of extracted coal in Meghalaya

19 February. The Supreme Court refused to allow miners to transport extracted coal lying at various sites in Meghalaya. Various Interlocutory Applications have been filed for transportation of the coal already mined. The apex court is seized of a plea by Lber Laloo, who has filed a petition before the Supreme Court for lifting the ban on coal mining. The bench had earlier issued notice to the Meghalaya government, the Centre and others seeking their response on various issues connected with coal mining in the state. The court had said the incident, in which 15 miners got trapped in a rat-hole mine in East Jaintia Hills district, shows that illegal mining continues unabated despite the ban and the state may not be supporting it but has failed to contain illegal mining. The top court was hearing pleas filed by several coal miners seeking permission to transport extracted coal which was lying unattended at various places in the state.

Source: Business Standard

India’s coal import rises 5 percent to 190 mt in April-January

18 February. Coal imports increased by 5.1 percent to 189.9 million tonnes (mt) in the April-January period of the ongoing fiscal, the report by mjunction services showed. Coal imports were at 180.61 mt in the April-January period of the previous fiscal, the report showed. But January month saw a decline in coal import to 17.25 mt from 19.59 mt in the same month of the previous fiscal. In non-coking coal, the coal stock scenario at thermal power plants showed a steady improvement and this helped to curb volumes, mjunction CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Vinaya Varma said. Of the total imports during January 2019, non-coking coal shipments were 12.35 mt and coking coal at 3.53 mt. Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier urged Coal India Ltd (CIL) to pledge self-sufficiency in production to eliminate import of the dry fuel. The government has set a target of one billion tonne of coal production by 2019-20 for the mining major, but is considering relaxing the timeline. CIL has announced a production target of 652 mt in 2018-19.

Source: The Economic Times

MPT awaits IIT study to counter coal dust plaints

14 February. Revival of complaints about coal pollution has given the employees and management of Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) a sense of deja-vu, with port dependents apprehensive that coal handling operations could take the same trajectory as iron ore. With its revenue sources drying up, MPT is counting on the source apportionment study by IIT Bombay to put the complaints about coal pollution to rest. For many years, iron ore was the mainstay of MPT’s operations with over 40 million tonnes being exported in 2010-11 before mining came to a grinding halt in the state. In that year, just seven tonnes of coal was handled by MPT. Currently, South West Port Ltd (JSW) is permitted to handle 4 lakh tonnes of coal per month, with similar restrictions being placed on Adani Mormugao Port Terminal Pvt Ltd. IIT Bombay is expected to submit the study by February-end and MPT is counting on the report to give coal handling operations a clean chit. MPT held a stakeholders meeting a week earlier to discuss the issue with stakeholders. MPT chairman Ramesh Kumar attended the meeting and he informed residents that additional measures could be taken to transport and handle coal in a better manner. However, closure of coal-handling operations could put over 1,600 jobs under threat, the chairman said.

Source: The Economic Times

Commercial coal mining auctions unlikely due to elections

14 February. Auctions for commercial coal mining may not take place soon as the country is entering the election mode, Ashish Upadhyaya, joint secretary, coal ministry, said. The statement comes amid resistance from the trade unions operating in the coal sector against commercial coal mining. Last year, the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)-affiliated Indian National Mine Workers Federation (INMF) threatened to observe a strike at Coal India Ltd (CIL) to protest against commercial mining by private companies. In a major reform in the coal sector since its nationalisation in 1973, the government last year allowed private companies to mine the fossil fuel for commercial use, ending the monopoly of state-owned CIL. Announcing the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs

(CCEA), Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had said the reform is expected to bring efficiency in the coal sector by moving from an era of monopoly to competition. The CCEA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had in February 2018 approved the methodology for auction of coal mines/ blocks for sale of coal under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015, and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The opening up of commercial coal mining for the private sector is the most-ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of the sector in 1973, the Minister said. India is estimated to have coal reserves of up to 300 billion tonnes.

Source: Business Standard

Government keen to source coal gasification technology from US

14 February. India is keen to collaborate with the US (United States) department of energy to source technology for coal gasification to tap into the country’s large reserves, improve its fuel efficiency and reduce dependence on imports. The move was triggered after recent attempts by the government and private players to set up their own coal gasification plants failed. A high-level meeting chaired by NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat was held recently with officials from US department of energy. The meeting was called because the government is keen on global partnerships to achieve coal gasification at lower costs and integrate technology for smarter handling of the fuel in an economically viable way. The discussions are in preliminary stage and the challenge for India is the high ash content in indigenous coal. The coal requirement in India stands at around 20 million tonnes.

Source: The Economic Times


Andhra power distribution firm to bear 275 million additional burden annually

18 February. Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APEPDCL) has estimated that it will have to bear an additional burden of nearly ₹275.3 million to provide nine hours of free power supply to all 28,056 eligible farmers in Visakhapatnam district. As per estimates, 5.8 lakh units of electricity is required daily to maintain the nine-hour power supply to all farmers in 37 mandals. In the old seven-hour-supply scheme, the discom (distribution company) used to supply 4.5 lakh units of electricity. It will now have to provide an additional 1.3 lakh units of electricity, APEPDCL said. The discom purchases one unit of electricity for ₹4.45 from the power generation companies and supplies it to farmers for free. In the process, the total expenditure of the discom to supply one unit of electricity per day is ₹5.8, APEPDCL said. Accordingly, the additional 1.3 lakh units will cost ₹7.54 lakh per day and ₹275.3 million per year.

Source: The Economic Times

ArcelorMittal bids ₹48 billion to acquire Essar’s 1.2 GW power plant

18 February. ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s biggest steelmaker, has bid ₹48 billion ($673 million) to acquire Essar’s 1200 MW power plant in central India, one of the most prized assets in the debt-ridden group’s power portfolio. The bid for the power plant once again pits ArcelorMittal chief Lakshmi Mittal against the Ruia family, who are already fighting to prevent their flagship steel asset from falling into the hands of the global steel giant. Essar’s creditors are selling many of the group’s assets to recover billions of dollars of loans, leaving Essar Group with little say over who buys the assets. Government-owned Power Finance Corp (PFC) is the lead creditor of the power plant and PFC’s Chairman Rajeev Sharma disclosed ArcelorMittal’s bid. Sharma said PFC has yet to decide on either offer for the asset, known as the Mahan power plant, which has debt worth ₹74 billion. Essar Power, a subsidiary of the Essar Group, spent ₹80 billion to build the plant, which began operation early last year and currently accounts for 50 percent of Essar Group’s power generation.

Source: Reuters

Power shortages likely during polls as discoms miss payments

18 February. India may be heading for power shortages during summer when the country will go to the polls as private producers have not been paid ₹146 billion by state utilities which has created a shortage of funds, particularly for coal and rail transportation which requires advance payments. Private producers have asked the government to intervene and make state utilities pay up so that they can build fuel stocks that are needed to meet summer demand, which is expected to surge. Industry sources said thermal power plant capacity of at least 15,000 MW is deeply impacted by the financial crisis as state power distribution utilities are faltering on timely bill settlements. Power plants are not able to purchase coal as payments to coal companies and railways are made in advance. The total overdue payments to generation companies from distribution companies are expected to be of the order of ₹400 billion, of which receivables by private companies were at ₹146 billion. At a recent meeting on ensuring timely payments to generation companies, distribution companies of Tamil Nadu expressed their inability to settle the electricity bills. The major defaulter states include Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Besides claims worth ₹180 billion are pending with electricity commissions for adjustments due to ‘change in law’ situations. Power companies have written to Power Minister R K Singh to ask states to clear pending payables as further piling up may result in inability of generators to pay for coal and adversely affect power supply position. At a recent meeting of a committee under the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to explore prepaid payments by state electricity distribution companies (discoms) to power plants, Tamil Nadu distribution companies conveyed helplessness in clearing their dues. The committee was set up on 1 February to look into problems of delayed payments from discoms to power generators. The power ministry has also issued an advisory to states to shift to prepaid smart metering for all consumers in the next three years. The committee will study working capital cycles of power distribution companies and generation companies and identify gaps contributing to stress in the sector.

Source: The Economic Times

One-stop centre to get new power connection in Lucknow

15 February. There is a one-stop solution to getting a new electricity connection now. A first-of-its-kind service centre, the Vidyut Upbhokta Seva Kendra, was inaugurated at Burlington crossing. The staff at the centre would help a consumer with applying for a connection and ensure that the work is done in a fixed duration at a prescribed fee. On the inaugural day itself, two women got themselves registered for a new electricity connection. Started as a pilot project in Lucknow by the distribution company Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd, the centre will be open from 10am to 6pm. Nine services will be available to customers of Lucknow Electricity Supply Administration, applying for a new meter connection will be one of them. Consumers can also register complaints at the centre.

Source: The Economic Times

TANGEDCO directed to respond to plea on poor power supply

14 February. The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has directed the Sivaganga district Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp (TANGEDCO) officials to respond to a petition which alleged that two villages – Pethanendhal and Manalmedu in Thirubuvanam taluk in the district have no proper power supply for agriculture while all neighbouring villages do not face the problem. The petitioner, R Gurusamy stated that the TANGEDCO authorities do not issue three-phase power supply for irrigation purposes to the two villages during day time, as per statute and put the farmers to great hardship. According to the petitioner, about 10,000 people reside in these two villages and agriculture is the main profession for most of them and that most of them are small farmers. Claiming to be at the receiving end of power cuts for at least 10 times a day, the petitioner stated that the act by the authorities is discriminatory since other villages do not face the problem. This lack of power supply has reflected in the lack of upward mobility among the villagers and most of them are leaving the village to find menial work in nearby towns, the petitioner stated.

Source: The Economic Times

MSEDCL top brass bats for new industrial billing system

14 February. The top-brass of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) strongly advocated the proposed kilo volt amperes per hour (KVAH) billing system for industrial consumers, asserting that the new system will be beneficial for all the stakeholders. The MSEDCL held a special awareness programme for industrial consumers from Aurangabad, during which different aspects of the proposed KVAH billing were introduced. The new system is slated to come into effect from April 2020.

Source: The Economic Times

Tata Power commissions South Asia’s largest grid-scale energy storage system

13 February. Tata Power announced it has commissioned South Asia’s largest grid-scale energy storage system in Delhi. The 10 MW energy storage system, owned by AES and Mitsubishi Corp, has been installed at Tata Power Delhi Distribution’s Rohini substation. It is expected to provide better peak load management, system flexibility and reliability to more than two million consumers, Tata Power said. The country’s first grid-scale battery-based energy storage system uses Advancion Technology of Fluence, jointly owned by Siemens and AES. Battery-based energy storage enables electricity to be stored and delivered within milliseconds, reducing instability of the electric grid and enabling more energy to be captured and delivered on demand.

Source: The Economic Times

Increase in per capita consumption to push power demand: Singh

13 February. Power demand is expected to rise further as the per capita consumption of electricity will increase two to three times from the current 1,200 units, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said. The power sector is witnessing an increased demand which is further expected to go up in the near future. The current consumption of 1200 units per capita is expected to grow 2-3 times at par with the international consumption after each and every individual of the country has access to electricity, he said. About financing for the sector, the power minister suggested measures like pre-payment for consumption of electricity from both discoms (distribution companies) and end consumers, privatising distribution companies to make the process more market oriented. He said that with initiatives being undertaken by the government to augment power generation and distribution in the country like the Saubhagya Scheme and flexibility of power, the government’s directive to fulfil 40 percent of power requirements through non fossil fuels by 2030 is on track.

Source: Business Standard


Despite concerns, Ladakh solar power plan attracts 50 companies

19 February. The government’s ambitious plan to set up a 7,500 MW solar power project at an estimated investment of ₹450 billion in Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh region has whetted the appetite of some 50 topline companies, even as tariff emerged as the key concern. Prospective investors, including major manufacturers, raised a host of issues with the top brass of Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), the implementing agency under the renewable energy ministry, at a pre-bid meeting. These ranged from the natural challenges to the bid structure. The project is proposed to be set up at two locations. Hanle-Khaldo area in Nyoma block of Leh district will house a 5,000 MW unit, while Kargil district will get a 2,500 MW unit at Suru in Zanskar.

Source: The Economic Times

Maharashtra solar auction winning tariffs remain unchanged at 2.74 per unit

19 February. Tariffs in Maharashtra’s latest solar auction for 1,000 MW, held, remained almost unchanged from the last one conducted eight months ago, with mostly domestic developers participating. Shiv Solar and Acme Solar won 50 MW and 300 MW respectively at the lowest winning tariff of ₹2.74 per unit, while ReNew Power and Avaada Energy won 300 MW and 350 MW at ₹2.75 per unit. The tariff is distinctly lower than that at the last solar auction held in the country, by Gujarat in December, at which the winning price was ₹2.84 per unit. Unhappy with the tariff, which was higher than Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) officials expected, they promptly cancelled the auction. A unique feature of the latest Maharashtra solar auction is that projects can be set up anywhere in the country, not necessarily in the state itself, and the power transmitted to Maharashtra.

Source: The Economic Times

Andhra Pradesh CM for early completion of Polavaram hydel power plant

18 February. Andhra Pradesh (AP) Chief Minister (CM) N Chandrababu Naidu has directed the AP-Genco to complete the 960 MW (12 X 80 MW) Polavaram hydel project at least six months ahead of the schedule. He has directed the officials of the Energy Department to increase the renewable energy capacities. He said the government was making its best efforts to supply quality power to the consumers without enhancing tariffs in the future. Since the demand for electricity would increase due to rapid economic growth, the power utilities need to implement a time-bound plan for enhancement of installed capacities and complete the ongoing projects in the stipulated time-frame. Energy Minister K Kala Venkata Rao said the solar power tariffs, which stood at ₹6.50 per unit in 2014, came down to ₹2.70 per unit. Predicting the trend, the State government attached top priority to the generation of wind and solar power.

Source: The Hindu

Kerala looks up at solar energy for its power needs

17 February. After recovering from an unexpected natural calamity, the State is now on a renovation mode, building a ‘New Kerala’ that focuses on sustainable development. As part of this, recently the State Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac, in his budget speech, talked about providing around 1.3-1.5 billion units of electricity to the consumers from 500 MW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and 500 MW from floating and terrestrial solar PV projects. Kerala households have already registered for 200 MW of rooftop solar PV capacity. With a feasible plan in place, we talk to a few experts to understand the need, benefits and process of implementing solar power generation units in homes and offices. Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT), Kerala, explains that the Urja Kerala Mission by the State government is in the process of generating 1000 MW, of which 500 MW will be from solar panels installed on roof tops of houses.

Source: The Economic Times

Government eases green clearance norms for captive power plants

17 February. The Centre has exempted industries like steel, cement and metal from mandatory prior environment clearance for setting up a new or expanding the existing captive power plant employing waste heat recovery boilers (WHRB) without using any auxiliary fuel. The exemption to industries having potential for heat recovery has been given to promote energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to an order. This exemption was so far given to thermal power plants using waste heat boilers without any auxiliary fuel. Prior environment clearance will not be required for setting up of new or expansion of captive power plants employing WHRB without using any auxiliary fuel, in the existing cement plants, integrated steel plants, metallurgical industries and other industries having potential for heat recovery, the order said.

Source: Business Standard

Oil Minister inaugurates biodiesel plant set up by Austrian firm in Mumbai

15 February. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurated ‘energy from waste’ biodiesel plant in Navi Mumbai. Muenzer Bioindustrie GmbH, a company in Central Europe, has set up the biodiesel plant. The plant will convert used cooking oil into biodiesel, an innovative model of converting #Waste2Wealth and is further expected to add to India’s energy security and help create alternate sources of energy. The Muenzer plant apart from meeting requirements of Bio-diesel will also be a big step in creating awareness, supply chain infrastructure and setting an example for other potential players. This will be Mumbai’s first 100% UCO (Used Cooking Oil) based bio-diesel plant.

Source: The Economic Times

India proposes more than $12 billion of pollution-reducing incentives

15 February. India has proposed incentives worth ₹885 billion ($12.4 billion) to encourage power plants to install equipment to curb emissions and to develop infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs). The bulk of the money, ₹835 billion, would be aimed at curbing sulphur emissions from power plants, with the rest devoted to development of EV infrastructure in 70 cities over five years ending 2025. The proposal by the power ministry to its finance commission is in addition to an existing proposal that envisages installation costs for emission-cutting equipment to be passed on to consumers. India has already extended a December 2017 deadline for utilities to meet emissions standards by up to six years as power producers struggle to comply with stringent rules set out by the environment ministry in 2015 to cut emissions that cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog. Thermal power companies account for 80 percent of all industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulfur and nitrous oxides in India. The EV incentives, meanwhile, are part of India’s efforts to encourage higher sales of EVs, having said it hopes to electrify all new vehicles by 2030.

Source: Reuters

India, Germany agree to provide financial support to climate conservation projects

14 February. India and Germany agreed to provide financial support to climate conservation projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energies and sustainable forest management in India. Both India and Germany are in the process of outlining a Comprehensive Climate Change Act, laying down targets of emission reduction for all relevant sectors of the Indian economy.

Source: The Economic Times

India proposes to construct 400 MW hydropower project in Nepal

13 February. The Indian government has proposed the construction of Lower Arun Hydropower Project in Nepal with a capacity of 400 MW. Minister for Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation Barshaman Pun, noted that the Nepal government would make a proper decision whether or not to award the construction of Lower Arun to India after seeing the progress in Arun III hydro project. The project investment is estimated to be over ₹100 billion. Nepal Energy Ministry has estimated that the project would be of around 1000 MW capacity if it is designed in a way to export power to India. India has put forth the proposal to build the Lower Arun project by keeping all conditions stipulated in Arun III.

Source: The Economic Times

Government released 35.8 billion for renewable energy schemes in current fiscal so far: Singh

13 February. The government has released ₹35.84 billion as Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for implementing renewable energy schemes by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in financial year 2018-19 so far, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said. A total of 74.79 GW of renewable energy capacity had been installed in the country at the end of December 2018 including 25.21 GW from solar, 35.14 GW from wind, 9.92 GW from biomass, and 4.52 GW from small hydro power. Singh said that the installed capacity of solar rooftop systems stands at 1,279 MW in the country. The current rooftop solar programme, approved by the government in December 2015, aims at setting up 2,100 MW capacity in residential, institutional, social, and the government sectors through CFA by end of 2019-20. The government has set a target to install 40,000 MW of rooftop solar power capacity by 2022.

Source: The Economic Times

Textile firm Arvind plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent

13 February. Textile firm Arvind said it plans to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent with the installation of rooftop solar projects across its facilities in three cities and by shifting from coal to renewable biomass for boilers. As company ramps up the three-phase installation, it plans to target 40 MW captive solar capacity. It has currently installed 16.2 MW rooftop solar at its Santej facility in Gujarat. This is India’s largest installation of rooftop solar at a single location. It will contribute in reducing 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually and over 5,00,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over its lifetime. Once capacity of 40 MW is reached, overall generation will exceed 55 million units per year and will reduce carbon emissions by 50,000 tonnes per annum. Arvind’s current solar installation has been ranked by Bridge2India as the largest single site solar rooftop plant in India. This project at Santej is comprised of over 46,000 solar modules, and over 180 inverters. More than 20,000 man-days were spent in installing this landmark and over 40,000 square meter of old roofs were replaced to make way for this plant. In 2016, the company initiated the first phase with installation of 4 MW of rooftop solar at its Ahmedabad and Bangalore plants. The second phase commenced in February 2018 with the addition of 17 MW. The third phase will include installation of solar plants on the ground and at locations close to facilities, which will take total installed capacity to 40 MW. The company’s total current solar power generation capacity stands at 21 MW across facilities, it said.

Source: Business Standard


Norway’s Equinor aims to start oil exploration off Australia in 2020

19 February. Norway’s Equinor SA said it plans to explore for oil in deep waters off the coast of South Australia in late 2020 and released a draft environmental assessment for the project to head off community protests. Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, took full control of two permits in the Great Australian Bight, a body of water off the southern Australian coast, in 2017, where BP had scrapped plans to explore for oil.

Source: Reuters

TransCanada restarts shut portion of Keystone oil pipeline

19 February. TransCanada Corp restarted a section of the Keystone oil pipeline, following a leak in Missouri. TransCanada had shut an arm of Keystone from Steele City, Nebraska to Patoka, Illinois on 6 February after leaking 43 barrels of crude oil. The shutdown restricted the flow on the 590,000 barrels per day Keystone pipeline system, a critical artery taking Canadian crude from northern Alberta to refineries in the US (United States) Midwest.

Source: Reuters

S-Oil to supply $2.3 billion worth of oil products to Saudi Aramco’s trading arm

19 February. S-Oil Corp, South Korea’s third-biggest refiner, said that it has signed a contract to sell a total of 2.61 trillion won ($2.32 billion) worth of refined oil products to Saudi Aramco’s trading arm. S-Oil, whose top shareholder is Saudi Aramco, said that it will supply up to 17 million barrels of diesel, up to 13 million barrels of naphtha and up to 12 million barrels of jet fuel to Aramco Trading Singapore under the contract, valid between 1 January and 31 December 2019.

Source: Reuters

Global commodities firm Trafigura halts oil trade with Venezuela

15 February. Global commodities firm Trafigura has decided to stop trading oil with Venezuela due to US (United States) sanctions on the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nation’s energy sector. The decision will come as a blow to Caracas as Swiss-based Trafigura has a long-standing arrangement with PDVSA to take Venezuelan crude and, in exchange, supply the Latin American country with refined products. Last year, trading company Trafigura directly took 34,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Venezuelan crude and products, which were mostly resold to US and Chinese refineries, according to internal PDVSA trade documents. Trafigura will stop business with PDVSA after completing a small number of already-concluded trades.

Source: Reuters

US issues new rules requiring rail oil spill response plans

15 February. The US (United States) Transportation Department issued final rules requiring railroads to develop oil spill response plans and to disclose details of shipments to states and tribal governments after a series of high-profile incidents. The new rules apply to High Hazard Flammable Trains transporting petroleum oil in a block of 20 or more loaded tank cars and trains that have a total of 35 loaded petroleum oil tank cars. The new rules take affect in August and come after regulators reviewed more than a dozen oil car derailments from 2013 through 2016.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Aramco, Total to develop retail fuel network in Saudi Arabia

14 February. Saudi Aramco and Total signed an agreement to develop a network of retail fuel service stations in Saudi Arabia, the firms said. The 50:50 joint venture plans to invest around $1 billion over the next six years in the Saudi retail fuel market, the firms said.

Source: Reuters

Uganda expects first oil production to be delayed to 2022: Energy Minister

13 February. Uganda expects to begin producing oil in 2022, its Energy Minister Irene Muloni said, indicating a slight delay from the east African country’s revised target of 2021. Uganda discovered crude reserves more than 10 years ago but production has been repeatedly delayed by disagreements with field operators over taxes and development strategy. In April last year Uganda signed a deal with a consortium, including a subsidiary of General Electric, to build and operate a 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery that will cost between $3 billion and $4 billion. The refinery is expected to be operational by 2023. Muloni said land-locked Uganda, which imports refined fuel, would announce its next exploration licensing round in May. A crude export pipeline, which passes through Uganda’s neighbour Tanzania, with a capacity to transport 260,000 bpd oil will be built by 2022, Muloni said.

Source: Reuters

Global oil supply to swamp demand in 2019 despite output cuts: IEA

13 February. The global oil market will struggle this year to absorb fast-growing crude supply from outside OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), even with the group’s production cuts and US (United States) sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report. The IEA left its demand growth forecast for 2019 unchanged from its last report in January at 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd). The IEA raised its estimate of growth in crude supply from outside the OPEC to 1.8 million bpd in 2019, from 1.6 million bpd previously. The IEA also lowered its forecast for demand for OPEC crude, production of which the group has pledged to cut by 800,000 bpd this year as part of an agreement with Russia and other non-OPEC producers such as Oman and Kazakhstan.

Source: Reuters


Repsol unveils biggest gas discovery in Indonesia in 18 yrs

19 February. A consortium led by Repsol has found new gas resources in Indonesia estimated at least 2 trillion cubic feet, the Spanish oil and gas firm said, equivalent to around two years’ worth of Spanish demand. The discovery at the Sakakemang block in South Sumatra is among the 10 largest finds worldwide in the last 12 months, and the biggest in Indonesia for 18 years, Repsol said. Following its strategy to maximise the use of gas as major economies phase out carbon, Repsol plans to drill another appraisal well in the area in the coming months, it said.

Source: Reuters

Ethiopia and Djibouti sign deal to build gas pipeline

17 February. Ethiopia and Djibouti have signed a deal to build a pipeline to transport Ethiopian gas to an export terminal in the Red Sea state. Ethiopia found extensive gas deposits in its eastern Ogaden Basin in the 1970s. China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Investments has been developing the Calub and Hilala fields there since signing a production sharing deal with Ethiopia in 2013. The agreement between Djibouti and Ethiopia comes more than a year after POLY-GCL signed a memorandum of understanding with Djibouti to invest $4 billion to build the natural gas pipeline, a liquefaction plant and an export terminal to be located in Damerjog, near the country’s border with Somalia.

Source: Reuters

Gas to keep central role in Dutch energy demand: GasTerra

15 February. The Netherlands will remain a heavy user of natural gas for years to come, despite big production cuts at its Groningen field, gas trading company GasTerra said. The Dutch have been one of the major gas suppliers in Europe for decades, exploiting what once was Europe’s largest gas field in the northern region of Groningen. But the Dutch government last year said it would end production at Groningen by 2030 after a string of earthquakes directly related to gas extraction damaged thousands of houses and buildings. The Dutch still rely on natural gas for about 40 percent of their total energy needs and are not expected to end their gas dependency soon. Most of the gas will come from abroad, GasTerra said, as the Groningen production cuts turned the Netherlands into a net importer of gas for the first time since the 1950’s two years ago. Imported gas covered almost 55 percent of the total Dutch gas need in 2017, Statistics Netherlands said last year. The growing demand for foreign gas has so far been mainly met by Norway, with its exports to the Netherlands up by a third in 2017. GasTerra is the sole buyer of Groningen gas, which is extracted by a Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil joint venture. The company also trades gas in the Netherlands and beyond from smaller Dutch fields and from Norway and Russia. Groningen output has already been cut by 60 percent since its 2013 peak of 53.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, and dropped by a fifth in the most recent year, to 20.1 bcm. Extraction is set to fall to 15.9 bcm in the year through October 2020, the government said.

Source: Reuters

Anadarko closes in on final Mozambique LNG decision with another supply deal

15 February. US (United States) independent energy producer Anadarko has notched up another long-term commitment to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its proposed Mozambique terminal, moving closer to approving the multi-billion dollar project. Anadarko and Exxon Mobil are expected to sanction two separate but neighbouring LNG projects in Mozambique this year after finding giant offshore gas deposits, turning the African nation into a major global gas exporter. The company said it had struck a sales and purchase agreement with India’s Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd for 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) for 15 years.

Source: Reuters

Argentina renegotiates key gas supply contract with Bolivia

15 February. Bolivia and Argentina agreed to a modification in a key gas import contract that changes prices and volumes the Andean country exports to the southern nation, the governments announced. The adjustment, which changes the schedule in deliveries so that Argentina receives less gas in times of lower consumption, will mean a savings of $460 million for Argentina. The agreement establishes the shipment of 11 million cubic meters per day from Bolivia in the summer months and between 16 million and 18 million cubic meters per day in the winter months. Bolivia is South America’s largest natural gas exporter and depends on the resource for most of its export revenue.

Source: Reuters

Germany imported 9.7 percent more gas in 2018, value up 23.4 percent

15 February. Germany imported 9.7 percent more gas in 2018 than the year before and raised its import bill by 23.4 percent. The volume of imports from January through to December was 4.45 million Terajoules or 126 billion cubic metres, according to trade statistics office BAFA, which releases data with a time lag. German importers paid €23.7 billion ($26.70 billion) for gas in the year, mirroring a rise in oil prices. Traders of gas, power and carbon watch winter gas imports especially as possible imbalances in supply and demand can drive up prices and volumes in all three markets. Europe’s biggest economy uses gas for industry, heating homes and power generation. Germany’s gas supply is mainly imported from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines. Europe on the whole is increasingly absorbing volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arriving on specialised vessels from the world market, namely the United States, a trend which has boosted storage levels and pushed down price spreads.

Source: Reuters

Russia’s Gazprom to start gas supplies to China ahead of schedule

15 February. Russia’s Gazprom will start gas supplies to China from 1 December, a month earlier than planned, the gas producer said. Deliveries of gas to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline were due to begin at the end of December 2019, but the project is only expected to reach full capacity in 2025.

Source: Reuters

Chevron signs new LNG deal with South Korean refiner

14 February. Chevron USA. Inc, a subsidiary of Chevron Corp, has signed a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with South Korean oil refiner GS Caltex Corporation. The long-term agreement, which is for delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to South Korea from Chevron’s global supply portfolio, will start in October of this year. Chevron has an existing LNG sales and purchase agreement with GS Caltex executed in 2009. This SPA involves LNG supplied from Chevron’s Gorgon project delivered to GS Caltex for up to 20 years.

Source: Rigzone

Finland, Estonia and Latvia sign deal for single gas tariff zone

14 February. Gas transmission operators of Finland, Latvia and Estonia signed an agreement to set up a single gas transmission tariff zone for the three countries from the start of 2020. The agreement unifies entry point tariffs on the external borders of the region and removes commercial interconnection points between countries. The deal is expected to lead to higher market liquidity by making it easier for shippers and traders to sell gas to the whole region. Gas between the Baltic states and Finland will be piped across the Baltic Sea by 1 January 2020, when a 7.2 million cubic metre per day pipeline called Balticconnector is due to start up. The pipeline is being built to link the countries and help diversify the region’s gas supplies, which largely come from Russia, by creating more links with other gas projects in Europe. The agreement reached between the three operators outlines the cost structure for transmission and how related compensation and entry revenues will be distributed amongst them.

Source: Reuters

EU gas pipeline rules could slow Russia’s Nord Stream 2

13 February. The European Union (EU) reached a provisional deal on new rules governing import gas pipelines, casting doubt over the operating structure of Russia’s planned Nord Stream 2. The Russian pipeline already faces uncertainty after Denmark’s potential ban on its planned route through its territorial waters and sanction threats by the United States. The draft law calls for all import pipelines to meet EU rules by not being directly owned by gas suppliers, applying non-discriminatory tariffs and transparent reporting and opening at least 10 percent of capacity to third parties. EU Commissioner Arias Canete, who is responsible for energy, said that the EU was closing a loophole as its dependency on natural gas imports increases.

Source: Reuters


Chinese traders halt Australian coal orders as customs delays pile up

18 February. Chinese coal traders have stopped ordering Australian coal as clearing times through China’s customs have doubled to at least 40 days, according to major buyers in China and international coal merchants, resulting in a sharp fall in Australian prices. Customs clearance typically takes five to 20 days. Now it can be as much as 45 days. Meanwhile a coal broker at China’s state-backed mining group Minmetals said he had asked clients to put Australian imports on hold. The delays have been a large contributor to slump in Australian coal prices. Refinitiv ship tracking data showed coal shipments departing from Australia’s Newcastle port to China fell 30 percent last month compared with December to 18.19 million tonnes.

Source: Reuters

Colombia coal output likely to hold steady in 2019

13 February. Colombia’s coal production and exports are likely to remain steady this year, companies said, amid predictions international prices for the fuel will fall in 2019. The Andean nation is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of coal. Overall Colombia production figures for last year are expected to be released sometime. Annual output in 2017 was down 1.2 percent from the year before, to 89.4 million tonnes. Analyst Fitch Solutions reduced its Colombian coal production growth forecast from 4.5 percent to 0 percent in January. Thermal coal prices will fall to an average of $85 per tonne in 2019, from $101.4 per tonne last year, Fitch Solutions said in a note.

Source: Reuters

China approves new coal mine project in Inner Mongolia region

13 February. China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said it had approved a new coal mine project in Inner Mongolia region with total investment at 3.37 billion yuan ($499.19 million). The coal mine project will have an annual capacity of 8 million tonnes

Source: Reuters


Egypt-Sudan Electric Interconnection project achieves milestone

19 February. Siemens has revealed that the building and connection of the Toshka substation in Egypt, has been completed in record time. With a turn-around of three months, this paves the way for the realisation of the Egypt-Sudan Electric Interconnection project. The new 220 kilovolt (kV) air-insulated substation (AIS) will dispatch around 400 MW of electricity to secure reliable power transmission coupled with minimal losses of transferred power. The turnkey substation, which is located near the Egyptian-Sudanese boarders, about 1,300 kilometre (km) away from Cairo, will play a strategic role in the upcoming Egypt-Sudan Electric Interconnection project. The project links the national grids of both countries, from Toshka city in Egypt to Dongola in Sudan, via a 170 km transmission line. Egypt will benefit through the sale of energy to Sudan, while Sudan will get access to existing and future power plants in Egypt.

Source: ESI Africa

South Africa needs to invest, build confidence in power generation: Energy Minister

19 February. South Africa needs to invest in new electricity generation capacity and instill confidence in its ability to generate power so as not to deter investment, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said. The country’s cash-strapped state power firm, Eskom, was recently forced to implement some of the worst planned blackouts in years as much of its capacity went offline, a situation the minister described as “untenable”.

Source: Reuters

Laos seeks to become regional hub for electricity transmission by 2025

14 February. Laos is developing a strategic plan to become the network center for a regional electricity transmission system by 2025. Sichard Boudshakittilath, director of the Energy Management Department under the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines, recently detailed the plan during a workshop on Business Lessons for Power Industry Improvement. To move the strategy forward, in 2017 Laos signed a tripartite electricity-trading agreement with Thailand and Malaysia in which Laos would sell 100 MW of electricity to Malaysia using Thailand’s power transmission network. In 2014, the government of Singapore also expressed interest in buying electricity from Laos via transmission lines in Malaysia and Thailand. Under this plan, Laos expects to export 14,800 MW of electricity annually to neighbouring countries by 2025. Sichard said within the next six years, Laos aims to export 9,000 MW of electricity to Thailand, 5,000 MW to Vietnam, 500 MW to Myanmar, 200 MW to Cambodia, and to distribute 100 MW to Malaysia. Laos is currently in the process of setting up policy parameters and guidelines that will help modernise the energy industry. A high quality, modern power grid that delivers renewable energy will be key to achieving many of its sustainable development goals for Laos.

Source: Xinhua

Morocco, Spain to set up third power link

13 February. Morocco and Spain signed an agreement in Rabat to set up a third power link. The two neighbours already have two undersea links with a combined capacity of up to 1,400 MW. Morocco and Portugal agreed in 2015 on plans for a 1,000 MW link. Morocco, Spain, Portugal, France and Germany signed a joint declaration to facilitate cross-border power purchase agreements.

Source: Reuters


Amazon aims to use renewable energy to cut its carbon footprint

19 February. Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to shopper’s doorsteps, said it wants to be greener. The online retail giant announced plans to make half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030. To reach that goal, the online retail giant says it will use more renewable energy like solar power; have more packages delivered in electric vans; and push suppliers to remake their packaging. McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and other big companies that generate lots of waste have announced similar initiatives, hoping to appeal to customers concerned about the environment. Amazon is calling its program “Shipment Zero,” and plans to publicly publish its carbon footprint for the first time later this year. Seattle-based Amazon said it spent the past two years mapping its carbon footprint and figuring out ways to reduce carbon use across the company.

Source: The Economic Times

French energy major Total moves into offshore wind with joint bid for Dunkirk project

18 February. French energy major Total is partnering with Denmark’s Orsted and renewable energy producer Elicio to submit a joint bid for the 600 MW capacity Dunkirk offshore wind project in France, the company said. The bid is the oil and gas major’s first serious foray into offshore wind in decades as it expands its presence in the renewable energy value chain. Until recently, Total’s major investments in renewables have been chiefly in the solar segment, with its $1.3 billion (£1.01 billion) acquisition of SunPower and purchase of a 23 percent stake in solar and wind energy producer Total Eren. Meanwhile European peers such as Equinor and Shell have been increasing investments in offshore wind developments. The company plans to invest $1.5-$2 billion annually in low-carbon electricity with a target of around 10 GW of installed capacity by 2022. Orsted manages more than a quarter of the world’s installed wind capacity, while Elicio is particularly active in wind power in France and Belgium.

Source: Reuters

China reveals plans to build first ever solar power plant in space

16 February. China plans to take renewable energy and solar power to a whole new level by planning to build the first ever solar power station up in space. China’s Academy of Space Technology has revealed plans to build a solar power plant in space that would orbit the Earth at 36,000km and capture solar energy and beam it back to Earth. Since its photovoltaic array would be floating high above any terrestrial weather, the plant would be able to harness solar power even when it is cloudy on Earth. A researcher from the China Academy of Space Technology Corporation, Pang Zhihao, expressed that a space solar power station held the promise of providing ‘an inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans’. The construction of an early experimental space solar power plant has already begun with plans to launch a test facility before 2025, and if the launch and the energy-transmitting beam work as planned, the Chinese scientists have plans to test and launch even bigger and more powerful facilities through 2050.

Source: Business Recorder

Equinor lines up floating wind power development in South Korea

15 February. Equinor and South Korea’s National Oil Corp (KNOC) will explore opportunities to develop commercial floating offshore wind farms in South Korea, the Norwegian company said. South Korea aims to reduce its dependence on nuclear and coal power, targeting an increase in the share of renewable energy to 20 percent by 2030, compared with 7.6 percent in 2017, the country said last year. Equinor said this translates to a target of 49 GW of new generation capacity. KNOC plans to develop a 200 MW floating offshore wind project 58 km off the coast of Ulsan City, the company said. Equinor has built and is operating the world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm – Hywind – off Scotland, where its five turbines have total capacity of 30 MW. Floating turbines are considered the next step in conquering wind resources in deep coastal waters where fixed turbines cannot be built, such as Japanese waters or off the coast of California. Equinor said it has submitted a bid to build an offshore wind park off New York using fixed-base turbines.

Source: Reuters

As renewables soar, BP sees China hitting brakes on energy growth

14 February. Global demand for renewable power will soar at an unprecedented pace over the coming decades, BP said in a benchmark report, while China’s energy growth is seen sharply decelerating as its economic expansion slows. China’s energy demand rose by 5.9 percent over the past 20 years, but is set to grow by only 1 percent by 2040 as its economy shifts from energy-intensive industries to services and as Beijing introduces stricter rules on air pollution. Renewables are expected to be the fastest-growing energy source with an annual gain of 7.1 percent, accounting for half the growth in global energy. Compared with the level in last year’s report, BP raised by 9 percent its 2040 forecast of demand for renewable power such as solar and wind. Renewables and natural gas, the least-polluting fossil fuel, will account for 85 percent of the growth in energy demand. Solar power will increase by a factor of 10 by 2040 and wind by a factor of five under BP’s basic scenario. While the share of oil in world energy demand rose from 1 percent to 10 over 45 years in the early 20th century, renewables are set to reach the same share over 25 years, BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said.

Source: Reuters

Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035

13 February. Spain aims to close all seven of its nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050. Energy Minister Teresa Ribera announced the move, just as the Socialist government gears up to call an early national election in anticipation of losing a budget vote. Overhauling Spain’s energy system, which generated 40 percent of its mainland electricity from renewable sources in 2018, will require investment of €235 billion ($266 billion) between 2021 and 2030, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. Ribera said the government would present a draft plan to combat climate change, which had been due to be sent to the European Union for approval by the end of last year, to parliament on 22 February. Under a draft bill prepared last year, the government aims to ban sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2040 and encourage the installation of at least 3,000 MW a year of renewable capacity such as wind farms and solar plants. Spain’s nuclear plants, which started operating between 1983 and 1988, are owned by Iberdrola, Italian-owned Endesa, Naturgy and Portugal’s EDP.

Source: Reuters


Power Sector Scenario in India

As on 31 December 2018

Fuel Type Installed Capacity (MW)* Electricity Generation (MU)*
Coal 197,452.5 766,166.9
Gas 24,937.22 38,958.3
Diesel 637.63 109.85
Nuclear 6780 28,222.51
Hydro 45,399.22 111,846.3
Renewables 74,081.66 97,923.69
Bhutan Import 4,440.28
Total 349,288.23 1,047,668

Renewable Electricity Installed Capacity by Type

As on 31 December 2018

*Provisional Figures

Source: Central Electricity Authority

This is a weekly publication of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It covers current national and international information on energy categorised systematically to add value. The year 2018 is the fifteenth continuous year of publication of the newsletter. The newsletter is registered with the Registrar of News Paper for India under No. DELENG / 2004 / 13485.

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