MonitorsPublished on Apr 06, 2019
Energy News Monitor | Volume XV; Issue 43


Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: March 2019


To boost hydropower generation, the government approved a slew of measures including providing renewable energy status for large hydel projects and new funding provisions. Earlier, hydro projects up to 25 MW capacity were considered as renewables and were eligible for various incentives like financial assistance and cheaper credit. With the government’s decision, hydro projects above 25 MW can also avail the benefits. The Cabinet decision has also paved the way for adding hydro capacities of about 45 GW to the renewable energy basket of existing 74 GW which includes solar, wind and small hydro. India is aiming 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. With addition of large hydro to clean energy segment, India is poised to have 225 GW of renewable energy by 2022. With the new measures, large hydro projects would be allowed back loading (reducing) of tariff after increasing project life to 40 years, increasing debt repayment period to 18 years and introducing escalating tariff of 2 percent. At present, hydropower tariff is expensive than other sources. These measure would help rationalise the tariff by hydro power projects.

The recently granted renewable power status and budgetary support for infrastructure associated with large hydro projects is a major positive move, research agency ICRA said. The centre has declared large hydro power projects with capacity of more than 25 MW as renewable energy projects. It has approved a separate HPO under non-solar renewable power obligation to cover large hydro power projects commissioned post notification of the norms. The government has approved HPO and tariff rationalisation norms with the objective to promote large hydro projects, given the slowdown in addition of new capacities in this segment over the past few years. The annual HPO trajectory will be notified by the ministry of power with required amendments to the existing tariff policy and regulations. The tariff rationalisation measures include providing flexibility to the developers to back-load tariff, increasing debt repayment period to 18 years and escalating tariff by two percent. Also, the budgetary support for funding cost of supporting infrastructures such as roads and bridges will be on a case-to-case as per actuals, subject to a limit of Rs15 mn per MW for hydro power projects up to 200 MW and Rs10 mn per MW for hydro power projects above 200 MW. Budgetary support will also be provided for funding flood moderation component of hydro power projects on a case-to-case basis.

Industry body ASSOCHAM welcomed the Union Cabinet’s approval of a national policy for hydropower announced. Hydropower is the cleanest form of renewable energy having a multitude of benefits including lowest lifecycle cost per kWh. With the highest ramping rate, it is critical for reintegration and shaping intra-day and seasonal dynamics. The much-awaited policy shall provide a fillip to hydropower as also aid financial closures for several stranded hydropower projects in the country. ASSOCHAM recommendations cited are hydro projects regardless of nature & capacity should be treated as ‘renewables’. The requirement for long tenure debt availability and hydro-purchase obligation required for PPAs and financial closures for stranded projects. Hydro cost could be competitively provided it is treated at par with other renewable (solar and wind). Hydro should be considered as a compulsory ancillary for any other energy mix. HPO with Cost Plus until 2030 OR Bundling of such selected hydropower with renewable/ others to make it more viable/lucrative for discoms to buy. Government of India can also mandate a separate hydro purchase obligation under tariff policy. Further a higher forbearance price of Rs2/kWh. The state government is to be provided 12 percent of free power as royalty from any Hydro Power Project to be developed in the state. Alternatively, deferment of free power share for at least initial years of repayment of the loan period.

India’s state-run hydroelectricity producer NHPC Ltd plans to raise its capacity by about 30 percent to 10 GW by 2022. Thermal power accounts for about two-thirds of India’s overall 347 GW electricity generation capacity. New Delhi has set a target to install 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. The company’s current generation capacity is about 7.1 GW. NHPC plans a capital expenditure of Rs38 bn ($543.79 mn) for the fiscal year to March 2020, compared to about Rs20 bn spent so far in this fiscal year.

The government approved a proposal for state-run hydro power giant NHPC to take over debt-laden Lanco’s 500 MW Teesta hydro-electric power project in Sikkim. The project would be implemented with an estimated cost of Rs57.48 bn (at July 2018 price level). The project would generate 2,400 mn units of power in 90 percent dependable year with installed capacity of 500 MW (125 MWX4). Teesta Stage-VI hydro-electric project is a run of river scheme in Sirwani Village of Sikkim to utilise the power potential of Teesta river basin in cascade manner. The project shall help in meeting peaking demand of energy, balancing and ramping requirement of the grid.

NEEPCO would be executing two hydel power projects in power-starved Meghalaya. The two power projects are Umja-ut Hydro Electric Power project with a capacity of 69 MW and Umduna Hydro Power Project of 57 MW. The cabinet has approved the allotment of both these projects to NEEPCO which is already implementing stage III Wah Umiam power project. The cabinet has also approved a proposal by the state-owned Meghalaya Electric Corp Ltd to avail a loan from the Rural Electrification Corp Ltd to execute the 3×42 MW Myntdu Leshka Hydro power project.

The modifications in the ‘Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Project’ scheme will lead to increase in project costs, according to solar industry players. The new guidance could lead to additional cost of ₹200 mn for each 100 MW solar capacity built in a solar park. The annual impact per 1 MW could be in the range of ₹40,000-80,000 considering the modifications required by developers to add ₹0.02/kWh to the tariff as facilitation charge towards the State governments and another ₹0.02/kWh as charges for payment security mechanism when bidding for capacities in solar parks. Industry experts said the proposed modifications are likely to complicate the process of setting up projects in solar parks as well as squeeze the already thin margins of the developers. The MNRE had issued an official memorandum suggesting a new mode for developing solar, wind or hybrid parks in order to address the two most critical issues for developers — land allocation and developing power evacuation infrastructure. Under the new mode (Mode-7) introduced by MNRE for renewable energy parks developed through SECI, the developers will be required to pay State government a facilitation charge of ₹0.02 ($0.029)/kWh of power generated from the projects for facilitating the identification of land and making its right of use available to SECI.

Under the new guidelines, SECI will make both government and private land available for successful bidders for setting up projects with the assistance of state government. SECI would act as a Solar Power Park Developer and will get the external power evacuation infrastructure of the parks developed by the External Transmission Development Agency such as transmission utilities. The existing solar park scheme provides for CFA of Rs2 mn/MW or 30 percent of the project cost, whichever is less, for setting up of both the internal and external evacuation infrastructure. The MNRE said that about 16,650 MW capacity is still to be allocated under the scheme and the entire CFA available for this spare capacity under the solar park scheme would now be utilised for Mode-7. Under the new guidelines, SECI would also set up a Payment Security Mechanism to make setting up of renewable projects in such parks more attractive. The idea is to ensure continuous payment to developers and mitigate risk due to default in payments by discoms. India currently has 34 solar parks operating in 21 states with a total capacity of 20,000 MW.

The US has agreed to build six atomic power plants in India to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation and expressed its strong support to India’s early membership in the NSG. India and the US signed a historic agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing since. A major aspect of the deal was the NSG, that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries. Post-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea. Telangana has invited global competitive bids for setting up rooftop solar projects totalling 31.12 MW.

NTPC Ltd said its 200 kW waste-to-energy plant in Karsada has achieved full generation capacity. The plant is located in Karsada at Varanasi, UP. The project, NTPC said, is in line with the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission, promoting a healthy environment through proper waste utilisation. The compost created as a by-product is also sold as organic fertilisers to the farmers. NTPC has already signed a PPA with Purvanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd of UP for evacuation of electric power generated at this waste-to-energy plant.

The Andhra Pradesh government has directed state-run power discoms to honour contracts signed with renewable energy developers, offering relief to generators at a time when several clean energy buyers are backing out of agreements and seeking lower tariffs. Andhra Pradesh, one of the leading states in using renewable energy, has more than 7,000 MW of solar and wind projects and aims to take it to 18,000 MW by 2021-22. Tariffs have dropped sharply at wind project auctions over the last two years, and discoms that had signed PPAs earlier are now seeking renegotiation to lock in lower rates. Earlier this year, state utilities of Andhra Pradesh had moved a petition before the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission seeking consent for revisiting PPAs already signed with wind developers.

The Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corp Ltd, the nodal agency for development of renewable energy, has invited eligible bidders for setting up of grid-connected rooftop solar photo voltaic systems. These solar units are to be set up on roofs of pump houses, sewage and water treatment plants, office buildings of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board at various locations in the State. The price bid opening is slated for 12 October 2019. Telangana has solar PV project installations of over 3,400 MW, making it the second biggest solar PV project installations after Karnataka. Telangana plans to increase the solar PV capacity to 5,000 MW in the near term. It is also exploring the possibility of encouraging the wind power generation. Though Telangana has not been on the radar of leading wind energy companies in the past due to low wind speeds, the latest and more efficient wind turbines have made it possible to install wind farms in the State. Already some of the Independent Power Producers like Mytrah Energy have set up solar power projects in the State and many other companies are also exploring opportunities to set up units. The recent Central Government move to promote setting up of rooftop solar PV units too has begun to encourage State utilities to encourage setting up of solar plants. The Centre has also announced a corpus which facilitates subsidy depending upon the size of the project.

SECI is likely to conduct a follow-up meeting with solar industry representatives to discuss the details of its tender for 7.5 GW solar energy projects in Leh and Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. The tender, which is part of the government’s ambitious plan to build 23 GW solar power projects in Ladakh, had been issued by SECI on 31 December 2018 with last date set for 30 April. As per the Request for Selection document, two solar power projects will be built in the Phase-1 — a 2.5 GW project in the Zangla region of Kargil and a 5 GW project in the Pang region of Leh.

Even as the UP government is eyeing to build renewable energy capacity of 10,700 MW in near future totalling Rs93 bn. Proposals totalling 20,000 MW under consideration. In fact, the government is also promoting roof top solar power installations to encourage households to generate captive solar energy for consumption. The government had floated tenders for generating 1,385 MW of solar power with an estimated investment of Rs69.25 bn. In the bio-energy space, 10 investments worth nearly Rs25 bn were in the pipeline. The government has also forwarded a proposal to the Centre for developing a Rs40 bn Green Energy Corridor in arid Bundelkhand, which is touted as a game changer for the economically backward region.

The Gujarat government announced a ‘small scale distribution solar project’ policy for producers of up to 500 kW to 4 MW. According to the policy, private landowners who have waste and non-productive land will be able to set up solar power projects with a capacity between 500 kW to 4 MW. This generated power will be purchased by power companies such as Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. The power produced will be directly fed into the 11 kW line of Gujarat Energy Transmission Company Ltd.

SunSource Energy, a leading distributed solar energy company, has announced that it will develop a 70 MW solar power project under the Open Access scheme in the State of UP. The project was allocated under the UPERC CRE regulation, 2014. The power generated by this project will be sold through long term PPAs to commercial and industrial customers. Once commissioned, it will be one of the largest open access solar power projects in the State of UP and will offset over 85,000 tons of carbon emissions every year.

Gurugram-based solar power developer CleanMax Solar announced it has installed a rooftop solar power plant with a capacity of 736 kW in Mandoli Jail.  The project is part of the company’s 2.5 MW contract with Delhi government’s power generation arm Indraprastha Power Generation. The company will provide solar power to Mandoli jail complex through the ‘Pay-as-you-go’ or OPEX model at a tariff of about 50 percent cheaper than the existing grid electricity tariff, CleanMax said.

NLC India said it has commissioned the entire 500 MW solar power projects in Tamil Nadu. NLC India, a Navratna company under the coal ministry, has a total power generation capacity of 4,731 MW. It said NLC India has moved from only lignite mining and power generation company to become an energy firm.

BHEL announced that the company has set up its first solar-based EV charger on the Delhi-Chandigarh Highway. The project is covered under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles scheme. The establishment of EV chargers at regular intervals over the entire 250 km stretch between Delhi and Chandigarh will allay range-anxiety among the users and bolster their confidence for inter-city travel. As part of the project, BHEL has also developed a central monitoring system for EV chargers with a user-friendly mobile app.

The JDA is all set to become climate-friendly as it is planning to run headquarters and two big parks (Central Park and Jawahar Circle) on solar power, replacing the conventional system. With this initiative, this will become state’s biggest public building energy efficient system. The power generated by 730 kWp ‘Rooftop Solar Power Plant’ in Phase-I will be used to meet maximum requirements at the JDA headquarters and two parks and would reduce its dependence on non-renewable sources. The expenditure cost of the plant will be borne by the appointed firm. As per the model for the rooftop plant, the developer invests, owns and operates the plant while JDA purchases the electricity generated through a power purchase agreement. The JDA is leading government building in the state to install rooftop solar panels under Centre’s ambitious scheme. Central government has set up a target for installation of 100 GW solar power plants by 2022. Out of this, about 40,000 MW has to come from grid connected solar rooftops systems. Centre wants Rajasthan to play an active role in installing solar rooftops systems.

Rest of the World

The electricity generation at French utility EDF’s hydro power stations was reduced by 600 MW due to a nationwide strike that affected the power sector, grid operator RTE said. France has an installed hydro electricity capacity of over 25,000 MW, RTE data shows. EDF’s nuclear power reactors, which account for over 75 percent of France’s electricity needs, were largely untouched by the strike, according to RTE’s data.

The Brazilian government would be open to evaluating new hydro power projects in the Amazon region on their merits, as the administration shrugs off “ideological” interference in the licensing process. Environmental agency Ibama is in charge of assessing such projects and the risks associated with them, and it will do so on a strictly technical basis. Ibama’s work is to gauge the benefits and risks of each project and at the end of the analysis decide if there are any measures that can be imposed to mitigate the risk, allowing a project to go ahead. Amazon “is a sensitive” region because of its biodiversity and construction of hydropower projects there is not the same as in other regions of the country.

The US Energy Department finalized up to $3.7 bn in loan guarantees to finance the construction of units at the delayed and over budget Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. Up to $1.67 bn will go to Georgia Power company, a subsidiary of Southern company, up to $1.6 bn will go to Oglethorpe Power Corp, and up to $415 mn will go to three subsidiaries of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. The financing, first announced in 2017, brings the federal government’s total in loan guarantees to up to $12 bn, some of which was provided in 2014 and 2015. French utility EDF aims to convert its 1,200 MW Cordemais coal-fired power plant by spring 2022 into one that burns pellet fuel made from discarded wood, giving the unit a new lease of life. In its long-term energy plan, France has laid out moves to phase out electricity generation from coal by 2022, with the goal of decarbonizing energy production by 2050. Cordemais in western France was overhauled two years ago to meet new emissions and safety standards at a cost of several million euros, and could keep operating until 2035, EDF said. Although pellets from wood chips and sawdust are widely used for heating the process was different because the company would not cut down any trees. At capacity, it aims to replace around 1.3 mn to 2 mn tonnes of coal imported annually from Poland, Australia and the United States, with about 700,000 tonnes of biomass.

A high court in western Japan rejected a lawsuit to shut down Shikoku Electric Power Company’s only operating nuclear reactor. A branch of the Yamaguchi District Court denied a legal bid by residents to shut the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear plant. The 890 MW reactor was restarted on 27 October and is currently running at full capacity. The restart followed a Hiroshima High Court in late September that lifted a 2017 injunction blocking operations at the reactor. Nuclear remains an unpopular energy option in Japan and the country will reboot only a fraction of the 54 reactors it had before the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Britain plans to generate a third of its electricity from offshore wind farms by 2030 and boost the value of exports of offshore wind services and equipment to 2.6 bn pounds ($3.4 bn) a year, the government said. Britain, which aims to lift industrial productivity as it leaves the European Union, is the world’s biggest offshore wind market with almost 40 percent of global capacity. On and offshore wind turbines met 17 percent of UK power needs in 2018. Under the initiative, the government said it would encourage companies to invest 250 mn pounds in expanding production of wind power equipment so 60 percent of content for British offshore wind power projects were domestically produced by 2030. Britain now has total installed wind power capacity of 20 GW, with offshore wind farms accounting for 8 GW. Offshore capacity will reach 30 GW by 2030 under the plan. The country also hosts the world’s largest wind farm, Orsted’s 659 MW Walney Extension project, with 87 turbines, some of which can generate 8.25 MW each. Britain aims to close coal-fired power stations by 2025, as it seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions. To help fund wind projects, Britain has said it would hold subsidy auctions, offering so-called CfDs, every two years into the 2020s. CfDs guarantee generators a minimum price for renewable electricity. Contracts worth 60 mn pounds will be auctioned in May. Innogy and SSE are among companies that have said they will bid.

South Korean utilities will be allowed to use biofuel oil for power generation as part of the government’s efforts to reduce emissions and encourage the usage of cleaner energy sources, the energy ministry said. The ministry revised a petroleum business law last year to allow power utilities to use biofuel oil as an alternative fuel source to generate electricity. The revised law came into force from 1 January 2019, but the process of verifying quality of biofuel oil took longer. The usage of this oil for power will be effective from 15 March, the ministry said. The use of biofuel oil will be at the discretion of utilities, the ministry said. South Korea mainly supplies electricity with coal and nuclear power, and fuel oil power makes up only a small portion of the country’s electricity needs.

Utility-scale solar power capacity is expected to grow by double digits globally in 2019 and 2020, driven by expansions in the US, Europe, Middle East and China, US bank Goldman Sachs said. Solar power is the fastest growing source of electricity generation, taking market share from fossil fuels like thermal coal and natural gas as governments and companies increasingly introduce clean energy targets. Goldman said it expected utility-scale solar installations globally to reach to 108 GW in 2019, up 12 percent on the previous year, and then grow by another 10 percent in 2020 to 119 GW. For 2021 and 2022 the bank expected capacity to reach 129 GW and 135 GW. Utility-scale solar is defined as an installation that is designed solely to feed electricity into a grid, unlike smaller scale residential solar units. Including residential installations, most analysts expect global solar power capacity to soon hit 600 GW.

New US solar installations will grow by 14 percent this year thanks to lower equipment prices that helped to revive a slew of delayed projects, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said. The forecast for some 12.1 GW of solar panels in 2019 would mark a rebound from 2018 when installations dipped 2 percent to 10.6 GW due to President Donald Trump’s decision to impose 30 percent tariffs on imported panels. In its previous quarterly report on solar released late last year, Wood Mackenzie had forecast just 11.5 GW of solar installations for 2019. A GW of solar is roughly enough to power 700,000 homes.

Australian minerals explorer Orion Minerals Ltd has contracted a unit of the Juwi Group to assess the feasibility of building a 35 MW dedicated solar and wind power plant for the Prieska zinc-copper project in South Africa. Under the newly signed collaboration agreement, Juwi Renewable Energies (Pty) Ltd South Africa will investigate the possibility of building the hybrid plant at a site located within 20 km of the Prieska project in the Northern Cape province, where it will be possible to also establish a dedicated feed via an overhead power transmission line. Juwi’s South African subsidiary has, to date, built five utility-scale solar power plants with a combined capacity of 121 MW and developed the 138 MW Garob wind project, which will soon enter the construction phase. It also has a further 250 MW of solar capacity currently being added in South Africa.

The World Bank has approved $185 mn credit to add 310 MW renewable energy generation capacity in Bangladesh and mobilise private sector participation to meet the growing demand for electricity in the country. The scaling up of renewable energy project will increase installed capacity of renewables through piloting and expanding investments in key market segments, the Washington-based lender said. The credit facility will be used to build the first 50 MW phase of a large scale solar panel energy park in the Feni district. It will be implemented by the Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh. The project will help in better access to cleaner electricity and air by avoiding burning of fossil fuels. It will help cut emissions by 377,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. The $185 mn credit include $26.38 mn loan and $2.87 mn grant from the Strategic Climate Fund of the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds. The project will help mobilise around $212 mn financing from the private sector, commercial banks and other sources and establish a dedicated renewable energy financing facility to provide credit to developers of rooftop solar PV and large-scale renewables.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said it has issued a Request for Qualification for developers to build and operate the fifth phase of its Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The solar park is a vast complex that aims to generate 1,000 MW by 2020 and 5,000 MW by 2030 with investments worth 50 bn Dirhams ($13.6 bn). It currently has a capacity of 900 MW.

MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, kW: kilowatt, mn: million, bn: billion, HPO: hydropower purchase obligation, ASSOCHAM: Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India, kWh: kilowatt hour, PPAs: power purchase agreements, discoms: distribution companies, NEEPCO: North Eastern Electric Power Corp, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, CFA: Central Financial Assistance, US: United States, NSG: Nuclear Suppliers Group, UP: Uttar Pradesh, PV: photovoltaic, UPERC: Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, BHEL: Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, EV: electric vehicle, JDA: Jaipur Development Authority, kWp: kilowatt peak, UK: United Kingdom, CfDs: contracts for differences, km: kilometre


ATF price hiked by 1 percent, non-subsidised LPG by Rs5

1 April. Jet fuel or ATF (aviation turbine fuel) price was hiked by over one percent, the second straight monthly increase in rate coming on the back of firming global prices. The price of ATF was hiked by Rs677.1 per kilolitre (kl), or 1.07 percent, to Rs63,472.22 per kl in the national capital, according to price notification issued by state-owned oil firms. The increase comes on the back of a steep 8.1 percent (Rs4,734.15 per kl) hike in rates effected on 1 March. Simultaneously, the price of non-subsidised cooking gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) was increased by Rs5 per 14.2 kilogram (kg) cylinder. It now costs Rs706.50 in the national capital.  This is the second straight increase in LPG rate. Price was hiked by Rs42.5 per cylinder on 1 March. The hike will add to the burden of cash strapped airlines that are already reeling under pressure from cut-throat competition in the sector. Non-subsidised LPG is the gas that consumer buys after exhausting their quota of 12 cylinders of 14.2 kg at sub-market or subsidised rates. Price of subsidised LPG was almost unchanged at Rs495.86.

Source: The Economic Times

LPG, kerosene subsidies: Government unlikely to pay Rs320 bn dues before March-end

28 March. The government may not pay around Rs320 bn of kerosene and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy dues for FY19 before March end, in a bid to meet the revised fiscal targets. The total bill for LPG subsidy under direct benefit transfer and kerosene for the current financial year has come to Rs365 bn. Of this, Rs40 bn is on account of kerosene and the rest Rs325 bn is due to LPG. After adding the carried forward amount from last year, the total subsidy demand for the current year comes to around Rs485 bn. However, the petroleum ministry has received just Rs165 bn for the year to settle the subsidy amounts payable to the oil marketing companies and may not get any more before the fiscal end. The revised estimate for the petroleum subsidy bill for FY19 is Rs249.43 bn. LPG subsidy has gone up substantially this year mainly because of the increased penetration of LPG in the country, thanks to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The country at present has around 262 mn LPG consumers, of which more than 70 mn have been added under PMUY since May 2015. Though refilling of LPG cylinders issued under PMUY was initially weak, it has now picked up, with the government claiming that 80 percent of the beneficiaries come back for at least their first refills. The per-cylinder subsidy has also gone up from around Rs173 per unit to around more than Rs200 per unit during the most part of the current financial year. To bring the subsidy bill under control, the petroleum ministry, on insistence of the finance ministry, is exploring the option to reduce the ceiling for households that can avail subsidy from the current Rs10 lakh per year to Rs5 lakh per year. The petroleum ministry has asked the income tax department to provide details of people who fall in the Rs5-10 lakh category. The huge arrears from the current financial year are bound to have an impact during the next financial year as well as a Budget provision for fuel subsidy in FY20 is only Rs374.78 bn, which will be too little to settle arrears of PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) oil retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd) and HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd).

Source: The Financial Express

Vedanta reports oil discovery in KG basin

27 March. Diversified natural resources company Vedanta said it has made an oil discovery in KG (Krishna-Godavari) basin of Andhra Pradesh. Vedanta has notified the Management Committee, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2 located in the block KG-OSN-2009/3, KG basin, East Coast of India, the company said. Vedanta holds 100 percent participating interest in the block. Multiple reservoir zones were encountered in the well H2 within the Mesozoic sequence between the depths of 3,310 metres to 4,026 metres with hydrocarbon indications during drilling and downhole logging, it said. Vedanta’s oil and gas operations comprise the assets of Cairn India, which is India’s largest private sector crude oil producer. It contributed about 25 percent to the country’s domestic crude oil production in 2017-18.

Source: Business Standard


Natural gas price up 10 percent, ONGC posts 6.5 percent rise in gas production

2 April. Giving a boost to producers such as Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the price of domestic natural gas in India has increased by 10 percent to $3.69 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) for the April-September period, compared to $3.36 per mmBtu during October to March period. Producers will be able to charge a maximum of $9.32 per mmBtu for difficult fields, posting an increase of about 22 percent from $7.67 a unit during October-March. This includes gas produced from discoveries in deepwater, ultra deepwater and high-pressure-high temperature areas. The price of domestic natural gas is decided after every six months, based on a formula, taking into account average rates from international trading hubs. A bulk of the company’s output in the 2018-19 financial year came from fields that were given to ONGC on a nomination basis. Gas output from these rose to 24.683 billion cubic meters (bcm) against 23.43 bcm in the 2017-18 fiscal. The growth in output was largely contributed by C-26 Cluster fields, Daman and Vasai East fields in the western offshore as well as sub-sea well S2AB in the eastern offshore. ONGC has charted out a plan to double the gas production at 42.7 bcm by 2021-22. The firm is investing Rs570 bn — one of the highest investments in the world in gas projects — in the high potential KG-DWN-98/2 project in the Bay of Bengal as well as in developing other discoveries on and off the west coast. First gas production from the KG-DWN-98/2 project is targeted for end-2019 and peak output is envisaged at 16.56 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) by 2022.

Source: Business Standard

L&T bags gas export pipeline contract from KOC

1 April. Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) said it has won a gas export pipeline contract from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). The company said the order falls under “large” category that range between Rs25 bn and Rs50 bn as per its classification of contracts. The company said the new export gas strategic pipeline and its associated facilities will run a span of around 145 kilometre (km).

Source: Business Standard

IOC to set up 150 stations for CNG supply in Bihar

31 March. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will soon set up at least 150 stations for supply of compressed natural gas (CNG) across the state. The decision was made after the IOC was chosen for distribution of CNG at the 10th CGD (city gas distribution) Bidding Round conducted by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). The project of supplying CNG and PNG (piped natural gas) in the state is part of the Jagdishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra pipeline project under the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Yojana which will connect the eastern and north-eastern states with the national gas grid. According to IOC, apart from supplying CNG to vehicles and piped natural gas to more than one lakh households for domestic purposes across the state, the corporation will also supply these gases to industries and factories. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated three CNG stations at Naubatpur, Rukanpura and Bypass Road from Barauni on 17 February.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s natural gas production at 3 year high

28 March. India produced 30,057 million metric standard cubic meter (mmscm) of natural gas in the first eleven months (April-February) of the current financial year (2018-2019), the highest output recorded in the past three years in the same period, oil ministry data showed. The country produced 29,867 mmscm of natural gas in the corresponding period last fiscal. In February, gas production rose 3.29 percent to 2,565 mmscm from 2,484 mmscm in the corresponding month last fiscal. ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp)’s natural gas production in February 2019 increased 8.54 percent to 1,954 mmscm mainly on the back of increased output from fields in Tripura, Eastern Offshore and Western Offshore. Cumulatively, the firm’s gas production in the April-February period of the current fiscal increased 5.25 percent to 22,540 mmscm. Natural gas production by Oil India Ltd (OIL) fell 2.69 percent to 204 mmscm in February. This was due to reduced output from fields in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Cumulatively, OIL’s gas production in the 11 months period dropped 6 percent to 2,487 mmscm. According to the oil ministry, the firm’s gas production witnessed a dip due to loss of production potential in Deohal area in Assam and also due to bandh and miscreant activities in operational areas. Natural gas production from fields operated by private players or joint ventures decreased 14 percent to 408 mmscm in February mainly due to drop in production from Rajasthan blocks, a coal-bed methane (CBM) block in West Bengal apart from Eastern Offshore and Western Offshore fields. Cumulatively, production by private and joint venture firms in the first 11 months period decreased 13.25 percent to 5,031 mmscm. According to the ministry, this is attributed to decreased production from RIL’s Sohagpur West CBM block due to increase in number of wells requiring work-over. Also, 36 development wells in the block are still under de-watering phase awaiting gas breakout. Another reason for reduced gas production was delay in upgrade of Cairn Oil and Gas’ Mangala Processing Terminal and delay in drilling, completion and hooking up online of 45 infill wells.

Source: The Economic Times

GAIL sells US LNG cargo to Europe amid high stocks in India

27 March. Full storage tanks of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in India have prompted GAIL (India) Ltd to sell a US cargo bound for the Asian nation to northwest Europe. The sale of a cargo already on the water is the latest example of an oversupplied LNG market that has resulted in Asian spot LNG prices falling to an almost three-year low of around $4.30 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu). It also signals that India’s LNG demand, considered substantial compared to northeast Asia, is weaker than expected. The cargo on board of the Meridian Spirit that loaded at the US Cove Point plant on 20 March was offered in a tender on 25 March when it was crossing the Atlantic Ocean. GAIL has 20-year deals to buy 5.8 million tonnes (mt) a year of US LNG, split between Dominion Energy’s Cove Point plant and Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass site. The Meridian Spirit is expected to be used by GAIL to load a new cargo in the US Gulf in mid-May. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is looking to buy a mid-May delivery cargo. Petronet is looking for three cargoes for delivery between July and December. Regasification capacity has constrained LNG imports in India in recent years. India has four terminals receiving LNG on the West coast. India’s first East coast terminal Ennore was commissioned by IOC this month. Two more terminals, GSPC’s Mundra and H Energy’s Jaigarh, are expected to start up this year.

Source: Reuters

CGD rights to help OMCs diversify: Fitch

27 March. The recent award of city gas distribution (CGD) rights to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) such as Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will help them diversify and maintain their market shares in the domestic cooking and auto fuel markets over the long term, according to Fitch Ratings. IOC and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) won CGD rights in nine geographical areas each last month, and BPCL got rights to two areas. BPCL won the rights to 11 geographical areas in a previous auction in September 2018 as well. Fitch said it expects the state-owned oil marketing companies’ increased presence in city gas distribution to help them diversify from their oil refining and marketing business and reinforce their existing strong positions in the auto fuel market, with piped natural gas (PNG) usage gradually competing with auto fuels and replacing liquefied petroleum gas in the domestic cooking fuel market. Natural gas consumption increased by about 3 percent in the April 2018-January 2019 period and 4.5 percent in the financial year ended March 2018.

Source: Business Standard


Modi government adds more to coal output in 5 yrs than UPA’s 10 yrs

2 April. The Narendra Modi government has raised India’s coal production by over 144 million tonnes (mt) in the five years it has been in power, overshooting by 5 percent the 138 mt added to the country’s output in the 10 years of UPA rule between 2004 and 2014. Production by Coal India Ltd (CIL), the state-run miner accounting for nearly 90 percent of domestic supplies, stood at a little over 462 mt when the Modi government took over in May 2014. Five years since then, production by the country’s largest coal miner stands at 607mt in 2018-19, coal ministry data shows. In contrast, CIL’s production stood at 324 mt in 2004-05 when the UPA-1 government came to power and rose to 404 mt by 2008-09, indicating an addition of 80 mt in the five-year period. In the subsequent five years, the UPA-2 government added 79 mt to take the total production to 607 mt. Data shows coal offtake too largely keeping pace with production, indicating improved evacuation and transportation due to greater synergy between the coal and railway ministries. Quick decisions and clearances for mine expansions have also contributed to the sharp rise in production.

Source: The Economic Times

CIL keeps e-auction subdued for raising supplies to power sector

2 April. Coal India Ltd (CIL)’s e-auction has been low this fiscal with the public sector coal miner having to step up supplies to the power sector, which witnessed 6.96 percent increase year-on-year. CIL didn’t hold any e-auction during October-November, which left the non-regulated sector starving for coal. But, the e-auctions from December fetched high premium for CIL and the company got an average premium of 81 percent over the notified price this fiscal as against 50 percent commanded last fiscal. CIL has been generally pushing 20 percent of its production to the e-auction over the years but this has been below 10 percent of the total production at 61 million tonnes (mt) this fiscal. CIL pushed around 112 mt to the e-auction last fiscal but e-auctions last fiscal did not command as much premium than it commanded this year.

Source: The Financial Express

NTPC starts commercial production from Pakri Barwadih coal mine in Jharkhand

1 April. NTPC Ltd said it has started commercial production of coal from Pakri Barwadih mine in Jharkhand. Pakri Barwadih, located in Hazaribagh district, is first of the mine NTPC is developing to provide low cost coal for its power stations, replacing expensive imported coal. It will feed NTPC’s ultra mega power project in the region. The mine has an estimated mining capacity to produce 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal and was in 2010 allotted to NTPC as basket mine to meet the fuel shortfall of its power stations. NTPC was allotted Pakri Barwadih, Chatti-Bariatu, Kerandari, Dulanga, Talaipalli and Chatti-Bariatu (South), Banai, Bhalumunda and Mandakini B mines. These mines carry total geological reserves of around 7.15 billion tonnes and have a production potential of 107 million tonnes per annum of coal catering to requirements of 20,000 MW of power generation.

Source: Business Standard

CIL production up 7 percent to 607 mt in FY19

1 April. Coal India Ltd (CIL) reported a growth of 7 percent in dry fuel production in 2018-19 to 606.9 million tonnes (mt), a shade below the MoU target of 610 mt with the coal ministry. The production was 567.4 mt in FY18. Informing the bourses, the largest coal miner said offtake was at 608.1 mt during the year, a growth of 4.8 percent over the previous fiscal offtake of 580.3 mt of coal. CIL had set an internal aspirational target of 652 mt for the year, but could not go closer to it as things did not fructify as perceived. CIL scaled a new peak in production in the month of March 2019 producing 79.19 mt – the highest so far in a month since inception. Supply to power sector was 488 mt which is 7 percent higher than the figure of 2017-18. The pithead coal stock stood at 54 mt and cumulative stock at power plants stood at 30.41 mt are sufficient to meet the demand, the company said.

Source: Business Standard

Illegally mined coal seized in Giridih, Jharkhand

1 April. The police seized illegally mined coal from different places in Giridih district, Jharkhand. A coal-laden truck and 12 motorbikes laden with coal were seized from different areas under Muffasil police station. In a separate case, two persons were arrested in connection with illegal coal mining.

Source: The Economic Times

India approves new coal projects amid a shrinking global pool

30 March. India continues to endorse new coal-fired generation projects at a time when thermal projects are shrinking across the world, as concerns mount on rising emissions and tightening of credit. A report released jointly by Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace India and the Sierra Club (US) shows the number of coal-fired plants under development has seen a sharp fall in 2018 for the third year on the trot. The findings of the report ‘Boom and Bust 2019: Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline’ are disturbing for the coal sector. Its findings include a 20 percent drop in newly completed coal plants (53 percent in the past three years), a 39 percent drop in new construction starts (84 percent in the past three years), and a 24 percent drop in plants in pre-construction activity (69 percent over the past three years) year-on-year. In India, around 40 GW of the country’s coal plants are either financially stressed or are at risk of bankruptcy. Less than 3 GW of new capacity was commissioned in 2018, compared to 39 GW in 2010. Low plant load factors, largely due to overcapacity and competition from cheaper renewables, have made it harder for coal plants to recover their investments. In China and India, which have accounted for 85 percent of new coal power capacity since 2005, the number of permits for new coal plants dropped to record lows, but new plants are still in the pipeline.

Source: Business Standard

SECL crosses 150 mt coal production in 2018-19 fiscal

29 March. South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) has become the first company in the country to have crossed coal production figure of 150 million tonnes (mt) in a financial year. SECL achieved the record during the 2018-19 fiscal and crossed the 150 mt mark on 20 March. SECL chairman and managing director A P Panda has taken all steps to expedite coal production as a result of which the SECL also touched the highest ever single day production of 7.44 lakh tonnes in this month. During FY 2017-18, the SECL had produced 144.7 mt of coal. SECL, the largest subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL), contributes about a quarter of the dry fuel production for the holding company. The SECL has fared well at area level too. Dipka mine Area achieved the highest ever single day coal production of 1.45 lakh tonnes, while SECLs Gevra Mine achieved a single day coal production of 2.05 lakh tonnes in this month.

Source: Business Standard


2.79 percent hike in power tariff comes into effect in Uttarakhand

2 April. A hike in the latest tariff slabs, which was announced earlier this year, came into effect on 1 April in Uttarakhand. The new tariff structure was finalised with an increase of 2.79 percent in power and by over 9 percent in water bills. The state has over 20 lakh power consumers, over 2.39 lakh commercial consumers and 4.5 lakh below poverty line consumers. The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission decided on the increased power tariff and announced that cow shelters having load up to 2 kW and consumption up to 200 units/month and home-stays registered under ‘Deendayal Upadhyay Home-Stay Development Policy Rules, 2018’ would be included in the domestic category.

Source: The Economic Times

70 MW electricity import from India hampered due to Nepal rainstorm

2 April. The rainstorm in Nepal’s southern plains brought down the electricity wires and lines resulting disruption in the import of 70 MW electricity from India. The rainstorm has broken the circuit of 33 kilovolt (kV) Birgunj-Raksaul transmission line and 132 kV Raksaul- Purwanipur transmission line resulting in the disruption of 70 MW electricity import from India, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) said. Though the disruption in electricity import from India was experienced in other lines too, the NEA has restored the electricity flow in urban areas of Birgunj, Kalaiya and Simara districts.

Source: Business Standard

Unscheduled power cuts: Delhi discoms want better mechanism for reasons behind outages

1 April. Uncertainty looms large on the fate of power distribution companies (discoms) in Delhi as the State government is yet to propose legal changes in the provision that requires them to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts in the national capital. The discoms had expressed reservations to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on the grounds that they are being held accountable for outages that are beyond their control. And subsequently, made the same appeal to the Delhi High Court. Tata Power-Delhi Distribution Ltd had challenged it on the pretext that the due process of law was not followed. In December, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party tweeted that Delhi has become the first State in the country where consumers will be compensated by discoms in case of unscheduled power cuts. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had fixed a compensation of ₹50 for the first two hours of cuts and ₹100 for every subsequent hour. The compensation amount was to be adjusted against current or future bills. But till date no compensation has been given by the discoms.

Source: The Hindu Business L ine

Earth Hour: Power discoms save 258 MW in Delhi

30 March. The power distribution companies (discoms) in the national capital saved 258 MW of electricity during sixty minutes of the Earth Hour observed on Saturday (30 March) night. Government and private institutions as well as people kept their electric appliances switched off during the Earth Hour observed from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm. The two BSES discoms managed to save 161 MW power during the hour. The BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd saved 92 MW while the BSES Yamuna Power Ltd saved 69 MW electricity during the Earth Hour. The two discoms supply power to major portion of the city. The Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) supplying to North and north-west Delhi areas saved 98 MW electricity during Earth Hour. Last year, the TPDDL had saved 70 MW power during the Earth Hour.

Source: Business Standard

Power demand hits one-month high in Gujarat

29 March. The rise in temperature has pushed up the demand for electricity across Gujarat with an increased number of consumers switching on their air conditioners, fans and coolers to get respite from heat. The state’s power demand during peak hours surged to a month’s high level. According to the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC), Gujarat, the demand of electricity reached 16,205 MW. This is the highest so far during the month of March. The power demand has crossed 16,000 MW mark only twice this month. In March last year, the peak demand was registered at 15,512 MW on 29 March 2018.

Source: The Economic Times

Power generation to grow at 7 percent in FY19: Care Ratings

29 March. Care Ratings believes electricity generation in FY19 will grow between 6 percent and 7 percent. Successful implementation of electrification led by Power for All is expected to drive the demand for electricity. Care expects demand for imported thermal coal to normalize going forward as supply constraints of domestic coal improve over the next 12 months. However, overall demand for thermal coal would continue to remain between 135 million tonnes (mt) and 145 mt. Nevertheless, bringing down AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses would be key to stabilising power sector in India. Achieving 15 percent AT&C on an all-India basis as stipulated under UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme would require improvement in revenue collection especially from domestic power consumers who have been electrified under the “Saubhagya” Scheme. Additionally, completion of measures like smart-metering should be expedited and implemented in a time-bound manner. However, total electricity generated in the country clocked 1156.8 billion units during 19 April-January, reporting growth of 5.7 percent vs 5.3 percent in previous year.

Source: The Economic Times

Kalpataru Power Transmission bags orders worth Rs5.8 bn in international markets

29 March. Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd (KPTL) said it has secured new orders worth Rs5.88 bn in the international markets. KPTL is a specialised engineering procurement and construction company engaged in power transmission and distribution, oil and gas pipeline, railways, infrastructure development, civil contracting and warehousing and logistics business with a strong international presence in power transmission and distribution. The company is currently executing several contracts in India, Africa, West Asia, CIS, SAARC and the Far East.

Source: The Hindu Business L ine

MERC approves 700 MW PPA of Tata Power for 5 yrs

27 March. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has allowed distribution business of Tata Power to have a power purchase arrangement (PPA) with its generation arm for 700 MW to be supplied from its Trombay thermal and hydro plants for five years. The PPA will be effective from 1 April and will ensure cheaper power to Mumbai consumers, the company said. After due diligence for ensuring the reliability of supply and cost competitiveness for consumers in Mumbai, the commission in its order approved the arrangement. Earlier in January, the commission approved the PPA of Tata Power with Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) for 677 MW. The process of power tie-up was undertaken by the distribution business for five years starting 1 April. The existing power tie-up was scheduled to expire on 31 March. Tata Power is India’s largest integrated power company and, together with its subsidiaries and jointly controlled entities, has an installed capacity of 10,757 MW.

Source: Business Standard

Power demand continues to slide in Uttar Pradesh

27 March. The country’s most populous state — where Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses of discoms (distribution companies) are among the highest — declaring muted electricity requirement also coincides with rising power costs. Electricity requirement in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has dropped by 1.6 percent in the first 11 months of FY19 against the same period in the previous fiscal. This is the seventh straight month when UP’s power requirement has fallen on a year-on-year basis. The development comes amid UP — the largest beneficiary of the Saubhagya scheme — connecting about 75 lakh households through the programme since October 2017.

Source: The Financial Express


MNRE floats draft quality control order for solar thermal systems

2 April. In a bid to ensure standardization of solar components across India’s solar power ecosystem, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has floated a draft quality control order for Solar Thermal Systems, in accordance with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) guidelines. The MNRE has already announced the quality control order for SPV (solar photovoltaic) Systems. According to the draft order, a manufacturer or seller of solar thermal systems will now have to register with BIS to obtain a Standard Mark. The order has also prohibited storage, sale, import or distribution of solar thermal systems by manufacturers or by any person on behalf of a manufacturer which does not bear the Standard Mark. However, the manufacturers of solar thermal systems meant for exports are exempted from the requirement of applying for a Standard Mark from BIS. The Order — Solar Thermal, Systems, Devices and Components Goods (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2019 – will come into force a year after its publication in the Official Gazette. In order to ensure compliance of the guidelines, MNRE can seek information along with sample of goods from the manufacturers on the systems any time. The MNRE can also inspect the systems at any point in time. In cases of contravention, the ministry can also search and seize goods. In cases where the solar thermal systems are of varying size and rating, the goods will be grouped and granted series approval. A sample of solar thermal systems of a registered user will be drawn from his manufacturing unit or from the market for ascertaining their conformity to the standards. The samples will be drawn at least once in two years for a product or series of products covered under the scope of registration granted.

Source: The Economic Times

Kochi Metro sets out to augment solar power generation

2 April. In a bid to augment solar power generation, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has devised plans to utilise depot tracks to install a solar power plant which will enable it to generate an additional  5,445 kilowatt peak (kWp). The new project is expected to go on stream in 2020 and once completed the energy neutrality will touch 60 percent. Additionally, KMRL commissioned a 2,719 kW ground-mounted  solar plant, spread across four hectares at Muttom Depot, which will help KMRL achieve 44 percent energy neutrality. With the commissioning of the new plant, the total capacity will be 5,390 kWp.

Source: The New Indian Express

Tata Power, IGL join hands to set up EV charging stations, solar plants

2 April. Tata Power and Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) announced signing of a pact to jointly set up electric vehicle charging stations, battery swapping stations and rooftop solar power plants among other focus areas. The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) provides for setting up of rooftop solar projects with customized structure for IGL establishments under CAPEX and RESCO mode and exploring rooftop solar projects for residential, commercial and Industrial establishments.

Source: The Economic Times

India levies anti-dumping duty on solar cell component from four nations

1 April. India has imposed anti-dumping duty of up to $1,559 per tonne on imports of a certain type of sheet used in solar cell making from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand for five years to safeguard domestic players against cheap shipments. In a notification, the Department of Revenue has said that after considering the recommendations of the commerce ministry’s investigation arm DGTR, it is imposing the duty, which is in the range of $537 to $1,559 per tonne, on imports of “Ethylene Vinyl Acetate sheet for solar module” being exported by these four nations. Imports of components used in solar industry have increased as India launched an ambitious national solar policy named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in January 2010. Under this, the country has a target of generating 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Several countries are interested in supplying solar equipment to tap into the growing sector in India.

Source: Business Standard

GAIL, BHEL sign pact for development of solar power projects

30 March. GAIL (India) Ltd said it has signed an agreement with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for cooperation in the development of solar power projects. BHEL shall also provide operation and maintenance services during the initial period upon becoming successful bidder. GAIL is India’s biggest natural gas company with diversified interests across the value chain of trading, transmission, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) production and transmission, LNG (liquefied natural gas) re-gasification, petrochemicals and city gas. BHEL is one of the few companies in the world, and only company in India, having the capability to manufacture the entire range of power plant equipment. It has also been in the field of design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and commissioning of solar power plants over three decades and has a portfolio of more than 700 MW.

Source: Business Standard

PDPU to rope in oil companies to harness geothermal energy

30 March. After finding success in its pilot project at Dholera, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) is planning to tap a large geothermal source for commercially viable production of electricity. For this, it is planning to rope in oil companies to carry out deep well drilling and exploration at various locations in Gujarat. The state is now exploring geothermal renewable energy and it is ready to set up its first geothermal power plant of 10-20 kilowatt capacity. PDPU to rope in oil companies to harness geothermal energy The plant will start operating next month at Dholera, where medium enthalpy heat in the form of hot springs has been found under the earth. PDPU is now aiming to tap geothermal energy by drilling Gujarat’s first ‘parametric’ well at Dholera. For this, it is preparing an environment impact assessment study after the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently set the terms of reference. The Centre of Excellence for Geothermal Energy, (CEGE), a part of PDPU and funded by the Gujarat government, is coordinating the initiative which includes the Rs130 mn project that aims to drill wells to depths of 1,500 metres at Dholera. The state government had established CEGE in October 2013 to generate large scale electricity. Initially, six sites including Dholera, Unai, Gandhar, Tuwa, Chabsar and Tulsishyam were identified by CEGE. However, CEGE is currently focusing on three sites — Dholera, Gandhar and Unai for exploration activities. Two geothermal borewells were drilled at Dholera where the temperature of water was found to be 47-60 degrees Celsius.

Source: The Economic Times

Tamil Nadu set to regain top slot in clean energy with fresh capacity addition

29 March. Tamil Nadu may regain the top slot in total installed capacity in renewable energy as the state has bright prospects for capacity addition in wind and solar sectors in the coming year. Last year, Karnataka had toppled Tamil Nadu. Karnataka is the top State with a total installed capacity of 13,042 MW as of January 2019, while the same for Tamil Nadu is 12,125 MW. Tamil Nadu, however, is the leader in wind capacity, while Karnataka occupies the top position in the solar segment. Helped by faster installations in the solar sector and significant improvement in wind capacity, Karnataka has risen to the top position from the fifth rank about four years ago. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in September 2015, Tamil Nadu was the leader in renewable energy with a total capacity of 8,466 MW, while Karnataka’s capacity was 4,606 MW. A renewable energy consulting firm Bridge to India expects a total capacity addition of 15,860 MW in the renewable sector in India in 2019. In solar, 1,872 MW of new solar capacity is expected to come in Tamil Nadu, while Karnataka is expected to add 1,555 MW. The overall capacity addition in the wind sector is expected at 2,300 MW in 2019 and almost all this new capacity is expected to come up in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Source: The Hindu Business L ine

NTPC to set up 25 MW floating solar power plant at Simhadri

29 March. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) said it was setting up a 25 MW floating solar power plant in its water storage reservoir as part of its diversification into the solar segment. Group General Manager of NTPC’s Simhadri plant, A R Maiti, said it was also setting up a flue-gas desulphurisation plant (FGD). Maiti said the NTPC Simhadri had four units (of 500 MW each) and the plant was operating at 70.98 plant load factor (PLF) this year as against last year’s 67.2 percent.

Source: Business Standard

India solar panel prices continue to fall on 25 percent y-o-y dip in global rates

29 March. Despite the safeguard duty imposed on imports from China, Malaysia and the West, effective July 2018, solar panel prices continued to fall in the domestic market, as a 25 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) fall in global prices has more than offset the duty impact. Though demand for the panels could look up in 2019, with a sharp cut in China’s installation target (down 60 percent), supplies might still continue to outweigh demand keeping prices low through the year, analysts feel. Between 2013 and 2019, solar panel prices have fallen 71 percent. Kunal Chandra, managing director of Proinso India, the Indian arm of the UK (United Kingdom) -based solar solutions provider, said going ahead, some of the important events that will drive demand in the solar market would be a procurement drive in Europe, new solar policies in Latin American countries and new markets in Africa. Also, the safeguard duty in India will come down from 25 percent to 20 percent from August. All these factors will have a positive impact on demand, but the panel prices will fall by another 5-6 percent in FY20 as supplies will exceed the demand. In India, the prices were also impacted by estimated 55 percent y-o-y drop in solar installations in FY19 to 4,569 MW which was only a quarter of planned target of 16,000 MW. Though the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) was on a tender issuance spree, the actual progress was much slower owing to multiple instances of tender under subscription and cancellations. Private sector response has dimmed owing to poor tender design, low tariff expectations and transmission sector bottlenecks.

Source: The Financial Express

Siemens Gamesa commissions 10 MW solar project for Lakshmi Machine Works

28 March. Clean energy solutions provider Siemens Gamesa said it has commissioned 10 MW solar power project for Lakshmi Machine Works in Tamil Nadu. As part of the contract, Siemens Gamesa provided an EPC (engineering procurement and construction) solution that included engineering and design of the solar farm, procurement, erection and commissioning of the 10 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar farm near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, the company said.

Source: Business Standard

Centre issue tenders for developing 30 GW of renewable projects

27 March. In the rush to meet the target of 1.75 lakh MW of renewable energy capacity by 2020, the Centre and several states have issued tenders totalling 30,549 MW. Of this, only 4,000 MW are wind power projects, 1,800 MW are hybrid (solar+wind) and balance 24,749 MW are solar power projects. The bids for these projects are due in next three months. If concluded on time, these projects should be commissioned by March 2020. The earlier deadline for 1.75 lakh MW was 2022, but the government later said it would meet the target by 2020 and achieve more than 2 lakh MW by 2022. Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), the nodal agency of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued 19 tender notices.

Source: Business Standard


Colombia’s Ecopetrol to share three oil fields with Canada’s Parex

2 April. Colombia’s oil company Ecopetrol will split its participation in three oil fields equally with Canada’s Parex, which will operate the fields, the government said. Colombia recently modified contractual terms for offshore exploration and launched a permanent bidding process in an effort to boost its long-stagnant oil sector. Investment in at least 15 wells in the Aguas Blancas, Boranda and De Mares fields in northeastern Colombia will reach at least $150 mn, the national hydrocarbons agency (ANH) said.

Source: Reuters

UAE’s ADNOC signs new long-term agreement for base oil sales into China

2 April. UAE (United Arab Emirates)’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) concluded a significant long-term sales agreement with the Xiamen Sinolook Oil Co Ltd, of China, for its high-quality base oil, ADbase, the company said. ADNOC Refining, an ADNOC subsidiary, produces up to 500,000 metric tonnes per year of the Group III base oil, at its Ruwais refining and petrochemicals complex.

Source: Reuters

Shell sees rise in Nigeria oil spills in 2018

2 April. Royal Dutch Shell last year experienced a sharp rise in the number of oil spills caused by pipeline theft in Nigeria, which the company said were the result of larger output and higher oil prices. The number of spills caused by sabotage and theft in the Niger delta rose last year to 111 from 62 in 2017, the Anglo-Dutch company said. The volume of oil spilt as a result rose to 1,600 tonnes, or roughly 12,000 barrels, from 1,400 tonnes the previous year. Shell, the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, has for decades struggled with oil spills, a result of theft as well as poor maintenance, in the Nigeria delta where it controls a web of oilfields and pipelines.

Source: Reuters

US orders foreign firms to further cut down on oil trades with Venezuela

29 March. The United States (US) has instructed oil trading houses and refiners around the world to further cut dealings with Venezuela or face sanctions themselves, even if the trades are not prohibited by published US sanction. The US imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry earlier this year but some companies have continued to supply the country with fuel from India, Russia and Europe. Washington is particularly keen to end deliveries of gasoline and refined products used to dilute Venezuela’s heavy crude oil to make it suitable for export. Jet fuel and diesel would be exempt for humanitarian reasons. The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a ban in early February on the use of its financial system in oil deals with Venezuela after April.

Source: Reuters

Carlyle takes step forward on $1 bn US oil-export project

29 March. A proposed $1 bn deepwater oil-export project moved ahead with US (United States) private equity firm Carlyle Group agreeing to a 50-year lease on land near Corpus Christi, Texas, for a terminal. The project is one of two proposed for the Corpus Christi area and among eight deepwater ports planned along the US Gulf Coast. Carlyle has pledged $400 mn to continue to dredge the ship channel to a 75-foot depth to allow very large crude carriers, which carry up to 2 million barrels of crude, to dock at the terminal. That portion of the project faces an extended environmental review.

Source: Reuters

US President and Saudi Arabia at odds over oil prices

29 March. US (United States) President Donald Trump and the Saudi government have closely aligned views on most issues but they disagree significantly on the desirable level for oil prices, which could become a source of volatility in 2019/2020. He has normally restricted himself to generalized criticism of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) when prices have been below $75 per barrel. However, when prices have moved above that level, Trump has sharpened his criticism, singling out Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and noting that they benefit from an expensive US security umbrella. The US is increasingly both a major producer and consumer of petroleum, so the main impact of changing prices is no longer felt through the external balance of payments but the internal distribution of income. Rising prices transfer income from consumers, motorists and the industrial Midwest to oil drillers and producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Alaska.

Source: Reuters

Japan extends state-backed insurance for Iran oil imports

28 March. Japan has extended state-backed insurance to cover imports of oil from Iran, potentially allowing the country’s refiners to continue loading crude cargoes from the Middle Eastern nation. The rollover of the insurance was approved by parliament and takes effect from April for one year. While the rollover provides insurance cover for imports that Japanese shippers cannot otherwise obtain, refiners are unlikely to load Iranian cargoes from April unless they get a waiver from the United States (US) on sanctions re-imposed on Iran last year. Japanese refiners have been pushing the government to seek an extension of the US sanctions waivers after an initial 180-day exemption period expires in early May.

Source: Reuters


Mexico LNG project clears US hurdle

1 April. The liquefaction-export project that Sempra Energy’s Energia Costa Azul (ECA) LNG subsidiary is developing in Baja California, Mexico has won two key authorizations from the US (United States) Department of Energy (DOE). Sempra said that the DOE has authorized ECA to export US-produced natural gas to Mexico and to re-export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the US. The pair of DOE authorizations apply to Phases 1 and 2 of the project, Sempra said. Since 2008, Sempra has operated the existing ECA regasification facility north of Ensenada, Baja California – the first LNG receipt terminal on the west coast of North America. The facility can process up to 1 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas per day, Sempra said. ECA aims to add liquefaction capability over two phases. Phase 1 would add a single LNG train adjacent to the LNG receipt terminal and would use existing LNG storage tanks, marine berth and associated facilities, stated Sempra. Phase 2 would add two trains and an LNG storage tank. According to Sempra, the DOE authorizations allow ECA to export 636 bcf per year of US-sourced LNG from the infrastructure projects.

Source: Rigzone

Romania’s Black Sea gas projects hanging by a thread

1 April. Romania’s new energy regulations risk undermining plans by companies to develop big offshore gas projects in the Black Sea, putting billions of dollars of revenue at risk and squandering a chance to challenge Russia’s Gazprom in the region. OMV Petrom, which is developing a Romanian gas field with ExxonMobil, said key conditions for the project were still not in place while Black Sea Oil & Gas, controlled by private equity firm The Carlyle Group, warned it could pull out of another project if the rules remain. The European Commission also told Romania in March that gas export restrictions and regulated prices probably contravene EU (European Union) rules and could be challenged by Brussels. The government made a last-minute concession, eliminating a cap on gas prices for industrial consumers. That means producers only have to sell about a third of their output at a fixed price – to households and heating plants – rather than more than half. Romania now risks delaying offshore gas projects and playing into the hands of Russia, which blocked Ukraine from exploring its Black Sea resources by occupying Crimea, analysts said. Romania’s Black Sea gas has the potential to challenge Gazprom’s dominant role in central and eastern Europe, diversify gas supplies and bring the Romanian government revenue of $26 bn by 2040, according to the consultancy. Romania’s offshore gas reserves are estimated at 200 billion cubic meters (bcm). Russia, meanwhile, has proven reserves of 35 trillion cubic meters, according to BP’s statistical review. But while German consumption alone would empty the Romanian gas fields in two years, they could cover the combined 2017 demand of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Moldova for more than six years. Several gas producers have spent upwards of a decade and billions of dollars preparing to tap Romania’s Black Sea gas, but they were blindsided by the government decree. Lawmakers also approved export restrictions on offshore gas producers. The ruling Social Democrats, gearing up for four elections this year and next, have said the gas price cap was designed to keep tariffs low for domestic users. Black Sea Oil & Gas (BSOG) decided earlier this year to press ahead with plans to extract an estimated 10 bcm of gas from shallow waters – given the amount of money it has already invested.

Source: Reuters

Noble Energy JV to build pipeline from Equatorial Guinea’s offshore gas fields

1 April. Noble Energy and partners will build a pipeline linking Equatorial Guinea’s offshore gas fields to an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to boost exports, the African nation’s government said. Under a deal with the government the 70 kilometre (44 miles) pipe will have capacity for 950 million cubic feet of gas per day from fields operated by Noble and will be ready in the first quarter of 2021. Once liquefied at the export plant, which is run by Marathon Oil, the gas will be shipped to markets across the globe. Sonagas GE will increase its stake in the project to 30 percent from 25 percent. The gas will come from a joint venture (JV) called the Alen Unit, located in two offshore blocks, and is expected to contribute between $1.5 bn and $2 bn to state revenues over the course of the project, the government statement said. Equatorial Guinea hopes to create a gas export hub from its offshore fields after revenues were hit by a dip in oil prices and production since 2014.

Source: Reuters

Indonesia gas utility builds LNG terminal for East Java distribution

29 March. Indonesia’s state-controlled gas utility company PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), in cooperation with state port companies, is building a small terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution in East Java, the company said. The terminal is targeted to start operation in the fourth quarter this year. For the early phase, the East Java LNG terminal will have a regasification capacity of just 30 billion British thermal units (btu) per day, or about 30 million cubic feet a day, although the company plans to expand that “based on energy demand growth in East Java and surrounding areas”. The terminal is expected to improve PGN’s distribution network in East Java for both its industrial-based and household customers, as well as for power generators.

Source: Reuters

Romanian government to eliminate gas price cap for industrial consumers: PM

29 March. Romania’s government will maintain a 2 percent tax on turnover for all energy companies except coal-fired power plants and will still cap gas prices for households but not for industrial consumers, Prime Minister (PM) Viorica Dancila said. Initially, the government wanted to cap gas prices at 68 lei ($16) per megawatt hour until February 2022 for households as well as a list of 83 industrial consumers, according to energy regulator ANRE.

Source: Reuters

Commissioning for Bangladesh’s second LNG import terminal delayed to April

28 March. Bangladesh’s second liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal is expected to start commissioning in mid-April, a month later than initially expected. Summit Corp, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Summit Power International, and partner Mitsubishi Corp are expected to start commissioning at their floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) off the country’s coast on 20 April. The FSRU will be named “Summit LNG” and will pick up its commissioning cargo from Ras Laffan in Qatar before sailing to Bangladesh. It is currently dry docked in Ras Laffan Nakilat NKOM yard. The cargo will be supplied by Qatargas. Operations at the FSRU were expected to start in mid-March, ahead of schedule. The new timeline still puts the arrival of the FSRU ahead of schedule. The FSRU start-up date had also been partially hampered by construction delays on a pipeline that will carry regasified gas from the coastal city of Chattogram, near where the FSRU will be anchored, to the capital Dhaka. The planned LNG import volume of the project is about 3.75 million tonnes a year, which will double the country’s LNG import capacity to 7.5 million tonnes per year once fully operational. Bangladesh has scrapped plans to build additional floating LNG terminals in favour of land-based stations after the start-up of the country’s first FSRU was delayed by several months due to technical problems and bad weather.

Source: Reuters

Australia’s east faces gas shortage from 2024, market operator warns

28 March. Australia will face a gas shortage from 2024 unless new reserves are developed, pipeline capacity is increased or eastern states start importing liquefied natural gas, the country’s energy market operator warned. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s annual gas outlook was more dire than in June last year, when it forecast no shortage before 2030. Since then, companies have cut reserve and production estimates, AEMO said. In the near term, government pressure on three liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters in Queensland, led by Royal Dutch Shell, Origin Energy and Santos, to boost gas supply to the domestic market has succeeded in averting potential shortfalls, AEMO said. Longer term, as gas output dwindles in the ageing Gippsland Basin fields off Victoria, which have long fed demand centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, more gas will be needed from Queensland in the north or LNG will have to be imported.

Source: Reuters

Russia to allocate funds in 2021-2022 for an LNG terminal

28 March. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an allocation of budget funds in 2021-2022 for the construction of the Utrenny liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Russian port of Sabetta on the Northern Sea route, the Kremlin said. The budget money will also be used to reconstruct a navigable channel in the Gulf of Ob in the Kara Sea. The Utrennee gas field is developed by Russian gas giant Novatek and serves as a resource base for the Arctic LNG-2 project.

Source: Reuters

Germany takes steps to spur more investment in LNG terminals

27 March. Germany’s cabinet approved a plan that will make it easier for LNG (liquefied natural gas) project companies to invest in new LNG terminals as part of efforts to diversify the country’s sources of gas. Under the legislation, LNG companies will only pay a 10 percent share of the connection costs for LNG, giving them more scope to invest in LNG projects. At the moment, pipeline companies have to put up the initial cost of the pipelines and then recoup this over the long term via network usage fees that are part of customers gas bills. The government wants to complement gas arriving from Russia, Norway and the Netherlands with other origins to give consumers more choices, while LNG suppliers like Qatar and the United States are seeking more business. Germany also expects additional gas import volumes from the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will be under construction by the end of this year.

Source: Reuters


Glencore, Tohoku Electric set coal contract price at $94.75 per tonne

2 April. Global miner Glencore and Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power agreed on a price of $94.75 per tonne for supplies of thermal coal from Australia for the year through March 2020. The price, which serves as an industry benchmark for supplies of seaborne thermal coal in Asia, was 14 percent lower than a price agreed for supplies for the year through September this year. The Australian miner later agreed on a price of $110 per tonne in August for some contracts with other Japanese thermal coal buyers for the April to March period. Glencore has two annual benchmark supply contracts with Japanese utilities, typically negotiated by Tohoku Electric, one for April through March and the other for October through September that takes account for later market conditions. With annual imports last year of slightly less than 114 million tonnes (mt), Japan is one of the world’s biggest importers of thermal coal. Australia supplied a little over 70 percent of those imports in 2018.

Source: Reuters

Report on French coal power shutdown expected soon: Ecology Minister

1 April. French power grid operator RTE is poised to publish a report that is expected to lay out a possible roadmap for shutting down France’s four remaining coal power plants by 2022, Ecology Minister Francois de Rudy said. The French government plans to halt the remaining coal power plants operated by state-controlled utility EDF and Germany’s Uniper as part of its efforts to curb carbon emissions. The plants have an installed capacity of about 3,000 MW. The Minister had asked RTE for an additional analysis on France’s energy needs and security of power supply before a decision this summer on whether to allow a planned conversion of EDF’s 1,200 MW Cordemais coal-fired plant into biomass power generation.

Source: Reuters


Zimbabwe power utility seeks 30 percent tariff increase

1 April. Zimbabwe’s power utility ZESA Holdings has applied to the energy regulator to raise its tariff by 30 percent for maintenance of its grid and after the price of inputs like diesel went up. Uninterrupted power supplies are especially critical for Zimbabwe’s mining sector, which generates more than half of the southern African country’s export earnings. ZESA said if ZERA (Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority) again refused to sanction a tariff increase, the power company could cut power supplies. Zimbabwe was producing 1,604 MW of electricity from its coal-fired and hydro power plants against peak demand of 2,000 MW, according to ZESA.

Source: Reuters

Japan’s JERA becomes energy behemoth with power station business

1 April. Japan’s JERA joint venture, the world’s biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), became a major electricity generator with the formal takeover of power stations owned by its two shareholders. JERA, which is owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric Power, had earlier taken on fuel procurement for its two shareholders, Japan’s biggest and third-biggest utilities. It has now assumed control of their fossil fuel power stations, giving it 68 GW of mostly gas and coal-fired power generation capacity domestically, nearly half the country’s power generation, as well as 9 GW overseas. TEPCO and Chubu will continue to hold separately their transmission grids and retail businesses. Japan’s government forced through more competition in the country’s highly regionalized $130 bn power market in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns by allowing new entrants, encouraging renewables and supporting market trading of power.

Source: Reuters


Uzbekistan to build 25 solar power plants by 2030

2 April. Uzbekistan plans to build 25 solar power plants with a capacity of 100 MW by 2030, with the first one to be completed in two years. Uzbekistan will start construction of the country’s first 100 MW solar power plant in the Navoi region this year, Deputy Energy Minister Sherzod Khadjaev said. He said the country plans to complete the construction within two years, and that another 24 such power plants are planned to be built by 2030. The government of Uzbekistan and SkyPower Global announced in 2018 the signing of a landmark solar power purchase agreement under which SkyPower Global will invest $1.3 bn to build 1,000 MW of solar energy generation capacity throughout the country. He said that the country will produce 67.5 bn kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity this year and expects the figure will reach 120 bn kWh in 2030. The total potential of solar energy in Uzbekistan exceeds the equivalent of 51 billion tonnes of oil, according to expert estimates. Uzbekistan reached a deal with Russia in 2018 to build the country’s first nuclear power plant. In power generation, Uzbekistan remains heavily dependent on coal- and natural gas-burning power plants, but the country aims to increase the share of renewable energy generation in the coming years.

Source: Times of Central Asia

China to fall short of 2020 nuclear capacity target

2 April. China will fall short of its nuclear power generation capacity target for 2020, according to a forecast from the China Electricity Council. Total nuclear capacity is expected to reach 53 GW next year, below a target of 58 GW, council vice chairman Wei Shaofeng said. China is the world’s third-biggest nuclear power producer by capacity, with 45.9 GW installed by end-2018 and 11 units still under construction, but its reactor building program has stalled since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. No new approvals have been granted for the past three years, amid spiraling costs, delays for key projects and safety concerns about new technologies. Environmental impact assessments for two new projects in southeast China were submitted to regulators last month, however, paving the way for a resumption of its atomic energy program. Wei said capacity should reach 137 GW by 2030 if China raised the pace of nuclear construction to six to eight reactors a year from 2021 to 2030, and could hit 200 GW by 2035. China’s electricity consumption is expected to keep rising until at least 2035, allowing room for nuclear power to serve as an effective replacement for coal-fired power plants, Wei said. China’s power pricing policies have left many nuclear reactors operating at less than full capacity in recent years, with tariffs for electricity from nuclear power plants more expensive than coal-fired power. Nuclear power has been cheaper than wind power, but a rapid fall in construction costs for wind and solar facilities over the past two years has improved their competitiveness. China is also backing new advanced reactor technologies, but costs for third generation nuclear reactors, are expected to be considerably more expensive than the earlier generation of reactors, according to a recent study by China Nuclear Energy Association.

Source: Reuters

Oil-rich sovereign funds look to renewables alongside fossil fuels

1 April. Sovereign wealth funds from oil-rich countries in the Middle East are moving to diversify into renewable energy, pushed by regulators and pledges on climate change, but are stopping short of following Norway in shedding some oil and gas investments. Total sovereign wealth fund investments within the oil and gas industry have dwarfed those within renewable energy in the past decade. But data on private equity investments with sovereign wealth fund participation suggests this balance might be shifting. In 2018, $6.36 bn went into hydrocarbons, compared to $5.81 bn in renewable energy, one of the narrowest margins in the past decade, according to PitchBook, a data and research firm.

Source: Reuters

China expects first trade in national emissions scheme in 2020

30 March. China expects to make the first trade on the long-awaited national emission trading scheme in 2020, as part of Beijing’s efforts to fulfill its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emission. China has spent two years on legal and technical infrastructure construction after it announced its plans to launch the nationwide emission trading scheme (ETS) in 2017. It began setting up pilot trading platforms in 2013 in seven regions across the country but they have not been brought under a unified scheme yet. Coal-fired power is the first industry included into the national ETS, covering around 3 billion tonnes (bt) of greenhouse gas emitted in China every year. China will promote carbon trade in power sectors, Jiang Zhaoli, vice director of the climate change department at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said.  The government will also include more high-energy consuming industries such as steel, non-ferrous and construction materials, into the scheme. The nationwide ETS aims to cover 8 bt of carbon dioxide emission per annum from around 100,000 industrial plants when the trading scheme is fully launched. The ETS is designed to encourage power utilities and manufacturers to reduce emissions through a market mechanism. Some scholars in China, however, are questioning the necessity of the ETS due to overlapping of policies. On the whole, China also plans to introduce a carbon tax and a renewable power quota system with a similar aim of boosting clean energy consumption and cutting emission at industrial plants. China said it has cut carbon intensity by 45.8 percent in 2018 from the level in 2005, exceeding the target of lowering it 45 percent by 2020. It also pledged to bring emission to a peak by around 2030 as part of its commitments to the 2015 Paris accord.

Source: Reuters

US approved secret nuclear power work for Saudi Arabia

28 March. US (United States) Energy Secretary Rick Perry has approved six secret authorisations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration has quietly pursued a wider deal on sharing US nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia, which aims to build at least two nuclear power plants. Several countries including the US, South Korea and Russia are in competition for that deal, and the winners are expected to be announced later this year by Saudi Arabia. Perry’s approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant. The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration said in the document that the companies had requested that the Trump administration keep the approvals secret. Many US lawmakers are concerned that sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia could eventually lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Source: Reuters

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions down 2.5 percent as renewables hit record

28 March. Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.5 percent in 2018, dropping for a sixth straight year but more slowly than before, as record output of renewable power ate away at coal-fired generation, government data showed. Output of the heat-trapping gases in Europe’s second-largest emitter behind Germany fell to 449 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in a preliminary report. Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions have now fallen 43.5 percent since 1990, putting it more than halfway towards meeting a legally binding target to cut them by 2050 to 80 percent below 1990 levels. But the rate of decline was less than 2017’s 3 percent and 6 percent in 2016. Green groups said Britain was not reducing emissions fast enough to meet pledges made under the international Paris climate agreement. The pledge by the 2015 Paris climate conference to keep the increase in global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels requires a radical cutback in use of coal and other fossil fuels. Tens of thousands of school students around the world walked out of classes in a global strike this month to protest against government inaction on climate change. A breakdown of Britain’s figures showed emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, fell 2.4 percent last year to 364.1 million tonnes.

Source: Reuters

South Korea likely to miss its 2030 renewable energy target: WoodMac

27 March. South Korea is likely to miss its 2030 renewable energy target even though the country’s renewables capacity is expected to triple from 2019, consultants Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac) said. South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, relies on coal and nuclear power to produce about 70 percent of the country’s electricity. In 2017, the country’s energy ministry released its power plan through 2030 amid growing calls to improve the country’s air quality and fears over atomic power. The plan calls to increase the amount of renewable power in the country’s energy mix to 20 percent by 2030 from 6 percent, reducing its dependence on coal and nuclear. However, Wood Mackenzie analysts said in an outlook on South Korea’s energy policy that the country will only achieve a 17 percent mix by 2030. Still, WoodMac expected the country’s renewables capacity to triple from 2019 to 60.5 GW by 2030 with solar and wind installed capacity making up the majority of the this growth.

Source: Reuters

Finland to back 7 projects to raise wind power capacity by a quarter

27 March. Finland will subsidise seven wind power projects which will increase the country’s total wind energy production capacity by about a quarter, the country’s ministry of economic affairs and employment said. The projects will add a combined production of 1.36 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity annually and could help the country, which is a net power importer, to be less reliant on Sweden and Russia. Finland has also decided to ban the use of coal in energy generation by 2029 and aims to replace its coal-fired power plants with two nuclear reactors and new renewable energy projects. The feed-in tariff subsidies that will be paid to each wind project will depend on the bids the ministry received from tenders, with an average price of €2.49 ($2.80) per megawatt hour (MWh), the ministry said. Wind power contributes some 9 percent of Finland’s total electricity generation, totalling about 6 TWh of produced energy in 2018, data from industry lobby group Finnish Energy shows. Finland announced the subsidy scheme last year to ensure it reaches the country’s and the European Union’s climate goals by 2030 and the first instalment of the subsidy is estimated to be paid in 2020.

Source: Reuters

Germany’s Uniper feeds wind power-to-methane into gas grid

27 March. German utility Uniper has started producing methane gas derived from wind power and feeding it into gas pipeline networks at its Falkenhagen site as the country seeks wider uses for renewable energy. The step, part of the European energy project called STORE&GO, demonstrates that it is feasible to produce entirely green energy with qualities identical to natural gas, Uniper said. The plant was set up six years ago, initially producing green hydrogen by using electrolysis, which involves running wind power through water to split it into oxygen and hydrogen in a process known as power-to-gas. In another step, methanation, CO2 (carbon dioxide) from a bio-ethanol plant has been mixed with hydrogen to create a gas-like substance for the past 12 months. The plant currently produces up to 1,400 cubic meters of synthetic methane a day, which corresponds to approximately 14,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, Uniper said. Germany needs new ways to use and store renewable energy as a boom in wind and solar power has led to excess production.

Source: Reuters


All India Specific Electricity Generation

Fuel Types Specific Generation (kWh/W)


(till December)

Coal 3.9 5.0
Gas 1.6 2.0
Diesel 0.2 0.5
Nuclear 4.2 5.7
Hydro 2.5 2.8
Renewables 1.3 1.5

* All figures are average for nine months

Trends in Specific Generation

Source: Compiled from 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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