MonitorsPublished on Aug 14, 2020
Energy News Monitor | Volume XVII; Issue 9


Monthly Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: July 2020 


Solar Manufacturing

According to RBI the country now needs to move to the next stage of investment and manufacturing in the renewable energy sector. Investment should be done in solar and wind energy installations, and also in creating domestic manufacturing capacity for solar panels. The weighted average cost of addition to renewable capacity in India was one of the lowest in the world in 2019, which has now started exerting significant downward pressures on spot prices also for electricity. India’s changing pattern of energy production is in favour of renewables and India’s progress in addressing the demand-supply balance has been remarkable. The share of renewable energy in the country’s total installed capacity has doubled to 23.4 percent in march 2020 from 11.8 percent in march 2015.

India is expected to add only 60 GW of renewable energy capacity in the next 5 years, according to Bridge To India’s India Renewable Energy CEO survey report 2020. India’s utility scale solar capacity was 32.2 GW and wind capacity was 37.6 GW as on 31 March 2020. 58 percent of the respondents are against the idea of imposing import duty on cell and module imports. Basic customs duty on solar modules, cells and inverters will be effective starting 1 August. The survey observed that 50 percent of the respondents believe the auctions market is quite aggressive.  The government is considering a proposal by the MNRE to impose 20 percent basic customs duty on solar modules to provide an edge to domestic manufacturers and discourage imports, particularly from China. While the government has taken a number of steps to increase capacities in the renewable energy sector in the last few years, it is now time to cut down reliance on imports of solar equipment and components, especially from China. Currently, Chinese firms supply about 80 percent of solar cells and modules in the Indian market. India imported solar power equipment worth $1.2 bn during April-December 2019. The government has set up a green energy corridor with an estimated investment of $5.8 bn to ensure evacuation of renewable energy from generation points to the load centres by creating transmission infrastructure. Besides, MNRE has announced a provision for bank loans up to a limit of $2.3 mn to borrowers to set up solar-based power generators, bio-mass based power generators, wind power systems and micro hydel plants. For setting up hubs for manufacturing renewable energy equipment to meet domestic demand and reduce the imports of solar cells and other components, MNRE had written to all the states in April to identify land parcels of 50 to 500 acres. The central government has proposed a major push to domestic manufacturing of renewable energy equipment in the country that would completely eliminate the need for imports, particularly from countries such as China. As part of the plan, an accelerated manufacturing plan is being operationalised that is incentivising setting up of solar cell manufacturing capacity of 4,000 MW that would allow project developers to restrict import of this product completely. Additionally, 3,000 MW of fresh solar cell capacity is being added under manufacturing linked bids for solar projects. This would incentivise power project developers planning manufacturing in India. The current capacity of solar cell manufacturing in India is about 2,500 MW. This is proposed to rise over three times in coming years. In case of solar modules as well, 7,000 MW of capacity is being added in addition to existing capacity. According to rating agency CRISIL, absence of any formal duty on imports at the time of projects tendering and lower returns globally in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak have resulted in competitive tariff rates in the solar energy sector. According to the agency, a chance coming together of several positives has led to a new record low tariff bid in the ISTS tranche IX auctions of the SECI. Improved interest from global firms in the Indian solar sector, especially given the environment of lower returns globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and absence of any formal duty on imports when the projects were tendered, resulted in the discovery of lowest tariff of ₹2.36/kWh for the SECI bids.

India would require solar modules worth about ₹150 bn to meet its domestic demand of 10 GW per year, according to Council on Energy, Environment and Water and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy report. Meeting the bulk of this demand through domestic production could avoid forex outflow of ₹75 bn. Imports would be hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic-led lockdown followed by supply chain disruption. In the long term, domestic manufacturers could tap the international market and start supplying modules to member countries of the International Solar Alliance. India has an installed manufacturing capacity of about 3.1 GW of PV cells and 11 GW of solar modules. India had imported solar cells and modules worth $1,179.89 mn from China in the first nine months — April to December period — of the financial year 2019-20 (FY20). In FY17, FY18, and FY19 India’s solar imports from China stood at $2,817.34 mn, $3,418.96 mn, and $1,694.04 mn, respectively. The total value of solar PV cells or solar cells imports, whether or not assembled in modules or panels, stood at $1,525.8 mn for the April-December period of FY20.

India will lose nearly ₹500 bn in foreign exchange if solar developers are given exemption from basic customs duty on Chinese imports, the All India Solar Industries Association has said. Chinese imports for public solar projects will be exempted from duty if power purchase agreements are signed before implementation of duty, which is proposed from 1 August this year. With safeguard duty scheduled to end on 31 July, the government has proposed to impose a 20-25 percent basic customs duty on solar modules and around 15 percent on cells, that will gradually go up to 40 percent for both.

Efforts were on at the official level to explore ways of denying Chinese firms from participating in the bids for the upcoming 7,500 MW solar power project in Ladakh. The 7,500 MW solar development contract also involves setting up strategic power transmission link that will take power from the Union Territory and connect it to a grid for nationwide circulation. Bids for the Ladakh projects were invited by the SECI and involves setting up 7.5 GW of grid connected solar projects in Leh and Kargil districts. SECI will sign a 35-year long power purchase agreements with the successful bidder.

Solar Projects

In the next two to four years, 20 percent of all C&I solar installations will be connected to the grid, coupled with battery storage, according to a recent report. Technological innovations such as more cost reflective time-of-day tariffs, smart meters, high-efficiency modules, and battery storage would drive the growth of this market. The C&I users consume approximately 49 percent of the electricity generated in India, but only 3.5 percent of the power procured by India’s C&I segment is from renewable sources, according to the report JMK Research & Analytics and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. According to the report increasing electricity demand and rising grid tariffs for C&I customers are driving business users to rooftop solar, which is not only cleaner and cheaper but also gives them tariff certainty for 25 years. With the falling equipment cost, the payback period for rooftop solar projects in India is also gradually shortening. In the C&I segment itself, medium, small, and micro enterprises were likely to aggressively adopt solar in coming years. However, the report said that financing and regulatory uncertainty must be tackled to speed up adoption in the C&I rooftop solar segment.

India’s domestic solar capacity is expected to add about 5.5 GW during the financial year 2020-21 (FY21) due to the execution headwinds amid lockdown restrictions post-Covid pandemic, according to ratings agency ICRA. ICRA The ratings agency said that the domestic solar capacity addition in FY20 remained lower by 15 percent than its previous estimate of about 7.5 GW as a result of various disruptions caused by the pandemic in the fourth quarter in the fiscal year.

In a major acquisition spree, country’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd has invited bids to buy operational solar power projects with unspecified capacity. This is the first time that the state-owned power generator has evinced interest in acquiring operational solar projects. Earlier, the company had invited bids to procure solar power and set up projects. The acquisition plan is part of NTPC goal to add 10 GW of solar generation capacity by 2022, with an investment of around ₹500 bn. To support government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat mission and development of domestic capacities, NTPC has decided to acquire only such plants that are being operated using local equipment and not largely based on imported solar cells and modules. The last date for the submission of techno commercial bids is 22 September and the financial bid or price bid opening would be intimated later after opening the techno commercial bids. The NTPC’s acquisition plan is expected to be lapped up by several solar power generators looking to exit the sector after facing regulatory hurdles and difficulties in pricing power on renewed terms that some states are pushing.

NLC India has signed a pact with CIL to form a JV to develop 5,000 MW of solar and thermal power assets across the country. The equity participation in the proposed JV between CIL and NLC India will be in the ratio of 50:50. The first 2 MW solar power plant of the Indian Navy was inaugurated at the IN Karanja Station near Uran in Raigad district. Costing around ₹140 mn, it is fully indigenous and installed with the help of Indian companies. With this captive power plant, the Navy hopes to make significant savings of around ₹36.5 mn per annum in power bills as it will cater to nearly one third of the Karanja Station’s annual power needs. Besides the indigenous solar panels, tracking tables and inverters, the plant is also grid-interconnected by a state-of-art single-axis sun-tracking technology with computerised monitoring and control.

The Odisha Government has decided to increase solar power production capacity to 1500 MW by 2022 to promote carbon neutral green energy and meet its. RPO As of now, around 474 MW on grid solar power plants have been installed at different parts of the State through GEDCOL and OREDA. GEDCOL has set up plants of 362 MW capacity through public and private investment. OREDA has installed 112 MW on-grid solar power plants and projects of 460 MW capacity are in pipeline.

The time frame of ‘Gujarat Solar Power Policy – 2015’ has been extended up to 31 December 2020. The extension of time frame in policy would give boost to the Gujarat’s target to achieve 8,000 MW solar energy production in the state by 2022.

The government of Maharashtra has issued directives to Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd for implementing 602 MW solar projects in the state in three stages. It will be implemented under Engineering Procuring Commissioning contract on land owned by state power generation company. In the first stage, 187 MW solar projects, including those at Kaudgaon (50 MW), Latur (60 MW), thermal power station land at Bhusawal, Koradi, Parli and Nashik (52 MW) and Sakri (25 MW) will be developed, partly with bank loans. A proposal will be submitted immediately for cabinet approval. Infertile land in Maharashtra to be made available for solar power projects. There will be single window clearance for all clean energy and renewable power projects in Maharashtra. This will help timely completion of projects. The state would implement solar power projects with an aim to reduce its dependence on thermal power.

The Punjab government will set up three solar parks in Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency. The state government has asked the deputy commissioners of Mohali and Rupnagar to identify the land for the purpose. For developing three solar parks with 200 MW capacity each, 1,000 acres of contiguous land was required. However, as per the MNRE guidelines, minimum capacity of 100 MW solar park can be set up at a single place which requires about 500 acre land. For this, the state government has already asked the district administrations of Mohali and Rupnagar to identify the land at the earliest. The projects, when they fructify, would be a game-changer for the region and have the potential of attracting over ₹100 bn of private investment as renewables are the future.

NHPC Ltd has inked a MoU with GEDCOL to form a joint venture for developing floating solar energy projects in the state with initial capacity of 500 MW. The two entities may collaborate and cooperate to form a JV company to plan and develop techno-commercially feasible floating solar power projects of 500 MW in Odisha under Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Parks scheme of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy), in a phased manner, preferably in packages of 50 MW each.

Asia’s largest 750 MW solar power project was inaugurated at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. Notably, this mega solar power project is comprised of three solar generating units of 250 MW each located on a 500-hectare plot of land situated inside a solar park. Central financial assistance of ₹1.38 bn has been provided to Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd for development of the solar park.

BHEL has successfully commissioned a 1.7 MW solar PV plant at Bina in Madhya Pradesh for the Indian Railways. The plant will directly feed power to traction systems of Indian Railways. The concept to design and engineering was carried out in less than one and a half month and the project has been installed and commissioned by the BHEL in just 4 and a half month. With this successful demonstration by BHEL, Indian Railways’ objective of turning its huge land bank into captive PV power plants for supporting the Railway traction grid without the support of utilities and the Railways’ initiative of ‘Go Green’ by 2030, will become a reality.

French government-owned power utility Électricité de France SA and consulting firms McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Kearney, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers are among entities that have shown interest in creating the roadmap for a global solar grid planned by India. These companies plan to participate in a request for proposal called by India’s MNRE for consultants. The chosen consultant will help develop a long-term roadmap, including a technical and financial proposal, for the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ to transfer solar power across borders. The World Bank is providing technical assistance for the ambitious task. India’s global grid plans have gained traction against the backdrop of China’s attempt to co-opt countries into its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative that seeks to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Wind Projects

Global wind turbine major Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy will start making the 3.4 MW wind turbine at its Indian plant in Tamil Nadu. The new machine will be the highest capacity wind turbine in India will be manufactured at its Indian plant in Tamil Nadu early 2021. The company is targeting the auction market with its new machine. The new model has been upgraded with the 145-metre rotor of the Siemens Gamesa 4 MW platform due to its modularity. In India, Siemens Gamesa has two blade factories in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, and Halol in Gujarat, a nacelle factory in Mamandur in Tamil Nadu and an operations and maintenance centre near Chennai.

Continuing to attract wind power project developers, Gujarat added the highest capacity for wind power generation in 2019-20. The state had also grabbed a lion’s share of the new wind power capacity installed across India in the last fiscal. The state saw installation of new wind power generation capacity of 1,468 MW between April 2019 to March 2020, shows data compiled by Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association and Indian Wind Energy Association. Gujarat was followed by Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, which added 335 MW and 206 MW respectively. A total 2,118MW of new capacity was installed in India in fiscal 2020, of which 70 percent was in Gujarat alone, the data further shows. With new installations, Gujarat’s total wind power generation capacity has now increased to 7,542 MW, which is the second-highest installed capacity in India after Tamil Nadu (9,304 MW). The state continued to see more installations even in the first quarter ended 30 June. The state attracted 132 MW of the total 136 MW installed in India during the quarter. The remaining 4 MW were added in Karnataka.

Solar Pumps

The Pilibhit agriculture department is set to provide 160 solar pumps to farmers on subsidy, under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan scheme of the Union government. The subsidy has been fixed at 40 percent of the selling price of the solar units. The government had given the contract to supply solar pumps to two companies, based in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh respectively. The solar pumps would be distributed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Punjab has high expectations from the new version of Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Uhaan Mahaabhiyan, which the Union government plans to launch. Authorities hope that the new initiative, under which solar power will be provided to agricultural feeders, will reduce Punjab’s agriculture subsidy bill of ₹68 bn. Under the scheme, which was initially launched in January, the government planned to offer up to 90 percent subsidy on setting up solar units to run agricultural power connections of individual farmers. Punjab government pays ₹68 bn to the Punjab State Power Corp Ltd for around 1.4 million tubewell connections provided to farmers with free electricity. However, previous efforts to launch similar plans made by the state and Union government failed to generate desired response from farmers due to the high cost of solar energy.

Bio Fuels

IOC has planned to set up more number of CBG units in the country. IOC would be responsible for the compressed biogas and this can be consumed as a green renewable energy for automotive and industrial applications. CBG is a cost-effective biofuel to the vehicle owner. The state currently has five compressed biogas units and it is being sold through the outlets at the cost of ₹59.42/kg. A small car with compressed biogas would give a mileage of 27km/kg translating to a running cost of ₹2.20/km which would result in substantial savings in the fuel bill.

The IIT Guwahati researchers have developed methods to produce biofuels from non-edible seeds. The research team used a heat-chemical route to produce biofuels from these and other such seeds that they painstakingly collect from various parts of the country. To improve the properties of the biofuels derived from non-edible seed oils, the scientist used various catalysts such as calcium oxide, zeolite, etc., during the conversion of seed oil to biofuel. Both yield and quality improved, the biofuels produced were comparable in properties to regular diesel, except for viscosity. IIT-Jodhpur has developed a catalytic process for converting bio-oil from organic waste into transport fuel thereby paving the way for bio-refineries. Using Rajasthani clay once again, the reaserch team has devised a novel catalyst concept bringing reduction in the requirement of high temperature and energy for bio-fuel production from bio waste. Researchers at the IIT, Hyderabad have developed a method using machine learning algorithms to study supply chain network of biofuels. According to the IIT-Hyderabad team, the method considers revenue generation not only as an outcome of sale of biofuel but also in terms of carbon credits through savings on greenhouse gas emission. Employing computational methods, the researchers devised the method to understand the factors and impediments in incorporating biofuels into the fuel sector in India. This work has been spurred by the increasing need to replace fossil fuels by bio-derived fuels, which, in turn, is driven by the dwindling fossil fuel reserves all over the world, and pollution issues associated with the use of fossil fuels. The method has shown that in the area of bio-ethanol integration into mainstream fuel use, the production cost is the highest (43 percent) followed by import (25 percent), transport (17 percent), infrastructure (15 percent) and inventory (0.43 percent) costs. The model has also shown that feed availability to the tune of at least 40 percent of the capacity is needed to meet the projected demands.

Policy & Financing Push

With an immense potential to produce solar and wind power in the state, the AP government has formulated a comprehensive policy to promote private participation in the sector. The AP Renewable Energy Export Policy, 2020, has been announced to attract private investments for establishing solar/wind/wind-solar hybrid projects on a massive scale. Under the policy, the renewable energy produced can be exported to other states without any obligation to the state discoms to procure power as the discoms have already exceeded the RPO as notified by the power ministry, Government of India and also AP State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Enel Green Power has reached a deal with Norwegian Investment Fund Norfund to bankroll, build and operate new renewable projects in India. Italy’s biggest utility’s Green Power unit would take the lead in developing and building each project that would be jointly financed and governed by Enel and Norfund.

The Raigarh-Pugalur 800 kV ultra-high-voltage direct current transmission line will now take renewable power from Tamil Nadu instead of bringing thermal power into the state. As per the original policy, nearly 4,000 MW (total capacity of line is 6,000 MW) of power from pit thermal units in Raigarh was to be brought through this line to Pugalur and from there 1,000 MW was to be transferred to Kerala. But recently the Centre decided to use the line to transmit 3,000 MW of wind and solar power from Tamil Nadu to the western states to help them fulfil their RPO. It is a win-win situation for both Tamil Nadu and the western states. While Tamil Nadu can encash its renewable power generation capacity, the western states can comply with their RPO.

Hybrid Projects

Tata Power Green Energy Ltd has received a letter of award from Tata Power Mumbai Distribution to develop a 225 MW hybrid renewable project. The project is required to be commissioned within 18 months from the date of execution of the power purchase agreement. Tata Power’s renewable capacity will increase to 3,782 MW of which 2,637 MW is operational and 1,145 MW is under implementation including 225 MW won under this letter of award.

Hydro Projects

NTPC’s second 150 MW unit of its Kameng hydropower project is commercially operational. The first unit of 150 MW was made commercially operational earlier in June 2020. The remaining third unit of 150 MW of this plant is expected to be commercially operational within this fiscal year. Total capacity of the plant is 450 MW. With this, the commercial capacity of the NTPC group has reached 62,086 MW.

Rest of the World


China will cut or suspend subsidy for WTE power plants that violate emission standards, as part of its anti-pollution campaign. The move, effective 1 July, aims at improving environmental levels at WTE power plants and mitigating public discontent with stench and the risk of toxic emissions, such as dioxin. The ministry of ecology and environment had rolled out a new regulation last year, forcing waste incinerators to reveal real-time emission and temperature data to the public as well as to upload it to the environmental bureau monitoring system. The government will cut or even suspend the subsidy for the WTE power generators that are found not revealing emission data or forging the data or not reaching the standards. China has vowed to build waste incineration handling capacity of 591,400 tonnes per day by 2020. At end 2019, China had installed WTE power generation capacity of 12.02 GW and daily incineration capacity of 490,000 tonnes. According to China’s Biomass Energy Association, the country is expected to add 2.9 GW WTE power generation capacity in 2020, requiring a subsidy of about 11.1 bn yuan ($1.57 bn). However, Beijing has been striving to curtail financial supports to renewable power sources in order to ease a backlog of subsidy payment exceeding 223 bn yuan, which may shadow the development of WTE projects in the pipeline. China will build six to eight nuclear reactors a year between 2020 and 2025 and raise total capacity to 70 GW, up 43.5 percent compared to the end of May. The China Nuclear Energy Association said the country’s total installed nuclear capacity is expected to stand at 52 GW by the end of 2020, falling short of a 58 GW target. But it would soon get back on track and could bring total capacity either in operation or under construction to around 200 GW by 2035. China’s nuclear energy ambitions have been held back by delays on major projects involving previously untested technology, as well as a four-year moratorium on new approvals following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011. The nuclear industry would not be affected by the coronavirus outbreak, but no new reactors have been given the go-ahead this year. Six were approved in 2019. China’s nuclear capacity stood at 48.8 GW at end-May, accounting for 2.5 percent of its total generation capacity, according to figures from the National Energy Administration. China produced 59 GW worth of solar panels in the first half of the year, up 15.7 percent from a year ago, with the sector barely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. China Photovoltaic Industry Association said that newly installed solar power capacity also inched up 0.9 percent in the first half, reaching 11.5 GW. The full-year increase is expected to reach 35-45 GW. China has been stripping new solar power projects of subsidy after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left the state with a payment backlog now in excess of 200 bn yuan ($28.70 bn).

Europe and UK

Deutsche Bank will end business worldwide with the companies most exposed to coal mining by 2025 at the latest, as part of a revamp of its policies on financing the fossil fuel industry. The reforms follow announcements of new sustainability targets and the issuance of the bank’s first green bond. Urgewald, a non-profit environmental and human rights organisation, said the announcement was a step forward but “still too little, too late” and left the bank lagging many of its rivals in terms of ambition. Deutsche Bank will review all of its US and European coal power activities by the end of this year with respect to clients’ diversification plans. It will begin a similar review in Asia in 2022.

A consortium formed by French state-controlled power group EDF and its Chinese partner Jinko Power Technology has been awarded the Al Dhafra solar project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. EDF said the Abu Dhabi solar photovoltaic plant would have a capacity of 2 GW, which would make it the largest single-project solar plant in the world, generating the equivalent electricity to power more than 160,000 households each year.

Swiss utility Axpo Holding AG said its subsidiary Urbasolar would build 37 new solar plants in France. The plants will be mostly built in southern France and have a combined installed capacity of 143 MW, which is enough to cover the annual power consumption of 65,000 households. The cost of €124 mn ($144 mn) will be financed by French bank Crédit Agricole, its subsidiary Unifergie which specialises in renewable energy projects, and various regional banks.

Ukrainian parliament adopted a law significantly reducing tariffs for renewable energy, eliminating the problem of mass non-payments in the energy sector, criticised by investors and Western partners. Ukraine set up special tariffs for renewable energy companies several years ago to expand the green power production and pledged to buy all the energy produced. In June, the government and some companies signed a memorandum on reducing tariffs by 15 percent for solar generation and by 7.5 percent for wind generation, and lawmakers say the adopted law will allow the government to implement this document. The legislation would help reduce prices for solar and wind energy, as well as achieve green goals and protect international investors.

The Czech government approved a plan to give an interest-free loan to majority state-owned utility CEZ to push down the cost of building a new nuclear power station it wants to replace the country’s ageing coal and nuclear plants. The Czechs have been adamant about keeping nuclear power despite a shift to renewable energy in many EU states, arguing nuclear is a carbon-free alternative. The loan would help the new unit at the existing Dukovany nuclear plant get closer to economic viability. The government also plans to buy power from the roughly 1,200 MW unit at a price determined from agreed construction costs to give CEZ enough security.

EU state aid regulators cleared an Irish scheme to produce electricity from renewable sources, saying it was in line with the bloc’s rules and its environmental objectives. Ireland’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme aims to support electricity production from renewable sources, including solar photovoltaic and wind, to help the country shift away from fossil fuels. The project, budgeted between €7.2 bn and €12.5 bn ($14.3 bn), will run until 2025. State aid will be allocated through auctions. The European Commission said the scheme will contribute to the bloc’s environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition.

Denmark’s Orsted said that TSMC has agreed to buy the entire power production from its third offshore wind farm in the Asian country. Under what Orsted called “the largest-ever contract of its kind within renewable energy”, TSMC will for 20 years buy 920 MW of power from the Greater Changhua 2b & 4, when the offshore wind farm project is scheduled to be finalised by 2025 or 2026.

Poland’s government signed a letter of intent with lobby groups and industry to collaborate on developing offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on coal. Poland, which generates almost 80 percent of its electricity from coal, is under European Union pressure to reduce carbon emissions and the government hopes the planned Baltic wind farms, followed by a nuclear power station, will help. Poland expects to have its first wind farm production in 2025. It sees the total offshore wind capacity at 10 GW by 2040. The Polish Wind Energy Association said that the construction of 10 GW of offshore wind farms will create over 60,000 jobs and add 54 bn zlotys to the economy. PGE, which is Poland’s biggest power producer, mostly from lignite, plans to build three Baltic wind farms with a total capacity of 3.5 GW. Other state-run groups are also investing, including Enea and PKN Orlen. The project is attracting foreign companies too, including Denmark’s Orsted and Spain’s Iberdrola. The World Bank’s International Finance Corp (IFC), the EBRD, and the EU said they would finance development of the first utility-scale solar power plant in Armenia. IFC and EBRD each pledged to allocate $17.7 mn long-term loans for the project, while the EU would offer €3 mn investment grants. The project was developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, a global leader in utility-scale renewable energy projects. The plant is expected to generate more than 128 GWh of electricity annually and will displace the release of 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. Around 70 percent of Armenia’s current electricity generation depends on imported fossil fuels.


A US court ordered the shutdown of the Dakota Access oil pipeline over concerns about its potential environmental impact, a big win for the Native American tribes and green groups who fought the major pipeline’s route across a crucial water supply for years. The decision by US District Court for the District of Columbia followed the cancellation of another high-profile US pipeline project and came as a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to lift the domestic fossil fuels industry by rolling back environmental red tape.

South America

Brazil’s Ibitu Energia, owned by US based asset manager Castlelake LP, plans to invest roughly 4.5 bn reais ($839.43 mn) in renewable energy assets in the coming five years. The commitment comes after Castlelake reached an agreement with Brazil’s engineering group Queiroz Galvao last year to acquire Ibitu’s existing assets, comprising a hydroelectric facility and wind power plants with a combined capacity of 832 MW. Ibitu is also considering new solar and wind projects totaling 1.2 GW.

Middle East & Africa

The Kuwaiti cabinet cancelled plans to construct the Al-Dabdaba solar plant, which would have provided 15 percent of the oil sector’s needs of electrical energy, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The project, which was to be carried out by Kuwait National Petroleum Company, was supposed to start operating in February 2021. But the proposal was extremely delayed due to bureaucratic procedures. Kuwait has plans to generate 15 percent of its energy via renewable sources by 2030. Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) plans to boost its renewable energy capacity to 8 GW before the end of this year, as it expands globally and bids for new projects. Masdar, a developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects, is eyeing new projects in Saudi Arabia, the US as well as in eastern and central Europe and southeast Asia. In January 2019, Masdar announced plans to double its renewables energy capacity from 4 GW in five years with new projects in Asia and the Americas. The company has expanded its portfolio in the past years to the US and had lately announced projects in Australia, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan while completing a project in Serbia and an investment in India.  Masdar had bid for renewable projects in Saudi Arabia, which had launched a multi-billion-dollar renewables energy push.


Japan’s industry ministry said it has identified 10 areas as potentially suitable for development of offshore wind farms, four of which were designated “promising areas”, as it started a second round of the process to select operators. Japan’s offshore wind power market is expected to grow after the government enforced a law last year to enhance development of wind farms. Last year, the ministry selected four promising areas from 11 that were seen as potentially suitable for offshore wind power development. Of those four, the 21 MW Goto project in Nagasaki is leading the way, with the ministry launching a bidding process to select an operator in June, the first auction under the new law. Japan will craft new rules and support infrastructure in a drive that aims to build offshore wind farms at 30 sites during the next decade. The new policy aims for three or four projects each year with total generation capacity of 1 GW, from the financial year starting in April 2021 until fiscal 2030/2031, for an accumulated total of 10 GW. The METI plans to revise power grid rules to scrap restrictions on greener power suppliers. Japan allows large traditional utilities that control its transmission grids, to limit renewable energy supplies, such as those from solar and wind farms, if necessary, to ensure grid stability, a measure that limits renewable energy expansion. Japan’s offshore wind power market is set to grow after a law, the Offshore Wind Promotion Act, enforced last year to assist development.


A start-up that helps rural Bangladeshi owners of home solar power systems trade their surplus electricity with their neighbours won an international award for climate change innovation. Bangladesh is one of the world’s leaders in solar home systems for off-grid communities, with more than 5 mn of the systems now in place. Using an electronic unit installed alongside their solar system, owners can transfer excess energy into a local power “microgrid” created with other SOLshare users, allowing those who need more power to buy it and cutting waste. Homes that can’t afford to buy solar panels also can buy electric power through the system, which won an award for innovation in energy access from Ashden, a British charity that works to scale up climate-smart energy solutions. Bangladesh’s government, which aims to boost its use of renewable energy to 10 percent of electrical power demand by next year, said it saw SOLshare’s device as a useful part of the push.

RBI: Reserve Bank of India, CEO: Chief Executive Officer, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, ISTS: interstate transmission system, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India kWh: kilowatt hour, FY: Financial Year, C&I: commercial and industrial, PV: photovoltaic,  mn: million, bn: billion, MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, CIL: Coal India Ltd, JV: joint venture, RPO: renewable purchase obligation, GEDCOL: Green Energy Development Corp of Odisha Ltd, OREDA: Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency, MoU: Memorandum of Understanding, CBG: compressed biogas, kg: kilogram, km: kilometre, IIT: Indian Institute of Technology, IOC: Indian Oil Corp, AP: Andhra Pradesh, kV: kilovolt, WTE: waste-to-energy, UK: United Kingdom, US: United States, EU: European Union,: TSMC Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, EBRD: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, GWh: gigawatt hour, METI: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry


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QuIck Comment

High fuel prices add to the pressure of falling fuel demand!


4 August. The government said any entity with a net worth of at least ₹5 bn is eligible for obtaining the liberalised licence to sell petrol and diesel to retail and bulk consumers. Clarifying on the November 2019 liberalised fuel licensing regime, the oil ministry said any entity with a net worth of ₹2.5 bn can get a licence to retail petrol and diesel to either bulk or retail consumers. For those seeking authorisation for both retail and bulk should have a minimum net worth of ₹5 bn at the time of application, it said. Last year, the government had relaxed norms for retailing of auto fuels, allowing non-oil companies to venture into the business – a move that could help private and foreign firms to enter the world’s fastest-growing market. The ministry said the government had on 8 November 2019, notified simplified guidelines for grant of authorisation for bulk and retail marketing of motor spirit (petrol) and high-speed diesel (diesel). The retailers will necessarily have to set up five percent of the total outlets in rural areas within five years. The new policy liberalises fuel retailing by increasing private sector participation, including foreign players. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) currently own most of the 69,924 petrol pumps in the country. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Nayara Energy (formerly Essar Oil), and Royal Dutch Shell are the private players in the market but with limited presence. RIL, which operates the world’s largest oil refining complex, has 1,400 outlets. Currently, IOC is the market leader with 29,368 petrol pumps in the country, followed by HPCL with 16,707 outlets, and BPCL with 16,492 fuel stations.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s fuel demand loses steam, slips in July after two months of gains

3 August. India’s refined fuel consumption in July slipped from June, according to preliminary industry data, indicating slower industrial activity as high retail prices, floods and renewed coronavirus lockdowns in parts of the country dented demand. Local fuel sales – a proxy for oil demand – plunged to historic lows in April when India imposed a country-wide lockdown. State-refiners’ diesel sales, which account for two-fifth of overall refined fuel sales in India, fell by 13 percent to 4.85 million tonnes (mt) in July from the previous month, and by about 21 percent from a year earlier, according to Indian Oil Corp (IOC) data. State companies, IOC, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), own about 90 percent of India’s retail fuel outlets. Falling local sales and subdued refining margins have forced refiners to curtail crude processing. IOC, the country’s top refiner, doesn’t see fuel sales recovering to pre-Covid-19 level in the near future. Local fuel demand had gathered pace from May when India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, partly eased lockdown to bolster its sagging economy. But a spike in domestic coronavirus infections has led to renewed imposition of lockdowns and addition of containment zones in several states. Petrol sales by state companies fell by 1 percent to 2.03 mt in July from June, and by about 11.5 percent from a year earlier, the data showed. State retailers sold 10 percent more liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in July from June at about 2.275 mt and posted a growth of 3.5 percent from a year ago. Jet fuel sales in July rose 4 percent from June to about 218,000, but fell 65 percent from a year ago as curbs on air travel continued.

Source: Reuters

Petrol, diesel prices remain unchanged

2 August. Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged across metro cities. In the national capital, petrol was sold at ₹80.43 per litre, unchanged for over a month now, and diesel at ₹73.56, same for a second consecutive day. Oil market companies made a hefty ₹8.38 per litre cut in diesel prices in Delhi due to VAT (Value Added Tax) reduction. The price cut has again made diesel cheaper than petrol in the city after more than a month. In fact, diesel is cheaper than petrol in Delhi by the widest margin among all metros. Delhi was the only major city in the country where diesel prices were higher than petrol. Diesel prices first rose above petrol in Delhi last month, much to the discomfort of the transport sector and the fuel dealers. In Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, petrol was sold at ₹87.19, ₹83.63 and ₹82.05 per litre, respectively, all unchanged since 29 June. Similarly, diesel prices were unchanged in these cities for the seventh consecutive day. Accordingly in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the fuel was sold at ₹80.11, ₹78.86 and ₹77.06 a litre, respectively.

Source: The Economic Times

Hooda wants Haryana government to lower taxes on petrol, diesel

31 July. Former Haryana Chief Minister (CM) Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded that the state government lower taxes on petrol and diesel, saying lockdown restrictions have been largely lifted and almost all sources of government revenue have been restored. He said the increase in the prices of petroleum products that was effected during the past few weeks should be rolled back. Hooda, who is Leader of Opposition in the state, said the VAT (Value Added Tax) on diesel was around 9 percent during the previous Congress government’s time in the state, which has almost doubled. He said farmers of the state have been impacted the hardest by high fuel prices as their input costs have gone up. Hooda said farmers in the state were already suffering because of alleged government apathy and high fuel prices were further adding to their woes.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s top refiner sees low run rates in 2020/21

31 July. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s top refiner, will continue to operate its refineries below capacity in 2020/21 as it sees local and overseas fuel demand remaining subdued, IOC chairman S M Vaidya said. IOC, along with its unit Chennai Petroleum, controls about a third of India’s 5 million barrels per day (bpd) refining capacity. He said refinery runs have declined to about 75 percent from 93 percent in early July on low fuel demand. He said the operations are expected to remain at 70-75 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year through March 2021. Indian refiners are cutting crude processing and shutting units for maintenance as local fuel demand falls and global refining margins are weak, the company said. He said IOC has shut its 300,000 bpd Pardip refinery on the east coast for maintenance and has plans to shut some units its 274,000 bpd Koyali refinery in the west for repairs this fiscal year. Indian refiners are also reducing run rates as the export market is not attractive and rising fuel exports from China are likely to increase the pressure on Asian refining margins. He hoped oil prices would stay at around $40 per barrel in the second half of 2020. He said to boost revenue IOC would look at maximising petrochemicals production at its refineries.

Source: The Economic Times

BJP demands further cut in VAT on diesel, petrol in Delhi

30 July. Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri urged the Delhi government to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel to 12.5 percent and petrol to 20 percent. Bidhuri said before Chief Minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal came to power, 12.5 percent VAT was being charged on diesel. The VAT on diesel was increased to 30 percent and on petrol from 20 percent to 30 percent during the Kejriwal’s rule. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) had continuously been demanding lowering of VAT on motor fuel, he said and added, the Delhi government accepted the demand to some extent, but it needed further reduction.

Source: The Economic Times

Punjab petrol pumps go on strike to protest high fuel taxes

29 July. Protesting against increased excise duty levied on petrol products in the state, petrol pump dealers across Punjab have gone for a strike by shutting down their pumps for business from 8 am to 5 pm. Diesel price in the state has hit ₹73.23 a litre while petrol rate has touched ₹79.77 per unit. Petrol prices have skyrocketed across the nation. Though prices are high in Punjab, they are not the highest in the country. Mumbai currently sells petrol at ₹87.19 per litre.

Source: The Economic Times


India restricts entry of Chinese firms in commercial coal mine auctions

4 August. The government has restricted participation of companies from countries sharing a land border with India in the ongoing auction of coal mines for commercial extraction by the private sector. The coal ministry has issued a corrigendum to the tender document issued for commercial coal mining, bringing out the fact that though 100 percent FDI (foreign direct investment), under the automatic route, is permitted in the new activity, investment proposals or bids from countries sharing a land border with India will only done through the government route. The ministry has issued the clarifications, so that investors know about their eligibility before placing the bid and are not caught unawares later. In all, 41 mines with a total geological coal reserve of 17 billion tonnes (bt) are on offer under the first phase of commercial coal mine auctions. These include both large and small mines with peak rated capacities (PRC) ranging from 0.5 to 40 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal. The cumulative PRC of all mines is 225 mtpa. Of these, the Centre is withdrawing one mine of Bander in Maharashtra as it falls under an eco-sensitive zone and has also considered the Chhattisgarh government’s request to replace four coal blocks marked for auction for commercial mining. The mines on offer are largely fully explored ones, meaning that these could be brought to production immediately. Moreover, four coming coal mines on offer are those which could provide inputs to the steel sector. The mines are located in five states since coal mines auctions started in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha. The commercial coal mining auctions are completely different from earlier regimes of restricted sectors, use and price. Now there are no such restrictions at all. The coal block auction has so far received good response from the investors with a lot of inquiries from both Indian and global mining, metal and energy companies.

Source: The Economic Times

NGT Delhi seeks action taken report on Bander coal blocks

1 August. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), principal bench, Delhi, has directed formation of a committee and sought a factual action taken report (ATR) regarding the auction of Bander coal blocks close to Tadoba. The tribunal has also sought reply from the respondents in six weeks. The coal ministry has already issued orders to withdraw Bander coal block as it falls in eco-sensitive zone of Tadoba in Chandrapur district.

Source: The Economic Times

Jharkhand to get 188.8 bn from coal mined by CIL in next 4 years: Government

31 July. Jharkhand is likely to get revenues of around ₹188.89 bn from the 742 million tonnes (mt) of coal expected to be mined out by CIL (Coal India Ltd) in the state over the next four years, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said. The state earned almost ₹40 bn every year during the last four years, that is around ₹160 bn, he said. The holding company of these coal firms, CIL, pays about 30 percent of its total royalty to Jharkhand alone, while the share of production from the state is about 20 percent, he said. Jharkhand is the only state in the country to have three coal companies simultaneously excavating coal out of its mineral-rich soil, he said. He said commercial coal mining is going to fuel development in Jharkhand in the coming years, according to the coal ministry. Coal companies operating in the state have been working for decades now, excavating coal out of the mineral-rich soil of Jharkhand and paying revenue in return to the state for its development.

Source: The Economic Times 


India’s electricity generation falls at slower rate in July

QuIck Comment

Slowdown in electricity generation decline is a sign of economic revival!


4 August. India’s electricity generation declined at a slower pace in July compared with June, provisional government data showed, driven by a recovery in consumption in populous northern and central states. July power generation fell 1.8 percent, an analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed, compared with a 9.9 percent decline in June. In the second half of July, electricity generation declined 3.1 percent, compared with a 0.6 percent slide during the first fifteen days of the month. The improvement in power demand in July was largely led by higher consumption by populous northern, eastern and central states such as Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, the data showed. Industrial western states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat, Delhi in the north, and the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh witnessed significant declines in electricity use. These regions are among the most affected by the coronavirus.

Source: The Economic Times

Relief likely for Maharashtra power consumers hit by inflated bills

30 July. The state government is likely to give relief to crores of electricity customers who complained about inflated bills during lockdown. At a meeting, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and some other cabinet ministers, officials from state power department along with officials from Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), discussed how to give relief to consumers and a draft proposal has been sent to MERC, which once cleared by the regulator, will be tabled at the cabinet meeting. The government may announce a rebate or reduction in tariff. Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Anil Parab said the discussion was to extend relief to consumers. Power consumer activist Pratap Hogade said that for those consuming up to 300 units, there should be a waiver on bills during lockdown. More than 94 percent residential consumers fall in this slab. It will cost the state exchequer around ₹37 bn to provide relief, he said. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sought relief for residential consumers for up to 200 units consumption. Former MP Kirit Somaiya filed a plea before MERC demanding free electricity of 100 units and 50 percent concession for up to 300 units during lockdown.

Source: The Economic Times

India reserves 110 power plant equipment, services for local companies

QuIck Comment

Reservation policy for power sector manufacturing may compromise competitiveness!


30 July. India will bar non-local suppliers in bidding for contracts for supply of about 110 goods and services to power plants. The non-local suppliers are manufacturers with less than 20 percent local content. These tenders, in respect of which there is sufficient local capacity, will be open to only “class–I local suppliers” or those vendors who have more than 50 percent local content. The power ministry has issued public procurement order with separate lists of products with adequate manufacturing capacity in India and those being manufactured locally under technology license from foreign countries. The ministry’s order is based on a 4 June order of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) that provides for compulsory purchase preference to local suppliers. The order will apply to procurements made by central and state government companies and on projects funded by Power Finance Corp and REC Ltd. The power ministry’s 2 July order has put in place an effective ban on imports from prior-reference countries like China and Pakistan, which require permission. All other imports will be tested at government- approved labs. In 2018-19, India imported ₹710 bn worth of power equipment, of which ₹210 bn are Chinese. The ministry of power’s 2 July order has mentioned possibilities of cyber attacks on power system through ‘trojans’ embedded in imported equipment, which can have catastrophic effects and the potential to cripple the entire country.

Source: The Economic Times

Power employees oppose any move to privatise UP discom

30 July. A body of power department employees said it has written to Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath opposing any move to privatise discom Purvanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam (PVVNL). It is one of the five power distribution companies which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL). Privatisation of any discom (distribution company) is unacceptable to the Vidyut Karmachari Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti. Therefore, it has requested the Chief Minister (CM) to cancel any such proposal.

Source: The Economic Times

NTPC achieves highest-ever daily gross generation of 977 mn units

29 July. NTPC Ltd said it achieved its highest-ever daily gross generation of 977.07 mn units on 28 July 2020. This includes power generated from NTPC’s subsidiaries and JV (joint venture) companies, it said. Five of its power stations — Korba, Sipat and Lara in Chhattisgarh, Talcher Kaniha in Odisha and Koldam hydro in Himachal Pradesh — exhibited exceptional performance and achieved 100 percent Plant Load Factor (PLF) or capacity utilisation, it said. NTPC’s previous best daily generation was 935.46 mn units achieved on 12 March 2019.

Source: The Economic Times


Ayana Renewable acquires two solar power assets of First Solar in Karnataka

4 August. Ayana Renewable Power said it has acquired 100 percent equity stake in two First Solar-developed photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in Karnataka for an undisclosed amount. The total capacity of these plants is MW, the company said. The two facilities, which are powered by First Solar’s high-performance thin film modules and have been operational for more than two years, are connected to Karnataka’s 110 kilovolt (kV) transmission network, it said. The company is in the process of developing 1,100 MW of projects that were awarded under auctions by the central government agencies.

Source: The Economic Times

CBI begins preliminary probe into 90 bn hydro power project in J&K

3 August. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started preliminary enquiry into allotment of the ₹90 bn hydro power project in J&K (Jammu and Kashmir), allegedly done by flouting all central government guidelines governing such allotments, according to top sources. The proposed 1,540 MW Kiru hydro power project is to be completed in two stages, with stage one costing ₹49.48 bn and stage two ₹42.87 bn.

Source: The Economic Times

Rajasthan solar sector shines bright amidst gloom, adds max capacity in India

2 August. Solar sector continues to occupy a bright spot in the otherwise cloudy, overcast business environment in the state. According to a recent survey of states by JMK Research and Analytics, Rajasthan has added maximum capacity of 1,745 MW solar plants in the country in 2019-20, followed by Karnataka (1,443 MW) and Tamil Nadu (1,342 MW). The pipeline of projects also remains robust at 23,176 MW, which is within the striking distance of 30,000 MW, the five-year target announced in the solar policy 2019-20. While the state may have been dislodged from the number 1 position by Karnataka in about two years ago, it seems to be bouncing back aggressively. Karnataka currently has 7,045 MW installed capacity against Rajasthan’s 4,932 MW. While the industry in the state admits that Rajasthan is attracting a lot of attention from investors, many said that without the growth of solar component manufacturing, the benefits will not be significant.

Source: The Economic Times

Delhi power discoms see surge in residential rooftop solar power connections

2 August. Power discoms (distribution companies) in the national capital are witnessing a “surge” in residential rooftop solar power connections, with more than half of over 3,700 net metering connections installed in recent years falling under this category, officials said. The BSES discoms have so far energised over 2,700 solar net metering connections in the city, with the highest number of rooftop solar connections in the residential segment (1,526) followed by educational (581) and commercial (473) segments. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had issued regulations on net metering for renewable energy in September 2014. The regulations allow registered customers of discoms to install renewable energy systems and the discoms will allow connectivity of these systems to their network through net meters. The TPDDL has so far installed nearly 1,000 rooftop solar net metering connections. In solar net metering systems, the consumers can sell the surplus electricity after consumption, and get paid by the discoms. The MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) subsidy on capital cost is between 20 percent to 40 percent (up to 10 kW) for residential consumers and 20 percent (upto 500 kW) for group housing societies, depending on the capacity of the solar plant, the BSES said.

Source: The Economic Times

APTEL postpones trading of renewable energy certificates

2 August. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has postponed the trading of renewable energy certificates (RECs) scheduled on 29 July, by four weeks. In an order issued on 24 July, APTEL postponed the RECs trading session scheduled on 29 July 2020 by four weeks in three separate appeals filed by Green Energy Association, IWPA (Indian Wind Power Association) and Techno Electric and Engineering Company Ltd against the CERC order issued on fixing REC floor and forbearance price. Under the renewable purchase obligation (RPO), bulk purchasers like discoms (distribution companies), open access consumers and capacitive users are required to buy certain proportion of RECs. They can buy RECs from renewable energy producers to meet RPO norms. According to a CERC (Central Electricity Regulatory Commission) order in June, the floor price of solar and non-solar RECs have been reduced to zero from ₹1,000 earlier. Industry experts think that the higher REC prices put additional burden on consumers in power tariff. Sales of renewable energy certificates declined over 29 percent to 89.27 lakh units in 2019-20, compared to 12.6 mn units in 2018-19.

Source: The Economic Times

Telangana to set up floating solar plants

1 August. Telangana State, which has implemented several innovative power and water-saving initiatives in the past six years, is all set to take another revolutionary step — setting up Floating Solar Photo Voltaic (FSPV) based power generation units on its reservoirs. Two organisations have already proposed a total of 1,000 MW of solar power to be generated on different reservoirs of the multi stage Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS). The State nodal agency, TSREDCO (Telangana State Renewable Energy development Corp), which initially submitted a pilot project to the government to set up a 100 MW floating solar unit on Annaram reservoir of KLIS, will be helping the NHPC and the SCCL in setting up the floating solar power plants by providing technical help and also in preparing the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs). The government, on the other hand, has also considered the advantages of saving precious government lands to set up solar panels on the ground. TSREDCO has estimated that a 100 MW floating power unit on KLIS could cost ₹32.3 mn per megawatt. This is less when compared to the 2016, 2 MW project in Visakhapatnam that cost the government ₹54 mn per MW. India, as a whole, has a total installed capacity of 2.7 MW peak from FSPV.  In India, the NTPC Ltd has envisaged 32 MW, 100 MW and 145 MW FSPV on their raw water storage reservoirs.

Source: Telangana Today

Tata Power to focus on renewables for future growth

1 August. Tata Power will focus on the renewable front for future growth and aims to raise its green energy portfolio to 50 percent. Around 30 percent of Tata Power’s total generation comes from clean and green sources — 3.9 GW out of 12.7 GW and the company has to achieve around 50 percent clean energy portfolio by 2025.

Source: The Economic Times

SCCL rolls out solar plant at Manuguru

31 July. The Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) commissioned a 30 MW solar power plant at Manuguru and synchronised it to the grid. This is part of the 129 MW solar plants planned by SCCL in the first phase. The coal mining agency is planning to roll out solar power plants to generate 300 MW in various parts of Telangana. SCCL chairman and managing director N Sridhar said a 10 MW solar plant at Jaipur in Mancherial district was commissioned and now with the start of the Manuguru plant, 40 MW of power is being supplied to the state grid.

Source: The Economic Times

India may miss renewable energy capacity of 175 GW target by over 50 GW: ICRA

30 July. Even without Covid-19, India would have missed its intended renewable energy capacity of 175 GW target by over 50 GW, predicts industry body ICRA. The missed execution for FY 2021 due to the pandemic is pegged at 4 GW, ICRA said. Giving the sector a negative outlook, ICRA’s power and renewables head Girishkumar Kadam said that the rating was based on execution delays for projects that have been bid over the past two years, along with concerns about the delays in payment by the state distribution companies. By December 2022, ICRA predicts that the total renewable energy capacity will not exceed 125 GW. Although the utility-scale solar grid capacity of 60 GW is expected to be close to being fulfilled, the rooftop solar and wind targets are lagging behind, the company said.

Source: The Economic Times

Sembcorp commissions three wind power projects with 800 MW capacity

29 July. Sembcorp Energy India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based independent power producer (IPP) Sembcorp, announced the successful completion of its three wind power projects with a total capacity of 800 MW. The projects were auctioned by the Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI) and with this, Sembcorp became the first IPP to fully commission its projects awarded in the first three wind auctions held by SECI. Of the 800 MW projects, one with 250 MW capacity is in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin, and the remaining two of 250 MW and 300 MW capacity are located in Bhuj, Gujarat. This capacity is also the largest operational wind capacity with any developer to-date from SECI auctions. With this, Sembcorp’s total renewable energy capacity in India stands at 1,730 MW.

Source: The Economic Times 


Britain’s Neptune Energy makes ‘significant’ oil discovery in Norway

4 August. Britain’s Neptune Energy and its partners have discovered oil at a jointly owned drilling license in the Norwegian part of the North Sea, and will consider options for how to develop the find, the company said. The Dugong well is estimated to contain between 40 mn and 120 mn barrels of oil equivalent, making it the largest find off Norway so far this year, the company said. A separate prospect in the same license is estimated to hold up to 33 mn barrels of oil, the operator added.

Source: Reuters

Venezuela’s oil exports stagnant in July at below 400k bpd

4 August. Venezuela exported about 388,100 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and fuel in July, almost unchanged versus the previous month, as US (United States) sanctions on PDVSA continued limiting sales, according to Refinitiv Eikon and internal data from the company. Washington has ramped up pressure this year on PDVSA’s customers, trade partners and shippers aiming to stop the re-sale of Venezuelan oil and block efforts to hide or change its country of origin. Venezuela exported 88,065 bpd to Europe and a 85,260 bpd to Cuba, the data showed. Fuel imports arriving in the South American nation, whose struggles to satisfy its domestic demand of gasoline have increased again in recent weeks, fell to 19,000 bpd from 63,600 bpd in June.

Source: The Economic Times

Russian wants extra $1.9 bn in taxes from oil sector in 2 yrs

4 August. The Russian finance ministry has presented the government with plans to raise an additional 143.4 bn roubles ($1.94 bn) from oil production over the next two years, a document on a government website showed. The figure could potentially rise to 200 bn roubles within next three years as the ministry wants to replenish the state budget, hurt by low prices of oil, its main source of revenue. It said Gazprom Neft and Rosneft would be hardest hit by the hike. The website which the government uses to announce regulation initiatives said the ministry has proposed tweaking the Tax Code and the profit-based tax, which was tentatively implemented for oil production last year. Deputy finance minister Alexei Sazanov said in June that low oil prices alone would wipe 2 tn roubles from the Russian budget this year. He has said that the budget lost out 213 bn roubles last year due to introduction of the profit-based tax, which replaced the mineral extraction tax, for oil output at some fields. Sazanov said it was not the right time to apply the levy, meant to support oil production, widely.

Source: The Economic Times

Syria says US oil firm signed deal with Kurdish-led rebels

2 August. Syria’s foreign ministry said that an American oil company had signed an agreement with Kurdish-led rebels who control northeastern oilfields in what it described as an illegal deal aimed at “stealing” Syria’s crude. Syria produced around 380,000 barrels of oil per day before a civil war erupted following a crackdown on protests in 2011, with Iran and Russia backing President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the United States (US) supporting the opposition. Damascus lost control of most oil producing fields in a stretch east of the Euphrates River in Deir al-Zor. Western sanctions have also hit the energy industry. US President Donald Trump has said that despite a military pullback from northeast Syria, a small number of American forces would remain “where they have oil”.

Source: Reuters

Iran clears oil spill in northern Gulf region

1 August. Iranian teams have cleaned up an oil slick near field in the northern region of the Gulf that had extended over a six-square-km (2.3 square mile) area. The cause of the spill, which occurred, was being investigated, the director general of ports and maritime in Iran’s Bushehr Province, Siavash Arjomandzadeh. The cleanup took place near the Abuzar field, Iran’s main production area in the Gulf. Abuzar oil field, about 75 km (46 miles) west of Iran’s Kharg Island, has three main platforms producing between 195,000 to 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, adding 107 wells had been drilled in the field of which 67 still operated.

Source: Reuters


US company Equitrans confirms early 2021 startup for Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline

4 August. US (United States) pipeline company Equitrans Midstream Corp said it still expects to complete the $5.4 bn Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia in early 2021. Mountain Valley is one of several US (United States) oil and gas pipelines delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups that found problems with federal permits issued by the Trump administration. Other projects similarly held up include TC Energy Corp’s $8 bn Keystone XL crude pipeline and Energy Transfer LP’s Dakota Access crude pipeline, which are still involved in court battles.

Source: Reuters

Ukraine says no plans to resume gas purchases from Russia

4 August. Ukraine’s state energy firm Naftogaz said it would not resume buying natural gas from Russia, suspended since late 2015, until Moscow offered it competitive prices and conditions. Kyiv stopped buying Russian gas in November 2015, increasing purchases from Europe instead. Ukraine has embarked on natural gas market reforms, including scrapping of state-regulated gas prices for industrial users. The reform is one of the prerequisites for much-needed financing from the International Monetary Fund. Russian and Ukrainian companies signed a five-year deal at the end of 2019, safeguarding the transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine, just hours before the previous agreement expired. Kobolyev said Russian pipeline gas exporting monopoly Gazprom transited 25 billion cubic meters of gas through Ukraine in the first half of 2020, 45 percent less than over the same period of 2019.

Source: Reuters

US LNG exports set to rise for the first time in 6 months

4 August. US (United States) liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are on track to rise in August for the first month in six, helping to boost US gas prices by over 17 percent, analysts said. So far this year, LNG buyers around the world have canceled more than 100 US cargoes as prices for the fuel collapsed to record lows in Europe and Asia after demand fell due to the coronavirus. Even before the pandemic spread, global gas prices were already trading at their lowest levels in years after a record number of LNG export terminals entered service in 2019, flooding the global market with fuel, at the same time winters in Europe were warmer-than-normal, forcing utilities to leave record amounts of gas in storage. Stockpiles in the US and Europe are expected to reach all-time highs at the end of the injection season – though not as high as previously forecast following a hot summer and rising US LNG exports.

Source: The Economic Times

Japan’s Chubu Electric expects JERA to book $477 mn LNG resale loss

31 July. Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Inc said its JERA joint venture is expected to book a 50 bn yen ($477 mn) loss on the resale of liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes in the year to March. Japanese electric utilities have committed to large volumes of LNG under contracts linked to oil prices, yet spot prices are much lower due to oversupply as the pandemic saps demand. JERA, the world’s biggest buyer of LNG, said that it has booked tens of billions of yen in estimated one-off losses on its supply for the year ended on 31 March. JERA, equally owned by Chubu and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, said its recurring profit sank 61 percent to 41.6 bn yen in the April-June quarter after posting a 9.1 bn yen loss on the resale of LNG, half of which was booked in Chubu’s earnings for the quarter.

Source: The Economic Times

Cyprus asks Russia to use its clout with Turkey in natural gas row

30 July. Cyprus appealed to Russia to help defuse tensions with Turkey over natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, a long-simmering row over jurisdiction in the energy-rich area. A Turkish seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, sailed into waters off Cyprus. Greece protested plans by Turkey to send another vessel, the Oruc Reis, to an area between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete. Turkey put off that project pending talks with Greece. European Union members Greece and Cyprus are at odds with Turkey over overlapping claims to offshore hydrocarbon reserves.

Source: Reuters


German energy regulator tenders for 4 GW of hard coal plant closures

4 August. Germany’s energy regulator the Bundesnetzagentur set a 1 September bidding date for a first auction inviting operators of hard coal-fired power stations to compete for compensation to close 4,000 MW of capacity under laws seeking to curb carbon emissions. The auction system implements parts of a wide-ranging package of bills passed by the German government in June to arrange the long-term exit from coal mining and generation activities by 2038. Last year, a total 20,000 MW of hard coal plant capacity supplied 9 percent of Germany’s generation output.

Source: Reuters

Poland reports record increase in Covid cases as coal mines hit

4 August. Poland reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases for the fourth time in a week, with more than a third of them found in the southern Silesia region, which has been grappling with another outbreak among coal miners. More than 220 cases were reported in Silesia, where a rapid spread of infections led to a temporary reduction of coal output and work in 12 mines in June. Sanitary services said the resurgence of Covid-19 among miners was a result of easing restrictions and of the working conditions in the mines, where it is difficult to enforce social distancing. Currently 1,043 coal miners are infected, mostly from Poland’s biggest coal producer PGG. The pandemic has added to numerous problems faced by the coal industry. The government, PGG representatives and trade unions have agreed to work out a restructuring plan by the end of September.

Source: Reuters

Global coal power capacity falls for first time even as China builds more coal plants

3 August. Global coal-fired power capacity edged down for the first time on record in the first half of 2020 as retirements accelerated and the coronavirus saw new projects put on hold. The closing of plants, especially in Europe and the US (United States), outpaced the start of new units, more than 60 percent of which were in China, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor (GEM). The net decline of 2.9 GW may be small, at just over 0.1 percent of the world’s coal generation capacity, but marks a turning point in the burning of the dirtiest fossil fuel to produce electricity. China’s coal power expansion would exacerbate overcapacity, according to the report, which cited a study from the University of Maryland that projected the average utilization rate for the country’s coal plants could drop to 45 percent by 2025. The United Nations has called for a moratorium on new coal plant builds by 2020 to help meet Paris climate agreement targets, yet there is still around 190 GW of capacity under construction worldwide, according to GEM.

Source: The Economic Times

Indonesia eyes Vietnam as it seeks to diversify thermal coal exports

31 July. Indonesia, the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, is stepping up efforts to diversify sales of the fuel as shipments to top buyer India slump and with exports to China poised to slow. Indonesia’s coal exports fell 8 percent in the first five months of 2020 compared with a year ago, according to data from Statistics Indonesia, led by a mammoth 35 percent drop to India as lockdown restrictions hit demand for power in the Asian giant. Thermal coal exports to China rose by 31 percent to 29 million tonnes (mt) in the January-May period from the year prior, while exports to Vietnam jumped 44 percent to 8.9 mt over that period. With China’s plans to boost domestic coal production likely to curb its coal imports in coming months, Indonesia is looking to Vietnam, where coal demand is growing, to offset some of those losses. Vietnam, which became the seventh-largest buyer of Indonesian coal in the first five months of the year, saw a huge jump in coal imports in the first half of 2020 from the year prior of more than 50 percent as it fed the country’s growing number of coal-fired power plants.

Source: Reuters


Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks appoints contractors to build Shetland power link

4 August. Siemens BAM and Hitachi ABB Power Grids are among four companies selected to build a power link connecting Scotland’s Shetland Islands to the mainland, utility SSE said. NKT Cable Group and BAM Nuttall are the other two firms selected by SSE subsidiary Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission. Some work is expected to begin in late August, with full construction due to begin in early 2021, SSE said. The 600 MW link will connect Shetland to the British mainland for the first time and enable the connection of renewable energy to the power grid. SSE won approval to build the link from energy market regulator Ofgem.

Source: The Economic Times

Japan utilities expect slow power demand recovery, cautious on outlook

3 August. Japanese utilities expect a slow recovery in electric power demand toward March after a 5 percent drop in the April-June quarter though some are less confident that the worst is over. Uncertainty over demand has deepened recently due to a resurgence in coronavirus cases in Japan, forcing most utilities to skip providing annual profit guidelines. Slack power demand may cause a surplus of fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG). That threatens losses for Japanese utilities committed to large volumes of LNG under term contracts linked to oil prices as they resell it at spot prices which are much lower. For industry leader Tokyo Electric Power Company, household power demand in its region rose 5 percent thanks to lockdown demand, but industrial and commercial demand have plunged, with April-May figures plunging by 20-50 percent.

Source: Reuters


BP to cut fossil fuels output by 40 percent by 2030

4 August. Energy group BP will increase its low-carbon spending to $5 bn a year by 2030 and boost its renewable power generation to 50 GW while shrinking oil and gas output by 40 percent compared with 2019, it said. The portfolio it plans to build would include renewables, bioenergy and early positions in hydrogen and carbon capture and storage technology, with the bulk of the budget to be spent by 2025.

Source: Reuters

Shell Australia to acquire environmental services firm Select Carbon

3 August. Royal Dutch Shell’s Australia unit said it will buy environmental services firm Select Carbon as it seeks to cut back its emissions and expand its low-carbon and renewable power business. Shell did not disclose a value for the deal, but said it will help in contributing towards the company’s ambition of being a “net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.” The Anglo-Dutch company has made a number of large investments in renewables and electric vehicle technologies, and plans to boost spending on its power division to $2 to $3 bn per year by 2025 as the world rapidly shifts towards cleaner energy. Select Carbon specializes in developing carbon farming and manages a portfolio of over 70 projects encompassing over 9 mn hectares across Australia, according to the company. Shell expects the deal to be completed before the end of the year, it said.

Source: Reuters

UAE launches start-up operations at first nuclear power plant

1 August. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun start-up operations in the initial unit of its first nuclear power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) said. The Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, a major oil producer, is being built by Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO). The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), which issued an operating licence for the plant in February, said Nawah met all regulatory requirements to start operations, after regular inspections and oversight to ensure the plant’s safety. When completed Barakah will have four reactors with 5,600 MW capacity. The UAE has not disclosed the total planned investment in the project.

Source: Reuters

Ready to launch soy-based renewable diesel upon regulatory approval: Brazil’s Petrobras

1 August. Brazil’s Petrobras (Petroleo Brasileiro SA) is ready to produce renewable diesel from soy or other edible oils at commercial scale and will expand investments in the segment as soon as it is granted a sales permit, the company’s refining head, Anelise Lara, said. Petrobras is awaiting approval from Brazil’s oil regulator ANP, after the company concluded tests this month. Petrobras refined 2 mn liters of soy oil in one of its Southern refineries, resulting in 40 mn liters of renewable diesel. The initiative is part of Petrobras’ climate strategy announced earlier this month, which includes a target to reduce by 16 percent the carbon intensity in the refining segment in the next five years. Soy is currently the basis of more than 70 percent of the biodiesel produced in the country. The introduction of a new type of fuel that could affect soy demand is controversial within the industry. Lara said that renewable diesel contains no contaminants, unlike biodiesel, and is therefore better for the environment.

Source: Reuters

Japan wind power group aims for 10 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030

30 July. The Japan Wind Power Association said it aims to expand the country’s offshore wind power installed capacity to 10 GW in 2030 and 30-45 GW in 2040. Offshore wind power currently provides only a tiny fraction of Japan’s electricity supply but is set to grow after a law, the Offshore Wind Promotion Act, came into force last year to spur development. The JWPA president Jin Kato said the Japanese government should map out ambitious long-term goals for offshore wind power generation, which can help to attract investments, including foreign manufacturers of wind turbines and blades to build local supply chains. If the government’s wind power efforts are successful, Japan’s offshore power generation cost could fall to as low as 8 yen ($0.076) per kilowatt hour (kWh) in early 2030s, close to the current cost of 5-6 yen/kWh in Europe, Kato said. Japan’s feed-in tariffs and newly extended offshore-wind-power licences are drawing big names into Japan’s wind power sector.

Source: Reuters

Utility EDF raises French nuclear power generation outlook

30 July. French utility raised its French nuclear power generation forecast for 2020, to between 315 terawatt hour (TWh) and 325 TWh, from 300 TWh estimated in April as it reported a 4.9 percent drop in sales in the first half of the year. Despite the economic downturn, the impact of the crisis on our main financial indicators remains contained, attesting to the resilience of our group, Jean-Bernard Levy, EDF’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said.

Source: Reuters

Australia fast tracks approval process for $16 bn solar power export project

30 July. Australia’s plan to fast track the approval process for a A$22 bn ($16 bn) project to export solar power to Singapore could help it secure financing earlier than planned. The ambitious Australia-ASEAN Power Link project, run by Singapore-based Sun Cable, plans to supply solar power to Singapore and eventually Indonesia via the world’s longest subsea high voltage cable. The company aims to build a factory in Darwin next year to manufacture Maverick solar modules, which it will eventually use at the proposed giant solar farm, he said.

Source: Reuters

US solar power plant backed by over $700 mn in government loans goes bust

30 July. The owner of a big Nevada solar-thermal power plant that received $737 mn in loans from the US (United States) Department of Energy (DOE) filed for bankruptcy, according to a court filing, potentially leaving US taxpayers with a whopping bill. The project’s failure is a blow to the DOE renewable energy loan program, which had already been criticized by Republicans as a waste of money after it backed failed solar panel maker Solyndra during the Obama administration. Tonopah Solar Energy LLC still owes $425 mn on its DOE loan, but reached a settlement under which the department will recover at least $200 mn, it said in court documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Tonopah’s 110 MW plant in the Nevada desert was billed as the first to be able to store solar energy. But its technology, which uses more than 10,000 mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on a tower to create steam, was both unreliable and expensive.

Source: Reuters

Austria’s OMV to reduce operational emissions to net zero by 2050

29 July. Austrian oil and gas group OMV set itself long-term targets for curbing carbon emissions, joining industry majors who have already responded to calls from politicians and activists to do more to fight global warming. OMV said it planned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and indirect emissions, such as those created from electricity purchased, to net zero by 2050 or sooner. OMV is relatively late setting such goals, compared to peers such as Royal Dutch Shell which has the sector’s broadest plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. BP aims to bring net emissions from the barrels from its own operations throughout their life cycle to zero by 2050. It also aims for a 50 percent reduction of the carbon intensity of all products it sells. OMV said it aimed to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by at least 30 percent by 2025, excluding Borealis.

Source: Reuters


All India Energy Supply Scenario

State/UT/Region Energy Supplied (MU) for 2019-20* State/UT/Region Energy Supplied (MU) for 2019-20*
Northern Region Eastern Region
Chandigarh 1395 Bihar 24778
Delhi 27190 DVC 17027
Haryana 44077 Jharkhand 6693
HP 7870 Odisha 23350
J&K and Ladakh 11723 West Bengal 42113
Punjab 47159 Sikkim 396
Rajasthan 60934 Andaman & Nicobar 242
Uttar Pradesh 97019
Uttarakhand 11173
Western Region North Eastern Region
Chhattisgarh 23002 Arunachal Pradesh 559
Gujarat 85971 Assam 7302
Madhya Pradesh 55144 Manipur 663
Maharashtra 115379 Meghalaya 1524
Daman & Diu 1961 Mizoram 466
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 4987 Nagaland 610
Goa 3244 Tripura 1203
Southern Region
Andhra Pradesh 48560
Telangana 48283
Karnataka 51343
Kerala 19457
Tamil Nadu 81764
Puducherry 2199
Lakshadweep 35
All India 976,519

MU: Million Units | *Data are given is for the period from April 2019 to December 2019

Region-wise Energy Supply Position for 2019-20

Source: CEA and Rajya Sabha Questions

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 2020 is the seventeenth 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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