National Electricity Policy, Renewable Energy, solar energy, oil and gas
Getty

Quick Notes

Draft national electricity policy 2021: Upholding market principles

Highlights

The aims and objectives listed in the draft national electricity plan 2021 (NEP 2021) are to (1) promote clean and sustainable generation of electricity (2) develop adequate and efficient transmission (3) revitalise discoms (4) develop efficient markets for electricity (5) supply reliable and quality power (6) move towards light touch regulation (7) promote manufacturing of goods and services in the generation, transmission, and distribution segments of the power sector under ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbar Bharat Abhiyaan’ programmes.

Given that the share of intermittent renewable energy generation capacity is expected to increase from 87,028 Megawatts (MW) (or 23 percent of power generation capacity) as of March 2020 to 175 MW (40 percent of power generation capacity) by 2030, the draft NEP 2021 recommends increasing flexible power generating capacity by investing in hydropower generation (supported by hydro-power purchase obligations), pumped hydro storage (only 4785 MW developed out of a potential of 96,524 MW), hydrogen storage, battery storage along with combined cycle gas power generation capacity.  The draft also recommends retrofitting coal-based power generation to accommodate intermittency of renewables. The need to ensure that future coal-based capacity additions use super-critical technology or ultra-supercritical technology, the obligation to guarantee availability of domestic coal to reduce imports and the introduction of flexible gas supply contracts to enable stranded gas-based power generation capacity to provide peaking power are also emphasised. Increase in biomass co-firing in thermal plants is recommended to reduce carbon emissions from thermal power generation.  The suggestion to compensate thermal power generators for wear and tear and reduction in efficiency on account of frequent ramping to accommodate intermittent renewables may not be well received by the renewable energy (RE) community but compensation is probably necessary if economic principles have to be upheld.

The draft also includes suggestions for differential tariff for consumers for peak and off-peak consumption and low tariff for consumers who are willing to accommodate curtailment of power. This could be a powerful option to reduce investment in peaking capacity. Suggestions that could be contested include that of introducing market-based pricing for RE so that RE generators are exposed to market risk and are encouraged to invest in forecasting, scheduling, and balancing tools. The draft also hints at introducing two-part tariff for RE (for energy and capacity).  Two-part tariff could be challenged by both RE generators and by discoms as it would mean an increase in tariff.  The draft also suggests that costs of variability that certain states in India that account for most of RE generation bear must be distributed across other states.

The draft recommends the creation of aggregators to aggregate demand, RE generation, demand response, and micro-storage to help consumers, prosumers, and producers reach the market. To improve grid management, the draft suggests expanding the balancing area, creating a market for ancillary services and introducing a deviation settlement mechanism.

The draft softly promotes privatisation of discoms through public private partnership franchisee model and also recommends separation of carriage and content. But it skirts the issue of political influence on electricity tariff and instead assigns entire blame for discom losses on aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), an umbrella term that signals discom inefficiency.  To reduce losses, the draft proposes pre-paid meters, direct benefit transfer (DBT) for subsidies and metering of distribution transformers. Setting up of a ‘distribution system operator’ for management of load, improvement of quality, consumer indexing, and asset mapping is also proposed.

To increase the role of the market in power purchase, the draft proposes to increase the share of spot transactions to 25 percent by 2023-24.  To address environmental issues, the draft recommends reduction of land use, water use, and the use of air-cooled condensers instead of water-cooled condensers in thermal power projects. To clean solar PV panels, the draft report proposes robotic dry cleaning instead of water-based cleaning.

Towards the goal of creating an infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs), the draft recommends setting up of charging stations in public places, introduction of time of the day tariff to encourage off peak charging.  The draft calls on the SERCs (state electricity regulatory commissions) to set up rules for EV charging.

The Coal Question

The idea in the NEP 2021 that India is likely to add new coal-fired capacity with tighter technology standards to reduce pollution received widespread attention in the global media even before the draft NEP 2021 was made available for comments. The draft, now publicly available, gives two reasons for the need to invest in coal-based generation capacity (1) coal continues to be the cheapest source of generation and (2) phasing in renewable energy sources and phasing out conventional sources such as coal and natural gas rapidly could lead to instability in the electricity grid, potentially causing blackouts. Comments from expert organisations on the draft NEP 2021 have refuted these claims asserting that solar electricity is cheaper than coal-powered electricity and that grid instability can be addressed by investing in battery storage.

The idea that solar is cheaper than coal is based on comparison of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of coal and solar electricity. In general, technology with the lowest LCOE, often zero marginal cost solar electricity, is declared the winner but this is not representative of what actually happens in the market. Economists have shown that LCOE is inappropriate for comparing intermittent generating technologies like wind and solar with dispatchable generating technologies like nuclear, gas combined cycle, and coal. Economics of electricity is shaped through physics, specifically the laws of electromagnetism that constrain storage, transmission, and flexibility. This makes electricity a heterogeneous good along time, space, and lead time.  Different sources such as coal and solar produce different goods with different heterogeneity and marginal value. In a highly regulated market like India, heterogeneity is not priced as it should be. As the NEP 2021 aims for a lightly regulated and market-based electricity system, wholesale and retail markets for electricity should reflect all dimensions of heterogeneity (between hours, days, seasons, between locations, etc.) and also transmission costs, associated transaction costs, marginal costs and benefits.

The revisions that the international energy agency (IEA) has made to metric of LCOE reflects its inadequacy. In 2014, the IEA started using ‘levelized avoided cost of energy’ (LACE) as an alternative to the LCOE for assessing the economic competitiveness of different generating technologies. The LACE metric estimated what it would have cost the grid to generate the electricity otherwise displaced by a new generation project. In 2019, the IEA used ‘value adjusted levelized cost of energy’ (VALCOE), a revised metric to compare the cost of different sources of energy that generate electricity. VALCOE incorporated all cost elements, but also added three categories of value in power systems: Energy, flexibility, and capacity. Applying LCOE and VALCOE matrices to the Indian case, the IEA projected that the LCOE of new solar  photovoltaic (PV) will drop below that of coal-fired power plants by 2025 but when using VALCOE, the value of daytime solar production in India will drop and the value of flexibility will increase as the share of solar PV surpasses 10 percent in 2030. After 2030, even with further cost reductions, the IEA stated that solar PV will become less competitive (see charts).

As shown in the table above, the VALCOE of solar in 2040 is lower than that of coal in its report published in 2020 while it is higher in its report published in 2019. The reason for the change is not clarified but it is possible that it is on account of the decrease in the cost of capital for renewable projects. The sensational IEA report on net-zero carbon only uses LCOE.

In India, government support schemes absorb or socialise the cost of heterogeneity and variability of RE.  This is negative for the financially stressed power sector and also for rate and tax payers as noted in the draft energy policy document of 2017.  The pricing of heterogeneity and variability has implications for the appropriate design of procurement auctions created to implement renewable energy procurement mandates, the efficient structure of production tax credits [such as in the production linked incentive (PLI) schemes now being implemented] for RE, incentives for and the evaluation of electricity storage technologies and the evaluation of the additional costs of integrating intermittent generation into electric power networks.

As India transitions to a low carbon energy mix, the relative value of energy, capacity and flexibility will diminish the utility of LCOE as a metric for investment decisions. In an electricity market where supply and demand are decided by market forces as envisioned by NEP 2021, the growth of zero-marginal cost RE will steadily drive down electricity tariff, particularly during the day when wind and solar generation is most concentrated. However, this will only increase the value of thermal and other firm capacity in the system as they can reliably generate power during peak hours.

Source: International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, 2019

Monthly News Commentary: Power

Power demand growth declines in FY 2021

India

Demand Growth

India’s annual electricity demand fell for the first time in at least 35 years in the fiscal year to March, government data showed, mainly due to strict coronavirus-induced lockdowns across the country. Power demand fell 1 percent during the year ended March 2021, the data showed, mainly due to the imposition of lockdowns that resulted in a decline in electricity consumption for six straight months ending in August. Demand for electricity has picked up since, and generation grew 23.3 percent in March from a year earlier, the POSOCO (Power System Operation Corp Ltd) data showed, making it the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the fastest since March 2010. Power generation fell 0.2 percent during the year 2020/21, compared with the previous year, the POSOCO data showed. Electricity demand has been steadily increasing this year due to a pickup in economic activity and amid higher temperatures being recorded in March in North India, which could have led to higher use of air conditioning.

Demand from state distribution utilities dropped 1.1 percent, marking the first such decline in records going back to 2006 according to data from the Central Electricity Authority. Peak demand during the year rose to 190.2 gigawatt (GW), about half of the country’s installed capacity, from almost 184 GW in the prior year. Consumption fell as businesses, offices, and factories were shuttered after a nationwide lockdown was imposed in March last year. Still, power demand has rebounded as India became one of the few major economies to post growth in the last quarter of 2020, helped by a boost in government spending and the reopening of the economy. Strong demand is key for India to draw investors to its power industry as it seeks fresh capital for its clean-energy transition.

Power consumption in the country grew nearly 45 percent in the first half of April to 60.62 billion kilowatt hour (kWh) over the corresponding period a year ago, showing robust recovery in industrial and commercial demand of electricity, according to power ministry data. Power consumption in the first half of April last year (from 1 to 15 April 2020) was recorded at 41.91 billion units. On the other hand, the peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, during the first half of this month remained well above the highest record of 132.20 GW in the same period in April 2020. During the first half this month, peak power demand touched the highest level of 182.55 GW on 8 April 2021, and recorded a growth of 38 percent over 132.20 GW recorded in the entire month of April last year. Power consumption in April last year had dropped to 84.55 billion units from 110.11 billion units in the same month in 2019. This happened mainly because of lower economic activities following imposition of lockdown by the government in the last week of March 2020 to contain the spread of deadly COVID-19. However, they cautioned that local lockdowns across the country to curb the surge of COVID-19 positive cases may impact commercial and industrial power consumption adversely in coming days.

Power consumption in the country grew 24.35 percent in March at 123.05 billion kWh over the corresponding month a year ago, showing a revival in the economic activities, according to power ministry data. Power consumption in March last year was recorded at 98.95 billion kWh. On the other hand, the peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, during March this year remained well above the highest record of 170.16 GW in the entire March 2020 except on one day on 29 March 2021 when it was recorded at 159.81 GW. During March this year, peak power demand touched the highest level of 186.03 GW on 11 March 2021, and recorded a growth of 9.3 percent over 170.16 GW a year ago. The highest daily peak power demand met of 170.16 GW was recorded on 3 March 2020. Experts are of the view that the power consumption has returned to pre-COVID levels with spurt in commercial and industrial activities and would see robust growth in coming months. However, they cautioned that local lockdowns to curb the surge of COVID-19 positive cases may impact power consumption adversely with slump in commercial and industrial demand of electricity. The government had imposed a nationwide lockdown on 25 March 2020, to contain the spread of COVID-19. After a gap of six months, power consumption recorded a 4.6 percent year-on-year growth in September and 11.6 percent in October. In November 2020, the power consumption growth slowed to 3.12 percent, mainly due to the early onset of winters. In December, power consumption grew by 4.5 percent while it was 4.4 percent in January 2021. Power consumption in February this year recorded higher at 104.11 billion kWh compared to 103.81 billion units last year despite the fact that 2020 was a leap year.

India’s less industrialized states have led a recovery in electricity demand that began in September, government data showed. Power use in less industrialized states such as Bihar and Chhattisgarh in the east, and Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in the north, grew at over 10 percent each compared with the previous year, both for the quarter and the six months ending on 31 March, the data showed. All these states—which have high agricultural and residential power consumption—consumed more electricity than in the previous year, though India’s annual power demand fell for the first time in at least 35 years in 2020/21. The imposition of coronavirus lockdowns resulted in a fall in electricity consumption for six straight months through August, but consumption has since risen for seven consecutive months, with usage in March rising at the fastest pace in 11 years. During the latest quarter, electricity consumption grew 7.3 percent in Maharashtra, India’s most industrialized state. However, Tamil Nadu—where a large number of major automakers are located—saw its electricity consumption fall 2.8 percent in the same period. Consumption grew at 9.4 percent in the western state of Gujarat during the quarter, but it fell marginally in Karnataka—a southern state with a large tech industry.

PSPCL (Punjab State Power Corp Ltd) surrendered unutilised power worth more than INR 40 billion, the PSEB Engineers Association has claimed. The association has made 42 suggestions on reducing the cost of power, structural reforms, strengthening of the distribution system, and human resource management to the PSPCL management.

Supply

NTPC Ltd recorded the highest-ever power generation of 314 billion kWh in 2020-21, with a growth of 8.2 percent over 2019-20. On a standalone basis, NTPC generated 270.9 billion kWh in 2020-21, an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year. During 2020-21, the NTPC group also recorded the highest-ever single-day generation of 1,192.42 million kWh (group) and 990.65 million kWh (NTPC). The coal plants registered a PLF (plant load factor or capacity utilisation) of 66 percent with an availability factor of 91.43 percent. In another feat, Singrauli Unit-1 in Uttar Pradesh, the first and the oldest unit of NTPC, which was commissioned 39 years ago, and Korba Unit-2 in Chhattisgarh, commissioned 37 years ago, have achieved over 100 percent PLF. The stellar performance of Singrauli and Korba units is a testimony to the expertise of NTPC engineers, operation and maintenance practices and NTPC systems. The total installed capacity of NTPC Group increased 5.96 percent to 65,810 MW, with 4,160 MW of capacity addition in 2020-21. On a standalone basis, NTPC’s capacity increased 4.03 percent to 52,385 MW. Along with power generation, NTPC has also ventured into various new business areas like e-mobility and waste-to-energy, and participated in the bidding for power distribution of Union territories.

Damodar Valley Corp (DVC) has registered a record electricity generation of 38.41 billion kWh in the 2020-21 fiscal, overcoming the COVID-19 challenges. The power generation of the company grew by 3.26 percent in the last financial year. The Plant Load Factor (PLF) for FY 21 stood at 62.39 percent, which was higher than the national average of 53.37 percent. Its PLF was 60.52 percent in the 2019-20 fiscal.

Discom Reform

The Central government has asked regulatory commissions to issue tariff orders of all distribution licensees before April 1 of the tariff year and report compliance to the Union power ministry by 31 May every year. In a communication to chairpersons of central and all state power regulatory bodies, the power ministry has sought compliance of legal provisions in the Electricity Act 2003 and the Tariff Policy 2016, which mandate timely determination of the adequate power tariffs by the electricity commissions. Section 64 of the Electricity Act 2003 provides for determination of cost reflective tariff by appropriate commission within 120 days from receipt of tariff petition. Similarly, Tariff Policy 2016 states that the commissions should initiate tariff determination on a suo-moto basis in case the tariff petitions are not filed in time. It mandates commissions to ensure the tariff changes are brought into effect from the beginning of each financial year and under business as usual no regulatory assets—deferred tariff hikes—are created. The same has also been provided in an order of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity passed in November 2011.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has started sending SMSes carrying disconnection notices to consumers who owe dues of more than two months. The stern measure, which asks for payment of dues within 15 days, has evoked sharp criticism with a section of consumers citing weak financial condition due to the pandemic situation and curbs associated with it. As per section 56 (1) of the Indian Electricity Act 2003, it is mandatory for MSEDCL to serve notices to consumer 15 days prior to the disconnection. To comply with the laid down norm, the state power utility establishes necessary communication through registered mobile number of consumers. The MSEDCL Aurangabad zone, which covers Aurangabad and Jalna districts, has over 683,000 residential consumers besides over 70,000 commercial and industrial consumers, amongst other categories. Notably, the recovery of power bills and possible waiver had stoked major controversy last year during the first wave of COVID-19 with different ruling party leaders taking different stands. Eventually, consumers were made to pay dues in instalments amongst other easy options without any waiver.

The Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (APSERC) has rejected ‘smart power tariff’—a uniform electricity tariff method proposed by the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APEPDCL). APSERC announced the rejection of this proposal on the occasion of releasing the new electricity tariff for the 2021–22 fiscal. Designed by APEPDCL, the ‘smart power tariff’ scheme was meant to bring all 8,511 apartments and its electricity services (173,668 in number) under a single umbrella by fixing the uniform and single electricity charge at INR 5.95/kWh instead of categorising tariff in terms of kWh of electricity consumed.

Tata Power took over the management and operations of NESCO (North Eastern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha) upon completion of the sale process. NESCO will operate under the company name TP Northern Odisha Distribution Ltd (TPNODL). As per the order issued by the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC), Tata Power holds 51 percent of equity with management control and the GRIDCO will have 49 percent equity stake in the company. TP Northern Odisha Distribution Ltd (TPNODL) will be responsible for the distribution and retail supply of electricity in five circles of NESCO covering close to t million consumers with annual input energy of 5450 million kWh in Balasore, Bhadrak, Baripada, Jajpur, and Keonjhar districts. Tata Power consumer base now stands at 11.5 million across Mumbai, New Delhi, Odisha, and Ajmer as the largest private sector power distribution company in the country.

TPL (Torrent Power Ltd)’s consumers having electricity consumption of more than 50 kWh in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar will have to pay more for the electricity they consume during 2021-22. There will, however, be no increase in tariff for consumers of the state-run Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (UGVCL). Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has approved raising of the energy charges for TPL’s residential consumers having monthly consumption between 51 to 200 kWh per month by 0.05/kWh. The revised tariffs are applicable to TPL’s Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar supply area. GERC, however, has kept the power tariffs unchanged for below poverty line (BPL) consumers and small residential consumers in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar who consume power up to 50 kWh s per month. About 18 percent of TPL’s total consumers are covered under this category.

The energy department has set a target to make Andhra Pradesh the number one state in the country in providing 24×7 quality power to its consumers by Ugadi 2022. Power utilities have been asked to focus on strengthening safe, reliable, and cheap electricity supply to consumers in future as well as in becoming the most consumer-centric utilities in the country. The government has agreed to bear a burden of INR 90.91 billion for 2021-22 as subsidy for providing free power to agriculture consumers and some other weaker sections and subsidy for domestic consumers as well.

Regulation and Governance

The Draft National Electricity Policy 2021 has been formulated by a committee set up for the purpose. The Central government, from time to time, in consultation with states, reviews and revises the National Electricity Policy and Tariff Policy under the Electricity Act, 2003. The government had notified the National Electricity Policy in February 2005. The Working Group on Power for the 12th Plan had made recommendation for amendment in National Electricity Policy in addition to Electricity Act 2003 and Tariff Policy.

EDF India announced it has completed the installation of 100,000 smart meters in India under a contract with Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) a joint venture of PSUs under the power ministry. The company marked this as the completion of the first stage of the contract and the beginning of the commercial rollout of 5 million smart meters installation across India, nearly half of which will be installed in Bihar.

With India’s power sector development over the next two decades set to take place against a backdrop of increasing water stress, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has advised that water management challenges be addressed while boosting power capacity. The agency has come out with two key priorities to ensure a more resilient power sector.

Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (DDL) announced it has introduced Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology in its smart meters. The private power distributor has so far installed 230,000 smart meters on the Radio Frequency (RF) technology. The “first-of-its-kind” technology integration has been done involving meter manufacturers and NB-IoT service of Reliance-Jio Network. The new technology is also expected to enable more number of remote meter readings, thereby ensuring the safety of consumers during pandemic times.

The North Bihar Power Distribution Corp Ltd (NBPDCL) in association with the Power Finance Corp (PFC) inaugurated a 2×10 MVA GIS sub-station in Purnea district. The GIS sub-station will benefit approximately 326,000 people of Purnea and the surrounding areas. It will further reduce the land requirement, lower the operational and maintenance cost and provide safe working environment for the attending personnel.

Electricity Trade

Average spot power price rose by 65 percent to INR 4.06/kWh in March compared to the year-ago month at Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) mainly due to increase in demand on account of rise in temperature and revival of economic activities. According to IEX data, average spot power price in DAM (day-ahead market) was INR2.46/kWh in March 2020 and INR 3.39 percent in February 2021. The increase in price was mainly due to the increase in demand for electricity during the month due to sharp rise in temperature, revival of economic and commercial activities. During 2020-21, the DAM on the IEX, traded 60,416 millionmillion kWh and registered 23 percent YoY (year-on-year) growth. The electricity market at IEX achieved an all-time high volume of 8,248.52 millionmillion kWh in the month of March 2021 surpassing all the previous milestones. The robust volumes led to a 92 percent YoY growth in electricity market during the month. The market faced transmission congestion on the inter-state transmission network due to which 24 millionmillion kWh was lost during the month, representing 0.03 percent of total traded volume. Cumulatively for the fiscal year 2021, the IEX market performed spectacularly well despite the COVID-19 induced lockdown which resulted in the significant reduction in the demand for electricity in the country in the first two quarters of the year. The electricity market achieved all-time high volume of 73,941 millionmillion kWh during the year leading to 37.2 percent year-over-year growth. As per the NLDC (National Load Dispatch Centre) data for fiscal year 2021, national peak demand for electricity at 190 GW saw 3.5 percent growth while electricity consumption at 1,281 billion kWh was down 0.6 percent YoY.

Rest of the World

Asia  

Pakistan industrialists opposed the anticipated increase of INR 5.36/kWh in base electricity tariff, resenting frequent hikes in the power tariff that would strike a blow to the industry. According to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) this would turn Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market. The average electricity uniform rate would gradually rise to INR21.04/kWh and that too after excluding taxes, duties and surcharges. The cumulative impact of the rebasing in July 2021 has been worked out at a burden of INR414 billion on the power consumers, according to the Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF). Pakistan has been facing severe power shortage and blackouts amid surging power prices that have broken the backbone of industries badly affected by COVID-19. Moreover, transmission and distribution losses, overdue payments, and theft and pilferage of electricity also power up the debts that threaten to stall the industrial growth of Pakistan.

Japan’s Electric Power Development (J-Power) scraped a plan to build a 1.2 GW coal-fired power plant in Yamaguchi, western Japan, after a comprehensive assessment of the changing business environment. The move comes amid a growing global trend towards decarbonisation and after Chugoku Electric Power and JFE Steel cancelled a plan to build a thermal power station last month. J-Power will use technology developed at its Osaki CoolGen’s project in Hiroshima, western Japan, which generates electricity with both gas turbines and steam turbines through a coal gasification combined cycle, turning coal into a combustible gas with a high proportion of hydrogen.

Europe and the UK

Britain should have enough electricity to meet demand over the summer months according to the country’s National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), even though peak demand could be slightly higher than last year. Electricity demand is not likely to be as low as last year when Britain was in strict lockdown during the spring and early summer due to COVID-19 and will be more in line with previous years. Peak electricity demand is expected to be 32 GW, 500 MW higher than last summer. This compares to around 50 GW in winter months. Minimum electricity demand is forecast to be 17.2 GW, but not as low last summer’s 16.2 GW, as COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be gradually relaxed in Britain from April to June. Last year, in spring and early summer, minimum electricity demand fell as much as 17 percent compared to pre-coronavirus expectations. National Grid’s annual summer outlook report is designed to help the power market prepare for the summer period.

USA

The White House hopes to capitalize on growing support from the US (United States) utilities, unions, and green groups for a national clean energy mandate by pushing Congress to pass a law requiring the US grid to get 80 percent of its power from emissions-free sources by 2030. Requiring utilities to move away from coal and natural gas is a cornerstone of US President Joe Biden’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half across the US economy in the next decade.

News Highlights: 28 April – 4 May 2021

National: Oil

State elections over, petrol and diesel prices start rising again

4 May: On expected lines, oil companies did not wait long post declaration of state election results to raise the price of auto fuels—petrol and diesel across the country. Accordingly, the petrol and diesel prices increased by 15 paise and 18 paise per litre to INR 90.55 and INR 80.91 per litre respectively in Delhi. Prior to the increase, petrol and diesel were being retailed at INR 90.40 and 80.73 per litre respectively in the national capital. The two auto fuel prices were static for 18 days prior to this increase. Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices increased but its quantum varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

Source: The Economic Times

India demand worries knock oil prices from six-week highs

30 April: Oil prices slipped, taking a breather after touching their highest in six weeks as concerns of wider lockdowns in India and Brazil to curb the COVID-19 pandemic offset a bullish outlook on summer fuel demand and the economic recovery. Prices also came under pressure after China’s factory activity growth slowed and missed forecasts in April, although a private sector survey showed that Japan’s factory activity expanded in April at the fastest pace since early 2018. The world’s third largest oil consumer is in deep crisis, with hospitals and morgues overwhelmed, as the number of COVID-19 cases topped 18 millionmillion.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Gas

Indian gas demand hit by coronavirus surge and restrictions

4 May: India’s gas demand is being hit by state-level restrictions aimed at stemming a rampant second wave of coronavirus infections, Adani Total Gas Ltd CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Suresh P Manglani said. With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections over the past 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed. Experts said actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher. CEO said that the decline in gas consumption was slower than last year when there was a nationwide lockdown. Adani Total, which is part-owned by French energy major Total, supplies gas to small industries and households in parts of the country. CEO said gas demand has declined from all sectors—industry, households, and automobiles running on compressed natural gas. Some liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes are being diverted away from ports in India as surging coronavirus cases there hamper domestic gas demand, trade and shipping sources have said. CEO said he hoped gas demand would rise as the number of infections declines and state governments gradually lift restrictions. He said the company would be investing INR 12-14 billion (US $163-$190 million) in this fiscal year to March 2022.

Source: The Economic Times

LNG cargoes diverted from India as COVID crisis dampens demand

3 May: Liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes are being diverted away from ports in India as surging coronavirus cases there hamper domestic gas demand, trade and shipping sources said. Six LNG tankers diverted away from India since 20 April, changing the destination to northeast Asia, Europe, and Kuwait instead, Rebecca Chia, an analyst with data intelligence firm Kpler, said. Gas demand has taken a hit from some sectors due to lockdowns imposed in several parts of the country, they said. India’s LNG imports dropped to about 1.86 to 2 million tonnes (mt) in April, down 11 to 14 percent from March’s 2.16 to 2.21 mt, according to shiptracking data from Refinitiv Eikon and Kpler. This is still well above the 1.43 to 1.48 mt of LNG imports seen into the country in April, last year after India’s gas demand was hit by a nationwide lockdown.

Source: The Economic Times

Want foreign partners in new fields: ONGC

28 April: India’s flagship oil and gas producer ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) said it is seeking foreign partners for yet-to-be-developed fields in lesser prospective areas but is shackled by uneconomic gas prices and tax structure. Reacting to a PTI report on the petroleum ministry asking ONGC to sell stake in producing oil fields to private firms, get foreign partners in Krishna Godavari basin gas fields, monetize existing infrastructure and hive off drilling and other services into a separate company to raise production, the state-owned firm said the ongoing discussions with the administrative ministry were neither new nor intended to limit its role or growth. Indian sedimentary basin is divided into three categories—Category-I includes producing basins such as Krishna Godavari, Mumbai Offshore, Assam, and Rajasthan; Category-II basins are less prospective and contain contingent resources to be developed and produced (for example, Kutch, Mahanadi, Andaman-Nicobar, Saurashtra Vindhyan); Category-III are ones with only prospective resources to be explored and discovered (for example, Kerala-Konkan, Ganga Punja, Bengal-Purnea, Narmada, Himalayan Foreland, etc.). All the fields identified by the ministry letter are in Category-I basins and are producing. But ONGC wants foreign firms to share exploration risk. ONGC also has a plan of acquiring much larger acreage through open acreage licensing policy (OALP). Oil is out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime and operators have to pay state VATs with no set-off, all services. ONGC said it has continuously been reviewing its engagements to move up higher in the value chain to concentrate on areas where the expected risk-reward payoff offers better business opportunities for growth. The ministry has set the target of domestic production of 40 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil and 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas by 2023-24. The bulk of the targeted domestic production for 2023-24 is expected to come from ONGC which is required to contribute 70 percent of the domestic production—28 mt of oil and 35 bcm of gas by 2023-24. ONGC produced 20.2 mt of crude oil in the fiscal year ending 31 March (2020-21), down from 20.6 mt in the previous year and 21.1 mt in 2018-19. It produced 21.87 bcm of gas in 2020-21, down from 23.74 bcm in the previous year and 24.67 bcm in 2018-19.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Coal

Pandemic impacts coal offtake from Coal India’s mines

3 May: Offtake from Coal India Ltd (CIL) fell more than a fifth in April as the second wave of the pandemic left several contract workers battling the deadly infection. The fuel offtake from India’s largest coal miner fell to 54.13 million tonnes (mt) as against a target of 68.89 mt. This dip in offtake has led the coal ministry to closely monitor the situation to ensure availability of the fossil fuel at thermal plants across the country given coal is the mainstay of India’s power generation mix. CIL has a total of 259,000 employees and 83,000 contract workers. The official said 5,470 employees, and their families, have been affected by the pandemic in addition to 122 contract workers. Meanwhile, the company’s coal stocks have also declined by 12.21 mt in one month to 87.12 mt by April-end as curbs in several states to contain the spread of COVID impacted coal offtake.

Source: Livemint

National: Power

Set your AC to 26°C to save on power bills, suggests APSECM

3 May: The Andhra Pradesh State Energy Conservation Mission (APSECM) has advised electricity consumers to set their air conditioners to 26°C in a bid to save energy. As per estimates, the present annual electricity demand of ACs is 2,800 million units. Even if five units of electricity are saved per AC per night by running them at 26°C, it is likely to save five million units of electricity across 10 lakh households in the state. APSECM said that use of five-star rated ACs can save around 4.5 units of electricity per day compared to zero-star ACs. A five-star AC can cut power bills by INR 2,500 compared to a zero-star AC. In course of an online meeting with APSECM officials on star-rated appliances and domestic electricity bills, state energy secretary Srikant Nagulapalli said that a one-degree higher temperature will result in a 6 percent reduction in electricity consumption. In an earlier communication to APSECM, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) also emphasised on the need to set ACs to 26°C. The current total installed air conditioner capacity of around 80 million TR (ton of refrigerator), 74,234 MW, may increase to nearly 250 million TR, 2.31 lakh MW, in the next ten years. This may take the total connected load in India due to air conditioning to about 200 GW by 2030 which could become a major climate challenge as an air conditioner releases nearly 10 kilograms of carbon dioxide if it runs for 8–10 hours.

Source: The Economic Times

Delhi power discoms gear up to meet high demand

2 May: With mercury levels rising in the capital, power discoms (distribution companies) have started preparations to meet the increased electricity demand this summer. Delhi witnessed a record peak power demand of 7,409 MW in 2019 and 6,314 MW in 2020, but this summer, it is expected to surpass the previous two years record. Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (Tata Power-DDL), the power utility that supplies electricity in north Delhi, said it has estimated a peak demand of 2,150 MW this summer and made arrangements for up to 2,400 MW.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s power consumption grows 41 percent in April to 119 billion units

2 May: Power consumption in the country grew 41 percent in April 2021 to 119.27 billion units over the same month last year, showing robust recovery in industrial and commercial demand of electricity, according to power ministry data. Power consumption in April last year was recorded at 84.55 billion units. On the other hand, peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, during the first half of this month remained well above the highest record of 132.20 GW in April 2020. During April this year, peak power demand met or the highest supply in a day touched the highest level of 182.55 GW and recorded a growth of nearly 38 percent over 132.73 GW recorded in the same month in 2020. Power consumption in April last year had dropped to 84.55 billion units from 110.11 billion units in the same month in 2019. This happened mainly because of fewer economic activities following the imposition of lockdown by the government in the last week of March 2020 to contain the spread of deadly COVID-19. Similarly, peak power demand met or the highest power supply in a day also slumped to 132.73 GW in April last year from 176.81 GW in the same month in 2019, showing the impact of lockdown on economic activities. Experts are of the view that high growth in power consumption as well as demand in April is mainly because of base erosion last year due to fewer economic activities which proved as dampener on commercial and industrial consumption of electricity due to lockdown.

Source: The Economic Times

Lockdown constraints amid second wave of COVID-19 a downside risk for electricity demand: ICRA

30 April: The proliferation of lockdown restrictions across many states in the country, amid the second wave of COVID-19 infections, could adversely impact the electricity demand growth prospects in FY22, rating agency ICRA said. Based on the data available from POSOCO (Power System Operation Corp Ltd) for 1 April to 25 April 2021, the electricity demand is higher by 40.4 percent on a YoY basis, considering the favourable base effect, given the impact of the all-India lockdown on electricity demand in April 2020. However, the average daily demand has slowed down from 4,071 million units (YoY growth of 48 percent) during the first 10 days of April 2021 to 3,923 million units (YoY growth of 35 percent) during the subsequent 15 days, considering the rising COVID-19 infections and the consequent restrictions being imposed by various state governments, the agency said. The all-India thermal PLF (plant load factor) declined to 54.5 percent in FY21 from 56.0 percent in FY20, given the decline in electricity demand. While the PLF is expected to improve to 58.0 percent in FY22 on the back of the recovery in demand growth, the PLF levels continue to be subdued.

Source: The Economic Times

Dues not paid by government, Mizoram staring at power crisis

29 April: A power crisis in Mizoram is looming large as two of six public sector utilities may start regulating supply to the state, if the government, which is currently facing a fund crunch, is not able to pay a part of INR 1.3 billion outstanding dues to these companies, State Power and Electricity Minister R Lalzirliana said. The outstanding dues to power utilities have risen as the government could not receive its share of funds from the Centre, the Minister said. Mizoram purchases about 85 percent of power from six Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)—North Eastern Electric Power Corp (NEEPCO), National Hydroelectric Power Corp (NHPC), National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC), ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC), Power Grid Corp of India Ltd and Tripura Power Generation Ltd (TPGL). Two utilities—NEEPCO and NHPC—have written letters to the power department, requesting it to pay dues amounting to more than INR 440 million.

Source: The Economic Times

Uttarakhand approves hike in power tariff for domestic users who consume over 200 units

28 April: The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved a proposal by the Uttarakhand Power Corp Ltd (UPCL) to increase the power tariff in the state. According to the proposal, domestic users will now have to shell out 0.25 paise more for every unit of electricity they consume above 200 units. The new tariff will be effective from 1 April. Meanwhile, the people living in snow-bound districts and the BPL families using up to 100 units of electricity per month have been exempted from the recent power tariff hike. They can continue to pay their electric bills at the old rate. Similarly, small non-domestic consumers using up to 50 units per month would also not need to pay according to the revised tariff rate. Besides, people paying their electricity bills digitally will be given a rebate of 1.25 percent of their monthly bill. Those paying electricity dues through cheques, demand drafts, and other bank instruments will be given a rebate of 0.75 percent of their monthly bills.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

Anupam Rasayan to invest INR 430 million to set up a 12.5 MW solar power plant

4 May: Speciality chemical company Anupam Rasayan India said it will invest INR 430 million to set up a 12.5 MW solar power plant. The size of the proposed solar power plant will be 12.5 MW and will cater to the energy requirements of Anupam Rasayan’s major units. The company operates six manufacturing facilities in Gujarat.

Source: The Economic Times

Goldi Solar completes supply of 24 MW solar modules to LS Mills

4 May: Goldi Solar said it has completed the supply of over 24 MW of solar modules to LS Mills, a leading textile company based in Tamil Nadu. The modules will be used in a project based in Aviyoor, Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, commissioned in March 2021. Goldi Solar’s 71,690 high-efficiency solar panels Goldi 72 GN polycrystalline modules of 335 Wp was used in the project, the company said. LS Mills is expected to save approximately 37.668 GWh of electricity per annum and help offset over 35,040 tonnes of CO2 per year, it said. Goldi Solar’s current production capacity is 500 MW and the manufacturer is looking to expand it to 2.5 GW with a second facility soon.

Source: The Economic Times

Gautam Solar installs solar pumps at 1k locations in Haryana

4 May: Solar power equipment maker Gautam Solar said it has installed solar pumps at 1,000 locations in Haryana under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme. According to the company, the government has set a target of installing 15,000 standalone solar pumps in Haryana within the first year of the scheme. The PM-KUSUM scheme aims to provide subsidies on solar pumps to the farmers, under which they have to bear 40 percent of the pump’s cost, while the Central and state governments subsidise the remaining 60 percent for solar pumps that have a capacity of up to 10 HP. In states such as Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the state governments have provided additional top-up on the subsidies, which has reduced the farmer’s share to 10 percent, Gautam Solar said

Source: The Economic Times

India’s solar equipment manufacturers finding it difficult to sustain: Waaree

3 May: Indian manufacturers of solar power generation equipment are going through a tough time as import duty on raw materials and cost of shipping has made the situation extremely non-viable to continue manufacturing in the country, according to Waaree Group. Mumbai-based Waaree is the largest solar PV (photovoltaic) module manufacturer in India. The company also provides solar energy solutions employing over 2,500 people globally. It owns the largest solar panel module manufacturing facility in India with a capacity of 2,000 MW. The government’s latest announcement on Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme is a welcome step. One of the objectives of the scheme is to boost domestic manufacturing of high efficiency indigenous PV solar modules to reduce reliance on imports and generate employment opportunities.

Source: The Economic Times

Indian Army inaugurates first solar energy harnessing plant of 56 kVA in North Sikkim

1 May: Indian Army inaugurates first solar energy harnessing plant of 56 kVA (kilovolt-ampere) in North Sikkim. Indian Army in its quest for harnessing renewable energy for its troops inaugurated the first green solar energy harnessing plant of 56 kVA using Vanadium-based battery technology in North Sikkim, at an altitude of 16,000 ft. A team of eminent faculty from the Indian Institutes of Technology, Mumbai, led by Prof Prakash Ghosh and troops of the Indian Army completed the project braving extreme climatic conditions. The project will immensely benefit troops in the forward areas and will be environment friendly.

Source: The Economic Times

JSW Energy uprates its Karcham Wangtoo hydro power plant to 1.09 GW

30 April: JSW Energy said that Central Electricity Authority has approved the uprating of its Karcham Wangtoo hydro power plant to 1,091 MW from 1,000 MW. This capacity uprating has been done by 9 percent to 1,091 MW without any additional capital expenditure, and is a significant boost to the earnings potential of this key asset of JSW Energy Ltd, the company said.

Source: The Economic Times

COVID-19: Second wave could delay 4 GW of solar, wind projects under 3-4 months extension

28 April: The recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country has pushed several states under curfews and lockdowns, which is expected to result in project commissioning delays for solar projects, according to industry analysts. According to Jyoti Gulia, founder, JMK Research, if the government grants solar developers another three to four month extension, an estimated 4 GW of solar and wind projects with planned commissioning in 2021 will be delayed and will be expected to get commissioned in 2022. Solar developers have already asked for a three to four month blanket extension from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) owing to disruptions in labour and supply chain as a result of the ongoing wave of COVID-19 infections. Solar industry body, the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), had requested for a three-month blanket extension over scheduled commissioning date and for financial closure on the execution of the current projects until a stability in module prices and steel prices was observed. The ministry had clarified through an order issued on 30 March that the total extension provided by implementing agencies on account of COVID-19 should in no case be more than six months including the five-month blanket extension given in August 2020. In case an extension beyond six months is required, the agency will have to justify it to MNRE. In August 2020, the renewable energy ministry had granted a five-month blanket extension to all ongoing projects to deal with disruptions caused by the lockdown. Industry analysts said that every aspect of project development activity including site preparation, engineering, financing, procurement, and construction is being hit because of the far greater spread of infection.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Oil

Venezuela’s oil exports stabilize at 700k bpd after stock drain

4 May: Venezuela’s April oil exports were flat at about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the third month in a row, with three-quarters of its shipments headed to Asia and the Middle East, according to tanker tracking data and documents from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). PDVSA’s exports have stabilized in recent months following a sharp decline between late 2020 and early 2021 caused by US (United States) orders to halt oil swaps that had allowed the exchange of Venezuelan crude for imported fuel. A total of 25 cargoes set sail from Venezuelan waters last month, carrying 688,533 bpd of crude and fuel mainly to China, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates. Exports to Europe fell to a single cargo of 110,000 barrels from two to three cargoes in previous months, the data and documents showed. After exhausting most stocks of Merey and upgraded crude grades in April, PDVSA is preparing to restart two of its four upgraders, which in total are capable of converting over 600,000 bpd of extra heavy crude from the Orinoco belt into exportable grades. The restarts could allow PDVSA to boost output from the Orinoco, the country’s main producing region, while supplying more of its lightest grades to domestic refineries for motor fuel production. The lack of lighter oils has led to shortages of gasoline and diesel. Amongst the exported cargoes this month, PDVSA sold a 991,000-barrel cargo of Corocoro crude, oil that had remained stored for over a year at the Nabarima floating facility, operated by the state firm and Italy’s ENI, the documents showed. PDVSA also exported about 55,000 bpd of crude and fuel to its political ally Cuba, according to the data. Venezuela maintained imports within the range of previous months, of about 30,000 bpd.

Source: Reuters

Saudi Arabia expected to cut June crude prices for Asia

4 May: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to cut its official selling prices (OSPs) for Asia in June, tracking weakness in Middle East benchmark Dubai and demand uncertainty amid a new wave of regional COVID-19 outbreaks, a survey showed. Sources at five Asian refiners expected the June OSP for flagship Arab Light crude to decrease by an average of 28 cents a barrel, which would become the producer’s first price reduction since December last year. A resurgence in COVID-19 infections in India has hit local fuel demand and dampened market sentiment, causing refineries there to reduce run rates and slow crude purchases in the spot market, the survey said. Asia’s refining margins for gasoline, gasoil, jet fuel and 0.5 percent very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) strengthened in April, while the naphtha crack weakened. Saudi crude OSPs are usually released around the fifth of each month, and set the trend for Iranian, Kuwaiti and Iraqi prices, affecting more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude bound for Asia. State oil giant Saudi Aramco sets its crude prices based on recommendations from customers and after calculating the change in the value of its oil over the past month, based on yields and product prices.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil price edges up on US, Europe demand growth prospects

4 May: Oil prices added to overnight gains, buoyed as more US (United States) states eased lockdowns and the European Union (EU) sought to attract more travellers, which would help offset weakened fuel demand in India as COVID-19 cases soar. Prices are being supported by the prospect of a pick-up in fuel demand in the United States (US) and Europe, as New York state, New Jersey, and Connecticut were set to ease pandemic curbs and the European Union planned to open up to more foreign visitors who have been vaccinated, analysts said. For further signs of rising US oil demand, traders will be watching out for reports on crude and product stockpiles from the American Petroleum Institute and the US Energy Information Administration.

Source: The Economic Times

Russian oil output rises 2 percent in April following OPEC+ deal

3 May: Russian oil and gas condensate output rose 2 percent to 10.46 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, from 10.25 million bpd in March, according to the energy ministry data. Under a deal agreed by the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers in March, Russia’s production quota was allowed to increase by 130,000 bpd from 1 April to 9.379 million bpd, excluding the output of gas condensate, a light oil. Russia’s oil and gas condensate production totalled 42.81 million tonnes (mt) in April, in comparison with 43.34 mt in March, which was a day longer. The ministry has not revealed production of crude oil alone. Russia typically produces around 700,000 bpd-800,000 bpd of gas condensate. Russian crude oil exports fell 20.5 percent in January-April from a year earlier to 66.65 mt. The OPEC+ group, the alliance of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other leading oil producers including Russia, decided to stick to its previously approved action plan to ease output curbs further from May. OPEC oil output rose in April as higher supply from Iran countered involuntary cuts and agreed reductions by other members under the pact with allies, a survey found, adding to signs of a 2021 recovery in Iran’s exports.

Source: The Economic Times

Norway regulator to investigate Equinor oil spill

3 May: Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said there had been an oil spill from Equinor’s Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea on 26 April, and that the incident will be investigated. This discharge is understood to have occurred in connection with starting up production from the Tordis field, which is tied back to Gullfaks C, the PSA said. Oil was observed on the sea after production had got under way. Gullfaks operator Equinor has estimated the size of the spill at 17.5 cubic metres (110.1 barrels) of oil, the PSA said.

Source: Reuters

Canada’s Imperial Oil swings to quarterly profit, helped by oil price recovery

1 May: Canada’s Imperial Oil Ltd posted a first-quarter profit and raised its quarterly dividend, bolstered by higher crude prices, as well as improved refining and chemical margins. Calgary-based Imperial, which is majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, is benefiting from higher global oil prices as fuel usage picks up from last year, when lockdowns intended to stop the spread of COVID-19 decimated demand. Upstream production averaged 432,000 gross oil-equivalent barrels per day (bpd), the highest first quarter production in 30 years. Total gross production at Kearl, Imperial’s huge oil sands mine in northern Alberta, averaged 251,000 bpd.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Gas

Australian gas producer Santos, Italy’s Eni to assess sharing gas field infrastructure

4 May: Australian gas producer Santos Ltd said it will explore sharing infrastructure to develop gas fields around the Barossa and Evans Shoal projects with Italian energy group Eni SpA. The move comes after Eni called off the sale of its Australian gas assets earlier this year, as it failed to attract strong bids. Along with Barossa and Evans Shoal, the companies will assess synergies in sharing infrastructure around the Darwin LNG plant, Santos said. In March, Santos gave the final go-ahead for its US $3.6 billion Barossa gas project off northern Australia, the biggest new gas project in the country in nearly a decade.

Source: The Economic Times

Ukraine starts pumping gas into underground storage facilities

3 May: Ukraine has started pumping natural gas into underground storage facilities, Naftogaz energy firm data showed. The data show 5.7 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas were put into storage on 1 May and that the total volume of stored gas reached 15.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). Ukraine ended the 2020/21 winter with record gas volume of 18 bcm in underground facilities, 13 percent more than a year earlier. It continued to use gas from reserves in spring due to cold weather. The country’s gas reserves reached a record 28 bcm at the beginning of the 2020/21 heating season, the highest level for 10 years.

Source: The Economic Times

China to grant 70 percent VAT refund for pre-2014 long-term gas imports

30 April: China will grant a refund of 70 percent of Value Added Tax (VAT) on long-term natural gas imports signed before 2014, the finance ministry said, in an effort to help national oil firms narrow losses in their gas import businesses. The firms have racked up billions of dollars in losses due to multi-year gas supply deals signed with exporters from Qatar and elsewhere nearly a decade ago, when oil-linked prices were much higher and China badly needed the fuel to combat air pollution. The ministry will also give VAT refunds for other imported natural gas if the import cost exceeds certain benchmarks. The ministry also exempted some equipment used in onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration, including coal-bed methane development, from import tariffs and VAT. The refunds and exemptions will be in force from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2025.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Coal

Poland’s plan to extend coal mine’s life could cost it EU climate funds

3 May: Poland’s plan to extend the life of a coal mine in Turow until 2044 could mean the region will not get access to the European Union (EU)’s flagship green transition fund, the European Commission said. The aim is to protect communities most affected as the EU overhauls its economy to become climate neutral by 2050. Poland, which employs more than half of Europe’s coal industry workforce, is in line for the biggest share of the fund. Turow supplies coal to a nearby electricity plant.

Source: Reuters

Liberty Mutual puts Australian coal project on hold

30 April: US (United States) insurer Liberty Mutual will not be filing an environmental impact assessment for a coal project in Australia, it said, missing a deadline as it weighs alternatives for the proposed mine. Community groups worried about pollution and climate change have been pushing the company to scrap the project, which is expected to produce 5 million tonnes per year of a type of coal mostly used in steel-making but also suitable for power plants.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Power

Protests held in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over power restoration

4 May: Residents of Kaghan valley in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa staged protests against the government over power crisis and blocked roads demanding immediate restoration of electricity. The protesters, who assembled at the main bazaar, blocked the traffic setting tyres on fire for over two hours. Protesters demanded the Peshawar Electric Supply Company to immediately restore the electricity in the Kaghan and rest of the valley so that life could come to a complete normalcy. In January this year, several cities across Pakistan, including capital Islamabad had plunged into darkness for several hours following a massive nationwide electricity blackout.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

EU Commission approves US $480 million Danish state aid for renewable energy

4 May: The European Commission approved 400 million euro (US $480.12 million) Danish state aid supporting the production of electricity from renewable sources. This Danish scheme will contribute to substantial reductions in greenhouse emissions, supporting the objectives of the Green Deal, the Commissioner in charge of competition, Margrethe Vestager, said. According to the statement, Denmark intends to support energy generation from onshore and offshore wind turbines, wave power plants, hydroelectric power plants and solar technology with a scheme designed to guarantee stable prices to electricity producers.

Source: The Economic Times

World’s biggest coal port loan price linked to social, emissions goals

4 May: Australia’s Port of Newcastle has signed a Australian $515 million (US $398 million) loan with National Australia Bank (NAB) that links interest payments to non-mandatory social and environmental targets, the companies said. The world’s largest coal port will pay less if certain targets are met, including reducing its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and screening all customers for modern slavery risks, they said. The new sustainability-linked loan is part of a broader Australian $666 million refinancing facility funded by a consortium of lenders. Macquarie Group-backed The Infrastructure Group and Hong Kong-listed China Merchants Port Holdings own a long-term lease to the Port of Newcastle. It exports coal around the world, including to China, India, and Mexico.

Source: The Economic Times

US approves massive solar project in California desert

4 May: The Biden administration said it has approved a major solar energy project in the California desert that will be capable of powering nearly 90,000 homes. The US $550-million Crimson Solar Project will be sited on 2,000 acres of federal land west of Blythe, California, the Interior Department said. It is being developed by Canadian Solar (CSIQ.O) unit Recurrent Energy and will deliver power to California utility Southern California Edison. The announcement comes as President Joe Biden has vowed to expand development of renewable energy projects on public lands as part of a broader agenda to fight climate change, create jobs, and reverse former President Donald Trump’s emphasis on maximising fossil fuel extraction. Crimson Solar will create 650 construction jobs but just 10 permanent and 40 temporary jobs in operations and maintenance for the 30-year life of the project. The project will include a battery storage system and will be sited on land designated for renewable energy development by the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, an agreement hatched between the state of California and the Obama administration that set aside areas for wind and solar projects.

Source: Reuters


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.

Disclaimer: Information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and has been compiled, adapted and edited from reliable sources. ORF does not accept any liability for errors therein. News material belongs to respective owners and is provided here for wider dissemination only. Opinions are those of the authors (ORF Energy Team).


Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar

ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.

  • Comments are closed.

    Publication

    Covid-19: What US, China data tell us about children’s risk profile

    Covid-19: Impact on Africa

    Covid-19 pandemic-pandemonium: Need for a more holistic idea of disaster management

    Nigeria must not forget its poor in the Covid-19 world

    No, China isn’t winning the virus propaganda battle

    Mauritius: Old and new challenges in a post-pandemic world

    A global comparison of COVID-19 deaths: How is India doing in counting its sick and dead?

    How China overcame the Covid-19 pandemic

    Amid Covid-19 crisis, its politics as usual in Slovenia

    Redefining the development narrative during Covid-19: The private sector perspective

    A global pandemic and globalisation

    Technology and business order post COVID-19

    France facing Covid-19: growing pressure on the public health system

    COVID19: What we’ve learnt from New York’s deadliest week

    The circuit breaker: Singapore’s next move in its fight against COVID-19

    American bioweapon or the ‘China Virus’? The war of words over COVID-19

    Coexisting with #Covid19: Saving lives and the economy

    The wrong diagnosis

    Covid-19: China’s donation diplomacy towards Africa turns into a public relations disaster

    COVID19: The Chinese military is busy exploiting the pandemic

    Mitigating risks and adjusting to isolation: How Argentina is dealing With Covid19

    Covid-19: The perfect storm for deep reform

    #Covid19: For now, lives over livelihoods

    How a changing global order will emerge in the post-Covid world

    The Caribbean region must come together to fight Covid19

    Politics of pandemic: Public health can no longer wait

    Georgia goes all out in fight against Covid19

    COVID19: A boost for Indian labour in the global market

    Armed Forces and the Covid19 pandemic

    Bhutan’s preparedness and response to COVID19

    Economic recovery and recurring lockdown in China after Covid19 crisis

    Public transit in post COVID19 India: where do we go from here

    Critiquing Amartya Sen’s contention of post-lockdown society

    Post pandemic city planning

    Could third world countries seek a new world order in Covid19 aftermath?

    Economic vulnerabilities and power shifts in a post-Covid19 world

    Opportunity in Crisis: Will a pandemic lead to peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan? 

    Health Policy belongs to the national security domain and different stakeholders must engage

    Can the global economy survive COVID19 shocks?

    The COVID19 reality of Afghanistan

    Changing the script

    Leadership in the time of Corona

    PM’s India shutdown is an unprecedented gamble

    COVID19: Tamil Nadu’s demand for fiscal grant can put centre in a fix

    COVID19 brings Australia to the crossroads

    The battle to set oil prices

    Luxembourg faces the same dilemma as the EU: become a bridge or a fortress

    Peace during a pandemic: The US fumbles on in Afghanistan

    Crisis communication and the Coronavirus contagion

    COVID-19 and maritime operations

    How PM Modi scored with COVIDiplomacy

    Covid-19: The crisis will strengthen anti-globalisation voices

    An old scourge in a new, uncertain age

    To what extent will coronavirus outbreak rewire global trade dynamics?

    The Chinese model is under stress

    A sneeze, a global cold and testing times for China

    Corona: The case for taking China to ICJ

    Covid-19, India and crisis communication

    How Is COVID-19 reshaping China-India relations?

    France must confront the grim realities of its war against COVID 19

    Covid19: G20 leaders reclaim power from bureaucrats – and China

    The United Nations Security Council and securitization of COVID-19

    Mexico can teach us COVID 19 management

    Covid-19 and European solidarity: The fight for who we are

    Dr WHO and Mr Hyde

    Certified Corona-Immunity as a resource and a way back to normality

    Coronavirus derails Glasgow

    Food security and the Corona Virus

    The Polish example: Defending the castle in the European East

    COVID19: Americans brace for brutal week against grim backdrop of chaotic policymaking

    SOS for the road transport sector at the time of CoVid19 pandemic

    Despite Coronavirus outbreak, India-Israel friendship continue to shine

    COVID-19 and international collaboration in a leaderless world

    Covid-19: A report from Nigeria

    As Dubai EXPO 2020 is postponed, a tough time for NRIs

    The virtual space uptick during Covid-19

    OECD, BRICS Countries must mitigate Covid-19 fallout through targeted measures

    A new human being will emerge in the post-Covid-19 world

    Ravaged by war, Cameroon’s Southwests region turns attention to Covid-19 fight

    What India needs on 14 April

    Covid-19 crisis and a probable role for the Indian Military

    COVID-19 and the gameplay of West Asia’s geopolitics

    Covid19 has sharpened great power politics

    Liechtenstein’s national and international response to COVID19

    Why China and Pakistan need each other in the Covid19 crisis

    Diplomacy is another victim of the virus

    Gated globalisation and fragmented supply chains

    West Asia is staring at an economic crisis. India has to be prepared

    Fishing in troubled waters during a pandemic

    Xi’s moves seem to be backfiring

    Iran’s grim fight against coronavirus

    Why is the Covid 19 situation so grim in MP?

    Hacking the pandemic : Lessons from the Silicon valley of India

    Between firmness and hesitation: How Russia is responding to the COVID19 challenge

    World after Covid19 pandemic

    Israel must bring its diverse communities together in Covid19 fight

    China tightens grip over the South China Sea – should India worry?

    Nod, Nudge, (K)nock out: Ways for RBI to prompt banks to lend

    Will Covid19 crisis hasten the end of PM Abe’s regime?

    Covid19: China-Russia make strategic geopolitical moves in Italy

    Leadership accountability for Covid19 and the reasons for WHO’s apathy

    Maldives: Amidst worsening Covid19 crisis, ISIS ‘claims maiden attack’

    The impact COVID19 pandemic is exerting on e-commerce

    COVID19 and competition for influence in South Asia

    Examining India’s employment landscape amidst the COVID19 disruptions

    Will COVID19 crisis rejuvenate the coalition of SAARC nations

    The future of international cooperation in times of existentialist crises

    Rebooting Ramadan for COVID19 times: With tech but without Iftar parties

    COVID19’s impact on India’s solar industry

    Reset in EU-China relations tougher in a post Covid19 world

    India fires a salvo at China

    Bend it like Kerala: How an Indian state is holding its own against COVID19

    Post covid stimulus for clean energy: Govt must focus on developing an EV ecosystem

    Women leaders and alpha males up against Covid19

    East Africa and Kenya under the COVID19 emergency

    Can ‘Advance manufacturing’ change the game in India-Australia relationship

    International trade and environment sustainability: The two must tango

    Fiscal prudence still matters

    Maldives: Evacuation, yet another-milestone in bilateral ties

    2020 could be to Narendra Modi what 1991 was to P.V. Narasimha Rao: a lasting legacy

    China’s salami slicing overdrive

    Rolling up the welcome mat for Chinese investors

    China’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea and the implications for India

    Xi Jinping: A matter of state security

    How growth and equity get a boost in Finance Minister’s economic stimulus package

    Why is China building its nuclear arsenal as world fights COVID?

    Keep Hobbes at bay whilst Covid is at play

    Nepal: Challenges of reviving economy, post-Covid

    The pandemic and China are strengthening US-India relations, for now

    The trends shaping the post-COVID19 world

    How the pandemic is an opportunity to create a ‘more equal’ world

    COVID19 and the middle power moment in global politics

    Coronavirus is straining the concept of federalism

    Infections, Islamophobia, and intensifying societal polarization

    Government is being cautious, and that’s sensible

    Covid19 and implications on global health governance

    Community model from rural Maharashtra to combat Covid19

    Covid19: The birth of a new power

    Biological Weapons and Biosecurity – Lessons from the COVID19 war

    What can we learn from the genomes of the novel coronavirus?

    What India’s digital divide means for migrant workers in a COVID19 world and beyond

    COVID19 has hit Africa’s amateur athletes

    Exiting the ‘COVID chakravyuh’ through a bioethics prism

    Guiding democracy through Covid19: Poland shows us what not to do

    Rethink, Revive, Rescue: From the Pandemic to Multilateralism 2.0

    Return of the migrants

    Covid19 is reshaping Brazil’s politics

    Vietnam emerges victorious in fight against Covid19

    How Georgia tackled Covid19 bit by bit

    The potential fallouts of EU’s collective response to COVID19

    Covid19 has forced us to think about building a remote working culture

    How Bangladesh is addressing the Covid19 pandemic

    Covid reality: Cost of human lives and how to fund healthcare

    Walled city dilemmas in the fight against COVID19: The case of Ahmedabad

    Viral load matters: Frontline healthcare workers 11% of US COVID19 cases

    Sustained shift to virtual classrooms may not be a good idea for India

    Cooperation of consequence: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami response in the era of COVID19

    COVID, oil collapse and economic contraction: Can the low carbon transition be salvaged?

    Antibody tests not useful for back-to-work policy decisions: Expert

    Risks of putting all eggs in China basket

    Mumbai in numbers

    Every policy change does not a reform make

    Reviving the Indian economy- revisiting Mr. Keynes

    India needs to win back the third world’s trust

    Epidemic in China and the world: Public health, earth science and geopolitics

    COVID-19: China’s ‘Health Silk Road’ diplomacy in Iran and Turkey

    China’s footprint is growing within the United Nations

    Russian response to Covid-19: The challenges ahead

    Inter-species spillover of viruses: Understanding zoonosis and India’s future concern

    Nature, politics and Covid-19

    The real journey of Hydroxychloroquine

    The economic cost of COVID19 is bigger than the great depression

    To die hungry or die sick

    US-India cooperation against COVID19

    Towards a quad-plus arrangement

    Will the coming monsoons result in a spike in COVID19 cases in India?