MonitorsPublished on Aug 27, 2021
Energy News Monitor | Volume XVIII, Issue 7

Quick Notes

Breakthrough in fusion energy: Is abundant low carbon energy within reach?

Recent Developments   

Recent news reports suggest that fusion energy is close to a technological breakthrough. The National Ignition Facility in the US is reportedly on the verge of achieving a longstanding goal in nuclear fusion research which is to generate more energy than what is consumed. A pioneering reactor in Britain is gearing up to start pivotal tests of a fuel mix that will eventually power ITER, (International thermonuclear experimental reactor or “the way” in Latin), the world’s biggest nuclear-fusion experiment.  ITER is a well-funded collaboration of 35 national governments (including India) designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. Fusion has long remained the domain of government research and international collaborations, but now private investors are getting serious about nuclear fusion. 24 private-sector fusion companies in North America and Europe attracted US $300 million in investment in 2020, about 20 percent of their historical total, according to Bloomberg. Though most of the private initiatives are not close to commercial operations, some of them believe that they will break key technological barriers in fusion reactions in the next five to ten years.


In nuclear fusion, two light atomic nuclei (hydrogen or the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium ) unite to form a heavier nucleus (helium). As a result, a piece of their mass is transformed into kinetic energy, which could be used to turn the steam turbines that generate electricity. By contrast, in nuclear fission, heavier nuclei (uranium or plutonium) split into smaller pieces of mass, which emit two or three neutrons with the release of energy. These two fundamental transformations of mass into energy can be calculated by Einstein's equation E = mc2 (where E represents energy, m represents mass and c2 represents the square of the speed of light in a vacuum). This equation, born from the special theory of relativity, demonstrates how tiny amounts of mass hold enormous quantities of energy.

Deuterium occurs naturally in seawater (30 grams per cubic metre), which makes it abundant relative to other energy resources. Tritium occurs naturally only in trace quantities (produced by cosmic rays) and is radioactive, with a half-life of around 12 years. Usable quantities can be made in a conventional nuclear reactor, or in a fusion system from lithium. Lithium is found in large quantities (30 parts per million) in the Earth's crust and in weaker concentrations in the sea.

In a fusion reactor, neutrons generated from the D-T fusion reaction are absorbed in a blanket containing lithium which surrounds the core. The lithium is then transformed into tritium (which is used to fuel the reactor) and helium. The blanket is thick enough (about 1 metre) to slow down the high-energy neutrons. The kinetic energy of the neutrons is absorbed by the blanket, causing it to heat up. The heat energy is collected by the coolant (water, helium, or other chemical combinations) flowing through the blanket and, in a fusion power plant, this energy will be used to generate electricity by conventional methods.

For fusion reactions to take place, the repelling Coulomb forces of the nuclear constituents must be overcome, which occur at temperatures of 150 million°C (m°C). At such temperatures, the fuel is in a plasma state (superheated matter with electrons ripped away from the atoms forming an ionised gas, also known as the fourth state of matter) and needs magnetic confinement. In this stage, parameters of temperature, density, and time can be traded off against each other to achieve confinement and their optimal mix is known as the Lawson criterion. At present, two main experimental approaches to containment are being studied by government-sponsored and private nuclear fusion initiatives: Magnetic confinement fusion (MCF) and inertial confinement fusion (ICF). The first method uses strong magnetic fields to contain the hot plasma. The second involves compressing a small pellet containing fusion fuel to extremely high densities using strong lasers or particle beams.

Tokamaks, which were devised in the 1951 by Soviet physicists Andrei Sakharov and Igor Tamm are currently the dominant MCF technology used to achieve the Lawson criterion and several of the private fusion-power initiatives are using variations on the tokamak concept. A conventional tokamak is doughnut shaped with superconducting electromagnets wound around it. This contains the fuel, which is a plasma that is composed of deuterium and tritium. The magnets serve both to heat the plasma and to confine it, thus, maintaining its density and keeping it away from the torus wall, for if it touches the wall, it instantly cools down.

Tokamaks are very large devices but one of the private initiatives use a smaller one with very powerful magnets to squeeze the magnets tightly.  These magnets become superconducting at relatively high temperatures, so can be cooled using liquid nitrogen, which is cheap, rather than liquid helium, which is expensive. Another fusion enterprise uses a more spherical tokamak in which the plasma remains more stable, and thus be easier to handle. The reactor has reached a plasma temperature of 15m°C which is two-thirds of the way to the 150m°C a tokamak needs to achieve the Lawson criterion. One firm is using normal hydrogen instead of deuterium and tritium and boron. Instead of a helium nucleus and a neutron, this reaction produces three helium nuclei, but this fusion reaction requires temperatures of billions of degrees. This is an order of magnitude hotter than anything achieved so far in a fusion experiment.

A combination of MCF and ICF is magnetised target fusion (MTF), also referred to as magneto-inertial fusion (MIF), is a pulsed approach to fusion and a range of MTF systems are currently being experimented with. This technology uses a magnetic field to confine a plasma with compressional heating provided by laser, electromagnetic or mechanical liner implosion. As a result of this combined approach, shorter times are required than for magnetic confinement reducing the requirement to stabilise the plasma for long periods. Conversely, compression can be achieved over timescales longer than those typical for inertial confinement, making it possible to achieve compression through mechanical, magnetic, chemical, or relatively low-powered laser drivers. Due to the reduced demands on confinement time and compression velocities, MTF has been pursued as a lower-cost and simpler approach to investigating these challenges than conventional fusion projects.

Stellarators are based on the concept of MCF, but they use non-axisymmetric coils that achieve magnetic confinement in three dimensions. Fusion can also be combined with fission in what is referred to as hybrid nuclear fusion where the blanket surrounding the core is a subcritical fission reactor. The fusion reaction acts as a source of neutrons for the surrounding blanket, where these neutrons are captured, resulting in fission reactions taking place. These fission reactions would also produce more neutrons, thereby assisting further fission reactions in the blanket. The blanket containing fission fuel in a hybrid fusion system would not require the development of new materials capable of withstanding constant neutron bombardment, whereas such materials would be needed in the blanket of a 'conventional' fusion system. A further advantage of a hybrid system is that the fusion part would not need to produce as many neutrons as a (non-hybrid) fusion reactor would, to generate more power than is consumed. In this case a commercial-scale fusion reactor in a hybrid system does not need to be as large as a fusion-only reactor.

Initiated by claims for ‘cold fusion’, research at the nanotechnology level is studying low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) which apparently use weak nuclear interactions (rather than strong force as in nuclear fission or fusion) to create low-energy neutrons, followed by neutron capture processes resulting in isotopic change or transmutation, without the emission of strong prompt radiation. LENR experiments involve hydrogen or deuterium permeation through a catalytic layer and reaction with a metal. Researchers report that energy is released, though on any reproducible basis, very little more than is input. Over 2015–2019, Google funded 30 researchers on three projects and found no evidence that LENR is possible, but they made some advances in measurement and materials science techniques. There was some indication that the two projects involving palladium merited further study.

The aim of the controlled fusion research is to achieve 'ignition', which occurs when enough fusion reactions take place for the process to become self-sustaining, with fresh fuel then being added to continue it. Once ignition is achieved, there is net energy yield. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the amount of power produced increases with the square of the pressure, so doubling the pressure leads to a fourfold increase in energy production. Recent work at Osaka University's Institute of Laser Engineering in Japan suggests that ignition may be achieved at lower temperature with a second very intense laser pulse guided through a millimetre-high gold cone into the compressed fuel and timed to coincide with the peak compression. This technique, known as 'fast ignition', means that fuel compression is separated from hot spot generation with ignition, making the process more practical. A completely different concept, the 'Z-pinch' (or 'zeta pinch'), uses a strong electrical current in a plasma to generate X-rays, which compress a tiny D-T fuel cylinder.

While many advanced countries have national fusion programmes apart from participating in ITER, China’s fusion initiative is the one that generated headlines most recently. The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) at China Academy of Sciences' Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) produced hydrogen plasma at 50 m°C and held it for 102 seconds in 2017. In November 2018, it achieved 100 m°C for 10 seconds, with input of 10 MW (megawatt) of electric power. In July 2020, EAST achieved a completely non-inductive, current-driven, steady-state plasma for over 100 seconds, claimed as a breakthrough with significant implications for the future China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR). In May 2021, it set a new world record of achieving a plasma temperature of 120 m°C for 101 seconds. The experiment also realised a plasma temperature of 160 m°C, lasting 20 seconds.


According to a recent study on the economics of fusion energy, the required subsidy of about 141 US $/MWh (megawatt hour) is comparable to the subsidies paid to offshore wind which totalled 136 US $/MWh in the Europe Union in 2012 in the price level of 2015 and is much lower than the subsidies provided in the same year for photovoltaic plants in the amount of 249 US $/MWh in 2015 price level. These subsidies to renewable resources do not include the costs of maintaining large standby power plants running on coal, gas, or pumping hydroelectric power stations, which in the case of fusion plants will not be necessary. According to the study, the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of fusion sources is higher than the average LCOE of nuclear and fossil power plants but lower than the average LCOE of the photovoltaic power plants. Accounting for the external costs (climate change, human health costs, nuclear safety, energy security, etc.), the total cost of energy (TCOE) that includes LCOE and external costs of fusion power plants is second lowest after nuclear fission.


To date, none of the projects have produced a fusion reaction that creates significantly more energy than it consumes. But if it is achieved, it will mean abundant low carbon energy supply for the world. Each D-T fusion event releases 17.6 MeV (million electron Volt) which on a mass basis, is over four times as much energy as uranium fission. The energy density of fusion reactions in gas is less than for fission reactions in solid fuel, and the heat yield per reaction is 70 times less. Thus, thermonuclear fusion will always have a much lower power density than nuclear fission, which means that any fusion reactor needs to be larger, and therefore, more costly, than a fission reactor of the same power output. In addition, nuclear fission reactors use solid fuel, which is denser than a thermonuclear plasma, so the energy released is more concentrated. Also, the neutron energy from fusion is higher than from fission, 14.1 MeV instead of about 2 MeV, which presents significant challenges regarding structural materials.

1 gram of fusion fuel corresponds to that of 12 tonnes of coal. This means that India would need only about 70 tonnes of fusion fuel annually to replace coal in power generation completely.  Roughly 55,000 barrels of oil is required to heat 10,000 modern western homes for one year. With fusion energy, it would take one litre of deuterium and tritium, extracted from water to power those 10,000 homes. And whereas those 55,000 barrels of oil would release 23,500 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), fusion produces no emissions and will have a lifecycle carbon intensity lower than solar or wind (as measured in CO2 from all construction, manufacturing, and operations per kWh produced).

With fusion, there would be no danger of a runaway reaction as this is intrinsically impossible and any malfunction would result in a rapid shutdown of the plant. Although fusion does not generate long-lived radioactive products and the unburned gases can be treated on site, there would a short- to medium-term radioactive waste problem due to activation of the structural materials. Some component materials will become radioactive during the lifetime of a reactor, due to bombardment with high-energy neutrons, and will eventually become radioactive waste. The volume of such waste is comparable to corresponding volumes from fission reactors. However, the long-term radiotoxicity of the fusion wastes would be considerably lower than that from actinides in used fission fuel, and the activation product wastes would be handled in much the same way as those from fission reactors with some years of operation.

There are also other concerns, principally regarding the possible release of tritium into the environment. It is radioactive and very difficult to contain since it can penetrate concrete, rubber, and some grades of steel. As an isotope of hydrogen, it is easily incorporated into water, making the water itself weakly radioactive. With a half-life of over 12 years, the presence of tritium remains a threat to health for about 125 years after it is created, as a gas or in water, if at high levels. It can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin or ingested. Inhaled tritium spreads throughout the soft tissues and tritiated water mixes quickly with all the water in the body. Although there is only a small inventory of tritium in a fusion reactor, a few grams, each could conceivably release significant quantities of tritium during operation through routine leaks, assuming the best containment systems. An accident could release even more. This is one reason why long-term hopes are for the deuterium-deuterium fusion process, dispensing with tritium. While fusion power clearly has much to offer when the technology is eventually developed, the problems associated with it also need to be addressed if it is to become a widely used future energy source.

Source: Entler et al (2018), Approximation of the economy of fusion energy, Energy 152 (2018): 487-497

Monthly News Commentary: NON-FOSSIL FUELS

Solar Project cost see upward pressure


RE Policy and Market Trends

The increase in imported photovoltaic (PV) solar module price level by about 15-20 percent over the past four-five months, to about US $ 0.22-0.23/watt as on date, is expected to impact returns of solar power project developers, according to ratings agency ICRA. This price rise has been mainly driven by a sharp increase in the price of polysilicon, a key input for cell and module manufacturers. Given the import dependency for PV modules for most of the solar power installations in India, such hardening in the price of PV modules, if sustained, remains a near-term headwind. Notwithstanding the near-term headwind related to module price levels, the credit outlook on the solar energy sector remains stable.

The power ministry announced the extension of the timeline by two years for waiver on inter-state transmission charge for electricity generated from solar and wind sources. Now, the waiver would be available till 30 June 2025. Earlier, it was applicable till 30 June 2023. Besides, the waiver would now be available for Hydro Pumped Storage Plant (PSP) and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) projects also. The waiver of inter-state transmission charges on the transmission of the electricity generated from solar and wind sources of energy that was available to solar and wind projects commissioned up to June 30, 2023, has now been extended till June 30, 2025. The buyers of renewable energy will also have an opportunity to sell their surplus power in the power exchanges or allow in advance the sellers to sell in the power exchange. The order is futuristic as it also allows the waiver of transmission charges for RE trade in the Green Day Ahead Market (as part of the integrated Day-ahead market). Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), Power System Operation Corporation Limited (POSOCO), and the power exchanges are working on it in mission mode to operationalise this product in the power exchanges by end of August 2021. This amendment order will be a boost to renewable energy and also a step forward to achieve the targets of the Government of India in meeting the international obligations towards climate change.

The government is planning to set aside INR 200 billion (US $2.69) under a new scheme for solarising agricultural feeders. For solarising the entire agricultural sector, 110-gigawatt (GW) capacity will have to be installed. Energy access was a huge challenge for the world and without this energy transition cannot happen. The government has already earmarked 17 cities, and more are underway. Under this plan, the government has proposed to run entire cities on renewable energy. A power evacuation survey had been completed for a 10 GW renewable energy park in Ladakh. Regarding future clean energy technologies, the government plans to invite bids for setting up large-scale green hydrogen projects in the next three to four months. The projects will be based on green hydrogen purchase obligations similar to renewable purchase obligations. India has tripled its renewable energy capacity to 96 GW in the past five years while its solar energy capacity has gone up about 15.5 times.

The process for statutory approval has been initiated for Hindalco Industries Ltd’s solar power projects at four locations. The total capacity of the projects is 42 megawatts (MW). A 20 MW renewable hybrid with storage project with potential of supplying round-the-clock power is under active consideration for its Dahej, Gujarat unit. In September last year, an additional 2.3 MW solar facility was commissioned in Alupuram, Kerala, taking the total renewable capacity of Hindalco to 49 MW, in line with company's target of 100 MW by FY22. Feasibility study for additional 60 MW solar projects, including floating and with storage option, has been initiated.

In a major relief to green energy companies, the Andhra Pradesh (AP) High Court quashed the state government’s 6,400 MW bid, saying that all bids had to fall under the Centre’s set guidelines for renewable energy tenders. In July 2019, the state government decided to renegotiate the purchase cost of wind and solar projects already awarded, saying it would not honour power purchase agreements signed by the previous government. The AP High Court had then issued a stay order and directed distribution companies to clear the dues owed after developers took the state to court.

Gujarat is making rapid strides into the renewable energy sector with a slew of mega green energy projects. These projects relate not just to electricity generation but also to equipment manufacturing. Backed by policy initiatives and strong investor support, Gujarat’s renewable power generation capacity is expected to jump to 38,466 MW by 2025 and 61,466 MW by 2030, according to the state government’s estimates. At present, the state’s total installed power generation capacity from renewable energy sources—solar, wind, hydel, biomass and bagasse, is about 13,152 MW. Gujarat’s average power demand hovers around 16,500 MW and approximately one-third of it is met through renewable power. The state’s average power demand is estimated to rise to 28,500 MW by 2030. By then, the state’s installed RE power generation capacity would be more than double the average power requirement.

Solar Manufacturing

India’s renewable energy (RE) sector will witness a large part of incoming investments in the areas of indigenous products, innovative start-ups, transmission, and generation space in the coming years. As per the industry experts India’s RE sector requires over US $500 billion in the next decade—in wind and solar infrastructure, expansion and modernisation and for the indigenisation of batteries, etc.

Utility Scale Solar

Solar power producer ACME along with Brookfield Renewable will jointly build a 450-megawatt peak (MWp) solar project in Rajasthan. This solar project includes a 25-year power purchase agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, the largest electricity distribution utility in India and the second largest in the world. The project will provide clean and green electricity to over a million households.

Roof Top /Distributed Solar Projects

Oorjan, a distributed solar company has installed a 100-kilowatt (KW) rooftop solar plant at a housing society in Mumbai. The installation was done across the high-rise towers consisting of more than 230 solar panels installed over 7,500 square feet shadow-free area. The project is expected to have a payback period of three years.

Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) inaugurated a 50 KW capacity solar rooftop project in Solan under the centre's Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) scheme. As per the PFC Ltd under the ongoing "Go Green" initiative, solar panels are also installed in Uttar Pradesh (10 MWp), Karnataka (8 MWp), Kerala (5 MWp), West Bengal (4 MWp), Uttarakhand (3 MWp) and Himachal Pradesh (1 MWp).

Worried about the overmounting utility bill on account of the use of electric appliances, citizens of Sangam city including owners of big showrooms, farmhouses, community halls and marriage pandals are quickly switching toward solar electric power systems to reduce electricity charges. Agencies taking up the installation of solar power systems in Sangam city claimed that the absence of business during the first and second lockdown and business fraternity particularly owners of big showrooms, community halls, and marriage pandals owners who could not be able to earn profits due to hardly any customers showing up during the relaxations, were more enthusiastic to install both battery-based solar power system and on-grid solar power systems. In the past two years, the demand for solar power electric system has also increased in the semi-urban and rural areas and users often turn to it to eliminate their electricity bills. Agencies involved in the installation of solar electric power system claimed that industrial units could also cut their electricity bills in a range between 30 percent and 60 percent by replacing the grid power supply with renewable energy.

Corporate Green Initiatives

GAIL (India) Ltd will invest about INR50 billion (US $673 million) to build a portfolio of at least 1 GW of renewable energy and set up compressed biogas as well as ethanol plants as it steps up efforts to expand the business beyond natural gas. As part of a push to embrace cleaner forms of energy, GAIL will be laying pipeline infrastructure to connect consumption centres to gas sources and spend as much as INR 40 billion (US $538 million) on renewable energy. While electricity generated from solar energy or through wind power is the cleanest form of energy, converting municipal waste into compressed biogas will supplement the availability of cleaner fuel to automobiles and households. Also, it plans to set up ethanol units that can convert agriculture waste or sugarcane into less polluting fuel that can be doped in petrol, helping cut India’s import dependence. India, which imports 85 percent of its crude oil needs, is stepping up efforts to explore new forms of energy to clean up the skies and reduce dependence on imported fuels. GAIL will bid for a 400 MW solar power capacity being auctioned by SECI (Solar Energy Corp of India) in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. GAIL has signed up with state-run power gear maker BHEL for renewable energy foray. The tie-up looks to leverage the competitive strengths of both companies.

Tata Power aims to grow its renewable capacity to 15 GW by 2025. It has sharpened its focus on renewables amid the industry shifting from the highly polluting coal-fired electricity generation to green energy resources such as solar and wind. The renewables sector will also see increased competition with Reliance Industries set to throw its hat in the ring. Tata Power hopes to have 60 percent of its electricity generation from renewables by 2025 and about 90 percent by 2030. The company is focusing on building scale in consumer renewables, that is, in rooftop solar, solar pumps, electric vehicle charging systems and home automation. In the distribution business, Tata Power currently supplies electricity across Mumbai, Delhi, Ajme,r and Odisha (it recently acquired the distribution license for the eastern state). The company has an operating capacity of 1839 MW renewable energy capacity comprising 907 MW wind power and 932 MW solar power. Another 373 MW of wind and solar capacity is under development.

Hydro Power

SJVN Ltd has completed excavation work of 4.3 km long head race tunnel of 60 MW Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project in Uttarakhand. The Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project has the potential to generate 265.5 million units (MU) of electricity every year and the state of Uttarakhand will get 12 percent free power as a royalty. The project would further accelerate the Government of India’s commitment of providing round the clock energy to our nation and will also lead to achievement of shared vision of SJVNL, for becoming a 25,000 MW company by 2040. SJVNL is constructing its own transmission line of about 37 km for transmission of electricity generated from the project which is targeted to be completed by April 2022. Commissioning of the project will benefit the area and particularly project affected families as they will be provided an amount equivalent to the cost of 100 units of electricity per month for 10 years.

Wind Power

NTPC Ltd and upstream oil firm ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) have planned to boost the development of offshore wind energy in India, which is blessed with a coastline of about 7,600 km surrounded by water on three sides and has good prospects of harnessing this clean source. Earlier in May last year, NTPC and ONGC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to accelerate their footprint in the renewable energy space. As per the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other renewable energy projects in India and overseas. The MoU assumes significance in view of, almost doubling the target of renewable energy capacity addition to 60 GW by 2032 by NTPC.  According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) portal, offshore wind turbines are much larger in size (in range of 5 to 10 MW per turbine) as against 2-3 MW of an onshore wind turbine. The MNRE has set a target of 5 GW of offshore wind installations by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030.


Rawmatt Industries Pvt Ltd is an organisation that carries out a wide range of business activities in Nagpur. As part of its efforts to reduce pollution, it offers bio-CNG (bio-compressed natural gas) and other forms of natural gas. Due to its cost-effectiveness, CNG’s popularity has been growing multi-fold in recent years. Moreover, CNG comes with a reputation as one of the cleanest fuels in the market due to the lower carbon content it burns, thereby, making it cleaner than petroleum-based products. Furthermore, it produces the fewest emissions amongst all other fuels and contains significantly fewer pollutants than gasoline. India’s first CNG tractor was unveiled in New Delhi on 12th February 2021. Farmers will be able to save more than US $1 trillion (tn) on fuel costs annually, which will improve their livelihoods. The biogas used to power the revolutionary tractors are produced in the absence of oxygen and comprise different gases, resulting from the breakdown of agricultural wastes, manure, municipal wastes, plant matter, sewage, green or food waste. When this mixture is further purified and processed, it is referred to as bio-CNG. In India, bio-CNG is poised to take on the more widely used CNG and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Additionally, bio-CNG can be applied in a variety of commercial (hotels, canteens, bakeries, and resorts), industrial (glass and ceramic, metal, cement, and textile processes), and automotive (public transport and personal vehicles) applications. Rawmatt Industries undertakes initiatives to help farmers buy bio-CNG tractors by using Paryavaran cards. In exchange for paddy straw submissions, payment is credited to these Paryavaran cards which can be further used for cash withdrawal. This further helps with generating real-time data on actual paddy generated in order to facilitate the initiative on a nationwide level.

The waste-to-energy plant, which is being set up by Abelleon Clean Energy, will begin operation by the end of 2021. This is part of Ahmedabad’s zero-waste strategy to generate power from waste with a 14 MW plant in Gyaspur near Pirana. The power generated from the plant will be fed into the national power grid. It will convert 1,000 metric tonnes of waste into energy daily. Ahmedabad Municipal Corp (AMC) has given 13 acres of land for the project. The project was part of zero-waste strategy to reduce burden on Pirana. The plant, according to AMC, will be using the latest technology and will follow the European standard to generate energy. The AMC is setting up a similar plant which will also have the capacity to convert 1,000 million tonnes (mt) of garbage. The AMC plans to set up a third plant and has sought expression of interest. The city generated nearly 4,500 mt of waste, including 500 mt of construction waste produced while making paver blocks. The AMC will only use kitchen and garden waste and convert it into energy.


A total of 1,660 MW of atomic power capacity belonging to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has been shut down largely for refuelling and maintenance in Southern India. India’s atomic power company NPCIL has a total of 3,320 MW capacity in Tamil Nadu (2,440 MW) and Karnataka (880 MW). The units that are under shutdown are -- Kudankulam Unit 1-1,000 MW; 2 Units of Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS)- 440 MW; Kaiga Atomic Power Station Unit 4-220 MW. The NPCIL is building four more 1,000 MW nuclear power plants in Kudankulam - Units 3-6. The construction of Units 3 and 4 is under progress while the construction work for Units 5 and 6 is expected to start soon. Construction work for 3 and 4 units was affected due to COVID-19 pandemic and the work is now in progress.

Rest of the World


As per the China’s solar association, claims that Chinese solar firms are benefiting from forced labour in Xinjiang are unfounded and unfairly stigmatise firms with operations there. The US banned imports from five Chinese solar companies accused of using forced labour in Xinjiang including Hoshine Silicon Industry Co and a unit of GCL New Energy Holdings. The China Photovoltaic Industry Association had recently inspected solar industry production facilities in Xinjiang and the US assertions had no factual basis. Xinjiang, home to China’s predominantly Muslim Uyghur population, is responsible for as much as 45 percent of the global production of polysilicon, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of solar panels.

Middle East & Africa

Iran’s sole nuclear power plant is back online following an emergency shutdown two weeks ago. The country’s energy ministry said the Bushehr plant "returned to production energy" after the completion of needed maintenance. Authorities had warned of Bushehr’s possible closure because of American sanctions barring Iran from procuring equipment for repairs. Bushehr is fuelled by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency. The 1,000 MW plant feeds the grid with enough energy for a tiny part of Iran's nationwide 64,000 MW consumption. This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant, located in the southern port city of Bushehr. It went online in 2011 with help from Russia.

Togo has inaugurated the largest solar plant in West Africa, in a push to increase access to electricity and develop renewables in the small coastal country. The 50 MW facility, located in central Togo, will provide power to more than 158,000 households and save more than one million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. The plant was built in Blitta, 267 km (165 miles) north of the capital Lome, by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of Dubai-based AMEA Power. It hosts 127,344 solar panels expected to produce 90.255 megawatt hours (MWh) of power per year. Capacity for an additional 20 MW is scheduled to be built on the same site by the end of the year. AMEA Togo Solar will be able to exploit the plant for 25 years. Togo, which imports more than half of its energy from Nigeria and Ghana, is banking on solar power to develop access to electricity for its eight million residents.

EU and UK

Spain plans to install floating wind turbines on the deep waters off its coasts with capacity to generate between 1 and 3 GW of power by 2030, as per its energy and environment ministry. As part of a global shift away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, governments and companies are seeking new ways to harness power generation from renewable energies like wind and solar. Spain has one of the world’s largest onshore wind fleets, but its coastal waters are too deep to allow the installation of turbines that have allowed greater wind speeds and extra space to be exploited offshore in Britain and some other countries. The European Union currently boasts around 12 GW of bottom-fixed offshore wind farms and aims to boost this to at least 60 GW by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. It wants to complement the 2050 total with a further 40 GW in floating wind, solar and other technologies drawing on tidal power, which Spain will also investigate.

The Spanish government approved a €1.3 billion (US $1.5 billion) plan to finance investments in renewable power generation for private consumption with the rescue funds to be disbursed by the EU. Spain is due to receive about €140 billion over six years from EU to kick-start the economy to recover from the contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Energy giant BP is close to buying solar power projects for between €400 million and €500 million in Spain from conglomerate Grupo Jorge. Lightsource bp, BP’s solar power unit, would take over a portfolio of photovoltaic power projects with a total potential capacity of 700 MW from Grupo Jorge, a privately held company with assets in pork meat, agriculture and renewable energy. Spain has become one of the most active markets for solar and wind power. Many large companies including BP’s rivals such as Total, Repsol and Galp have bought assets in recent months. BP itself had announced in February the acquisition of a portfolio of solar projects with a potential capacity of 845 MW.

EDP 9Energias de Portugal) is preparing to sell up to three portfolios of renewable energy assets in Europe this year, potentially worth a combined €1.5 billion, to help fund its clean energy ambitions. In line with a global effort to cut planet-warming carbon emissions, Portugal’s largest utility wanted to abandon coal-fired power generation by 2025 and produce energy only from renewable sources by the end of the decade. Renewable and low-carbon energy businesses are attracting high valuations on public and private markets from cash-rich investors who expect steady growth in the market as policymakers seek alternatives to fossil fuels. As part of a plan to sell around one third of the new wind farms and solar parks it builds, EDP will announce two portfolio sales in Europe in the short term. EDP would aim to close the deals before the end of the year and invest capital back into the business towards its aim of adding 50 GW of clean energy capacity by 2030.


The Australian government has rejected plans for a US $36 billion wind, solar, and hydrogen project in a remote area of Western Australia, leaving what would have been one of the world’s largest green energy projects in limbo for now. Environment Ministry ruled that the project, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub (AREH), "will have clearly unacceptable impacts" on internationally recognised wetlands and migratory bird species. The AREH project, located in the state’s Pilbara region, was designed to initially build 15 GW of renewable energy capacity, eventually to be expanded to 26 GW and produce green hydrogen and ammonia for export. Australia’s Clean Energy Council expects the government will work with AREH to assess and address any environmental impacts.

News Highlights: 14 – 20 July 2021

National: Oil

India takes up high oil prices with OPEC, producers

20 July: India has taken up the issue of high oil prices with producer nations and OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries), demanding affordable rates, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli said. Petrol and diesel prices have shot up to record highs across the country after relentless price increases since early May. Petrol is retailing above INR 100 a litre in more than a dozen states. India imports 85 percent of its oil needs and rates benchmarked to international prices have fuelled inflation. The new Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has in the last few days flagged the issue of high oil prices to Saudi Arabia, UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Qatar. OPEC and its partners reached a deal to increase oil production by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) each month for the rest of this year and into 2022. The agreement envisages continuing the monthly 400,000 bpd increments to around September 2022 "subject to market conditions", when members would theoretically reach baseline production. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest exporter of crude oil and India's second-biggest source after Iraq. Concerned over the rising oil prices, India has been reaching out to key oil producers in the Middle East. The rebound in international oil prices from lows hit in May on the back of demand recovery has sent petrol and diesel rates to record highs in India.

Source: The Economic Times

BPCL, Humsafar join hands for doorstep delivery of diesel in Delhi

19 July: Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) has joined hands with Humsafar India—a Delhi-headquartered start-up—for doorstep delivery of diesel in 20-litre jerrycans in the national capital for customers seeking diesel in quantities as low as 20 litres. The doorstep diesel delivery in jerrycans, titled 'Safar20', is expected to benefit small housing societies, malls, hospitals, banks, construction sites, farmers, mobile towers, education institutes along with small industries. Bulk supply of diesel at the doorstep has already started some time back. The new initiative will benefit small requirement customers. Earlier, the consumers of diesel had to procure it from retail outlets in barrels which used to cause a lot of spillage and dead mileage in energy procurement. Efficient energy distribution infrastructure was lacking. Doorstep diesel delivery is expected to solve many such problems and will provide diesel to bulk consumers in a legal manner.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s June oil imports hit their lowest in nine months

16 July: India’s crude oil imports in June fell to their lowest in nine months, as refiners curtailed purchases amid higher fuel inventories due to low consumption and renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the previous two months. India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, shipped in about 3.9 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude last month, about 7 percent down from May, but 22 percent higher from year-ago levels, tanker arrival data showed. After an uptick in India’s fuel demand in February and March, the country’s refiners cranked up crude processing and oil imports. However, fuel demand fell sharply in April and May after the government imposed restrictions to curb a second wave of coronavirus, leaving refiners with high fuel inventories. India’s crude imports between April and June, however, rose 11.7 percent year-on-year to 4.1 million bpd as the lockdown curbs were not as severe as last year when COVID-19 first hit the nation, according to the data.

Source: The Economic Times

Need for calibrated price control for oil, GST on petro products: PHDCCI to government

16 July: Industry chamber PHDCCI suggested the government certain measures, such as calibrated price control and inclusion of petroleum products under the goods and services tax, to check rising oil prices. The current rise in oil prices has fuelled into a raging issue as it is likely to have a cascading influence on the prices of other essential commodities as well, it said. It is advisable that the retail prices of auto fuel should not be left open-ended on the basis of international prices, as there should be an inherent and prudent mechanism, which is agreed and approved by both central and state governments, for controlling and checking prices, PHDCII President Sanjay Aggarwal said. He said a possible way is that the central and all the state governments must come forward and hold a Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting for inclusion of all petroleum products under its ambit. Further, he said the central government must convince all states governments and take them on board for controlling and checking prices of petroleum products by ensuring that there is no revenue loss to the states, if any model is mutually agreed and accepted by both the governments.

Source: The Economic Times

DGH overhauls oilfield approval processes, cuts down paperwork

14 July: In a major overhaul, DGH (Directorate General of Hydrocarbons) has made it easier for firms to explore and produce oil and gas in the country by limiting the requirement of statutory approvals to only extension of contracts, sale of stake and annual accounts while allowing self-certification and deemed approval for the rest. The DGH, the government’s technical arm overseeing upstream oil and gas production, said procedures and processes for oil and gas blocks awarded under nine bids round of New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) and pre-NELP blocks are being simplified and standardised. While Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) produce two-third of India's oil and gas from blocks or areas given to them on a nomination basis, the remaining output is from pre-NELP and NELP blocks. DGH undertook a review of processes of various approvals and submission of documents under Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) for NELP and pre-NELP blocks. As many as 37 processes and procedures were required to be followed by a firm exploring oil and gas in a block awarded under NELP or pre-NELP rounds. These have now been cut to just 18. No approval will be needed for any of these processes, DGH said. DGH has allowed deemed approval on expiry of 30 days of submission of self-certified documents on the annual work programme, appraisal and field development plan or its revision. Prior approval of the block oversight committee, DGH or the oil Ministry will be required only in cases where extension of the contract or exploration phase is to be granted or the contractor is selling or exiting the block.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Gas

Make GAIL lay its pipeline along the highways: Panneerselvam

17 July: Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK Coordinator, O Panneerselvam, urged Chief Minister M K Stalin to prevent GAIL (India) Ltd from laying gas pipelines through farm lands. Panneerselvam said GAIL is laying its gas pipeline on farm lands in Krishnagiri district, much against the wishes of the farmers. He said that projects are for people and not people for projects. Panneerselvam asked Stalin to stop GAIL from laying its gas pipelines in farm lands and lay the same along the highway. GAIL is laying a pipeline to carry gas from Kochi in Kerala to Bengaluru via several western districts in Tamil Nadu (Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem, Dharmapuri, and Krishnagiri). While the pipelines are laid along the highways in Kerala, the company wants to lay the pipes through the farm lands in Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Economic Times

MGL again hikes prices of CNG, domestic PNG

14 July: For the second time in six months, the Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL) nnounced hike in prices of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Domestic Piped Natural Gas (PNG) for Mumbai and surrounding areas, with effect from midnight 13-14 July. The rate of CNG—used in over 800,000 vehicles—has been hiked by INR 2.58/kg, taking it up to INR 51.98/kg, raising fresh fears of a corresponding increase in the fares for public transport vehicles. The price of Domestic PNG has been increased by INR 0.55/Standard Cubic Metre (SCM) and the new rates will be INR 30.40/SCM in Slab 1 and INR 36/SCM in Slab 2, for the 800,000-plus customers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. However, the MGL said that despite the fresh revision in prices of CNG—to offset operational costs and increase in gas pipeline transportation costs, it is around 67 percent and 47 percent cheaper than petrol and diesel, respectively.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Coal

Tata Steel’s Jharia division commissions two MTPA coal preparation plant at Jamadoba

16 July: Tata Steel has set up a 2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) coal preparation plant at Jamadoba under its Jharia division, the steel giant said. Tata Steel’s Jharia division has taken several initiatives of automation and digitalisation which has helped in improving operational excellence. Built from cutting-edge technology, the two MTPA coal preparation plant has been transformed from the oldest running washery in Asia (in operation since 1952) to one of the most modern washeries across the globe.

Source: The Economic Times

Cabinet approves pact with Russia on cooperation for coking coal

15 July: The Union Cabinet approved a pact between India and Russia regarding cooperation on coking coal, a key steel making raw material, for which domestic players remain dependent on imports from a select group of countries. Around 85 percent of India’s coking coal demand is met through imports. The cooperation with Russia will help India reduce its dependence on far-located countries like Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the US (United States) for sourcing of coking coal. It will also reduce per-tonne cost of steel production, as Russia is geographically closer compared to the said countries. The objective of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) is to strengthen cooperation between India and Russia in the steel sector. The activities involved in the cooperation are aimed at diversifying the source of coking coal, it said. The pact shall benefit the entire steel sector by reducing input cost and cost of steel production in the country. It will also provide an institutional mechanism for co-operation in the coking coal sector between India and Russia, it said.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Power

Delhi Power Minister accepts Goa counterpart’s dare for debate on power tariff

20 July: Delhi Power Minister Satyendra Jain has accepted his Goa counterpart, Nilesh Cabral’s dare to debate the merits of the Delhi power tariff model versus the one in place in Goa. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an announcement made in pollbound Goa, had said, that if the AAP comes to power, the first 300 units of power consumed by domestic households would be free, while also promising 24x7 uninterrupted power supply, on the lines of the Delhi government. Kejriwal had also touted the power tariff model in Delhi as one which is better than the one implemented by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the coastal state.

Source: The Economic Times

Delicensing power distribution on government’s agenda

19 July: In a major reform initiative, the government proposes to delicense the power distribution sector allowing competition in the supply of last-mile electricity connectivity to consumers. The proposed changes will be part of the New Electricity Amendment Bill which the government proposes to introduce and pass during the coming monsoon session of Parliament. The bill will replace Electricity Act, 2003 which earlier delicensed power generation sector. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that a framework will be put in place to give consumers alternatives to choose from amongst more than one distribution company. She had said that there is a need to provide choice to consumers by promoting competition and breaking monopolies existing in the power distribution sector. The power ministry earlier wanted to introduce a provision for separation of carriage and content operation in the distribution sector as part of a plan to break the monopoly of discoms (distribution companies). Under this, while carriage or transmission aspect of distribution operation would have been retained with existing discoms, content or actual supply of electricity to households and others would have been freed for competition offering choice to customers to choose their electricity supplier. However, in the absence of requisite support from states to the move, the proposal was dropped.

Source: The Economic Times

UP supplies record 25 GW power in 24 hours

17 July: Amid rising mercury and humidity level, Uttar Pradesh (UP) created a record of supplying 25,032 MW power. UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma claimed that the discoms (distribution companies) are supplying power up to 24,000 MW for the past one month. The transmission capacity of the state has been increased up to 26,000 MW till date and by the end of current financial year it will cross 28,000 MW, he said.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s power consumption returns to pre-COVID level in July

16 July: India’s power consumption grew nearly 17 percent in the first fortnight of July to 59.36 billion units and returned to pre-pandemic level mainly due to easing of lockdown curbs and delayed monsoon, according to power ministry data. Power consumption during 1-14 July last year was 50.79 billion units. Power consumption was recorded at 52.89 billion units in the first fortnight of July in 2019. Thus, consumption of power has not only grown year-on-year but also returned to pre-pandemic level. In July 2020, power consumption recovered to 112.14 billion units, but remained lower than 116.48 billion units in the same month of 2019 (pre-pandemic level). Experts said recovery in power demand and consumption in the first fortnight of July is mainly due to delayed monsoon and surge in economic activities amid easing of lockdown restrictions by states. They said power demand as well as consumption returned to pre-COVID levels in the first fortnight of July and recovery would be robust in coming days. The commercial and industrial power demand and consumption got affected April onwards this year due to lockdown restrictions imposed by states. Experts said that amid decline in the number of daily COVID-19 positive cases across the country and easing of lockdown restriction by the states, the commercial and industrial demand of power would definitely rise from July onwards.

Source: The Economic Times

NTPC generation crosses 100 billion units since 1 April

15 July: NTPC said it has achieved 100 billion units of cumulative generation in the current financial year, indicating improved performance and an increase in demand for power in the current year. Last year the group generation had crossed 100 billion units on 7 August 2020. NTPC Korba (2600 MW) in Chattisgarh is the top performing thermal power plant in India with 97.61 percent Plant Load Factor (PLF) between April to June 2021, as per the data published by Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Further, the 37-year-old, NTPC Singrauli Unit 4 (200 MW) in Uttar Pradesh, achieved 102.08 percent PLF, highest in the country, from April to June 2021, it said.

Source: The Economic Times

Telangana to deploy real-time data acquisition system to ensure uninterrupted quality power

14 July: As part of the Centre’s policy to implement an advanced real-time data acquisition system across the country, Telangana’s power discoms (distribution companies) are making preparations to deploy the new system that is expected to ensure uninterrupted and quality power supply to the consumers. Telangana’s discoms Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Ltd (NPDCTL) and Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd (TSSPDCL) have been mandated to implement the new technology RTDAS across the grids in the state.

Source: The Economic Times

National: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

Siemens Gamesa bags second deal with ReNew Power for wind project in Karnataka

20 July: Siemens Gamesa said it has secured a second deal to supply wind turbines to ReNew Power for a 322 MW in Tondehal, Karnataka. It had received a similar wind turbine order from ReNew Power for a 301-MW project in Hombal, Karnataka. According to the company, it will deliver 180 of its new wind turbines, covering 93 units for the Tondehal project in the Koppal district, and 87 units for the Hombal project in the Gadag district. It said that the supply of these turbines is expected to commence during Siemens Gamesa’s financial year 2022. The firm said that this marks the first order for this next-generation wind turbine for the Indian market. The company will supply the wind turbines for the projects from its manufacturing plants in India. At present, Siemens Gamesa serves over 30 percent of ReNew’s wind portfolio. The wind turbine supplier has factories in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Economic Times

Vikram Solar inaugurates 1.3 GW module manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu

20 July: Vikram Solar, Kolkata-based solar module manufacturer, said it has inaugurated a 1.3 GW solar photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing unit at Indospace Industrial Park, Oragadam, Tamil Nadu. The company said that with this unit, its module manufacturing capacity has reached 2.5 GW, which is currently the largest in India. The company said that this would also act as a research and development platform for next-generation module technology. The solar firm has shipped over 3.5 GW solar modules globally and also has a 1.2 GW manufacturing facility in Falta, West Bengal.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC to build India’s first green hydrogen plant at Mathura

20 July: India’s largest oil firm IOC (Indian Oil Corp) will build the nation’s first 'green hydrogen' plant at its Mathura refinery, as it aims to prepare for a future catering to the growing demand for both oil and cleaner forms of energy. IOC has drawn a strategic growth path that aims to maintain focus on its core refining and fuel marketing businesses while making bigger inroads into petrochemicals, hydrogen and electric mobility over the next 10 years, its chairman Shrikant Madhav Vaidya said. The company will not set captive power plants at all its future refinery and petrochemical expansion projects and instead use the 250 MW of electricity it produces from renewable sources like solar power, he said. He said all of the expansion projects will use grid electricity, preferably green power to meet the energy requirements. IOC’s refinery expansion plans include raising the capacity of units at Panipat in Haryana and Barauni in Bihar and setting up a new unit near Chennai. He said IOC was pushing ahead with research on carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies—space where it is seeking global collaboration to meet its Paris climate goals.

Source: The Economic Times

NTPC invites bids for Development of Waste to Energy Facility in Varanasi

16 July: NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTPC Ltd has invited online bids on a "two-stage" bidding basis for the EPC Package of Waste to Energy Facility at Ramna, Varanasi. The bid commenced on 22 June 2021 and will conclude on 27 July 2021. The Varanasi Waste to Energy (WTE) facility is expected to be commissioned by 30 September, 2022. A Waste to Energy plant with waste segregation facility of 600 TPD fresh Municipal Solid Waste will be installed under the project. The plant will be designed in a modular fashion for assembly, testing, maintenance and replacement of individual sub-assemblies. The complete plant will be odourless and compliant with applicable emission norms. The plant will be surrounded by an aesthetic environment with permissible noise limits. Also, it will be undergoing an effluent and leachate treatment system to prevent the discharge of harmful substances. Further, human exposure will be limited with a fair amount of automation processes deployed around the plant in its operation and maintenance. To promote the torrefaction technology, a Green Charcoal Hackathon was launched on 1 December 2020 with a vision to create a conducive environment by reducing carbon emissions and nurture technology solutions in India. Based on the outcome of the Green Charcoal Hackathon, the Notice Inviting Tender (NIT) of Varanasi Waste to Energy (WTE) facility has been floated on 22 June 2021.

Source: The Economic Times

India will reduce more than targeted 33 percent carbon emission by 2030: Singh

15 July: Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh exuded confidence that India will exceed its target of reducing carbon emission set for 2030 under the Paris agreement. The Minister said that as per its commitment made in Paris, India has to reduce its carbon intensity to 33 percent by 2030. He said that as per the Paris agreement, India has to produce 40 percent electricity of its total capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. Without naming any country, he said there are countries whose per capita emissions are up to nine times more than the global average, while India’s per capita carbon emission is just about one-third of the global average.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Oil

US oil tumbles over 6 percent as markets tank

20 July: The US (United States) oil price tumbled more than six percent, a day after producers decided to increase output and as stock markets slumped with surging COVID cases threatening economic recovery. Europe’s Brent North Sea shed 5.4 percent to US $69.61. OPEC crude producers and their allies agreed to pump an extra 400,000 barrels per day from August to meet rising demand as economies reopen.

Source: The Economic Times

Venezuela ratifies OPEC+’s oil stabilisation deal

19 July: Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami announced that his country has officially consented to the oil market stabilisation agreement drawn up during the 19th ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+). He said that the consensus reached at the meeting demonstrates a long-term strategic vision, adding that it promotes "balance in the oil market and the economic development of the world". In March, OPEC+ members signed an agreement on the stability of the world oil market that aimed for efficient supply and fair return on invested capital.

Source: The Economic Times

OPEC sees world oil demand reaching pre-pandemic level in 2022

15 July: OPEC  stuck to its forecast for a strong recovery in world oil demand in the rest of 2021 and predicted oil use would rise further in 2022 similar to pre-pandemic rates, led by growth in China and India. The OPEC said that demand next year would rise by 3.4 percent to 99.86 million barrels per day, averaging more than 100 million bpd in the second half of 2022. Oil demand averaged 99.98 million bpd in 2019, according to OPEC. OPEC also maintained its prediction that demand would grow by 5.95 million bpd in 2021.

Source: The Economic Times

Saudi-UAE deal to be a bullish catalyst for oil: Goldman

15 July: Goldman Sachs expects an oil supply agreement between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be a bullish catalyst for prices over coming months as the US (United States) investment bank maintained its summer Brent price forecast at US $80 per barrel. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reached a compromise over OPEC+ policy, in a move that should unlock a deal to supply more crude to a tight oil market. Goldman expects US $2 to US $4 per barrel (bbl) upside risk to its US $80 per barrel summer forecast and US $75 per barrel for its 2022 Brent price forecast. The bank also noted that a lack of an Iran nuclear deal would increase its 2022 price forecast by US $10/bbl. Iran and global powers have been negotiating since April to lift sanctions on Tehran, which have hit its economy hard by cutting its vital oil exports.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil prices fall as China crude import data weighs

14 July: Oil prices declined after data showed a drop in China’s half-year crude imports while expectations for a further tightening of US (United States) inventories offered support. China’s crude imports dropped by 3 percent from January to June compared with a year earlier, the first such contraction since 2013, as import quota shortages, refinery maintenance and rising global prices curbed buying.

Source: The Economic Times

Refining throughput set to rise in July, August: IEA

14 July: Global refining runs are expected to continue rising in July and August due to increasing vaccination rates and easing social distancing measures around the world, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The Paris-based agency, however, expected the trend will lose momentum in winter due to seasonal maintenance of refineries. Refiners around the world significantly reduced their operations in 2020 as they faced an unprecedented fall in fuel demand brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and mobility restrictions. The lockdowns at their peak destroyed over 20 percent of global oil demand. The refining runs have been rising since February as widespread vaccination programmes started in several countries and restrictions were eased. After stagnating in May, global refining throughput increased by 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, IEA said. The activity of European refiners is not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels any time soon, IEA said. As a result, annual average throughput rates of Chinese refiners are expected to exceed the European rivals by 3 million bpd in 2022. Chinese refiners reached parity with European refineries in 2019 in terms of throughput. IEA said stalled talks by top oil producers over releasing more supply could deteriorate into a price war just as COVID-19 vaccines are sending demand for oil surging.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Gas

Global Infrastructure Partners puts Freeport LNG stake up for sale

17 July: Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has put up for sale its 26 percent stake in the limited partnership behind Freeport LNG, the second-largest export facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the United States (US).  The price which GIP is seeking for its stake could not be learned. It paid US $850 million for the stake in 2014, before the Freeport LNG site began exporting gas and generating revenue. Originally envisioned as an import terminal, Freeport LNG was converted into an export facility once the US shale gas boom took off. Situated on Quintana Island off the Texas coast, exports began in 2019, with its three production units providing 15 million metric tonnes per year of liquefaction capacity. A fourth unit is planned, according to Freeport LNG.

Source: The Economic Times

US President and German Chancellor fail to resolve differences about Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

16 July: US (United States) President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to settle their dispute over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline but said they agreed that Moscow must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce its neighbours. Biden said he expressed his long-standing concerns to Merkel about the US $11 billion pipeline, which would deliver gas from the Arctic to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of valuable transit fees. Washington is pressing Germany to find ways to ensure that Russia could not use the pipeline to harm Ukraine or other allies in Eastern Europe.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Coal

China to release more than 10 mt of coal from reserves

16 July: China will release more than 10 million tonnes (mt) of coal from state reserves to ensure steady supply to the market, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said. The fifth such release this year will come from dozens of reserve hubs and key ports nationwide, the NDRC said. The four previous releases this year totalled more than 5 mt. The NDRC in April urged power plants, coal miners and major coal transport hubs to boost reserves of the fuel because of concerns over tight supplies and an expected demand surge. It had vowed to build coal stockpiles to more than 120 mt in government-deployable reserves in 2021. Benchmark spot thermal coal prices soared as high as 995 yuan (US $153.89) a tonne in late June before the planner announced that it would release more coal reserves. China also increased coal imports in June to the highest level so far this year. The nation now has about 40 mt of coal in its reserve bases.

Source: The Economic Times

US 2020 coal output lowest since 1965: EIA

15 July: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said US coal production fell in 2020 to its lowest level since 1965 due to low global demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The EIA said the pandemic slowed global demand for coal, and some US mines were idled for extended periods to slow the spread of the virus amongst workers, with exports declining significantly in April 2020. US coal-fired generation fell 20 percent year-on-year and exports were 26 percent lower in 2020 than in 2019. Coal production in Wyoming, where more coal is produced than in any other state, was 21 percent lower in 2020 than it was in 2019, while the second-largest producer West Virginia saw an annual slide of 28 percent, the EIA said. Coal had been the primary fuel for US power plants for much of the last century, but its use has been declining since peaking in 2007.

Source: The Economic Times

Australia’s Whitehaven Coal expects government to decide by 30 August on controversial mine expansion

15 July: Australia’s Whitehaven Coal said it expected a government decision by 30 August on approval for its Vickery coal mine extension, after a court ruled in May that climate change factors must be considered in the decision. Whitehaven announced a 39.2 percent fall in fourth-quarter saleable coal production, hurt by downtime at the Narrabri mine following geological challenges and repair work.

Source: Reuters

International: Power

Myanmar opposition targets state electricity company

17 July: A homemade bomb exploded at an office of Myanmar’s state electricity provider, injuring at least seven people in the latest example of opponents of the military-installed government turning to violence after their peaceful protests were suppressed with deadly force. Offices and staff of EPC (Electric Power Corp) have been targeted when the government decided to crack down on customers who are not paying their bills by cutting off their service. When the government threatened to cut off electricity, opposition activists hoped the non-payment protest would continue, with people adopting alternatives such as cooking gas, generators and solar panels. In practice, however, many people felt they could not afford to lose their electricity supply, particularly apartment dwellers who depend on it to power pumps that supply their water. Instead of pressuring users, activists have gone after the electricity suppliers, the electricity company and their employees, whom militants have warned not to cut off electricity.

Source: The Economic Times

Germany hikes 2030 power consumption forecast by 9 percent

14 July: Germany lifted its forecast for electricity consumption in 2030 by at least 9.3 percent due to the roll-out of electric vehicles, tougher climate targets and the abandonment of oil or gas as a fuel. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that the higher electricity consumption would be triggered by a faster adoption of electric vehicles, with 14 million cars now expected on the road by 2030 up from a previous forecast of 10 million. In addition, about 6 million heat pumps would be installed in buildings, which would also need more electricity. Utilities have been asking for realistic targets on which to place their planning, arguing earlier official forecasts were too low as they were based on expectations for more energy efficiency. The German Association of the Energy Industry (BDEW) assumes consumption of 700 billion kilowatt hours in 2030.

Source: The Economic Times

International: Non-Fossil Fuels/ Climate Change Trends

New body to run Britain’s energy systems and meet climate targets

20 July: Britain’s government plans to create a new energy system operator to help the country meet its net zero emissions target, which could remove responsibilities now held by National Grid, consultation documents showed. Britain in 2019 became the first member of the G7 group of rich countries to set a net-zero target for 2050, which will require a huge increase in renewable electricity to wean homes off fossil fuels for heating. Britain’s energy market regulator Ofgem had recommended that the body should be fully separated from National Grid, which now oversees Britain’s energy systems.

Source: The Economic Times

Shell will appeal landmark Dutch climate ruling

20 July: Royal Dutch Shell confirmed it will appeal a Dutch court ruling ordering the energy company to accelerate its carbon emission reduction target. Shell had previously said it will appeal the 26 May ruling ordering it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 from 2019 levels, significantly faster than its current plans. The Anglo-Dutch company also said it will seek to ramp up its energy transition strategy in the wake of the ruling.

Source: The Economic Times

China, moving cautiously, starts carbon trading market

16 July: Chinese power companies bid for credits to emit carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases as trading on the first national carbon exchange began in a step meant to help curb worsening pollution. The experimental first phase of carbon trading at the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange includes some 2,000 companies in the power industry that produce about 40 percent of China’s emissions. China is the biggest carbon emitter, but President Xi Jinping said last September that output should peak in 2030 and then decline. He said China should achieve "carbon neutrality," or zero total output after measures to remove carbon or offset emissions are counted, by 2060. At the Shanghai exchange, companies will be assigned emissions quotas and can sell the surplus if their output comes in under that level. The goal is to create financial incentives for companies to reduce emissions. China has had regional carbon trading markets as pilot projects for several years. Earlier, European power utilities and other companies paid for Chinese polluters to add wind, hydro and solar generating capacity in exchange for being allowed to increase their own emissions. The European Union (EU) ended that after it failed to slow the rise of Chinese emissions. The European Union unveiled a proposed revamp of its emissions trading programme this week as part of sweeping legislation to cut emissions of gases that cause global warming.

Source: The Economic Times

EU unveils plan to increase renewables share in energy mix to 40 percent by 2030

14 July: The European Union (EU) must increase the amount of renewable energy it uses and cut energy consumption by 2030 under proposals the bloc’s executive Commission published to help meet a more ambitious goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As part of a package of climate policies, the Commission proposed an overhaul of EU renewable energy rules, which decide how quickly the bloc must increase the use of sources such as wind, solar and biomass energy produced from burning wood pellets or chips. The aim is to implement legally-binding targets to reduce net EU emissions by 55 percent by 2030, from 1990 levels, and eliminate them by 2050. To help meet the 2050 goal, the Commission has set a more ambitious interim target for the EU to raise the share of renewable energy to 40 percent of final consumption by 2030, up from roughly 20 percent in 2019. That replaces a previous target for a 32 percent renewables target by 2030, which Commission estimates suggest the bloc was on track to meet. The Commission proposed also tightening rules that determine whether wood-burning energy can be classed as renewable and count towards green goals.

Source: The Economic Times

Singapore unveils one of the world’s biggest floating solar panel farms

14 July: Singapore unveiled one of the world’s largest floating solar panel farms, ning an area equivalent to 45 football fields and producing enough electricity to power the island’s five water treatment plants. The project is part of efforts by the land-scarce Southeast Asian city-state to meet a goal of quadrupling its solar energy production by 2025 to help tackle climate change. Located on a reservoir in western Singapore, the 60 megawatt-peak solar photovoltaic (PV) farm has been built by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries. The solar farm could help to reduce carbon emissions by about 32 kilotonnes annually, comparable to taking 7,000 cars off the roads, according to the company and Singapore’s national water agency PUB. As opposed to conventional rooftop solar panels, floating ones perform between 5 percent to 15 percent better because of the cooling effect of the water, and are not impacted by shading from other buildings, according to a presentation on the project. The electricity generated from the 122,000 solar panels on the 45-hectare (111.2 acres) site should make Singapore one of the few countries in the world to have a water treatment system fully powered by sustainable energy. To allay concerns about the environmental impact of such projects, PUB said an assessment was conducted before installing the solar panels to ensure there was no significant impact on wildlife or to water quality. The solar panels are designed to last for 25 years and drones will be used to assist with maintenance. Currently, there are four other floating solar panel projects underway in Singapore.

Source: The Economic Times

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 2021 is the eighteenth 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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