VIIth General Assembly

The seventh general assembly of the mines, minerals and People (mm&P), held in Dabbanda, Visakhapatnam on March 1-3, 2019, saw participating human rights defenders, academics, journalists and students “pledge” for securing the rights of the indigenous communities for sustainable development, even as sharply focusing on illegal mining, women and children affected due to mining, poor implementation of the District Mineral Foundation Fund (DMF), silicosis, future Generation Fund and Business and human rights.

Attended by more than 260 participants from 100 organizations representing 21 states of India, it saw participation, among others, of eminent subject experts Roger Moody, Natalie Lowrey (coordinator, Deep Sea Mining Campaign and Yes to Life and No to Mining), Linda Chhakchhuak, BT Venkatesh (Reach Law), Rahul Basu (Goa Foundation). Read more

Agenda, Photos, Press Note, Report

Maps

District Mineral Foundation-Map

Illegal Mining Cases in India

mm&P Executive Body 2017-2019

mm&P Activities, 2017-2019

World Water Day: How mining is depleting groundwater in Rajasthan’s Alwar

DownToEarch || By Jitendra || 22 March 2019

Illegal mining in the Aravalli Hills has destroyed hillocks, brought prosperity to locals and depleted the groundwater table

Ilyas Khan, 50, of Banban village in the Tijara block of Rajasthan’s Alwar is a worried man. He was one among thousands of villagers, who mined the nearby hills to eke out a living and prospered. But the sudden prosperity has come at a cost: there is a severe depletion of the groundwater table in the region.

“A decade ago, we used to get groundwater at a depth of 10-15 metres. These days, we have to bore up to 60 metres to get water for drinking and irrigation,” says Khan. Read more

India May Exceed Target for Non Fossil Fuels

Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: December 2018 ⎯ January 2019
India

India is planning to bid out 500 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2028 to achieve its goal of 40 percent electricity generation from non-fossil fuels by 2030. Of this, 350 GW would come from solar, 140 GW from wind, and the remaining from small hydro, biomass. If the country’s GDP grows at a rate of 6.5 percent, the requirement for electricity generation capacity would reach 840 GW by 2030. If large hydro projects were considered under renewable energy, additional 46 GW would be in the process of installation, taking the total figure to 163 GW. The existing 75 GW base of green energy capacity constitutes around 22 percent of the total installed power generation capacity. The share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in total would be 33 percent by 2022 without considering large hydro plants. The country would achieve 40 percent by 2022 itself rather than 2030 in case large hydro is also taken into account.

SECI has invited renewable energy companies to put forward bids for setting up wind and solar plants of 1,200 MW each. The FY19 renewable capacity addition target had been set at 15,600 MW, comprising 10,000 MW and 4,000 MW of wind and solar, respectively. About 11,778 MW of renewable power was added in FY18, failing to achieve the target of 14,500 MW. To promote inter-state sale of renewable power, the government has waived off the inter-state transmission charges and losses for wind and solar projects to be commissioned by March 2022.

The country has set the target of achieving 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022. This is the sixth tranche of competitive bidding for wind power held by SECI. The capacity of wind power projects offered in the previous tranche of competitive bidding was slashed to 1,200 MW in August from the original proposal of 2,500 MW. Inadequate transmission infrastructure in wind-rich states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu has been cited as the tepid response to wind tenders. SECI had also cancelled 2,400 MW bids from the 3,000 MW solar auctions held in July. Solar and wind power developers had also displayed a muted response to SECI’s bid to set up 1,200 MW of wind-solar hybrid plants, with only two firms putting forward their bids, offering 1,050 MW in total. The capacity offered under this tender was also cut down to 1,200 MW from the original proposition of 2,500 MW. The invitation for 10,000 MW manufacturing-linked solar tender had got bids for only 2,000 MW.

India received FDI worth $3,217 million in the renewable energy sector during the past over three years between April 2015 and June 2018. The year-wise inflows rose from $776 million in 2015-16 to $783 million in 2016-17 and further to $1,204 million in 2017-18, according to fresh data from the FDI cell of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, an arm of the commerce ministry. In the first three months of the current financial year (2018-19), ₹4.52 billion of FDI had already flown in. The total renewable energy generation in the country between April and November 2018 stood at 81 billion units. India had the world’s fourth largest base of renewable energy generation capacity at the end of 2017.

The Solar Power Developer Association has demanded the GST rate be kept uniform at 5 percent on SPGS saying recent recommendations of the GST Council are inconsistent with the government’s policy of promoting clean energy. The total incidence of tax on the SPGS would increase to 8.9 percent with implementation of the GST Council recommendations finalised on 22 December 2018, which would be effective from 1 January 2019. The government has set a target of 175 GW of renewable power by 2022 which includes 100 GW of solar power. It said that the GST Council recommendations shall lead to increase in cost of electricity not only for future projects but also for many operating plants wherein the power purchase agreement executed between discoms and solar developers provides pass-through on the GST implication.

NITI Aayog in its latest strategy document recommended that renewable purchase obligations should be strictly enforced and inter-state sale of renewable energy should be facilitated. The document titled ‘Strategy for New India @75’ highlighted that the flexibility in generation and balancing requirements for the integration of renewable energy were emerging as major issues. It said that there has to be a mechanism for cost-effective power grid balancing (gas-based, hydro or storage). It said that hybrid renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic + biomass should be explored. India is the world’s third largest energy consumer. In the power sector, the all-India installed power capacity is about 334 GW, including 62 GW of renewable energy.

The government has reduced the time allowed for commissioning and financial closure of solar power projects, a move that could accelerate the pace of renewable energy capacity addition in the country. This, however, could be a concern for project developers as pressure of acquisition of land and availability of transmission infrastructure continues to mount. In amendments to the tariff-based competitive bidding guidelines for solar projects, the MNRE said the timeline for commissioning of solar projects in a solar park and outside of it will be 15 and 18 months, respectively, against the previous timeline of 21 and 24 months. The initial timeline for commissioning of solar projects was up to 13 months, which was relaxed post industry’s demand. Following the latest amendments, project developers complained that such frequent changes to the bidding guidelines create uncertainty in the market. MNRE’s guidelines would not help project developers at a time when the issue of acquisition and conversion of land is more pressing than ever.

Leh and Kargil districts of the Ladakh region will soon have solar power projects under the SECI. As a part of its ambitious plan to build 23 GW solar power projects in Ladakh, SECI issued tenders for construction of 7.5 GW solar power projects in the first phase. As per the tender document, two solar power projects will be built in Phase-1 — a 2.5 GW capacity project in the Zangla region of Kargil and a 5 GW project in the Pang region of Leh. The drawl point for the 2.5 GW project is tentatively planned to be New Wanpoh, while for the 5 GW project, it will be Hisar in Punjab. SECI will sign a 35-year power purchase agreement with the project developers, who will get a maximum of 54 months to get the projects running. The high-altitude Himalayan region has huge potential for solar power generation. Some 200 km to the south in Kargil, another mega project will join forces to light up the plains, keep glaciers cool by saving 12,750 tonne of carbon emission a year, remove dependence on diesel gensets and create livelihood for the local population that remains cut off for 6-8 months. SECI is promoting the projects in Jammu and Kashmir on a scale matching the grandeur of their locations – 5,000 MW for the Ladakh unit and 2,500 MW for Kargil – to be completed by 2023 at an estimated investment of ₹450 billion. The projects are expected to spur development in the remote border regions and empower the local population through skilling for jobs such as cleaning of solar panels and maintenance of transformers etc. Ladakh has potential of hosting 25,000 MW of solar power projects.

Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd, in association with the Union government, is planning to deploy floating solar power generation units in a big way. The SECI has promised the board cutting-edge technology and support, using which the board hopes to generate power at half the cost it currently incurs for generating power from floating solar panels in Banasurasagar reservoir. Kochi-based NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats has received orders for more solar boats from the Kerala government after completing a successful two-year run in the state of the country’s first sun-powered ferry, the company said. The 75-passenger ongoing solar-powered transport ferry in Vaikom plying in Kerala’s backwaters has helped the state government save ₹400,000 on diesel costs, or the equivalent of 58,000 litres in this period, NavAlt said. The private sector firm said it has received orders for supplying two solar ferries of 75-passenger capacity each and one that can carry 100 passengers. It has won a Goa government tender for supplying a similar boat which is currently under construction. Regarding the Kerala ferry, the company said the main cost that the state has incurred over the 2 years of running it is the power charge at an aggregate of ₹131,000.

Winning tariffs by Softbank backed SB Eenergy, Finland’s Fortum and French utility Engie in the latest solar auction in Gujarat are much higher than expected, prompting the state to consider whether the auction should be cancelled. The 700 MW auction held in December was won entirely by foreign developers. SB Energy got 250 MW at a price of ₹2.84/kWh, while Fortum and Engie got 250 MW and 200 MW, respectively, both at ₹2.89/kWh. In the previous auction held by the GUVNL in September 2018, the lowest tariff had been ₹2.44/kWh, and the Gujarat government is unhappy over the substantial rise within three months. GUVNL had earlier cancelled a 500 MW solar auction it held in March in which the lowest tariff was ₹2.98/kWh. Some experts said the tariff increase in the December auction could be attributed to the condition set by GUVNL that the solar projects should be located at a solar park in the state, unlike in the September auction, whose projects could be located anywhere. Solar park charges are generally high. Other industry sources felt higher costs of capital and currency volatility (much of the solar equipment used is imported) had been factored into the December tariffs, thereby raising them. The rise of 40 paise has been welcomed by developers and analysts, as it had been feared for some time that developers in their zeal to win projects had been making unrealistically low bids. Panels and modules used in Indian solar projects are mostly imported. Another reason for the increased tariff is that the projects have to be located in a solar park, unlike those of the last auction, experts said. GUVNL had in March cancelled the results of a solar auction in which the lowest discovered tariff was ₹2.65/kWh in non-solar park areas, because it found the tariff too high.

MSEDCL’s 1,000 MW solar floating plant at Ujani dam in Solapur district has evoked tremendous response with 12 top companies participating in the pre-bid meeting held in Mumbai. Interestingly, MAHAGENCO had planned to set up a floating solar plant in its Irai dam (district Chandrapur). However, the consultant appointed by it found the proposal to be costly and the company dropped the project. The plant will be developed through a private partner. The distribution company has finalized ten locations in the dam where panels having total capacity of 100 MW would be installed. The power would be supplied to farmers of Solapur and adjoining districts. MSEDCL said that all the companies were enthusiastic in participating in the project. At present the largest such plant is in Kerala having a capacity of 500 kW. MEDA is developing a 270 kW floating plant in Wadgaon dam (district Nagpur). MSEDCL said that it would sign a PPA with the developer for buying power for 25 years. Maharshtra has the target of installing 7,500 MW solar power plants in the state. Of this 2,500 MW will be developed by MAHAGENCO with private help and remaining will be set up by other agencies including MSEDCL. All rural water supply schemes will be supplied solar energy so that MSEDCL doesn’t disconnect them for non-payment of power bills. After tying up for 1,000 MW solar power at lowest rate in the country MSEDCL will set up a 1,000 MW floating solar plant in Ujani dam (district Solapur) on built own operate transfer basis. The distribution company has floated tenders for developing this plant through a private partner. The company has finalized ten locations in the dam where panels having total capacity of 100 MW would be installed. Floating solar plants in the country are a rarity. MAHAGENCO had planned to set up a floating solar plant in its Irai dam (district Chandrapur). However, the consultant appointed by it found the proposal to be costly and the company dropped the project. However, MEDA is developing a 270 kW floating plant in Wadgaon dam (district Nagpur). MSEDCL said that it would sign a PPA with the developer for buying power for 25 years. Bawankule has set a target of installing 7,500 MW solar power plants in the state. Of this 2,500 MW will be developed by MAHAGENCO with private help and remaining will be set up by other agencies including MSEDCL. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission had cleared the proposal on 18 December and the tender was floated on 24 December. The bids will be opened on 29 January. To encourage farmers to use solar agriculture pumps, the Maharashtra government has decided to give two LED bulbs, a DC fan and a mobile charging socket as freebies. The State has launched the Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana for farmers with a subsidy of up to 95 percent on solar pump-sets. The State plans to install 100,000 solar pumps. The State aims to reduce losses due to non-payment of electricity bills and also promote solar energy by implementing the scheme. The Government Resolution issued on 1 January states that along with solar pump, farmers will get two LED bulbs, a DC fan and mobile charging socket. Farmers with less than five acres will have to pay 5 percent of the cost of a 3 HP solar pump while farmers with more than five acres will get a 5 HP solar pump and the sops.

Announcing a successful effort for a cleaner environment, Delhi electricity distribution company BSES said it has signed a power sale agreement with the SECI to procure 200 MW at competitive rates. BSES said that sister discoms BSES Rajdjani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd are going to purchase 100 MW each of wind power from SECI “at a very competitive tariff of ₹2.84/kWh. With this latest agreement, BSES discoms will be getting a total of 600 MW of wind power. The discom said the tariff is priced substantially lower than the average cost of long-term power purchase agreements, which are around ₹4.5/kWh. This agreement will also help BSES discoms fulfil their renewable purchase obligations. The Delhi Vidhan Sabha complex in north Delhi’s Civil Lines turned green with the installation of a 100 kW solar power plant. The solar photo voltaic plant, installed at a cost of ₹735,000 will take care of 25% of the Delhi Legislative Assembly building’s peak power demand and will help save ₹1,000,000 annually on account of the power bill. The municipal body for south Delhi signed an agreement with the SECI for developing two solar plants for generating total power worth 27.5 MW. The work on the two units is likely to begin in the first half of April next year, the SDMC said. The agreement has been signed in continuation with the government of India’s initiative on green energy concept and solar initiative of the SDMC. The SDMC has decided to utilise these vacant land for installation of solar plants.

A challenging regulatory environment and stuck clearances have made life for solar power project developers difficult in Haryana. The state had made lofty claims of setting up projects totalling 2,000 MW at an estimated investment of ₹ 80 billion, but none have seen the light of day. Project developers claim slow land clearances, high cost of farmland, transmission niggles and lack of conducive policies for power sales have led to stagnant growth of the sector in the state. Solar developers have been pleading with the state government to extend the benefit to all expeditiously. The government is unable to procure land in many cases, and at times the land procured by a private player for solar project is stuck.

The Haryana government has decided to install solar energy plants on gram panchayat land through HPGCL. A decision to this effect has been taken in the review meeting of New and Renewable Energy Department. Badhsa, Ghaglan and other villages of district Jhajjar have been applying for establishing solar power plant. On this, it was decided that HPGCL will initially establish solar power plant in these villages on pilot project basis.

Danish wind energy giant Vestas announced it has bagged an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract for setting up a 101 MW project in Gujarat. The company bagged its first order of 2019 from Trinethra Wind & Hydro Power, a subsidiary of Continuum Wind Energy. The project is designed to sell power to commercial and industrial consumers through a third-party power purchase agreements. The project is located at Rajkot in Gujarat and the order includes delivery, installation and commissioning of 46 V120-2.2 MW turbines, as well as the project’s civil and electrical work. Upon completion of the project, Vestas will commence a 15-year service agreement as well as a SCADA solution. Turbine delivery under the order is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2019 and commissioning is expected by second quarter of 2019.

Faced with hurdles in developing wind power plants, Odisha has turned to other states for sourcing the unconventional energy to help meet its Renewable Purchase Obligation mandate. GRIDCO has signed a power sale agreement with PTC India Ltd to avail of 50 MW wind power allocated through the SECI under the ‘1,000 MW ISTS Connected Wind Power Projects Scheme’ of the MNRE. None of the locations in Odisha have been deemed to be suitable for installing wind power projects, prompting the state to buy from elsewhere. Presently, GRIDCO’s renewable energy portfolio has a preponderance of solar power. After its maiden solar tenders in July last year, GRIDCO has signed a long-term PPA spanning 25 years with Aditya Birla Renewables for the purchase of 75 MW of solar power. PTC India has initiated a formal process to find a strategic investor for its wind power business. The country’s largest electricity trader has already reached out to various investors. PTC India’s subsidiary, PTC Energy Ltd, has around 290 MW of wind assets across Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. PTC’s wind energy assets are from the feed-in-tariff regime and thus, their tariffs are higher than the current prices at which companies are bidding for projects, which will make them attractive for investors. India’s wind sector has transitioned from a feed-in tariff regime, which ensures a fixed price for wind power producers, to tariff-based competitive auctions. Access to low-cost finance is a key competitive advantage in an auction-based system. India’s renewable energy sector has seen several mergers and acquisitions in the last few years.

Tamil Nadu wind power developers are an aggrieved lot with the tariff falling below all expectations. The latest tariff of 2.65/kWh is the lowest and wind companies have appealed against the tariff in Appellate Tribunal for Electricity stating that present tariff is too low and TNERC has not taken into consideration the total cost for setting up a wind power tower. The TNERC set a feed in tariff for wind power of ₹2.80/kWh with depreciation benefit and ₹2.86/kWh without it. Subsequently, it also approved a proposal by TANGEDCO, to conduct a wind auction of 1,500 MW at a ceiling price at ₹2.65/kWh. The Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association has petitioned the APTEL that TNERC’s feed in tariff was low as it has grossly underestimated several of the costs incurred in setting up wind projects, and that its decision to allow TANGEDCO to set an even lower tariff was worse still for developers. The investments in wind power will increase the tax revenue for the state government. But on the flip side, the cost of setting up a wind power tower is increasing and it is only due to that we have approached APTEL. The tariff is not covering our cost.

The reverse auctioning biding for the revival of the Jalkheri biomass-based power plant of 10 MW capacity, the tenders of which were recently floated by the Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (, has enabled the powercom to eye a ₹2.60 billion in profits over the next 20 years. Efforts to revive the Jalkheri power plant, which was shut down in September 2007, had been recently conceived by the power corporation for which it had been decided to revive the plant on renovate, operate and transfer basis for a period of 20 years. The technical bid of tender to lease out the plant was opened on 22 November 2018, in which three firms have participated. During the reverse auction, a tariff rate of ₹5.84/kWh was quoted by one of the participant bidders. While, according to the 9 September 2018 order, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed the /kWh tariff for biomass-based power plants between ₹8.25 to 8.36/kWh for plants that are tendered by Punjab Energy Development Authority.

IOT Infrastructure and Energy Services, a joint venture of IOC and Oiltanking GmbH of Germany, is tweaking its biogas plant to manufacture bio-CNG for vehicles and has plans to set up more greenfield projects for the clean auto fuel. IOT, a 50:50 joint venture, has been generating power from biogas at its plant at Namakkal. With an investment of ₹250 mn, and implementation of a technology developed by IOC’s research and development team, the plant will be converted to a bio-CNG unit with a daily output of 12,000 kg.

India has consistently conveyed its concerns over the Brahmaputra river to China and urged the country to ensure that interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in the upstream areas, the government informed the Lok Sabha. The Chinese side has conveyed to India on several occasions that they are only undertaking run-of the-river hydropower projects, which do not involve diversion of water of the Brahmaputra. Various issues relating to trans-border rivers, including construction of hydropower dams, are discussed with China under the ambit of an institutionalised expert level mechanism which was established in 2006, he said.

With the dismissal of petition filed by the members of Paryawaran Sanrakshan Sangharsh Samiti Lippa (Kinnaur district), Himachal Pradesh High Court has paved way for the construction of 130 MW Kashang hydro-electric project. Sangharsh Samiti had filed an appeal for stay on the lease of forest land to the state government-owned HPPCL for the 130 MW Integrated Kashang Stage II and III hydropower project. Court said that after those objections were considered and rejected and lease deed has been executed in favour of HPPCL in November last year, the same gentleman, now claiming himself to be an authorized representative of the gram sabha, has filed this writ petition.

The DAE informed Parliament that 21 new nuclear power reactors with a total installed capacity of 15,700 MW are expected to be set up in the country by 2031. It informed Parliament that five sites — which would have total 28 nuclear reactors — have been accorded ‘in principle’ approval by the central government. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana each has two reactors under construction currently. Tamil Nadu has three reactors under construction, according to Singh. Each of the five states — Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — have been accorded administrative approval and financial sanction to establish two nuclear reactors. Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, Chhaya Mithi Virdi in Gujarat, Haripur in West Bengal and Bhimpur in Madhya Pradesh are the five sites that have been accorded ‘in principle’ approval to establish nuclear reactors. During 2014-15 and 2015-16, two nuclear power plants — Kudankulam units 1 and 2 — were commissioned and commenced commercial operation. A stockpile of 15,000 tonnes of uranium is required for achieving supply security of fuel for nuclear plants in the country, the DAE, which manages atomic energy installations, has told a parliamentary panel. Currently, a major portion of domestic production of uranium comes from the Jaduguda mines of Jharkhand, which are “old” and the ore is found at “great depths.” Moreover, the high extraction cost makes it “unviable” as compared to imported uranium, the panel noted. Besides the Jaduguda mines, the uranium is extracted from the Tummalapalle mines in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from Jaduguda, uranium reserves are available in Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. India has 22 nuclear power reactors and domestic uranium is used in nuclear plants which are not under the international nuclear energy watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency. India currently imports uranium from Kazakhstan, Canada and Russia. The government plans to build a Strategic Uranium Reserve to ensure that there is no shortage of uranium for its power reactors.
Rest of the world

The global solar sector witnessed a total corporate funding activity worth $9.7 billion in 2018, a 24 percent drop compared to the year-ago period. Mercom Capital Group said the total global corporate funding, including VC, debt financing and public market financing stood at $9.7 billion, a 24 percent drop compared with the $12.8 billion raised in 2017. Global VC funding for the solar sector in 2018 fell 18 percent to $1.3 billion in 65 deals, compared with $1.6 billion raised in 99 deals in 2017. The top solar VC-funded companies in 2018 were Cypress Creek Renewables which raised $200 million, GreenYellow with $174 million, followed by Amp Solar with $154 million, Wunder Capital with $112 million and Sunnova Energy with $100 million.

China will launch a series of subsidy-free wind and solar projects this year to take advantage of a rapid fall in construction costs since 2012 and tackle a gaping payment backlog, the NDRC said. Last year, the government was forced to suspend all new subsidised solar capacity approvals after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left it with a backlog of at least 120 billion yuan ($18 billion) in subsidy payments. The new subsidy-free projects will generate renewable power for sale at the same prices as non-subsidised coal-fired power plants, and will not have to comply with capacity quota restrictions, the NDRC announced. The NDRC said that solar construction costs in China had fallen 45 percent from 2012 to 2017, while wind project costs had dropped 20 percent over the same period. China has long aimed to bring renewable power costs down through economies of scale and technological advances. It promised last year to provide direct policy support to help developers achieve “grid price parity” with traditional electricity sources. Under the new policy, grid companies will be encouraged to guarantee electricity purchases from pilot projects, lower transmission fees and support cross-regional deliveries of subsidy-free power. The NDRC said it would further boost the income of solar projects by cutting land costs and promoting new market mechanisms like green certificate trading. The government has already approved the construction of several subsidy-free wind farms, and solar generators have also achieved price parity in some regions. The China Photovoltaic Industry Association, which represents equipment manufacturers, said that the new policy was “good news” for the beleaguered sector.

China’s State Grid Corp will invest 38.7 billion yuan ($5.66 billion) to build five pumped hydro storage plants across the country, in an effort to ease the stranded power system amid Beijing’s push to boost clean energy consumption. Pumped hydro storage plants could be used as reservoirs when demand is low and as hydro power stations to generate electricity when consumption picks up. The five plants, located in the provinces of Jilin, Hebei, Shandong and Zhejiang, and far west region of Xinjiang, will have a combined capacity of 6 GW and are expected to be launched by 2026, the State Grid Corp said. The state-backed company currently has 19.23 GW of pumped hydro storage capacity and 30.15 GW under construction. The investment came as China has vowed to boost large-scale energy storage capacity over the next decade and launch at least 40 GW of pumped hydro storage plants by 2020. Energy storage facilities, including pumped hydro storage plants, compressed air energy storage and bulk storage with batteries, could help prevent renewable power from being wasted when there is not enough transmission capacity to absorb the electricity. Wind waste rates stood at 8.7 percent in China in the first half of 2018, while solar waste reached 3.6 percent, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Saudi Arabia has already started implementing an agreement with SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund to provide 200 GW of solar power in the kingdom. The kingdom’s PIF agreed to invest $45 billion in the giant tech fund led by SoftBank and the pair are working with other parties on a number of large-scale, multi-billion dollar projects relating to the solar industry. The PIF and private sector will fund renewable energy projects in the kingdom.

Renewables were responsible for 40.4% of Germany’s net electricity production on the public grid last year and ranked as the second largest power generation source. According to analysis compiled by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany’s renewable power plants had a combined output of about 219 TWh in 2018, or 4.3% more than in the previous year. Generation from coal and gas, meanwhile, dropped, as did hydropower due to the extremely dry summer season.

Wind farms in the UK generated 250,217 MWh of electricity on 7 January, reaching a share of 31.36% in the country’s power for the day. With 43,123 MWh produced, the share of biomass power was 5.40%. Total power generation for the 24 hours arrived at 797,878 MWh, according to data by Elexon, the Balancing and Settlement Code Company.

The European Commission is willing to accept a deal with producers of Argentine biodiesel to settle a long-running trade dispute over imports of the product into Europe. The Commission, which oversees trade policy in the 28-member EU, said it had communicated to interested parties last week that it was willing to accept undertakings from producers that they would sell at a minimum price. The scheme with a minimum price would mirror that used to allow Chinese solar panel producers to export to the bloc after a major dispute over alleged dumping that threatened to spiral into a trade war. For Argentine biodiesel, the Commission has proposed duties of between 25.0 and 33.4 percent depending on the companies, document showed. The Commission began investigating Argentine, as well as Indonesian, biodiesel imports in 2012 following a request by EU producers of fuels made from vegetable and recycled oil.

Karachi will introduce cleaner-running buses powered by a decidedly ‘unclean’ fuel: cow dung. With funding from the international Green Climate Fund, Karachi will launch a zero-emission Green BRT network, with 200 buses fuelled by bio-methane. Locals said the new bus system — to start operating in 2020 — would help reduce air pollution and street noise, but doubted whether it would have enough buses to resurrect the city’s ailing transport system. The BRT system was the first transport project the Green Climate Fund had approved, and would bring “multiple environmental and economic benefits”. The cheap, clean bus network will cater to 320,000 passengers daily, and will reduce planet-warming emissions by 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over 30 years, according to project documents. The Green Climate Fund, set up under UN climate talks to provide finance to developing countries to help them grow cleanly and adapt to a warming climate, will provide $49 million for the Karachi project out of a total cost of $583.5 million. The BRT system, to be rolled out over four years, will have a fleet of 200 hybrid buses that will run on bio-methane produced from manure excreted by Karachi’s 400,000 milk-producing buffaloes, and collected by the authorities. The project will prevent about 3,200 tonnes of cow manure entering the ocean daily by converting it into energy and fertiliser at a biogas plant, and will save more than 50,000 gallons of fresh water used to wash that waste into the bay.

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) plans to double its renewables energy capacity in five years with new projects in Asia and the Americas. Masdar, wholly-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, has till now invested $8.5 billion to build capacity of 4 GW in renewables projects in the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Seychelles, Spain and the Middle East. Abu Dhabi, like other Gulf oil producers, wants to reduce reliance on crude. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, has also launched a $50 billion renewables energy push. Masdar would bid for solar and wind energy projects in the kingdom. The 12-year-old company is a preferred bidder for Saudi Arabia’s first wind farm project at Dumat al Jandal in the northern Al Jouf region. The project will have 400 MW capacity. Masdar is part of the EDF Energies Nouvelles consortium bidding for Morocco’s Noor Midelt solar power project.

Electricity generated by French wind turbines rose 18.8 percent in November to 2.78 TWh due to increased wind capacity connected to the grid and favourable weather conditions, grid operator RTE said. Electricity generated by renewable sources, excluding hydro power, rose nearly 10 percent to 4 TWh during the month compared with the same period a year ago, RTE said. Nuclear power generation, which accounts for over 75 percent of France’s electricity needs, was up 7.6 percent during the period at 32.7 TWh, while thermal fuel, coal and gas-fired power production fell nearly 20 percent to 5.67 TWh year-on-year in November. Hydro power generation was steady at 3.9 TWh, RTE said. French electricity demand in November was down 2.8 percent at 43.7 TWh compared with the same month in 2017.

The US EPA has received 22 petitions for hardship waivers from US biofuel requirements for the 2018 compliance year, data on its website showed, up from 15 petitions in November. The US Renewable Fuel Standard requires oil refiners to blend biofuels like ethanol into their fuel each year or buy compliance credits from competitors that do. But it allows the EPA to exempt smaller plants if they show complying would cause financial hardship. EDF Renewables North America said it had formed a joint venture with oil and gas firm Royal Dutch Shell plc’s new energies division to co-develop a lease area for offshore wind energy in New Jersey. The area, spread over 183,353 acres and located off the coast of Atlantic City, has the potential to produce about 2,500 MW of offshore wind energy, EDF said. The Trump administration is streamlining permits for offshore wind industry and carving out new areas for leasing to boost domestic energy production and jobs. States like New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York have also mandated utilities to procure offshore wind energy.

China’s fourth Westinghouse-designed AP1000 reactor went into full operation after a trial run, the operator said, marking the completion of the first phase of the project after years of delays. China signed a deal with the US firm in 2007 to build four reactors, hoping to create a platform for Beijing’s ambitious nuclear power expansion plans, but the roll-out of the unproven “third-generation” technology has been beset by safety concerns and design problems. The second unit of the Haiyang nuclear power project on the eastern coast of China’s Shandong province is ready to go into full commercial operation after 168 hours of full-load operations, China’s State Power Investment Corp said. China put the world’s first AP1000 into operation at Sanmen in Zhejiang province last September, four years later than originally scheduled. Two more went into operation at Sanmen and Haiyang later in the year. The completion of the project brings China’s total nuclear capacity up to 45 GW, with 46 reactor units in operation throughout the country. Nuclear makes up about 2.5 percent of the country’s generation capacity. China has scaled back the pace of new reactor approvals and no new conventional project has been given the go-ahead in more than three years. It is expected to fall short of its 2020 target to have 58 GW of working capacity and another 30 GW under construction.

Japan’s Hitachi has yet to decide whether to proceed with its trillion yen (£7.2 billion) nuclear project in Britain and talks with the government are continuing, the company and government said. Hitachi’s Horizon Nuclear Power unit has struggled to find investors for its plans to build a plant in Anglesey, Wales, which could provide about 6 percent of Britain’s electricity. Britain wants new nuclear plants to help replace its aging fleet of nuclear and coal plants coming offline in the 2020s, but high up-front costs have deterred construction. Britain’s Nuclear Industry Association said it is vital new nuclear projects went ahead to maintain electricity supplies. Environmental group Greenpeace said Britain should rethink its energy strategy and place more focus on renewable energy.

Nuclear electricity generation by French utility EDF rose 3.7 percent on a year-on-year basis in 2018 to reach 393.2 TWh, in line with the company’s target of between 393 – 396 TWh, according to data from EDF. EDF’s nuclear power generation increased by 4 percent in December to 38.9 TWh due to lower reactor outages compared with the previous year, EDF said. Electricity production at EDF’s nuclear reactors in Britain fell 7.5 percent on a year-on-year basis to 59.1 TWh, it said. Output at its reactors in Britain slipped 2 percent in December to 4.8 TWh.

United Arab Emirates said that the country’s nuclear power plant project was slightly delayed. The country’s nuclear regulator said last July the start-up of a reactor at the nuclear power plant, which was set to open in 2017, would depend on the outcome of further reviews of the project.

Both of Louisiana’s nuclear power plants have been federally relicensed to operate into the 2040s, Entergy announced. The company operates the River Bend facility in St. Francisville and Waterford 3 in Killona. Each was originally licensed in 1985. Nuclear power provides 16 percent of Louisiana’s energy. The plants do have to store nuclear waste on-site, which a few officials discussed when the licenses were under review. However, that’s seen as a federal problem, as Nevada politicians have blocked the US government from opening the Yucca Mountain repository in their state, where spent fuel rods were designed to be recycled and stored. Entergy noted Waterford 3 and River Bend employ more than 1,500 workers and pay more than $36 million in state and local taxes each year.

CTGC, operator of the world’s largest hydropower plant, is turning to projects offshore, as domestic costs soar and space runs out on the country’s crowded rivers. The 22.5 GW Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze river was completed in 2012 after a dam-building boom throughout China. Its turbines generate 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. CTGC, parent of listed China Yangtze Power Corp, has since completed other giant dams on the Yangtze upstream and its total hydropower generation capacity – including projects under construction – stands at nearly 70 GW, more than the total power capacity of Australia. China’s total hydropower capacity hit 350 GW last year, accounting for a fifth of total generation, but its reliance on large and disruptive dam projects has been controversial. Advocacy groups claim capacity could safely be doubled, but the government has slowed down hydro approvals amid concerns about its devastating impact on communities and ecosystems.
GDP: Gross Domestic Product, MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, FY: Financial Year, FDI: Foreign Direct Investment, GST: Goods and Services Tax, SPGS: solar power generating system, discoms: distribution companies, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, km: kilometre, kWh: kilowatt hour, GUVNL: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, MSEDCL: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd, MAHAGENCO: Maharashtra State Power Generation Company, MEDA: Maharashtra Energy Development Agency, kW: kilowatt, PPA: power purchase agreement, LED: light emitting diode, DC: direct current, HP: horsepower, , BRPL: BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, SDMC: South Delhi Municipal Corp, HPGCL: Haryana Power Generation Corp Ltd, GRIDCO: Grid Corp of Odisha, TNERC: Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulator Commission, TANGEDCO: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corp, APTEL: Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, IOC: Indian Oil Corp, CNG: compressed natural gas, kg: kilogram, HPPCL: Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd, DAE: Department of Atomic Energy, VC: venture capital, NDRC: National Development and Reform Commission, PIF: Public Investment Fund, MWh: megawatt hour, TWh: terawatt hour, UK: United Kingdom, EU: European Union, BRT: Bus Rapid Transit, UN: United Nations, US: United States, EPA: Environmental Protection Agency, CTGC: China Three Gorges Corp
NATIONAL: OIL
IOC to shut half of Panipat refinery from mid-February for a month

22 January. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will shut half of its 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) Panipat refinery in northern Haryana state for about a month from mid-February for maintenance. The refiner will shut a 150,000 bpd crude unit. It will also shut a sulfur recovery unit, hydrocracker, diesel hydrotreater, and coker among others for planned maintenance. During the shutdown, IOC will mobilise naphtha from other plants for the 800,000 tonnes per annum cracker associated with the plant. From mid-March, IOC will shut one of eight heaters attached to its Panipat naphtha cracker for 45 days. The company said the shutdown of one the heaters would curtail the refiner’s naphtha production to 350 tonnes per hour from an average of about 400 tonnes per hour.

Source: Reuters
India to leave China behind in oil demand growth this year: WoodMac

22 January. India is expected to become the second-largest oil demand growth centre globally in 2019, behind US (United States) but ahead of China, research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie said. India’s overall fuel demand grew 4.47 percent to 210 million tonnes (mt) in calendar year 2018, as compared to 201 mt consumed in calendar year 2017. The group said that LPG (liquefied natural gas) demand growth would remain robust in 2019 at 5 percent to 40,000 barrels per day (bpd), lower than the 56,000 bpd growth achieved in 2018.

Source: The Economic Times
India refining capacity to grow five-plus percent annually

21 January. India’s total refining capacity is set to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.3 percent until 2023, according to a new report from the data and analytics firm GlobalData. According to the report, India’s total refining capacity will hit 6.525 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2023. By comparison, the figure for 2018 was 5.01 million bpd, the firm said. India’s share of Asia’s crude oil refining capacity through the period should remain steady at 15 percent – second in the region to China, the firm said. In 2023, three of India’s 23 refineries will account for more than one-quarter of India’s 6.525 million bpd refining capacity. They include the Jamnagar II (704,000 bpd), Jamnagar I (660,000 bpd) and Vadinar (405,000 bpd) facilities, the firm said.

Source: Rigzone
HPCL unlikely to partner Total for LPG cavern in Mangalore

16 January. Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) may build its second liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cavern in Mangalore, Karnataka. HPCL is planning to build an underground LPG storage facility and had been in talks with France’s national oil company, Total SA, to partner it. Total SA is also HPCL’s partner in the first LPG cavern in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The cavern will be the second such facility in India and will cost ₹10 bn. HPCL already has an LPG import facility in Mangalore. HPCL said that looking at the growing demand for LPG, a new cavern is a commercially viable option. The facility at Mangalore will be exclusively used by HPCL and may have a capacity of over 60,000 tonne. HPCL and Total SA, through their joint venture South Asia LPG (SALPG), operate a 60,000 tonne underground LPG storage facility in Visakhapatnam, which was commissioned in 2007 at an investment of ₹3.33 bn. HPCL said that its cavern at Visakhapatnam has been dug in rock to store LPG. The storage facility is made up of two caverns of 19 metres in height, 20 metres base width and 160 metres in length with inter-connections. HPCL may commence the project this calendar year and complete it within the next four years. HPCL is the second largest LPG marketer in India. Last fiscal year, the company had clocked LPG sales growth of 8.5%. It also maintained market leadership in the non-domestic bulk LPG segment with over 48% market share. According to sector analysts, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has increased demand for LPG in India. The government expanded the ambit of PMUY to all poor households and has a target of reaching out to 80 million families by 2020.

Source: Livemint
Cabinet approves ₹225.9 billion Numaligarh Refinery capacity expansion project

16 January. The government approved a capacity expansion plan for Numaligarh Refinery in Assam from the existing 3 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) to 9 mmtpa at an estimated cost of ₹225.94 bn. The project is to be completed within a period of 48 months after the approval and receipt of statutory clearances, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to the project for expansion of Numligarh Refinery Assam with capacity to be expanded from 3 mmtpa to 9 mmtpa. The expansion project involves setting up crude oil pipeline from Paradip to Numaligarh and product pipeline from Numaligarh to Siliguri at a cost of ₹225.94 bn, he said.

Source: Business Standard
NATIONAL: GAS
IOC, GAIL evaluating investing in Adani LNG terminal

22 January. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and GAIL (India) Ltd are still evaluating plans to invest in a ₹60 bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal being developed by the Adani Group in Odisha. The plan was announced in 2016. According to a preliminary pact signed in September 2016, the Adani Group had agreed to give away half of equity stake in the LNG terminal to IOC and GAIL. The Adani Group said construction orders have been placed and the LNG terminal is on track. Adanis have roped in French energy giant Total to invest in Dhamra LNG terminal. According to the 2016 pact, the country’s top refiner IOC and top gas transporter GAIL were to hold 39% and 11% equity stakes, respectively, in the Dhamra LNG terminal. The Adani Group was to hold the remaining 50%. IOC and Adani were to give away 1% each to a financial institution at a later stage, reducing their stakes to 38% and 49%, respectively. IOC’s 5 mt a year LNG terminal at Ennore in TN is almost ready to go on stream.

Source: The Economic Times
GAIL offers three LNG cargoes from Sabine Pass

21 January. GAIL (India) Ltd has offered three liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes loading from the Sabine Pass terminal in the United States (US) in 2020. The Indian importer has 20-year deals to buy 5.8 million tonnes a year of US LNG, split between Dominion Energy’s Cove Point plant and Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass site. It has offered three cargoes on a free-on-board (FOB) basis from Sabine Pass for second-half January, second-half July and first-half November loading.

Source: Reuters
RIL asks Niko to exit from KG-D6 gas block over payment default

20 January. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has asked its partner Niko Resources to withdraw from eastern offshore KG-D6 gas block over default in payments for field development cost, but the Canadian firm has sought to stall the move by invoking arbitration, the companies said. Niko, which defaulted on payment of loans to its lenders, has been unsuccessful in seeking a possible buyer for its 10 percent stake in Bay of Bengal block KG-D6 or securing financing for its share of the $5-6 billion R-Cluster, Satellite Cluster and MJ development projects in the block. RIL is the operator of KG-D6 block with 60 percent stake and UK’s BP plc has 30 percent interest. Niko decided not to pay a KG-D6 Block cash call that was due in early October, 2018.

Source: Business Standard
India’s natural gas production increased marginally in November 2018

16 January. India’s domestic natural gas production increased marginally by 0.62 percent to 2,731.79 million metric standard cubic meter (mmscm) in November 2018, as compared to the corresponding month a year ago. This was primarily due to increase in production from oil and gas fields operated by Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). India’s domestic natural gas production in November 2017 stood at 2,714.86 mmscm. Cumulatively, India’s natural gas production during the April-November period of financial year 2018-2019 fell 0.69 percent to 21,783.74 mmscm, as compared to 21,936.16 mmscm produced in the corresponding period a year ago. The fall was due to lower natural gas production from fields operated by government-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) and private operators/joint ventures. ONGC, India’s largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, witnessed its natural gas production increase 6.84 percent to 2,091.44 mmscm in November due to increase in production from its offshore and onshore fields. ONGC’s natural gas production from offshore fields increased 8.59 percent to 1,617.54 mmscm in November, as compared to 1,489.56 mmscm produced in the corresponding month a year ago. The company’s natural gas production from onshore fields increased marginally by 1.25 percent to 473.89 mmscm in November, as compared to 468.02 mmscm produced in the corresponding month a year ago. Cumulatively, ONGC’s natural gas production during the April-November period of financial year 2018-2019 increased 3.64 percent to 16,219.29 mmscm as compared to 15,650.38 mmscm produced in the corresponding period a year ago, because of increase in production from the company’s offshore fields. OIL’s natural gas production in November declined 3.66 percent to 226.88 mmscm, as compared to 235.50 mmscm produced in the corresponding month a year ago. Cumulatively, OIL’s natural gas production in the April-November period of financial year 2018-2019 declined 6.73 percent to 1,828.14 mmscm, as compared to 1,960.01 mmscm produced in the corresponding period a year ago. Natural gas production from fields operated by private operators as well by joint ventures (JVs) declined 20.76 percent to 413.47 mmscm in November, as compared to 521.80 mmscm produced in the corresponding month a year ago. Natural gas production from fields operated by private operators/JVs in the April-November period of financial year 2018-2019 declined 13.63 percent to 3,736.31 mmscm, as compared to 4,325.78 mmscm produced in the corresponding period a year ago.

Source: The Economic Times
NATIONAL: COAL
India’s coal imports to remain buoyant in 2019 but seen lower than 2018 levels: WoodMac

22 January. India’s import of coking and thermal coal are likely to remain buoyant in 2019 on the back of business reforms and high industrial activity but could still fall below the highs witnessed last year, according to global consultancy Wood Mackenzie. Direct support for imported coal demand will come from improved performance at Essar’s Hazira complex, and higher utilisation at recent brownfield expansions at Dolvi (JSW), and Angul (JSPL). But it is a bit much to expect a repeat of 2018 growth, according to WoodMac. On thermal coal side, WoodMac believes Indian seaborne imports are expected to grow, although at a slower pace compared with 2018. Some of the high-energy thermal coal imports that contributed to the significant increase in 2018 could be substituted by more pet coke imports this year because pet coke prices are expected to soften in 2019.

Source: The Economic Times
Meghalaya issues modified coal transportation order

19 January. The Meghalaya government has issued a modified order allowing transportation of coal in transit through the state, before a Supreme Court hearing on the issue. The order issued by Tining Dkhar, Commissioner and Secretary of Mining and Geology, allows transportation of coal that “originates outside the state of Meghalaya and being transported through the state for consumption by factories, general households or export”. The apex court banned the transportation of coal in Meghalaya till the next hearing fixed on 19 February for its failure to curb illegal mining in the state. Thirty-three tranded Bhutanese coal-laden trucks at the Dawki Integrated Check Post (ICP) in the West Jaintia Hills district, were also allowed to transit to Bangladesh. Meghalaya International Exporters’ Chamber of Commerce, Secretary, Dolly Khonglah said that all the trucks have transited to Bangladesh’s Tamabil for unloading of the consignments. Bhutan is exporting coal to Bangladesh via India as per the South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement. India has named the Dawki-Tamabil and Dalu-Nakugaon land customs stations as dedicated ports for Bangladesh-Bhutan trans-shipment export-import trade. The ban on transportation of coal was of significance in the wake of a coal mine tragedy in the state, in which 15 miners were trapped inside an illegal 370-feet deep flooded mine in Ksan village in East Jainta Hills district.

Source: Business Standard
Eastern Coalfields output at 33 mt during April-December FY19

17 January. Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL), said it produced 32.9 million tonnes (mt) of coal in the first three quarters of the current financial year, registering a growth of nearly 17 percent as compared to the year-ago period. ECL despatched 34.6 mt of coal during April-December, against 29.5 mt in the corresponding period of the previous financial year. ECL removed 88.3 million cubic metre overburden during the quarters, compared 82.4 million cubic metre achieved in the year-ago period. CIL contributes to over 80 percent of the total domestic coal output.

Source: Business Standard
NATIONAL: POWER
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana slug it out over power staff’s fate

21 January. In a fresh row over electricity employees between the two Telugu states, Telangana Electricity Employees’ Associations alleged their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh (AP) were giving Telangana options to the Supreme Court (SC)-appointed committee despite being relieved by power utilities four years ago. Both states are at loggerheads over electricity employees for the past four years and the SC in November last year appointed a committee headed by retired judge Justice Dharmadhikari to give recommendations to resolve the bifurcation issues in six months. It started in 2015 when Telangana government relieved nearly 1,150 employees from AP to AP power utilities. But many employees refused to go to AP saying they studied and were settled in Hyderabad. Telangana government has been paying salaries to these relieved employees following directions of SC and high court for past two to three years. Telangana Electricity Engineers’ Association (TEEA) president N Shivaji and general secretary D Madhusudhan Reddy said that while the controversy was still unresolved, AP power utilities have asked its employees to give Hyderabad options to Justice Dharmadhikari who is in Hyderabad to hear arguments of both states. The association, which has submitted a representation to the committee, said AP was trying to regularise its staff illegally by asking them to give Telangana option.

Source: The Economic Times
India to achieve universal household electrification by January-end

20 January. India is all set to achieve 100 percent household electrification by the month end, with 24.4 mn families having received power connections out of the targeted 24.8 mn under the ₹163.20 bn Saubhagya scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) was launched in September 2017. Achieving 100 percent household electrification was one of the aims of the present government. However, it could not meet the self-imposed deadline of December 2018 for the scheme. At a meeting of state Power Ministers, chaired by union Power Minister R K Singh in Shimla in July 2018, it was resolved to complete the task of energising all households by 31 December 2018, against the original deadline of 31 March 2019 provided under the Saubhagya scheme. According to the Saubhagya portal, about 3.58 lakh households are left to be electrified in four states — Assam (1,63,016), Rajasthan (88,219), Meghalaya (86,317) and Chhattisgarh (20,293). The Saubhagya scheme envisages providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining households in rural as well as urban areas.

Bihar CM lays foundation of power unit in Saharsa

20 January. Bihar Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar said consumption of electricity in the state has increased manifold since 2005 when his government came to power for the first time. He said the total power consumption in the state, which was just around 700 MW in 2005, has now increased to 5,139 MW. “Extensive work has been done in the power sector in state,” the CM said while addressing a public function after laying the foundation stone of a power grid substation at Sihaul village in Saharsa district. He said the farmers would not have to face power crisis as separate feeders would be established for them by the end of the year.

Source: The Economic Times
Kashmir to get additional 100 MW power

18 January. Kashmir valley will get additional 100 MW of power supply in view of the harsh weather conditions during winter season. On the directions of the Advisor to Governor, Kewal Kumar Sharma, the Power Development Department purchased an additional 100 MW of electricity through power exchange. The step has been taken to supplement the power supply in the valley and address the interruptions in supply.

Source: Business Standard
Soon, power bill payments to be allowed post noon in Goa

18 January. It what will come as some relief for consumers, from 26 January the electricity department’s bill payment counters will remain open in the afternoon from 2pm to 4.30pm, on all working days. Presently, these are open till 12.30pm, many a times inconveniencing consumers who, if they fail to make payments, are compelled to visit the division the next day. Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral said an announcement in this regard will be made on 26 January. The electricity department has 40 counters spread across its various divisions. Consumers will be able to make payments through either debit or credit cards, a facility that is presently not offered. Cash and cheque payments will be accepted. For cash, the allowed bill amount is up to Rs 500. While the electricity department receives online payments, a large number of people follow the old system of making payments. The power department will tie up with TJSB Ltd, a cooperative bank to facilitate payment of electricity bills at any of the cooperative bank’s branch in the state. Presently, only a select few cooperative banks accept payments of electricity bills. The new arrangement is expected to relieve the electricity department of the problem they face at times of arrears showing in bills of consumers who paid their bill at cooperative banks.

Source: The Economic Times
Reliance Power to pay ₹3 billion for Krishnapatnam UMPP to Andhra Pradesh

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

Source: Business Standard
NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
India needs green energy policy to get 175 GW solar capacity by 2022: CSE

22 January. India would fall short of the government’s target of achieving 175 GW of solar capacity by 2022, city-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said. Priyavrat Bhati, advisor, Energy group, CSE, said that renewable energy got a boost in 2015 when India decided to install 175 GW capacity of such energy by 2022, but the momentum seems to have slowed down in the last year. Bhati said inconsistent policy has been the bane of the renewable energy sector.

Source: Business Standard
Indian companies take bold emission reduction targets

22 January. Top Indian companies have reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change by taking bold emission reduction targets and promoting renewable energy that has put the country on the path to achieving its global commitment well ahead of the Paris Agreement targets. The CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In India, 25 companies committed to science-based targets in alignment with the Paris Agreement by December 2018, propelling the country to the fifth position after the US, Japan, Britain and France in corporate climate action. Of these, Wipro, Hindustan Zinc Ltd and Mahindra Sanyo have approved targets. In 2018, 52 Indian companies responded to CDP’s climate change questionnaire, of which eight companies came forward on their own volition to disclose their climate impact to the CDP. Fifty companies have board-level oversight of climate-related issues of their operations and 44 of them provide incentives to the management for achieving targets. To guide their climate oversight, 40 percent of the Indian companies either used the two degrees scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or India’s Nationally Determined Contributions for their climate-related scenario analysis. An important tool for managing climate risk, companies are increasingly adopting internal carbon price. The number of companies incorporating an internal carbon price has increased from 11 in 2017 to 13 in 2018, along with 24 companies anticipating adopting it in the next two years, as compared to 20 companies in 2017.

Source: Business Standard
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corp invites private firms to set up biogas plant in city

22 January. If everything goes as planned, a biogas plant will come up in the city. The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corp (BMC) has floated an expression of interest inviting private parties to set up the plant. After the private parties discuss with the BMC officials on the modalities and technicalities of biogas plant, the BMC will float request for proposal (RFP) and form a tender committee to select one of the parties to take up the work. BMC said it would provide the waste for the plant based on its capacity. Mostly, the plant would require organic waste. The BMC generates about 600 metric tonne of waste a day.

Source: The Economic Times
Vikram Solar commissions 20 MW solar projects for WBSEDCL

21 January. Vikram Solar, Kolkata-based solar energy company, said it has commissioned two 10 MW solar projects for West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL). Vikram Solar currently has over 940 MW EPC (engineering, procurement & construction) portfolio in India.

Source: The Economic Times
Swiss firm Talesun forms JV to develop 4 GW solar power projects in India

21 January. Swiss firm Talesun Solar Switzerland A.G. is set to foray into the Indian solar power industry with a joint venture (JV) with New Delhi-based solar asset developer EnergyX to set up projects of 4,000 MW capacity, EnergyX said. The JV is looking to develop 4,000 MW of solar assets worth Rs 200 bn by 2022, EnergyX said. EnergyX has commissioned solar projects of 12 MW capacity. EnergyX said it is working closely with State Bank of India (SBI) on projects under a $650 million credit facility extended by the World Bank for development of solar projects specifically for Industrial consumers.

Source: The Economic Times
Government may impose anti-dumping duty on Malaysian glass used in solar panels

21 January. The government may impose anti-dumping duty of $114.58 per tonne on a certain variety of Malaysian glass, used in solar industry, in a bid to guard domestic manufacturers from cheap imports. The commerce ministry’s investigation arm Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended the duty on ‘textured tempered coated and uncoated glass’ imported from Malaysia. The glass is used as a component in solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal applications. Gujarat Borosil Ltd had asked DGTR for alleged dumping probe and imposition of the duty. In its probe, the directorate has concluded that there has been material injury to the domestic industry due to the dumping of this glass from Malaysia. The final decision to impose the duty will be taken by the finance ministry.

Source: Business Standard

Indian Railways to invest ₹180 billion on solar power units along tracks

19 January. In a bid to cut down on its power purchase costs and utilise the vast stretches of linear land along the tracks with greater efficiency, the Indian Railways is planning to come up with solar power tenders of 4 GW soon. The bids will open up business opportunities of about Rs 180 bn for the domestic solar industry that consists of equipment makers and plant installers. The tender conditions will include certain levels of domestic production, in consonance with the Make in India project. For the first time, the national transporter will own power generation units, in what could help cut its huge energy costs. The tender, to be invited by Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), the government’s nodal agency for solar bidding, is proposed to be issued in two tranches of 2 GW each to be built across 10 states. The framework document for the project, proposes that the first tranche would be for solar plants in Odisha, Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana and Rajasthan while the remaining capacity would be set up in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. The railways currently requires 16 billion units of electricity every year, equivalent to supplies from 12 GW of generation capacity. It spends around ₹100 bn on electricity every year with the average per unit cost being around ₹6/unit. In states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan, Railways pays tariffs as high as ₹10.52/unit, ₹9.13/unit and Rs 8.33/unit, respectively, on traction. As per the conditions for the tender, the 4 GW plan would require developers to build 1.2 GW of domestic solar manufacturing capacity. Indian Railways has already provided solar panels on roof top of 19 narrow gauge coaches 23 broad gauge coaches in service.

Source: The Financial Express

Adani Group to invest ₹550 billion in Gujarat projects including world’s largest solar park

18 January. Billionaire Gautam Adani announced over ₹55,000 crore investment in next five years in a clutch of projects in Gujarat including the world’s largest solar park, a copper plant, a cement unit, and a lithium battery manufacturing complex. This will lead to the creation of over 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the state. India had made an unprecedented 53 point jump on the ease of doing business index and has become the world’s fastest-growing economy, he said.

Source: The Economic Times
Maharashtra to set up 3.2 GW solar projects in 2 years

17 January. Solar projects with 3,200 MW capacity will be set up in Maharashtra in the next two years, Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said. He said the chief engineer in each of the 16 zones of Mahavitaran, the power distribution company, has been directed to ensure setting up of 200 MW solar projects (total 3,200 MW) in his/her jurisdiction in the next two years. All private and government water, irrigation projects, government buildings, including those of gram panchayats, will be powered using solar energy, he said.

Source: The Economic Times
IIT-Madras solar technology lighting up homes in remote parts of India

17 January. Solar-Direct Current (DC) Inverterless Technology, pioneered by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Madras, is lighting up homes in remote parts of the country which are beyond the reach of electricity grids. Cygni Energy Private Ltd, a startup that was incubated by the Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) of IIT-Madras, is installing 3,026 units in Manipur villages and another 25,000 units in Assam. Also, powering homes with DC powerline reduces the power-consumption and would be increasingly deployed with solar in urban and rural India homes, Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT- Madras, who lead the research on this technology, said.

Source: The Economic Times
Goa’s solar policy to be notified in 15 days

17 January. The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has instructed the Goa electricity department to provide required assistance to consumers interested in generating solar power in the state. It advised the department to do so after consumers and solar installers brought to the notice of the commission at the hearings that the government is dragging its feet over promoting solar power highlighting problems on the ground. The member secretary of Goa energy development agency, Sanjeev Joglekar informed the commission that the solar policy 2017 is being amended and it will be notified within the next 10 to 15 days. The commission said that solar regulations of JERC were already existing and valid till May 2018.

Source: The Economic Times
Chandigarh plans solar plants on seasonal rivulets

17 January. To achieve the solar power generation target set by the ministry of new and renewable energy, the Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) has decided to install solar plants on Patiala ki Rao, a seasonal rivulet in Chandigarh. The UT (Union Territory) administration have already extended deadline to install solar plants on residential building by 30 June. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has enhanced the city’s solar power generation target from 50 MW to 69 MW, to be achieved by 2022. Under its Model Solar City project, the UT administration has planned to install 8 kW (kilowatt) solar plant in City forest (Nagar Van) near Sukhna Lake, which will provide power supply to run three water fountains in city forest.

Source: The Economic Times
Government regularises pay scales of 5,254 executives of hydro power PSUs

16 January. The Union Cabinet gave its approval for regularisation of pay scales of 5,254 executives in four state-run hydro power companies — NHPC, NEEPCO, THDC India and SJVNL. Giving details of the decision, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said Rs 3.23 bn will be incurred for regularisation of the pay scales. Anomalies existed in the pay scales of executives of the four PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) since January 1997 due to revision of pay scales of unionised category of workmen/non-executives in line with the NTPC/oil sector within the organisations. The pay scales of workmen and supervisors were higher than the pay scales of executives in the E-1 grade. After the approval, the pay scales adopted by the hydro unit consequent upon the order of the power ministry dated 4 April 2006 and 1 September 2006 would be regularised. About 5,254 below Board level executives the power units enrolled before 1 January 2007 will benefit by this approval.

Source: Business Standard
INTERNATIONAL: OIL
Norway’s December oil output misses forecast

22 January. Norway’s oil production fell by 2.1 percent year-on-year in December and lagged the Petroleum Directorate’s forecast for the month by 2.5 percent amid technical problems at some offshore fields, the industry regulator said. December natural gas output fell by 2.5 percent year-on-year, lagging forecasts by 3.6 percent, it said. Norway recently predicted its 2019 oil output would fall to a 30-year low, although it is expected to rebound next year following the start-up later this year of the giant Johan Sverdrup oilfield.

Source: Reuters
South Korea receives first Iranian oil cargo in 4 months

21 January. South Korea received its first Iranian oil cargo in four months, data on Refinitiv Eikon showed. The cargo marks the first Iranian oil import by South Korea in four months after the world’s fifth-largest oil buyer halted imports before the US (United States) reimposed sanctions on Iran in November

Source: Reuters
Russia committed to oil output cuts

21 January. Russia is committed to its pledges on oil output cuts, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, after criticism from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Russia was cutting its oil production more slowly than expected.

Source: Reuters
Japanese refiners load first Iran oil cargo since US sanctions

21 January. Japanese refiners have loaded Iranian oil onto a tanker, resuming imports after halting purchases because of sanctions by the United States (US). Japan is the last of the four biggest Iranian oil buyers in Asia to resume imports after receiving a waiver from US sanctions on crude imports that started in November. China and India maintained their imports after November while South Korea halted imports for four months, resuming them over the weekend. Iran is the fourth-largest oil producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.Still, the Iranian exports to Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest oil import, may be short-lived as two buyers based in Japan said they may not be able to continue after annual tanker insurance backed by the Japanese government expires in March. Japan stopped oil imports from Iran in November when the sanctions came into effect. Iranian oil accounted for 5.3 percent of Japan’s total crude imports in 2017. However, waivers were granted to Iran’s biggest oil clients – Japan, China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Greece and Turkey – which allow them to import some oil for another 180 days. South Korea received its first Iranian oil cargo in four months.

Source: Reuters
Kuwaiti Oil Minister calls sector spending plans ‘optimistic’

20 January. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel wants the funds allocated by the oil sector for spending within the 2040 strategy to be reconsidered. He is not against expansion in the oil sector but described the funds, estimated at 150 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($495 billion), as “optimistic”.

Source: Reuters
Oil refining capacity to grow at record pace this year: IEA

18 January. Global oil refining capacity is set to increase at its fastest pace on record this year, possibly boosting stocks of products such as diesel, gasoline and marine fuel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Oil refining capacity will rise by 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and demand for refined products by around 1.1 million bpd, the IEA said in a monthly report. It was not clear yet what that meant for margins, which slumped as the price of crude rose last year, said the Paris-based IEA, which coordinates the energy policies of industrialised countries. An increase in stocks of refined products could be “useful”, the IEA said, ahead of the implementation next year of regulations by the International Maritime Organization to reduce sulphur content in shipping fuel.

Source: Reuters
Record US crude production weighs on oil prices

17 January. Oil prices dipped as US (United States) crude production quickly approached an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day (bpd) just as worries about weakening demand emerge. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52 per barrel, down 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement. International Brent crude oil futures were down 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $60.98 per barrel. American crude oil production reached a record 11.9 million bpd in the week ending 11 January, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, up from 11.7 million bpd, which was already the highest national output in the world. US output has soared by 2.4 million bpd since January 2018, stoking fears of a supply glut. The EIA said gasoline stockpiles climbed 7.5 million barrels, far exceeding analyst expectations in a poll for a 2.8 million-barrel gain. At 255.6 million barrels, gasoline stocks were at their highest weekly level since February 2017. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3.0 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed. Along with the surge in US crude output, exports from the US are rising, hitting a record 3.2 million bpd by the end of last year. To stem a lurking petroleum glut, the Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producer Russia are leading efforts to cut supply.

Source: Reuters
US Interior Department to recall some furloughed workers for Gulf oil lease work

16 January. The US (United States) Interior Department intends to temporarily recall some workers furloughed by the partial federal government shutdown to prepare an upcoming Gulf of Mexico oil lease sale, using funds left over from last year, according to a department document. The move would add to the administration’s push on its energy portfolio despite the partial shutdown triggered by President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign funding legislation that excludes money for his proposed border wall with Mexico. The Interior Department is already keeping some personnel working on other energy efforts it says are exempted from the shutdown, including the Trump administration’s push for the expansion of oil drilling on sensitive, federally owned lands in Arctic Alaska.

Source: Reuters
Exxon to be Indonesia’s biggest oil producer in 2019: Regulator

16 January. Exxon Mobil Corp unit Exxon Mobil Cepu Ltd is expected to produce 216,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in 2019, making it Indonesia’s biggest oil producer, the country’s upstream oil and gas regulator (SKKMigas) said. In second place Chevron Corp unit Chevron Pacific Indonesia is expected to produce 190,000 bpd of crude oil in 2019, the regulator said. State-owned Pertamina unit Pertamina EP is expected to produce 85,000 bpd of oil in 2019.

Source: Reuters
INTERNATIONAL: GAS
Saudi Aramco eyes multi-billion-dollar US gas acquisitions: CEO

22 January. Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil producer, is looking to acquire natural gas assets in the United States (US) and is willing to spend “billions of dollars” there as it aims to become a global gas player, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amin Nasser said. Nasser said that his company wants to increase its US investments. It already owns Motiva, the biggest US oil refinery. Aramco’s gas expansion strategy needs $150 billion of investment over the next decade as the company plans to increase output and later become a gas exporter, Nasser said. Aramco is pushing ahead with its conventional and unconventional gas exploration and production program to feed its fast-growing industries, freeing up more crude oil to export or turn into chemicals. Investing in the US gas and petrochemical sector has become “very lucrative” due to the large availability of ethane resources, Nasser said. Aramco is a major gas player but much of its production is used domestically. The firm plans to boost its gas production to 23 billion standard cubic feet (scf) per day over the next decade, from 14 billion scf now.

Source: Reuters
Russia, Ukraine to hold further gas talks in May

21 January. Russia and Ukraine will meet for further gas talks in May after an EU (European Union)-mediated discussion in Brussels yielded no concrete results, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said. The talks have focused on Russian gas transit via Ukraine to Europe, the source of up to 3 percent of Ukrainian gross domestic product. With Russia embroiled in conflict with Kiev over breakaway regions in Ukraine’s east and the European Union reliant on Russian gas to fuel its industries, the future of gas transit – seen by Kiev as a crucial guarantor of its independence from Moscow – is the subject of intricate diplomacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow is ready to keep its transit of gas to Europe through Ukraine once the current deal with Kiev expires on 31 December 2019 if supplies are economically viable.

Source: Reuters
Japan’s JXTG to start retail city gas sales in February

21 January. Japan’s top oil refiner JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp, which is under JXTG Holdings Inc, says it will start retail city gas sales in areas that are home to Tokyo Gas Co Ltd from 1 February. JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy aims to gain 100,000 gas customers in the near future by offering lower fee models than those of Tokyo Gas which has about 11 million users, a company spokesman says.

Source: Reuters
Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG gets final environmental nod

18 January. Tellurian Inc’s proposed Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Louisiana took a major step forward as the US (United States) federal energy regulator issued a final environmental report clearing the way for the company to seek a permit to build the export terminal. The company said it needs an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allowing the construction and operation of the 27.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) liquefaction plant aimed at meeting growing global demand for the supercooled fuel. US LNG exports have quadrupled in the last two years and are expected to top 10.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by the end of 2020, making the country one of the world’s largest LNG exporters. One bcf of gas is enough to fuel about 5 million US homes for a day. In addition to the LNG terminal, Tellurian is developing pipelines to transport gas from shale formations in Texas and Louisiana to LNG terminals and other Gulf Coast customers.

Source: Reuters
Bahrain’s first LNG terminal readies for imports as FSU arrives in Gulf

18 January. Bahrain’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) floating unit arrived in the Gulf as the country gets ready for its maiden imports of the super-chilled fuel this year, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed. The FSU (floating storage unit) is on a 20-year charter to Bahrain LNG, who is the developer of a wider receiving and regasification terminal within the Khalifa bin Salman Port facility, in Hidd, Bahrain, according to Bahrain LNG. The LNG import terminal, which is expected to start commercial operations early this year, will allow Bahrain to import the super-chilled fuel for the small Arab state’s growing demand for natural gas to fuel large industrial projects, generate power and water and for enhanced oil recovery. The project will have a capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day. LNG will be delivered to the import terminal by LNG carrier ships, where it will be stored in the FSU, according to Bahrain LNG. The LNG will be turned back into natural gas using sea water to warm the LNG and the natural gas will then be transferred in a buried pipeline to shore where it will supply the existing natural gas pipeline network operated by national oil company Bahrain Petroleum Company.

Source: Reuters
Dutch citizens demand end to quake-hit Groningen gas production

17 January. Angry Dutch citizens will ask their country’s highest court to put an immediate end to gas production in the Groningen region due to the risk of life-endangering earthquakes. Decades of extraction from what once was Europe’s largest natural gas field have led to dozens of minor tremors every year, damaging thousands of homes and sparking unrest among locals. An unusually severe, magnitude 3.4 quake prompted the Dutch government last year to decide to end production by 2030 and to lower it as quickly as possible in coming years. Gas production at Groningen is run by NAM, a 50-50 joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil. Output is set to drop to 19.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the year that began in October, down 65 percent from its 2013 peak, and will be cut by another 75 percent in the next five years, the government said. The petitioners demand drilling be stopped immediately, or at least capped at 12 bcm per year, a level the Dutch gas regulator last year said would limit risks. A sudden halt to output would put the Netherlands in a tight spot, as the country still depends on Groningen gas for a significant part of its energy supply and export obligations. The High Court in 2017 said certainty of supply should play a role in decisions on the production level, but should not outweigh safety concerns.

Source: Reuters
Thailand’s PTT to start LNG desk in Singapore to expand trading

17 January. Thailand’s state energy firm PTT is planning to start a liquefied natural gas (LNG) desk in Singapore to expand its trading activities of the super-chilled fuel. PTT is planning to set up the desk by hiring at least one LNG trader and an operations staff. The company has hired Daisuke Matsuoka to join its Singapore office. Matsuoka was most recently an LNG trader with Japanese trading firm Itochu Petroleum and with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BG Group before that. Thailand’s LNG imports are expected to more than double over the next five years from about 5 million tonnes per year currently, driven by rising import dependency amidst declining domestic gas production. PTT is currently the country’s sole gas supplier and its only LNG importer, but state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is expected to start imports this year. PTT’s Singapore office has more than 60 staff and trade in oil and other commodities.

Source: Reuters
PetroChina boosts European LNG activity with Yamal cargoes

16 January. China’s top oil and gas company PetroChina is selling spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes on the European market from Russia’s Yamal plant, adding to a flood of volumes to the continent amid subdued Asian demand. PetroChina’s increased presence in Europe is an example of how Asian energy companies are expanding their role as LNG traders, engaging in LNG transactions globally. The early start-up of Yamal LNG’s second and third trains, or production lines, in 2018 raised spot volumes from Russia and helped PetroChina boost its European market presence, selling LNG from its 20 percent share of the project’s spot volumes. PetroChina has offered cargoes mainly to northwest Europe this winter, with buyers that include trading houses Vitol and Trafigura, as well as UK oil major BP. Regular volumes from Yamal ensure a more stable presence in Europe for PetroChina, the publicly traded arm of China National Petroleum Corp. Last winter, PetroChina traded some spot volumes from Yamal LNG Train 1. However, a spike in Yamal LNG production at the end of 2018 to 16.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) has allowed PetroChina to compete for high-profile buyers with another Yamal LNG shareholder, Novatek, and US producers. This winter has seen Europe become a prime destination for spot LNG cargoes, amid weak Asian demand and increased shipping costs to transport LNG between the Atlantic and Pacific basins.

Source: Reuters
INTERNATIONAL: COAL
China firms funding coal plants offshore as domestic curbs bite

22 January. China has become a key backer for coal-fired power globally, funding more than a quarter of all new plants being developed outside its borders even as it clamps down on the polluting fuel at home, the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US (United States)-based think-tank, said. The top destinations are Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Africa and Pakistan, and about a quarter of the proposed capacity would use technology no longer allowed in China, the report said. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, has been investing heavily in alternative fuels in order to cut its dependence on coal, a major source of smog as well as climate-warming carbon emissions. While overseas financial institutions like the World Bank aim to restrict new coal investments, Chinese state-owned enterprises and policy banks are becoming “lenders of last resort” for coal-fired power, the report said. China is involved in nearly 14 GW of planned coal-fired capacity in Bangladesh and 13 GW in Vietnam, the report said.

Source: Reuters
Greece extends deadline for coal plant bids to 6 February

22 January. Greece’s Public Power Corp extended a deadline for binding bids for three coal-fired plants until 6 February to give investors more time to review data on the sale. Public Power Corp (PPC) is selling the plants in northern Greece and on the southern Peloponnese under the terms of Athens’ latest international bailout after a European Union court ruled that PPC had abused its dominant position in the coal market. The bid deadline has been repeatedly pushed back since the tender was launched last year for different reasons.

Source: Reuters
China’s December coal output rises about 2 percent to highest in over 3 yrs

21 January. China’s December coal output climbed 2.1 percent from the year before, government data showed, hitting the highest level in at least three years as major producers ramped up production amid robust winter demand and after the country started up new mines. Miners produced 320.38 million tonnes of coal in December, according to the National Bureau of Statistics data. That is the highest level on records going back to March 2016. China approved more than 45 billion yuan’s ($6.64 billion) worth of new coal mining projects last year, much more than 2017. However, miners and traders expect supplies to fall sharply in January following a crackdown on coal mines following a major accident on 13 January in the northwestern province of Shaanxi. Shaanxi accounts for about 20 percent of China’s annual coal production.

Source: Reuters
Germany’s 2019 hard coal imports seen rising after mining ends

18 January. Germany is expected to import 45 million tonnes of hard coal this year, up roughly 1.4 percent from 2018 despite mounting competition from renewable energy, as the closure of domestic mines reduces domestic supply, importers said. The total would comprise an estimated 30 million tonnes for power generation and 15 million tonnes of coking coal and coke, products used in steelmaking, data from lobby group VDKI showed. The coal importer lobby said hard coal usage would benefit from a court ban on logging in an ancient forest, a move that will impede the mining of domestic rival lignite, or brown coal, by utility RWE. The court ruling curbs supply to RWE’s brown-coal power plants, and hard coal could cover part of the deficit. The two types of coal accounted for a combined 38 percent of German power production last year. Despite the forecast rise, there could be import losses in 2019 as a result of a long-term national plan, due within the next fortnight, on phasing out coal, VDKI said.

Source: Reuters
Romanian coal miners end strike after government hikes wages

18 January. Romanian coal miners have ended a weeklong strike after the Energy Minister Anton Anton offered them wage hikes and other perks. Anton Anton met union leaders and miners at the Oltenia Energy Complex in southern Romania and offered higher salaries, an Easter bonus and vacation vouchers. The complex provides brown coal for about 30 percent of Romania’s electricity needs.

Source: The Economic Times
World seaborne coal trade rose 3.7 percent in 2018: German importers

18 January. World coal seaborne trade grew 3.7 percent last year helped by higher output in India, Indonesia and Russia, Germany’s VDKI coal importers lobby said. Imports and exports rose to 1.202 billion tonnes from 1.159 billion tonnes in 2017, VDKI Managing Director Franz-Josef Wodopia said. Of the total, trade in steam coal used in power stations rose by 3.6 percent to 920 million tonnes. Trade in coking coal used for steelmaking rose by 4.4 percent to 281 million tonnes, the VDKI estimated.

Source: Reuters
INTERNATIONAL: POWER
German energy regulator approves first part of Ultranet power line

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

Source: Reuters
China’s power consumption rises 8.5 percent in 2018

18 January. China’s power consumption rose 8.5 percent last year to 6,844.9 billion kilowatt hours, data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) showed. The country’s total installed power generation capacity had reached 1,899.67 GW by the end of 2018, according to NEA. Industrial power consumption increased by 7.1 percent in 2018 to 4,645.6 billion kilowatt hours, NEA said.

Source: The Economic Times
Nigeria’s Forte Oil seeks to sell power unit to top investor

17 January. Nigerian energy firm Forte Oil plans to enter into talks to sell its power unit to its major investor, billionaire Femi Otedola, after it failed to secure a deal via a public tender. Amperion Power Distribution Company Limited, Forte’s power subsidiary, paid $132 million to acquire a 414 MW power plant six years ago under a government-led privatisation scheme meant to tackle decades of chronic blackouts. Last year, Forte decided to sell its power generating unit, upstream services business and downstream venture in Ghana to focus on its fuel distribution operation at home. The company said that Otedola had shown interest in bidding for the power unit and that his proposal would be reviewed by management and an independent adviser.

Source: Reuters
INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS
Australia’s solar, wind boom to power past grid woes in 2019

21 January. Australia’s wind and solar boom looks set to power through 2019 following a record year, despite grid constraints and extra scrutiny from network operators to make sure new projects don’t spark blackouts like ones that hit two years ago. Abundant wind and sun, falling turbine and panel costs, and corporate demand for contracts to hedge against rising power tariffs have attracted dozens of international developers looking to build wind and solar farms Down Under. Even though the developers have met with flip-flops on energy policy, a strained grid that has trouble integrating intermittent renewable power, and unexpected hook-up costs, they still see Australia as a growth market. Australia generates nearly 20 percent of its electricity from renewables.

Source: Reuters
Bosnia’s HE Dabar invites bids for 160 MW hydropower plant

18 January. Bosnian hydropower company HE Dabar invited bids for the construction and financing of its 160 MW plant in southeastern Bosnia at an estimated cost of 366 million marka ($213 million). The Dabar power plant on the Trebisnjica river will be part of a planned 250 MW hydropower complex, Gornji Horizonti, which is designed to also incorporate two smaller hydropower plants, Nevesinje and Bileca. The Dabar plant will produce 252 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity a year. According to the tender, potential partners should finance at least 85 percent of the project’s value, while the investment would be paid out in electricity or cash. The remainder of the amount will be financed by HE Dabar. The plant will be fully owned by HE Dabar, which will start repaying debt 15 years after the plant has been built. The deadline for the plant’s completion is four years. Potential partners have until 1 March to place their bids, HE Dabar said.

Source: Reuters
China’s Jiangsu province approves 6.7 GW offshore wind projects

18 January. China’s manufacturing hub Jiangsu province gave green lights to 24 offshore wind power projects with total capacity of 6.7 GW. That came as part of Jiangsu’s ambitious plan to launch 10 GW-level offshore wind power plants, known as “Three Gorges on Sea” project, alongside its coastal regions to boost clean energy consumption. Jiangsu had 56 wind farms under operation by 2018, with online capacity reaching over 8.6 GW. China aims to build seven large-scale wind power generation base in Jiangsu, Hebei, Jilin, Gansu, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, topping the country’s total wind power capacity to more than 100 GW by 2020.

Source: Reuters
Hitachi halts UK nuclear project as energy supply crunch looms

17 January. Japan’s Hitachi Ltd put a $28 billion nuclear power project in Britain on hold, dealing a blow to the country’s plans for the replacement of ageing plants. Hitachi’s UK (United Kingdom) unit Horizon Nuclear Power failed to find private investors for its plan to build a plant at Wylfa in Anglesey, Wales, which was expected to provide about 6 percent of Britain’s electricity. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Toshiaki Higashihara said Hitachi could seek to withdraw completely from the project and sell the Horizon unit, depending on discussions with the British government. The Japanese company had urged the UK government to boost financial support for the planned power station. China’s General Nuclear Services, an industrial partnership between China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and French utility EDF, plans to make a number of investments in Britain’s nuclear power sector, most notably the Hinkley Point C project in southwest England. British Energy Secretary Greg Clark said the government would explore different options for funding new nuclear plants, as costs for renewable energy had fallen so sharply it was difficult to justify higher subsidies. Britain wants new nuclear plants to help replace its ageing fleet of nuclear and coal plants coming offline in the 2020s, but high up-front costs have deterred construction.

Source: Reuters
Life expectancy goes up in China as pollution level drops

17 January. The life expectancy of a Chinese citizen has gone up by half a year due to a significant drop in the air pollution level in the country, a study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago has claimed. Air pollution kills over a million in China where the average life expectancy is 76.4 years. The life expectancy of Chinese citizens has been extended by half a year due to a significant drop in the PM (particulate matter) 2.5 density, the study said. The Air Quality Index indicates that China’s PM 2.5 density fell by 12 percent between 2013 and 2016, a pollution reduction equivalent to an additional half-a-year to the average lifespan. In China’s central province Henan, statistics showed that the length of time people are exposed to PM 2.5 in the region is down 20 percent compared with 2013, meaning they could live an average of 1.3 years longer. China is infamous for air pollution which is an offshoot of four decades of furious industrialization in the country. However, the government has taken measures to curb pollution over the years after huge public outcry. Green activists, often critical of China, have acknowledged Beijing’s efforts. China is the world’s largest coal producer and burns half of it itself, causing severe air pollution. But over the years, China has shut many coal-fired power plants and shifted to natural gas heating. This leaves many homes outside Beijing and other provinces extremely cold in winter but reduces smog. Until 2009, 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities were in China. This year, the first 14, including New Delhi, are in India, and only the last four — minus Beijing — are in China.

Source: The Economic Times
Value of global CO2 markets hit record $164 billion in 2018

16 January. The value of traded global markets for carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances soared 250 percent last year to a record high of €144 billion ($164 billion), analysts at Refinitiv said. The overall figure was pushed higher by the soaring cost of carbon permits in Europe’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) which more than trebled last year from €8 a tonne to around €25. The European ETS charges power plants and factories for every tonne of CO2 they emit. The ETS has suffered from excess supply since the financial crisis, but this will be addressed by new measures including the Market Stability Reserve, which from this year will remove some surplus allowances from the market. A total of 9 billion carbon permits were traded globally in 2018, up 45 percent on the previous year, the analysts said. The emerging markets in China and South Korea still see very limited trading, despite the fact that their emission trading systems cover vast emissions volumes, the analysts said.

Source: Reuters

DATA INSIGHT
Scenario of Liquefied Natural Gas Imports in India

(in MMSCM)
Year LNG imports by
Private Companies LNG imports by
Others
2014-15 15064 3472
2015-16 12755 8554
2016-17* 15810 8876
2017-18 (April-June)* 3911 1976

*provisional

Country-wise LNG imports^ by India

^Imports are for the year 2016-17 (April to February)

MMSCM: million metric standard cubic meter

Source: Lok Sabha Un-starred Questions

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar

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