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Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: December 2017


To promote manufacturing in India of solar PV cells and modules, MNRE has drafted a set of proposals for financial and other support. Direct financial support of ₹ 110 billion is proposed. Domestic solar manufacturing had been hit by cheaper import in earlier years. So, MNRE initiated a Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) under the National Solar Mission. Government proposes ₹ 110 billion plan to boost domestic solar panel manufacturing Government procurement is proposed at 12,000 MW, from the existing 1,000 MW. A new quality order is proposed for solar cells and molecules, with infrastructure for quality testing. The plan proposes Central Financial Assistance in the form of a capital subsidy of 30 percent for setting up or upgrading manufacturing capacity. The policy will target the creation of manufacturing capacity of 10 GW over five years, with focus on an integrated silica to modules package and intermediate standalone packages or combinations. The central government would also offer exemption from customs duty on import of capital goods. With a manufacturing unit requiring high capital investment, the government would allow a solar power plant of twice the required capacity, to earn through power sale as well. However, any manufacturing plant availing of this would not be eligible for any other incentive, goes the draft.

India has started a probe to determine imposition of safeguard duty on surging imports of solar cells with a view to protect domestic manufacturers. Domestic manufacturers have approached the DGS with a complaint that their market share has remained stagnant despite rapid expansion in demand for solar cells in the country. India is targeting to 100 GW solar capacity by 2022. The current installed capacity is about 15 GW. The government has planned to auction 20 GW capacities by March 2018, and 30 GW each in next two fiscals. Solar cells, electrical devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity, are imported primarily from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. The application for imposition of the import restrictive duty has been filed by the ISMA on behalf of five Indian producers – Mundra Solar PV, Indosolar, Jupiter Solar Power, Websol Energy Systems and Helios Photo Voltaic. They want safeguard duty on ‘solar cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels’ immediately for four years. The domestic industry also asked the DGS for imposition of provisional safeguard duty in view of steep deterioration in the performance of the local players as a result of increased imports of the solar cells.

Indian solar module makers are struggling to stay in business as the price differential with imports has widened to 10-12%, prompting developers to opt for overseas supplies and stunting government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. Nearly all major domestic players such as Indosolar, Tata Power Solar, Adani Group, Jupiter Solar and BHEL are struggling to remain viable in the face of undercutting by cheaper supplies from modules manufactured by Chinese-owned companies located in the mainland and outside. Developers opted for cheaper equipment from China to offer low tariffs, which nearly pushed domestic manufacturers to the brink till the government levelled the field with quality and other norms. Ironically, the government is faced with the same question as it targets to set up 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022. India is expected to place orders for about 80,000 MW of solar power installations worth nearly ₹ 2440 billion at current prices. India’s utility-scale solar power capacity stands at 16 GW, while 11.5 GW is in the pipeline and 5.6 GW is being readied for bidding.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, the consumer goods products upstart, is poised to diversify into solar power equipment manufacturing. This will be the company’s first exposure to the infrastructure sector and comes after its runaway success in consumer products. Just like it identified the opportunity to compete with established multinational packaged consumer goods companies, Patanjali is seeing a opening for itself in solar equipment manufacturing. The government is considering a 30% capital subsidy as part of a new solar manufacturing policy. India is working to improve its per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kWh, among the lowest in the world. Alongside, it is also proposing a “rent a roof” policy to support its ambitious plan of generating 40 GW of solar power by 2022. For China’s solar panel manufacturing industry, with an estimated capacity of around 70 GW per year, the US and India are major markets. Patanjali acquired Advance Navigation and Solar Technologies Pvt Ltd, a manufacturer of navigation aid equipment, earlier this year. Currently, the facility has a manufacturing capacity of 120 MW. Patanjali plans to invest aroundRs 1 billion in solar equipment manufacturing and its factory in Greater Noida is expected to be fully operational within the next couple of months. With the average efficiency of a solar panel usually at just 16-22%, sub-standard quality will impact generation. India proposes to award 100 GW of solar and wind contracts by March 2020. This includes a plan to invite bids for setting up 20 GW solar power capacity—the world’s largest solar tender—at one go, to spur domestic manufacturing of solar power equipment.

Despite the increase in prices of solar panels in recent months and the GST burden, Hero Solar Energy Pvt Ltd and SBE Four Ltd bagged 500 MW offering to sell solar power to Uttar Pradesh government at ₹ 2.47 and ₹ 2.48/kWh respectively. This is slightly higher than the record lowest rate of ₹ 2.44/kWh that ACME Solar Holdings Pvt Ltd had bid for the 200 MW project in Rajasthan in May this year. The power will be drawn by Uttar Pradesh from Power Grid Corp of India’s national network for no extra cost. In April this year, DMRC had signed a power purchase agreement with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd in Madhya Pradesh to procure close to 200 MW solar power as inter-state open access consumer at ₹ 2.97/kWh. In the reverse auction carried out by SECI for Uttar Pradesh government for 500 MW, Hero Solar Energy Pvt Ltd won 300 MW offering a tariff of ₹ 2.47/KWh while SBE Four Ltd bagged the rest 200 MW at ₹ 2.48/kWh.

China-based Trina Solar, the world’s biggest solar panel maker, has put on hold its make-in-India plan to set up a 1,000 MW manufacturing unit in India because of low prices and absence of supportive policies but it will invest up to $500 million if it gets the right incentives. International players like Trina will be interested in incentives to set up manufacturing in India, and the government’s domestic manufacturing policy for solar, which is in the works, may provide some clarity on the plans.

In 2015, Trina Solar bought land near Visakhapatnam to set up a manufacturing unit for solar cells and modules, with an estimated capacity of over 1 GW. The project entailed a Skill India element, where 2,000-3,000 individuals would be trained and then eventually absorbed to work at the manufacturing unit. The plant at Visakhapatnam would require an investment of $400-500 million. Industry experts say demand had firmed up in the Chinese market, influencing prices. India, on the other hand, remains an extremely price sensitive market.

Madhya Pradesh laid the foundation stone for the “world’s largest” ultra-mega solar power plant at Gurh tehsil in the district. The green energy generated at this station will be provided to DMRC to run its trains in the national capital. The solar plant will generate 750 MW electricity and is being established with at an investment of ₹ 45 billion. It will spread in an area of nearly 1,600 hectares land.  The SECI and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam (MPUVN) have joined hands and are facilitating the work of setting up the plant with the help of private players.

The government is confident of achieving the target of 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022. As against the target of installing 100 GW of solar power capacity as on December 15, a capacity of 16,676 MW has been installed with another 6,500 MW capacity under installation,. The trajectory of bidding of the rest of solar power capacity has been finalised as 20,000 MW in 2017-18, 30,000 MW in 2018-19 and 30,000 MW in 2019-20. Since the country does not have enough manufacturing capacity at present for solar cells and modules to meet the full demand, both imported and indigenous solar cells and modules are being utilised for achieving the targets.

The GST has led to 10-12 percent rise in overall cost of solar projects, the AISIA has said, while petitioning the government against the rise in tax incidence on solar power equipment under the new regime. While solar power generating systems are charged 5 percent tax, procurement and supply of equipment like module mounting structures, trackers, inverters, transformers and cables are being charged the GST at varying rates. AISIA said solar module were exempt from all duties in the pre-GST regime but since July 1 they are being charged 5 percent GST. Inverters, cables and transformers were levied by 2 percent central sales tax and excise was exempt but post GST they are charged 5-8 percent tax. Similarly, the tax incidence on services and civil work has risen to 18 percent from 15 percent and 6 percent respectively previously. Under the current GST regime, “solar power cost will see upward escalation”, AISIA said, while urging the government to remove the ambiguity. It suggested re-introduction of MNRE certification or self-certification supported by an undertaking that such equipment is required for the setting up of a solar power generating system.

Solar tender and auction activity declined steeply in India during November, Mercom Capital Group said. The solar capacity tendered across the country during the month fell by 25 percent to 300 MW compared to October and the amount of solar auctioned dropped by 98 percent to just 5 MW, Mercom said. The largest tender seen during the month was issued by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) which re- tendered 200 MW of solar to be developed at the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka. The SECI was responsible for the only solar auction held in November when it auctioned a 5 MW grid-connected solar PV project under the National Solar Mission Defense VGF programme for the Ordinance Factory in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Giriraj Renewables Pvt Ltd emerged as the successful bidder by quoting a tariff of ₹ 4.18/kWh without VGF. According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, cumulative solar installations in India surpassed 17 GW as of September 2017, with over 7 GW installed in the first nine months of 2017.  In the third quarter of 2017, a total of 1,456 MW of solar power was tendered and 1,232 MW of solar was auctioned. That total represented a marked reduction from the activity seen in the second quarter when 3,408 MW of solar projects were tendered and 2,505 MW projects were auctioned.

The DGAD heard the views of all the affected parties in the matter of the anti-dumping duty petition on solar cells and modules. Representatives from the petitioner Indian Solar Manufacturers Association were present in the oral hearing, apart from representatives from the embassies of China, Taiwan and Malaysia. The issue relates to import of “Solar cells whether or not assembled in modules or Panels” originating in, or exported from, China, Chinese Taipei, and Malaysia. The DGAD had initiated an investigation, with the petitioner ISMA claiming that the cheap imports were hurting the domestic industry. The representatives of the embassies of the China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other stakeholders also got the opportunity to make their case and the case was registered orally in front of the designated judicial representative, ISMA said. The affected parties will present their submissions in written by December 19, 2017 and thereafter the petitioners (ISMA) will give a response to these submissions by January 2, 2018.

Renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge to India said it has lowered projections for rooftop solar capacity addition to 10.8 GW, as against 13.2 GW, by 2021. Bridge to India, a knowledge services provider in the Indian renewable space, has released the latest edition of its info-graphic report, ‘India Solar Rooftop Map’. As per the report, India added new rooftop solar capacity of 840 MW in the 12 months ending September 2017, at an annual growth of 82 percent and total installed capacity as of September 2017 stood at 1,861 MW. The report said that Maharashtra has taken over Tamil Nadu to become the biggest solar rooftop state, as per the latest edition of ‘India Solar Rooftop Map’ by Bridge to India.

The power ministry said it has issued guidelines for transparent procurement of wind power through tariff-based competitive bidding in a bid to boost the clean source of energy. The government has already auctioned 2 GW wind capacity so for in the first and second round this year. In the third round, it has floated tender for another 2 GW capacity. The norms are significant because the government had decided to put for bidding 10 GW wind capacities each in 2018 -19 and 2019-20 to meet the target of 60 GW by 2022. At present, wind power installed capacity is 32 GW. The government has issued guidelines under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, providing a framework for procurement of wind power through a transparent process of bidding including standardisation of the process and defining of roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, the ministry said. According to the ministry, these guidelines aim to enable the distribution licensees to procure wind power at competitive rates in a cost-effective manner. The ministry said the guidelines are applicable for procurement of wind power from grid-connected wind power projects having individual size of 5 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 25 MW for intra-state projects. Besides, it will also cover individual size of 50 MW and above at one site with minimum bid capacity of 50 MW for inter-state projects. The ministry said these guidelines will give boost to the wind power sector as it would facilitate the windy states to go for bidding process for procurement of wind power themselves. After transition of tariff regime from feed in tariffs to bidding route, it was mainly the central government bids through SECI, which were helping the sector. State bids from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat had objections from the wind sector in absence of guidelines, the ministry said.

The country can save up to ₹ 540 billion in power costs and reduce air pollution by replacing expensive coal plants with renewables, according to a new analysis by Greenpeace India. The analysis compared 2015-2016 tariff data published by the Central Electricity Authority with an “assumed” renewable energy tariff of ₹ 3/kWh, it claimed. New tariff bids for solar energy and onshore wind have dropped well below ₹ 3/kWh, with solar power reaching a record low of 2.44 and wind reaching a record low of 2.64, it said. Greenpeace said that it is now widely accepted that new coal power plants are not financially competitive with new renewables in India. Significant cost-savings can accrue to the country and to cash-strapped distribution companies through a planned phase out of the most expensive coal power plants already in operation and their replacement with cheaper renewable energy.

An expert panel of the union environment ministry has cleared the 800 MW Bursar hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir, reversing its stand that the power project was to be located in a rich biodiversity area and could only be cleared after a site visit by a sub-committee. The project, permitted under the IWT, is strategically important for India and its clearance is in line with the Indian government’s decision to step up exploitation of India’s share of water in the IWT. At a meeting in October, the environment ministry’s EAC for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects deferred granting clearance to the Bursar project in the absence of a site visit. However, in the first week of December, the panel went ahead and cleared the project without a site visit, saying that a visit was not possible before June 2018 due to poor weather conditions, which would delay the project. The estimated cost of the project is ₹ 245.89 billion. The EAC then said it would reconsider the project for environmental clearance after seeing the sub-committee’s report. However, in its subsequent meeting on 5 December, the EAC recommended environment clearance without a site visit. Once the EAC recommends or denies environmental clearance for a project, the environment ministry takes the final call but rarely overturns the EAC’s recommendation.

The government is looking at extending fixed cost recovery period of hydro projects to 30- 35 years, from 12 years at present, to bring the tariff down to as low as ₹ 2/kWh. The ministry is working on the hydro power policy to provide ₹ 160 billion assistance to projects to promote the clean source of energy and it is expected to be tabled before the Union Cabinet for approval this month.  Hydro power plants that the tariff remains high at ₹ 6/kWh during the recovery period and after realisation of fixed cost, it comes down to 0.80/kWh. India has realised about 45 GW, out of 145 GW hydro power potential in the country. The government would buy equipment to aid generation of 20 GW but the bidders would set up manufacturing capacity in stages.

India will begin construction of an 800 MW advanced ultra supercritical thermal power plant in 2019, which will run on an indigenous technology that is developed to reduce carbon emissions. The project is being executed by a consortium of three government entities, Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd, Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research and National Thermal Power Corp. It will involve Indian industries in the design, manufacture and commissioning of the plant. The prototype fast breeder reactor, which is built in Kalpakkam, will achieve criticality in another two months and is expected to generate full power of 500 MW by next year.

India has moved closer to signing its tripartite Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) involving Russia and Bangladesh for Rooppur Nuclear Power plant near Dhaka — Delhi’s first such civil nuclear document — amid foundation stone laying for the project that would power South Asia’s second fastest growing economy. Bangladesh saw the first concrete pouring into the reactor building foundation of its first Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, which will mark the construction of Bangladesh’s first nuclear reactor and make it the third country in South Asia after India and Pakistan to have a civil nuclear project. While India has been working with major powers (USA, Russia and Japan) across various sectors as well as firming up joint ventures in third countries in Africa, SE Asia and Central Asia, it would be the first occasion where Delhi will conclude a tripartite civil nuclear project marking India’s global entry into a strategic sector. In fact, India for the first time ever is playing a substantive role in building a nuclear power plant on foreign soil with the proposed supply of equipment and material for the power station being built by Bangladesh with Russian assistance. Bangladeshi nuclear scientists and technicians are undergoing training at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant which is also built with Russian assistance and uses Russian nuclear technology. It will also boost the Make in India initiative amid a proposal by Delhi to Moscow for manufacturing of some nuclear power reactor equipment in India. The Rooppur plant involves two units, each with a capacity of 1200 MW and is situated on the bank of Padma river. Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant’s generation units will be based on VVER-1200 reactors of the 3+ generation technology. VVER-1200 technology is also likely to be offered to India for the second set of six Russian built nuclear reactors. This technology uses “post-Fukushima” safety standards for a nuclear power plant.

Rest of the World

South Korea said it plans to increase its solar-generated power by five times current amounts by 2030 to boost use of renewable sources in the nation’s energy mix. Since a new government came to power in May 2017 on a platform of cutting South Korea’s reliance on nuclear power, the government has torn up plans to build six more reactors in favour of “eco-friendly” energy sources. The world’s fifth-biggest nuclear energy user currently operates 24 nuclear reactors that generate about a third of its total electricity needs. South Korea plans to provide a fifth of the country’s total amount of electricity from renewable energy by 2030, up from 7 percent in 2016. As of 2017, South Korea has 5.7 GW of generating capacity from solar power and 1.2 GW from wind power.

EU Environment and Energy Ministers agreed renewable energy targets for 2030 ahead of negotiations next year with the European Parliament, which has called for more ambitious green energy goals. Ministers said they would aim to source at least 27 percent of the bloc’s energy from renewables by 2030, up from a target of 20 percent by 2020. EU member states set a 14 percent renewables target for fuels used in road transport by 2030, with bonuses given for the use of renewable electricity in road and rail transport. The inclusion of rail into the renewable transport targets was criticized by the European Commission, as large parts of the European rail network are already electrified. The European Council and the European Parliament will need to find a compromise in talks over the final legal texts on these matters next year. The EU’s renewables targets are part of a set of proposals to implement the bloc’s climate goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in the wake of the Paris Agreement to limit further global warming to no more than 2 degrees.

Three state senators in New Jersey sponsored a bill that could cost electric ratepayers about $320 million a year to subsidize nuclear reactors that could otherwise be closed. The reactors were profitable now but could start losing money over the next couple of years because cheap natural gas has depressed power prices. In 2016, New York and Illinois adopted rules to subsidize some reactors that were in danger of closing. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have also considered proposals to protect their reactors.

The final version of comprehensive tax legislation being negotiated by House and Senate lawmakers will preserve key renewable energy tax credits that were once at risk of being removed. Congressional and business sources confirmed that the production tax credit for wind energy and the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit, which the House version of the bill had targeted, will remain in the final bill. Lawmakers have been working to produce a tax package after the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed different versions of legislation. Meanwhile, the renewable energy industry is awaiting final details on how congressional negotiators will address problems created by a provision included in the Senate-passed bill called the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT).

A Japanese court ordered Shikoku Electric Power Co not to restart one of its reactors, overturning a lower court decision and throwing into turmoil Japan’s protracted return to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. The decision by the High Court in Hiroshima in western Japan has no immediate effect on Shikoku Electric’s operations because the reactor in question has been idled for maintenance, but it casts into doubt any restart. The ruling also marks a victory for Japan’s anti-nuclear movement, which has won a number of lawsuits seeking to halt or prevent nuclear operations in recent years, only to see them overturned by more conservative higher courts. Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric are the only other two nuclear operators with reactors running. Just four reactors are currently operating out of 42 commercially viable units. All reactors in Japan had to be relicensed after a new regulator was set up following the Fukushima disaster of 2011. Residents have lodged injunctions against most nuclear plants across Japan. Lower courts have been increasingly siding with them on safety concerns, but the verdicts are usually overturned in higher courts.

Egypt will sign contracts with Moscow during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cairo for the country’s first nuclear power plant. The construction of the 4,800 MW capacity plant, which is supposed to be built at Dabaa in the north of the country, is expected to be completed within seven years. Moscow and Cairo signed an agreement in 2015 for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Egypt, with Russia extending a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction. The trial operation of the first nuclear reactor is expected to take place in 2022. Egypt, with a population of nearly 104 million and vast energy needs, wants to diversify its energy sources. The nuclear plant is expected not to just cover the country’s energy needs, but to produce excess which can be exported.

With its smog-prone north desperate to slash coal consumption, China is looking to deploy nuclear power to provide reliable winter heating, raising public safety concerns – though developers said, the risks are minimal. CNNC recently conducted a successful 168-hour trial run in Beijing for a small, dedicated “district heating reactor” (DHR) it has named the “Yanlong”. With the north facing natural gas shortages as cities switch away from coal, CNNC presented the “DHR-400” as an alternative heat supplier for the region, with each 400 MW unit capable of warming 200,000 urban households. With northern China still relying on “centralised” heating systems, a DHR in every city could be an ideal solution. The government is keen on the technology, but cautious about deploying it too quickly, especially amid widespread public anxiety about the risks of nuclear power.

The French government dropped a legal target set by the previous government to reduce the share of nuclear to 50 percent by 2025, from 75 percent.


Diesel prices flare up to a new record level ofRs 59.70 per litre in Delhi

January 2, 2018. Diesel prices have flared up to a new record level in Delhi while petrol, kerosene and jet fuel prices continue to rise in the country in line with the surge in global crude oil prices. State-owned oil companies sold diesel to retail consumers forRs 59.70 a litre in Delhi on January 1st, 2018 at the highest ever price in the city. In Kolkata and Chennai, diesel prices were the highest since September 2014. In Mumbai, prices were the highest since March 2017. Petrol prices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and many other cities were the highest since October 3, 2017, when the Centre decided to cut excise duty byRs 2 on petrol and diesel to bring some relief to consumers. October was also the month the government directed companies to stop monthly hikes in prices of cooking gas – hikes were intended to eliminate subsidy on cooking fuel. Petrol and diesel prices are linked to international rates, revised daily and published on the website of state-owned oil companies. Prices of cooking gas, jet fuel and other oil products are revised monthly. Revised prices of cooking gas haven’t been published for January. But prices of jet fuel and kerosene have risen marginally this month. The price of jet fuel has risen toRs 57,460 per kilolitre (kl) fromRs 57,349 per kl for domestic airlines in Delhi. For international airlines, it has risen to $639 per kl from $634 per kl. The price of subsidised kerosene has risen toRs 22.39 per litre in Mumbai fromRs 22.12 per litre.

Source: The Economic Times

LPG price movements: Monthly hikes set to return, in a smaller dose

January 1, 2018. The government is likely to reintroduce the monthly price increase on cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but  with a lower one ofRs 3 orRs 2 a cylinder, compared with theRs 4 a month it started from June. In December, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) had refrained from the monthly increase in price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders. Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) will target the subsidy towards people below the poverty line, including Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) consumers. According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), the subsidy on cooking gas for a cylinder wasRs 251 in December. Total consumption has recorded growth for 51 months in a row. The growth was 6.7 percent in November and cumulative growth was 8.8 percent from April to November in 2017. Of the five regions, the north had the highest share in consumption at 31 percent, followed by south at 28.7 percent, west at 22.1 percent, east at 15.8 percent and the northeast at 2.3 percent during April to November. As of November, India had around 251.1 million domestic LPG consumers —121.2 million with IOC, 64 million with BPCL, and 65.9 million with HPCL. However, only 214 million are active consumers, according to the PPAC. During 2016-17, LPG consumption in India saw a rise of almost 10 percent to 21.5 million tonnes (mt), against 19.6 mt in 2015-16. The   government was also successful in adding another 32.2 million below poverty line customers through the PMUY since July 2016. For the first six months of the financial year, cumulative subsidy claims on LPG and kerosene sent to the petroleum ministry stood atRs 9,079 crore, set to increase further with the recent rise in international prices. Import of LPG and petcoke accounted for 76.3 percent of petroleum product imports during November, while LPG alone accounted for 41.9 percent of total petroleum, oil and lubricants imports. About 98.4 percent of total LPG import  was from West Asia  during the month.

Source: Business Standard

Himachal Pradesh government slashes VAT on fuel by 1 percent

December 30, 2017. Days after coming to power in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government notified its decision of decreasing Value Added Tax (VAT) by 1 percent on petrol and diesel. Although the decision was taken by the previous Congress government before the assembly election, it was not implemented due to the Model Code of Conduct. Currently, the state has imposed 27 percent VAT on petrol and 16 percent on diesel. The revised rates after reduction in the VAT would beRs 68.32 per litre for petrol andRs 56.32 for diesel. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also asked the states to slash the VAT on fuel by 5 percent.

Source: Business Standard

Government takes back LPG price hike order after ‘contrary’ signal

December 28, 2017. The government has withdrawn its decision to raise LPG prices byRs 4 per cylinder every month as the move was seen contrary to its Ujjwala scheme of providing free cooking gas connections to the poor. The government had previously ordered public sector oil marketing companies to raise domestic cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices byRs 4 per cylinder every month beginning June 2016 with a view to eliminating subsidies. The order was, however, withdrawn in October. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that there is no plan to increase or decrease the basic subsidy and would be provided to needy consumers. Subsequently, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) have not raised LPG prices from October.

Source: Business Standard

LPG dealership expansion gains pace

December 28, 2017. The plan by state-run Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to expand its liquefied petroleum gas dealership has gathered momentum with the addition of 2,156 dealers in the past two months across 23 states. The road map is to appoint 6,149 distributors across the country through an online selection process, which might see an investment ofRs 2,000 crore in the industry. However some opposition-ruled states such as West Bengal were not co-operating with the online bidding process despite several letters from the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and the OMCs — Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL). Kolkata-based MSTC is conducting the online draw for the OMCs. This is for the first time that OMCs have changed the selection process from physical to the digital mode, with the introduction of online receipts of application, processing and online draw.  This initiative of the ministry is part of promoting Digital India and to bring more transparency and accountability in the selection process. It is also part of the goal set by Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to increase liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) penetration to 95 percent by 2020 from 74 percent. There are around 19,000 agencies and the government wants to increase that to 27,000 by 2019. Among the new distributors, 3,000 would be for IOC, while BPCL and HPCL would have 1,500 each. Meanwhile, the Cabinet is likely to take a call next month on a proposal to increase the reach of PMUY (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) schemes by adding 30 million connections.  In the past two years, the BJP-led government was also successful in increasing LPG reach by more than 18 percent. To achieve this target, the Centre had launched the PMUY to provide 50 million LPG connections in three years to below-poverty-line families, with a government support ofRs 1,600 a connection. So far, 32-million LPG users have been added under the scheme. Of the 6,149 distributors to be appointed, 1,028 would be in Uttar Pradesh, 986 in Bihar, 631 in West Bengal, 400 in Odisha, 300 in Jharkhand, 300 in Gujarat, 455 in Maharashtra, 355 in Madhya Pradesh and 298 in Tamil Nadu.

Source: Business Standard

India challenges China as world’s biggest LPG importer

December 27, 2017. India is set to surpass China as the biggest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) this month as a drive to replace wood and animal dung fires for cooking boosts consumption. Shipping data shows LPG shipments to India will reach 2.4 million tonnes in December, pushing it ahead of top importer China, on 2.3 million tonnes, for the first time. India’s LPG purchases have surged from just 1 million tonnes a month in early 2015 on the back of a government program to bring energy to millions of poor households relying on open fires. China, India and Japan together make up about 45 percent of global LPG purchases.

Source: Reuters


ONGC makes significant oil, gas discovery in Arabian Sea

January 1, 2018. Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has made a significant oil and gas discovery to the west of its prime Mumbai High fields in the Arabian Sea, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said. He said the discovery was made in the well WO-24-3 (WO-24-C) drilled west of Mumbai High fields. The discovery has indicated potential in-place reserves of about 29.74 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas, he said. Mumbai High, India’s biggest oil field, currently produces 205,000 barrels of oil per day (just over 10 million tonnes per annum) and the new find would add to that production in less than two years’ time. ONGC is carrying out a further appraisal of the discovery and has intimated upstream regulator the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). The new find, which comes almost 50 years after ONGC began production in Mumbai High, will help the company maintain production levels from the basin for a longer time than currently estimated. Mumbai High is ONGC’s flagship oil producing assets.

Source: Business Standard

Four CNG stations to be launched in Kochi

December 27, 2017. Marking the beginning of CNG (compressed natural gas) era, first batch of four CNG filling stations in the state, are set to be inaugurated in Kochi. The stations being rolled out by IOC Adani Gas Private Ltd (IOAGPL) may be opened at Falcon Infrastructures Ltd fuel station at Eloor, Aluva garage, near SCMS Kalamassery and Kundannoor. The IOAGPL is planning to start more stations after the opening of the first four ones. Use of CNG would cut down the carbon emission and so government has made CNG mandatory for vehicles in places like Delhi. The IOAGPL authorities are learnt to have expedited the work on Kochi city gas project. The project which aims at providing piped natural gas (PNG) connection to around 50,000 households in Ernakulam was inaugurated by the then chief minister Oommen Chandy in February, 2016. The IOAGPL could not provide PNG connections beyond 200 households even after two years. In the first one-and-a-half years, the company delayed the laying of pipeline for the project due to reasons which are not disclosed so far. In 2017, there started certain dispute with Kochi corporation over the road restoration charges to be given by the IOAGPL.

Source: The Times of India


CIL achieves near 8 percent sales growth in April-December 2017

January 2, 2018. Coal India Ltd (CIL) has achieved a 7.6% growth in sales during April-December 2017 against the previous corresponding period when it achieved a 0.6% growth. During this period, CIL sold almost 421 million tonnes (mt) of coal reducing pithead inventory by about 37.5 mt. In the previous corresponding period CIL sold almost 392 mt. Western Coalfields achieved the highest sales growth of 30.2% followed by Central Coalfields and Northern Coalfields at 17.1% and 17.7% respectively. South Eastern Coalfields achieved near 12% growth In December last year it sold 53.44 mt against 51.46 mt produced in December 2016 thus achieving a near 4% growth.

Source: The Economic Times

SCCL targets 85 mt coal production in next 5 yrs

January 1, 2018. Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL), a state-owned miner, said it expects the coal production to touch 85 million tonnes (mt) per annum in the next five years as it plans to open up 12 new mines. According to SCCL, the miner transported 46.7 mt of coal as on December 2017 against 42.7 mt for the first nine months of the previous fiscal. The production was pegged at nearly 42 mt. SCCL’s Chairman and Managing Director N Sridhar further expressed hope that the production and coal dispatches may touch 2.10 lakh tonnes and 2.15 lakh tonnes a day, respectively, during the next three months.

Source: Business Standard

Government sanguine about coal sector in 2018 on demand upswing

December 28, 2017. The government is looking at 2018 with renewed optimism for the coal sector in the wake of demand upturn and expecting 6-7 percent growth in supply of the dry fuel next year. Also, the government is hopeful of a better show by Coal India Ltd (CIL), which is expected to achieve an output of 600 million tonnes in 2017-18. In 2017, there has been a resumption in demand for coal and this has been the greatest difference from the last year, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar said. Bottlenecks in coal supply to power plants turned out to be a big issue this year. While power producers held the coal ministry responsible for inadequate coal supply, the latter blamed the former for the low stock of fuel at plants. The coal ministry went to the extent of saying that there was no shortage of the dry fuel and power plants should have adhered to the Central Electricity Authority’s guidelines for stocking of coal. Hoping that coal supply will grow at 6-7 percent in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17, he predicted that 2018-19 will see a more improved performance. In October, the Karnataka government had asked the Centre to ensure adequate supply of coal and early allocation of a coal block in Odisha to meet the severe fuel shortage faced by power units.

Source: Business Standard

CIL set to benefit from new fee and volume uptick

December 27 2017. Coal India Ltd (CIL)’s profitability should benefit from a rise in coal earnings. It introduced evacuation facility charges ofRs 50 per tonne on all coal despatches (except despatches through rapid-loading arrangement) with immediate effect. This is expected to generate incremental annual revenue ofRs 2,500 crore, addingRs 800 crore to revenue in the current fiscal alone. Analysts believe volume growth outlook will start looking better in the coming days. During April-November 2017, CIL’s production increased 1.8% year-on-year, whereas offtake (despatches/sales volume) improved at a faster pace of 8.1%. However, offtake in November alone was relatively slower at 5.2%. So far, CIL has achieved 95% of its production target and 97% of its offtake target. Analysts expect the company to miss its full-year targets this year. CIL’s FSA (fuel supply agreement) volumes realizations had improved quarter-on-quarter in the September quarter and it will be worth watching whether the trend continues. That apart, price hikes, if they happen, augur well for the stock.

Source: Livemint


NTPC clocks highest quarterly power generation

January 2, 2018. State-owned power producer NTPC Ltd announced it clocked highest-ever quarterly electricity generation in the October-December period of 2017. The country’s largest power producer, with an installed power capacity base of 51,383 MW, also achieved commercial declaration of 4,415 MW capacity during the first nine months of the current fiscal. The company also said it has increased its green footprint in line with the government’s thrust on renewable energy. NTPC also informed it is currently implementing more than 20,000 MW capacity power projects under various stages of construction.

Source: The Economic Times

India power tariffs could rise 62-93 paise per kWh: Singh

January 2, 2018. Electricity tariffs across India are expected to rise by 62 to 93 paise ($0.0098-$0.0146) per kilowatt hour (kWh) during the first year of upgrades to coal-fired power plants, Power Minister R K Singh told lawmakers. The estimate of tariff increases of up to nearly 20 percent on average power fees comes amid rising levels of smog in the capital and other major cities, which has put pressure on the government and generators to tackle a growing public health crisis. Power tariffs are a politically sensitive issue in India, where more than three quarters of the electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. The average power tariff in India is aroundRs 5 per kWh. India, which is looking to facilitate loans to power producers through state-run financial institutions to fund one-time costs, aims to make all coal-fired power plants comply with emission-cutting norms by 2022, Central Electrical Authority (CEA) Chairman Ravindra Kumar Verma said. CEA has prepared a phase-in plan for implementing new environmental norms to ensure minimum disruption while plants are shut down for retrofitting, Singh told the upper house of India’s parliament in a written reply. Thermal power companies account for 80 percent of all industrial emissions of lung-damaging particulate matter, sulphur and nitrous oxides in India.

Source: Reuters

For Telangana’s rural economy, 24×7 free power could be transformational

January 2, 2018. The ₹ 6,000 crore, 24×7 power supply promised to the agriculture sector from January 1 in Telangana is a pioneering move with far-reaching consequences politically and financially, with potential to rejuvenate the rural economy. From a deficit of about 2,000 MW when the State was formed in June 2014, to be in a position to supply 24×7 power to all industries, and now round-the-clock free power to farmers from the Rabi season, is a creditable achievement. However, the impact of free power on the State’s finances, and the health of the distribution companies (discoms), needs to be closely watched. The State utilities have invested ₹ 12,316 crore to strengthen the transmission and distribution system for 24×7 power supply. The discoms will have to contend with additional agricultural demand of 9,765 million units in FY18. Two discoms have made projections that in FY19, the revenue demand will be ₹ 35,774 crore, against a revenue generation of ₹ 26,003 crore, leaving a gap of ₹ 9,771 crore. To bridge the revenue gap, the government will have to significantly increase the budgetary support to keep the discoms financially healthy.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Power ministry not in favour of retrofitting old power plants

January 2, 2018. The power ministry is mulling using supercritical power plants to meet new emission norms instead of retrofitting the old polluting units, which could increase their tariff by up to 93 paise per unit. The government has estimated a capital expenditure ofRs 88 lakh toRs 1.28 crore per megawatt for retrofitting the old plant to meet new emission norms. Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said that the capital expenditure on retrofitting old plants to comply with new norms will be up toRs 1.28 crore per megawatt.

Source: Business Standard

Madhya Pradesh discom detects huge power theft in khijrabad zone

December 30, 2017. Madhya Pradesh distribution company (discom) detects huge power theft in khijrabad zone Indore: After introducing its energy audit system in Khijrabaad zone, Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Ltd (MPPKVVCL) has detected power theft cases at around 129 houses of the area. The theft cases were reported in localities including Royal Garden, Amaan Nagar, Kuaa Masjid Area near Rockwood, Samrat Nagar, Bhangarh, near Star Aatta Chakki, Ali Colony Garden, Khijrabad Masjid area, Kadar Colony and near Harun Colony area. These figures have come out after the power company conducted a check of all of its connections. Discom said that in 70 percent of such cases, consumers were found to have been stealing power directly from the main supply line. While in remaining 30 percent cases, consumers had tempered with their electricity meters to steal power. Discom said that this loss was calculated with help of energy audit system. Discom, in a bid to reduce power loss and control theft, had been running special drives to check such irregularities. It is also installing electricity meters in its distribution transformers under Energy Audit System. Discom also plans to introduce the same system in all feeders of Indore region.

Source: The Economic Times

Maharashtra power utility to hold farm power bill correction camps

December 30, 2017. Finally taking cognisance of large number of complaints of inflated power bills issued to farmers, MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd) has decided to hold bill correction camps at 11 kilovolt (kV) feeder level. The camps will be held in the first week of January. MSEDCL said that farmers who have problems with their bills should go to MSEDCL offices with the last bill and receipt. MSEDCL circular issued in this regard states that if a farmer has participated in Mukhya Mantri Krishi Sanjivani Yojana by payingRs 3,000 orRs 5,000 and has applied for bill correction then his supply should not be disconnected till the deadline for paying the first instalment. However, if any farmer has not participated in the amnesty scheme then connection of such farmer should disconnected as per rules. The circular also states that if a farmer has paid the first instalment under the amnesty scheme then he would get an extension of three months for paying the remaining instalments.

Source: The Economic Times

Thailand’s EGCO eyes Indian power projects

December 29, 2017. Thailand’s Electricity Generating Public Company (EGCO) is scouting for power generation assets in India, including those in the clean energy space. Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) owns 25.41% in EGCO, a listed company. The EGCO Group has a contracted capacity of 4,573.81 MW through 28 power projects in Thailand and in countries such as Australia, the Philippines, Laos and Indonesia. EGCO’s interest comes against the backdrop of India’s focus on improving electricity access with the government launching theRs 16,320 crore Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya to provide electricity connections to over 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. EGCO’s interest comes against the backdrop of India planning a slew of electricity sector reforms such as penalizing distribution companies (discoms) for any disruption in electricity supplies post March 2019, and tariff slab rationalization to help improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kilowatt hour (kWh), among the lowest in the world.

Source: Livemint

L&T winsRs 10 bn contract to maintain 5 mn smart meters

December 29, 2017. Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India’s biggest infrastructure and project execution company, has won aRs 1,000 crore contract to maintain 5 million smart meters in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the next eight years. The smart meter tender, floated by state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) earlier this year, was divided into two parts — meter procurement and systems integration. The latter exercise would involve meter installation, data storage on Cloud and preparing dashboards, among other things. L&T, Keonics, and China-based IESLAB had shown interest in the systems integration part of the tender. As a systems integrator, L&T will provide the GPRS-based solution that requires the placing of a SIM card in the meter for communication. Major telecom operators, including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL, have been roped in for supplying 5 million SIM cards for the smart meters. Smart meters are a part of the overall advanced metering infrastructure solutions (AMI) aimed at better demand response designed to reduce energy consumption during peak hours. L&T had also initially won the contract for supplying 2.5 million smart meters, but later lost out to state-owned Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) Limited, which quoted a price ofRs 2,503 per meter in a reverse auction conducted by EESL. L&T had originally quotedRs 2,722 for each meter. The smart meters order by EESL is the largest in the world, the government has said. New Delhi is seeking to bring down aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of state utilities through smart metering, which will increase billing efficiency.

Source: The Economic Times

Brookfield-Kotak bids for Jaypee’s 2.2 GW power assets

December 29, 2017. Canadian asset manager Brookfield and the Kotak Mahindra group have jointly bid for 2,200 MW of power assets belonging to Jaypee Power Ventures, a unit of Jaiprakash Associates. The consortium submitted its bid to the committee of creditors and top executives gave a detailed presentation on operational and financial details for the mix of both thermal and hydel assets in north and east India, they said. A deal, if concluded, will close at an equity value ofRs 3,500-4,000 crore, they said. The power assets are currently part of the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) process intended to salvage the debt-laden company. Brookfield will own 90% of the assets, according to the proposal. Brookfield’s local partner Kotak will hold the remaining 10%. Lenders to Jaiprakash Power Ventures have been looking to sell assets under the SDR scheme since March. Brookfield had held independent talks to purchase the 4,000 MW of assets. Lenders subsequently split these into two — 2,200 MW and 1,800 MW of assets — and sought bids separately for them.

Source: The Economic Times

2017 draws to a close with improved power sector performance in November

December 28, 2017. The year 2017 draws to a close with improved performance of the power sector in November on key growth indicators including generation, electricity supply, coal availability and short-term prices even as capacity addition remained low. Power generation, excluding that from the renewable resources, increased 1.7 percent year-on-year to 95 billion units in November. The increase was driven by higher generation across all the sectors including thermal, hydro and nuclear. During the month, all India energy requirement rose 5.4 percent to 93 billion units as compared to the same month last year. India’s power generation from the renewable sources improved by 4.4 percent year-on-year to 6.6 billion units in October 2017 on account of improved generation from the solar sector due to its higher installed capacity and marginal improvement in plant load factor (PLF). Wind power generation, however, continued to decline in October 2017 due to lower PLFs. The share of renewables in the total energy generation improved marginally to 6 percent in October 2017 from 5.9 percent in the same month last year.

Source: The Economic Times

24-hour power for all by March 2019: Singh

December 28, 2017. By March 2019, all homes in the country will be provided uninterrupted 24-hour power supply throughout the year, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said. Singh said by December 2018, 1,694 villages, which are yet to be electrified, will have electricity connection and works in this regard has been going on. All homes will get 24-hour power by March 2019, he said. He also said a new law will be enacted to impose penalties on power distribution companies in case of failure to provide uninterrupted power after March 2019, except due to technical reasons. He said the government has set a target of reducing the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of power from the current 21 percent to 15 percent by January 2019. He saidRs 1,75,000 crore is being spent to improve the power infrastructure across the country.

Source: The Economic Times

PFC, TPDDL in MoU for power distribution

December 28, 2017. Power Finance Corp (PFC) said its consultancy arm PFC Consulting Ltd (PFCCL) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) for jointly exploring opportunities in electricity distribution sector in the country. The scope of the agreement include jointly taking up various distribution projects, network strengthening, electrical mobility, smart grid, smart metering, distributed energy resources, energy storage or any other distribution scheme of the Union power ministry in various state discoms and in electricity distribution sector worldwide.

Source: The Economic Times

Panel yet to prepare VRS proposal for CIL workers: Goyal

December 27, 2017. The government said a panel set up to prepare the draft voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for the employees of Coal India Ltd (CIL) is yet to formulate the proposal. A committee has been constituted to deliberate and formulate the draft Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for the employees of CIL. However, the committee is yet to formulate the VRS, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said. CIL has about three lakh employees. In 2017-18, CIL has been pegged production target at 600 million tonnes (mt) with an annualised growth of about 8.3 percent over the last year. In 2018-19, the envisaged coal production projection is 773.70 mt with a growth of about 28.95 percent. The country is expected to achieve the coal production of 1.5 billion tonne by 2022, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar had recently said. Earlier, the government had announced to achieve a coal output of 1.5 billion tonne by 2019-20. The coal ministry had set the target of 1 billion tonne by 2019-20 for CIL to cut imports and increase availability of the dry fuel to bolster growth.

Source: Business Standard

After pay revision, 3k workers of Uttarakhand power utility call off strike

December 27, 2017. The state government on revised the pay scale of over 3,000 employees of Uttarakhand Power Corp Ltd (UPCL) who had earlier threatened to go on strike from January 5. The implementation of the revised pay structure, however, would cause an additional burden ofRs 30 crore annually to the state government. For past one month, the state government had been on the collision course with the agitating UPCL employees who were alleging discrepancies in the salary structures after the implementation of the seventh pay commission.

Source: The Economic Times

All villages in Bihar electrified: CM

December 27, 2017. All 39,073 villages of Bihar were now electrified, Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar said. He said that every household in the state would have a free power connection by the end of the next calendar year. The efforts in this regard were a part of Kumar’s seven resolves (“saat nischay”) of good governance. Kumar has, on a number of occasions, said improving the electricity situation in power-starved Bihar was a topmost priority of his government. He was addressing a function organised by the state power department, where all the 39,073 villages of the state were declared electrified and foundation stones were laid for power projects worthRs 3,030.52 crore. He said that the turnaround in the power situation was achieved through a number of reforms, as a part of which “the state electricity board underwent a major revamp and a number of government-run power companies were set up”.

Source: Business Standard


Implement solar-based irrigation scheme in all districts: Haryana CM

January 2, 2018. Haryana Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar directed that solar-based micro irrigation schemes be implemented in all districts. He also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency to chalk out a strategy in this regard. At present, the scheme is being implemented on a pilot basis in 14 canal outlets in 13 districts with an outlay ofRs 24.65 crore. Khattar said this while presiding over a meeting on the solar based micro-irrigation system. He said the solar-based irrigation system would not only save electricity and water considerably but also prove to be economical for the farmers. He directed that the ponds lying unused in the villages should be utilised for setting up solar panels for micro irrigation. Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar issued directions for the implementation of the scheme for providing water through solar pump sets in two blocks — Salahwas in Jhajjar district and Indri in Karnal district.

Source: Business Standard

TPREL commissions 50 MW DCR solar plant in Karnataka

January 2, 2018. Renewable energy company Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL), announced the commissioning of its 50 MW DCR solar plant at Pavagada Solar Park in the state. The project was won by the company on April 4, 2016 under the National Solar Mission Phase-II Batch-II Tranche-I State Specific Bundling Scheme, the company said. With this development, TPREL’s total installed operating capacity now stands at 1664 MW, it said. The 50 MW solar plants have been built over 253 acres, TPREL said. The sale of power from solar plant has been tied up under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with NTPC Ltd at a tariff ofRs 4.84/ unit. TPREL recently commissioned 25 MW solar plant in Charanka, Gujarat Solar Park, Gujarat; 30 MW solar plant in Palaswade in Maharashtra and 100 MW Solar plant at Pavagada Solar park in Karnataka. Tata Power’s vision is to have 35-40 percent of the company’s total generation capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2025, the company said. Tata Power’s renewable energy capacity this year crossed 2000 MW and green generation portfolio crossed the 3000 MW mark, it said.

Source: The Economic Times

India can reach 17 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022: Government

January 2, 2018. India can reach a capacity of 17,000 MW in renewable energy by the year 2022. Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said the share of renewable energy was progressively increasing in the Indian electricity mix. As per the share of renewable energy in the total electric power generation capacity, the addition was 52.2 percent, he said. He said the installed capacity was consistently increasing.

Source: The Economic Times

NLCIL commissions 130 MW solar power project in Neyveli

January 1, 2018. NLC India Ltd (NLCIL) commissioned its 130 MW solar power project in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu. Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar, who inaugurated the project, said NLCIL was significantly delivering its share in renewable energy arena in line with country’s agenda of 175 GW of power generation capacity from green sources. The 130 MW solar project has been implemented in two blocks of 65 MW each.

Source: Business Standard

Chandigarh to go 100 percent green on power by end of 2018

January 1, 2018. If all goes according to the plans of the Ministry of New and Renewal Energy (MNRE), City Beautiful will be on green energy by the end of 2018. After the selection of Chandigarh for development as a model solar city, MNRE directed Chandigarh administration to make the city 100% renewable energy powered. The project deadline is the end of 2018. In recent years, the Centre has been laying considerable emphasis on promotion of renewable energy for its environmental benefits. Since Chandigarh does not have its own power plant, it buys power from Central generating stations such as Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd, National Thermal Power Corp Ltd, Bhakra Beas Management Board, National Hydroelectric Power Corp (NHPC) and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN). Power allocation from each station is fixed for one year, while the deficit is met through an unallocated quota and short-term power purchase. Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) said the administration plans to replace thermal and nuclear power with wind energy. The Chandigarh electricity department is also preparing a master plan for proposed yearly growth of renewable energy, with short, medium and long term targets fixed for 2022, 2026 and 2030. The department has floated a tender to hire a consultant to prepare a plan for which budget ofRs 30 lakh has been earmarked.

Source: The Economic Times

GAIL commissions India’s second largest rooftop solar plant

January 1, 2018. GAIL (India) Ltd said it has commissioned the country’s second largest rooftop solar power plant. The firm has installed a 5.76 MWp (megawatt peak) solar plant at its petrochemical complex at Pata in Uttar Pradesh, the company said. The plant over the roofs of warehouses covers a total area of 65,000 square meters. Tata Power Solar had in December 2015 commissioned a 12 MW solar rooftop project in Amritsar, which produces more than 150 lakh units of power annually and offset over 19,000 tonne of carbon emissions every year. India is plans to have 40 GW of rooftop photovoltaics (PV) by 2022. This is part of its target of have 175 GW of non-hydro renewables capacity by 2022 (made up of 60 GW onshore wind, 60 GW utility-scale solar, 10 GW bio-energy, 5 GW small hydro and 40 GW rooftop solar). It currently has 60 GW of renewable energy capacity. GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi said the company as a marketer of benign natural gas is thrilled to integrate captive solar PV towards achieving lower carbon footprint at its installations. Captive solar power initiative of GAIL will reduce carbon emissions by 6,300 tonnes per annum and help India achieve climate goals.

Source: Business Standard

Government plans to set up bio-CNG plants and allied infrastructure

December 29, 2017. To promote the use of clean fuel, the oil ministry plans to set up bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) plants and allied infrastructure at a cost ofRs 7,000 crore. The oil ministry will be working with state-run oil and gas retailers to set up the plants over the next two years. Bio-CNG is a purified form of biogas with over 95% pure methane gas. It is similar to natural gas in its composition (97% methane) and energy potential. While natural gas is a fossil fuel, bio-CNG is a renewable form of energy produced from agricultural and food waste. Bio-CNG is being looked at as an environment-friendly alternative to diesel. Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd are the state-run oil marketing companies that the oil ministry will team up with to implement the plan. Gas marketer GAIL (India) Ltd will also be involved. The cost of production of 1kg of bio-CNG could beRs 15-20, cheaper than CNG, petrol and diesel. Transportation of bio-CNG could either be through injecting the fuel into the CNG grid or by trucks or in cylinders from the filling stations.

Source: Livemint

Solar plants in Chandigarh community centres to be discussed in MC meeting

December 29, 2017. Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) is all set to install solar power plants in the community centres of the MC and its new deluxe building in Sector 17. Besides this, the civic body has also planned to construct temporary sites for the vendors in various sectors and colonies of the city. The civic body has planned to investRs 1.35 crore for the temporary vending zones in the city. Since, the MC has been conducting the last round to register the vendors of all the municipal wards of the city, the vendors will get licences and other valid documents to get spaces allotted for them in the vending zones for doing their business.

Source: The Economic Times

IOC to start production of biomass-based ethanol

December 28, 2017. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) would initiate production of second generation ethanol by utilising crop residues and other biomass as feedstock at village Baoli in Panipat district of Haryana. The capacity of proposed plant would be 100 kilolitre of ethanol per day, this was informed during a meeting of Haryana Enterprise Promotion Board (HEPB), which was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. IOC has proposed to procure over two lakh tonne of rice straw, that is total production of four districts of Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat and Kurukshetra.

Source: Business Standard

NPCIL spentRs 7 bn more on KKNPP component, CAG finds

December 27, 2017. The Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL), which had agreed to build a major component of the Russian-make Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) on its own to save cost, ended up spendingRs 706 crore more, a CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report has said. According to the report, the cost of Russian scope in building the plant was nearly $1,600 million during initial negotiations between the NPCIL and Russia’s Atomstroyexport. The Russian side made an offer that the cost may decrease if the NPCIL takes up the work of erection and commissioning of Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) and Turbo Generator (TG). The NSSS and TG form the core of a nuclear power plant. During the final round of negotiations in August 2001, the offer was accepted by NPCIL and the cost of Russian scope was reduced to a fixed price of $1,535 million (` 7,217 crore). The unit 1 of the KKNPP started commercial operations in December 2014 and unit 2 in March this year. They were built at a cost ofRs 22,462 core. Both units have a capacity to generate 1000 MW each.

Source: Business Standard


Russian daily oil output edges up in 2017 to 30-year high

January 2, 2018. Russian oil production has continued to grow in 2017, with average daily output at a 30-year high of 10.98 million barrels per day, though the pace of growth slowed from 2016 because of the country’s participation in an OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) -led global supply pact. The Middle East-dominated OPEC and other leading oil producers agreed to cut their combined oil production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of 2017 to prop up prices. Russia said it would cut its output by 300,000 bpd from the 30-year monthly high of 11.247 million bpd hit in October 2016 and achieved the targeted cut by the second quarter. OPEC and Russia have subsequently agreed to extend the cuts for the whole of 2018. Russian energy ministry data showed that oil and gas condensate production stood at 10.95 million bpd in December, up from 10.94 million bpd in November.

Source: Reuters

Iraq’s exports from southern oilfields hit record 3.535 mn bpd in December

January 1, 2018. Oil exports from Iraq’s southern Basra ports rose to a record high of 3.535 million barrels per day (bpd) in December from 3.5 million bpd the previous month. Southern exports are on the rise as Iraq seeks to offset the halting of shipments from its Kirkuk oilfields in the north in mid-October after Iraqi forces took back control of fields from Kurdish fighters. The bulk of Iraq’s oil is exported via the southern terminals. The December figure for southern exports beat the previous record of 3.51 million bpd set in December 2016, the last month before an output cut agreement led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) took effect. Rising output from small oilfields developed by the state-run Basra Oil Company helped push up December exports. The increase last month, though, has not completely offset the halt of shipments from the north. Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia with an output capacity of 4.8 million bpd which Baghdad aims to increase to 5 million bpd.

Source: Reuters

Glencore sells parts of oil storage to China’s HNA, awaits US clearance

December 29, 2017. Swiss-based trading and mining giant Glencore Plc has partly completed the sale of a 51 percent stake in its storage and logistics businesses to a unit of China’s HNA Group, although transfer of some assets is pending US (United States) clearance. Glencore in March agreed to sell the stake in HG Storage International Ltd, a vehicle that carries its petroleum products storage and logistics portfolio, to HNA Innovation Finance Group Co for $775 million. HNA said that the companies had completed the deal and would operate HG Storage International Ltd’s portfolio in Europe, Africa and the Americas as a joint venture. Glencore had been looking to sell a bundle of its global oil storage stakes, following similar moves by rivals as a boom period for storage showed signs of ending.

Source: Reuters

US crude ends year above $60 on strong global oil demand

December 29, 2017. US (United States) oil prices closed above $60 a barrel on the final trading day of the year, the first time since mid-2015, as the commodity ended 2017 with a 12 percent gain spurred by strong demand and declining global inventories. International benchmark Brent crude futures ended the year with a 17 percent rise, supported by ongoing supply cuts by top producers OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and Russia as well as strong demand from China. The spread between the benchmarks widened throughout the year, as Brent responded to the drawdown in supply from major world producers while US output continued to grow. The gains indicate that the global glut that has dogged the market since 2014 is shrinking.

Source: Reuters

Italy’s Eni begins drilling oil well in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea: BSEE

December 28, 2017. Italian oil producer Eni this week began drilling a new well in US (United States) waters off the north coast of Alaska, becoming the first company to do so since 2015, federal regulators said. The oil and gas firm is working from an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea about three miles off Oliktok Point in the Arctic Ocean. The well is expected to run more than 6 miles (10 km) long. The project could result in 20,000 barrels a day of oil production, according to regulator US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which said it sent employees to the site to ensure compliance with federal regulations and safety standards. According to BSEE, Eni plans to use extended-reach drilling techniques to tap a formation on the Outer Continental Shelf that regulators approved a year ago. Eni is exploring the formation in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The companies plan to drill two exploration wells plus two potential sidetrack wells over the next two years, according to BSEE. Shell in 2015 abandoned its exploration activities in offshore Alaska, citing high costs and stringent regulations.

Source: Reuters


Norway’s pipeline gas exports to Europe at record high in 2017

January 2, 2018. Norway’s pipeline gas exports to Europe hit a record high in 2017, exceeding the previous year by almost 7 percent, preliminary data from the country’s offshore gas systems operator Gassco showed. Europe’s second-largest gas supplier after Russia exported 116 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas via pipelines to receiving terminals in Britain, Germany, France and Belgium last year, up from the previous record of 108.6 bcm in 2016. Norway’s pipeline gas exports meet about a quarter of Europe’s demand. Analysts said Norway’s export levels in 2017 were boosted by low summer maintenance at the country’s offshore gas fields, and higher output from its largest field, Troll. More than 40 percent of all exports went to terminals in Germany, and over 30 percent to Britain, with the rest shared between France and Belgium. The highest daily delivery in 2017 stood at 365.3 million cubic meters, the preliminary data showed. Norwegian authorities increased Troll’s production quota to 36 billion cubic meters from October 1, 2017 until Sept. 30, 2018, up from 33 bcm for the previous 12 months, its operator Statoil has said. Norway’s annual export of gas to Europe has held at over 100 billion cubic meters each year since 2012, Gassco’s data showed.

Source: Reuters

China’s Chongqing gas exchange aims to be Asia price benchmark

December 29, 2017. China plans to launch a natural gas exchange in Chongqing in early 2018, aiming to create an Asian price benchmark as the nation’s use of the fuel surges amid its shift away from coal. China is the world’s third-biggest consumer of natural gas behind the United States and Russia. An exchange in its fast-growing market would be a strong contender for an Asian gas marker off which other supplies in the region could be priced. The Chongqing Oil and Gas Exchange – supported by state energy majors, and private and local government-backed gas distributors – would provide a trading platform for domestic output, pipeline imports from Central Asia and Myanmar, and imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Chongqing is China’s second attempt to develop a traded gas market, having set up a similar exchange in 2015 in Shanghai. An Asian gas price benchmark to stand next to those of the United States and Europe is seen as a key missing piece in establishing a truly global market for natural gas. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) currently sets wholesale or city-gate gas prices by linking them to alternative fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel oil. China is also struggling to build the infrastructure needed to freely distribute gas supplies. An inadequate pipeline grid and insufficient storage helped to trigger a supply crunch this winter after millions of households were switched from using coal to gas for heating. The exchange, though, is confident rising demand and slowly expanding gas infrastructure will help it succeed. Chongqing, with its population of more than 30 million and proximity to Sichuan province’s large gas basin, already has a relatively well-developed gas grid, and distributors there are keen to participate on the exchange.

Source: Reuters

Repsol starts gas production from Sagari field in Peru

December 28, 2017. Spanish energy firm Repsol and its partners have commenced gas production from the Sagari field, located in block 57 in the Cusco region of Peru. The Repsol-operated field, which was discovered in 2012, is located in one of the areas with the highest gas production potential in Peru. With the production commencement from the Sagari, the block 57 total production capacity is expected to increase by 25% to 5.6 million cubic meters per day from January 2018. The expansion in the block’s production will be equivalent to one fourth of Peru’s natural gas demand, the company said. Repsol has 53.84% stake in Sagari field while China’s China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) owns the remaining 46.16% interest. According to preliminary estimations, the field holds between 1 and 2 trillion cubic feet of gas resources. Recently, the company has commenced production from the Reggane Nord gas fields in Algeria, marking the completion of one of its most significant projects in Africa.

Source: Energy Business Review


China’s thermal coal prices fall on easing import curbs

January 2, 2018. China has eased restrictions on coal imports by quickening the customs clearing process, dampening record high prices as cheaper foreign supply lands at ports. The country tightened imports by banning small ports from receiving foreign coal cargoes and delaying the process of issuing quality reports for imports from July 1. Traders said it took as many as 40 days to clear customs compared with one to two weeks previously. Prices of the most-active thermal coal futures have fallen more than 5 percent from a record high of 641 yuan ($98.77) per ton hit on December 18. Authorities at major coal import hubs have shortened the time it has taken to issue a quality inspection report for foreign coal cargoes and have cut random checks since late December. A campaign to switch millions of households from using coal to natural gas has created a shortage of natural gas, forcing factories and many gas power plants to shut. The campaign also unexpectedly boosted demand from coal-fired power plants, which are operating at higher rates to provide electricity for winter heating.

Source: Reuters

Czechs can seek return of funds in MUS coal mine privatization: Swiss court

December 29, 2017. The Czech Republic can seek hundreds of millions in funds seized by Swiss authorities from bank accounts linked to the disputed privatization of one of the nation’s coal mines two decades ago, Switzerland’s highest court said. The sale of lignite miner Mostecka Uhelna Spolecnost (MUS) became one of the biggest Czech post-communist privatization scandals, among a string of murky disposals of state-owned companies. Swiss authorities seized more than 660 million Swiss francs ($677 million), giving them jurisdiction over the case that delivered its verdicts in 2013. The Czech Republic had originally been excluded by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court from intervening as a private party after missing judicial filing deadlines relating to the case, despite saying it had been damaged by the MUS deal. The Swiss Federal Tribunal directed the Swiss criminal court to now take up the Czech claims. The tribunal, in Lausanne, also said its judges had rejected most of the appeals lodged by the five former MUS managers seeking to challenge their convictions four years ago in which they received prison sentences of 36 months to 52 months and financial penalties. MUS now has different owners, with its name changed to Czech Coal and Severni Energeticka.

Source: Reuters

China’s Shandong to shut 10.23 mt coal capacity after Beijing’s criticism

December 28, 2017. China’s industrialized province of Shandong plans to eliminate 10.23 million tonnes (mt) of coal capacity, two days after the central government criticized Shandong officials for failing to take action to curb coal capacity. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) issued a statement accusing Shandong officials of deceiving authorities to evade capacity cuts in the polluting coal, steel, aluminium and chemical sectors. Criticism came after the central government dispatched inspectors to Shandong in August and September to check its environmental situation. Shandong said it has met the 2017 target of eliminating 2.55 mt coal capacity.

Source: Reuters


Storm cuts power to 65k households in western France

January 1, 2018. Winter storm Carmen has cut power to about 65,000 households in western France and is moving south, power grid company Enedis said. Earlier, some 40,000 households in the Brittany region experienced power cuts but 30,000 have now been reconnected said Enedis, which has mobilized 1,500 staff to restore fix power lines. Enedis, a unit of French state-controlled utility EDF, said the storm was now moving to the regions of Poitou-Charente, Pays de Loire and Aquitaine. Major power cuts or blackouts are rare in France, which produces three quarters of its power with nuclear energy. In July 2015, some 830,000 households temporarily lost power in western France after exceptionally warm weather damaged transformers.

Source: Reuters

Chinese-built power plant boosts Botswana’s electricity production

December 27, 2017. Morupule B Power Station, a coal-fired power station built by the China National Electric Engineering Corp, has been credited to spurring electricity production in Botswana, Statistics Botswana said. Statistics Botswana said the volume of electricity generated in the third quarter of 2017 stood at 893,831 megawatt hour (MWh), an increase of 32.4 percent from 675,047 MWH in the second quarter. Morupule B Power Station, located some 270 km north of the capital Gaborone, accounts for 90 percent of the country’s domestic power generation. The generation of electricity in Botswana started in 1985 with a coal-fired thermal power station at Morupule operating at a capacity of 132 MWh. Prior to that, most of Botswana’s electricity was imported from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom. In 2008, South Africa’s electricity demand started to exceed its supply, resulting in the South African government restricting power exports. The volume of imported electricity decreased by 62.6 percent from 333,355 MWh during the third quarter of 2016 to 124,612 MWh during 2017 third quarter.

Source: Xinhua

Israel to open up power generation sector to more competition

December 27, 2017. Israel is set to open its power generation sector to more competition after workers at Israel Electric Corp (IEC) agreed a preliminary deal that also aims to help the state-owned utility cut its huge debts. A stand-off between the government, IEC and its workers has long been viewed as a constraint on Israel’s economy. The utility has said it never received enough money, with prices capped by the government, while IEC’s powerful workers’ union has blocked previous attempts to introduce competition. That stands to change, with the union giving its preliminary consent to a reform. A final agreement will be negotiated over the next 45 days. Under the outline agreement, IEC will remain a monopoly in distribution, but supply will be gradually opened up to competition. Areas such as system management and planning will be taken away and sold to a different government-owned company. The government had managed to open the power production market on a small scale in recent years and about a quarter already comes from private operators.

Source: Reuters


Oman launches tender for 500 MW solar plant

January 2, 2018. The Oman Power and Water Procurement company (OPWP) has issued a request for qualification to select developers interested in building a 500 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Oman. The project, which will be the country’s first large utility-scale PV independent power project, will be located in Ibri, around 300 km west from Muscat, and will be built at an estimated cost of around $500 million. The OPWP said it is planning to tender and build further solar plants up to 2024.

Source: pv magazine International

AboitizPower ready to take over Negros solar power project

January 2, 2018. Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) is set to take over the 59 MW solar power project in Negros Occidental, after it executed the deed of transfer overseas. Back in 2014, AboitizPower, through subsidiary Aboitiz Renewables Incorporated, entered into a joint framework deal to build solar photovoltaic projects in the country.

Source: Rappler

Iberdrola connects 350 MW Wikinger offshore wind farm to German grid

January 2, 2018. Spanish energy company Iberdrola has connected its 350 MW Wikinger offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea to the German power grid. Located about 34 km north-east of the Ruegen island and built at a cost of €1.4 bn, the Wikinger wind project has the capacity to meet the power consumption needs of 350,000 homes. This accounts to over 20% of the electricity consumed by the German state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Iberdrola estimates that Wikinger will offset nearly 600,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere each year.

Source: Energy Business Review

South Korea finalizes energy plan to boost renewable power generation

December 29, 2017. South Korea has finalised a power supply plan that aims to make renewables the country’s fuel of choice for power generation for the next 15 years, its energy ministry said. The plan is largely unchanged from a draft released that outlined the gradual reduction in use of coal and nuclear fuel as the usage of gas and renewables for power generation increased over 2017-2031. South Korea plans to meet 20 percent of its total electricity consumption with renewables by 2030. To achieve that goal, Asia’s fourth-largest economy aims to increase its installed capacity of renewable power to 58.5 GW by 2030, from 11.3 GW this year.

Source: Reuters

US biodiesel output falls to 146 mn gallons in October: EIA

December 29, 2017. US (United States) biodiesel production fell to 146 million gallons in October from 147 million gallons a month earlier, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report. Soybean oil remained the largest biodiesel feedstock, with 577 million lbs used in October.

Source: Reuters

Canadian Solar connects 19.1 MW solar park in Japan

December 28, 2017. Chinese vertically integrated solar power company Canadian Solar has connected to the Japanese grid a 19.1 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on the island of Honshu, Japan. The Gunma Aramaki solar plant lies some 100 km northwest of Tokyo and is comprised of 59,544 CS6X MaxPower Canadian Solar panels. The Canadian Solar plant is eligible for Japan’s feed-in tariff (FIT) at a rate of JPY 36 ($0.32)/kWh (kilowatt hour).

Source: pv magazine International


Natural Gas Supply, Production & Imports Scenario

States 2017-18 (Apr – Nov) % Share of States in Total Supply
Gujarat 21.52 25.8%
Maharashtra 16.64 20.0%
Madhya Pradesh 6.05 7.3%
Goa & Silvassa 1.07 1.3%
Rajasthan 4.39 5.3%
Haryana 3.41 4.1%
Uttar Pradesh 14.52 17.4%
Delhi 6.97 8.4%
Uttrakhand 0.54 0.6%
Himachal Pradesh 0.01 0.0%
Punjab 0.02 0.0%
Andhra Pradesh & Telangana 3.54 4.2%
Tamilnadu & Pondicherry 2.63 3.2%
Karnatka 0.12 0.1%
Kochi (Kerala) 0.23 0.3%
Tripura 1.3 1.6%
Assam 0.37 0.4%
Total Supply* 83.34 100%

*supply of gas by GAIL                                                                           P: Provisional

Source: PPAC & Lok Sabha Questions

Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar Tomar


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