Energy News Monitor | Volume XVII; Issue 19 – Observer Research Foundation

SOLAR MANUFACTURING RECEIVES POLICY BOOST

Monthly Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: September ‚Äď October 2020

India

Solar Manufacturing

The MNRE has asked solar manufacturers to provide a list of machinery and capital goods that should be exempted from basic customs duty, indicating that the duty may soon be imposed. Domestic manufacturers have been anticipating the duty on solar equipment for a long time. Power and Renewable Energy Minister told reporters in June that basic custom duty was likely to be imposed from 1 August to prevent the dumping of Chinese goods and protect national interests, where 80 percent of solar equipment is sourced from.

Solar Projects

India has set an ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. As of 31 August 2020, the total installed solar power generation capacity stood at 35.73 GW in the country out of the total renewable energy of 88.79 GW. Karnataka tops the chart with 7.29 GW installed solar power generation capacity followed by Rajasthan (5.31 GW) and Tamil Nadu (4.17 GW). As far as renewable energy generation capacity is concerned Karnataka again tops the chart with 15.26 GW followed by Tamil Nadu (14.64 GW) and Gujarat (11.11 GW). Tamil Nadu tops the wind energy generation capacity chart at 9.32 GW followed by Gujarat (7.77 GW) and Maharashtra (5 GW). Total installed wind power generation capacity in the country is at around 38 GW.

CIL’s arm CCL is planning to install 80 MWp ground-mounted solar power plant in the ongoing fiscal year. CCL said that action has also been taken for installation of solar plants on rooftops as green energy will reduce day-time demand. Till date, CCL has generated more than 720,000 units of solar power with the installed solar power plants. The company said that one kWh solar energy generation reduces 0.932 kg carbon dioxide emission. CIL and NLC India Ltd recently signed a pact for solar power generation of 3,000 MW across the subsidiaries of the coal behemoth. Solar power projects will be set up in the identified barren and reclaimed free land.

The UP government said it plans to install 8,000 solar-powered borewells in coming days and 35 percent of them would come up in the Purvanchal districts of the state. The districts set to benefit from the initiative include Balrampur, Shravasti, Siddharthnagar and Kushinagar where suitable locations would be identified for installations.

Rays Experts said it has commissioned 10 MW solar capacity in a solar park in Bhiwani district of Haryana. The breakthrough has put Haryana on the map of India’s solar power generation with a 10 MW solar park, which is currently lighting up around 15,000 homes across the region. The latest deployment is a part of an ongoing 40 MW project spread across 150 acres of land which was conceptualized back in 2017.

Thyssenkrupp Elevator India has collaborated with Amplus Solar to set up an onsite solar power unit at their Pune facility. It said that the Gurugram-based solar firm had recently commissioned the 820 kW solar power plant at the facility, which included 755 kW of rooftop solar and a 65 kW carport. A power purchase agreement to procure 820 kW of solar power for 20 years from Amplus Solar has also been signed. Thyssenkrupp Elevator would generate 1,067 MW of green energy in a year from this collaboration, which is equivalent to reducing 774 mt of carbon emissions annually. The solar plant was inaugurated at Thyssenkrupp Elevator’s multi-purpose facility at Chakan, Pune on 1 September.

MYSUN said that it has commissioned a rooftop solar plant in Rajasthan for a reputed textiles company. Located in Bhilwara, this 1.75 MWp solar power project is an amalgamation of clean aesthetics with advanced solar technology, the company said. The solar plant will help the company save approximately ‚āĻ19 mn every year on their power bills. With this plant, MYSUN has consolidated its leading position in Rajasthan for rooftop solar solutions. MYSUN is the largest online rooftop solar platform in India with approximately 100,000 registered Rooftops.

Tata Power signed a PPA with Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata to commission a solar carport in the city. The solar carport will have a capacity of keeping 125 -150 vehicles. The capital expenditure for the project will be borne by Tata Power and the electricity will be sold to the hospital at an agreed price. The hospital will buy entire power generated from the carport at ‚āĻ6.5/kWh which will be about 20-25 percent lower than the grid electricity price. The project will also help get green building certification for Apollo.

Chennai airport lags behind in harnessing solar energy while smaller airports have installed more generating capacity in the past few years. The city airport does not have adequate land to install solar panels to lean more on clean energy. The airport now has capacity to generate 1.6 MWp solar power from rooftop panels, while smaller airports in Chandigarh and Jaipur have more installed capacity. Chandigarh has 3 MWp capacity from ground-mounted panels while Jaipur has 1.9 MWp capacity, 1.8 MWp of which is from ground-mounted panels. Trichy, also smaller, generates 1.1 MWp ‚ÄĒ 1 MWp from ground-mounted panels. Kolkata tops AAI-run airports in harnessing solar power, with 17 MWp. As an alternative, AAI has brought in third party power purchase, from Karur, to increase use of solar power in Chennai airport. However, private airports have made better progress in increasing solar power generation.

DVC will focus only on solar projects to add capacity. It has already mooted 1776 MW floating solar projects in four of its dams in West Bengal and Jharkhand, the two states that jointly own the corporation along with the Union government. DVC has finalised a 50 MW solar project at Panchet (West Bengal), the tender for which has been floated.

To create more capacity for solar power generation in the state, GUVNL has floated a tender for the purchase of 500 MW of solar power through competitive bidding. The solar power will be procured from grid-connected solar photovoltaic power projects to be set up in the state. After financial bids reverse e-auction will be held. GUVNL shall enter PPAs with the successful bidders for a period of 25 years from the scheduled commercial operation date of the project.

The West Bengal cabinet approved a 5 MW grid-connected floating solar project at SgTPP in Murshidabad. West Bengal Power Development Corp Ltd will commission the plant that will have solar modules afloat on the Hydrolio floating platform, made by French company Ciel & Terre. The project is to be developed in raw water pond number 3 of SgTPP on a turnkey basis.

AGEL announced that it has completed the acquisition of 205 MW operating solar assets from Essel Green Energy Pvt Ltd and Essel Infraprojects Ltd. The assets are located in Punjab, Karnataka and UP. All the assets have long-term power purchase agreements with various state electricity distribution companies. The portfolio is relatively young with an average remaining power purchase agreement life of nearly 21 years. The acquired assets will be held 100 percent by Adani Renewable Energy Holding Ten Ltd, a 100 percent subsidiary of AGEL. AGEL, a part of the Adani Group, has 14 GW of operating, under-construction and awarded renewable power projects catering to investment-grade counterparties. It has been ranked as the number one global solar power generation asset owner by Mercom Capital. The company aims to achieve 25 GW of renewable power by 2025 and is committed to contribute to India’s Conference of Parties (COP) 21 goals.

City based innerwear company Dollar Industries Limited commissioned a 4 MW solar power plant at their manufacturing facility in Tirupur. The move is part of the company‚Äôs ‚Äėgreen mission‚Äô initiative and has a capacity of generating 7.5 mn kWh. The company has invested ‚āĻ180 mn for the plant and the payback period is expected to be 5 years. Installation of the solar plant will not only help the company reduce costs but also make its Tirupur spinning unit self-reliant. To produce 1 kg of cotton yarn, the cost of power is approximately ‚āĻ27-28 which is expected to feed almost 50 percent of the daily consumption at the spinning unit. Moreover, the solar plant will help in curbing the CO2 emissions by 9000 kgs/day with a sustainable environment.

Solar power projects which are currently under construction in India are facing a higher risk now due to multiple uncertainties and their financial closure is likely to be delayed according to research and ratings agency India Ratings. The uncertainties have been caused by Covid-19 related lockdowns, change in duties for solar panels and consequent difficulties in importing panels, constraints in mobilizing labor for implementation, delays in signing of power purchase agreements after bidding, delays in tariff adoption and changes in module prices. The number of acquisitions in renewable energy projects has kept the investor interest in the sector high, thus encouraging developers to bid for projects.

As part of ‚ÄėAtmanirbhar Bharat Karnataka government distributed solar power operated tricycle carts for vending fresh fruits and vegetables to select beneficiaries. The carts have been designed and developed by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research and the Indian Institute for Horticulture Research. Such losses can be reduced if the push carts are fitted with provisions to provide temperature and humidity management system in an enclosed chamber which also protects the products from dust and pollution.

Wind Projects

JSW Energy said its solar power subsidiary has bagged 810 MW blended wind energy projects under an auction conduced by the SECI. The SECI had conducted an auction for setting up 2,500 MW interstate transmission system projects under tariff based competitive bidding. The tender was floated in June. Solar power constitutes up to 20 percent of a blended wind energy project.

Bio Fuels / Biomass

Twenty buses of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd will run on fuel made from food waste collected from different hotels from 20 October. Called bio-CNG or CBG, Indian Oil will supply it to the transport body. In 2014, the Pune Municipal Corp and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corp got into an agreement with Noble Exchange Environment Solutions Private Ltd to collect hotel food waste and convert it into bio-fuel. There are more than 1,500 CNG run buses in the fleet.

Policy & Financing Push

India‚Äôs thirst for fossil fuels will outpace China‚Äôs by a big margin, even though globally, consumption will shrink for the first time in modern history through 2050 as climate initiatives propel renewable energy while the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lasting scar on demand according to BP Energy Outlook 2020 said. But globally, fossil fuel demand may never recover to pre-coronavirus levels as the pandemic hastens ‚Äúfundamental restructuring‚ÄĚ of the energy business. The share of fossil fuels is set to decline from 85 percent of total primary energy demand in 2018 to between 20 percent and 65 percent by 2050 in the three scenarios.

Despite government bailout packages, three south Indian states Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana together account for nearly two-thirds of the total ‚āĻ103 bn worth of dues to renewable energy generators according to the research firm JMK Research. The PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification and Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators) dashboard collates the outstanding dues of distribution companies to power generators. Various bodies such as the CII and the National Solar Energy Federation of India, the apex body of solar stakeholders in the country, wrote the MNRE requesting intervention as AP had still not cleared the dues to the private developers, despite an interim AP High Court order instructing them to do so.

Hybrid Projects

The India chapter of science-based non-profit Nature Conservancy has launched a geospatial tool for helping decision-makers, investors, and financiers to make better choices in selecting land for siting solar and wind projects. The free and publicly accessible geospatial decision-support tool called SiteRight can support the siting of new renewable energy projects in places with viable resource potential but away from land areas rich in biodiversity and on which local communities depend. It has been developed by Nature Conservancy India, the Centre for Science, Technology, and Policy, the Foundation for Ecological Security, and Vasudha Foundation. New solar and onshore wind energy projects cannot be poorly sited, for there could be unintended impacts on ecosystems and local communities. Such consequences can come in the way of further growth of renewable energy in the country.

Hydro Projects

In an attempt to convert variable renewable energy sources into round-the-clock power and attract investments to the State, the NREDCAP has laid its focus on creating pumped hydro-storage facility. The NREDCAP has short-listed seven of the 29 feasible locations identified last year to set up solar parks and has floated tenders for preparation of Preliminary Feasibility Report and Detailed Project Report. The plan is to produce more renewable energy and integrate it with the grid. The locations to set up solar parks have been identified and transmission and sub-station works have started. To integrate 18,000 MW of renewable energy with the grid, the State will need a pumped hydro storage facility.

Nuclear Energy

The central government told the Lok Sabha that it has no plan to allow non-governmental/private sector into nuclear power generation. The Centre said that it had given administrative approval and financial sanction for building 12 nuclear power reactors in the country with an aggregate generation capacity of 9,000 MW. Of these, 10 will be indigenous 700 MW PHWR and two LWRs with Russian cooperation. The 10 PHWRs will come up in Chutka in Madhya Pradesh (2√ó700 MW), Kaiga in Karnataka (2√ó700 MW), Mahi Banswara in Rajasthan (4√ó700 MW), and Gorakhpur in Haryana (2√ó700 MW). The two 1,000 MW LWRs will come up in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. India currently has 22 nuclear power reactors with a total capacity of 6,780 MW.

Rest of the World

Global

Fossil fuel consumption is set to shrink for the first time in modern history as climate policies boost renewable energy while the coronavirus epidemic leaves a lasting effect on global energy demand according to BP.  BP this year extended its outlook into 2050 to align it with the company’s strategy to slash the carbon emissions from its operations to net zero by the middle of the century. Under its central scenario, BP forecasts Covid-19 will knock around 3 mn bpd off by 2025 and 2 mn bpd by 2050. The share of fossil fuels is set to decline from 85 percent of total primary energy demand in 2018 to between 20 percent and 65 percent by 2050 in the three scenarios. At the same time, the share of renewables is set to grow from 5 percent in 2018 to up to 60 percent by 2050.

China

CNOOC announced that its first offshore wind power project has connected to the grid and begun to generate power. The wind power project, located in the sea area nearby China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, and with a total installed capacity of 300 MW, is scheduled to fully come into on-grid production by end of 2020. The project, planned to be equipped with 67 wind turbines, is expected to have annual on-grid power generation reaching approximately 860 mn kW. China’s state energy giants including PetroChina, Sinopec and CNOOC have all laid out plans to develop renewable projects, in an effort to stay relevant in a low-carbon future.

Other Asia

The Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will make it easier for investors to develop geothermal energy in the archipelagic country through various innovational breakthroughs. The facilities include the issuance of law on geothermal energy, which facilitates development of geothermal power plants in production forest areas, protected forest areas and conservation forest areas. The government encouraged the regional-based geothermal development through the Flores Geothermal Island (FGI) program to meet the need of geothermal electricity in East Nusa Tenggara province’s island of Flores.

A subsidiary of France’s Total and Singapore LNG Corp have signed a deal for a rooftop solar power system at the Singapore LNG terminal. Total Solar Distributed Generation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Total, will finance, build and operate the 600 kWp system, which will be installed on the rooftops of several buildings in the terminal. The terminal is owned and operated by Singapore LNG. The installation of solar panels is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year. The system will generate around 800 MWh of renewable energy and has the potential to avoid an estimated 300 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Singapore, one of the sunniest cities in the world, generates about 95 percent of its power from imported natural gas with solar energy being its most viable renewable energy option.

Europe and UK

Britain is set to pledge that every home in the country will be powered by offshore wind in a decade. Solar energy developer Lightsource BP, a joint venture of BP, sold five solar energy projects to Statkraft Ireland. The projects have a combined capacity of 275 MW and are in the late stages of development. They are located in the counties of Meath, Laois, Tipperary and Cork in Ireland. Britain is looking at funding options for the 17-18 bn pound ($22-$23 bn) Sizewell C nuclear plant that France‚Äôs EDF is scheduled to build in eastern England. Britain is phasing out coal plants and investing in renewables to help meet its climate targets. But many of its nuclear plants ‚Äď another source of low-carbon electricity ‚Äď also need replacing, and progress so far has been mixed. Japan‚Äôs Hitachi dropped its plans to build a new nuclear plant in Britain, while Japan‚Äôs Toshiba Corp, scrapped its British NuGen project in 2018 after its US reactor unit Westinghouse went bankrupt. EDF is building Britain‚Äôs first new nuclear plant in more than two decades, Hinkley Point C, with backing from China‚Äôs CGN. Britain‚Äôs nuclear power plants can supply around 20 percent of the country‚Äôs electricity demand, but around half the plants are set to close in the next four years.

British and Dutch grid operators will explore the feasibility of building an electricity interconnector between the two countries, linking offshore wind assets. Britain has sub-sea electricity interconnectors linking to France, Ireland and an existing link with the Netherlands, but plans to build several more to increase its supply options as older coal and nuclear plants close. Both countries also plan to significantly increase their offshore wind capacity, to help meet their climate targets. If successful, TenneT and National Grid said the project could be operational by 2029. It would add 2 GW of interconnection capacity between the two countries.

Germany is planning stricter controls to ensure it reaches targets in its expansion of renewable energy sources, according to the most recent draft to be discussed by the government. The latest version of the law, which is still subject to change, includes annual quotas for solar, biomass and onshore and offshore wind. In addition, expansion targets will be reviewed once every two years to make sure Germany can achieve its target of generating at least 65 percent of electricity via renewables by 2030. The latest draft also includes higher expansion targets for biogas stations. Onshore wind capacity is to be expanded by an average of 4 GW annually over the next years. Germany is currently hammering out a fresh version of its landmark renewable energy law, as key subsidies for the country’s oldest wind and solar stations are being phased out next year.

Spain will inject ‚ā¨181 mn ($215 mn) of state funds into renewable energy projects in seven regions, aiming to boost employment and cut carbon emissions. The subsidies are part of a chest of ‚ā¨316 mn Madrid will pour into innovative projects ‚Äď an amount that could be topped up with EU recovery funds. Rich in high-energy sunlight, Spain is a vocal supporter of EU plans to use low-carbon investments to battle the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus, particularly on its traditionally strong tourism and automotive industries. Projects that could benefit from the subsidies include those generating power from sunlight, wind, biomass, and renewable gases including hydrogen in sectors including agriculture, industry and services. The government expects its carbon-reduction plans to require ‚ā¨200 bn ($227 bin) of total investment in the next decade, 47 bn of which would come from the public sector. The funds unveiled should encourage a further investment of ‚ā¨551 mn from the private sector and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 712,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, the ministry calculates. Decisions on which projects receive the funds will take into account demographic challenges and the welfare of workers in regions affected by the shift to renewable energy.

The government of Bosnia‚Äôs autonomous Serb Republic will sign a concession deal with majority state-run power utility ERS to build and operate a 72.92 MW capacity solar plant in the southern town of Trebinje. With an estimated annual production of 108.7 GWh of electricity per year, the ‚ÄúTrebinje 1‚ÄĚ plant would be the country‚Äôs largest so far. ERS will hold a 50-year concession to operate the plant, which is expected to cost around 100.75 mn Bosnian marka ($60.3 mn). The plant should be built within 24 months after the concession takes effect. The Serb Republic aims to add 1,000 MW of renewable energy sources by 2029 at a cost of 11.5 bn Bosnian marka to smooth its transition from coal, and the largest portion of projects, targeting solar, wind and hydro sources, will be carried out by ERS.

Westinghouse Electric Co has signed an expanded nuclear fuel deal to supply Ukraine’s reactors. It currently supplies six of 15 Ukraine’s VVER-1000 reactors with a seventh due to switch to it next year. The new contract, signed with the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom, adds two VVER-440 reactors at the Rivne nuclear power plant.

USA & Canada

The mayors of 12 big cities in North America, Europe and Africa pledged to shift their money out of fossil fuels and into green energy, buildings, transport and other investments to help them recover from the pandemic and tackle climate change. The group of cities, which signed up to a declaration committing them to divest from coal, oil and gas, are home to more than 36 mn residents and hold over $295 bn in assets. Led by London and New York City, they agreed to take all possible steps to divest from fossil fuel companies the assets that they control directly, while also calling on pension funds managing their money to do the same.

The US Commerce Department inked a draft agreement with Russia’s state nuclear energy company to reduce imports of uranium from Russia over the next 20 years in a bid to boost domestic mining and nuclear energy. The draft amendment was one of the recommendations made by the interagency Nuclear Fuel Working Group to address concern in Washington that the US has ceded its global leadership in nuclear technology, and to boost domestic nuclear power producers and uranium miners suffering from a lack of investment.

US oil refineries are moving aggressively to produce renewable diesel, partly to cash in on Canada’s greener fuel standard before Canadian refiners modify their own plants. Canada intends to present its Clean Fuel Standard this year, aiming to cut 30 mt of emissions by 2030. Renewable diesel, made by processing spent cooking oil, canola oil or animal fats, can be used in high concentrations or without blending in conventional diesel engines.

Power utility NextEra Energy briefly surpassing oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp as the most valuable US listed energy company last week underscores the multi-year shift from traditional toward renewable energy according to the brokerage UBS. ExxonMobil has lost more than half of it market value in 2020 as the US oil major struggles to cope with the effects of a pandemic-driven downturn in the energy industry.

Canadian Solar, a Canada-headquartered solar equipment producer, started to expand its solar module manufacturing project in Yancheng, a port city in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu. The company will add 4 GW of annual solar module production capacity on top of its current 3 GW plant, according to the company. Canadian Solar had total annual solar module production capacity of 13 GW by end-2019, of which approximately 9.6 GW was located in China.

MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, mn: million, bn: billion, CIL: Coal India Ltd, CCL: Central Coal Fields Ltd, MWp: megawatt peak, MW: megawatt, GW: gigawatt, UP: Uttar Pradesh, kW: kilowatt, PPA: power purchase agreement, DVC: Damodar Valley Corp, GUVNL: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, SgTPP: Sagardighi Thermal Power Project, AGEL: Adani Green Energy Ltd, CO2: carbon dioxide, kg: kilogram, kWh: kilowatt hour, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, CNG: compressed natural gas, CBG: compressed biogas, AP: Andhra Pradesh, NREDCAP: New and Renewable Energy Development Corp of Andhra Pradesh, CNOOC: China National Offshore Oil Corp, kWp: kilowatt peak, , MWh: megawatt hour, UK: United Kingdom, EU: European Union, US: United States

NATIONAL: OIL 

Coronavirus and taxes eat away at diesel’s edge over gasoline in India

12 October. For decades, diesel has underpinned India‚Äôs economic growth and the fortunes of its refiners, but the pandemic has caused the nation‚Äôs most consumed fuel to lose some of its luster. Since Covid-19-lockdowns have eased across India, diesel consumption has trailed the rebound in gasoline with trucks remaining idle amid a softer economy. Motor fuel use, however, has benefited from people choosing their own cars and scooters over public transport to avoid the risk of infection. While diesel is still king in India ‚ÄĒ fuel sales are double that of gasoline ‚ÄĒ the uneven demand recovery has created a unique challenge for India‚Äôs refiners, just as more headwinds emerge from the use of hydrogen and natural gas in major guzzlers such as trucks and buses. Refiners are expected to focus on making less diesel and more gasoline and petrochemicals to respond to changing demand. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has flagged a shift away from transport fuels, while Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has signaled greater diversification to reduce its dependence on its fuels business. The price advantage of once cheap diesel has also faded. The fuel costs almost as much as gasoline in some Indian states after being saddled with new taxes over the past six years, prompting some farmers to come up with novel alternatives such as liquefied petroleum gas to run water pumps. Farms account for more than eighth of total diesel consumption in India. The demand shift related to the pandemic and broader energy transitioning means refineries that predominantly produce diesel will need to rethink their current output of products, Nayara Energy Ltd, India‚Äôs second-biggest private refiner, said.

Source: Livemint

India’s September fuel demand posts first monthly gain since June

12 October. India’s fuel demand in September rose for the first time since June as easing coronavirus restrictions supported economic activity and travel, but consumption remained weaker than a year earlier, government data showed. Consumption of refined fuels, a proxy for oil demand, rose 7.2 percent in September from the prior month to 15.47 million tonnes (mt), the first monthly increase since June when demand rose to 16.09 mt. However, demand fell 4.4 percent from the same period a year earlier, posting its seventh consecutive year-on-year slide, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas showed. Diesel consumption, a key parameter linked to economic growth and which accounts for about 40 percent of overall refined fuel sales in India, rose 13.2 percent to 5.49 mt last month from 4.85 mt in August.

Source: Reuters

Karnataka: LPG pipeline between Hassan-Secunderabad gets nod

7 October. Hassan district will soon get another LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) pipeline after Mangaluru-Bengaluru pipeline. The 72nd Land Audit Committee (LAC) meeting held recently has given a green signal to the ambitious HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd) LPG pipeline between Hassan and Cherlapally at Secunderabad in Telangana. This is a 680 km (kilometre) pipeline. According to the proposal, the company will invest ‚āĻ6.8 bn in this project which is expected to ease the burden of LPG transport between Hassan and neighbouring Telengana.¬† According to the proposal, HPCL pipeline will go through Arsikere in Hassan, Tiputur and Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumakur, and Hiriur and Sira in Chitradurga. Officials from Karnataka Udyoga Mitra said that the project is expected to create hundreds of indirect jobs as it is a labour intensive project.

Source: The Economic Times

NATIONAL: GAS

DGH invites agencies for gas price auction

12 October. Days after the Union Cabinet approved standardised norms for price auction of natural gas, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) invited offers for the empanelment of agencies for independently carrying out bidding on an e-platform. DGH said a gas seller has to engage any one of the empanelled agencies for the sale. The government has since 2017 given pricing

QuIck Comment

Low Domestic Gas Prices will eliminate incentive to produce gas!

Bad!

freedom for natural gas production from all fields other than the ones given to ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) and Oil India Ltd on a nomination basis. Firms such as the Reliance Industries-BP combine as well as ONGC (for non-nomination blocks) have been auctioning gas to users. They would typically devise a formula and seek bids from users. DGH said the agency shall design, structure and implement the overall process of e-auction for the discovery of market price for natural gas produced in India while ensuring a transparent, fair and competitive process.

Source: The Economic Times

Adani Gas cuts CNG, PNG prices

10 October. Adani Gas Ltd cut CNG (compressed natural gas) and piped natural gas (PNG) prices in various geographical areas in sync with the recent reduction in natural gas rates. Rates have been reduced in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, the company said. CNG price has been reduced by ‚āĻ1.75 per kg (kilogram) in Khurja in Uttar Pradesh to ‚āĻ52.60 and that of PNG to ‚āĻ25.72 per cubic meter from ‚āĻ26.83. In Haryana‚Äôs Mahendragarh and Faridabad, CNG price has been cut by ‚āĻ1.70 and ‚āĻ1.60 per kg, respectively. The reduction in Ahmedabad/ Vadodara areas in Gujarat is ‚āĻ1.31 per kg, the firm said. The reduction in domestic PNG prices is ‚āĻ1.11 per standard cubic meter (SCM) in Faridabad, Palwal & Khurja and ‚āĻ1.0 per standard cubic meter in Ahmedabad and Vadodara Geographical Areas. Adani Gas has city gas distribution network in Ahmedabad, Vadodara in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh.

Source: The Economic Times

ONGC sees gas revenue hit by $1 bn due to price cut

9 October. A recent cut in Indian gas prices will wipe about $1 bn off Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) revenue from its gas business in the current fiscal year ending in March, the company said. India has slashed prices of gas produced from old blocks ‚Äď handed to explorers without bidding ‚Äď by about a quarter to a multi-year low of $1.79 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu). ONGC produces over 95 percent of its 70 million metric standard cubic meter per day (mmscmd) of gas output through old blocks. Finance chief Subhash Kumar said production costs averaged about $3.60-3.70 per mmBtu, which means it is making a loss of $2 per mmBtu since the gas price cut, losing about ‚āĻ100 bn of revenue. India needs to make gas prices ‚Äėremunerative‚Äô for producers to boost local output as the country wants to raise the share of the cleaner fuel in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2030, from 6.2 percent currently, ONGC‚Äôs Chairman Shashi Shankar said. He said the government has set up a panel to look into modifying the current pricing formula, which is based on a weighted average of Henry Hub, Alberta Hub, National Balancing Point and Russian gas. However, he said the recent change in gas marketing and pricing norms will help ONGC get better prices for its new production streams. ONGC aims to produce about 15 mmscmd gas from its east coast block in Krishna Godavari Basin by 2022-23. India has decided to let companies producing gas from new local fields sell the fuel on e-bidding platforms to help them get better prices.

Source: Reuters

RIL, ONGC arms can bid for gas under new marketing policy

8 October. In a big boost for Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Cairn India and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), the government approved an electronic auction-based gas marketing regime that allows affiliates of domestic producers to bid for output from new discoveries of the parent company. The norm will end ambiguity in contracts across auction regimes (NELP, HELP, OLAP) and allow transparent discovery of price, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said after the Cabinet approved the guideline. He said the move would clear the way for an additional 40 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meters per day) of supplies, roughly 8-9 days of CNG (compressed natural gas) consumption in Delhi-NCR, from new discoveries and increase ease of doing business. The standardised policy and a panel of digital trading platforms, both in the private and public sectors would help discover an Indian benchmark gas price and allow domestic producers to compete with imported LNG (liquefied natural gas). Under the new norm, RIL’s refinery or petrochem units can bid for output from the Andhra offshore project operated by RIL-BP. Vedanta group industries can bid for supply from Cairn’s Rajasthan project. A market-driven pricing mechanism and non-discriminatory access to transportation infrastructure have become important in view of the government’s drive to attract investments in the upstream and city gas sectors as well as creating LNG import capacity. Natural gas makes up only 6 percent of India’s energy basket and the government wants to raise it to 15 percent by 2023 with a view to reducing the economy’s carbon footprint in line with the Paris climate commitment.

Source: The Economic Times

India introduces new gas marketing mechanism to help producers

QuIck Comment

New Marketing Mechanism will boost Domestic Production!

Good!

7 October. India will let companies producing gas from new local fields sell the cleaner fuel on e-bidding platforms, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, in a move expected to help them get better prices and boost output. India wants to raise the share of gas in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2030 from 6.2 percent now but it currently relies on imports for half of its daily gas needs of 160-170 million metric standard cubic meter (mmscm). Pradhan said the new, more transparent price discovery mechanism would help raise daily gas production from the Krishna Godavari basin on the east coast and other parts of the country by 40 mmscm. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) operate blocks in the Krishna Godavari Basin. Gas producers will not be allowed to participate in the e-bidding because of conflicts of interest, Pradhan said, though affiliated firms would be able to compete with other gas buyers. India slashed prices of gas from those blocks last month by about a quarter to $1.79 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu), the lowest since 2014.

Source: Reuters

Ahmedabad: Torrent Gas to invest ‚āĻ80 bn in CGD over 5 years

7 October. Torrent Gas Ltd plans to invest ‚āĻ80 bn over the next five years for creating city gas distribution (CGD) infrastructure. The company also aims to set up 500 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations by March 2023. The CGD arm of the Ahmedabad-based Torrent Group announced the commissioning of 42 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations and 3 city gate stations (CGS) across several states. These CNG and CGS stations were dedicated to the service of the community by the Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Of the newly commissioned CNG stations, 14 are located in Uttar Pradesh, 8 in Maharashtra, 6 in Gujarat, 4 in Punjab and 5 each in Telangana and Rajasthan. One CGS each has been operationalized in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab. Torrent Gas, one of the fastest growing CGD companies in the country, has bagged the licences for selling CNG and piped natural gas (PNG) in 32 districts across seven states and one Union territory. With the addition of new CNG stations, the company now has commissioned 100 CNG stations within a short span of time.

Source: The Economic Times

NATIONAL: COAL

Indian activists oppose plans to make Goa a coal transport hub

13 October. Indian activists and politicians in Goa, known globally for its pristine coastline and dense forests, are opposing a plan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to turn Goa into a coal transportation hub. India wants to increase coking coal handling at the state-run port in Goa, which could be transported to steel companies north of the state. Activists said the projects are also likely to lead to the felling of thousands of trees in ecologically sensitive areas that are home to wildlife and bodies of water.

Source: Reuters

Coal India’s e-auction allocation jumps 65 percent in April-September

13 October. Coal India Ltd (CIL) said the total coal allocation under its four e-auction windows registered about 65 percent year-on-year rise during the first half of the current financial year. CIL booked 41.4 million tonnes (mt) raw coal in e-auctions during April-September 2020, compared with 25.1 mt booked in the corresponding period last fiscal, the company said. The increase in volume terms stood at 16.3 mt, it said. With the industrial and commercial activities reviving after the unlock, CIL is hopeful that the demand sustains and the sales get boosted soon. With no dearth of coal, the company is confident of meeting the increased demand, it said. Last year’s coal import trend showed that 40 percent of the imports of dry-fuel were by traders. CIL decided to give more thrust in auction sales that resulted in higher volumes. The company anticipated the liquidity crunch that Covid-19 would bring to its customers and brought down the reserve price close to zero to help them lift more coal during the lockdown phase. The power sector is CIL’s major coal-consuming customer accounting for around 80 percent of its entire sales.

Source: The Economic Times

Northern Coalfields plans to expand 3 open-cast mining project this fiscal

12 October. Coal India Ltd (CIL)’s subsidiary Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL) is planning to expand three open-cast mining project in the ongoing financial year. Of the company’s 10 open-cast mining projects in operation, seven are completed mining projects and three are ongoing mining projects, NCL said. NCL said that the projects are Jhingurdah Bottom OCP, Khadia Expansion OCP and Nigahi Expansion OCP. NCL produced 108.05 million tonnes (mt) of coal in 2019-20, against the target of 106.25 mt with a growth of 6.45 percent over the previous year.

Source: The Economic Times

Government launches website to support R&D in coal sector

9 October. The government announced the launch of a website for entities involved in research and development (R&D) in the coal sector. The website, which has been designed and developed by Coal India Ltd (CIL) subsidiary Central Mine Planning and Design Institute, was launched by Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain. The website broadly displays the guidelines for implementing coal research projects with various forms, so that anybody can submit proposals in requisite manner. The website contains identified thrust areas for future coal research keeping in view the future needs of the nation. The coal ministry has been promoting R&D activities in coal and lignite sectors through its coal science and technology plan for improvement in production, productivity, safety and protection of environment and ecology, among others. The coal ministry provides funds to carry out research work on these subjects.

Source: The Economic Times

India’s coal imports improve somewhat, but recovery is uneven

8 October. India‚Äôs coal imports, depressed by the impact of coronavirus this year, regained ground in September, but in an uneven uptick ‚Äď shipments rose for higher-grade coking and thermal grades, but slid for lower-rank fuel used mainly in power plants. India‚Äôs total coal imports in September were estimated at 14.62 million tonnes (mt) by Refinitiv vessel-tracking and port data, up from 12.97 mn in August. That was the strongest performance by the world‚Äôs second-biggest coal importer since April, although imports were still down 6.3 percent from the 15.61 mt recorded in September 2019. For the first nine months of the year, imports were estimated at 128.24 mt, a 17 percent slide from the 154.8 mn in the same period last year.

Source: Reuters

NTPC transports coal dump to railway siding amid protest

8 October. The management of NTPC‚Äôs Pakri-Barwadih coal project in Hazaribag‚Äôs Barkagaon block began transporting their mined coal to the nearest railway siding under heavy police protection after a section of their coal dump caught fire after being exposed to heat for more than 36 days. Mining of coal and its transportation from the project has been stalled since September 1 as residents of the villages displaced and affected by the project‚Äôs land acquisition have been protesting for higher compensation, led by Barkagaon MLA Amba Prasad. As per estimates of NTPC, around 5.5 lakh metric ton of coal worth ‚āĻ550 mn was lying in open pits since 1 September as locals blocked the transportation of mineral to its nearest railway siding in Banadag, which is situated 10 km away. The locals have been demanding compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 of the Centre and claimed that the monetary compensation provided by the NTPC under provisions of the Coal Bearing Act, 1957 is ‚Äúnot sufficient‚ÄĚ.

Source: The Economic Times

NATIONAL: POWER

Rare power outage throws Mumbai out of gear for hours

13 October. India‚Äôs financial capital was thrown into an unprecedented turmoil after power lines tripped, cutting off electricity to the city‚Äôs 18.4 mn residents for more than two hours. Trains shut down, mobile networks got clogged and internet slowed as the city battled an unprecedented cut in supply that everyone thought was impossible due to the city‚Äôs unique ‚Äėislanding‚Äô system. Lockdown, restricted outdoor activity and work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic prevented large-scale chaos especially in financial markets. Power cuts are a rare occurrence in Mumbai due to the city‚Äôs ‚Äėislanding‚Äô system which enables power producers to cut themselves off the grid and continue supply to a limited area. Tata Power, which is a major power producer and distributor in Mumbai, attempted the cut-off but could not do so due to sudden and dramatic drop in load. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered an enquiry and Union Power Minister R K Singh said that a central team would visit Mumbai to identify problems and work out solutions.

Source: The Economic Times

Punish agencies for power billing delays: UP Power Minister

10 October. UP (Uttar Pradesh) Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said that if electricity bills are not provided to consumers for more than three months then the recovery of unpaid meter readings will be done from billing agencies. Sharma expressed his anguish over UP Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL) callousness in executing agreements finalised with the billing agencies. Sharma specifically pointed out delay in arrangement of downloadable bills in urban and rural areas. At the same time, the billing agencies could not collect mobile number, meter number and the GPS location of meters within the stipulated time. Taking strong note of the lapse, Sharma has sought a report from the UPPCL. He appealed to consumers to lodge their complaints in 1912 if billing agencies did not provide them bills on time. The Minister said that applications loaded on Jhatpat connection and nivesh mitra portal be disposed of swiftly. Sharma expressed his displeasure on UPPCL not bringing down line losses on selected feeders.

Source: The Economic Times

Standard bidding document for discoms not to reform power sector but to privatize: AIPEF

QuIck Comment

Discom privatisation may improve efficiency at the cost of equity!

Ugly!

9 October. The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said the draft standard bidding document for discoms (distribution companies) circulated by the power ministry is not to reform the sector but to privatise it across the country. In September, the power ministry came out with a draft Standard Bidding Document for privatisation of distribution licensees and sought public comments on it till 5 October. It provides guidelines for states who want to offer their electricity distribution utilities to private players to improve operational efficiency and finances. AIPEF said discoms are already under financial stress and the tariffs still have a gap between the average cost of supply and average revenue. Section 63 of the electricity Act 2003 does not extend to the evaluation of distribution utility or its bidding/determination, it said that most discoms do not have or have not maintained a fixed asset register.

Source: The Economic Times

CSPDCL re-launches mobile app for online electricity services

8 October. The Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (CSPDCL) has re-launched its mobile application with additional features that enables consumers to avail electricity-related services at their doorsteps. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel launched the new features of Mor Bijlee (my electricity) app through which more than 16 services provided by the CSPDCL can be accessed by people without visiting electricity offices, the public relations department said. Chhattisgarh is the first state in the country, where such an app is being used to provide doorstep services to the power consumers. The app will save time, efforts and money of the consumers, Baghel said. Besides, the app will also be helpful for the field employees, Baghel said. The power company has been using the latest technology for production, transmission and distribution of electricity in the state and one of the best examples of the same is this app, Baghel said.

Source: The Economic Times

NATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS

Solar power feeders to benefit over 12k farmers in Nashik zone

13 October. More than 12,000 farmers in the Nashik zone of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) are likely to benefit from the chief minister solar agriculture feeders. The Nashik zone, comprising Nashik and Ahmednagar districts, has activated 28 solar agriculture feeders as a result of which the farmers will get assured power supply during the day, making the need for getting up in the middle of the night to water the crops redundant. These farmers will be relieved from the regular practice of switching on their motors for watering their crops in the night. The five solar feeders installed across Nashik district has a capacity of producing 50 MW power, while the only feeder in Ahmednagar produces 10 MW of power. Five feeders each in Malegaon and Deola taluka, while four feeders each in Baglan, Nandgaon and Yeola of Nashik district will be charged by solar power feeders. In Ahmednagar, four feeders in Jamkhed taluka will be provided power supply by the solar feeder.

Source: The Economic Times

North India’s first Compressed biogas plant to go on steam in March

11 October. As part of its efforts to mitigate the crisis-like situation arising out of crop residue burning in Punjab and Haryana, the Union government is setting up the first compressed biogas (CBG) plant in north India in Lehragaga of Sangrur and it is expected to be commissioned in March next year. The CBG plant, being set up under the ‚ÄėSustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (Satat), will convert straw into CNG. Although the plant was initially scheduled to be commissioned in 2020-end, it got delayed following late arrival of machinery due to Covid. Five more such plants are coming up in Punjab but those may not be commissioned before early 2022. The first CBG plant in India was set up in September 2019 and many such plants are already operational in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Economic Times

Railways taps solar energy to power stations in Karnataka

10 October. The South Western Railway (SWR) has installed solar panels on the roof of its stations, terraces of its buildings and at level-crossing gates across Karnataka to harness renewable energy for its power needs. Hubli, where the zonal railway is headquartered, is about 400 km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state. The SWR has provided 4.37 megawatt peak (MWp) plants on developer mode and 165 kilowatt peak (kWp) solar plant across the zone. The zonal railway plans to set up land-based solar plants at track side and railway vacant lands to harness sun’s energy. Rail Energy Management Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, has floated a tender for land-based solar plants of 20 MWp in vacant ands and 8.3 MWp on track sides across the zone. On all-India level, the railways plan to source 1,000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind power by 2021-22 across the country.

Source: The Economic Times

KMRL on its way to achieving 60 percent energy neutrality by utilising solar energy

8 October. Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) is on its way to achieving 60 percent energy neutrality by utilising solar energy. The metro agency will be commissioning an additional 5.4 MWp (megawatt peak) capacity system on its buildings and tracks in 2020 to increase the output to 15.7 mn units/year and maintain 60 percent energy neutrality. The installation of rooftop solar panels will be completed by mid of November 2020 and rest of the work by December 2020. According to KMRL, this initiative has brought down carbon emissions by 13,302 tonnes a year, which is equal to planting 5,33,033 trees. The metro agency has commissioned three large-scale solar power generation systems in the past two years. The first phase of the project, which is 2.670 MWp in capacity and capable of generating 36.5 lakhs unit/year was implemented through Renewable Energy Service Company in 2018.

Source: The Economic Times

Government to give incentives to boost domestic solar industry: Singh

7 October. Along with an interest subvention to boost domestic solar manufacturing in the country, the government is also looking at incentivising the use of advanced technology, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said. This scheme will be built into the existing plans for the 5 percent interest subvention, Singh said. Singh said that despite a hiccup in the construction of projects due to Covid-19, new bids worth 12,000 MW were finalised since March from both international as well as Indian players. This takes the total capacity of the projects currently in the pipeline to 20,000 MW. The government has been pushing domestic manufacturing of solar products as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign to reduce its dependence on Chinese imports, where 80 percent of the solar equipment used in India is sourced from.

Source: The Economic Times

India has opportunity to become global hub for solar PV manufacturing: Niti Aayog CEO

7 October. Solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing is one of the strategic sectors announced by the government and India has the opportunity to be the global hub for this, Niti Aayog CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Amitabh Kant said. Kant said India with its huge market and relevant manufacturing advantages can be a giga-scale manufacturing destination for the cutting-edge PV technologies across the entire value chain. Kant expressed hope that PV technology improvements will exceed general market expectations and will be the key anchor towards reducing the solar deployment costs. The government has been making steady strides towards introducing renewable energy to all villages in the country, especially in the agriculture sector.

Source: The Economic Times

INTERNATIONAL: OIL 

OPEC cuts 2021 oil demand forecast again as virus cases rise

13 October. World oil demand will rebound more slowly in 2021 than previously thought as coronavirus cases rise, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) said. Demand will rise by 6.54 mn barrels per day(bpd) next year to 96.84 mn bpd, the OPEC said. The growth forecast is 80,000 bpd less than expected a month ago. A further weakening of demand could threaten plans by OPEC and allies to taper in 2021 the record oil output cuts they made this year. OPEC is keeping an eye on the situation but currently has no plan to cancel the supply boost. Oil prices have collapsed as the coronavirus crisis curtailed travel and economic activity. While in the third quarter an easing of lockdowns allowed demand to recover, OPEC sees the pace of economic improvement slowing again. OPEC has steadily lowered its 2021 oil demand growth forecast from an initial 7 mn bpd expected in July. To tackle the drop in demand, OPEC and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to a record supply cut of 9.7 mn bpd starting on 1 May. OPEC said its output fell by 50,000 bpd to24.11 mn bpd in September. OPEC forecast demand for its crude will be 200,000 bpd lower than expected next year at 27.93 mn bpd. Assuming global demand rebounds as expected, this in theory leaves room for OPEC members to increase output in 2021 by over 3.8 mn bpd from September’s rate without causing a glut.

Source: Reuters

Iraqi Oil Minister proposes forming company to handle Kurdish oil operations

13 October. The Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar has proposed forming a company to manage oil production and export operations in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The Kurdistan Regional Government and central government in Baghdad have been locked in a long-running dispute over oil and land rights in the northern Iraqi Kurdish region. Talks on oil issues between the government and authorities in the Iraqi Kurdish region had reached a ‚Äúpositive understanding‚ÄĚ, he said. The proposed state company‚Äôs management would be technically and administratively linked to the Kurdish regional authorities and federal oil ministry, he said.

Source: Reuters

Libya to resume oil production at largest field amid talks

12 October. Libya‚Äôs national oil company announced it is resuming production at the country‚Äôs largest oil field as rival officials from eastern and western Libya began peace talks, part of preliminary negotiations ahead of a UN (United Nations)-brokered dialogue set to take place next month. The National Oil Corp said it has lifted the force majeure that was imposed at the southwestern Sharara oil field after it reached ‚Äúan honor agreement‚ÄĚ with forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Hifter to end ‚Äúall obstructions‚ÄĚ at the field.

Source: The Economic Times

Border deal with Israel to aid ailing Lebanese economy by allowing oil drilling

12 October. Lebanon‚Äôs struggling economy will significantly benefit from the revenues from the extraction of oil and gas from the disputed area once the country reaches a border demarcation agreement with Israel, Lebanese Economic and Social Council General Director Mohammad Seifeddine said. Seifeddine said that the government has ‚Äúhigh hopes‚ÄĚ for the upcoming border-demarcation agreements with Israel, which if successful will allow the consortium of companies licensed by the Lebanese government to begin taking the necessary steps towards the extraction of the oil and gas reserves in the disputed Block-9 off the Lebanese coast.

Source: The Economic Times

Sri Lanka indicts captain of fire-damaged oil tanker for causing oil spill

9 October. Sri Lanka indicted the Greek captain of an oil tanker, which carried crude oil from Kuwait to India and caught fire off the country’s eastern Ampara coast, for causing an oil spill. The Panamanian-registered New Diamond was carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from Kuwait to India when a boiler explosion in its engine room caused fire on 3 September. The Sri Lanka Navy with the help from the Indian Navy and coast guards doused the fire after three days. Two Sri Lankan naval ships, one Indian naval ship and 3 Indian coast guard vessels were deployed in the operations.

Source: The Economic Times

Oil prices slip over 1 percent after Norway oil worker strike ends

9 October. Oil prices slipped more than 1 percent after an oil worker strike in Norway ended, which should boost crude output even as Hurricane Delta forced US (United States) energy firms to cut production. Despite price slide, both benchmarks gained about 9 percent, their first increase in three weeks and the biggest weekly rise for Brent since June. Oil futures climbed due to concerns the strike in Norway and the hurricane headed for the US Gulf Coast would cut crude output.

Source: Reuters

INTERNATIONAL: GAS

BP confirms plans to ship gas to Europe from Azerbaijan by year-end

13 October. Oil major BP has confirmed plans to start shipping natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe by the end of the year, as concerns about the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region have heightened. BP is a shareholder in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), part of the Southern Gas Corridor project, designed to export energy from Azerbaijan’s offshore Shah Deniz field to Europe. It said the commissioning of TAP and the interconnecting pipeline built by Snam Rete Gas was expected to be ready in November. The $40 bn Southern Gas Corridor will draw from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea and has the backing of the European Commission as it seeks to curb Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

Source: Reuters

Five years on, Israelis see few benefits from major gas deal

12 October. Five years after Israel signed a landmark agreement to develop large offshore gas fields over the objections of antitrust authorities, environmentalists and consumer advocates, ordinary Israelis have yet to see the windfall promised by the government. The government said the gas reserves have turned Israel into a regional player and solidified ties with two Arab neighbours. Israel has teamed up with Cyprus and Greece for a planned $6 bn pipeline to Europe, strengthening its position as it prepares to hold rare talks with Lebanon over their disputed maritime border. But the so-called EastMed pipeline has heightened tensions with Turkey and is fraught with political and logistical challenges. It could prove infeasible if gas prices remain low and Europe accelerates its shift to renewable energy.

Source: The Economic Times

BP starts Oman’s giant Ghazeer gas field

12 October. BP has started production at Oman’s giant Ghazeer natural gas field, which is set to underpin the company’s oil and gas output for years as it shifts to renewables. The London-based firm said Ghazeer, the second phase of the development of Block 61, started four months ahead of schedule. But oil and gas is set to help pay for the move. The first phase, Khazzan, was brought online in September 2017. Total production capacity from the block is expected to reach 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a day and more than 65,000 barrels per day (bpd) of associated condensate.

Source: Reuters

IEA nudges up 2020 gas demand forecast, but still sees record fall

12 October. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has nudged up its global gas demand forecast for this year, but still sees the biggest fall on record due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IEA said it expected gas demand to drop by 3 percent year-on-year, or 120 billion cubic meters (bcm), to 3,886 bcm. In June, it forecast a 4 percent, or 150 bcm, fall. Global gas demand has been progressively recovering since June, driven mainly by emerging markets, IEA director Fatih Birol said. The resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the prospect of a prolonged pandemic clouded the outlook for 2021, the IEA said. It currently expects demand to rebound by 3 percent year-on-year, or around 130 bcm, to 4,014 bcm next year. The IEA said the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market had played a key role in adjusting to the drop in demand, with global LNG exports plunging 17 percent between January and July. Challenges lie ahead for the LNG sector, with one-third of active contracts, or 190 bcm, due to expire over the next five years, the IEA said.

Source: Reuters

INTERNATIONAL: COAL

Australia investigating reports that China has halted coal imports

13 October. Australia is investigating media reports that China has stopped taking its coal shipments, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Trade industry reports suggested that some Chinese ports had been told not to accept Australian thermal and metallurgical coal, and that Australian shipments were being sold along to other markets at the last minute. China’s imports of coal had been expected to slow in the second half, after heavy imports earlier this year met with weaker than expected demand due to coronavirus-related disruptions.

Source: Reuters

Japan’s JERA to shut inefficient coal-fired power plants by 2030

13 October. Japan‚Äôs biggest power generator JERA said it will shut down all inefficient coal-fired power plants in Japan by 2030 and it aims to achieve net zero emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2050 to tackle climate change. A government panel is deliberating on how to define an inefficient coal-fired plant but JERA said, provisionally, it saw inefficient plants as ones that use ‚Äúsupercritical or less‚ÄĚ technology.

Source: Reuters

Poland’s JSW to focus solely on coking coal

9 October. Poland’s JSW, the European Union (EU)’s biggest coking coal producer, said it wants to focus solely on the fuel used in steelmaking and exit the more polluting thermal coal. Coking coal accounts for 80 percent of JSW’s output, and thermal coal for 20 percent. Thermal coal, used for power, is struggling to attract investment because of concerns about the environment, but coking coal is still viewed as a strategic mineral. The EU’s decision to keep coking coal on its list of critical raw materials should have a positive impact on the talks about PFR financing.

Source: Reuters

INTERNATIONAL: POWER

US power use to drop over 2 percent in 2020 due coronavirus: EIA

7 October. US (United States) electricity consumption will decline 2.3 percent this year as coronavirus lockdowns cause businesses to close, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO). The EIA projected power demand will drop to 3,809 bn kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2020 from 3,896 bn kWh in 2019 before easing to 3,806 bn kWh in 2021. Those declines follow a 2.7 percent drop in usage in 2019 due to mild weather from 2018’s record 4,003 bn kWh, according to data going back to 1949. If power consumption falls as expected, 2020 would be the first time demand declined for two consecutive years since 2012 and 2021 would be the first time it declines for three years in a row ever. The EIA projected power sales to commercial and industrial consumers will drop by 6.2 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, in 2020 from 2019 as offices close and factories run at reduced capacity for coronavirus. Electricity sales to residential homes, however, will rise 3.2 percent to 1,481 bn kWh in 2020 as lockdowns cause people to stay home. While both the residential and commercial sectors consumed record amounts of electricity in 2018 at 1,469 bn kWh and 1,382 bn kWh, respectively, the industrial sector set its all-time high of 1,064 bn kWh in 2000.

Source: The Economic Times

INTERNATIONAL: NON-FOSSIL FUELS/ CLIMATE CHANGE TRENDS 

Japan, US to ink deal on recycling CO2 for fuel

13 October. Japan and the US (United States) are expected to ink a deal to expedite the research and development of technology to recycle carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert it into usable fuel and chemicals. Japan hopes that through this new partnership and era of enhanced technological development, the capture, storage, utilization and recycling of CO2 will become feasible solutions for lowering dangerous greenhouse gas emissions as well as developing and securing stable energy sources.

Source: The Economic Times

Vietnam firm launches country’s largest solar farm amid renewables drive

12 October. Vietnam’s Trung Nam Group launched a 450 MW solar farm, the largest of its kind in the Southeast Asian country, which is seeking to boost the proportion of renewables while reducing dependence on coal in its power mix. Located in the central coastal province of Ninh Thuan, the 14 tn dong ($604 mn) solar farm is hooked up to the national grid via a 17 km (10.6 miles) transmission line, also built by Trung Nam, the private firm said. Vietnam plans to raise the proportion of solar and wind energy in its power mix to 15-20 percent by 2030 and to 25-30 percent by 2045, from 10 percent currently. The company said the solar farm, along with its other solar and wind power projects, will help ease the country’s imminent power shortage and diversify power sources.

Source: Reuters

US President backs revoking tariff exemption for some solar panel imports

11 October. US (United States) President Donald Trump signed a proclamation underscoring his support for revoking an exclusion from tariffs on some imported double-sided solar panels, and for raising the planned tariff rate to 18 percent for 2021 from 15 percent. Trump said the domestic US industry was starting to increase production and market share of certain solar modules after he imposed tariffs on imports in January 2018, but further steps were needed. Solar farm developers, including Chicago-based Invenergy Renewables LLC, had sued to maintain the exemption initially granted by the Trump administration, but it was later rescinded after officials realized it led to a spike in imports. The US in January 2018 imposed duties on solar panel imports beginning at 30 percent and expected to drop to 15 percent by 2021. Trump’s announcement would put the rate at 18 percent next year. China and other producers dominate the bifacial technology market, a small but growing part of the solar panel market that costs more but produces greater power than traditional panels.

Source: Reuters

Infinite Power signs agreement with Marubeni to use power cell technology

9 October. Britain’s Infinite Power said it has signed a letter of intent with Marubeni’s Nuclear Fuel Department of Japan to seek potential markets to use the firm’s power cell technology in Japan. Infinite Power has developed power cells which operate in a similar way to solar cells, but instead of converting the sun’s rays into electricity Infinite Power’s cells convert the radiation wave emitted from a radioisotope, which is an atom that has excess nuclear energy, into electricity. Inifinite Power said last month it was seeking to raise 25 mn pounds to construct its first production facility in Britain to make the power cells to provide clean energy to industry. Discussions are ongoing with investors in the United States and Britain, the firm said.

Source: Reuters

DATA INSIGHT

Source: World Energy Outlook (IEA): 2002, 2020 & BP for 2019 (actual)
Note: The data covers only commercial energy (Biomass is not included)

Source: World Energy Outlook (IEA): 2002, 2020


This is a weekly publication of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It covers current national and international information on energy categorised systematically to add value. The year 2020 is the seventeenth continuous year of publication of the newsletter. The newsletter is registered with the Registrar of News Paper for India under No. DELENG / 2004 / 13485.

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


Publisher: Baljit Kapoor

Editorial Adviser: Lydia Powell

Editor: Akhilesh Sati

Content Development: Vinod Kumar

Source: https://www.orfonline.org/research/energy-news-monitor-volume-xvii-issue-19/

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