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National News Bulletin

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Daily Newsletter 2020

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Infraline Comprehensive Power , Oil & Gas & Coal Only Detailed Newsletter

What’s New

Acts and Regulations

§  Proposed Methodology for Estimation of Electricity Generated from Biomass in Biomass Co-fired Thermal Power Plants.

§  Order on delay in clearance for construction of dedicated transmission line from MoP in the construction of the 2x660 MW coal based TPP located in Dhenkenal District, Odisha as force majeure events under BPTA dt 24.2.2010, seeking extension of time period for achieving the Commercial Operation Date of project and other consequential reliefs under the BPTA dt 24.2.2010. LBPL

§  RoP on Petition under Section 79 of the Electricity Act, 2003 read with Article 10 of the PPAs dated 17.3.2010 and 21.3.2013 executed between GMR Warora Energy Ltd and the Distribution Companies in the Maharashtra and Dadra and Nagar Haveli pursuant to liberty granted in Order dated 16.5.2019 in Petition No. 284/MP/2018 GMRWEL

§  RoP on Application under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for adoption of transmission charges with respect to the transmission system being established by Jam Khambaliya Transco Limited. Jam Khambaliya Transco Limited (JKTL)

§  RoP on Petition under Section 79(1)(b) read with Section 79(1)(f) and other applicable provisions of the EA, 2003 seeking adjudication of disputes and differences under the PPA dt 31.7.2012 as amended on 19.12.2014 and 23.1.2018 in regard to non-payment of tariff and unilateral deduction of the monthly energy bills of the Petitioner by the Respondents. KMPCL

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Performance of State Discom

New!

Power

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Power generation increased manifold in State: Ajay Misra

Special Chief Secretary, Department of Energy, Ajay Misra on Wednesday said that power generation in State during the last six years has been increased many fold and efforts are being made vigorously to increase the quantum of renewable energy to tide over the situation.

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SJVN gets best hydro power company award

Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria presented the award to SJVN’s Chairman & Managing Director Nand Lal Sharma at a function organized by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) in New Delhi.

§  Discoms’ could force their own privatisation due to their unwillingness to reform

§  NTPC bags two awards

§  CM Jagan reviews on electricity department direct officials to buy quality power for cheaper rates

§  Punjab: 'There's legal remedy for cancelling PPAs'

§  5 power PSUs saw losses of Rs 2,019 crore: CAG report

§  Policy | Nuclear power is the way forward

§  Karnataka: Yermarus power plant delay cost taxpayers Rs 6k crore: CAG

§  Top Andhra discom seeks more time to clear Rs 599 crore dues

§  NCLAT refers GE-Triveni dispute to NCLT bench

§  Energy bureau to introduce ISO 50001:2018 standards in AP

§  Mull underground power cables to save great Indian bustard, lesser florican, SC tells Rajasthan

§  Will Budgetary Support to promote Hydro Electric (HE) Power encourage DISCOMS to purchase power from HEPs?

[Poll Question]

Projects Update

Project Name

Promoter

Capacity

State

Chanju-I Hydro Electric Project

I.A. Hydro Ltd.

36 MW

Himachal Pradesh

New Parli Thermal Power Plant

Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MSPGCL)

1130 MW

Maharashtra

Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant

Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC)

1320 MW

Uttar Pradesh

Solapur Super Thermal Power Plant

NTPC

1320 MW

Maharashtra

Kudgi Super Thermal Power Plant Stage-1

NTPC

2400 MW

Karnataka

Renewable Energy

 

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India achieves lowest cost of floating solar power globally

India’s floating solar sector is slowly advancing with an increase in the number of tenders that were released in the past two years

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Solar capacity addition down 12 pc to 7,346 MW in 2019: Report

"The country installed 7,346 MW of solar in 2019, a 12 per cent decline year-over-year (YoY), compared to 8,338 MW installed in 2018," according to the report titled 'Q4 & Annual 2019 India Solar Market Update'

§  India’s rooftop solar capacity reached 4.4 GW in 2019: Report

§  Large scale storage still some way off

§  India to add 34 GW of solar through 2024

§  AP govt proposes to set up solar plants to produce 10,000 MW

§  Floating solar panels can meet Maha’s energy demands: Study

§  Nearly 27 GW of new Solar Capacity Added in India in Last Three Years

§  Over Rs 1.32 Lakh Crore Invested in India’s Renewable Sector Since 2017-18

§  Standard Chartered Commits $35 Bn Towards Renewable Projects

§  BSNL Tenders for 2.5 MW Rooftop Solar Systems in Maharashtra

§  India’s 1.2GW solar tender oversubscribed by 2.3GW

§  Does Anti-Dumping probe benefit Domestic Solar Manufacturers in India?[Poll Question]

§  Tata Power rooftop solar solutions now available in 70 cities

§  India's renewable energy sector to attract $10 billion investments annually: BoA

§  India may give reprieve to solar projects delayed by coronavirus fallout

§  Top Andhra discom seeks more time to clear Rs 599 crore dues

§  Centre to set up renewable energy board to cut developers’ risks

§  Around 18,000 sq. km of water bodies in India can generate 280GW power through floating solar PVs: TERI study

§  BHEL bags TERI’s battery storage tender for Rs 2.51 crore

Projects Update

Project Name

Plant Owner

Capacity (MW)

State

Chhayan Solar plant

Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL)

150

Rajasthan

Ramanathapuram Solar Project

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC India Limited)

95

Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli Solar Power Plant

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC India Limited)

100

Tamil Nadu

Ibrahimpatanam Solar Power Project

Bharat Dynamics Ltd.

5

Telangana

Kothagudem Solar Photovoltaic Power Project

Singareni Collieries Company limited (SCCL)

37

Telangana

Oil & Gas

 

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ONGC not affected from economic slowdown, coronavirus: CMD

Despite economic slowdown and affect in the industrial growth due to the coronavirus outbreak in China and other countries, the business and investment of the Government-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) did not affect, ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker said on Wednesday.

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Indradhanush pipeline and exploration of gas reserve in Nagaland is ONGC’s priority for NE

After Tripura and Assam, Nagaland has emerged as a potential hydrocarbon reserve in India, for which exploration giant Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has shared the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government to begin exploration work, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker told media here on Wednesday.

§  Can India attain the objective of decreasing 10% crude oil import by 2022?

[Poll Question]

§  Range for imported gas price over next 2-3 yrs seen at USD 6-8/mmbtu, says Edelweiss Financial Services

§  India's crude oil refinery output rises 2.0percent in January 2020

§  Petrol, diesel prices remain at 3-month low today

§  Crude oil futures gain 1.33 pc on global cues

§  Big crude oil supply deal expected during Trump visit

§  Range for imported gas price over next 2-3 yrs seen at USD 6-8/mmbtu, says Edelweiss Financial Services

§  India to switch to world's cleanest petrol, diesel from April 1

§  Cooking gas prices may see monthly revision to contain subsidy

§  Privatisation may not cause big layoffs at BPCL: Top exec

§  Torrent Chennai city gas licence valid, says SC

§  PNG facility in more areas soon in Patna

§  Ammonia gas leak from Haryana plant, 100 affected

§  BPCL management hopes NRL disinvestment happens concurrently

Oil & Gas Technical

New!

 

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Canada's Trudeau stresses the need for peaceful end to pipeline protests

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday called for a peaceful solution to end rail blockades by indigenous rights groups protesting the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

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Australia consumer watchdog forecasts ample 2020 natural gas supply

Eastern Australia is expected to have an ample supply of natural gas in 2020; however, prices for businesses and industry have not fallen as much as would be expected, Australia's competition watchdog said on Tuesday.

§  China to grant tariff exemptions on 696 U.S. goods, including LNG

§  Taiwan's CPC offers spot naphtha in rare move

§  Asia distillates-jet fuel cash discounts widen

§  Portugal's oil company Galp invests for a greener future

§  China cuts gasoline, diesel retail prices for second time in 2020

Daily International Coal Prices

New!

Coal

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India: Potential investors seek more clarity on commercial coal mining norms

Potential private investors have sought more clarity on the pricing mechanism proposed for the much-anticipated auction for commercial coal mining. In three separate meetings with Union coal ministry officials, some industry personnel also pointed out that the efficiency parameters specified by the government’s discussion paper on the subject are too stringent and the coal ministry must relax the operational timelines proposed in it.

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Coal India Shares Jump 4percent as Govt Plans to Stop Thermal Coal Imports from 2023-24

Coal India shares touched a high of Rs 178.55 apiece on Wednesday. The stock closed the session later at Rs 177.80, up 3.5% from its previous close.

§  Will Commercial Coal Mining attract global players to invest in India?

[Poll Question]

§  SCCL pioneered IT usage in coal sector: DGMS

§  No more coal imports by power plants from FY24: Union coal minister Pralhad Joshi

§  Government may ease commercial coal auction rules

§  Karnataka: Yermarus power plant delay cost taxpayers Rs 6k crore: CAG

§  India’s JSW to boost thermal coal trading

Roads

 

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NHAI to use three anti-smog guns to control dust pollution on NH-9

To combat the air pollution, caused mainly by ongoing construction work, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to use three anti-smog guns at the under-construction sections of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway (DME). The officials said the three machines will be movable and will be deployed on phases 2 and 4.

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NHAI extends ₹260 crore to Reliance Infra subsidiary P S Toll Road

The National Highway Authority of India has offered a loan of ₹260 crore to Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary PS Toll Road Private Limited, Mumbai Mirror reported on Wednesday.

§  National Highway Constructed till February 2020 [Exclusive]

§  Toll exemption to defence personnel only if they are travelling on duty, says NHAI

§  NH-33, minus underpasses, on track: National Highways Authority of India

§  Highways Authority to start land acquisition for Karur-Coimbatore bypass

§  Land acquisition for Ganga Expressway after March: Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath

§  H.G. Infra Engineering Ltd arm achieves financial closure for project

§  Norm change may hit 1,000 km road projects

§  How infrastructure push will impact real estate sector

§  Noida: Tenders soon for Parthala flyover, Sector 18 skywalk

§  Indian engineer from IIT-G develops tech for safer roads using steel industry waste

§  Tiruchy to get automated vehicle testing centre

§  Land for road to Karala river bridge after 10 years

§  Warangal-Karimnagar travel via NH-563 gets dangerous by the day

§  Finance Ministry's rule change may hit 1,000 km road projects

§  Do you think NIP and recent budget allocation will help roads sector to achieve per day construction target?

[Poll Question]

Projects Update

Project Name

Promoter/Client

State

Length (Km)

Narnaul Bypass (Ateli Mandi to Narnaul Section) NH-11

NHAI/H G Infra Engineering

Haryana

39

Eight Laning Delhi-Vadodara Greenfield Alignment (NH-148N) (Package- VIII) Start of RoB near junction with NH-11A - Baonli Jhalai Road

NHAI / HG Infra

Delhi,Gujarat

33

Eight Laning Delhi - Vadodara (Package- IX) (Baonli-Jhalai Road to Start of RoB near village Itawa)

NHAI / HG Infra

Delhi,Gujarat

45

Four Laning Jagdishpur-Faizabad Section (NH-330A) Pkg-II

NHAI / PNC Infratech

Uttar Pradesh

60.22

Four Laning Kundapur-KNT-Goa Border (NH-17)

NHAI/IRB

Karnataka

179

Power(13 News Items)

General


Power generation increased manifold in State: Ajay Misra

·         Special Chief Secretary, Department of Energy, Ajay Misra on Wednesday said that power generation in State during the last six years has been increased many fold and efforts are being made vigorously to increase the quantum of renewable energy to tide over the situation.

·         The Chief Minister is keen on supplying quality power with much reduced tariff and efforts are being focused on solar energy, roof top, digital systems and so on, he added. He said government is supplying power round-the-clock to domestic and irrigation sectors. He was addressing at a seminar on "Policies of Governments, Paradigms, Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Electrical Power in India" organized on the occasion of centenary celebrations by the Institution of Engineers (India), Telangana State Centre in the city on Wednesday.

·         The two-day programme is being organised in association with Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Ltd, Transmission Corporation of Telangana Ltd, Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation Ltd and Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission. Ajay Misra said the government is supplying power round-the-clock to domestic and irrigation sectors.

Source

 

Top

SJVN gets best hydro power company award

·         Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited been honored with the CBIP Award-2020 of Best Performing Hydro Power Company.

·         Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria presented the award to SJVN’s Chairman & Managing Director Nand Lal Sharma at a function organized by the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) in New Delhi.

·         The award was presented in the august presence of Chairman, Central Water Commission, RK Jain, Chairman, Central Electricity Authority PS Mhaske and Secretary, CBIP.

·         Nand Lal Sharma informed that SJVN has received this award for outstanding contribution to the nation by setting new benchmarks in generation & maintenance of Hydro Projects and the use of latest state of Art Technologies and smart solutions for tackling major silt erosion problems.

·         SJVN’s flagship 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station and 412 MW Rampur Hydro Power Station has been invariably exceeding their design energy targets and their Plant Availability Factors are constantly being above 100%.

·         He said against the MoU target of generation of 9100 million units of electricity for the current financial year from its power stations, SJVN has generated more than 9270 million units during the current financial year to date.

·         He told that the financial position of SJVN also remained healthy with total revenue amounting to Rs 2908.99 crore and net profit of Rs. 1364.29 crore in FY 2018-19. This year SJVN is sure of making capital investment of Rs. 1200 crore in the construction of power projects in India and abroad.

·         Sharma informed that for next Financial Year a CAPEX of Rs. 2880 crore is planned.

·         Whereas SJVN has an ambitious target of Rs. 25000 crore investment in ongoing and upcoming projects in the next five years.

·         SJVN has also forayed into the fields of Renewable Energy, Power Transmission and Thermal. SJVN has envisaged Internal Growth Targets and is vigorously marching forward for achieving installed capacity of 5000 MW by 2023, 12000 MW by 2030 and 25000 MW by year 2040.

Source

 

Top

Discoms’ could force their own privatisation due to their unwillingness to reform

·         Indian discoms owe over Rs 80,000 crore to the power producers. Barring a small amount, all of it is owed by state-owned discoms. This would be for almost 27,000 crore units at the rate of `3/unit of power, which was, in turn, supplied by discoms to consumers. If discoms collected an average of R4/unit from their consumers, the total collection should have been almost R108,000 crt. Net of the ATC loss of 25%, the collection would still stand at around Rs 80,000 crore.

·         So, where is that money gone if it has not been paid to the independent power producers (IPPs)? Maybe, discoms couldn’t collect all of this. Or was the rate much lower than Rs 4/unit? Or is it that discoms’ other expenses, like on salaries, loan interest burden, etc, meant that they could not pay power suppliers?

·         When IPPs, in turn, end up defaulting on their loans, the lenders drag them to NCLT under the IBC code, promoters lose their projects to new investors and banks take massive haircuts. But that doesn’t solve the real problem as it doesn’t at all change the the way discoms run. What is the big deal that NCLT does in the resolution plan for IPPs? The process just addressed the symptoms temporarily and not the root cause, which is the discoms’ inefficiencies.

·         I keep thinking why discoms can’t reform while under the state control and, every time, I get more and more convinced of the reasons as why there is no incentive to perform.

·         There is no time left to further this agenda given the time-bomb on which this sector is sitting. We have to have try some quick but long-term solutions. My gut feeling is that the NCLT-IBC route could be one such solution. IPPs should move the NCLT for resolution of their dues under IBC, banks should cooperate as well. The recoverability of amounts for banks and IPPs is like an ice cube. The more you wait, the smaller it will become. Good money generated by discoms from loans and power purchases from IPPs will continue to put into bad use.

·         Isn’t it the time to bite the bullet and stop the loss and further bleeding? Let qualified private players take over the discoms from the resolution professional appointed under IBC at a value that is supported by the discoms’ current retail tariffs. The best part is that state governments can’t take over their own discoms under the IBC route. If state governments wants to retain their discoms, the only way for them would be to pay the lenders’ dues and that of the IPPs.

·         The outcome can not be worse than what it is today. Banks might also get to mitigate their haircuts at the IPP-end in the process, in addition to resolving their dues, albeit at a loss in the case of the bleeding state discoms.

·         It is my experience that, many times, when the government also finds a merit in a solution on which it can’t proceed due to political compulsions or unions, etc, it prefers a court directive to do so. This also holds true for reforms through privatisation.

·         When we have mechanisms such as IBC, we should leverage it. I hope some IPPs and banks will think seriously about this option. This will, however, involve a lot of courage on the part of the creditors and the conviction that it will work. Also, it will need support, passive or active, from important stakeholders who should appreciate the purpose and the outcomes that it will bring about in terms of better management and, therefore, not create hurdles in the implementation.

·         The resolution professionals to be appointed in the process should be pragmatic enough to understand how the transfer of discoms to private sector would go a long way in resolving the much bigger stress being created in the sector by discoms. It is the discoms revenues which actually pays for the costs and debts of the entire value-chain be it generation, transmission, trading. Discoms are the Gangotri (the origin) of the cash-flow for the entire sector. If that dries up, the whole system gets affected.

·         The writer is Former MD GE T&D India Ltd, & former MD, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd.

Source

 

Top

NTPC bags two awards

·         NTPC has been awarded India’s Best Workplace in Manufacturing 2020-Top 30 award in Mumbai. AN Verma, ED (HR) received the award along with CV Anand, RED (WR-I & SR). This year 142 organisations in the manufacturing sector undertook this assessment. Based on the rigorous evaluation, GPTW has identified the Top 30 organisations among India’s best Workplace in Manufacturing 2020.

·         The company has excelled in people’s practices designed for their employees and the feedback on creating a High Trust Culture from their employees.

Source

 

Top

CM Jagan reviews on electricity department direct officials to buy quality power for cheaper rates

·         Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy conducted a review on the power department on Wednesday to discuss the ways to make the discoms debt free. Officials gave details to CM on the financial situation of GENCO and TRANSCO. Chief minister directed the officials to buy the power from the companies who offer quality power for cheaper prices. "This will reduce the burden on discoms, " CM added.

·         In addition, the Chief Minister has directed the government to focus on building a 10,000 MW solar power plant. The CM also directed to focus on Hydro reverse pumping projects and emphasized on the need of export policy for investors for electricity sales. The Chief Minister made it clear that there should be no corruption in the power sector. He also instructed to complete the Krishnapatnam and VTPS projects immediately.

Source

 

Top

Punjab: 'There's legal remedy for cancelling PPAs'

·         AAP MLA and leader of opposition in Punjab assembly Harpal Singh Cheema, who is an advocate by profession, on Tuesday said the state government could cancel its power purchase agreements (PPAs) with private firms under Section 23 of The Indian Contract Act, 1872, because these pacts were against public policy.

·         Cheema's statement came on a day when Lok Insaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains said the state government's priority during the coming summer should be to bring down the cost of power while ensuring that it had enough supply of electricity.

·         The AAP leader said public policy was one which concerned public good or public interest. Section 23 says, "The consideration or object of an agreement is lawful unless it is opposed to public policy."

·         Cheema added it was known that power was cheaper in the market than rates mentioned in PPAs signed by the previous SAD-BJP government with three private companies. He said the decision was against public interest since these companies were being paid from taxes paid by people and, at the same time, they were being overburdened with high power rates.

·         Bains, who was in Patiala for a court hearing, said while all were talking about PPAs, no one was looking into the inefficiencies of PSPCL, which had been unable to bring down losses and was paying hundreds of crores as interest on its Rs 32,000-crore debt. He said the government should look within to solve the problem.

·         With costs spiralling, Punjab is in the grip of a power crisis and PPAs are taking the flak. According to experts, an amendment in PPAs and cost cutting by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) could ensure availability of reliable and economical power supply in the state. Padamjit Singh, chief patron of All-India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), had recently proposed measures to reduce power cost before Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).

Source

 

Top

5 power PSUs saw losses of Rs 2,019 crore: CAG report

·         Five public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the power sector in Karnataka suffered losses of Rs 2,019.09 crore in 2017-18, while six PSUs in the sector earned a profit of Rs 413.51 crore, according to the report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on PSUs for year ending March 2018. The report was tabled in the assembly on Tuesday.

·         While major contributors to the profits were Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (Rs 212.14 crore) and Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Rs 84.77 crore), big losses were incurred by Raichur Power Corporation Limited (Rs 1,562.76 crore), Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited (Rs 312.84 crore) and Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited (Rs 140.28 crore).

·         According to the report, power PSUs earned net aggregate profits of Rs 372.60 crore, Rs 422.87 crore and Rs 19.25 crore during 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively. They incurred net aggregate losses of Rs 533.59 crore and Rs 1,606.58 crore during 2013-14 and 2017-18, respectively.

·         “The main reason for losses during 2017-18, as compared to profits during previous years, was the big loss posted by Raichur Power Corporation Limited,” the report stated. As the PSUs incurred losses, the government’s investment grew significantly.

·         “It went up by 41.86 percent from Rs 8,791.63 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 12,471.92 crore in 2017-18,” the report said. It also highlighted that the return on investment was negative during 2013-14 due to the loss incurred by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited in 2013-14, and due to loss in Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited and decrease in profits by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited in 2017-18.

·         On the Yeramarus Thermal Power Station under Raichur Power Corporation Limited, the report said that despite an investment of Rs 12,915.90 crore, because of the project’s cost and time overruns, the electricity companies had to procure 22,283 million units of short/medium term power to meet the deficit from 2014-15 to 2017-18, which otherwise would have been met by the YTPS project. The additional cost incurred on the purchase of power was Rs 2,517.92 crore, it said.

Source

 

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Policy | Nuclear power is the way forward

·         The importance of global warming and the subsequent climate change needs no reiterating. Yet again we were reminded of it, this time by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who on February 17 announced the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion-worth initiative to fight climate change. India has been in the forefront of initiatives to give up dependence on fossil fuels and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a good example of this.

·         Developing countries in Asia and Africa, as against the developed nations in Europe, do not often have global warming and climate change on the top of their list. This could be because there are more pressing real-time concerns that need to be prioritised — however, the harmful effects of climate change know no national boundaries. This is seen is extreme weather-related events, such as the intense storms in the Gangetic Plains and the Mekong and Pearl River Deltas, the wildfires in Australia and South America, etc.

·         The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change has suggested some measures for tackling the problem. It recommends a focus on renewables, such as wind and solar power to provide between 59 and 97 percent of the total electricity by 2030. It has also proposed a focus on nuclear energy to augment wherever possible, and up to 28 percent.

·         It is here — in the quest to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels — that India must pay more attention to nuclear energy. Currently India produces only around 6,250 MWs of nuclear power which is just around 6.3 percent of the power production in the country. India operates 22 nuclear power plants, a bulk of them pressurised hard water reactors (PHWRs), and has ambitious plans for capacity expansion. In this line, news reports that India and the United States are back to efforts to resolve the issues surrounding the stalled six nuclear power plants is good news.

·         Even if India were to achieve 450 GW of power from the twin renewables of solar and wind, the key issue here would be storage. India has no natural lithium or cobalt and other rare metal reserves, which are the most critical in the storage of renewable energy generated. This would make us perennially dependent on other countries for meeting our energy needs.

·         Here, nuclear energy has an advantage. Not only has India acquired mastery over the construction and operation of the PHWRs at competitive international costs, but it has a mature supply line and does not have to depend on imports to meet fuel needs.

·         At a recent event, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, said that India’s energy future depended on its rapid growth of nuclear power. “This (climate) crisis is becoming deeper and deeper….So implementation of the atomic energy programme will become more and more aggressive with time … There is a need to do things faster,” he said.

·         Nuclear waste is a major concern globally and dissuades many countries from relying on this technology. Reprocessing of this waste helps reduce the quantum of waste generated in the reactor that needs to be disposed of through safe storage.

·         For this, India has a well laid out, long term, 3-stage nuclear programme. India has invested large resources in its recycle programme through the Integrated Nuclear Recycle Plant (INRP). India is considered as one of the leaders in recycle technology. In addition to Thorium, India also has large reserves of Uranium in the eastern and southern parts of India. This would mean that fuel would not be a constraint in future.

·         Another factor frequently quoted against the civilian use of nuclear power is the consequences of accidents. It must be remembered that of the three major nuclear reactor accidents (based on cost), Chenobyl was entirely attributed to human error, while the other two, the Three Mile Island and Fukushima accidents, too had significant human errors involved. The solution to this is not to shun the technology altogether, but to use technology to counter the problems caused by technology.

·         To our advantage, when it comes to nuclear power, India has established a good safety culture. Thus India has a lot going in its favour when it comes to replying on nuclear power generation.

Source

 

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Karnataka: Yermarus power plant delay cost taxpayers Rs 6k crore: CAG

·         The time overrun to complete the Yermarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS) project in Raichur district was over three years, while the accumulated cost overrun was in excess of Rs 6,626 crore, a Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) report on public sector undertakings shows.

·         The government could have saved this money if the project had been implemented efficiently, the Comptroller and Auditor-General says in its report, which was tabled in the legislative assembly on Tuesday.

·         The report, which covers the financial year ending March 31, 2018, shows how costs increased with delays. The current acute resource crunch could further delay the project and push costs up further, the report observed.

·         YTPS was conceptualised in 2009 with the aim of bridging the gap between demand and supply between 2014 and 2017. Work on the project began in 2009 and it was scheduled to be completed by April 2014, but it was declared ready for commercial operation only in April 2017 — a delay of three years.

·         The project was to be fast-tracked considering the ready availability of land, water, coal transport and power evacuation, thereby gaining invaluable savings in time and money. But the delay in completion of the project increased project costs from the estimated Rs 8,806 crore in April 2009 to a provisional Rs 12,915 crore by September 2019. The cost of power generation also increased from Rs 3.2 to Rs 5.4 per unit during the same period.

·         Also, due to the delay, electricity companies (Escoms) were forced to procure 22,283 million units (MUs) of short and medium term power to meet the deficit between 2014 and 2018. These companies spent a staggering Rs 2,517 crore on buying power.

·         Even now, the report said, the plant cannot run at full capacity due to non-completion of auxiliary works including a coal handling plant, general mechanical work and railway sidings and marshaling yard works. Another shortcoming is the failure to synchronise boiler and turbine generator packages with other ancillary works.

·         The report said the project was delayed due to frequent changes in designs and execution of work. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) was on board as a joint venture partner and also the primary contractor for the project, the report said.

Source

 

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Top Andhra discom seeks more time to clear Rs 599 crore dues

·         Andhra Pradesh’s main power distribution company has sought more time to clear outstanding dues of Rs 599 crore it owes to renewable energy developers.

·         In an affidavit filed with the state high court on Monday, the Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) said, “The answering respondents seeking intervention of this hon’ble court to grant 4 weeks further time to clear the dues as undertaken before this hon’ble court.”

·         The court had directed the state discom on December 20, 2019, to clear the dues within four weeks. The order had come in the wake of the developers seeking the court’s intervention in the matter of the dues pending for several months.

·         “In a hearing that took place earlier this month, the judge was frustrated that the state had not complied with the order,” a person close to the development said on condition of anonymity.

·         According to the affidavit, the state-owned utility has paid Rs 1,955 crore to generators so far while Rs 599 crore remains to be paid.

·         “The answering respondents are in serious financial crisis and due to which it has become difficult to secure the required balance amount in order to clear the outstanding dues either from banks or from central government financial institutions for the answering respondents. In the said process there is a delay occasioned to the answering respondents herein,” APSPDCL said in the affidavit, a copy of which was seen by ET.

·         The discom also said it had taken steps to clear outstanding dues. It said it had recently secured a loan of Rs 1,250 crore from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and used it to clear part of the dues.

·         All wind developers have been paid at a tariff of Rs 2.43 and solar developers at Rs 2.44 so far, in accordance with the court directive. Developers had filed a contempt petition on this lowered tariff and hearings have been going on.

·         The YSR Congress-led government has been attempting to renegotiate signed power purchase agreements because it believes the contracts were signed at rates higher than those in other states. Andhra Pradesh has around 7,700 mw of solar and wind projects.

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NCLAT refers GE-Triveni dispute to NCLT bench

·         The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has referred the ongoing dispute between General Electric and Triveni Turbines over their joint venture back to the Bengaluru bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

·         An interim order by the NCLAT bench which permitted GE to sell its stake in subsidiary Baker Hughes, as long as the deal would not affect the business of GE Triveni will remain in effect till the NCLT decides on the matter. The interim order had also noted that the obligations of Baker Hughes and GE towards the joint venture would remain unchanged and that any stake sale would be subject to the decision of the tribunal.

·         Triveni Turbines had opposed the proposed stake sale, stating that it would “de-link” GE from the joint venture in violation of the terms of their deal and its obligations to provide GE Triveni with technology, marketing services and access to its international sales network.

·         The appellate tribunal also declined to order an independent investigation or audit into the functioning of GE Triveni, calling on the NCLT bench to first decide on the issue. Triveni Turbines had called for an independent investigation alleging that GE had used internal processes to divert business from GE Triveni and compete against it. Counsels for GE had argued that the NCLAT did not have jurisdiction on a stake sale between two foreign entities.

·         “As the allegations and counter allegations and other facts are to be looked into by the tribunal, we are not deliberating on such issues which are left open to the parties to argue before the tribunal,” the NCLAT ordered.

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Energy bureau to introduce ISO 50001:2018 standards in AP

·         The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under the Union ministry of power, plans to introduce ISO 50001:2018 energy management standards in energy-intensive industries across all states.

·         A workshop will be held with power utilities of all southern states at Visakhapatnam today in which the bureau will impart information on continuous energy management and manufacturing operations, said BEE director, Sunil Khandare. Representatives from the southern states, Odisha and Pondicherry will also attent the workshop. Khandare added that the workshop will focus on curtailing wasteful consumption of energy in order to achieve sustainable development goals.

·         The ISO 50001:2018 energy management system will reduce costs and increase profitability of businesses. Nagulapalli Srikant, secretary of the energy department said BEE has selected Andhra Pradesh for the launch of ISO 50001:2018 standards in view of its energy policies.

·         The ISO 50001:2018 energy standards work through a four-pronged approach: ‘plan, do, check and act’. The management at power utilities will be responsible for planning an energy policy for the organisation and conducting timely energy reviews.

·         After the energy policy is designed, it will be implemented through training and awareness programmes in the organisation, apart from enhancing infrastructure in the ‘do’ phase.

·         The implementation will be monitored and analysed for corrective or preventive action as part of an internal audit in the ‘check’ phase. The management will review and ‘act’ and draft new strategies to further improve performance and reach the goals set, said Khandare.

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Mull underground power cables to save great Indian bustard, lesser florican, SC tells Rajasthan

·         Coming to the rescue of endangered birds -- the great Indian bustard and the lesser florican, which are dying in large numbers due to collisions with high-voltage power lines, the Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Rajasthan government to consider laying underground cables. The top court said they are large birds and it is difficult for them to maneuver due to the high-tension power lines which obstruct their flight paths.

·         The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) shared the concern of the court and said that there is no other option but to lay power cables underground to protect the great Indian bustard (GIB) and lesser florican (LF).

·         A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant asked senior advocate Manish Singhvi, appearing for the Rajasthan government, to take instructions from the competent authority for laying of cables underground.

·         "It appears that one of the dangers is the presence of power lines, which obstruct the flight path of the of GIB. It is well known that the GIB is a larger bird and it is difficult for it to maneuver easily in its flight. One of the solutions suggested to avoid any collision in its flight path is that the over-head wires be laid down underground".

·         It asked Singhvi to take instructions within two weeks and apprise the court about the manner in which the power lines could be laid down underground.

·         At the outset, the top court said that the state government can look into modifying the contract of private companies for laying down the cables underground.

·         "This is a larger bird which fly in a particular direction. To avoid power lines coming in the direction of flight path of the bird, it would be appropriate if they are laid down underground. Necessary changes can be made in the contract with the private companies for laying down underground cables," the bench said.

·         With regard to LF, the top court said it is not disputed that the bird is also endangered and disturbed largely by the power generation plants.

·         The top court said that if the Rajasthan government faces any problem, then the court can pass necessary directions.

·         Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for MoEF said a team of the ministry and other wildlife experts have visited Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and it is evident from their findings that underground cable is the only solution.

·         Advocates Sugandha Yadav, Shatadru Chakraborty and Sonia Dube, appearing for Petitioner M K Ranjitsinh -- a retired IAS officer, said that they have prepared terms of reference for the top court appointed panel, which could be looked into for conservation for GIB and LF.

·         The top court asked the MoEF to look into the terms of reference and file an affidavit in this regard.

·         The Counsel for the petitioner suggested names of three experts -- Sutirtha Dutta (scientist), Thulsi Rao, Director, Andhra Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (APSBB) and Samad Kottur, a lecturer in government college in Karnataka -- to be included in the panel appointed by the apex court as they deal largely with LF.

·         The top court accepted the suggestion while directing for inclusion of the three experts in the panel and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

·         On July 15 last year, the court had taken serious note of alarming extinction of the GIB and the LF and constituted a high powered committee to urgently frame and implement an emergency response plan for the protection of these species.

·         It had constituted a 3-member panel comprising Director of Bombay Natural History Society; Asad R Rahmani, former Director of Bombay Natural History Society and Dhananjai Mohan, Chief Conservator of Forests of Uttarakhand.

·         It had sought responses from the Centre and state governments where these two species of birds are prominently found, on a plea of wildlife activists.

·         Ranjitsinh and others had sought the court's directions for an urgent emergency response plan to protect and recovery of both the bird species.

·         Ranjitsinh, who has served as the director of Wildlife Protection, has contended in his plea that over the last 50 years the population of the GIB has recorded a decline of over 82 per cent, falling from an estimated 1,260 in 1969, to 100-150 in 2018.

·         "The population of the Lesser Florican (also known as the likh or kharmore) has seen a sharp decline of 80 per cent over the past few decades, from 3530 individuals recorded in 1999, to less than 700 individuals in 2018," the plea said.

·         It added that both the birds are protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 but despite being accorded the highest level of protection under national law, the birds face the threat of imminent extinction.

·         The plea blamed various reasons for the threats faced by the two endangered birds including -- mortality by collision with infrastructure, particularly power lines and wind turbines, depletion of grasslands, hunting, development of mines and human habitation in and around their habitats and ingestion of pesticides.

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Renewable(19 News Items)

India achieves lowest cost of floating solar power globally

·         With the Indian floating solar photovoltaic (FSPV) industry still gaining ground, a recent report has said the country has achieved the lowest investment cost for a floating solar project in the world so far.

·         “Recent bids results indicate a sharp decline in the investment cost for FSPV. In the latest tender result of the country’s first large-scale FSPV plant of 70 megawatt capacity, cost as low as Rs 35 per Watt has been quoted by developers. This is the lowest cost achieved in the entire world so far,” the report by The Energy and Resources Institute said.

·         Titled ‘Floating Solar Photovoltaic (FSPV): A Third Pillar to Solar PV Sector?’ the study also says the investment cost had decreased in the past two years, with a significant drop of 45 per cent in cost seen considering 2018.

·         “A country like India has already started getting the lowest cost in the world and one can expect it to go down further, as more projects are about to come in the near future,” it added.

·         The report said that even though the costs have decreased, it is still very early to come to any generalization, since the FSPV as a technology is still in its early stage of market penetration.

·         Major reasons for reduction in costs were a decline in the cost of floaters because of improvement in manufacturing process, reduction in the material cost, reduction in thickness of floaters, and aggressive biddings by project developers to get some experience in FSPV sector.

·         It added that though falling cost is a good indication it was important to check whether this is not impacting the overall quality of the projects, since degradation in the quality of FSPV projects has higher potential to impact local biodiversity compared to ground-mounted solar PV.

·         India’s floating solar sector is slowly advancing with an increase in the number of tenders that were released in the past two years.

·         At present, there are more than 1,700 MW worth of FSPV projects which are under various stages of development and more are in the pipeline.

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Solar capacity addition down 12 pc to 7,346 MW in 2019: Report

·         India's solar energy capacity addition dipped 12 per cent to 7,346 megawatts (MW) in the calender year 2019 from 8,338 MW in 2018, according to a report by Mercom India Research. While 2019 was a lost year for the country's solar sector, Mercom India Research expects solar installations to rise by 17 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to about 8,500 MW by the end of 2020.

·         "The country installed 7,346 MW of solar in 2019, a 12 per cent decline year-over-year (YoY), compared to 8,338 MW installed in 2018," according to the report titled 'Q4 & Annual 2019 India Solar Market Update'.

·         It also estimates solar installations in the range of 65-70 gigawatt (GW) by 2022, based on the current market conditions. The government has set a solar installation target of 100 GW by 2022.

·         The large-scale solar projects accounted for 85 per cent of installations with 6,242 MW in 2019 and saw a 7 per cent y-o-y fall, and rooftop solar made up the remaining 15 per cent adding 1,104 MW, a 33 per cent drop y-o-y.

·         Karnataka was the top state for solar in 2019 with 1.8 GW, followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Together, these three states accounted for almost 70 per cent of solar installations in 2019.

·         "The demand outlook for 2020 looks better with a stronger project pipeline, and we should see the solar market resume y-o-y growth again," said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group in a statement.

·         He also said that a lot will depend on the economy and lending situation getting back on track, the impact of coronavirus, and the outcome of the 20 per cent basic customs duty announced in the recent Budget.

·         At the end of 2019, cumulative solar installations reached almost 35.7 GW. Large-scale projects accounted for 31.3 GW (87.6 per cent), whereas rooftop solar installations accounted for 4.4 GW (12.4 per cent).

·         The large-scale solar project development pipeline stands at 23.7 GW, with 31.5 GW of projects tendered and pending auction at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.

·         The Indian solar market added 1,897 MW in the October-December 2019 period, a 12.8 per cent fall as compared with 2,177 MW installed in the preceding quarter.

·         However, installations were up by 15.6 per cent compared to 1,641 MW installed in the fourth quarter of 2018.

·         In the fourth quarter of 2019, large-scale solar projects came to 1,593 MW, while rooftop solar installations came to 304 MW, an increase of 24.1 per cent compared to 245 MW in the third quarter of 2019, it added .

·         Multiple reasons led to the fall in large-scale solar additions in 2019 including elections, a slowing economy, liquidity issues, tariff caps, lack of financing, curtailment, payment delays, and power purchase agreements renegotiations in Andhra Pradesh.

·         Rooftop installations declined for the first time in five years. The report pointed to the slowdown in the economy in 2019 as a significant factor, along with liquidity issues in the market following the NBFC crisis that made it difficult for installers to finance rooftop projects in a tough economy.

·         "There are several challenges facing the industry but a few fixes, that could immediately turn around the sector, would be to remove tariff caps in reverse auctions, getting government agencies to make timely payments and facilitate lending to get the solar market moving in the right direction again," added Prabhu.

·         After five consecutive years of decline, coal accounted for a majority of the power installations with 7.8 GW and made up 44.1 per cent of the installed capacity, followed by solar with 7.3 GW.

·         Wind energy accounted for 2.4 GW followed by small hydro and other renewables with 154 MW and 82.5 MW, respectively. Even with coal installations rising, renewables collectively still made up a majority of the installations in 2019.

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India’s rooftop solar capacity reached 4.4 GW in 2019: Report

·         India’s cumulative solar rooftop installations reached about 4.4 gigawatt (GW) at the end of 2019, according to a recent report by Mercom India.

·         It added that last year large-scale projects accounted for 85 per cent of installations with 6,242 MW and saw a 7 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) decline. Whereas, rooftop solar projects made up the remaining 15 per cent adding 1,104 MW, a 33 per cent drop y-o-y.

·         “At the end of 2019, cumulative solar installations reached almost 35.7 GW. Large-scale projects accounted for 31.3 GW, 87.6 per cent, whereas rooftop solar installations accounted for 4.4 GW about 12 per cent,” the research firm said in its CY2019 India Solar Market Update released on Wednesday.

·         In the fourth quarter of 2019, large-scale solar projects came to 1,593 megawatt (MW), while rooftop solar installations were at 304 MW, an increase of 24.1 per cent compared to 245 MW in the third quarter of 2019.

·         According to the report, rooftop installations declined for the first time in five years. Major reasons being the economic slowdown last year, along with liquidity issues in the market following the NBFC crisis which made it extremely difficult for installers to finance rooftop projects.

·         “There are several challenges facing the industry, but a few fixes that could immediately turnaround the sector would be to remove tariff caps in reverse auctions, getting government agencies to make timely payments and facilitate lending to get the solar market moving in the right direction again,” said Raj Prabhu, chief executive officer, Mercom Capital Group.

·         The report estimated a rise in solar installations by 17 per cent y-o-y to about 8.5 GW by the end of 2020 and solar installations in the 65 GW to 70 GW range by 2022.

·         India installed 7,346 megawatt (MW) of solar power capacity in 2019, down by 12 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) as compared to 8,338 MW installed in 2018.

·         Karnataka emerged as the top state for solar energy in 2019 with 1.8 gigawatt (GW), followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. These three states accounted for almost 70 per cent of solar installations in 2019.

·         “The demand outlook for 2020 looks better with a stronger project pipeline, and we should see the solar market resume y-o-y growth again. But, a lot will depend on the economy and lending situation getting back on track, the impact of coronavirus, and the outcome of the 20 per cent basic customs duty announced in the recent Budget,” said Prabhu.

·         The large-scale solar project development pipeline stands at 23.7 GW, with 31.5 GW of projects tendered and pending auction at the end of Q4 2019.

·         According to the report, the Indian solar market added 1,897 MW in Q4 2019, a 12.8 per cent decrease, compared to 2,177 MW installed in Q3 2019. However, installations were up by 15.6 per cent compared to 1,641 MW installed in Q4 2018.

·         The government has set a solar installation target of 100 GW by 2022.

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Large scale storage still some way off

·         Solar consultancy Bridge to India has stated high costs mean large scale energy storage may be at least three years away from entering the mainstream Indian market to any significant extent.

·         That pessimistic prediction was among the findings of the consultancy’s India Renewables Outlook 2024 report, which forecasts the nation could host 74-97 GW of solar generation capacity by 2025, with 82 GW the base case figure suggested.

·         India will reach 49 GW of solar project capacity this year, according to the base case estimate made by the Haryana-based analyst, with another 10 GW added next year before the rate of deployment slows to 7 GW of new capacity in each of 2022 and 2023 – for cumulative totals of 66 GW and 73 GW, respectively – and 9 GW in 2024.

·         Falling solar power tariff

·         Costs of more than Rs6/kWh that came out of the nation’s first mega storage tender will push the embrace of storage by cash-strapped power distribution companies out to at least 2023, states Bridge to India in its forecast.

·         Policy uncertainty will continue to affect commercial and industrial rooftop solar deployment, states the report, even if there is more obvious backing for residential solar, boosting the prospects of that segment of the market.

·         On the positive side, Bridge to India expects continued technological advances to get the price of solar electricity back on the downward trajectory in India “shortly” and predicted a new record low solar power tariff will be set “in the next year”.

·         The prospects for domestic solar manufacturing, however, remain “bleak”, according to the consultancy. With the safeguarding duty applied by the government on Chinese and Malaysian PV cell and module imports due to expire in July, Bridge to India dismissed speculation the federal authorities will remove the exemption of such products from customs duty. Moves have been made in New Delhi to reclassify solar cell and module imports as liable for 20% customs duty but the Bridge to India report stated the prospects of such a development “are dim, in our view”.

·         Manufacturing woes

·         Lack of safeguarding duty and customs fees, while helping down the price of solar electricity will continue to leave Indian manufacturers unable to compete with Chinese rivals, states the 2024 outlook study.

·         The elephant in the room, as far as Indian energy policy is concerned, is the fact the nation continues to add fossil fuel generation facilities despite having “a massive surplus in power capacity”. With demand for power not rising as much as had been predicted, that has seen the plant load factor of India’s coal-fired power stations fall from 65% to 56% in five years, according to Bridge to India.

·         The report also pulls no punches when it comes to assessing the nation’s chances of achieving renewable energy capacity targets of 175 GW by 2022 and a recently mooted 450 GW by 2030.

·         On that subject, the “narrative is usually too zealous, self-seeking and/or lacking in intellectual rigor”, states the Bridge to India report.

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India to add 34 GW of solar through 2024

·         Solar consultancy Bridge to India has stated high costs mean large scale energy storage may be at least three years away from entering the mainstream Indian market to any significant extent.

·         That pessimistic prediction was among the findings of the consultancy’s India Renewables Outlook 2024 report, which forecasts the nation could host 74-97 GW of solar generation capacity by 2025, with 82 GW the base case figure suggested.

·         For the full story, please visit our pv magazine India website.

·         The headline of this article was amended on 19/02/20 to reflect the scope of the report runs to the end of 2024, not 2023, as previously stated.

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AP govt proposes to set up solar plants to produce 10,000 MW

·         The Andhra Pradesh government has proposed to set up its own generating units to produce 10,000 MW of solar power to meet the energy requirements of the agriculture sector. The government has already issued an order for setting up the Andhra Pradesh Green Energy Corporation Limited, as a subsidiary of Power Generation Corporation of AP, to erect the 10,000 MW solar power plants. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who chaired a high-level review meeting on the power sector here on Wednesday, directed the officials to focus on the 10,000 MW solar power plants and also their subsequent expansion, an official release said. The state has been incurring more than Rs 10,000 crore to meet the agriculture subsidy, lift irrigation power charges and aquaculture subsidy every year. The subsidy has been continuously increasing over the years on account of increasing cost of power supply and also an increase in the number of agricultural pump sets. To ensure that the subsidy is provided on a sustainable basis, there is a need for evolving an alternative mechanism to provide quality power and nine-hour day-time free supply to farmers. Solar energy has the potential to fulfil the above requirements due to its lower cost compared to the current average procurement cost of Discoms, ex-officio Principal Secretary to Energy Department G Sai Prasad said. Since solar power is generated during daytime, it could be well utilised for agricultural needs. To provide free power supply to the agriculture sector and lift irrigation schemes, the total capacity of solar plants required is likely to be about 10,000 MW (including the projected annual increase in agricultural demand), Sai Prasad pointed out. The chief minister asked officials to :Focus on making these plants successful and also plan for expansion. Also encourage solar and wind energy companies that come forward to sell power at a lower price, a CMO release quoted him as telling the Energy Department officials. This would reduce the financial burden on the ailing power distribution companies (Discoms). Reddy said the energy sector should be pulled out of losses in the next five years. Increase the productivity of thermal plants by using quality coal. Get a third-party audit done on the coal quality. Also concentrate on hydro reverse pumping projects, he added.

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Floating solar panels can meet Maha’s energy demands: Study

·         The state has the highest potential in India to generate energy via floating solar photovoltaic (FSPV) plants, a country-wide study by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) revealed. FSPV is an emerging technology in which the solar photovoltaic cells are mounted on a structure that floats on a water body, instead of being placed on land or rooftops.

·         Currently, solar power needs are largely met via ground-based or rooftop installations, which, the study states, face the challenge of land availability.

·         According to the study, Maharashtra can generate 57,891 mega-watt (MW) of electricity through solar PV installations on 3,173-sqkm water surface area in 568 reservoirs. The study, ‘Floating Solar Photovoltaic (FSPV): A Third Pillar to Solar PV Sector?’, released in February is part of the Energy Transmission Commission (ETC) India. It provides state-wise details of floating solar potential in the form of a web-based interactive tool called India Floating Solar PV-Tool.

·         Dr Ashvini Kumar, senior director, renewable energy technologies, TERI, said, “We looked at large and medium-sized reservoirs in every state and Maharashtra has a natural gift in this regard. The state is leading in terms of potential for installations of FSPV, followed by Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.”

·         The report states that India’s reservoirs have potential to generate 280 giga-watt (GW) of solar power. In Maharashtra, the installed capacity for energy produced through renewable sources is 9,500GW, of which 18% is met via solar energy.

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Nearly 27 GW of new Solar Capacity Added in India in Last Three Years

·         A total of approximately 27 GW (26967.75 MW) of new solar capacity has been installed in India over the last three years i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19 and the current year till December 31, 2019, in India. In that period, Karnataka is well ahead of all of the other states and Union Territories (UTs) with over 7 GW (7128.41 MW) of new solar installations in the southern state alone.

·         The information was provided by the Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh while answering a question raised in the upper house of the parliament recently.

·         According to the data issued by the minister, behind Karnataka, with 3572.93 MW of installed solar capacity is Rajasthan, followed by Tamil Nadu – with 2723.45 MW of new capacity installed over the last three years.

·         The minister was answering a question on the capacity being created for the generation of Solar power during the last three years, State- wise? “A cumulative solar power capacity of 26.97 GW has been installed during the last three years i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19 and current year till December 31, 2019, in the country,” the minister said.

·         Furthermore, 2017-18 recorded the maximum new installations with the total for the year surpassing 9 GW at 9362.67 MW. Well ahead of 5526 MW (in 2016-17), 6529.23 MW (2018-19), and comfortable ahead of 5549.85 MW in the current fiscal (until December 31, 2019) with only one quarter remaining.

·         The minister was also asked to detail the amount of funds that have been allocated to various States during the last three years for the development of New and Renewable Energy projects especially for solar power generation, and the amount of funds actually utilised by the States during the last three years.

·         In his response, the minister said that “Today most of the utility-scale grid-connected solar & wind energy projects in the country are being implemented by the private sector developers selected through transparent & competitive bidding process.

·         “However, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been providing assistance in the form of Central Financial Assistance (CFA), interalia, for setting up of rooftop solar power plants, canal top solar plants, solar parks, decentralised/ off-grid solar systems including home lighting system, solar street lighting, standalone solar-powered agricultural pumps, transmission infrastructure under Green Energy Corridor program, etc.”

·         The details of the financial records show that well over Rs 3000 crore in funds have been released as CFA to all the states/ UTs and the central agencies which include (IREDA, SECI, NISE, NIWE, NIBE, NTPC, etc)in the current fiscal (until February 10, 2020). While the amount of funds released in the entire fiscal year 2018-2019 were well over Rs 4300 crore.

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Over Rs 1.32 Lakh Crore Invested in India’s Renewable Sector Since 2017-18

·         India’s renewable energy sector has seen a total investment of Rs 1.32 lakh crore (Rs 132625.89 crore) between the financial year 2017-18 and the current fiscal (until December 31, 2019), Union Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh has said.

·         Answering a question raised in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said that the country has set a target of installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022. And that as of January 1, 2020, the country has installed 85.90 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) capacity which constitutes 23 percent of total installed power generation capacity in the country.”

·         The year-wise breakup of the financial figures issued by the ministry shows that 2017-18, with 11886.64 MW of renewable energy capacity additions, saw the maximum investments over a single fiscal year with a total of Rs 55436.41 crore invested in the sector.

·         The minister had previously said that the steps being taken by the Government to boost the investment in the sector in the country included:

·         Permitting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100 percent under the automatic route, strengthening of Power Purchase Agreements(PPAs),

·         Mandating requirement of Letter of Credit(LC) as payment security mechanism by distribution licensees for ensuring timely payments to RE generators,

·         Setting up of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks to provide land and transmission on a plug and play basis to investors,

·         Waiver of Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for inter-state sale of solar and wind power for projects to be commissioned by December 31, 2022,

·         Notification of standard bidding guidelines to enable Discoms to procure solar and wind power at competitive rates in a cost-effective manner,

·         declaration of trajectory for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) up to the year 2022,

·         Laying of transmission lines under Green Energy Corridor Scheme for the evacuation of Power in Renewable rich states,

·         Finalisation of manufacturing linked tender for setting up domestic manufacturing capacity, launching of new schemes, such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Solar Rooftop Phase II, 12000 MW CPSU Scheme Phase II, etc.

·         Answering another question, the minister informed that “as per the report ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review 2019’ by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the total employment in the renewable energy sector in India in 2018 was 719,000 jobs. IRENA estimated the employment in solar PV as 115,000 jobs (grid-connected), wind energy sector 58,000 jobs and in hydropower sector 347,000 jobs.”

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Standard Chartered Commits $35 Bn Towards Renewable Projects

·         Standard Chartered Bank has announced its business targets for supporting its clients as they transition to a low- carbon economy as part of the Bank’s sustainability aspirations. By the end of 2024, the Bank has committed to providing USD 35 billion of project financing services, M&A advisory and debt structuring services for renewable and clean-tech projects including solar and wind energy projects.

·         The USD 35 billion investment is part of the banks’ USD 75 billion investment structure toward sustainable development goals (SDGs), which will consist of providing USD 40 billion of project financing services for infrastructure that promotes sustainable development.

·         Underpinning the aspirations, the bank also intends to reduce its emissions across its global properties by 2030. With an office footprint spanning 60 countries, including many large emerging markets, the Bank will achieve net-zero emissions by only sourcing energy from renewable sources and continuing to pursue energy efficiency measures across its 12 million square feet of property.

·         Tracey McDermott, Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing, said that “over the past 18 months, we have made a series of commitments which are all geared towards supporting the Paris Agreement on climate change and the transition to a cleaner, greener, fairer economy. We know that the investment required cannot be provided by governments and NGOs alone, so it is critical that investors embrace the Sustainable Development Goals at pace and scale.

·         “Our unique footprint means we are well placed to help get finance to where it matters most. That is why, as well as ceasing support for clients who generate more than 10 percent of earnings from thermal coal by 2030, we also have a renewed target for financing and facilitating USD 35 billion of clean technology and renewables, and USD 40 billion of sustainable infrastructure.”

·         The banking institution has a broad range of sustainable finance product offerings that can be deployed to help clients pivot their business towards a more sustainable model. In October 2018, it created the Sustainable Finance team and has since launched sustainable deposit products in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York; plus, a EUR 500 million Sustainability Bond, the proceeds of which will be used to provide finance in areas aligned with the SDGs – including clean energy projects, smaller business lending and micro-finance loans.

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BSNL Tenders for 2.5 MW Rooftop Solar Systems in Maharashtra

·         Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has issued a tender, inviting bids from eligible firms for implementation of 2.5 MW grid-connected rooftop solar power systems at BSNL Buildings in different zones of Maharashtra under the RESCO model.

·         The last date for bid submission is March 17, 2020, and the techno-commercial bids will be opened on the next date i.e. March 18, 2020.

·         To be eligible for participating in the bidding process, the firms should have designed, supplied, installed & commissioned at least one grid-connected solar PV power project having a capacity of not less than 50 kW which should have been commissioned at least six months prior to techno-commercial bid opening date. And the average annual turnover during the last 3 years, ending March 3, of the previous financial year, should not be less than Rs 4 crore.

·         Furthermore, the bidder should have experience of having successfully completed similar works in Central Government/ State Government/ Central Autonomous Body/ Central Public Sector Undertaking during last 7 Years ending last day of month previous to the one in which applications are invited should be either of the following:

·         Three similar successfully completed works costing not less than the amount equal to 40 percent of the estimated cost put to tender with an aggregate installed capacity of power plants of 1 MWp with a minimum single plant of capacity not less than 50 KWp. OR

·         Two similar successfully completed works costing not less than the amount equal to 60 percent of the estimated cost put to tender with an aggregate installed capacity of power plants of 1.5 MWp with a minimum single plant of capacity not less than 50 KWp. OR

·         One similar successfully completed work costing not less than the amount equal to 80 percent of the estimated cost put to tender with an aggregate installed capacity of power plants of 2 MWp with a minimum single plant of capacity not less than 50 KWp.

·         As per the tender, the bidding is in fixed tariff for 25 year period. And the bidders will be required to furnish fixed tariff for 25 years starting from the date of commissioning of the project. And capacity under the tender will be allocated based on the lowest fixed tariff for 25 years quoted by the bidder.

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India’s 1.2GW solar tender oversubscribed by 2.3GW

·         According to Mercom India Research, The list of participants includes ReNew Power, Softbank, Avaada, O2 Power, Brookefield, Eden, Tata, Ayana, and IB Solar.

·         ReNew Power and Softbank bid for 600MWs each, whereas Avaada bid for 500MW and the remaining six companies bid for 300MW each, totalling 1.8GW.

·         The installation of the solar PV power projects will be on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis.

·         A few days back, SECI amended the power purchase and sale agreement (PPA and PSA) for this 1,2GW solar tender, adding another point to the existing ‘change in law’ clause.

·         The additional clause states that in case of a change in the law on account of anti-dumping duty or safeguard duty or customs duty on solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, the solar power developer will be entitled to either an increase or decrease in the tariff.

·         Recently, Greenko Group and ReNew Power won the auction conducted by SECI for 1.2GW of solar, wind, and energy storage projects with guaranteed peak power supply. While Greenko was awarded 900MW, ReNew Power won 300MW of projects. Greenko Group won the bid at a peak power tariff rate of INR6.12 (~$0.086)/kWh, and ReNew Power won at INR6.85 (~$0.096)/kWh.

·         According to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, SECI has tendered nearly 12.2GW under ISTS (Tranche I to Tranche VIII) and has auctioned ~7.64GW under ISTS Tranche I to VII.

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Tata Power rooftop solar solutions now available in 70 cities

·         As part of its strategic plan to grow and maintain leadership in the renewable energy sector, Tata Power has now expanded its rooftop solar services to 70 cities across the country. Tata Power Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power, has been the market leader in rooftop segment for six years now.

·         Rooftop solar solutions (RTS) are fast emerging as reliable and economic source of energy for the residential segment of the market in the country. Tata Power Solar offers its RTS solutions as a reliable long term solution from both, environmental and economic perspectives for power consumers across the country. Tata Power Solar is also India's leading integrated solar player, excelling across the solar value chain right from the manufacturing of cell/modules and solar products to executing rooftop and utility-scale solar projects.

·         Mr. Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power said, "Rooftop solar is an ideal solution for consumers who are looking for a sustainable source of clean energy that has the in-built capacity to pay for itself in the long run. RTS is also a solution developed for a new generation of consumers who expect more from their utilities that just electricity. When combined with new distribution solutions like microgrid, solar rooftop will play a big role in improving the energy access across the country, in both urban and rural parts."

·         Tata Power Solar has so far installed over 315 MW of rooftop projects, including some of the most industrialised states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The program has been launched in prominent cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Surat, Baroda, Delhi, Gurgaon, Agra, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Guwhati, Kolkata, Dhanbad, Puri, Vizag, Vellore, Mysore, Coimbatore and Chennai.

·         Tata Power Solar has been a pioneer in India's rooftop domain for over 29 years, making it the country's most trusted and dependable rooftop solutions provider. The company has a global footprint with over 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of modules shipped across the world, for over 20 years. Tata Power Solar's module manufacturing lines have an in-house production capacity of 400 megawatts (MW) and cell manufacturing capacity of 300 MW, which can produce mono and multi-crystalline wafers of 125mm and 156mm sizes respectively. These integrated cells and module manufacturing facilities are ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certified.

·         Tata Power Solar has also built utility scale projects in 13 states in the country with a total capacity of around 2.76 GW. In 2017, the company executed a 2.6 megawatt (MW) solar rooftop plant at the carport of Kochi International Airport. Incidentally, this is India's largest solarpowered carport.

·         Other large scale solar projects executed by Tata Power Solar includes the 100MW project in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh on 500 acres of land and 30MWp Solar Power Plant in Lapanga, Odisha. It is one of the largest Solar Power Project in India, which is built on an Ash Dyke area that has 60% (19 MWp) in Ash Dyke area and 40% (11 MWp) in normal land. Apart from this, Tata Power Solar successfully executed 400 MW installations in Pavagada Solar Park, Karnataka. It has also won an auction conducted by Gujarat for 1000 MW of projects to be built at Dholera solar park.

·         Shares of TATA POWER CO.LTD. was last trading in BSE at Rs.51.45 as compared to the previous close of Rs. 51.7. The total number of shares traded during the day was 353266 in over 1265 trades.

·         The stock hit an intraday high of Rs. 52.25 and intraday low of 50.55. The net turnover during the day was Rs. 18092308.

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India's renewable energy sector to attract $10 billion investments annually: BoA

·         India's renewable energy sector could become a prime destination for global investors with a potential to attract $10 billion (Rs 71,550 crore) of annual investments, Bank of America’s global head of energy and renewable business said.

·         The government's target of generating more than 10,000 megawatts of energy from renewable sources will draw big investment into wind and solar projects, although changing regulatory goalposts is a disturbance, Ray Wood, the head of power, utilities & renewables at the bank, told ET.

·         “What people like about renewables the most is that you have a long-term contract of over 20 years,” he said, referring to long-term power supply contracts that often are part of the projects auctioned by government agencies.

·         “Foreign money including pensions, insurance money and sovereign money are the primary sources of this institutional funding into renewables,” he said.

·         Bank of America continues to deliver on its objectives on environmental, social and governance (ESG), which is a new theme that many international investors are allocating money to, Wood said. In 2019, it announced the completion of a $125 billion, 10-year green business commitment — six years earlier than planned. The bank aims its environmental business initiative to be $300 billion by 2030.

·         “We continue to serve as the largest underwriter of green bonds, one of the largest issuers of green bonds, and have structured a number of innovative low-carbon financing deals in 2019,” Wood said, adding: “Importantly, global investors now are more focused on ESG.”

·         Funds could come through a mix of debt and equity, which would be a function of what the market wants, Woods said, adding that if the contracts were for 20 years, the amount of debt as a percentage would be higher. Investors are said to be looking yield first and then growth, he said.

·         Large companies are going to enter this market in a big way, he said. “They can save money for their core businesses by pivoting to renewables, and they can do so at scale and keep bringing down costs.”

·         One risk factor is, if capital dries up then it will make it more expensive for the country to replace fossil fuels. “Cost of capital is critical and it impacts the renewable economics significantly because, by its very nature, renewable plants have a high capex and very little variable cost,” he said.

·         According to Woods, abundant liquidity in global markets at low interest rates is a perfect scenario to raise money externally for infrastructure.

·         Investors will evince interest not only in high-growth companies but also in ports, railroads, renewables, gas and water sectors, which can provide attractive returns, he said.

·         He said India could gain from the Covid-19 epidemic. Many believe the outbreak could cripple the Chinese economy as that country struggles to deal with the situation. “This has resulted in a strong appetite for Indian paper in offshore capital markets,” Woods said.

·         In the renewable sector, Bank of America expects consolidation to happen — platforms led by entrepreneurs and backed by private equity will shift to larger companies. “Renewables is a mature business and corporates will come in and create scale,” Wood said.

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India may give reprieve to solar projects delayed by coronavirus fallout

·         India will consider extending deadlines for completing solar energy projects to shield developers from stiff penalties after the coronavirus outbreak hit component supplies from China, a top government official said on Tuesday.

·         Ratings agency Standard and Poor's Indian unit, Crisil, warned on Monday that nearly three gigawatts of solar power projects worth $2.24 billion could be at risk of penalties for missing a July 2020 completion deadline as the coronavirus hit solar industry supplies.

·         India buys about 80% of its solar modules from China, which has shut down some factories, restricted transport and implemented other measures to combat the spread of the virus that has killed 1,868 people in China and infected 72,436 others.

·         Anand Kumar, India's renewable energy secretary, said all the contracts have a 'force majeure' clause that companies can invoke to secure an extension on the project schedules.

·         "We will definitely consider the applications of developers for an extension of timelines provided there is evidence (to prove that the project has been affected due to coronavirus)," Kumar told Reuters.

·         Some of the companies running up against the July 2020 deadline include Aditya Birla Renewables and SoftBank -backed SB Energy.

·         Acme Solar also has solar projects but said it did not face a July 2020 deadline.

·         "None of our projects are affected due to the coronavirus," said a spokesman for Acme Solar.

·         "We have executed all our projects on time always and we will continue to execute our projects in the pipeline on time," the spokesman said.

·         Aditya Birla Renewables and SB Energy did not respond to emails on Tuesday asking if they would meet the project completion deadlines.

·         Indian rules impose monetary penalties for a three-month delay in commissioning of a project, while projects delayed further also face downward revisions in tariffs.

·         Tariffs at which a company will sell the power to customers are quoted when the developer bids for a project.

·         "We cannot predict when China will start production of solar modules and cells," said C. Narasimhan, president of the Indian Solar Association. "The government should look at extending the deadline without renegotiating the tariff."

·         Purchasing of solar modules from elsewhere would be between 15% and 20% more costly, and could erode returns from the affected projects, said Crisil, without identifying individual projects.

·         Orders for modules are mostly placed six months ahead of the start of commercial operations.

·         Narasimhan, who also heads Raasi Group, which is building a 100-megawatt solar power project at Tamil Nadu in southern India, said Raasi was also requesting an extension to avoid facing any penalties, including a downward revision in tariffs.

·         "We're discussing it with state government officials ... as this particular situation is beyond our control." he said.

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Top Andhra discom seeks more time to clear Rs 599 crore dues

·         Andhra Pradesh’s main power distribution company has sought more time to clear outstanding dues of Rs 599 crore it owes to renewable energy developers.

·         In an affidavit filed with the state high court on Monday, the Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) said, “The answering respondents seeking intervention of this hon’ble court to grant 4 weeks further time to clear the dues as undertaken before this hon’ble court.”

·         The court had directed the state discom on December 20, 2019, to clear the dues within four weeks. The order had come in the wake of the developers seeking the court’s intervention in the matter of the dues pending for several months.

·         “In a hearing that took place earlier this month, the judge was frustrated that the state had not complied with the order,” a person close to the development said on condition of anonymity.

·         According to the affidavit, the state-owned utility has paid Rs 1,955 crore to generators so far while Rs 599 crore remains to be paid.

·         “The answering respondents are in serious financial crisis and due to which it has become difficult to secure the required balance amount in order to clear the outstanding dues either from banks or from central government financial institutions for the answering respondents. In the said process there is a delay occasioned to the answering respondents herein,” APSPDCL said in the affidavit, a copy of which was seen by ET.

·         The discom also said it had taken steps to clear outstanding dues. It said it had recently secured a loan of Rs 1,250 crore from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and used it to clear part of the dues.

·         All wind developers have been paid at a tariff of Rs 2.43 and solar developers at Rs 2.44 so far, in accordance with the court directive. Developers had filed a contempt petition on this lowered tariff and hearings have been going on.

·         The YSR Congress-led government has been attempting to renegotiate signed power purchase agreements because it believes the contracts were signed at rates higher than those in other states. Andhra Pradesh has around 7,700 mw of solar and wind projects.

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Centre to set up renewable energy board to cut developers’ risks

·         The government will set up a Renewable Energy Promotion and Facilitation Board to help minimise risks for developers in the sector that has seen a waning of investment interest mainly because of adverse policies of state governments.

·         The board will liaise between developers and various state governments and authorities to ensure smooth implementation of renewable energy projects in the country and also coordinate with various financial institutions to enhance access to easy finance, the new and renewable energy ministry (MNRE) said in an order issued on Tuesday.

·         The proposed board will “deal with challenges and issues being faced by renewable energy sector with the aim and objective to remove obstacles and difficulties which investors face in bringing investments in the sector”, it said.

·         ET has reviewed a copy of the MNRE order.

·         The board will meet once every 15 days. However, developers and investors can meet the chairperson on every Wednesday between 3 pm and 5 pm by obtaining prior approval, it said.

·         The board will be chaired by joint secretary (solar) and have two other joint secretaries of MNRE as members, people privy to the development told ET. It will also have representation from senior officials from the ministries of finance and power, and from Central Electricity Authority, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, NTPC, REC, Power Finance Corp, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (Ireda) and Solar Energy Corp of India.

·         The renewable energy sector has been facing some tough challenges due to policy uncertainty and difficulties in land procurement and transmission connectivity. Payment delays by state distribution companies, increasing curtailment of projects and some state governments’ move to renegotiate power purchase agreements (PPAs) have added to the problems, industry insiders said.

·         “Most problems unfortunately originate at state level with limited ability of MNRE to directly intervene in those,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director at renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India. “Nonetheless, it is heartening that MNRE is actively taking these steps to reassure investors and address the challenges.”

·         The terms of the reference of the proposed renewable energy board include providing all assistance to the industry in project development and implementation and suggesting steps for enhancing ease of doing business, increasing confidence of investors, and reducing risks and problems of renewable energy sector.

·         While the NDA government at the Centre has stated its intention to achieve 450 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030 at the United Nations Summit 2019, the states do not look so keen on green energy, given the overhang of contracted capacity and slack in demand. The new governments in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are currently trying to renegotiate renewable contracts.

·         All this has impacted the sector’s growth and investor interest.

·         The sector’s growth rate this fiscal has been the slowest in five years, growing 5.7% year on year till October against 28.5% during the same period in FY19, according to CEA data. However, renewable energy generation grew 17.22% year on year in December after a few months of single-digit growth.

·         Also, new solar installations in the country had declined 35% year on year in the first half of 2019 at 3.2 GW against 5.1 GW of capacity added a year earlier, according to research agency Mercom India.

·         India targets 175 GW of the green power by 2022, against 86 GW installed capacity now. However, according to an October report by ratings agency Crisil, this target is set to be missed by 42% with the capacity likely to increase to only 104 GW by then due to “lingering policy uncertainty and tariff glitches”.

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Around 18,000 sq. km of water bodies in India can generate 280GW power through floating solar PVs: TERI study

·         A new report by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has found that India’s reservoirs have 18,000 sq. km of area with the potential to generate 280 GW of solar power through floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

·         The report ‘Floating Solar Photovoltaic (FSPV): A Third Pillar to Solar PV Sector?’ has been produced by TERI, as part of the Energy Transmission Commission (ETC) India. ETC India is a research platform based in TERI, New Delhi. It is the Indian chapter of the global Energy Transitions Commission, which is co-chaired by Lord Adair Turner and Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI.

·         The findings of the report, which was released during the recently held World Sustainable Development Summit 2020, have the potential to help in planning out the strategies for achieving overall capacity addition in solar energy in India. The report has calculated the potential for floating solar photovoltaics (FSPVs), or ‘floatovoltaics’, on the basis of 30% of the water surface area of the country’s medium and large reservoirs.

·         The report provides state-wise details of floating solar potential in the form of a web-based interactive tool called India Floating Solar PV-Tool, which has also been developed under this study. According to its findings, the state of Maharashtra has the most potential and can generate 57891 MW of electricity through solar PV installations on 3173 sq. km of water surface area in reservoirs.

·         At present, ground-based installations form 93.1% of India’s grid-connected solar PV sector. The installation cost of utility-scale solar PV in the country has reduced by 84% between 2010 and 2018, making India the country with the lowest installation cost for utility-scale solar PVs.

·         However, solar PV deployment is quite land-intensive and scaling up projects requires large chunks of contiguous land parcels, which has its own set of challenges. In order to keep the pace of development commensurate with India’s national targets for solar capacity additions, alternatives such as floating solar need to be explored and established. It is estimated that the global annual capacity addition from floating solar may rise from the 1.314 GWp in 2018 to 4.6 GWp by 2022. Presently, China is the leading international market followed by Japan and South Korea for floating solar. India also has very bright prospects to develop FSPV projects due to the availability of large water bodies in the country.

·         Dr Ashvini Kumar, Senior Director, Renewable Energy Technologies, TERI, said, “This report is an excellent initiative opening up alternatives for solar capacity additions. Preliminary data analysis indicates a huge potential of 280 GW with a certain coverage of water surface area. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are the top three states in terms of potential for installations of FSPV.”

·         Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said, “Floating Solar PV could be a potential option for accelerating solar power deployment in the country, which would ultimately help in achieving NDC goals. It is time to look for bringing a conducive policy framework to encourage tapping this potential.”

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BHEL bags TERI’s battery storage tender for Rs 2.51 crore

·         Power equipment giant Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has won a tender floated by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for installation and maintenance of battery energy storage systems (BESS), the research institute said on Wednesday.

·         “BHEL offered 410 kWh of cumulative battery capacity for a total cost of Rs 2.51 crore, including six years of comprehensive warranty and maintenance,” TERI said in a statement.

·         TERI, under the licensee area of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), is implementing a pilot project to integrate BESS at the distribution level. This is being implemented under an initiative of the US-India collaborative for smart distribution system with storage.

·         “These tender results are game changing as they show that it is cost effective for BRPL to add batteries instead of adding transformer capacity in many instances, and for housing societies to use solar-cum-battery systems for electricity supply instead of diesel generator sets. It also shows that if time-of-day tariffs are applicable on a year-on-year basis then batteries, along with solar rooftop, are a cost-effective way of minimising electricity cost,” said Ajay Mathur, director general, TERI.

·         The tender was open for both lithium-ion and advanced lead acid companies and aimed at design, supply, testing, installation and commissioning, along with comprehensive annual maintenance contract for five years of BESS on turnkey basis in Delhi.

·         “Most of the systems and components are domestically manufactured, and this tender suggests that there is a large potential of growth of this domestic industry,” said A K Saxena, senior fellow and senior director, electricity and fuels division, TERI.

·         The tender received responses from Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Susten, Hero Solar, Honeywell Automation, Amara Raja, Okaya Power, etc. The institute said the level of interest received for the tender signifies the transition of electricity distribution grid with increasing penetration of distributed energy resources

·         supported by stationary battery energy storage technologies.

·         “This tender holds special importance as it identifies appropriate technologies as per techno-economic evaluation and validates their technical characteristics under Indian environmental conditions,” said Alekhya Datta, Fellow and Area Convenor, Electricity and Fuels Division, TERI.

·         He added that it gathers data to explore more opportunities for BESS in managing variability of demand and supply at electricity distribution level.

·         According to TERI, so far, there has not been any descriptive tender of BESS at a distribution level. “This tender not only briefly explains applications and control logic for BESS to operate but is also technologically neutral,” it added.

·         Under this tender, the bidder was expected to have installed and operationalised BESS of cumulative installed capacity of 125 kW for two hours or higher, of which at least one grid-interactive BESS would be of 30 kW for two hours capacity or higher in India or globally.

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Oil & Gas(15 News Items)

Natural Gas


ONGC not affected from economic slowdown, coronavirus: CMD

·         Despite economic slowdown and affect in the industrial growth due to the coronavirus outbreak in China and other countries, the business and investment of the Government-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) did not affect, ONGC CMD Shashi Shanker said on Wednesday.

·         Shanker said the economic slowdown and the coronavirus outbreak in no way affected the business and investment of the Maharatna company.

·         "Our investment is constantly increasing. This year ONGC is investing over Rs 32,000 crore. Next year it would be more," Shanker accompanied by the top officials and directors told the media.

·         He said the gas exploration in the northeastern region would be further augmented and the ONGC is considering setting up new gas based power plants and other industrial units in the region.

·         "To better utilise the natural gas found in the northeastern region, the Rs 10,000 crore project -- North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited - would be completed in the next financial year (2021-22)," the CMD said.

·         He said besides ONGC, four other Central Public Sector companies including Indian Oil Corporation and Gas Authority of India Limited are also involved in the North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush, which has been laying 1,656 KM gas pipeline to supply natural gas among the eight northeastern states.

·         The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month has given approval to the North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush, which would make availability of natural gas across the region and expected to boost industrial growth without impacting the environment and would offer better quality of life to the people in general due to use of cleaner and green fuel.

·         The ONGC CMD accompanied by Directors of the company arrived in Tripura on Wednesday and visited several gas exploration sites and reviewed the performance of the activities of the company in the northeastern state.

·         He said the ONGC has been working in Tripura for five decades and has successfully found and explored huge gas and the northeastern state has become the highest gas producing onshore asset.

·         The ONGC has set up a giant 726 MW power plant in southern Tripura and the power project meeting 30 per cent power requirement of the seven of the eight northeastern states. The ONGC also facilitates setting up of many power projects in Tripura and other northeastern states.

·         "The (ONGC-supplied) gas-based power projects in Tripura provided electricity also to Bangladesh besides the northeastern states. The ONGC''s gas is also used in running thousands of vehicles as Compressed Natural Gas. It also provides Piped Natural Gas to thousands of households and industries for cooking purposes," he said.

·         The largest crude oil and natural gas company in India, ONGC contributes 75 per cent to India''s domestic production with a consolidated turnover Rs 453,461 crore for FY19 (up 25 per cent from Rs 362,246 crore in FY18).

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General


Indradhanush pipeline and exploration of gas reserve in Nagaland is ONGC’s priority for NE

·         After Tripura and Assam, Nagaland has emerged as a potential hydrocarbon reserve in India, for which exploration giant Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has shared the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government to begin exploration work, ONGC Chairman and Managing Director Shashi Shanker told media here on Wednesday.

·         He said ONGC has been working in a mission mode to transform Northeast economy in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

·         The Northeast is floating on a huge hydrocarbon reserve, having potential to ensure a clean source of fuel and energy for the whole region, he added.

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Range for imported gas price over next 2-3 yrs seen at USD 6-8/mmbtu, says Edelweiss Financial Services

·         The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) chairman yesterday told CNBCTV18 that guiding principles for open market access to gas customers will be put in the public domain in the next 3 months and in the 3 months thereafter, they will start ending the exclusivity enjoyed by city gas companies.

·         Discussing the impact of this development on gas companies, Jal Irani, oil & gas analyst, Edelweiss Financial Services said, "Essentially, it will be a function of what the tariff is going to be and the returns the companies will get on the open access, which is believed to be about 20 percent of the volumes," said Irani.

·         "Assuming that it is a reasonable return of 14 percent on incremental 20 percent volumes this should be value accretive to the companies," he said, adding that one will have to see how the whole thing works out.

·         There is a belief that since global gas prices are low, this would be best time to shift from other fuels to a clean energy like gas.

·         Irani said fall in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices is positive for Indian companies because there are different uses of gas. “Power which is the largest consumers of gas but at the same time coal has been more competitive than gas domestically. At USD 3 free on board (FOB) if you add import duty, sales tax, regasification cost, then fully loaded price comes to about USD 5.5 mmbtu, which translates into a power tariff of about Rs 2.5 a unit for power generator,” he said, adding that “At that price it’s not only cheaper than imported coal but it is almost on par with even domestic coal for generation of power. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that gas capacities are going to setup overnight but that does mean that there is already about 23-24 gigawatts of gas power capacity barely running at utilization of about 30 percent and they have got an ability to take on more gas and be viable.” It looks like it will be a large opportunity for India, Irani further added.

·         According to Robert Sims, research director at Wood Mackenzie the amount of new gas supply coming in from US has led to lower gas prices.

·         Speaking about long-term contracts, he said, “The long-term contracting market, in fact the whole investment cycle around new projects runs in a different market to the current spot price. We know that because despite halving prices last year; project sanctions last year were 17 million tonne as a record for project sanctioning. We are expecting in 2020 for another 50 million tonne per annum of new project sanctioning to happen and there is a lot of potential upside from that, especially in the US. Producers are taking a view that prices will recovery despite the low spot prices at the moment."

·         “Another view is that the market is very volatile and what the market price is today may not actually be a fair fundamental price. We have a view that the fair fundamental price for 2020 and 2021 is around USD 4.5 per mmbtu but that picture changes quite dramatically post 2021 because there are not many new LNG re-liquefaction coming on, commissioning in 2022 to 2025 and as a result we expect the market to rebound quickly,” added Sims.

·         According to Irani, a reasonable range for imported gas price for next 2-3 years should be about USD 6-8/mmbtu.

·         “The availability of gas for India and in India, is poised to go up dramatically. India is going to more than double its LNG capacity in next 5 years. In addition to that some new supplies of domestic gas, which is coming on stream both from Reliance Industries and ONGC which should increase the domestic production also by 50 percent,” added Irani.

·         The domestic gas is likely to be priced in the region of USD 5/mmbtu versus spot LNG imported price in excess of USD 6/mmbtu. So, there will lot of cheap gas coming in as well as produced domestically, said Irani.

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India's crude oil refinery output rises 2.0percent in January 2020

·         Crude oil refinery output declines 0.3% in April-January 2019-20

·         India's crude oil refinery output rose 2.0% to 22.36 million tonnes (mt) in January 2020 over January 2019. The output of public sector refineries fell 5.8% to 11.78 mt, while the output of private refineries jumped 13.5% to 8.90 mt. The refinery output of public-private JV refiners moved up 6.8% to 1.68 mt in January 2020.

·         Among public refineries, the output of Numaligarh Refineries dipped 44.9% to 0.13 mt, Mangalore Refineries 19.1% to 1.15 mt and Indian Oil Corporation 7.8% to 5.49 mt in January 2020 over January 2019. Further, the output of Chennai Petroleum Corporation also declined 6.9% to 0.86 mt and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation 0.6% to 1.37 mt, while that of Bharat Petroleum Corporation moved up 7.7% to 2.76 mt in January 2020.

·         Among private refiners, the output of Reliance Petroleum increased 17.7% to 7.16 mt, while that of Essar Oil declined 1.2% to 1.74 mt in January 2020 over January 2019. Among JV refineries, the output of Bharat Oman increased 4.8% to 0.65 mt, while the output of HPCL Mittal moved up 8.1% to 1.04 mt in January 2020.

·         The cumulative refinery output declined 0.3% to 214.23 mt in April-January 2020. The output of public refineries fell 5.1% to 113.56 mt, while that of private refineries rose 4.4% to 84.99 mt. The refinery output of JV refineries moved up 13.5% to 15.67 mt in April-January 2020.

·         Among public refineries, the output of Numaligarh Refineries declined 24.2%, Mangalore Refineries 15.6%, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation 8.6%, Indian Oil Corporation 5.4% and Chennai Petroleum Corporation 1.7%, while that of Bharat Petroleum Corporation rose 3.5% in April-January 2019-20.

·         The overall capacity utilization was lower at 102.4% in January 2020 compared with 104.4% in January 2019, while it was down at 101.7% in April-January 2020 compared with 103.4% in April-January 2019.

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Petrol, diesel prices remain at 3-month low today

·         Petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged today across all the major cities in India. In New Delhi, a litre of petrol is retailed at ₹71.89. Petrol is available at ₹77.56 a litre in Mumbai. Those who are in Bengaluru have to pay ₹74.34 for a litre of petrol. A litre of petrol costs ₹74.68 in Chennai.

·         A litre of diesel is priced at ₹64.65 in New Delhi. In Mumbai, a litre of diesel costs ₹67.75. In Benagaluru, a litre of diesel is sold at ₹68.27. Diesel can be bought at ₹68.27 a litre in Chennai.

·         Oil marketing companies review the rates of petrol and diesel on a daily basis. The fuel prices are revised at 6 am every day. The prices of petrol and diesel depend on various factors like international crude oil prices, rupee-US dollar exchange rates.

·         In the global oil market, oil prices rose today with Brent gaining a seventh straight day. Brent crude was up by 51 cents, or 0.9%, at $58.26 a barrel by 0732 GMT, while US oil was up 55 cents, or 1.1%, at $52.60 a barrel.

·         Petrol and diesel prices are set for a round of hike in April when the new BS-VI emission norms come into force.

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Crude oil futures gain 1.33 pc on global cues

·         Crude oil prices on Wednesday edged up by Rs 49 to Rs 3,747 per barrel as speculators widened their positions driven by spot demand.

·         Analysts said raising of bets by participants kept crude prices higher in futures trade here.

·         On the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for delivery in February traded higher by Rs 49, or 1.33 per cent, to Rs 3,747 per barrel in 31,058 lots.

·         Crude oil for March delivery was up by Rs 48, or 1.28 per cent, to Rs 3,786 per barrel with an open interest of 8,868 lots.

·         Globally, West Texas Intermediate was trading higher by 0.83 per cent at USD 52.48 per barrel.

·         However Brent crude, the international benchmark, edged lower by 0.74 per cent to USD 58.18 per barrel in New York.

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Big crude oil supply deal expected during Trump visit

·         India and US may seal a large crude oil supply deal during the visit of President Donald Trump later this month, with diplomatic sources indicating that American oil companies are coming with offers to make it attractive for Indian firms to increase oil imports from US despite long distance and high freight.

·         According to sources, big oil producers from the US are willing to step up shale oil supplies to India by offering importing companies a discount of up to $5 per barrel over global benchmarks.

·         This is expected to make US oil attractive even over Dubai crude that makes up for most of Indian oil imports now.

·         Also on the table would be freight discounts and a higher credit period of 60-90 days to Indian importers on the lines of what Iran used to offer India before sanctions squeezed oil supplies from the gulf nation.

·         "We expect to increase oil imports from the US in the next fiscal and sweetened deals would help us increase the quantum of buys. The hope is that few contracts may be signed during the visit of the US President or later next month," said an executive of PSU oil company, asking not to be named.

·         Another government official said that the idea is to more than double the country's oil imports from the United States next year and contracts would be facilitated if better concessional terms are offered.

·         "The shipment of US oil to India has already increased over the past two years and we may end up importing close to 10 million tonnes (mt) in the current fiscal. This would be doubled in FY21 if official and company level negotiations taking place for some time yield positive results," said the official.

·         If this level of oil imports is doubled in FY21, the US will reach close to meeting India's 10 per cent oil import needs, the same as Iran was meeting prior to the supply squeeze post the sanctions.

·         In the current fiscal (FY20), oil imports from Iran have dipped to 1.97 mt, down from 23.9 mt in FY19.

·         Iran used to account for more than 10 per cent of country's total oil imports. However, since the last fiscal, the Iran oil squeeze is being compensated through higher supplies by Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

·         During the period, imports of US oil have also increased to 6.2 mt in FY19 from a level of mere 1.9 mt in the previous year.

·         In the April-December period of this fiscal, import of US oil has already crossed last year's import figures.

·         Diplomatic sources said the talks between Indian and US officials on increased oil support by US has progressed smoothly since last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit.

·         In fact, the 'Howdy Modi!' event was also used to negotiate possible deals with US oil companies to meet the growing needs of the world's third biggest oil importer. That time too, the US had indicated its intent of supplying increased quantities of oil and gas to India on a short notice to prevent the country from facing any shortages.

·         Though Indian oil companies have started importing oil from the US for past couple of years, the quantity remains miniscule and forms just about 3 per cent of country's total oil imports.

·         But the quantity can now grow with US shale oil market becoming relevant again at current crude levels and an increase in total rig count again in December-January period in the world's largest oil-guzzling nation.

·         "The rig count in US had slowed in the second half of FY20 but has again picked up in last few weeks. The domestic rig count will be largely stable, at least through the first six months of the year, as companies spend their drilling budgets for the year and prepare the field to quickly execute on their budgets for the first half of the new year. This would ensure production of larger quantities of US oil for exports," said an oil sector analyst who did not wish to be named.

·         India's shift to US would not be sudden as gas transportation company GAIL, oil marketing firm Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and country's largest oil refiner Indian Oil Corporation have sealed deals for supplies of the US crude earlier as well. The shale oil price there has also become very competitive in comparison to Middle-East and Gulf crude.

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Range for imported gas price over next 2-3 yrs seen at USD 6-8/mmbtu, says Edelweiss Financial Services

·         The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) chairman yesterday told CNBCTV18 that guiding principles for open market access to gas customers will be put in the public domain in the next 3 months and in the 3 months thereafter, they will start ending the exclusivity enjoyed by city gas companies.

·         Discussing the impact of this development on gas companies, Jal Irani, oil & gas analyst, Edelweiss Financial Services said, "Essentially, it will be a function of what the tariff is going to be and the returns the companies will get on the open access, which is believed to be about 20 percent of the volumes," said Irani.

·         "Assuming that it is a reasonable return of 14 percent on incremental 20 percent volumes this should be value accretive to the companies," he said, adding that one will have to see how the whole thing works out.

·         There is a belief that since global gas prices are low, this would be best time to shift from other fuels to a clean energy like gas.

·         Irani said fall in global liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices is positive for Indian companies because there are different uses of gas. “Power which is the largest consumers of gas but at the same time coal has been more competitive than gas domestically. At USD 3 free on board (FOB) if you add import duty, sales tax, regasification cost, then fully loaded price comes to about USD 5.5 mmbtu, which translates into a power tariff of about Rs 2.5 a unit for power generator,” he said, adding that “At that price it’s not only cheaper than imported coal but it is almost on par with even domestic coal for generation of power. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that gas capacities are going to setup overnight but that does mean that there is already about 23-24 gigawatts of gas power capacity barely running at utilization of about 30 percent and they have got an ability to take on more gas and be viable.” It looks like it will be a large opportunity for India, Irani further added.

·         According to Robert Sims, research director at Wood Mackenzie the amount of new gas supply coming in from US has led to lower gas prices.

·         Speaking about long-term contracts, he said, “The long-term contracting market, in fact the whole investment cycle around new projects runs in a different market to the current spot price. We know that because despite halving prices last year; project sanctions last year were 17 million tonne as a record for project sanctioning. We are expecting in 2020 for another 50 million tonne per annum of new project sanctioning to happen and there is a lot of potential upside from that, especially in the US. Producers are taking a view that prices will recovery despite the low spot prices at the moment."

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