Daily Newsletter 2021

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Monday, April 19, 2021

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

What’s New

Acts and Regulations

§  Order on Complaint under section 142, 146 and 149 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for violating the order dated 29.07.2016 passed by the CGRF, Hisar Haryana in complaint No 1367/2016 as the respondents keeps on raising the bills without complying with the order passed by the CGRF and without issue the revised bill as per the order.

§  Order on HERC/RA-14 of 2020 in PRO-30 of 2020 and PRO-67 of 2019 read with Review Petition under section 94 (1) (f) of the Electricity Act, 2003 read with regulation 57 of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (Conduct of Business) Regulations, 2019 seeking review of the order dated 04.09.2020 passed by the Hon’ble Commission in HERC/ PRO 30 of 2020.

§  Order on Petition under Section 86 (1) (e), 86 (1) (c), Section 42 and other applicable provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.

§  Order on Draft Procedure for Forecasting, Scheduling and Deviation settlement of Solar & Wind Generation in accordance with Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (Forecasting, Scheduling and Deviation Settlement for Solar and Wind Generation) Regulations, 2019

§  Order on Petition filed by Haryana Power Generation Corporation Ltd. (HPGCL) for approval of Trueup for the FY 2019-20, Mid-Year Performance Review for the FY 2020-21 and Determination of Generation Tariff for the FY 2021-2022.

View More...

Performance of State Discom

New!

Power

MSEDCL starts issuing disconnection notices

The stern measure, which asks for payment of dues within 15 days, has evoked sharp criticism with a section of consumers citing weak financial condition due to the pandemic situation and curbs associated with it

India to become Number 1 EV maker in world: Nitin Gadkari

Addressing the Amazon's Smbhav Summit virtually, Gadkari further said that the government wants to encourage automakers to introduce flex-fuel engines in India and he is in the final discussion with manufacturers.

§  Thunderstorm disrupts power in Himachal

§  Zirakpur residents reel under 9-hr power cut

§  India may build new coal-fired power plants despite climate crisis

§  Discom staffers urge govt to halt transfers

§  Rajasthan: Govt asks energy dept to ensure 24/7 power supply to oxygen plants

§  CPCB, DPCC told to take remedial action against WTE plants

§  India's power consumption grows nearly 45 per cent in first half of April

§  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

Dardu Hydro Power Project

KVK-ECI Hydro Energy Private Limited

60 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Tidding II Hydro Power Project

Sai Krishnodaya Industries Pvt. Ltd.

75 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Jameri Hydro Power Project

KSK Jameri Hydro Power Pvt. Ltd.

60 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Attunli Hydro Power Project

Attunli Hydro Electric Power Company

680 MW

Arunachal Pradesh

Kolodyne Hydro Power Project Stage-2

NTPC

460 MW

Mizoram

Renewable Energy

 

Macquarie looks to sell 450MW solar assets for $300 mn

MIRA is hopeful of commanding a premium on the sale of its solar assets as a large share is located in Gujarat

Bangalore start-up charging tech for electric vehicles

The company is in discussions with car manufacturers on a wider adoption of the technology

§  AGEL unit bags 150MW Torrentpower project

§  Facebook reaches sustainability goal with 100percent renewable energy

§  How indigenous land was grabbed for a solar power plant in Assam

§  Renewable energy key part of India's growth programmes: Javadekar

§  SPDA seeks more time from govt for commissioning solar projects amid pandemic

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

Projects Update

Project Name

Plant Owner

Capacity (MW)

State

Adani Chitrakoot One Solar Plant

Adani Solar Energy Chitrakoot One

25

Adani Kutchh One Solar Plant

Adani Solar Energy Kutchh One Limited

150

Gujarat

Shahjahanpur and Budaun Solar Plant

Adani Solar Energy Four Private Ltd

100

Uttar Pradesh

1200 MW ISTS Connected Projects (ISTS-V)

SBE Renewables Sixteen Pvt. Ltd.

180

Rajasthan

1200 MW ISTS Connected Projects (ISTS-V)

GRT Jewellers (India) Pvt. Ltd.

150

Tamil Nadu

Oil & Gas

 

India to invest $200 million in next 5-7 years to promote hydrogen use in transportation

As India is on the quest to promote Hydrogen as a clean fuel for the mobility sector, Hydrogen-blended CNG is emerging as an excellent interim technology for achieving emissions reduction and import substitution. The Government of India is planning to invest about US$200 million to promote the use of hydrogen use in the transportation sectors.

Ashoknagar floats in oil dreams in poll season

Ashoknagar is growing up. The sleepy district town of not-so-distant past is witnessing a boom — floating in oil dreams.

§  Do you think Natural gas, diesel and petrol should have been included under GST?

[Poll Question]

§  Cross sections of people in Andhra feel the pinch of skyrocketing fuel prices

§  Oil companies keep petrol, diesel prices unchanged across metros

§  Maharashtra: Nanar refinery will lead to pollution and deprive farmers of water

Oil & Gas Technical

New!

 

BP to end Permian flaring by 2025 with $1B+ pipeline network: WSJ

BP Plc will spend about $1.3 billion to build a network of pipes and other infrastructure to collect and capture natural gas produced as a byproduct from oil wells in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported.

EPA seeks oil, corn sectors' input on next phase of U.S. biofuel policy -sources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked industry groups for their input on the future of the nation's biofuel policy after it ends its current phase in 2022, four sources familiar with the matter said.

§  Asia Distillates-Jet cracks drop as aviation sector continues to struggle

§  Aruba refinery aims to sign deal with Houston's Eagle LNG

§  Historic oil glut amassed during the pandemic is almost gone

Daily International Coal Prices

New!

Coal

India may build new coal-fired power plants despite climate crisis

"Coal-based generation capacity may still be required to be added in the country as it continues to be the cheapest source of generation," according to a draft electricity policy document.

Coal India incorporates two wholly-owned arms

Accounts for over 80% of domestic coal output

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

[Poll Question]

§  Public sector enterprise NALCO gets mining lease of Utkal-E coal block

§  Delhi court grants interim bail to TMC leader's brother Vikas Mishra in coal mining scam

Roads

 

2nd wave of Covid hits 2 NHAI projects in Nashik

Two ongoing projects carried out by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in the district have been hit by the exodus of migrant workers over the past month amid the rise in Covid cases.

ANYA unit seeks expediting road work

The Kurung Kumey district unit of the All Nyishi Youth Association (ANYA) on Sunday demanded that the authority concerned expedite the work on Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) 713 in Kurung Kumey district.

§  Gadkari plans to cut road accident deaths by half in 4 years

§  Kancheepuram flyover will be ready by June

§  NH-354 over shortage of gunny bags

§  Expert panel formed to draft new road policy

§  In 2 years, drive from Delhi to Mumbai in just 12 hours

§  Do you think 100 percent FASTAG implementation will remove congestion at toll plazas?

[Poll Question]

Projects Update

Project Name

Promoter/Client

State

Length (Km)

Four Laning of Aligarh-Kanpur section (Mitrasen-Kanpur) (NH-91)Pkg-V

NHAI / PNC Infratech

Uttar Pradesh

58

Four Laning Byrapura to Challakere Pkg- II (NH-150A)

NHAI / Dilip Buildcon Limited

Karnataka

49.95

Four Lanning of Villukuri to Kanyakumari Section (NH-47)

NHAI / L&T Ltd

Tamil Nadu

42.70

Four Laning Patna-Hajipur-Muzaffarpur Section (NH-19,77)

NHAI / Gammon Infrastructure Projects Ltd

Bihar

63

Four Laning Baharagora to Singhara (NH-6)

NHAI / L & T

Odisha

111.60

Power(9 News Items)

General


MSEDCL starts issuing disconnection notices

·         The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has started sending SMSes carrying disconnection notices to consumers who owe dues of more than two months.

·         The stern measure, which asks for payment of dues within 15 days, has evoked sharp criticism with a section of consumers citing weak financial condition due to the pandemic situation and curbs associated with it.

·         As per section 56 (1) of the Indian Electricity Act (IEA) 2003, it is mandatory for MSEDCL to serve notices to consumer 15 days prior to the disconnection. To comply with the laid down norm, the state power utility establishes necessary communication through registered mobile number of consumers.

·         “There exist genuine reasons for consumers for non-payment of power bill. The MSEDCL cannot go hammer and tong against such consumers who are at the receiving end of Covid-19 in many ways,” said Asha Majalgaokar, a consumer from the CIDCO area said.

·         The MSEDCL Aurangabad zone, which covers Aurangabad and Jalna districts, has over 6.83 lakh residential consumers besides over 70,000 commercial and industrial consumers, among other categories.

·         When contacted, acting chief engineer for Aurangabad zone of MSEDCL Sanjay Akode said that the SMSes in question carrying disconnection notices are being sent to defaulter consumers through the central system.

·         “These are system-generated messages which get shoot by default if consumers fail to pay their bills for around two months. It will be policy decision of the state government whether to carry out recovery drive during the current pandemic,” he said.

·         Notably, the recovery of power bills and possible waiver had stoked major controversy last year during the first-wave of Covid-19 with different ruling party leaders taking different stands. Eventually, consumers were made to pay dues in instalments among other easy options without any waiver.

Source

 

Top

India to become Number 1 EV maker in world: Nitin Gadkari

·         Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday expressed confidence that lithium-ion batteries would be manufactured fully in the country in the next six months and India will become number one electric vehicle maker in the world in due course of time.

·         Addressing the Amazon's Smbhav Summit virtually, Gadkari further said that the government wants to encourage automakers to introduce flex-fuel engines in India and he is in the final discussion with manufacturers.

·         "India is moving ahead towards making electric vehicles. In due course of time we will be the number one electric vehicle(EV) maker in the world. All reputed brands are present in India," the Road Transport and Highways minister said.

·         Gadkari, who also holds the MSME portfolio, said indigenous battery technology will make EV the most effective means of transport.

·         "India has got tremendous capability for making green power... Within six months, I am confident that we will be in position to make 100 per cent lithium-ion battery in India, there is no shortage of lithium," he asserted.

·         Gadkari also said that the government is also working to launch hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology. HFC technology uses chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen (from air) to generate electrical energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

·         Noting that India imports Rs 8 lakh crore of crude oil and it is going to double in the next 4-5 years which will have a huge impact on the economy, he said it is important to look for an efficient and alternative mode of energy.

·         "E mobility will be the important tool to develop pollution free transport," Gadkari said.

·         The Union minister also pointed out that in the next two years, the cost of electric vehicles will come down and will be as competitive as petrol and diesel vehicles.

·         He emphasised that the quality of EV manufactured in India should be of international standard. Gadkari said he wants to make Indian automobile industry the number one manufacturing hub in the world.

·         "For that purpose we are now encouraging ethanol, methanol, bio- CNG, electric and hydrogen fuel cell," he said. Gadkari also stressed on the need for diversification of agriculture towards the energy and power sector.

·         "We have sugar surplus, wheat surplus, rice surplus and that is the problem that our minimum support price (MSP) is higher than international price and market price," he argued.

·         Presently, the turnover of our automobile industry is Rs 7.5 lakh crore, out of which our export is Rs 3.5 lakh crore.

Source

 

Top

Thunderstorm disrupts power in Himachal

·         A severe thunderstorm accompanied by lighting and intermittent rain lashed several areas of Himachal today, disrupting power supply, and damaging fruit, vegetable and rabi crops. The standing wheat crop in lower and mid hills ready for harvesting was flattened while lightning struck at several places, piercing through trees.

·         Widespread rain occurred in the state and Dalhousie and Mandi were the wettest with 26 mm of rainfall, followed by Dharamsala 18 mm, Bharmaur 16 mm, Jogindernagar 15 mm, Udaipur 13 mm, Sujanpur Tihra 12 mm, Kothi 11 mm, Shimla, Keylong and Baldwara 10 mm each. Fresh snowfall occurred at isolated places in tribal areas; Keylong and Hansa received 3 cm and 2 cm of snow.

·         The minimum and maximum temperatures dropped by five to eight degrees and Keylong was the coldest in the region with a low of 1°C while Una was the hottest with a high of 30.2°C. — TNS

Source

 

Top

Zirakpur residents reel under 9-hr power cut

·         Most residents of Zirakpur reeled under a 9 am to 6 pm power cut here today.

·         Baltana, Pabhat, Chhat, Rampur Bhudda, Sunny Enclave, Nagla, Aerocity, Lohgarh and Preet Colony were the worst affected areas.

·         Gourav Mehta, a resident of Shiva Enclave, said, “People had to bear the heat the whole day. Even inverters give up during long power cuts.”

·         Parents of children, who had to attend online classes in the evening, complained, “Itis unbearable for our kids to attend classes in such hot conditions without a fan.”

·         “Even batteries of mobile phones were drained by the evening,” said Sumita Mahajan, a resident of Preet Colony.

·         Officials of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited said it was a scheduled power cut. The announcement regarding power cut was made yesterday, they added.

·         Due to the maintenance work of a feeder of a Pabhat power grid, the power supply was interrupted, said a powercom official.

Source

 

Top

India may build new coal-fired power plants despite climate crisis

·         India may build new coal-fired power plants as they generate the cheapest power, according to a draft electricity policy document seen by Reuters news agency, despite growing calls from environmentalists to deter use of coal.

·         Coal's contribution to electricity generation in India fell for the second straight year in 2020, marking a departure from decades of growth in coal-fired power.

·         Still, the fuel accounts for nearly three-fourths of India's annual power output.

·         Environmental activists have long rallied against India adding new coal-fired capacity.

·         Solar and wind energy prices are falling to record lows, which would help the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter cut emissions.

·         US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry this month said India was "getting the job done on climate, pushing the curve," as he began talks with government leaders aimed at cutting carbon emissions faster to slow global heating.

·         But a 28-page February draft of the National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021 – which has not been made public – showed India may add new coal-fired capacity, though it recommended tighter technology standards to reduce pollution.

·         "While India is committed to add more capacity through non-fossil sources of generation, coal-based generation capacity may still be required to be added in the country as it continues to be the cheapest source of generation," the NEP draft read.

·         All future coal-based plants should only deploy so-called "ultra super critical" less polluting technologies "or other more efficient technology", it added.

·         Cabinet approval needed

·         State-run NTPC Ltd, India's top electricity producer, said in September it will not acquire land for new coal-fired projects. Private firms and many run by states across the country have not invested in new coal-fired plants for years saying they were not economically viable.

·         A source with direct knowledge said a government panel of various power sector experts and officials will discuss the draft and could make changes before seeking cabinet approval.

·         India's Power Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

·         The draft document also proposed trade of renewable energy in day-ahead markets, creating separate tariffs for electric vehicle charging stations and privatising electricity distribution companies.

·         Alternate sources

·         The NEP 2021 is India's first attempt at revising its electricity policy enacted in 2005, when the country produced negligible renewable energy.

·         Experts say phasing in renewable energy sources and phasing out conventional sources such as coal and natural gas rapidly could lead to instability in the electricity grid, potentially causing blackouts.

·         While suggesting flexible use of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power to ensure grid stability in the coming years, the draft policy lists promoting clean power as its primary objective.

·         The policy draft suggested expediting adoption of "cost effective" pumped hydro storage to support the electricity grid, adding that only 4.8 gigawatts (GW) of a potential 96.5 GW of pumped storage capacity has been developed so far.

·         The policy also recommends compensating natural gas-fired plants for operating at reduced efficiency to ensure grid stability, and for suffering higher wear and tear due to fluctuations in generation.

Source

 

Top

Discom staffers urge govt to halt transfers

·         Chairman and managing director (CMD) of Central Power Distribution Company Limited (CPDCL), J Padma Janardhan Reddy, has asked superintending engineers (SEs) to take up transfer of junior level staff through counselling. He instructed the SEs to complete the transfers of junior and senior assistants within two days from April 22.

·         Several employees in the power utility in almost all the divisions have been tested positive for Covid-19. While many of them have been admitted to different hospitals for treatment, a few are recovering in home isolation. “It is highly objectionable to take up transfers as Covid-19 is spreading among employees. We request the state government to intervene and suspend the CMD’s decision to execute the transfers,” said Ch Purushotham Rao, divisional secretary, AP Electricity Employees Union.

·         According to information at least 25 staffers in CPDCL corporate office in Vijayawada tested positive in the last two weeks. This is 30 percent of the total strength of employees in the corporate office.

·         Similarly, 18 employees were tested positive in CPDCL SE office in Guntur last week. About 15 employees have gone on leave due to suspicious symptoms of Covid-19. At least two DE and ADE rank officers were treated in ICU in different hospitals in the city. “Many more might be falling victims to the virus as nearly 150 people are working from a small building in Guntur SE office,” said a senior official.

·         CPDCL CMD instructed the SEs to transfer all those completed five years of service in one place and three years of service in post. Earlier, only 30 per cent of the employees who completed five years of service were used to get transferred while the present circular insisted for transfer everyone who completed five years of service.

·         Employees are worried over the CMD’s decision to take up the transfers as it would force gathering of about 300 to 400 people in each district headquarter. EPDCL and SPDCL have not taken a decision regarding the transfer of employees keeping in view of the Covid-19 second wave.

Source

 

Top

Rajasthan: Govt asks energy dept to ensure 24/7 power supply to oxygen plants

·         Since oxygen is being used for Covid patients as a life-saving therapy, state government is ensuring that the oxygen plants run by private players should not be affected due to power cuts and failures amid rising demand of oxygen in hospitals. The 38 private oxygen plants identified by the state government are producing 23,341 cylinders per day.

·         The health department has shared a list of oxygen plants run by private players, which are supplying oxygen to hospitals for medical purposes for treatment of Covid patients.

·         Among the list are units which produce oxygen by air separation procedures, while 14 produce oxygen through liquid medical oxygen (LMO). The plants, which are using air separation, are procedures producing 14,771 cylinders per day.

·         A health department officials said, “There are plants which do not have power back-up and they require uninterrupted power supply. We cannot afford any oxygen plant to stop production as it is useful for Covid treatment. We have written to the energy department asking to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the areas where the oxygen plants are situated,” said a senior health department official.

·         Also, 14 oxygen plants in the private sector are producing liquid medical oxygen. They are producing 8,570 cylinders per day.

·         According to the health department officials, the demand for oxygen in hospitals for medical purpose has risen to 11,000 cylinders daily but the state government has a capacity of production of 29,000 cylinders per day. Since the demand of oxygen is continuously rising, the state government is taking all possible measures to ensure its availability. Directions have been issued to all district collectors to ensure availability of buffer stock. Also, divisional commissioners have been asked to ensure coordination between collectors for inter-district supply of oxygen depending on demand and availability indifferent districts.

·         Also, divisional commissioners will coordinate with each other to ensure inter-division supply in case of surplus availability of oxygen at one place and shortage at another.

Source

 

Top

CPCB, DPCC told to take remedial action against WTE plants

·         National Green Tribunal has directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to take remedial action against the three waste-to-energy plants in Ghazipur, Okhla and Narela-Bawana. CPCB had audited the WTE plants and found violations at three units, before giving its recommendations to NGT.

·         NGT said CPCB may utilise the experience of functioning of waste-to-energy plants in Delhi for similar steps elsewhere, particularly metro cities.

·         For the Okhla plant, CPCB recommended it implement measures to improve ambient air quality, including PM2.5 concentration, in and around it. “Plant is to properly control production process and pollution-control equipment to ensure that all parameters, including dioxin, furans and HCI, are within the stipulated norms,” the board said, adding that 100% fly ash should be repurposed, like manufacturing bricks.

·         The Okhla plant has to give an action plan and specify the timeframe within which an online continuous ambient station will be installed to monitor air quality.

·         For the plant in Bawana, CPCB recommended processing the waste as per the consented capacity and optimising the production process. “Plant has to properly control production process and apply pollution-control measures to ensure that all parameters are within the stipulated norms. It should implement necessary measures to improve ambient air quality, including PM2.5 & PM1O concentration, in and around it,” the board said.

·         CPCB recommended time-bound action plan to be submitted for implementation of fly ash and inert-material utilisation measures for plants in Bawana and Ghazipur. “The Ghazipur unit has to upgrade its production process and emission control measures to ensure that the emission levels of all parameters — including PM, HCL, NOx, dioxin and furans — are within the stipulated limits,” said the board.

·         The Ghazipur unit has been asked to provide a facility for treatment of wet waste. “The plant should upgrade its leachate treatment procedure to improve its quality before spreading it over land. The segregation process of the plant’s municipal solid waste has to be made operational to improve its efficiency,” said CPCB, adding that the plant has to obtain valid consent to operate from DPCC as well.

Source

 

Top

India's power consumption grows nearly 45 per cent in first half of April

·         Power consumption in the country grew nearly 45 per cent in the first half of April to 60.62 billion units (BU) over the corresponding period a year ago, showing robust recovery in industrial and commercial demand of electricity, according to power ministry data. Power consumption in the first half of April last year (from April 1 to 15, 2020) was recorded at 41.91 BU.

·         On the other hand, the peak power demand met, which is the highest supply in a day, during the first half of this month remained well above the highest record of 132.20 GW in the same period in April 2020.

·         During the first half this month, peak power demand touched the highest level of 182.55 GW on April 8, 2021, and recorded a growth of 38 per cent over 132.20 GW recorded in the entire month of April last year.

·         Power consumption in April last year had dropped to 84.55 BU from 110.11 BU in the same month in 2019. This happened mainly because of fewer economic activities following imposition of lockdown by the government in the last week of March 2020 to contain the spread of deadly COVID-19.

·         Similarly, peak power demand met also slumped to 132.20 GW in April last year from 176.81 GW in the same month in 2019, showing the impact of lockdown on economic activities.

·         Experts are of the view that high growth in power consumption as well as demand in the first half this month is mainly because of base effect.

·         They said, "The power consumption remained low in April last year due to lockdown. Now the the high growth rate of power consumption clearly indicates healthy recovery in commercial and industrial demand."

·         However, they cautioned that local lockdowns across the country to curb the surge of COVID-19 positive cases may impact commercial and industrial power consumption adversely in coming days.

·         After a gap of six months, power consumption had recorded a 4.6 per cent year-on-year growth in September and 11.6 per cent in October. In November 2020, the power consumption growth slowed to 3.12 per cent, mainly due to the early onset of winters. In December, power consumption grew by 4.5 per cent while it was 4.4 per cent in January 2021.

·         Power consumption in February this year recorded higher at 104.11 BU compared to 103.81 BU last year despite the fact that 2020 was a leap year.

·         In March this year, the power consumption grew nearly 23 per cent to 121.51 BU compared to 98.95 BU in the same month of 2020.

·         During the entire fiscal of 2020-21, power consumption dipped by one per cent to 1,271.54 BU from 1,284.44 BU in 2019-20.

Source

 

Top

Renewable(7 News Items)

Macquarie looks to sell 450MW solar assets for $300 mn

·         Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), one of the largest foreign infrastructure investors in India, plans to sell around 450MW of solar power projects for an estimated equity value of around $300 million, said two people aware of the development.

·         Around 330MW of these operational solar assets were acquired from Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt. Ltd.

·         MIRA is hopeful of commanding a premium on the sale of Indian solar assets, given that the off-takers for the electricity generated at a higher tariff from most of these projects are Gujarat state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms), with a history of timely payments.

·         The sale process for the proposed deal is yet to start and comes at a time when India’s solar power tariffs have touched a record low of ₹1.99 per unit. This, in turn, has resulted in tariff shopping by discoms with India’s clean energy space already facing problems such as power procurement curtailment and delayed payments.

·         A Macquarie Group spokesperson declined to comment.

·         “The reason why these assets are expected to command a premium is because a large part of this capacity is located in Gujarat, which has a history of timely payments. Also, when solar tariffs have gone south, these projects have power purchase agreements that were signed at a higher tariff," said one of the two people mentioned above, requesting anonymity.

·         “The process is yet to be launched and there is a lot of interest in these assets. A formal sale process is likely to start sooner rather than later," said the second person mentioned above, who also did not want to be named.

·         The sale plan by Macquarie comes against the backdrop of India’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, emerging as the buyer of the hybrid annuity road assets of Ashoka Concessions Ltd as reported by Mint earlier. Ashoka Buildcon Ltd has a 61% stake in Ashoka Concessions, while the remaining 39% is held by MIRA.

·         In 2012, Macquarie, through its first India-focused fund, had bought the Ashoka Concessions stake for ₹800 crore. It had finalized the deal jointly with State Bank of India.

·         MIRA and its managed funds oversee investments in 12.4GW of green energy capacity. It is a part of Macquarie Asset Management, the asset management arm of Macquarie Group, which has assets under management of around €339.9 billion.

Source

 

Top

Bangalore start-up charging tech for electric vehicles

·         A Bangalore based start-up is looking to commercialise a solution that lowers the time required to charge the batteries of electric vehicles.

·         Sequoia Capital backed Log 9 Materials, which has its core competence in graphene (a carbon material) nanotechnology, has developed two-wheeler and three-wheeler battery packs using supercapacitor expertise whereby these batteries could be charged faster than the plain lithium ion batteries fitted in electric vehicles.

·         According to the company, a normal 15-20 ampere plug point in households can charge an existing two-wheeler electric vehicle battery in 3-5 hours.

·         With supercapacitors, this can be brought down to around 15 minutes. CEO and founder Akshay Singhal, a graduate in materials engineering from IIT Roorkee, said Log 9 Materials is working with companies such as Amazon, Shadowfax, Delhivery, Vogo which are looking to move towards electric vehicles for last mile delivery and mobility.

·         “We have already done the pilot. Commercial production is starting in October this year and the aim is to grow five times next year. We have our assembly lines in Bangalore which will be scaled up as demand grows,” said Singhal.

·         The company has also developed aluminium fuel cells that work on aluminium, air and water combined with graphene-based cathode to harness electricity using cheap and recyclable technology.

·         Singhal said that graphene can be made in India unlike lithium which is primarily imported. Moreover, existing lithium batteries can power a car for 200 kilometres and tend to be replaced typically after around three years.

·         Aluminium fuel cells can provide a bigger range with no emission and can address electrification of long haul and heavier vehicles. The company is in discussions with vehicle manufacturers on a wider adoption of the technology.

·         “Today more than 50 per cent of the cost of electric vehicles is on account of batteries. If the range is to be increased to say around 600-700 kilometres, the overall cost could go up significantly. Added to that is the lack of charging infrastructure and long charging time which acts as a bottleneck to electric vehicle adoption today. The idea is to address some of these concerns,” said Singhal.

·         The start-up was founded in 2015 and is also working on other areas of applications of graphene such as cigarette filters and oil absorbents.

Source

 

Top

AGEL unit bags 150MW Torrentpower project

·         Adani Renewable Energy Holding Fifteen Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) has received a letter of award from Torrent Power Limited for setting up a 150MW solar power project.

·         The AGEL’s subsidiary had participated in a tender issued by the power generation and distribution company Torrent Power for the procurement of power through competitive bidding from grid connected solar photovoltaic power projects to be set up in Gujarat.

·         The AGEL company has been awarded a project capacity of 150MW, AGEL said in a regulatory filing with the stock exchanges.

·         “The fixed tariff for this project capacity is Rs 2.22 per kWh (unit) for a period of 25 years. The project is expected to be commissioned by the third quarter of fiscal 2023,” AGEL added in its communication with the bourses.

·         With the award of this project, AGEL now has a total portfolio of 15,390MW of renewable energy project capacity, out of which 11,870MW projects are under implementation. Of its total portfolio, AGEL has 3,520MW of operation renewable energy projects.

·         The green energy arm of the Ahmedabad-headquartered Adani Group, AGEL develops, builds, owns, operates and maintains utility-scale grid-connected solar and wind farm projects.

Source

 

Top

Facebook reaches sustainability goal with 100percent renewable energy

·         Facebook today announced two sustainability and renewable energy milestones. As of 2020, Facebook’s global operations are supported by 100 per cent renewable energy and have reached net zero emissions. In the last three years, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 94 per cent, exceeding the company’s 75 per cent reduction goal set in 2018.

·         Facebook also announced a new partnership with CleanMax, India’s leading B2B renewable energy provider today. This agreement will support Facebook’s sustainability ambitions in India with renewable power from wind and solar facilities, supplying renewable power into India’s electrical grid in states where Facebook facilities are also present.

·         The first project to be brought online in the agreement is a 32MW wind project located in Karnataka, India. While CleanMax will own and operate the projects, Facebook will provide long-term support by committing to purchase 100 per cent of the environmental attribute certificates (EACs) from the projects for years to come.

·         “At Facebook, we understand the challenges we face due to climate change and are keen to help address this issue in APAC. Our global commitment to renewable energy has resulted in an estimated US$8 billion in project investment, supporting tens of thousands of jobs during construction, including on-site infrastructure and installation as well as along the global supply chain to produce solar panels and wind turbines and towers. Facebook is one of the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy globally and our partners in the region have played an instrumental role in helping us drive towards a more sustainable future for APAC.” - Dan Neary, Vice President, APAC at Facebook.

·         In Singapore, Facebook has renewable energy partnerships with Sunseap Group, Terrenus Energy, and Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp). Announced in 2018 and currently under construction, Facebook’s data center in Singapore is being designed from the ground up with new features to minimize the use of water, energy, and land. Once operational, the data center will be 100 per cent supported by renewable energy. The company has set a goal to reach net zero emissions for the value chain in 2030.

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How indigenous land was grabbed for a solar power plant in Assam

·         Since March 2020, a struggle has been waged by Karbi and Adivasi farmers of Mikir Bamuni Grant village in Nagaon district of Assam against the forceful takeover of their lands to construct a solar power plant by Azure Power Forty Private Limited. In each formal statement, Azure Power continues to parrot that they are not in violation of the law, as they have legally purchased the land in question on a willing seller-willing buyer basis and are not in contravention of the law.

·         This, despite several news reports and other interactions pointing out to them that their “willing sellers” did not have the legal right to sell them the land in the first place. The question of land and the system of land rights is central to the story of the conflict in Mikir Bamuni. Delving deeper into this question and a close look at the documents, as well as testimonies of the residents of Mikir Bamuni, this article exposes the web of lies, manipulations and underhanded manoeuvres coordinated between the local administration, landholders and police forces that together orchestrated the theft of peoples’ lands. While stating this, it is equally important to reiterate that this does not absolve Azure Power, a nearly 400-million-dollar company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, of responsibility in the gross violation of the rights of the cultivators. Despite being in the know of the legal provisions of the Assam (Temporarily Settled Areas) Tenancy Act 1971, it appears their legal team has not yet bothered to understand the documents, which, contrary to what they believe, do exist and are in possession of the cultivators. All they had to do was ask. But more on Azure Power later.

·         Last year, December 29 witnessed the latest round of police aggression against the protesting farmers with one of them, Buku Mardi, allegedly beaten senseless and arrested in the daytime, followed by a midnight raid where police personnel are then said to have forced themselves into the homes of the farmers in the middle of the night, with faces covered, and arrested Sikari Rongpi, Lakhiram Mardi and Bhaity Timung.

·         To sharpen the protest, the farmers began an indefinite sit-in at the plant site from January 26, demanding the return of their lands and the release of their friends and family members from jail. The 4 arrested spent 63 days in jail and were released on bail only on March 2. Meanwhile, on March 1 the Guwahati High Court ordered status quo on the land in question given the ongoing civil dispute in this matter in the Nagaon district court. Since the order, construction work on the power plant has ceased. This has provided some relief to the protesting farmers and a fresh lease of life to their struggle, that will end only when they win back their lands.

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Renewable energy key part of India's growth programmes: Javadekar

·         Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said India is increasingly leveraging renewable energy to fuel its growing power consumption as it scales programmes like Aatmanirbhar Bharat. India has only 3 per cent contribution in the historical emissions and that the US, Europe and other regions have contributed more to harmful emissions over the last 150 years, the Minister said at Amazon Smbhav event.

·         "Though we are not part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution. Even today's current emissions of the world, we are only 7 per cent of the world emissions...our programmes for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, for development growth are based on sustainability, energy transition, industrial transition, building common resilient infrastructure, disaster resilient infrastructure," he said.

·         He added that India has taken the lead in not only discussions about climate change but also to show the world how these changes can be implemented.

·         Javadekar said the country has taken a number of steps towards embracing sustainable energy, and solar energy production has grown 14-fold over the last six years.

·         "We have reduced our emission intensity by nearly 26 per cent. We have increased our share to 38 per cent of renewable energy in our energy capacity mix...solar energy and renewable energy all put together, we have now 136 gigawatt, we're inching towards our goal of 175 gigawatts by 2022," he said.

·         India has set up a larger target of having 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. Also, under Fame I and II programmes, subsidy to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore has been given for deploying 6,500 electrical buses in 65 cities.

·         "...in 25 cities, they are running. Other cities are in the advanced process of purchasing. So, they are sustainable, modern as well as the best possible zero pollution, zero emission vehicles," he added.

·         Javadekar said India will require more energy as that is the basic input of the growth.

·         "But as of today, our per capita consumption per year is 1,200 kilowatts units of electricity. Many countries - America, Europe has more than 12,000 kilowatts per year...We don't consume that much electricity, but our electricity consumption will grow because there are aspirations for development," he said.

·         India has started building simultaneously a sustainable way of life through renewable energy programme, he added.

·         The Minister also pointed out that private enterprises in the country are also playing a part and have set goals for a sustainable future by adding more green cover on the campus, utilising more renewable energy and lowering emissions. SR MR

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SPDA seeks more time from govt for commissioning solar projects amid pandemic

·         The Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) has urged the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to give three more months for commissioning solar projects amid the the raging pandemic. The association has highlighted the continued challenges that the solar power industry is facing for the last year.

·         It has requested MNRE for a blanket extension of an additional three months in SCoD (scheduled date of commissioning) of solar power projects in addition to five months granted by MNRE earlier, an SPDA statement said.

·         The government had taken the problems into cognizance and provided relief in blanket extension for five months through an office memorandum on August 13, 2020.

·         The body said the second wave of the pandemic has been advancing swiftly, with a big spike registered across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.

·         Various state governments have announced restrictions affecting the movement of personnel, labour, and delay in multiple approvals from state authorities.

·         Due to the curbs, solar power developers are witnessing scarcity of workforce at sites again, putting the project construction on hold again, it added.

·         There is a general apprehension that if the situation continues like this, there can be a significant delay in commissioning the projects, it opined.

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Oil & Gas(5 News Items)

Natural Gas


India to invest $200 million in next 5-7 years to promote hydrogen use in transportation

·         As India is on the quest to promote Hydrogen as a clean fuel for the mobility sector, Hydrogen-blended CNG is emerging as an excellent interim technology for achieving emissions reduction and import substitution. The Government of India is planning to invest about US$200 million to promote the use of hydrogen use in the transportation sectors.

·         "India will spend $200 million over the next five to seven years to promote the use of hydrogen," said Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, Secretary, Ministry of Renewal New & Renewable Energy at a virtual industry event on Thursday.

·         The Ministry has asked oil and gas companies to set up seven hydrogen pilot plants by the end of this financial year," said Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas at the Hydrogen Economy - New Delhi Dialogue event.

·         Governments and energy companies around the world are now betting on clean hydrogen playing a leading role in efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, though its future uses and costs remain uncertain.

·         Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that the government planned to scale up the use of hydrogen blended with compressed natural gas (H-CNG) as a transportation fuel.

·         "We are looking forward to introducing H-CNG as an intermittent technology in a big way for both automotive and domestic cooking applications," he said.

·         Last year in October, Pradhan had launched Indian Oil's compact reformer plant along with the trial run of 50 Hydrogen-blended CNG buses at Rajghat in Delhi.

·         H-CNG is a blend of hydrogen and CNG, the ideal hydrogen concentration being 18%. Compared to conventional CNG, the use of H-CNG can reduce the emission of carbon monoxide up to 70%, besides enabling up to 5% savings in fuel, according to test reports by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL).

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Ashoknagar floats in oil dreams in poll season

·         Ashoknagar is growing up. The sleepy district town of not-so-distant past is witnessing a boom — floating in oil dreams.

·         In 2018, oil and gas reserves were discovered on the outskirts of this town, just around 50km from Kolkata. And last November, ONGC put this area on India’s oil map after it was found that oil and gas extraction here could be commercially viable.

·         So, the mofussil town, set up by Bidhan Chandra Roy around the Baigachi Airfield built by the British Royal Airforce during World War II to defend Kolkata, is now teeming with people in orange and red overalls and shops in Kachua and Gol Bazar markets are doing brisk business.

·         Workers in fluorescent overalls can been seen purchasing cell phone chargers, getting their numbers recharged, purchasing groceries and eating out at local eateries. Ashoknagar is looking at a future of prosperity.

·         Over the past few months, there has been an influx of workers, managers, government officials here. And with that, demand for accommodation, white goods and eateries has outpaced the supply.

·         “This small town has a few hotels that are all reserved now. The oil company is renting spaces in the homes of residents,” said Samaresh Mazumdar, a resident of Ashoknagar Kalyangarh.

·         Ashok Modak had a small shop of gift items in Gol Bazar. After the pandemic he shut the shop and started a small tea stall near the oil field. “The lockdown has affected everyone in this town. Many people have lost their jobs and others suffered huge losses. But oil field has come up as a boon with almost all households are gaining in some way or the other,” said Modal, who also recharges cell phones

·         Market of electronic and white goods is already going through a boom in Ashoknagar with residents going on a buying spree for air-conditioners, washing machines, beds, mattresses, chairs and dinning tables.

·         Residents are, however, scared that the discord between the state government and the Centre might mar the chances of Ashoknagar to make it to the oil map of the world. “We would want both the governments to set aside their political differences after the election and chalk out a roadmap on how to develop the area,” said Mazumdar.

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General


Cross sections of people in Andhra feel the pinch of skyrocketing fuel prices

·         Skyrocketing fuel prices across the country over the last several months are impacting people relying on fields as diverse as aquaculture and insurance, including the fishermen who go into the sea for their catch in Andhra Pradesh.

·         In a state like Andhra Pradesh, which is majorly an agrarian state, some farmers who converted their paddy fields into aquaculture ponds have emerged as the unlikely sufferers of high fuel prices.

·         As part of the baby-like care they are required to take for the shrimps, these farmers have to run aerators in the ponds to increase oxygen supply in the water and thereby nurture the growth and safety of the prawns.

·         Many prawn farmers manage to get a power connection to run the aerators and incur an average monthly power bill of Rs 5,000 for a pond of 4 acres in the Godavari districts.

·         However, a good number of aquaculture farmers are not so fortunate to get a power connection and end up installing engines or auto rickshaw engines on the banks of a pond and run them with diesel.

·         "For a 4-acre prawn pond, it costs me Rs 90,000 per month just for fuel while it is only Rs 5,000 for a pond with electric power connection to run the aerators," Kumar, an aquaculture farmer, told IANS.

·         Highlighting the massive Rs 85,000 difference, he said those without access to electric power are being compelled to limit their aerator operations.

·         Kumar said this predicament is mostly common with aquaculture farmers whose ponds are located far away from the villages, and admitted that it would not be easy for power lines to be established there as the non-firm black soil may not hold the electric poles, while disunity among farmers is also a cause.

·         "Running aerators with electric power has the convenience of a monthly bill but in the case of diesel powered engines, it demands a daily cost of about Rs 3,000 for a 4-acre pond," he said.

·         Because of this exorbitant cost, aqua farmers have reduced aerator operations by 3-4 hours a day. Earlier, they used to run the aerators all through the night for 12 hours and for another four hours in the morning.

·         "The fuel burden has drastically diminished the profitability in aquaculture. From around Rs 64 a litre of diesel some time ago, it has now risen to nearly Rs 90 oer litre," he lamented.

·         In the event of power cuts, even those farmers with electric power are forced to use generators to rotate their aerators and get a taste of the diesel blues suffered by some of their fellow farmers.

·         Not just aquaculture farmers, even many paddy farmers pump water into their fields from irrigation canals using engines powered by diesel.

·         This is a very old practice, preceding aquaculture by more than 40 years. However, centuries old agricultural practices are changing with the massive adoption in aquaculture.

·         Likewise, fishermen who go into the sea in diesel-powered mechanised boats are also feeling the heat of exorbitant fuel prices.

·         Aquaculture farmers, who go to the hatcheries to buy prawn seeds to culture them in their ponds, have heard the fishermen's side of the story.

·         "The government gives around Rs 6 subsidy on diesel for fishermen, but that is not of much help. Mechanised boats require a high amount of diesel while venturing into the sea," said Venkat from Srikakulam, who hails from a fisherman's family.

·         Unlike a cab driver who can pass on the higher fuel costs to the customer, Venkat reasoned that fishermen may not have that luxury as they deal with perishable goods, and are always on the lookout to quickly sell their catch before they get spoiled.

·         In similar fashion, Bhaskar, an insurance agent from Vijayawada, complained that the fuel allowance he receives from his employer is just one-fourth the cost of the fuel charges he incurs in a month.

·         "I get Rs 2,000 fuel allowance but my monthly fuel bill is Rs 6,000. I ride about 150 km a day as part of my job," said Bhaskar.

·         He lamented that exorbitant fuel prices have raised the cost of living, imposing a heavy burden on the common man.

·         Curiously, global crude prices and Indian retail fuel prices do not go hand in hand with respect to prices at the fuel stations, as has been promised since 2017.

·         Back then, state-owned oil companies Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation synced their retail fuel pump prices to the international crude prices with the mandate of daily dynamic pricing, reflecting international crude prices. However, that was a short lived promise shortchanging crores of Indians.

·         One of those companies even said in a statement back then that the 'benefits' of even the smallest change in international oil prices could percolate to the dealer and then to the masses.

·         Indians, who had weathered the storm of $147 per barrel of crude in 2008 during the regulated petrol prices regime, are now suffering peak prices when the crude barrel not even costs $75.

·         For more than six years already, the Indian government has been enjoying lower crude prices, including reneging on the promise of passing on the benefits to people for a long time and conveniently resorting to the practice of raising taxes with impunity.

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Oil companies keep petrol, diesel prices unchanged across metros

·         Oil marketing companies (OMC) kept petrol and diesel prices unchanged for the third straight day across four metro cities.

·         In the national capital, petrol was sold for Rs 90.40 per litre on Sunday.

·         Similarly, price of the fuel in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata also was unchanged at Rs 96.83, Rs 92.43 and Rs 90.62 per litre, respectively.

·         In line with petrol, prices of diesel also were same for the third straight day.

·         Price of the fuel in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata was Rs 80.73, Rs 87.81, Rs 85.75 and Rs 83.61 per litre, respectively.

·         Fuel prices have been unchanged after declining on April 15. Fuel prices in the country have been unchanged as OMCs decided to go on a pause mode and analyse the global developments on oil prices before effecting a revision.

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Maharashtra: Nanar refinery will lead to pollution and deprive farmers of water

·         After the Shiv Sena strongly opposed the proposed oil refinery at Nanar in Konkan, there’s a demand from some quarters to shift it to Vidarbha. It’s an ambitious project between the IOC, HPCL and BPCL and Saudi Arabian petroleum giant Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

·         An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial/chemical processing plant where crude oil is converted into petrol, gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and jet fuel. In India, there are 24 oil refineries out of which only three are private.

·         The project is not only infeasible for Vidarbha, but would prove to be a big health hazard for citizens here due to pollution. It would require huge land of farmers and also the water used for their fields. Already, the region’s irrigation backlog is 1.60 hectares. When our farmers are not getting water for their crops, from where the government will provide water for the refinery?

·         Already, Vidarbha has so many power plants that produce 59% of Maharashtra’s power. All these plants consume a lot of water, leaving the poor farmers in lurch.

·         Moreover, what’s the guarantee that only the youth of Vidarbha will benefit? Just under the pretext of creating employment opportunities, farmers’ land can’t be put at stake. It is better to bring information technology (IT) parks, health cities and textile parks that can create job opportunities along with economic consideration and without risk of pollution. Also when there are talks about bringing in solar powered vehicles by 2030, then why the need for a refinery in Vidarbha?

·         In fact, it will be feasible to set up the refinery in neighbouring Marathwada which is relatively closer to the coast than Vidarbha. Today, we import more than 80% of India’s crude oil which comes by sea. If a refinery comes to Vidarbha, the crude oil will have to cross a distance of 700km by road from the coast. How financially viable will it be for the government?

·         It might provide employment, but it involves heating and chemical processes, which pollute the environment. Chemical emissions cause air pollution due to toxic gases released. These gases are harmful and can cause serious health problems. Research shows children in schools next to refineries are 40 % more likely to have respiratory problems than others.

·         It’s economically feasible to have a refinery where there is a large customer base for petrol, diesel, oil and aviation fuel. Most of the world’s population lives in big cities in coastal areas. So, most of the refineries in the world are on or off the coast.

·         Refineries use large amounts of steam and cold water. Generally, one barrel (159 litres) of crude oil requires 1.5 barrels of water to process. That's why most of the oil refineries are on the beach, where the river meets the sea, so they can take advantage of the water and also for transportation.

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Coal(4 News Items)

Linkage issues


India may build new coal-fired power plants despite climate crisis

·         India may build new coal-fired power plants as they generate the cheapest power, according to a draft electricity policy document seen by Reuters news agency, despite growing calls from environmentalists to deter use of coal.

·         Coal's contribution to electricity generation in India fell for the second straight year in 2020, marking a departure from decades of growth in coal-fired power.

·         Still, the fuel accounts for nearly three-fourths of India's annual power output.

·         Environmental activists have long rallied against India adding new coal-fired capacity.

·         Solar and wind energy prices are falling to record lows, which would help the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter cut emissions.

·         US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry this month said India was "getting the job done on climate, pushing the curve," as he began talks with government leaders aimed at cutting carbon emissions faster to slow global heating.

·         But a 28-page February draft of the National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021 – which has not been made public – showed India may add new coal-fired capacity, though it recommended tighter technology standards to reduce pollution.

·         "While India is committed to add more capacity through non-fossil sources of generation, coal-based generation capacity may still be required to be added in the country as it continues to be the cheapest source of generation," the NEP draft read.

·         All future coal-based plants should only deploy so-called "ultra super critical" less polluting technologies "or other more efficient technology", it added.

·         Cabinet approval needed

·         State-run NTPC Ltd, India's top electricity producer, said in September it will not acquire land for new coal-fired projects. Private firms and many run by states across the country have not invested in new coal-fired plants for years saying they were not economically viable.

·         A source with direct knowledge said a government panel of various power sector experts and officials will discuss the draft and could make changes before seeking cabinet approval.

·         India's Power Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

·         The draft document also proposed trade of renewable energy in day-ahead markets, creating separate tariffs for electric vehicle charging stations and privatising electricity distribution companies.

·         Alternate sources

·         The NEP 2021 is India's first attempt at revising its electricity policy enacted in 2005, when the country produced negligible renewable energy.

·         Experts say phasing in renewable energy sources and phasing out conventional sources such as coal and natural gas rapidly could lead to instability in the electricity grid, potentially causing blackouts.

·         While suggesting flexible use of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power to ensure grid stability in the coming years, the draft policy lists promoting clean power as its primary objective.

·         The policy draft suggested expediting adoption of "cost effective" pumped hydro storage to support the electricity grid, adding that only 4.8 gigawatts (GW) of a potential 96.5 GW of pumped storage capacity has been developed so far.

·         The policy also recommends compensating natural gas-fired plants for operating at reduced efficiency to ensure grid stability, and for suffering higher wear and tear due to fluctuations in generation.

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General


Coal India incorporates two wholly-owned arms

·         State-owned CIL announced incorporation of two wholly-owned arms. The two subsidiaries are CIL Solar PV Ltd and CIL Navikarniya Urja Ltd, Coal India Ltd (CIL) said in a filing to BSE.

·         CIL Solar PV Limited has been incorporated for manufacturing in solar value chain (Ingot-wafer-Cell Module) and CIL Navikarniya Urja Limited for renewable energy, the filing said.

·         Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output. The PSU is eyeing 1 billion tonnes of output by 2023-24.

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Public sector enterprise NALCO gets mining lease of Utkal-E coal block

·         The Department of Steel and Mines of Odisha government granted the mining lease of Utkal-E coal block to National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) through a notification issued on April 12, the public sector enterprise informed on Friday.

·         NALCO is a leading producer of alumina and aluminium in the country. As per the notification, the mining lease of the Utkal-E coal block is over an area of 523.73 hectares in villages Nandichhod, Gopinathpur Jungle, Kundajhari Jungle, Kosala and Korada under Chendipada Tahasil of Angul District.

·         "The initial capacity of Utkal-E coal block is 2 million tonnes per year with a total mineable reserve of approximately 70 million tonnes," the notification said.

·         "NALCO has already executed the mining lease for the Utkal D Coal block in March 2021. With the grant of Utkal D and E coal blocks, the total mineable coal reserve of the company will be 175 million tonnes, which will be pivotal in meeting the coal requirement of its Captive Power Plant at Angul in Odisha," it said.

·         CMD of NALCO Sridhar Patra has thanked the state and the Central governments for sanctioning the mining lease and said that the NALCO team is very optimistic about starting the mining operation from the Utkal-D coal block in this financial year.

·         "With the grant of the mining lease of Utkal E coal block, the planned expansion activities of the Company will get a boost and will contribute significantly to the bottom line of NALCO," he said.

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Delhi court grants interim bail to TMC leader's brother Vikas Mishra in coal mining scam

·         A Delhi Court granted interim bail to Vikas Mishra, brother of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with coal mining scam.

·         The Court has granted bail to Mishra till May 15 on medical grounds. Special Judge Anurag Sain in an order passed on Friday said: "The interim bail has been granted to accused solely on the basis of medical grounds of the accused and for a period of one month starting from today till May 4, 2021 and accused is directed to surrender before the Tihar Jail on or before the approved date."

·         In case the accused has violated any of the condition of the bail, ED has right to move appropriate application for cancellation of bail, the judge added.

·         "....Vikas Mishra is admitted to interim bail till May 15, 2021 on his furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs. 2,00,000/- with one surety. Accused shall not interfere in the investigation of the matter in any manner and shall join the investigation as and when called by investigation officer...." the Court added while imposing several conditions.

·         The Court also noted that the detailed medical report of accused was filed by the doctor and as per the report and the submissions made by the doctor, the medical conditions of the accused are not good.

·         The medical report submitted by the doctor stated: "Inmate patient admitted in MI Room but his symptoms are persisting and his general condition is deteriorating and currently in view of COVID-19 pandemic the outside OPD referral is avoided to control the spread of the virus in Jail inmates as well as restricted availability of treatment due to pandemic restrictions of these higher approved referral centres."

·         Advocate Amit Mahajan, Central Government Standing Counsel along with NK Matta, Nitesh Rana, Special Public prosecutor appeared for ED and Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra with Advocate Neeraj Shekhar had appeared for accused Vikas Mishra in the matter.

·         According to the ED, on November 27, 2020, a case was registered by CBI, Kolkata against Amit Kumar Dhar, the then general manager, Kunustoria area, ECL Jayesh Chandra Rai, general manager ECL, Kajora Area, Tanmay Das, chief security, ECL Asansol, Dhansnjay Rai, Area Security Inspector ECL, Debashish Mukerjee, Security in charge, Kajora area, ECL, Anup Majee and unknown officials of ECL, CISF, Railways, other department and unknown private persons for alleged commission of cognizable offence various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.

·         Earlier, ED explained in detail in the remand application that the investigation was taken up to trace the proceeds of crime as it was revealed that "large proceeds of crime" were generated and laundered as a result of illegal coal mining.

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