Government to procure 10,000 electric vehicles

Dec 21, 2017 0

New Delhi– Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) plans to procure 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) for government use, the first round of bids for which has already been conducted by the state-run company, Parliament was told on Thursday.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Power Minister R.K. Singh said that bids for EVs were invited through open tender, while contracts have been awarded to Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra for respectively supplying 250 and 150 of these environment-friendly vehicles.

The supply agreements include a five-year annual maintenance contract.

“EESL will provide these vehicles on lease to replace the existing petrol and diesel vehicles taken on lease by various government organisations and charge lease rent from these firms,” R.K. Singh said.

EESL announced last month that it will invite bids for supply of a second lot of 10,000 EVs around March-April next year.

Meanwhile, the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) on Thursday urged the government to reduce the Goods and Services Tax on batteries used in electric vehicles from the current highest tax rate of 28 per cent.

“Under the new GST regime, lithium-ion batteries used in EVs have become significantly costlier because of the 28 per cent GST when sold separately as against the GST rate charged when sold with the vehicles,” an SMEV statement said here.

“Higher tax on batteries is impacting retail sales of electric two-wheelers as dealers generally do not maintain an equal inventory of vehicles and batteries,” it said.

The association also urged the government to launch the next phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles scheme for a longer period of six years and its time-bound implementation.

“Due to high ownership cost of EVs in the present scenario, the approach to Demand Incentives and Viability Gap Funding needs to be changed and the existing subsidy module needs to be enhanced for the next 6 years as compared to the previous short term periods of 6 months to 1 year,” the statement said. (IANS)

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Delhi government likely to incentivise use of electric vehicles

Dec 19, 2017 0

New Delhi– The Delhi government is likely to incentivise the use of electric vehicles.

According to Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, an incentive-based policy is likely to be formulated that encourages commuters to shift from fossil fuels powered vehicles to electric.

Gahlot requested the central government for enhancement of subsidy so that the state government can procure more electric buses.

“Cost of electric buses at Rs 2.75 crore is way too high and unsustainable. I would request the central government for more subsidy along with financial and technical help,” Gahlot said while addressing Assocham’s conference on ‘Electric vehicles: Future roadmap for India’ on Tuesday.

“I think we should look towards subsidy on the power to be consumed by electric vehicles,” Gahlot was quoted as saying in a statement.

The minister added that it is imperative to bring down the cost of electric vehicles to make them more affordable and viable for public transport.

Besides subsidy, the minister sought clarity from the union government on its FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme.

“Even under the FAME scheme, there are lot of gaps and there is lot of ambiguity, like for instance there is no clarity amid manufacturers when asked whether or not they would qualify in the kilometre scheme,” said the Delhi Transport Minister.

Gahlot added that the state government has already given a commitment to induct 100 electric buses, and is willing to increase the fleet to 1,000 “as soon as possible”. (IANS)

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India’s first offshore wind projects auction for 5GW in 2018

Dec 14, 2017 0

New Delhi– India will invite bids for the first time to set up offshore wind power projects in the country with the government planning to auction for 5 gigawatt (GW) of capacity, New and Renewable Energy Minister R.K Singh said on Thursday.

Addressing the National Energy Conservation Awards event here with President Ram Nath Kovind as the chief guest, Singh also said that India will surpass its target of having 175 GW renewable energy capacity and achieve 200 GW by 2022.

“Our target is that we would auction at least 5 GW of offshore wind capacities next year. Survey is in progress at a location. We would start survey at two more locations and have placed order to buy equipment for that,” Singh, who is also the Power Minister, told the gathering.

“We would not only achieve the target of having 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022 but would surpass that and have at least 200 GW by then,” he said.

He also said the current fiscal would see auctions for 9 GW of wind energy, which also includes already auctioned capacities. The next two fiscals will each see bidding for 10 GW of wind capacity.

The government has already auctioned 2 GW wind capacity in two rounds so far this year.

The country’s current wind power installed capacity is 32 GW.

Earlier this week, the government issued the norms for wind power auction.

“In solar energy, we would auction 20 GW projects, including those already auctioned this year. Next year, we will auction 30 GW and another 30 GW in the subsequent year,” Singh said.

“Next, we will be inviting bids for floating solar capacities,” he added, referring to solar power units erected atop reservoirs. (IANS)

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Solar power auction sees 98% fall in November

Dec 13, 2017 0

New Delhi– The solar power auction in November saw a 98 per cent drop with only 5 MW auctioned against 270 MW in October, a report said on Wednesday.

It also pointed out that total solar project tendered also saw a steep decline with 300 MW offered in November against 400 MW in October.

“The solar capacity tendered across the country during the month fell by 25 per cent to 300 MW compared to the October 2017 total and the amount of solar auctioned dropped by 98 per cent to just 5 MW,” said the report by clean energy consulting firm Mercom Capital Group.

According to experts, one of the reasons for this steep fall is rise in Goods and Services Tax (GST) slab on solar equipment and the anti-dumping case, where Indian manufacturers demand drop in duty to compete against the very-low priced equipment offered by Chinese exporters.

Also, the All India Solar Industries Association on Wednesday said that GST has led to 10-12 per cent rise in overall cost of solar projects. In August, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said clarified that 5 per cent GST will be applicable on solar equipment and the government cannot do anything about it.

Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu said: “Hopefully, tender and auction activity has bottomed out.

“The GST issue is almost behind us and the government is asking Discoms to refrain from PPA renegotiations, even though the anti-dumping case is still looming.”

As per the report, the largest tender seen in November was by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL), the renewable energy implementing agency in the southern state, which re-tendered 200 MW of solar power to be developed at the state’s Pavagada Solar Park.

The only solar auction in November was by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) that auctioned a 5 MW grid-connected solar PV project under the National Solar Mission Defence viability gap funding programme for an ordnance factory in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.

Under the auction, Giriraj Renewables Pvt Ltd emerged as the successful bidder by quoting a tariff of Rs 4.18 per kWh.

According to Mercom Group, the cumulative solar installations in India surpassed 17 GW as of September 2017, with over 7 GW installed in the first nine months of the year.

“Following the recent lull in tender activity, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) revealed that it is preparing to announce a spate of tenders for solar projects over the course of four months starting in December 2017,” the report said, adding these aim to help the government reach its goal of installing 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.

The MNRE says it will work alongside states to announce tenders needed to reach 20 GW of ground-mounted capacity in solar parks in 2017-18. Of the 20 GW, 3.6 GW have already been tendered while another 3 GW were set to be tendered in December, followed by 3 GW in January 2018, 5 GW in February and 6 GW in March. Another 30 GW is expected to be tendered in 2018-19 with 30 GW to follow in 2019-20. (IANS)

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EU commits to 9 bn euro climate finance

Dec 12, 2017 0

Paris– The European Union on Tuesday announced 9 billion climate finance contribution — the first major announcement made on the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement’s second anniversary — to achieve climate goals.

The Paris climate-relevant investments are in three targeted areas — sustainable cities, sustainable energy and connectivity and sustainable agriculture, rural entrepreneurs and agribusiness.

These targeted areas are expected to generate up to euro 9bn investments by 2020, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete announced at ‘One Planet Summit’, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron here.

“The Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC climate convention remain the only pathway to tackle climate change and this One Planet Summit demonstrates how the financial system is aligning to the objectives of the agreement,” UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said in a statement.

In a related announcement, 225 of the most influential global institutional investors with more than $26.3 trillion in assets under management launched a new collaborative initiative to engage with world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters so these companies step up their actions on climate change.

The initiative, known as Climate Action 100+, led and developed by investors and supported and coordinated by five partner organisations from around the world, was launched on the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

Betty T. Yee, a board member of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest US public pension fund and a participant in Climate Action 100+, made the announcement during a panel discussion at the summit.

Canete said that the EU’s External Investment Plan, with its focus on sustainable development and the low-emission and climate-resilient transition, will scale up much-needed investments across Africa and the EU neighbourhood, adding that the benefits would be multiple: new jobs, accelerated and sustainable growth, enhanced resilience to climate change impacts, improved health, poverty reduction and better connectivity.

International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Neven Mimica said that these priority areas are setting the agenda for sustainable investments, and unlocking the potential of sustainable energy, promoting digitalisation for development or supporting micro, small and medium sized enterprises will help create sustainable development and reduce poverty.

The Paris gathering took place less than a month after the successful conclusion of the November UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn (COP23) and was the first in a series of international summits to help countries to raise ambition and bolster their national climate action plans – crucial to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals.

Next year, California, the UN and other key partners will host another major conference to fast forward action ahead of the UN Climate Conference 2018 in Poland (COP24), and a summit to raise ambition will be convened by the UN Secretary General in 2019.

At the ‘Planet One Summit’, another 237 companies with a combined market capitalization of over $6.3 trillion publicly committed to support the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

This includes over 150 financial firms, responsible for assets of over $81.7 trillion.

The Task Force, led by Michael R. Bloomberg and established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB),chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, developed voluntary recommendations on climate-related information that companies should disclose to help investors, lenders, and others make sound financial decisions.

The companies and organizations supporting the TCFD, which have more than doubled in number in the five months since the recommendations were published in June 2017, span the entire capital and investment chain.

“Climate change poses both economic risks and opportunities. But right now, companies don’t have the data they need to accurately measure the risks and evaluate the opportunities. That prevents them from taking protective measures and identifying sustainable investments that could have strong returns,” Bloomberg said, adding that the Task Force’s recommendations will help change that by empowering companies to measure and report risks in a more standardized way.

In a sign of the financial industry’s growing concerns over the climate and business risks of fossil fuels, French insurance giant AXA announced at the summit that it will cease insuring the tar sands sector and new coal projects, and will divest over 3 billion euros from tar sands and coal companies.

Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet and environmental and indigenous rights groups in Canada, the US and Europe are urging financial institutions to stop supporting it because of its climate and local environmental impacts.

In October, France’s largest bank BNP Paribas announced that it would stop funding tar sands projects and companies. (IANS)

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Solar capacity at airports can be upped to 200 mw: Minister

Dec 5, 2017 0

Kolkata– Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday said the present solar capacity of 90 MW at various airports of the Airport Authority of India was expected to be ramped up to about 200 MW in the next one and a half years.

“The installed capacity of solar (plants) at airports of Airport Authority of India would presently be at 90 megawatt. If the states agree to provide net metering, it is not difficult to get 200-250 mw in the one and a half years’ time,” he said.

He said the Central government is pushing for clean energy projects at the various airports.

After commissioning of 2 MW of roof top solar PV plant in 2016, a 15 MW grid connected solar PV plant at the Nataji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport here was inaugurated by the Minister on Tuesday.

Kolkata Airport Director Atul Dikshit said the solar PV plant was developed at 67.5 acre of land within six plots, each generating a capacity of 2.5 MW, at a total cost of Rs 90 crore.

On the completion of the plant, it would generate 1.35 million units per month which would reduce Airport Authority of India’s electricity bill by approx Rs 1.2 crore per month. (IANS)

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Mahindra’s electric cars to empower NGO working for physically challenged

Dec 4, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Automobile maker Mahindra Electric on Monday donated three battery-driven cars under its CSR initiative to an Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working for the physically challenged.

“NGO Wheels of Change will use our customised electric vehicles (eVeritos) as cabs under its initiative ‘KickStart’ to enable differently abled to ferry their passengers safely,” Mahindra Electric said in a statement here.

The battery-powered cars have been modified to install a swivel out mechanism on the front co-passenger seat.

“The electric cars have been aligned to offer mobility for all, including the handicapped, under our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative,” said Mahindra Electric Chief Executive Mahesh Babu.

The company handed over a fast charging unit for use on the cars.

Karnataka’s Additional Transport Commissioner Hemantha Kumara gave the cars’ keys to NGO trustee Ritheesh Shetty here.

The not-for-profit NGO said it works to make the world accessible to people with disabilities and promote inclusion of marginalised communities.

“We have worked as research and design partner for KickStart Services Ltd to promote transporting people with disability and senior citizens,” Shetty said in the statement.

The customised electric cabs can also be hired by wheelchair users and crutch walkers to visit public places like parks, toilets and open grounds.

“The aim is to make public places accessible even to the handicapped than keep them in isolation,” added Shetty.

As part of the $19-billion Mahindra group, the electric vehicle subsidiary makes e2o Plus hatch, eVerito sedan, eSupro minivan and electric rickshaw e-Alfa mini. (IANS)

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India among 19 countries joining hands for sustainable biofuels

Nov 17, 2017 0

By Vishal Gulati

Bonn– In a major breakthrough for sustainable biofuels, India and 18 other countries — representing half of the global population and 37 per cent of the global economy — have launched a platform that aims to scale up low-carbon bio-economy.

The declaration was adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference — named COP23 — in Bonn on Thursday by member countries of the Biofuture Platform.

They are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Paraguay, the Philippines, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay.

The decision is set out in a declaration released by the Biofuture Platform members, “Scaling Up the Low Carbon Bioeconomy”.

It is a major step for sustainable biofuels and the broader bio-economy, which will now become a key component of the global solution to climate change.

“The declaration is the culmination of nine months of negotiations and is the first time countries and other stakeholders have formally agreed to develop targets for biofuels and the bio-economy and construct an action plan to achieve them,” an official statement said.

“What we have just accomplished here with the endorsement of this statement is quite remarkable,” the statement quoting Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Jose Sarney Filho as saying.

“The technology and the awareness of the need for bio-based solutions are finally coming together.”

The decisions announced have been informed by modelling from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) — both partners in the Biofuture Platform — concluding that the 2030 temperature goals adopted in the 2015 Paris Agreement cannot be reached without a major increase in the production and use of sustainable biofuels and bioproducts.

The IEA and IRENA believe in order to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to reach 1.5 degrees, bioenergy and biofuels’ share in the global energy matrix must be accelerated to achieve at least a doubling in the next 10 years.

In specific sectors, such as transport, the need is even greater.

“Biofuels in transport would need to grow three fold by 2030, most of it coming from advanced technologies using non-edible feedstocks, including waste and residues,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

In addition to developing specific targets, participating countries will “devise an action plan outlining detailed actions to support achieving the targets, and develop a reporting mechanism to track progress”.

To address such challenges, in the declaration member countries agreed that coordinated international action is required to implement policy solutions, many of which have already been adopted by member countries, including specific biofuels mandates, sustainable low-carbon agricultural policies, R&D support and incentives related to verified carbons savings.

According to the declaration, member countries also call for climate and green financing mechanisms and institutions to ramp up resourcing of bio-economy projects as a top priority. (IANS)

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Cleaner BS-VI fuels launch in polluted Delhi advanced to 2018

Nov 15, 2017 0

New Delhi– In a move to tackle the high pollution levels in the Indian capital, the government on Wednesday brought forward the implementation of the BS-VI compliant cleaner transport fuels in Delhi by two years saying the requirement would now be effective in 2018.

“Taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas, the Petroleum Ministry in consultation with public oil marketing companies (OMCs) has decided for preponement of Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) grade auto fuels in NCT of Delhi w.e.f 01.04.2018 instead of 01.04.2020,” an official release said here.

“OMCs have also been asked to examine the possibility of introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the whole of NCR area w.e.f 01.04.2019,” it said.

“This measure is expected to help mitigate the problem of air pollution in NCT of Delhi and surrounding areas,” it added.

Noting that oil refiners are making huge investments in fuel upgradation to produce the required BS-VI grade fuels, the government said it had decided to “leapfrog directly from BS-IV to BS-VI grade by 1st April, 2020, skipping BS-V altogether”.

The BS-IV grade transportation fuels were rolled out across the country from April 1, 2017.

Illegal crop burning in the neighbouring states coupled with vehicular and industrial emissions have caused a sharp deterioration in the air quality in Delhi beginning earlier this month along with the onset of cooler weather.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Wednesday welcomed the decision, describing it as a “step in the right direction” following best practices globally.

According to Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM, the decision will give confidence to the auto industry about the availability of the fuel grade across the country from April 1, 2020.

“Use of BS-VI fuel with lower sulphur content may also improve the particulate emissions from the existing fleet of vehicles which are presently plying in the national capital to some extent,” Firodia said.

“In addition, if the government also effectively enforces the order to remove old BS II and earlier vintage vehicles from plying in the national capital, it would greatly reduce the contribution of vehicular pollution in the region,” he added. (IANS)

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National Cycling Championships in Delhi to promote fuel conservation

Nov 3, 2017 0

New Delhi– With a direct relation between cycling and conserving transport fuel, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is organising the capital’s first Saksham Pedal Delhi “cyclothon” event on Sunday, which will include the National Cycling Championships as a component feature.

The event on November 5, slated to start from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, will see more than 5,000 participants, according to PCRA Executive Director Alok Tripathi.

“November is a time when the Delhi’s notorious pollution begins to get more acute with the onset of cooler weather,” Tripathi told IANS here.

“So, keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exhortation to avoid transport fuels on one day of the week, we decided to organise such a mass cycling event here for the first time,” he said.

“We keep hearing of walkathons and marathons, but not such events for cycling. Thus it ties in well with, as well as highlights, the objectives of PCRA, which is a registered society under the Petroleum Ministry,” he added.

The event is organised around four categories – Elite Cycling (50km/30km), Amateur Ride (30 km), Open Ride (10 km) and Green Ride (5 km), while participants can enrol for various categories via online registration.

With a principal objective of spreading public awareness on fuel conservation, the PCRA Executive Director said the transformations in Indian society had made it all the more urgent to bring about a change of mindset on fuel use.

“In our country we have a stigma against cycling as being the means of conveyance for the poor,” he said.

“This kind of advocacy is, however, a necessary but not sufficient condition to promote fuel conservation across various sections and propagate the message of reducing excessive dependency on oil,” he added.

India’s 150 elite cyclists will be seen in action at the National Cycling Championships on Sunday hosted by Saksham Pedal Delhi and supported by the Cycling Federation of India
The event has a prize money of Rs 8 lakh.

All state-run oil and gas firms – Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, ONGC, GAIL, Oil India, MRPL, CPCL, NRL and Indraprastha Gas Ltd – are also supporting the initiative.

The event will be inaugurated by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Mumbai-based film actor and cycling enthusiast Farhan Akhtar is the brand ambassador of Saksham Pedal Delhi. (IANS)

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