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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Delhi to generate 1,000 MW solar power by 2019

Nov 3, 2017 0

New Delhi– Delhi will generate 1,000 megawatt (MW) of solar power by 2019 which will also help bring down electricity rates, state Health Minister Satyendra Jain said on Friday.

“During the peak hours, there is a demand of about 6,500 MW and during the non-peak hours, it comes down to 3,500 MW. By 2019, Delhi will start producing 1,000 MW of clean energy,” Jain told media here.

“All the three discoms of Delhi have been finally been convinced about this after the government spoke to them for about five to six months,” he said.

About five lakh people will benefit from this, he said.

Jain said that fossil fuel power plants that burn carbon fuels such coal, oil or gas to generate electricity produce huge amounts of pollution and thus there is a need to use clean energy.

He also said the solar power project would help in lowering electricity rates in the city, where Rs 5.95 per unit is charged for consumption between 210 and 400 units.

“We are expecting these rates to go down to Rs 3 per unit,” Jain said, adding that solar pumps will be available at subsidised for the farmers here.

“Domestic electricity meter installation for small businesses open in homes in residential areas, with connections from 0 to 5 KW, will be considered,” he added.

Delhi was the second-most polluted major city in the world, as per a WHO study last year. (IANS)

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Wind power has seen steady growth in India: Official

May 23, 2017 0

New Delhi– Obscured somewhat by developments in the solar space, wind energy in India has experienced steady development in the last 7-8 years as the government plans a major ‘green corridor’ project to transport surplus renewable energy to deficient states, a top official has said.

“In fact, wind has had a faster development.. one may call it steady development over the last 7-8 years. Many global leaders in the field have set up base in India,” New and Renewable Energy Secretary Rajeev Kapoor told BTVi channel.

“Of course, wind generation is concentrated only in a few states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka… and it is our aim to facilitate inter-state transfer of renewable energy to deficient states,” he said.

These developments come at a time when solar tariffs being discovered through the bidding process have hit record low.

The Secretary pointed out that his ministry had last year held a successful tender for 1 gigawatt (GW) of wind power for inter-state sale.

“The next auction of 1 GW for inter-state sale is going to take place very soon,” Kapoor said.

“One massive green corridor project is being planned to ensure that surplus renewable energy is transported to deficient states,” he added.

In this connection, the official said the three main challenges in wind energy were forecasting, transmission and the competitive bidding framework for trade.

“The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has worked with Tamil Nadu government to develop a wind forecasting model to forecast on a day-in-advance and intra-day basis,” he said.

“This model has shown good results and the NIWE can forecast in upto 92 per cent of occasion,” Kapoor said.

“With better forecasting, there can be better scheduling of generation. We also plan to start forecasting for solar,” he added.

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As tariffs fall, ripple effect of India’s energy shift visible globally

May 12, 2017 0

By Vishal Gulati

New Delhi– India’s solar tariffs have fallen 40 per cent in just 16 months, an unprecedented rate way beyond any market forecasts, and its energy transformation will have a ripple effect, as is already seen in the UAE, South Africa, Australia and other countries.

The Indian government’s striking policy shift towards renewable energy sources — away from more expensive and polluting fossil fuels — is a strong global endorsement of the country’s leadership, Tim Buckley, Director at the Cleaveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), told IANS in an email interview.

Indian solar power tariff hit a new low of Rs 2.62 per unit this week — 12 percent below the previous record just three months ago. Moreover, shifting rapidly towards low-carbon economy is a step towards the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement that aims to cut greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

“It was just 16 months ago that the financial markets were questioning the sustainability of Fortum of Finland’s then record low solar tariff of Rs 4.34 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), itself a 25 percent decline on the previous low set in 2015,” Buckley said.

Tapping renewable energy sources is a great opportunity, said Buckley.

“It’s a source of new, diversified domestic electricity generation and so it improves energy security. The move away from thermal fuel imports improves the balance of payments, helps improve the currency and hence reduces imported inflation generally,” said Buckely, who is with IEEFA’s Energy Finance Studies.

India has also highlighted how deflationary renewables are. “Not only does the tariff drop 10-20 per cent annually, but India’s renewables power purchase agreement are generally zero indexation prices, so they decline in real terms every year over the 25 year life of the contract.”

According to him, renewables in India are seeing a massive scaling up of in-bound investment.

“The global endorsement of major financial institutions like Brookfield, Macquarie Group, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and SoftBank and major global utilities like ENGIE, Enel, EDF, Fortum et al is clear and very positive. This is funding strong growth in jobs and investment,” Buckley said.

India’s draft “Ten Year Electricity Plan” calls for a staggering 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027, in addition to 72 GW of hydro and 15 GW of nuclear energy.

Buckley, who is based in Australia, said “that is a very ambitious but doable target”.

As for the impact of energy transformation on other global economies, he said it would have a significant ripple effect on other transforming markets, as is already being seen in markets as diverse as the UAE, South Africa, Australia, Chile and Mexico.

On the possible ramifications of the Trump administration’s executive order that attempts to dismantle the Clean Power Plan on emerging economies like India and China, Buckley said this could undermine the positive momentum globally.

“Or it could isolate the US,” he said. “Let China and more recently India take on a positive global leadership role, a move away from the US political and economic dominance of the last 60 years.”

Transition to clean energy is now inevitable, he felt.

“Five years ago the US move could have destabilsed and undermined the global momentum. But when we are now reading about the first zero-subsidised offshore wind farms being planned in Europe and solar farms in India, policy helps, but technology and economics are now so advanced and this transition is now inevitable.”

“Policy can slow momentum, but can’t stop it,” a farsighted Buckley added.

The government said this week that India’s renewable energy capacity has crossed 57 gigawatts, with an increase of 24.5 per cent being registered in the last fiscal.

The capacity addition in solar energy in the last fiscal was the highest-ever at 81 per cent.

“India Solar Handbook 2017” by Bridge to India, a consultant in the clean technology market, in its report this week said India is set to become the third-biggest solar market globally and will overtake Japan this year. (IANS)

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