Trying to get US investments in power sector: Minister

Apr 22, 2016 0

New Delhi–The government on Friday said that it might get leading US investors to invest in India’s power sector.

According to the Minister for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal, the government is trying to rope in major US based investors like the Blackstone Group to invest in the country’s power sector.

Goyal, who is on an official tour to the US, disclosed the information on the micro blogging site Twitter.

“@PiyushGoyal may get leading US investors-Blackstone Group, Warburg Pincus n others 2 invest in India’s power sector,” Goyal tweeted.

On Thursday, the minister informed that state-run Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) will open it’s 21st overseas office in New York in the near future.

“We will go back by the weekend and my office will get cracking with the EESL on Monday to set the ball rolling on EESL’s US chapter,” Goyal said.

“There was huge enthusiasm shown by the Green Bank and the Energy Council of the US earlier in the day during my meetings with them,” the minister spoke at the Renewable Energy Investors Roundtable.

The roundtable was co-hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US India Business Council in New York on Thursday.

The move assumes significance as India will take EESL to the US to share innovative ways to mainstream energy efficiency, primarily on the back of economies of scale and transparent procurement.

“The pricing of LED bulbs in India has been a game changer with prices falling by over 83 percent in one year,” the minister said in a statement.

Currently, EESL has completed distribution of five crore LED bulbs under its Domestic Efficient Lighting Program.

Responding to investors queries on the volatility of the exchange rate and the need to address the hedging issue, Goyal said: “I am open to an earlier proposal of linking the debt to a basket of currencies including the US dollar (USD), the Japanese Yen (JPY) or even options like inflation linked tariffs to cover hedging risk.”

He, however, pointed out that the Indian rupee has been relatively strong over a long term and will be one of the strongest currencies given India’s growth potential.

In addition, Goyal said that other issues like the need for a stable and simplified policy and regulatory regime; standardised PPAs (power purchase agreement) and equipment standardisation were discussed during his visit to the UK and the US.

Further, Goyal projected India’s growth to be in double digits by next year, if not this fiscal itself.

Besides, the minister called upon natural gas producers to explore investment opportunities in India.

“India is willing to take gas for its gas based power projects and sign long term contracts of 10-15 years but this can be done at a fixed price of $5 per/mmbtu as the power sector is a price sensitive sector in the country,” Goyal said.

“With about 28 GW of stranded gas assets in the country, this is a huge and promising market as long as the prices are right and given the current Baltic index, I believe that this is a viable proposition.”

He further added that India is currently exploring all means of gasification including coalbed methane.

The union minister also talked about the ‘Make in India’ initiative, about which he said: “To incentivise manufacturing in solar, the government is exploring options of long term power contracts and long term land lease contracts for solar manufacturers.”

The minister reiterated India’s position for just climate action and re-emphasised that Indians and India need to get their chance to develop.

“India cannot be held responsible for the emissions although India believes in being a responsible global citizen and doing its part,” the minister added. (IANS)

Read More

International Solar Alliance a trillion dollar opportunity: Piyush Goyal

Apr 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– The government on Friday said that the International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a trillion dollar opportunity to serve humanity.

According to the Ministry of Power, this was stated by the Minister for Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal in New York.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

“The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a trillion dollar opportunity to serve humanity and those in the dark,” Goyal said at the roundtable on ISA-the Trillion Dollar Opportunity.

The roundtable was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Terrawatt Initiative (TWI) under the aegis of the ISA.

“India has launched this initiative as an obligation towards the larger humanity as an article of faith,” Goyal said.

The ministry elaborated that ISA which comprises of 121 countries that lie partially or fully between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn is intended to create a platform for larger collaboration for technology, research and development and capacity building.

“This is about improving the quality of life of large number of people who are still grappling with problems of energy and accessibility at affordable prices,” the minister added.

The ministry added that the Global Solar Council has committed to create 25 million jobs in the solar space among the ISA countries.

Read More

Indian power firms to woo British investors with ‘masala’ bonds

Apr 21, 2016 0

London–State-run power corporations would woo British investors through rupee-denominated ‘masala’ bonds to raise funds for renewable energy projects, Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal said here on Wednesday.

“State-run companies like National Thermal Power Corporation, Power Finance Corporation, Power Trading Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation are likely to launch masala bonds worth $1 billion in three-four months in Britain to gauge the investor appetite,” Goyal said at a conference here.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

As India has set an ambitious target of generating 175-gigawatt (GW) by 2022 from renewable sources, the government is exploring overseas funds for the energy sector.

“The bonds will be limited to 5-7 years and issued in $150-250 million range by boards of power firms,” Goyal said at the session on aFinancing renewable and energy efficiency,’ organised by the City of London.

In 2015, International Finance Companies (IFC) issued bonds valued at Rs.1,000 crore and listed them on the London Stock Exchange. Some of them are a 10-year, Rs.10 billion rupee-denominated bond to raise funds for infrastructure projects.

Masala bonds are primarily rupee denominated bonds issued to overseas buyers.

Noting that measures were being taken to address risks in the system, Goyal said the latest reform (Uday) would stop losses for distribution firms and revive those that were shut down.

The government launched the Ujwal discom assurance yojana (Uday) on November 5 last year to rescue bankrupt state power utilities and retailers, check power thefts and align consumer tariff with the cost of generation.

The state-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will coordinate a billion dollar equity fund in the renewable space.

“The bonds will be managed by an independent international fund management company and state-run enterprises have committed $315 million,” Goyal added. (IANS)

Read More

Suzlon Energy acquires five solar energy companies

Apr 19, 2016 0

Mumbai–Suzlon Energy on Tuesday announced the acquisition of five solar energy companies to implement various renewable energy projects across India.

“Suzlon Energy has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it has acquired the following companies — Gale Solarfarms, Tornado Solarfarms, Abha Solarfarms, Aalok Solarfarms and Shreyas Solarfarms,” the renewable energy solutions provider company said in a regulatory filing.

However, the acquisition costs were not revealed.

The company recently won solar projects totalling 70 megawatt in Maharashtra.

“These companies, acquired at face value, do not have any operations or assets at present and have been acquired primarily to be used as special purpose vehicles for the proposed solar project,” the statement added.

Read More

Tech panel recommends integration of renewable energy with power grid

Apr 18, 2016 0

New Delhi– A technical committee has suggested integration of renewable energy with the electricity grid and suggested a 15-point action plan for this purpose, an official statement said on Monday.

The committee’s report, released by Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday suggested several actions, including bringing flexibility in the conventional generation, renewable energy management centres (REMCs), transmission system augmentation and strengthening as well as certain compliance actions at renewable generation front.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

Power Minister Piyush Goyal

“Our team will take up one nation, one grid, one price 24X7 on mission mode. India will provide free of cost technical support for strengthening of grid systems of the neighbouring SAARC countries and under developed countries in other part of the world,” Goyal said in the statement.

The committee has put forth a 15 point action plan for facilitating large scale integration of renewables in the country.

“Some of the actions have been completed with active support of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), State Energy Regulatory Commission (SERC), National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) and other stake holders,” the statement said.

“Regulatory framework for intra-state settlement and imbalance handling has already been implemented in five states. Model regulations for regulatory framework for forecasting, scheduling and imbalance settlement for renewable energy generators have been published in November 2015,” it added.

India has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable generation capacity, and the high-level technical committee was set up to integrate such high penetration of renewable energy and address the concerns of the stakeholders in renewable energy. (IANS)

Read More

India to get $250 million for renewables from BRICS New Development Bank

Apr 15, 2016 0

Washington– The New Development Bank, the latest multilateral funding institution in the financial world, has sanctioned a $250-million loan for India to fund its ambitious scheme on new and renewable energy, a top finance ministry official has said.

“Participated in meetings of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) finance ministers and Board of Governors of the New Development Bank. Major policy issues discussed,” India’s Secretary for Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das tweeted.

Shaktikanta Das

Shaktikanta Das

“New Development Bank sanctioned four loans, including a loan of $250 million for a renewable energy scheme in India. Good beginning,” Das said after the meeting that was chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here.

This, according to officials, is in the area of solar energy and is also the first such loan from the development financial institution.

A statement from the Indian side later said the multi-tranche, $250-million loan will be given to Canara bank to, in turn, lend to renewable energy projects. “The projects will result in generation of 500 MW of renewal energy and savings of about 800,000 tonnes of carbon emissions,” the statement said.

In total, $811 million loans have been approved for projects in India, China, Brazil and South Africa.

Now into its second year, the New Development Bank, with noted Indian banker K.V. Kamath as president, was formed by the BRICS leadership to fund infrastructure projects in emerging economies, as also to meet the aspirations of hundreds of millions of people through sustainable development.

The BRICS finance ministers and central bank governors’ engagement here was on the margins of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Spring meetings. Besides Das, Jaitley’s delegation includes Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.

During the meetings, Jaitley said even though India has consistently recorded the highest growth figures among large economies for the last three quarters, the global growth continues to remain sluggish and has witnessed recurring downward revisions.

“Weak demand, tighter financial markets, softening trade and volatile capital flows are key headwinds to robust global recovery. Further, the efficacy of monetary policy instruments has reached its limits and that its pass through has not been seamless,” he said.

“Global and regional financial safety net and oversight need to be augmented — including new financing mechanisms,” he said, emphasising the need for globally coordinated policy actions to address the persistent economic turbulence.

At the BRICS meeting, which he chaired, Jaitley raised issues of common concern of member countries — global economy, structural reforms, voice reform of IMF and the World Bank and other new and ongoing initiatives.

He also expressed satisfaction that two key initiatives of BRICS — the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and the New Development Bank — were both fully operational. The meeting decided to form a technical group to examine all issues in detail and present their findings before the next meeting. (IANS)

Read More

Ontario to invest Rs.3 billion in Indian cleantech

Feb 20, 2016 0

Mumbai–Canada’s Ontario plans to invest around (Canadian) $59.4 million (Rs.300 crore) for India’s cleantech sector towards boosting renewable and other innovative clean technologies, an official statement said on Friday.

A recent trade mission here led by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne entered into a number of agreements with Indian businessmen and the government across sectors, including 13 in cleantech, among which major ones were with the Advanced Energy Centre, the Himachal Pradesh State Electricty Board Ltd, Tech Mahindra and India Smart Grid Forum, it said.

“India’s energy sector has a huge potential for renewable and other innovative clean technologies to address the energy supply gap, which is where the partnerships assume a strategic importance for the country,” the statement said.

“This opens up door for setting up of more cleantech microgrids in India, and also importing of advanced technological solutions for Indian beneficiaries from their Ontarian counterparts,” it added.

Ontario is currently implementing its new ‘Climate Change Strategy’ with an investment of nearly $100 million from the Ontario Green Investment Fund.

These would be channelized into projects that would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and support cleantech innovations.

Read More

Report: New Skilled Workforce, Training Needed for India’s Ambitious Renewable Energy and Climate Goals

Feb 12, 2016 0

MUMBAI – India’s goal to dramatically expand solar energy could trigger a green jobs boom adding one million new engineers, technicians, solar installers, maintenance workers and performance data monitors to its workforce, according to a new report released in connection with a “Make in India” conference in Mumbai.

The report by Natural Resources Defense Council and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water outlines the types of new jobs and new training facilities and institutes needed for India to reach its ambitious national target to add 100 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar energy by 2022.

New jobs that would be needed includes up to 210,800 skilled plant design and site engineers; 624,600 semi-skilled technicians for construction of solar projects; and 182,400 workers in various low-skilled jobs such as ongoing operations and maintenance for both rooftop solar and utility-scale solar projects, according to the report released this week.

“India has a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate how a growing economy can scale up green energy—creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and boosting renewable power—and protect our climate while meeting rising energy demands,” said Nehmat Kaur, NRDC India Representative. “This comprehensive assessment of the variety of jobs, skills and training that needed as India expands its solar industry will help realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The report’s findings come on the heels of Modi’s announcement in December at the Paris climate talks that India was launching an International Solar Alliance (ISA). The alliance of more than 120 solar-rich countries aims to facilitate widespread deployment of solar power and supporting knowledge exchange on manufacturing and skills.

The India-led alliance has already met twice, demonstrating the momentum India is building to reach its climate commitments. In addition to India’s solar leadership, the prime minister is inaugurating the “Make in India” conference in Mumbai this weekend to boost renewable energy and national manufacturing capabilities.

“Make in India is not just about increasing domestic manufacturing, but also about preparing a market that is conducive to the scaling up of renewable energy capacity,” said Shri Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in India. “The International Solar Alliance also recognizes the importance of capacity building, with skills and training being central to its work. In this context, this timely report outlines the nature of skills essential for increasing renewable energy deployment in India and lays out a roadmap to upgrade these skills.”

The report, Filling the Skill Gap in India’s Clean Energy Market: Solar Energy Focus, provides details about how India’s 100 GW solar target would generate more than 1 million jobs by 2022, primarily in two key phases of a solar project’s lifecycle: construction and commissioning (806,800, accounting for 72% of new solar jobs) and ongoing operations and maintenance (263,400, 23% of new solar jobs). These projections do not include jobs created in the manufacturing sector, another significant jobs opportunity. Forty solar companies were surveyed to formulate this analysis, in addition to multiple roundtable discussions with industry and government representatives.

The new report also describes the institutions and programs needed, including key skills and locations, to train and educate this new clean energy workforce. Recognizing the vast number of jobs that a scaled up clean energy market would create, the Government of India has formed a Skill Council on Green Jobs and introduced several domestic initiatives such as Skill India that support manufacturing, job creation and skill development.

Dr. Praveen Saxena, CEO of the Skill Council for Green Jobs, emphasized that, “The CEEW-NRDC report is giving us insight into the solar and wind skill requirements. In fact, it sets goals for the Skill Council and gives us a roadmap.”

Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW, added, “Without Skill India, it would be difficult to meet Make in India’s targets for the renewable sector. There is a clear need for improved training and certification programs, which are accessible to workers of varying backgrounds and skillsets in all states. Policymakers should also consider establishing at least one prominent solar training institute in each of the renewable energy clusters of the country.”

Anjali Jaiswal, NRDC India Director, said: “Renewable energy offers a critical solution to rising energy demands, threats to energy security and the impacts of climate change. Innovative clean energy solutions, including large solar parks and rooftop solar panels in dense urban areas, can help solve these challenges, while increasing energy access, creating jobs, and reducing harmful pollution.”

Read More

Australia offers to help India with rooftop solar plants

Feb 9, 2016 0

BRISBANE– Australia can help expand the spread of rooftop solar plants in India, Australia’s Oueensland state Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said on Tuesday.

According to India’s power ministry, Bailey told Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal at a meeting here that Queensland has the necessary expertise to help India expand rooftop solar penetration as three out of its 10 households have solar panels.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister for Natural Resources Anthony Lynham also attended the meeting.

The Indian government has set a target of building 100 giga watt (GW) solar capacity by 2022.

Goyal is in Australia leading the Indian side at the ongoing India-Australia Energy Security Dialogue from February 8-11, focusing on sharing Canberra’s expertise in liquefied natural gas (LNG), renewable energy and clean coal technology.

“Australia’s strong track record in mine health and safety is world class and can be shared with India,” India’s power ministry cited Lynham as saying at the meeting.

In response, Goyal said: “India’s manpower and Australia’s technology can come together to combine the best of both worlds.”

Declaring Queensland’s willingness to export its expertise in mining, state’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said they were keen to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef (off Queensland) was not damaged in any way.

The Gautam Adani-led Adani Group’s proposed $16.5 billion project for developing the Carmichael coal mine and associated railway line and port in Queensland is currently held up owing to environmental litigations and delay in getting the mining lease.

The Adanis have also applied for setting up a large solar power project in the province.

On the first day of the dialogue on Monday, India and Australia decided to form a sub-group, composed of senior officials of government and industry from both sides, to prepare a roadmap to help provide cheap liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Indian power plants running below capacity due to lack of fuel availability.

Read More

Kohli Ventures and Zynergy Group Launch $100M Global Investment Drive for Solar Energy

Feb 6, 2016 0

LONDON–Kohli Ventures and Zynergy Group, an Indian solar projects and services company, have announced the launch of its fund-raising plans, targeting $100 million over the next three years. The investment will go towards expanding the business and driving the rapid growth of the solar energy sector across India, Africa, The Middle East and Asia.

Tej Kohli

Tej Kohli

A specialist in disruptive technologies, Tej Kohli, Chairman and CEO of Kohli Ventures, said: “This is both an essential part of the solution to moving the world away from non-renewable sources of energy and a key to unlocking greater economic growth for emerging and developing countries. Technology will continue to advance and push the dial in the renewable energy sector. The key is in finding those at the cutting edge to ensure first mover advantage”

The $100m investment drive has been launched by Kohli Ventures and Zynergy to further fund and support ground-breaking technology within the renewable energy sector by providing Zynergy with working capital to help it build the business, expand into new markets, and further develop its manufacturing and R&D capabilities. This is based on Zynergy’s successful track record of achieving path breaking technologies and solar based applications for home solutions in rural communities.

The announcement follows the launch of the partnership between Kohli Ventures and Zynergy in December 2015, at which Kohli Ventures invested $10m into Zynergy to support its new manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu, India. Here, Zynergy will manufacture Cells, PV Modules, Inverters (Power Control Units) and other solar-based applications, supporting the Indian Government’s solar energy initiatives and helping to change the daily lives for many thousands of families living in India’s rural communities. The investment by Kohli Ventures is the first tranche of funding with further tranches of funding confirmed to take place to support Zynergy’s growth into the overseas markets.

Rohit Rabindernath, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Zynergy, added “At the COP21 UN climate summit more than 500 organisations worldwide, representing over $3.4trn in assets, pledged to new commitments. With energy demands only set to increase, these assets need to remain within the energy sector and shift towards renewables. Technology is a differentiator in the global market, and at the same time is bringing costs down, which means it is possible to bring increasingly affordable power on-line. With the biggest demands in emerging and developing countries, solar is the primary energy and investment solution.”

Read More