Government plans new scheme to revive 24,000-MW gas power plants

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 05, 2019

NEW DELHI: The government is working on a scheme to salvage 24,000 MW of stressed gas-based power plants, built at an investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore, by importing natural gas and bundling the output with cheaper solar energy.

The power and petroleum ministries are working on the new proposal. The earlier scheme entailing subsidy has been shelved. The proposed new scheme will offer no subsidy and hopes to help operate the power stations at 90% capacity by selling the bundled power.

A senior government official said the earlier proposed e-regasified liquid natural gas scheme (e-RLNG), which involved an e-auction, was successful when there was electricity shortage in the country. He also said that in the later tranches, the scheme did not garner much interest from the developers.

He said bundling of solar power with an equal amount of gas-based power is expected to result in lower cost of production than blending domestic and imported gas-based power.

Power Trading Corp of India (PTC India) has been asked to work on the proposal, an official said. The gas is proposed to be imported by GAIL India with concessions and haircuts by central and state governments, power companies and gas transporters to make it affordable.

GAIL has indicated to the power ministry that it can import LNG for about $6 per unit, and deliver it to power plants for $8 a unit, which includes re-gasification, transit and taxes, sources said. With this, power can be generated at about Rs 4 per unit. The power ministry’ plan is to blend this with the assumed average renewable energy cost of Rs 2.75 per unit, expecting the blended rate will find enough takers among distribution companies under the merit order despatch rule, according to sources.

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Cost of India refinery project with Aramco, ADNOC estimated at $70 billion

Source: LiveMint.com, Nov 28, 2019

RIYADH: The cost of a giant oil and petrochemicals refinery project to be built jointly by Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) in India is expected to reach $70 billion, WAM news agency reported on Wednesday.

A joint economic council between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia reviewed the planned plant on Wednesday at a meeting on the sidelines of Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to his Gulf ally.

“The initial cost is estimated at $70 billion,” a statement said.

The 1.2 million barrels-per-day (bpd) coastal refinery in the western state of Maharashtra is expected to be built at Roha in the Raigad district, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Mumbai, sources told Reuters in August. In September, India’s oil minister said the refinery would cost more than the originally planned $45 billion.

Energy-starved Africa looks to India for nuclear reactors

Source: LiveMint.com, Nov 18, 2019

NEW DELHI : As part of India’s strategy to expand its footprint in Africa, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is exploring supply of small nuclear power reactors to the electricity-starved countries.

Interestingly, India’s civilian nuclear power programme has caught the fancy of African countries because climate change has impacted their conventional hydropower generation capacity, which was primarily dependent on the Nile, the Niger, the Congo and the Zambezi river systems.

While hydropower generation has witnessed a decline leading to lower supply of electricity in African nations, India’s pressurized heavy water reactor’s (PHWR’s) unit size are well-suited to meet their small demand load.

“Due to weather anomalies, the African countries can’t depend on hydropower generation to meet their growing electricity demand. Given that their demand load is small, our pressurized heavy water reactors of 220MW unit size fits the bill. The African countries are interested in these nuclear power reactors. These are initial feelers,” said a senior Indian government official, requesting anonymity.

The Indian government’s move comes at a time when China has made major forays into Africa since 2004-05. In recent years, China has also tried to co-opt African countries into its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a programme to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, including railways, ports and power grids, across Asia, Africa and Europe.

New Delhi is opposed to the BRI, which seeks to invest about $8 trillion in infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and Africa, as it says the initiative lures countries into debt traps, and does not respect sovereignty or address environmental concerns.

India’s strategy is to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the region. New Delhi has also extended a $10-billion concessional line of credit (LOC) for the African continent.

Of India’s fleet of 22 commercial nuclear power reactors with an installed capacity of 6,780 megawatts (MW), which are run by state-run Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd, or NPCIL, there are 14 units of 220MW PHWRs, making it one of the largest fleets of such reactors.

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India uses less power for third straight month

Source: LiveMint.com, Nov 09, 2019

India’s electricity demand declined for the third straight month, another indication of an 20191111-7economic slowdown that seems to be deepening. Electricity demand from distribution utilities declined 13.2% in October from a year earlier, data from the Central Electricity Authority showed. The slump began in August when the power requirement dropped for the first time in more than two years.

Slowing requirement mirrors a widespread slump in demand for consumers goods to cars and houses. Industrialized provinces of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – both automobile hubs of the country – and Gujarat, a center of textiles and chemicals manufacturing, have also reported a sharp decline in demand.

“The slowdown in industrial activity is responsible for this sharp contraction,” said Debasish Mishra, a partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Mumbai. “The extended monsoon has also reduced demand for cooling during the summers and irrigation demand from farmers.”

The data comes on the back of Moody’s Investors Service cutting India’s credit rating outlook to negative, citing a slowing economy, credit crunch and rising public debt.

The slowdown isn’t limited to electricity. Monthly consumption of diesel, the most-consumed petroleum fuel and the lifeblood of Indian manufacturing, transport and agriculture, has been declining since June, and hit the lowest level since the start of 2017 in September.

Power generation falls for third straight month in October

Source: Financial Express, Nov 05, 2019

Power generation in the country fell 12.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in October, recording the third straight month when electricity produced was less than the corresponding year-ago month.

According to provisional data from the Central electricity authority, 105.6 billion units (BU) were generated in the month compared with 121 BU in October 2018.

Thermal power plants generated 78.3 BU, 19.8% lower than October last year, indicating a further fall in their plant load factors (PLF). Renewable energy sources decreased their generation by 6.4% y-o-y in the same month to 7.3 BU, in spite of a 15% rise in its installed capacity.

Since electricity cannot be stored, generation is the most robust indicator of consumption trends. While the government has attributed the fall in demand to extended monsoons this year, a section of the industry feels that it could also stem from the Union power ministry mandating financially weak state-owned electricity distribution companies (discoms) to open and maintain adequate letter of credit (LC) as payment security to power plants from August 1. Though generation has fallen since August, it is not immediately known if this has led to higher duration of power cuts across India as the government’s Urja portal, which publicises this data, has not been updated since July.

The PLF data for the month has not been made available yet. PLF of coal power plants — many of which are already distressed due to lack of adequate demand and coal supply issues — touched an all-time low of 51.1% in September.

In August and September, electricity consumption fell in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, where industrial and commercial users usually account for around 40% of electricity consumption.

Other major states where power usage fell were Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. The state-wise data is not available yet.

Tata Power to light up rural homes in tie-up with Rockefeller Foundation

Source: Business Standard, Nov 05, 2019

New Delhi: Tata Power today announced a new business in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation under which it will set up micro-grids based on renewable power and manage electricity supply in rural areas. It has formed a new company, TP Renewable Microgrid Ltd, which will target 10,000 micro-grids across India.

In the first phase, some 200 villages have been identified in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some parts of c, Praveer Sinha, chief executive officer, Tata Power told Business Standard.

TP Renewable Microgrid Ltd will be managed by Tata Power, which has 11,000 Mw of installed grid-scale generation capacity and over 2.6 million customers under management across Delhi, Ajmer and Mumbai distribution areas.

20191105-3With this, it would be going whole hog into distributed energy generation and management business, after having adopted this model on a smaller scale through a joint venture with the Delhi government for slum communities.

A micro grid is a localised system of power generation and distribution as distinct from grid power, which is generated and transported over large distances.

Giving the reason for venturing into rural electricity market, Sinha said Tata Power was formed with the aim of supplying clean, abundant and affordable power. “The paradigm shifted to Mumbai where we supplied power. Now, this is the leadership (which) Tata Power will have to demonstrate and if 25 million people have to be impacted, it has to be Tata Power,” he added.

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BHEL commissions 800 MW unit in Gujarat

Source: The Economic Times, Oct 22, 2019

NEW DELHI: Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) said it has commissioned 800 MW Wanakbori Unit 8 Expansion Project in Gujarat.

Located in Kheda district of Gujarat, the project is owned by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL), a state-owned power generation company, an official statement said. 20191023-2

The 800 MW set is the highest rating set of GSECL. Previously, BHEL has set up seven units of 210 MW at Wanakbori, the oldest of which has been in operation for more than 35 years, the statement said.

BHEL’s scope of work in the project included design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of the steam turbine-generator, boiler, associated auxiliaries and electricals, controls and electrostatic precipitators, besides other equipment of the EPC package.
The key equipment for the project has been manufactured at BHEL’s Haridwar, Trichy, Hyderabad, Ranipet, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Thirumayam and Jhansi plants, while the construction of the plant has been undertaken by the company’s power sector – Western Region, Nagpur.