8 MW solar energy capacity at NTPC Auraiya project commercially operational

Source: Business Standard, Nov 10, 2020

NTPC on Tuesday said 8 MW solar energy generation capacity at its Auraiya project in Uttar Pradesh has been made commercially operational.

The remaining 12 MW solar capacity under implementation is expected to be operational by March 2021.

“Consequent upon successful commissioning, 8 MW part capacity of 20 MW Auraiya Solar PV Project at Auraiya, UP, has been declared on Commercial Operation w.e.f. 00:00 Hrs. of 10.11.2020,” NTPC said in a BSE filing.

The present installed capacity of NTPC Group comprises 46 NTPC stations–24 coal- based, 7 combined cycle gas/liquid fuel, 1 hydro, 14 renewables.

Besides, it has 25 JV & subsidiaries stations– 9 coal, 4 Gas/liquid fuel, 8 hydro, 4 renewables.

Cabinet approves Rs 1,811 crore for 210 MW Luhri hydro plant

Source: Financial Express, Nov 05, 2020

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved investment of Rs 1,811 crore for the 210-mega watt uhri Stage-I hydro-electric project in Himachal Pradesh.

The project is being implemented by state-run Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL) and is scheduled to be commissioned in five years.

The hydro power plant is expected to generate 758.20 million units of electricity annually.

The Union government is also providing grants of Rs 66.19 crore for supporting this project by providing enabling infrastructure.

During the project’s life cycle of 40 years, Himachal Pradesh will receive free power worth Rs 1,140 crore cumulatively, the government said. Families affected due to this project will be provided with 100 units of free electricity per month for ten years. The cost of the project was initially estimated to be Rs 2,208 crore. It was conceived as a run-of-the-river plant to tap the hydropower potential of Satluj, requiring about 150 hectre of land.

Renewable capacity addition falls 50% in H1 amid Q-o-Q improvements

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Oct 15, 2020

Chennai: As renewable energy sector is recovering from Covid impact, the new capacity addition during the September quarter has improved quarter-on-quarter basis though there was 50 per cent drop when compared with the first-half period of last fiscal.

With the addition of 1559 MW of new capacity during July-September 2020 period, total new capacity for the first half of this fiscal stood at 2152 MW when compared with 4273 MW in the year-ago period. H1 capacity of the last fiscal was one of the highest additions in a half-year period in recent years.

Solar segment

The solar segment remains a major contributor and added 1423 MW (includes of 722 MW of ground-mounted and 701 MW of rooftop) capacity during April-September 2020 period. Wind sector added 380 MW of new capacity to the grid, according to the data of Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

“The onset of the pandemic and the lockdown led to delays on many projects, but installations have resumed and should continue to grow,” said Andrew Hines, Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, CleanMax. The company provides renewable energy solutions to the commercial and the industrial segment. “The demand from this segment continues to be very strong,” he added.

As of September 2020, the total grid-connected installed renewable power capacity stood at 89,229 MW, of which wind power segment accounted for 38,124 MW.

The fast-growing solar segment had a cumulative installed capacity of 36,050 MW (includes both ground-mounted (32,834 MW) and 3216 MW of rooftop capacity).

The government has set a capacity addition target of 14,380 MW for this fiscal. Solar power is expected to add about 11,000 MW (9000 MW from ground-mounted projects and 2000 MW through rooftop capacity), while wind power segment is likely to bring in 3000 MW of capacity.

Stages of implementation

During September-end, Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy and Power told Lok Sabha that 45.11 GW of capacity was under various stages of implementation and 28.43 GW capacity was under various stages of bidding.

“Tender issuance has improved from 175 MW in August to 1288 MW (through 8 projects) in September. However, auction capacity fell from 2840 MW in August to 110 MW in September. Overall, a total of 26.2 GW worth of tenders have been issued during January-September period and of which 16.4 GW was issued in the solar segment, 8.9 GW in hybrid projects 800 MW for wind, according to renewable energy consulting firm Bridge to India Meanwhile, industry analysts point out that renewable project developers continue to face challenges and policy-related uncertainties. Possible imposition of basic customs duty has contributed to uncertainty for developers, while some hybrid projects are facing land acquisition issues.

India re-elected to head ISA

Source: LiveMint.com, Oct 15, 2020

NEW DELHI: India and France were re-elected as the president and co- president respectively of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for a two-year term at its third assembly that began Wednesday.

According to an ISA statement, representatives of Fiji and Nauru were chosen as the vice-presidents for Asia Pacific Region of the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India. While Mauritius and Niger will be the vice-presidents for Africa Region; UK and Netherlands will hold this responsibility for Europe. Also, Cuba and Guyana assumed the vice presidency for Latin America and Caribbean region.

Co-founded by India and France, ISA has been viewed as a counterweight against China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative that seeks to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe. Indian state-run firms on their part have been trying to leverage ISA to land projects in its member nations under the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA) initiative.

“The Assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalizing ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA). Ten public sector organisations in India presented a cheque for 1 million USD each at the assembly,” the statement added.

The ISA framework agreement was opened for signing up at the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) at Marrakesh. The idea of a solar alliance of countries that receive sunshine for around 300 days in a year was mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Other prominent intergovernmental organisations in the energy sector include the Vienna-headquartered Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

ISA has 70 countries as members and an additional 20 countries are in the process of becoming members. It is holding its third assembly virtually from 14 October to 16 October, which was attended by 53 member countries on Wednesday.

“The Co-President of the Assembly Ms Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition underlined that ISA played an essential role to help redirect funding towards renewable energies, particularly in developing countries, and take up the challenge of an energy at the service of all,” the statement said.

Membership to the ISA was earlier limited to 121 countries, which were partially or entirely located within the tropics. This membership was later extended to include all 193 members of the United Nations.

ISA is also working on the roadmap for mobilizing $1 trillion by 2030 to finance 1,000 GW solar capacity by 2030.

“The roadmap will examine ways to exploit opportunities in a post-COVID world to build back better and the role of international cooperation in taking solar power to investment scale. The roadmap shall be prepared in duration of 14 months and in two phases,” said ISA Director General Upendra Tripathy in an interview to Mint.

The first phase of the roadmap was presented by the ISA secretariat in the third assembly.

Solar the new ‘king of electricity’ as renewables make up bigger slice of supply: IEA

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Oct 13, 2020

Solar output is expected to lead a surge in renewable power supply in the next decade, the International Energy Agency said, with renewables seen accounting for 80 per cent of growth in global electricity generation under current conditions.

In its annual World Energy Outlook on Tuesday, the IEA said in its central scenario — which reflects policy intentions and targets already announced — renewables are expected to overtake coal as the primary means of producing electricity by 2025.

The combined share of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind in global generation will rise to almost 30 per cent in 2030 from 8 per cent in 2019, it said, with solar PV capacity growing by an average 12 per cent a year.

“I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said. “Based on today’s policy settings, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022.”

Maturing technology and support mechanisms have cut financing costs for major solar PV projects, the IEA said, helping to bring down output costs overall. Solar PV is now cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, it said.

Power generation from renewables is the only major source of energy that continued to grow in 2020, the Paris-based agency added.

A more ambitious scenario, including for instance the adoption of net-zero emissions targets by 2050, would see PV electricity generation perform more strongly still, the report said.

Despite the increase in solar and wind power, carbon emissions are projected to pick up in 2021 after a 2.4 gigatonne (Gt) drop in 2020, and to exceed 2019 levels in 2027 before growing to 36 Gt in 2030, it added.

The IEA said gaps remain in many cases between long-term ambitions and specific near-term plans to curb emissions.

Integrating new wind and solar power will depend on adequate investment in all parts of the system, including distribution networks, the report added. But revenue shortfalls — potentially arising from lower-than-expected demand, non-payment of bills, or the detoriating finances of utilities in developing economies — could make power grids a weak link.

NTPC incorporates subsidiary for renewable energy business

Source: The Economic Times, Oct 08, 2020

NEW DELHI: State-owned NTPC on Thursday said it has incorporated a subsidiary for its renewable energy business.

“NTPC Ltd has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary, in the name of NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd with the Registrar of Companies, NCT of Delhi & Haryana on October 7, 2020, to undertake renewable energy business,” a BSE filing said.

In August, NTPC had received approval from Niti Aayog and the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management to set up a wholly-owned company for its renewable energy business.

The creation of the new subsidiary comes at a time when NTPC is targeting generation of nearly 30 per cent or 39 GW of its overall power capacity from renewable energy sources by 2032.

This is also consistent with India’s ambitious target of having 175GW clean energy by 2022. NTPC is planning to have 10GW of solar energy by 2022, which entails an investment of around Rs 50,000 crore.

With the incorporation of the new subsidiary, it would be easier for NTPC to achieve its goal of pushing renewables in the country.
NTPC has planned to be a 130 GW company by 2032 with diversified fuel mix and a 600 BU (billion units per annum) firm in terms of power generation.

The company is aiming to have 30 GW of solar and 2 GW of other renewable energy sources based power generation capacity by 2032. Besides, it will have 5 GW of hydropower and 2 GW of nuclear energy by 2032, taking the total clean energy capacity to 39 GW.

The non-fossil fuel based capacity would achieve a share of 30 per cent and thermal-based generating capacity share would be 70 per cent by 2032.

Share of RE (including hydro) would be 28 per cent. NTPC is targeting a market share of 25 per cent in ancillary services and storage by 2032.

It is also eyeing 10 per cent of the estimated market share for supply of electricity in e-mobility business.

The present installed capacity of NTPC Group is 62.9 GW (including 11.75 GW through JVs/subsidiaries) comprising 45 NTPC Stations and 25 Joint Venture stations (9 coal based, 4 gas based, 8 hydro, 1 small hydro 2 wind and 1 Solar PV).

The group has over 20 GW of capacity under construction, including 5 GW of renewable energy projects.

Centre gets requests to set up 20 GW of domestic solar module and cell manufacturing capacity

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Oct 06, 2020

New Delhi: The Centre has received requests from companies for setting up 20 gigaatts (GW) of domestic solar module and cell manufacturing capacity.

Speaking at the India PV Edge 2020 virtual symposium, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said: “Expression of intent for setting up 20 GW of module and cell manufacturing have been received by the Centre.”

According to Singh, this is on the back of various steps taken by the government to support the domestic manufacturing industry, “These have come after India decided to have a safeguard duty, customs duty and the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM) to prevent dumping and protect the domestic solar manufacturing industry.”

Singh said the ALMM is expected to be approved and finalised for new tenders from this month itself.

Commenting on how there may be more support for innovation in the solar energy sector, Singh said there would be additional incentive for using advanced technology. These can be offered through interest subventions.

According to a presentation by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India presently has 16 GW of annual solar module manufacturing capacity. Of this, only 9-10 GW is operational. The total installed solar cell manufacturing capacity stands at 2.5 GW per year. This is much lesser than the 25 GW annual demand that is expected to accrue for solar modules in the country in the coming years.

PSUs to set up 10GW polysilicon manufacturing capacity to cut solar dependence on China

Source: Financial Express, Oct 06, 2020

Public sector companies such as NTPC and BHEL may set up polysilicon manufacturing plants in the country to help reduce India’s dependence on China for import of wafers, ingots and cells for integrated manufacturing of solar modules under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

A senior official from the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) told FE that the Chinese manufacturers have increased the price of wafers that goes into the manufacturing of cells after India increased the production of cells under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

This is likely to make Indian panels incompetitive against imported panels from China indicating their vulnerablity to price changes and their dependence on China.

“To overcome the issue of highhandedness of Chinese manufacturers, Indian government is in talks with PSUs to set up around 10GW of polysilicon manufacturing capacity in India. Polysilicon is used to make ingots and wafers and is readily available for imports from countries outside of China like South Korea,” the official said.

According to industry standards, one gigawatt of polysilicon capacity costs anywhere between Rs 1,250 crore to Rs 1,500 crore.

Anish Rajgopal, director, Chemtrols Solar, said, it is needed for the country that some companies with deep pockets take the initiative of setting up polysilicon and wafer manufacturing capacity in the country as they are highly capital-intensive. “The advantage with polysilicon is they are readily available in the country, although to begin with companies may look at high quality silicon from abroad, but later they can shift to domestically available silicons,” Rajgopal said.

MNRE is also working on a scheme to provide financial incentives to the manufacturers willing to set up polysilicon, ingots and wafers plants. The manufacturing of wafers and ingots is capital intensive in nature as against the cells and modules manufacturing where the per unit cost has become self sustainable with the import duties and solar schemes such as KUSUM, CPSU and Rooftop, as they require mandatory usage of domestic cells and modules.

“We need to look at providing interest subvention to wafer and ingot manufacturers. We also need to look at self sustaining and captive usage schemes for wafer manufacturers as well,” the MNRE official said. According to the official their single-window project monitoring division has got tremendous response for the cells and module manufacturing from entrepreneurs under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and they are working to meet the requirements of wafer manufacturers as well. Union power minister RK Singh in August said India must become self-reliant in manufacturing of solar equipment in the next 18 months to reduce its depence on Chinese imports.

Share of renewable energy rises to 26% in Apr-Aug this year: Official

Source: Business Standard, Oct 04, 2020

New Delhi: The share of renewable energy in the country’s power mix has increased from 23 per cent to 26 per cent in April-August period this fiscal, a senior official said on Saturday.

Green energy’s share increased at a time when the power sector witnessed sluggish demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“The share of renewable energy has increased from 23 per cent to 26 per cent from April to August 2020,” Central Electricity Authority (CEA) chairman Prakash Mhaske said at a CII event.

He also said that India will reach the target of carbon emission reduction by 30-33 per cent before the pledged year of 2030. Union Power Ministry’s joint secretary Ghanshyam Prasad said though the country aims at 40 per cent of its installed electricity capacity to be renewable or nuclear by 2030, thermal power will have a substantial share in the power generation mix.

Renewable sector in India attracts $10-20 bn of investment: IEEFA

Source: Business Standard, Sept 22, 2020

New Delhi: While the pace of renewable energy growth has slowed in India, positive outcomes in recent auctions suggest there remains plenty of appetite among domestic and foreign investors to build renewable infrastructure, a new IEEFA briefing note said on Tuesday.

Policy-related headwinds and a collapse in electricity demand due to the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted India’s renewable energy capacity tendering and commissioning process.

But despite these setbacks, renewables are proving resilient with investment capital available for new projects with favourable risk-return profiles, says author Kashish Shah, Research Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

IEEFA’s note looked at the outcomes of seven renewable energy capacity and storage auctions held to-date in 2020.

It found that together they attracted some $10-20 billion of investment commitments, despite the pandemic.

The note points to the Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) 2 gigawatt (2GW) solar auction in June as a particular highlight.

It delivered India’s lowest-yet renewable energy tariff at Rs 2.36/kWh ($31/MWh) with zero indexation for 25 years.

Developers from around the world secured winning bids: Solarpack (Spain); Enel (Italy); Amp Energy (Canada); Eden Renewables (France); IB Vogt (Germany); Ayana Renewable Power (backed by the UK’s CDC Group); and ReNew Power (Indian, but backed by Abu Dhabi’s ADIA, Canada’s CPPIB, Japan’s JERA and the US’s Goldman Sachs).

“The cost competitiveness and continuing price deflation of renewable sources makes them a more viable energy generator than many existing thermal power plants, and all new import power plants,” says Shah.

“Domestic and global investors are sitting up and taking notice of declining renewable prices plus the clear government policy alignment and ambition, and this is reflected in the very positive results of these recent auctions.”

Near-term falling electricity demand is hitting India’s power distribution companies (discoms), exacerbating structural and financial issues in the sector.

By July 2020 the state-owned discoms had accumulated total overdue payment liabilities of Rs 1,16,864 crore ($15 billion) to power generators across India, creating a massive liquidity crunch in the sector.

“The discoms are reluctant to sign even exceptionally low-cost new power purchase agreements (PPAs) when demand has collapsed and they are already locked into high capacity charges on legacy coal power supply agreements,” says Shah.

“SECI has been struggling to sign PPAs with discoms for its already auctioned 6GW of renewable energy capacity.

“The biggest loser from the collapse in electricity demand will be the thermal power sector, with its high marginal cost of production and lack of flexibility.

“The encouraging results of these auctions demonstrate strong investor interest in renewables in an extremely tough economic environment.

“At the moment there is more capital available than opportunities to invest in India’s renewable energy sector.

“With the right policy environment, India’s renewable energy sector will continue to attract international as well domestic investment capital. “A green stimulus that accelerates investments into renewable energy infrastructure could help India to emerge from the economic slump by boosting employment, reducing fossil fuel imports and building energy security.”