Newsletter.May 2, 2018

#Climate Change

CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT: Bonn works on 'Rule Book', 30% India land lost to droughts, Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo in palm oil mess, Landmark pro-bee ban

Climate ‘rule book’, Action ‘woefully inadequate’, National vs. Paris goals?

At Bonn around 200 countries are working on Paris accord “rule book”. Countries feel climate action must “increase dramatically. To know if countries are doing their bit to meet Paris goals, “rule book” will define ways to count and report emissions, how to step up national actions every five years.

New study has found that all countries who signed Paris accord have at least one law on climate change_106 laws formed post Paris. It’s important to analyze if the new national laws are consistent with Paris accord, the study says.

30% land lost to drought

Centre backed study says about 30% of India’s land was degrading into a desert, 23 hectares is lost per minute to drought. The total cost of land degradation: 2.54% of India’s GDP in 2014-15. Degradation adversely impacts productivity, biodiversity and water availability. India doesn’t have a policy to fix it.

Devouring rainforest with Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo

Greenpeace report has revealed, an area of rainforest half the size of Paris was cleared in Papua, Indonesia by a palm oil supplier to Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever – making a mockery of these companies’ “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” policy. Tropical forests are the best “carbon sinks”.

India-China talk climate change at informal meet

China and India in the recent informal bilateral meet discussed climate change, the two largest emitters discussed ways to curb warming in context of technological innovations and markets.

Bloomberg writes climate cheque, Bayer stung by pro-Bee ban

Former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg said he will write a $4.5 million cheque to cover this year’s U.S. financial commitment to the Paris accord. Trump pulled the US out, now the only country to oppose the pact.

The EU has banned the outdoor use of pesticides that harm bees: vital pollinators whose current decline can harm our food chain. 5 million signed petition calling for ban. Bayer, the maker of banned neonicotinoids called the ban anti-farmer.


#Air Pollution

AIR POLLUTION: Coal plants get 5 more yrs to spew toxics, 'Most polluted' four, 95% breathe toxic air

From Regional Press: Uttar Pradesh

Deadly air of Sonbhadra, Singrauli, Watchdog “Won’t Act”

Amar Ujala reported Sonbhadra air quality index (AQI) as “worse than Delhi”. April 23, Sonbhadra AQI: 316 µg/m3 , April 20: Sonbhadra AQI 301 µg/m3, Delhi AQI 246 µg/m3.

Country’s “coal capital” Singrauli’s AQI was off the chart: Khadiya Bazar PM10 792 µg/m3, Shakti Nagar 1566 µg/m3 (PM10), 04 µg/m3 (PM2.5). Singrauli hosts Coal India subsidiary NCL, 70% of its workers are battling life-threatening asthma, diabetes, damaged eyes and kidneys. Pollution control authorities who “stay in NCL quarters, use NCL vehicles” won’t take action, local press reported.

‘Will fix coal plants by 2022’, Four ‘most polluted states’, Draft clean air plan ‘lacks targets’

Polluting coal plants will be fixed in 5 years (by 2022), Centre informed top court. Coal plants may also get 5 more years to ensure 100% usage of fly-ash.

Meanwhile, Centre said cities of Maharashtra, UP, Punjab and Himachal faired worst on clean air standards between 2010-2015. Of 94 identified cities, Maharashtra topped with 17 polluted cities, followed by UP (15), Punjab (8) and Himachal (7). Recently, Centre released draft National Clean Air Plan (NCAP) that “lacks clear targets”.

WHO: 7 million air pollution deaths every year, ‘Over 95% world breathes unsafe air’, Killer indoor air

Latest WHO study says around 7 million people die every year from air pollution, over 90% of these deaths occur in Asia, Africa. The data covered 4300 cities in 108 countries. Another majorstudy revealed 95% world population breathe unsafe air, gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries has risen from 6 to 11 fold. In India, one in four pollution deaths were caused by Indoor air pollution, the study said.

Polluting diesel car sales drop, Carmakers ‘tampering clean targets’

Polluting diesel car sales dropped drastically. Five years ago, every second car sold in India was a diesel. Today it’s one in four cars. The WHO classifies diesel emission as a “Class I” carcinogen.

Meanwhile in Europe, carmakers have been caught cheating, trying to manipulate post-2020 targets to weaken regulation by half.


#Renewables

RENEWABLES: Solar funding fell by 65%, Speed up on renewables, or face stranded assets, Green Indian firms eye stock exchange

Solar funding fell by 65%, ReNew cheers top court

Amid uncertainty over solar safeguard duty, India’s corporate funding in the solar sector fell by 65% to $2 billion early 2018, from $5.7 billion raised in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Mercom.

India’s solar power capacity addition is likely to drop 40% to 4 GW in the current fiscal owing to the recent slowdown, ratings agency ICRA said.

In a boost to industry, India’s top court set aside Madhya Pradesh government’s cancellation of a 51MW solar project with ReNew to preserve “the sanctity” of agreements. ReNew was fined Rs119 million for delays. An estimated Rs7 lakh crore investment is needed to reach 175GW by 2022.

‘Speed up’ 6 times or face stranded assets, Hybrid solar-wind projects the best bets

World must push renewables 6 times faster to meet 2 degrees target, says IRENA. Any delaycould “double the stranded assets” currently anticipated to be about $11 trillion by 2050.

At home, Centre’s Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will launch tenders in May for cost-saving mixed projects of 1000MW each for solar and wind. Mixed projects save on land, and can be run on common transmission line.

3GW of wind this fiscal? ‘Wind boost in 2019’, Largest ever wind turbine order

Indian rating agency ICRA says wind power capacity addition will rise to 3GW this fiscal backed by Centre and state projects.

However, world industry lobby Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) expects India market to pick up only in 2019, as the sector “transits from subsidy to auction regime”. GWEC predicts global wind capacity to rise by over half (56%) to 840GW by 2022.

Meanwhile, top turbine maker Siemens Gamesa bagged largest ever India order (143 turbines) for a 300MW Gujarat farm that the firm will operate for Sembcorp India (subsidiary of Singapore firm Sembcorp).

India’s first offshore wind project, First solar Microgrid, Danish smart pumps for India

Recently, India proposed first offshore wind project providing a much needed boost to the sector.

Also, power equipment giant, Swedish-Swiss ABB, commissioned India’s first industrial solar microgrid at its Vadodara unit to cut bills, power cuts and CO2 emissions (by 1,400 tons p.a.). ABB has 135,000 employees in units over 100 countries.

Indian arm of Danish major Grundfos plans to double its revenue to 1000 cr by making solar pumps, and e-pumps for civic bodies and water-treatment plants that can be operated through mobile app. India plans to replace some eight million diesel pumps with solar pumps.

Indian Green firms ‘eye stock market’, Green certificates sales up 42%

As investors raise funds to enter India’s growing renewable sector, Indian renewable firms Adani Green and ReNew are set to make stock market debut. Global sovereign funds and private equity firms (Warbug Pincus etc.) have shown interest in India’s expanding sector. India requires over $125 billion to meet 175GW renewables by 2022 target. Global corporate solar funding was $12.8 b in 2017.

In news from power exchanges, a record10.62 lakh Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) were sold by twin power exchanges (IEX and PXIL) to discoms, open access consumers and captive consumers: Up 42% from 2017. Power consumers are obliged to buy RECs from power companies, under Renewable Purchase Obligation.

China: Renewables to get stronger offtake, guaranteed grid access

China is clamping down on wastage of renewable power due to inadequate grid availability (also known as curtailment) by ordering its regional administrations and grid firms to fully honor their power purchase agreements, and to allow renewable power generators priority access to new grid capacity.

The country lost 12% of its wind power and 6% of its solar power generated in 2017 to curtailment issues and improper execution of PPAs.


#Electric Mobility

India Big on E-Buses

India E-bus plan, BEST depots to get Electric chargers, EVs on lease

Patna will soon get 30 electric buses worth Rs 1 crore each to curb air pollution under centre-state smart city plan. Earlier this year Centre selected 11 cities and supplied 40 buses for every city.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra will sign e-vehicles MoU with Mahindra on May 31, ahead of that it plans to set up chargers at BEST depots, and Dutch car leasing firm LeasePlan will introduce 1000 EVs in its fleet in India this year.

Slump in EV sales? Half of Volvo to be pure EV by 2025

In UK, first two months data of 2018 shows electric car sales plunged by more than a third. In Jan-Feb last year, almost 1,500 battery cars were sold in the UK, this year, less than 1,000. Experts say it reflects concerns over infrastructure and costs.

However, Swedish luxury carmaker Volvo will sell one million electrified cars by 2025. Volvo Car, owned by Chinese carmaker Geely, estimates that by 2025 half of Volvo vehicles “will be fully electric.”

Chargers across the US by 2019, Poland’s electric cars, anti-smog plan

Swiss ABB and S Korea’s Signet EV bagged the biggest US order from Volkswagen to set up 2000 high power EV chargers across the United States by 2019. A lack of public charging infrastructure is seen as a major barrier to the mass adoption of EVs.

Across Atlantic, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will back Poland’s plan to improve air quality and switch to electric vehicles. Poland aims to have 1 million electric cars on its roads by 2025.


#Fossil Fuels

FOSSIL FUELS: India-US bilateral on natural gas, World Bank warning on fuel prices, NTPC's greener portfolio

India & US sign on joint natural gas task force

India and the US have agreed to set up a joint task force on natural gas under their bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership, with the agreement expected to open up India’s natural gas market to US exports. The partnership will also welcome US investment, exports and technology transfer in coal, oil, nuclear power and renewables.

The task force is part of the Centre’s strategy to push natural gas as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to coal for industrial manufacturers, and its strategy to more than double the fuel’s share in India’s energy mix from about 6% at the moment to 15% by 2030. The government is additionally targeting October 2018 for inaugurating India’s first gas trading hub/exchange (GTH/E), through which the fuel will also be introduced to household and small-scale industrial customers through city gas distribution networks.

World Bank warning on fossil fuel prices may spell trouble for India

The World Bank’s new Commodity Markets Outlook report has warned that oil, gas and coal prices will rise 20% this year over average prices for 2017, with oil alone expected to hover at $65/barrel for 2018 and 2019 (after briefly topping $74/barrel earlier). However, Saudi Arabia – OPEC’s strongest influencer – reportedly wants crude oil to trade at $100/barrel for sustained profits.

Experts fear that this could raise India’s crude oil import bill by a whopping 25% to $88bn for FY2018-19, while oil at even $75/barrel could shave off 0.2% from the country’s economic growth forecast and spike inflation by 30 basis points at $78/barrel.

The current price inflation is driven by strong global demand, restrained production by OPEC and other oil producers, drastic production cuts by Venezuela and geopolitical tension in Iran and Syria.

Adani gasps for Carmichael lifeline, NTPC strides towards greener portfolio

Seemingly desperate to secure an offtaker for coal mined from his beleaguered Carmichael mine in Australia, Gautam Adani will build his group’s largest coal-fired power plant – at 1,600MW – in Jharkhand to export electricity to energy-hungry Bangladesh. However Bangladesh will pay higher tariff to account for cost of shipping the coal all the way from Australia.

Meanwhile NTPC will soon add 2000MW of solar and wind power to its portfolio, 10-20% of which will be bundled with coal-fired power to meet peak energy demands. Its decision may be influenced by the recent spike in imported coal prices, long-term reliance on which may be unsustainable, a situation akin to Adani’s 4.2GW Mundra thermal power plant in Gujarat.