As per a report in Reuters, steel minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh told a conference in New Delhi that India is moving in the direction of importing coking coal from Russia and planning to double imports. The decision would help India to cash in on lower prices and diversify its imports. India’s coking coal demand is likely to jump 8 per cent to 10 per cent in 2023 due to rising steel demand from the housing and infrastructure sectors.
Coking coal imports from Australia, the country’s biggest supplier of the key raw material for steelmaking, have traditionally constituted 75 per cent to 80 per cent of India’s annual shipments. But government data show that ‘during the first 11 months of the previous fiscal year to March 2023, Australia’s share dropped to 54 per cent due to higher imports from the United States and Russia. Moscow emerged as the fourth-biggest coking coal supplier to India between April 2022 and February 2023, by exporting 3.9 million tonnes, and may emerge as the second-biggest supplier this year’.
India’s pivot away from coal power takes shape in policy amendment
In a fresh twist in India’s energy transition story, Reuters reported that the government is opening the doors to the possibility of halting any new coal power capacity additions, apart from power plants already in the pipeline. According to the news agency, the revelation has come through the deletion of a key clause in India’s National Electricity Policy (NEP). The first draft of the NEP, published in 2021, had said that it may add new coal fire capacity. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had also said last year that India may add up to 28 GW of new coal power. The final draft of the NEP, however, removes any reference to new coal power, according to Reuters. “After months of deliberations, we have arrived at a conclusion that we would not need new coal additions apart from the ones already in the pipeline,” said a source quoted by the agency.
Biden approves Alaska gas exports, draws harsh criticism for releasing another “carbon bomb”
The Biden administration approved the Alaska Gasline Development Corp’s (AGDC) project to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement, especially in Asia. The decision by the US energy department has prompted harsh criticism from environmental groups, calling it another carbon bomb waiting to be released. The roughly $39 billion project, for which exports were first approved by the administration of Donald Trump, is expected to be operational by 2030 if it receives the required permits.
According to a study published in the journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April, the methane emissions from the United States oil and gas fields during 2010-2019 were 70% higher than the official figures of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Oil and gas fields released 14.8 teragrams (Tg) of methane annually from 2010-2019.
Net zero emissions: Germany plans to ban installation of new oil and gas heating systems
The German government approved a bill that will prohibit the installation of new oil and gas heating systems from 2024. The move has been made to transform Germany’s heating systems in an attempt to meet net zero emission targets but it has been met with a lot of criticism from opposition parties who argue that it will impose unmanageable costs on homeowners.
About half of Germany’s 41 million households currently use natural gas heating, and almost a quarter use heating oil. The bill will require any heating system installed in new or old buildings after January 2024, to be based on 65% renewable energy sources. Homeowners will be encouraged to install heat pumps to run on RE sources of electricity, or to switch to district heating, electric or solar thermal systems. Biomass heat, hydrogen and gas obtained from an approved environmentally friendly source, such as biomethane, will all be encouraged under a programme of subsidy payments of 10-40% for each heating system.