Some comfort: India’s CO2 emissions have dropped over contracting coal capacity, but may again rise as more conventional transport fuels enter the market | Photo: Carbon Registry

India’s CO2 emissions drop to 20-year low

Contraction in coal capacity expansion has lowered India’s increase in CO2 emissions to a 20-year low, suggests Carbon Brief. Its analysis reports that the country’s CO2 emissions grew at just 2% in the first eight months of 2019, as against an annual average of 5% for the past 10 years. Surge in renewables has also had an impact, as has the slowdown in electricity demand due to energy efficiency measures and demands-side management. 

Slowdown cuts fuel demand, Centre to relax entry norms for transport fuel retailers

The country’s India’s demand for petrol, diesel and bitumen also dropped for September 2019 (y-o-y) amidst sharp economic slowdown. The contraction has lowered commercial vehicle traffic across the country, and tweaks to axle-load norms are also reported to have led to higher freight capacity for an unchanged fleet size — which too has lowered fuel consumption.

However, the Centre is lowering the net worth requirements for transport fuel retailers — from Rs2,000 crore to Rs250 crore — to allow much smaller domestic and international players to enter and expand the business.

New gas pooling scheme for gas-based power cos on the cards

The centre is mulling a new gas pooling scheme to prevent close to Rs. 1 lakh crore in the power sector from turning into non-performing assets. According to government sources, Power and Petroleum Ministries are in the final stages of drafting the new subsidy scheme which would allow stressed gas-based power projects to run on a mix of domestic and imported gas and is expected to help projects generating a total of about 25,000 MW. The new scheme will avoid committing any subsidy to power producers but a buffer of Rs 18,000 crore as subsidy may be created to keep power tariffs in check when gas prices spike. The gas pooling scheme is expected to bring electricity tariffs to under Rs.6/unit.

RE champion ReNew Power bats for natural gas

One of India’s top renewable power developers, ReNew Power, has come out in support for natural gas as a transition fuel for the global energy market. The surprising endorsement was voiced by the firm’s CEO, Sumant Sinha, who said that the fuel allows for a more flexible grid, and consequently allows for more renewables. Globally, natural gas is fast emerging as the fuel of choice for a lower-carbon economy. 

Japan to test wind-powered ship to haul coal

Two Japanese firms, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Tohoku Electric Power Co., will be testing the Wind Challenger — which is a telescopic hard sail that converts wind energy into forward propulsive force — to haul coal. A press release on the ironic project states the objective of the trial as “reducing the environmental impact” of the vessel and achieving improved “economic efficiency”.

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