World Bank drops Kosovo C, Delhi shuts down Badarpur coal plant

Newsletter - October 16, 2018

It’s off: World Bank will not finance the Kosovo C plant – the last exception to its “no coal” policy | Image credit:

World Bank drops Kosovo C, Delhi shuts down Badarpur coal plant

World Bank has announced it will not be financing the 500MW Kosovo C coal plant – thus potentially ending direct financing for any new coal power plant across the world. The announcement echoes Standard Chartered Bank’s similar announcement in September. Meanwhile Delhi has finally shut down the NTPC-run Badarpur coal power plant on October 15th. The ageing plant was estimated to account for as much as 11% of the city’s toxic PM2.5 concentrations and was ordered to be shut down by the Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) in October 2017.

Climate Science

Well deserved: Nobel laureate William Nordhaus’ work was critical to highlighting our economic activity’s impact on the planet | Image credit:

Economics Nobel winner’s work influenced IPCC report

Coincidentally, one of the two winners of the Nobel Prize for economics was William Nordhaus, whose work has been highly influential on the IPCC report. It draws heavily on Nordhaus’s “integrated assessment models” to show how energy and land use policies impact global warming.

Mammoth IPCC report sounds major climate alarm

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its intensely awaited global warming report as evidence that it would require heroic efforts by this generation to limit the temperature rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to stave off a climate genocide. In terms of energy policy, this means a $24 trillion shift from coal to clean energy every year until 2035. A group of scientists even believes the report understates the threat.

Big chance for India to shift from coal: IPCC report
The IPCC report gives India a big opportunity to build its cities differently and make a smooth transition from coal, two professors, who were part of the technical support unit of the IPCC said. Campaigners pointed out that India was already being battered by climate extremes  at a little over 1.0 degrees Celsius, therefore 1.5 degrees Celsius will only worsen the situation.

Trump retracts ‘climate change is a hoax’ claim, wants to know ‘which group drew’ the IPCC report

US President Donald Trump retracted his claim that climate change is a hoax, but said the climate will “change back again.” The President’s claim is suspect because according to scientists the planet hasn’t had a cooler-than-average year since 1976. About the dire IPCC report Trump said, “Who drew it, which group drew it.” Experts say his reaction seems to indicate that the President had never heard of the IPCC.

60% districts in India affected by forest fires annually: Report

A new government study says 60% of the country’s districts witness man-made forest fires annually, and the number of forest fires may rise due to climate change. India plans to add a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 through additional forest cover by 2030.

Climate Policy

He just might: The world could face huge environmental challenges if Jair Bolsonaro gets to exercise his plans for the Amazon | Image credit:

Brazilian Prez hopeful  on a mission to bulldoze the Amazon

Brazil’s presidential hopeful may become the biggest threat to the world’s largest rainforest. Jair Bolsonaro, has said: “No more Paris Agreement. No more ministry of environment. A paved highway cutting through the Amazon.” He has reportedly also said he wants to abolish Brazil’s environment ministry, and unleash ‘criminal gangs of loggers and miners’ on the Amazon.

Unfortunately his threats may even come to pass as he currently leads the country’s presidential race, with the next round of voting scheduled for October 28th.

EU lawmakers support 55% emission cuts

The European Parliament called on the European Union (EU) to hike up the emissions reduction target for 2030 from the current 40% to 55%. It urged the European Commission to come up with a long-term strategy for net-zero emissions by 2050 “at the latest”.

Australia PM ‘won’t throw money’ into key climate fund

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he won’t withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but his govt won’t “throw money” into the key Green Climate Fund (GCF) . The previous Australian government gave $141 million to GCF between 2015 and 2018. The Least Developed Countries (LDC), a UN group of 47 poor countries, urged Australia to “honour its international commitments”.

Dutch court rejects govt’s plea to delay climate action; campaigners celebrate

A Dutch appeals court ordered the government to stick to a tougher climate target: minimum 25% emission cuts from 1990 levels by 2020. The judge said: “Climate change is a grave danger. The Dutch government cannot hide behind other countries’ emissions.” Campaigners from the group Urgenda and hundreds of citizens hugged each other and cheered as the judge read the verdict in favour of their plea.

Air Pollution

Only in Delhi: An image from Bryan Adams’ concert in Delhi clearly shows the haze that has settled over the city | Image credit:

Green Court: Govts ‘failed miserably’ to clean the air

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) rapped the Centre and state governments for ‘failing miserably’ to finalise the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), five months after the government, under pressure from the media, was forced to prepare a draft.

Campaigners say courts have to intervene at every step, while the government is only extending emission deadlines and diluting emission norms for thermal power plants. The NGT has taken up the matter suo motu and given twenty three states and Union Territories two months to prepare their action plans to fight air pollution.

Delhi’s emergency action plan kicks in

Delhi’s emergency action plan to combat air pollution in the Capital, kicked in on October 15th as its air quality dipped. This winter, the government expects cleaner air in the Capital courtesy the inter-state action plan.

Smog from crop burning: IMA chief asks Delhi to stay indoors

Indian Medical Association (IMA) chief, Ravi Wankhedkar, has advised people in Delhi to stay indoors or wear N-95 masks when smog from crop burning intensifies in the region around November. The smog leads to respiratory diseases like Tuberculosis, he said.

Despite a ban, stubble burning continues. In a recent media discussion held in Chandigarh, Chief Principal Secretary, Suresh Kumar admitted to the need for policy interventions which support farmers while tackling air pollution. While Dr Ravindra Khaiwal from PGIMER Chandigarh, raised concerns about farmers as first victims. While Punjab is already reeling with cancer, burning stubble sends the harmful chemicals and pesticides in the air.

Delhi writes to Centre again on stubble burning

As Delhi’s air quality slipped to poor (AQI of 259) Delhi environment minister Imran Hussein wrote again to the Centre requesting an urgent high-level meeting with the chief ministers of neighbouring states. Hussein also requested the Centre to direct Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to contain stubble burning. He had previously written directly to the Haryana, Rajasthan and UP governments last month and made a similar appeal.

AIIMS director: Air pollution in Capital worse than in pre-CNG era

AIIMS director Dr. Randeep Guleria says air pollution dropped in the early 2000s after CNG was introduced in Delhi, but became worse than the pre-CNG era over the next decade because of diesel vehicles, construction and a lack of vision.

NTPC plant rapped over fly ash trucks

The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has sent a notice to a National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant in Dadri over toxic fly ash pollution. The trucks supplying fly ash to cement and brick factories from the Dadri plant are reportedly flouting pollution norms.

BHEL bags Rs.2,900 crore orders for emission control equipment

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has bagged a Rs.2,900-crore order from state power firm NTPC to supply equipment to control SO2 emissions. As per policy, India has to shut down polluting coal plants if they can’t be retrofitted with emission controls.


Solar’s unlikely friend: Coal India seems to have accepted the inevitable and forayed into solar power | Image credit:

World’s largest coal firm forays into solar energy, renewables rise up

World’s largest coal firm forays into solar energy, renewables rise up
Coal India, the world’s largest coal producer, isset to foray into solar power. It has signed up for a  joint venture with NLC India to generate  3,000 MW of solar power. The renewables power pie has grown bigger: Karnataka floated 100 MW project, Uttar Pradesh issued 550 MW tender and NTPC issued 70 MW floating solar tender in Kerala, and a 60 MW solar and 130 MW wind hybrid project in Karnataka. 

India’s domestic solar manufacturing tender finds no takers, again

There were no takers for India’s domestic solar manufacturing tender, for the third time. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) yet again extended an auction deadline (now November 12) for its 10 GW solar project, which comes with 3 GW of compulsory manufacturing capacity. The manufacturing element has already been reduced to 3 GW from 5 GW.

MP rooftop solar auction:  Tariff drops to ₹1.38/kWh

Rooftop solar tariffs dropped to ₹1.38/kWh (US$19-22/MWh) in the 8.6 MW auction by Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (MPUVNL). The projects, to be developed across 13 locations in the state, come with an overall 43% subsidy (25% Centre, 20% state, 2% administrative charges).
India to miss FY19 175 GW solar, wind energy auction target, to touch 140 GW by 2022: Rating agencies

India Ratings and Research says India may miss the FY19 solar and wind energy auction targets due to rupee depreciation, safeguard duty and grid connectivity. India is chasing a renewables target of 175 GW by 2022. India’s current renewables capacity is 72 GW. Meanwhile, CRISIL says India’s renewable capacity is expected to reach 140 Gigawatt (GW) by 2022-23.
Bihar’s govt. buildings to get rooftop panels from November

Bihar will install 40 MW of rooftop solar panels on government buildings from November. The Centre and state share the grid-connected rooftop subsidies to individuals, organizations and government buildings.

India signs two solar innovation MoUs with France

India and France signed MoUs on solar innovation, storage, grid management and e-mobility at RE-Invest 2018, on the sidelines of the first assembly of International Solar Alliance. Around 5,000 delegates and 180 exhibitors attended the meet.

Electric Vehicles

Electric by 2030: Kerala has taken the lead amongst Indian states by targeting 100% e-mobility by 2030 | Image credit:

Kerala eyes full electric mobility by 2030

Kerala announced an ambitious EV policy pledging full electric mobility by 2030, including a million EVs by 2022 (to create two lakh two-wheelers, 50,000 three-wheelers, 3,000 buses and 100 ferry boats by 2020). The state plans to set up charging stations and battery swapping stations jointly with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

Maruti Suzuki tests electric vehicles 

Maruti Suzuki began field-tests of its prototype for India-made electric vehicles (EVs) in Gurugram. The company plans to launch the EVs by 2020. Maruti is also planning  nationwide testing of 50 prototype EVs.

First removable li-ion battery scooter launched in India

Gemopai (a joint venture between Goreen E-Mobility and Opai Electric) announced the launch of the first removable lithium ion battery electric scooter for the Indian market. The vehicle covers 70km on a single charge.

EU nations seek 35% CO2 cut on cars by 2030

The European Parliament has agreed to support 35% cuts in car emissions by 2030. German chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed the EU target, riling up German automakers, who said the ‘unrealistic target’could backfire with the loss of 1,00,000 jobs. The European Parliament and the European Commission will take the final decision on October 17.

South Korea’s SK, Germany’s Daimler in EV battery ventures

German firm Daimler plans to build a $1 – billion battery plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the US. Meanwhile, South Korea’s SK Innovation plans to invest $354 million to build a plant for key parts of electric car batteries in China, early next year.

Uttarakhand begins electric bus trials, Mumbai scraps 40-bus plan

Uttarakhand began a month-long trial of its first electric bus after signing a Rs.700- crore MoU with Hyderabad-based Olectra Greenwich Limited. In Mumbai, state run service BEST has dropped plans to introduce 40 electric buses after the Centre refused a subsidy on ‘wet lease’ (when BEST rents a privately owned bus and earns from ticket sales/ads). The Centre wants BEST to have joint ownership of the buses.

Kolkata conducts EV charging station pilot run

West Bengal utility CESC conducted a pilot run to set up charging stations. Kolkata will require 130 stations if it wants to achieve its target of 30% electric public transport fleet by 2030.

India lacks ecosystem for electric cars: Volkswagen India director

The director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars (India), Steffen Knapp, says “India needs clear vision for electric cars, lot of subsidies and standardisation of charging stations.” He said industry representatives are in talks with the government regarding the same and things are in process.

Fossil Fuels

Many more planned: Indian Railways will massively expand its coal freight corridors to counter the coal supply crisis | Image credit:

Railways to expand India’s coal freight corridors, Centre prioritizes coal supplies to publicly-owned plants

Indian Railways is planning 84 new projects – spanning 9,259km — to boost the country’s network of coal freight corridors. The move comes amidst prolonged shortage in coal supplies to India’s power plants and despite the IPCC urging countries to accelerate their exit from fossil fuels.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is likely to push to complete 14 of the projects between 2020 – 2022,  and the full expansion is likely to cost the Centre Rs.989.8 billion ($14 billion).

Meanwhile the govt. has ordered Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (SECL) to prioritize coal supplies to Centre and state-owned thermal power plants, potentially leaving privately-owned plants to fend for themselves.

Satellite imagery reveals 40% of China’s coal power plants running on losses

Carbon Tracker’s new satellite imagery-based analysis has revealed that 40% of China’s over 1,000 coal-fired thermal power plants (TPPs) are running on losses – possibly due to an uptick in global coal prices.

The figure may even rise to 95% by 2040 and morph into China’s own stressed assets fiasco, and the country’s National Energy Investment Group could lose up to $66 billion in investments — if China imposes higher taxes on CO2 emissions. India’s loans to its power-sector-stressed assets, in comparison, account for approximately $51 billion.

Australia reiterates support for coal despite IPCC warning, ex-EPA head slams coal-fired power

Australia has (seemingly) dismissed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate warning over using coal beyond 2050, and has strongly reiterated its support for coal-fired power – despite the former US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy saying “nothing is worse” than burning coal when it comes to fighting climate change.

The Australian government has asserted that renewables cannot replace coal in generating baseload power, and that the fuel was critical in keeping the country’s lights on and its electricity prices affordable. The Australian Energy Market Operator, however, has squarely contradicted the last two claims.

British Petroleum: Oil & gas projects won’t turn into stranded assets

British Petroleum (BP) head Bob Dudley has played down investors’ fears of an imminent burst of the ‘carbon bubble’ – insisting that oil and gas projects around the world would not turn into stranded assets.

The comments are derived from BP’s assessments that oil and gas would meet nearly two-thirds of the world’s energy needs post 2040, despite the pace at which several countries are boosting their clean energy capacities.