Second wave fallout: Solar developers affected by supply chain disruptions due to COVID-related have sought a four month extension on project timelines | Photo: Mercom India

Solar industry seeks 4-month extension because of Covid-19 second wave

Disruptions in labour and supply chain caused by the deadly second wave of COVID-19 in India has forced the solar industry to seek four-month long extension on all ongoing projects. The National Solar Energy Federation said solar power projects continue to face implementation issues due to the absence of Government officials, lockdowns, under-staffed office being overly busy and preoccupied with pending work. 

Delays have triggered fears of project cancellations and heavy liquidated damages to be paid by the developer if they do not get extension. Projects in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh have seen complete or partial lockdowns, disrupting the ongoing construction.

India launches dashboard that provides automated data on daily RE generation  

India’s Central Electricity Authority in collaboration with CEEW  launched the India Renewables Dashboard to provide detailed operational information about renewable energy projects in India. The dashboard provides free access for policymakers, developers, financiers, and the public as it captures daily generation data at the state, regional and national levels for the aggregate 93 GW of installed RE capacity in India. The daily RE generation data is automated at a plant level for a subset of projects. Earlier it had to be obtained manually and was difficult to access. Users can download the data and gain insights for improving project implementation, infrastructure planning and power generation forecasting in the renewables sector, the statement said.

According to the dashboard, the highest daily generation figures recorded in the past 12 months for solar and wind are 216.5 million kWh and 444.5 million kWh, respectively.

China raises clean energy target by 12% this year

China’s top energy planning authority the NEA announced its clean energy policy for 2021 raising its target for renewable and nuclear energy to meet emission goals. 

The NEA set a preliminary target to raise the share of solar and wind-based power generation to 11% in this year’s overall power output, from 9.5% in 2020. The share will further increase to 16.5% by 2025, NEA said. The installed capacity for non-fossil fuel based electricity — hydro, wind, solar, biomass and nuclear — is expected to reach 1100GW in 2021, up by almost 12% from 984.53GW in 2020. 

Amazon buys 9 utility scale RE projects

According to Bloomberg, Amazon has announced plans for nine new utility scale wind and solar projects in the US, UK, Canada, Spain and Sweden, making it world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable power. The company declared it is on track to source 100 per cent renewable power for its global business by 2025.

In addition to this Amazon will have 206 renewable energy projects globally, the outlet adds, with an electricity production capacity of 8.5 gigawatts (GW). 

Corporate funding for solar sector goes up by 21%, battery storage funding rises 410% 

Following a huge 410% jump, venture capital (VC) funding for battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency companies in Q1 2021 stood at $1.3 billion, compared to $252 million in Q1 2020, according to study by Mercom. The report pointed out that total corporate funding (including VC, debt, and public market financing) for battery storage companies in Q1 2021 stood at $4.7 billion in 17 deals against $3.1 billion in 19 deals in Q4 2020. The figures were up significantly compared to $244 million in nine deals in Q1 2020.

In the solar sector the global corporate funding including venture capital (VC) funding, public market, and debt financing, totalled $8.1 billion in 36 deals in Q1 2021, an increase of 21% compared to the $6.7 billion raised in 43 deals in Q4 2020, Mercom report said.

India to spend $200 million by 2025-27 to promote hydrogen use

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government planned to scale up use of hydrogen blended with compressed natural gas (H-CNG) as a transportation fuel.

India will spend $200 million till 2025-27 to promote the use of hydrogen, the top bureaucrat at India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said at a virtual industry event on Thursday.

India’s oil secretary Tarun Kapoor also said that India has asked its state-run oil and gas companies to set up seven hydrogen pilot plants by the end of this financial year,  New Delhi Dialogue event, Reuters reported.

WEF: India ranked 87th in global energy transition index

A report from the World Economic Forum ranked India 87th among 115 countries in the Energy Transition Index (ETI) that tracks nations on the current performance of their energy systems. 

The report said China (68) and India (87) collectively account for a third of global energy demand. It added that both countries made strong improvements over the past decade, despite coal continuing to play a significant role in their energy mix.

As per the report, India has targeted improvements through subsidy reforms and rapidly scaling energy access, with a strong political commitment.

China: Internet firm Tencent tops Greenpeace clean energy rankings

Internet firm Tencent is the best of China’s energy-guzzling cloud services providers when it comes to tackling carbon emissions and procuring from renewable energy sources, Greenpeace study said.  The environmental group has estimated that energy consumption by China’s data centre industry will rise by two-thirds between 2019 and 2023.

Alibaba ell from first place last year to fourth. Greenpeace said he company  had performed poorly in disclosing energy data and switching to renewable energy sources.

The study noted that Internet firms now rank among the biggest corporate consumers of electricity, and in China they draw on carbon-intensive coal-fired power to keep their data centres running.

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