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No takers: TANGEDCO’s financial woes and inability to commit to power purchase has turned away developers from a state rich in RE resources | Image credit: ChidambaramVillas

Tamil Nadu’s power board stops floating tenders for solar, wind farms

After failing to get any response from investors over two financial years, Tamil Nadu’s electricity board, TANGEDCO, has stopped floating bids for solar and wind power farms. Primary reasons for the lacklustre investor response have been TANGEDCO’s inability to give a commitment on power evacuation and timely payment for evacuated power due to financial difficulties. Bids will now only be floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

The Centre is taking steps to settle the payment issue, however, with Union power minister RK Singh announcing that a payment security mechanism for renewable developers was in the works along with policy changes to ensure timely payment.  

Renewables to be the primary energy source by 2040, surpassing coal, India vital to transition: BP Energy Outlook

A recent study by BP Energy Outlook made a bullish prediction about the future of renewable energy, claiming eco-friendly alternatives will surpass coal usage by 2040. India will be at the forefront of this transition, the study says, further predicting that the country will overtake China as the world’s largest growth market by 2020. Although ground realities in India, namely cancellation of tenders and uncertainties around the safeguard duty and GST, could make this scenario a bit of a stretch.  

Renewable energy provided jobs to 11 mn people in 2018: IRENA report

The growing popularity of renewable technology provided jobs to nearly 11 million people across the world last year. India accounted for 719,000 jobs. A report titled Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2019 pointed to a significant jump in the number of jobs in recent years – 7.28 million in 2012 to 10.98 million in 2018. The biggest employer was the solar photovoltaics industry, which employed up to 3.6 million jobs. 

The report pointed to a significant shift in the geographical footprint of renewable energy since 2012. While the US, China and EU has so far been the job hubs for the industry, east and southeast Asia, which are key exporters of solar PV panels, have now joined the club.

India’s sale of solar off-grid products falls in second half of 2018; still world’s largest cash market

A GOGLA report revealed an 11% drop in sales figures of off-grid solar products in the second half of 2018 – nearly 1.18 million units sold compared to 1.33 million units in the first half of the year. But here’s the good news. The report declared India was the world’s largest cash market for distributed solar products.

The decline in sales may not have as much of an impact as a previous report by GOGLA predicted that the country’s private player-driven market for solar lanterns and solar home systems is expected to reach ₹26,178 million ($327 million) by 2023.      

Oberoi Group to become first hospitality major in Delhi NCR to go 100% solar

A preference for environment friendly accommodations among guests is driving a move towards sustainability in India’s hospitality industry, including some prominent luxury chains. The Oberoi Group said it has become the first in the Delhi-NCR region to enable both its Gurgaon properties to be powered by solar energy. A captive power plant in Balasar, Haryana, will generate 7.5 MW of electricity to meet the energy demands of the two hotels. “With 27,000 solar panels installed, the plant’s performance ratio is determined to be 76.50%. The Oberoi and the Trident in Gurgaon aim at reducing CO2 emissions by 12,344 tonnes per year,” the group said in a statement.

Bifacial panels excluded from US solar tariffs

The US has announced new exemptions to tariffs on solar panels it constituted in early 2018. The 25% tariff has been lifted for bifacial solar panels – a new technology through which power is produced on both sides of a cell. It would be excluded from the Trump administration’s tariffs on overseas-made solar products.

Facebook enters RE market with massive $416 million solar project in Texas

Social media giant Facebook is venturing into renewable energy investments with a $416-million solar farm planned in Texas. Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy recently announced it was partnering with Facebook for a project, which will have a capacity of 379 megawatts – enough to power around 72,000 homes based on the national average, the Solar Energy Industries Association said.

China’s cumulative installed solar capacity reaches nearly 180 GW: NEA

Figures issued by China’s National Energy Association (NEA) suggests that during March 2019, China’s solar power generation reached 179.7 GW, an increase of 28% year-on-year, with the addition of 5.2 GW in Q1 of 2019. The installed capacity of grid-connected solar power reached 122.6 GW, an increase of 23%, adding 2.4 GW during Q1 2019; while distributed solar PV capacity reached 53.41 GW, an increase of 43% after 2.8 GW was added in Q1.

Norway opening up new sea areas for offshore wind energy

The Norwegian oil and gas ministry has announced in an official statement that Norway will look to open up two new areas for the construction of floating offshore wind parks, which combined could hold a turbine capacity of up to 3.5 gigawatts (GW).The first area, which the ministry will propose before July, is called Utsira North and is situated in the North Sea, while the second is close to the offshore border with Denmark, called Southern North Sea II. The Scandinavian country has sought to move away from petroleum and towards renewables, notably wind energy, in recent years.

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