The Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) washed away the 1200-MW Teesta-III on October 4 causing severe damage to two NHPC hydro power projects: 510 MW Teesta-V and the under-construction 500 MW Teesta-VI — downstream. Around 40 people (11 army men) were killed while 76 people were missing two weeks after the disaster.
NHPC admitted the loss saying the flood water damaged all connecting roads to the project sites, as well as parts of residential colony. Teesta V power station is not generating electricity. Ongoing works at hydro project Teesta VI have been disrupted. The flood water had entered into the powerhouse and transformer cavern. Bridges connecting right and left banks at the barrage as well as Power House have been washed out.
In 2014, when clearances to projects were challenged on the grounds of threat from GLOFs, the NHPC in an affidavit to green court (NGT) said that projects below Chungthang (Teesta-III) faced no threat as “the phenomenon of GLOFs is relevant to the projects located above Chungthang. Teesta IV is located far below Chungthang.” Affected Citizens of Teesta ACT, a local organisation of indigenous people opposed to mega power projects said even a child in the mountains will tell you that a flood has to flow downstream and cannot miraculously disappear after Chungthang,” said
NHPC suffered loss of ₹233.56 crore due to flash floods in its Teesta-VI hydro power project.
India’s clean energy goals may widen regional disparities?
According to a recent paper India’s renewable energy targets could exacerbate regional disparities, with states rich in solar and wind resources benefiting more than those with lower renewable energy resources, reported Mongabay.
According to the study as the share of renewable energy increases, inter-state transfers will have to be undertaken as a way to manage sustainable grid operations, reported the environment portal adding that In this scenario, the renewable poor states will have to curtail thermal power generation, even if the prices are competitive and import electricity from renewable rich states.
“The VRE poor states will be committing vast quantities of budgetary resources to purchase power from VRE rich states,” says the paper, predicting that the VRE-poor states will import electricity worth Rs. 460 billion in 2030.
Off-grid solar pumps backed by PM-KUSUM scheme remain underutilized
Solar power from the standalone solar pumps distributed under the PM-KUSUM scheme remain heavily underutilised due to various reasons including gap between crops and failure to use the setup to run appliances other than pumps. The scheme does not tap the full potential of the solar product, revealed the Mongabay report quoting research based on state data.
Anas Rahman the lead author of the CEEW study cited in the report says the government is parallelly pushing the Universal Solar Pump Controller (USPC) provision which allows electrical appliances other than pumps to run on the solar setup as a secondary use, but the potential of this provision is not yet tapped. Researchers point out that after the irrigation requirements are fulfilled for the day, a farmer can use it to run the flour mill, chaff cutter, milk chiller, battery bank charger, shredder, etc. Analysing data generated by the real-time monitoring system in these pumps can help the government in better planning and execution of the scheme, experts claim.
Solar pumps are used for irrigation in some parts of the year and are left idle for the remaining part of the year because of the crop cycles. In Rajasthan with 325 sunny days solar pumps are utilised for an average of 139 days annually. They are use between 0 to 50 days in Odisha and 130 to 180 days in Tamil Nadu, Mongabay report said.
India to launch star labeling scheme for solar modules from Jan 1, 2024
India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a Standards and Labelling Program for solar modules to indicate quality and energy efficiency. The programme will be applicable from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2025 on a voluntary basis, which will be made compulsory subsequently, Mercom reported.
Manufacturers are required to pay a security fee of ₹100,000 (~$1,203) for each model, but small-scale industries can secure registration with a valid certificate and a reduced security fee of ₹25,000 (~$300). An application fee of ₹2,000 (~$24) must be paid to affix the label on a specific model. Renewal applications incur no additional charges.
Solar modules are graded on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, and the labeling fee to affix these stars on each unit of a module is ₹0.02(~$0.00024)/watt.
China restricts export of graphite used in EV batteries
China has imposed restrictions on the export of graphite used in electrical vehicle (EV) batteries, starting December 1, 2023. China said the ‘temporary’ export control of sensitive graphite products, including highly sensitive spheroidized graphite, will ensure the stability and security of the global supply chain and safeguard national interests, Mercom reported.
China produces up to 90% of the world’s graphite. The global scramble for critical minerals has prompted the restrictions. In September, the European Union said it would probe cheaper Chinese EV imports, which it said may be benefiting from state subsidies. The United States has also signed operate trade deals with the EU and Japan on critical minerals to reduce reliance on China.
China has lifted control on five low-sensitive graphite items mainly used in industries such as steel, metallurgy, and chemicals. India offers 25% incentive on the approved project cost for exploration agencies to encourage the mining of critical minerals by private parties. India has also identified 30 critical minerals, including graphite, lithium, and cobalt, which can be converted into material used in clean energy technologies.
Reliance begins trials of its swappable batteries for electric vehicles
Reliance industries has begun trials of supplying swappable EV batteries with online grocer BigBasket in Bangalore, reported PV Magazine. Reliance makes batteries in-house with imported LFP cells, but the company is setting up a fully integrated battery gigafab in Gujarat. Users can locate the nearest swappable battery charging station through a mobile App to swap their discharged battery with a charged one. The batteries can be charged with grid or solar power and paired with inverters to run home appliances.
The company is investing in the cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and sodium-ion technologies for its proposed fully integrated energy storage giga-factory in India.
Nearly 600,000 technicians needed in wind sector by 2027, 1 million coal mine jobs to be lost by 2050
The global wind industry will require nearly 6,00,000 technicians during the next five years, with more than 2,40,000 of these roles introducing new recruits to the industry, according to The Global Wind Workforce Outlook 2023-2027. The report said that over 5,74,000 technicians will be required for commercial and industrial (C&I) and operations and maintenance (O&M) by 2027, but to keep pace with this growth, almost 43% of them will be new to the industry, joining from an education and recruitment pipeline or transferring from other sectors, such as offshore oil and gas. More than 80% of these technicians will be required in 10 countries, including India. Others are Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Japan, Kenya, South Korea and the USA.
On the other hand, another report found that close to 100 coal mining jobs will be lost per day until 2035 as existing coal mines reach their end. Followed by China, India could be among the countries which, by 2050, will take the hardest hit in terms of losing coal mine jobs. China’s Shanxi Province would be the most adversely affected by foreseeable mine closures, enduring 2,41,900 potential layoffs in the coal mining sector by mid-century. Then India could be hit the hardest when it comes to losing coal mine jobs, with Coal India facing the largest potential jobs cuts of 73,800 by mid-century.