Low Carbon News in India in July 2016
India to get over $1 billion from World Bank for Solar
The World Bank said on Thursday it would lend India more than $1 billion for its huge solar energy programme, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought climate change funds from its visiting head. Modi is banking on India’s 300 days a year of sunshine to generate power and help fight climate change rather than committing to emission cuts like China.
India cancels four major new coal plants in move to end imports
The Indian Energy Ministry has this week announced plans to cancel four proposed coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 16 gigawatts (GW).
The plans previously called for four ultra mega power plants (UMPP) across Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Odisha, but these are now to be cancelled due to lack of interest from the host states.
This is yet another major policy shift underscoring how seriously India is working to transform, modernize and diversify its electricity sector away from coal.
For eight years, these four proposed plants remained in the planning, preparation and land acquisition stage. However, community resistance to compulsory land acquisition and forced resettlement combined with electricity power surpluses to push the government to issue a cancellation order.
Moreover, two of the UMPPs (8GW) were planned for coastal locations, aimed to run on imported coal. As such, the announcement is in line with Indian Energy Minister Piyush Goyal target of eliminating thermal coal imports into India.
His motivation in eliminating thermal imports is to drive delivered cost of electricity down, reduce the current account burden, improve energy security and the straight out lack of need in light of increased domestic production.
April 2016 coal imports fell 15% year on year
To operate, these four UMPPs would have required upwards of a total of 46 million tonnes per annum of coal (approx. 12Mtpa per plant), half of which was to have been imported.
For 2016/17, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set the highest ever capacity addition target for the clean power sector, that being up to 16,660 megawatts (MW). Of this, the solar installs target is set at 12GW, wind at 4GW, biomass power at 400MW, small scale hydro-electricity at 250MW and waste-to-power at 10MW.
India is increasingly looking to source its incremental electricity needs from the combined expansions of renewable energy, as well dampening demand growth by accelerating energy and grid efficiency programs. With the utilization rates of the average coal fired power plant at six year lows of 58% in 2015/16 (down from 75% in 2010), another government goal is to better utilize the existing thermal capacity.
At this stage Indian Energy Minister Piyush Goyal is still persevering with plans for three new UMPP that, if awarded, would add a combined 12GW of new coal fired power generation capacity across Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu, Behabahal in Odisha & Banka in Bihar by 2020.
While the awarding of these projects has already also been repeatedly delayed, these three UMPPs would facilitate the proposed closure of old coal-fired power plants that are now beyond their use by date.
The government message is clear, consistent and compelling. In his address to the U.S. Congress this week, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi clearly articulated that in the focus on driving Indian economic growth at 7.6% pa, this must “be achieved with a light carbon foot print, with greater emphasis on renewables.”In his meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Modi also confirmed India will ratify the Paris Climate Agreement this year.
Indian Railways aims to significantly reduce carbon footprints
Indian Railways, the largest energy consumer in the country, has set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar energy and 15 MW of wind energy in the next four years as part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
“We have undertaken steps to increase the use of clean energy to reduce emissions and in this regard we have set a target of harnessing 1,000 MW of solar and 150 MW of wind energy by 2020,” said Railway Executive Director Sudhir Garg at the release of a report on ‘Decarbonisation Indian Railways’ in New Delhi on Friday.
According to the reports, prioritising decarbonisation of the Railways could help India achieve its 2030 emissions goals and improve energy security by reducing fossil fuel imports.
The reports suggest that decarbonisation may be a more cost-effective alternative for the Railways in the long run.
It consumes 13.8 billion units of electricity annually, close to two per cent of the country’s total power production. It has taken steps to install solar power systems at all major stations in the country.
The generation of solar energy will also help the Railways supply power to remote areas and help save on diesel consumption due to reduced use of diesel-run generators.
Delhi eyes rooftop solar power
Delhi is trying to draw a few lessons from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model. Gandhinagar’s rent-a-roof project may help Delhi supplement the power supply in the capital with solar energy. If the model is replicated in Delhi, according to official sources, it has the potential to deliver 50-100 MW. This was discussed by the capital’s top bureaucrats with their Gujarat counterparts on Thursday. Senior officials told TOI that under the rent-a-roof project, residents give their rooftops on hire to private solar energy companies who in turn pay them Rs 3 for every unit of energy produced. Similarly, rooftops of government buildings like schools and hospitals are also leased out for solar panels. The installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) in Delhi till 2013 was only 2.5 MW compared to over 1000 MW in Gujarat. “A supposed lack of available space for solar PV in a highly urbanized and congested city like Delhi is often considered to be a key barrier,” says a report by Greenpeace India on Delhi’s solar rooftop potential. The same report estimates that of 700 sq km which is Delhi’s total built-up space, 31sqkm is available roof space that can be utilized for the solar roof top project and that has a potential to generate 2,557 MW, much higher than what Gujarat is generating currently.
Kolkata city to lower its carbon footprint
With the aim to make Kolkata a low-carbon city, companies from the United Kingdom specialising in urban design and planning, met West Bengal government and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) officials, for collaboration in the sector.
Officials of 10 UK companies specialising in waste, energy and water management, smart parking, street lighting and renewable energy, visited the city on July 19, 2016 and presented their expertise. The UK government is working with Kolkata on a technical assistance programme of one million pounds, to make the city climate resilient and reduce its economic carbon footprint.
Civil society comes together to launch India’s first independent GHG emission estimates
India’s first civil society platform for GHG estimation and analysis – GHG Platform India – was launched on 15th July, 2016 in New Delhi. The platform provides national estimates for GHG emissions from the energy, industry, waste and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors from years 2007-2012 by accounting CO2, CH4 and N2O gases. These estimates are publicly available on the platform website allowing users to view and download data sets.
The platform is a collective initiative of eminent institutions such as Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (C-STEP), ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability South Asia, Vasudha Foundation and World Resources Institute (WRI) India. The initiative also includes other sectoral experts. The platform was jointly conceptualised by Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Vasudha Foundation, which also acts as the Secretariat for the platform. It draws its inspiration from a similar civil society initiative in Brazil – System for Estimation of Emissions of GHG (SEEG).
To ensure transparency, the website has listed all methodologies used for analysis. Moreover, all the estimates are available in an easily downloadable format. The medium is expected to be a valuable tool for the government, think tanks, civil society, the public and media to understand development trends and track emissions. The data will also be useful to drive strategic decisions around GHG reduction and climate-friendly policies.
Offshore Wind Development in India: FOWIND Launches New Report on Supply Chain, Ports and Logistics
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) launched a new report today: “Supply Chain, Port Infrastructure and Logistics Study” for offshore wind development in the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in India. This study is a significant step forward in preparing a roadmap for offshore wind power in India by the GWEC led FOWIND consortium.
The key supply chain elements of the offshore wind sector are assessed along with a preliminary evaluation of companies entering the offshore wind sector. As part of the supply chain assessment, port infrastructure and logistics are reviewed, identifying key component specifications, vessel requirements and installation strategies. The study provides the first of its kind overview of existing port infrastructure in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and the possible improvements required for manufacturing, installation and OEM of offshore wind farms.
Thane shows the way through municipal schools and street lighting programmes
The Thane city, located in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in western India, is best known for its ambitious commitments and actions to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) joined the Urban-LEDS programme in 2012 to accelerate its progressive climate action trajectory.
Guided by ICLEI’s Green Climate Cities (GCC) process, Thane embraced its role as a model city under the programme by adopting a strategic and inclusive approach to identify a set of low emission strategies and undertake a range of local actions. As a model city, it also shared its experiences to inspire other satellite cities. A well-defined and sufficiently empowered “Core Climate Team” was established within TMC, with representation from various departments, with the Additional Commissioner as its Chairman. A stakeholder committee was also formed including representatives from various external organisations. Being the Chairman of the Committee, Thane’s Honourable Mayor Mr. Sanjay More actively participated in the project.