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which is evolving, having a great potential with prosperous future."



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NTPC likely to offer up to 49 per cent equity stake to Qatar Petroleum at its gas-based project in Kerala, to secure fuel supply for its power plant

NTPC may offer upto 49 per cent equity stake to Qatar Petroleum in its gas-based project at Kerala, to secure fuel supply for its power plant. "We have offered Qatar Petroleum less than 50 per cent stake in our Kayamkulam gas-based power station in Kerala," NTPC CMD R.S. Sharma told reporters here.The current capacity of the Kayamkulam plant is 350 MW, which the company is planning to expand to 1,050 MW in the next two years and further expand it to 1,800 MW later.
The company may form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the last stage (1,800 MW) expansion of the power project, in which it would offer stake to Qatar Petroleum.NTPC is keen to get Qatar in Kayamkulum project, as the Gulf-nation would help in return by bringing gas for the plant.
With uncertainty over gas from Reliance Industries' KG Basin, the deal with Qatar Petroleum would give some stability to India's largest power producer. NTPC plans to become 75,000 MW company by 2017 and to achieve the target the company needs to have assured supply of fuel both coal and gas.
The company generates about 4,000 MW of electricity from its seven gas-based plants and 1,940 MW from Ratanagiri plant in joint venture with GAIL and Maharashtra State Electricity Board.
The company is planning a mega expansion of 6,000 MW for its functional gas-based stations at Kawas and Gandhar (Gujarat), Auraiya and Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and Kayamkulam in Kerala.
For the capacity addition of this magnitude, the company requires 30 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (mmscmd). One MMSCMD is needed for firing a 200 MW gas-based power project.
At present, NTPC has seven gas-based stations in —413 MW Anta (Rajasthan), 652 MW Auraiya (Uttar Pradesh), 645 MW Kawas (Gujarat), 817 MW Dadri (Uttar Pradesh), 648 MW Jhanor-Gandhar (Gujarat), 430 MW Faridabad (Haryana) and 350 MW Rajiv Gandhi combined cycle power project at Kayamkulam.The company's current fuel requirement is 17 MMSCMD which is likely to rise, with an increase in the capacity to over 10,000 MW in the next five years.

NTPC and Bangladesh PDB to cooperate in Power Sector

NTPC Limited and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed an MOU  in New Delhi for mutual co-operation for development of Power Sector in Bangladesh. NTPC may set up a 1320 MW coal based power plant in Bangladesh in joint venture with BPDB, subject to techno economic viability, for mitigating the power shortage of Bangladesh. NTPC will also provide training & development to human resources of BPDB and enhancement of productivity and efficiency of their existing power stations.
MOU was signed by Mohd. Abdul Quasem, Chief Engineer (Generation )BPDP and Shri A.K. Sharma, General Manager I/C NTPC Consultancy Wing. Shri P. Uma Shankar , Secretary ,Power; HE Tariq A. Karim, High Commissioner , Bangladesh; Shri R.S. Sharma, CMD, NTPC; Shri ICP Keshari , JS ,Thermal; ASM Alamgir Kabir , Chairman BPDB; Sheikh Faezul Amin, Dy. Secy, Power Division, Ministry of Power Energy & Mineral Resources and senior officials of NTPC and Bangladesh High Commission were present on the occasion.

ToD tariff for utilities: Status of implementation of ToD tariff in different states

The states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have implemented Time of Day (ToD) tariffs, albeit only for large and commercial consumers. However, ToD tariffs are yet to be enforced in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. In the case of Delhi, however, certain other charges are levied for the purpose of demand management.
 Key details regarding implementation of ToD tariff are highlighted below:
Initiation: ToD tariff had been mentioned right from the first Tariff Order in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu 
Information availability: Though the states have specified ToD tariffs for high tension (HT) industrial and commercial consumers to begin with, but lack of load profiling data has impacted implementation, rationalization and design of ToD tariffs for other consumer categories Tariff regulation in West Bengal has provisions for time-based tariff for supply of power from generation plants.
ToD tariff is compulsory for HT and extra high tension (EHT) consumers in states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Tripura. 
ToD tariff is compulsory in states like Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, WB for LT consumers (non-residential/ /commercial/ industry) and MV consumers (commercial/ industry) above a certain threshold load 
In Tripura, ToD tariff is compulsory for low tension (LT) consumers having a 3-phase connection with a connected load of 3kW and above, subject to availability of ToD meters.
 Time period: Peak hours, off-peak hours and normal hours vary from state to state. 
Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have different time periods for summers and winters. 
WB has specified different time periods for different consumer categories. Also, the tariff specified  for a consumer category varies according to season.
In Gujarat, only peak hour charges are applicable for HTP consumers. 
Karnataka has symmetric peak hour and off-peak hour energy charges/rebates.

Govt for allocation of gas to ADAG power project

The Power Ministry has favoured allocation of the bulk of new natural gas output from fields like those of Reliance Industries to Anil Ambani-run Reliance Power's Samalkot expansion unit in Andhra Pradesh.An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) considered the issue of giving gas to 10 projects, including 8 mmscmd to the 2,400-Mw Samalkot unit, and asked the ministry to obtain the Central Electricity Authority's assessment on completion of the project.
Sources said the CEA has already made queries and Reliance Power has provided all information.
The EGoM, however, did not make any new allocation as additional output of 20 mmscmd from RIL's eastern offshore KG -D6 fields was only expected in 2012-13, while state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) was to produce around 9 mmscmd more gas in 2011-12. Another 8 mmscmd is expected to be available from GSPC's KG Basin fields in 2012-13.
Sources said the Power Ministry told the EGoM that Samalkot, along with nine other plants, was expected to be commissioned in the current Five-Year Plan ending March 31, 2012.
The ministry, at the last meeting of the EGoM on July 27, sought allocation of 15.59 mmscmd for six projects totalling 4,066 Mw that were to be commissioned by end-2011. Another 14,50 mmscmd was sought for four projects, including Samalkot, on the grounds that these projects have most approvals and would be commissioned by March 31, 2012.
It recommended the allocation of 8 mmscmd gas for the 2,400-Mw expansion project planned by R-Power at Samalkot, saying the project had environmental clearance, besides "land, water and all other infrastructure facilities". Also, it has executed an EPC contract on July 21, 2010.
The ministry sought 4.48 mmscmd gas for the 1,200-Mw project Torrent Power is setting up at the Dahej SEZ in Gujarat, 0.4 mmscmd for the 100-Mw unit of Pandurang Energy Systems in West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and 1.62 mmscmd for the 436-Mw plant of RVK Energy in East Godavari District, also in Andhra Pradesh.All the four projects, according to the Power Ministry, would be commissioned during the current XIth Five-Year Plan period (2007 to 2012).
Sources said the EGoM did not make any allocation to any plant as RIL had informed that it cannot produce more than 60 mmscmd gas from KG-D6 at present.All of the current output of 60 mmscmd from KG-D6 has already been allocated to urea manufacturing units, power plants, LPG units, city gas projects, steel plants and refineries.

PM to lay stone for NTPC-BHEL joint venture power plant manufacturing project at Mannavaram village on September 1

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will arrive at Tirupati on September 1 to lay the foundation stone for the NTPC-BHEL joint venture power plant manufacturing project at Mannavaram village near Srikalahasthi. The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone for the Tirupati international airport.
Two years ago, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had decided to upgrade the existing airport at Tirupati to an international one by constructing a new integrated terminal building encompassing all modular facilities and extending the existing runway by 984 metres.The Airports Authority of India has agreed to bear the capital expenditure of Rs 300 crore, while the state government provides the required land of about 718 acre. The state government has handed over advance possession of land totalling 293.05 acres located in Renigunta.
“The NTPC-BHEL project would be completed by 2013-14,” chief minister K Rosaiah said on Sunday, while directing the officials concerned to lay a four-lane road at Mannavaram and connect it to the nearest national highway. The project will enable setting up of more than 400 ancillary units.
Rosaiah would apprise the Prime Minister during his one-day visit to Tirupati of the initiatives taken by the government to sustain the rapid economic growth achieved by the state. He will also brief Singh about the contribution of Andhra Pradesh to the Food Security Mission.

NTPC likely to pick up stake in 2 Indonesian coal mines - Co's coal requirement may touch 165 million tonnes in the next financial year

State-owned NTPC is likely to pick up stake in two coal mines in Indonesia, a move that would help the company secure its raw material requirement."We are looking at picking up stake in two coal mines in Indonesia -- East Kalimanthan and Sumatra--NTPC CMD R S Sharma said.The company's coal requirement is likely touch 165 million tonnes (MT) in the next financial year (2011-12), of which it may import 12-15 MT."Currently, we are using 155 MT of coal, our requirement is likely to go up 165 MT," Sharma said adding that NTPC would import 12-15 million tonnes in the next fiscal.NTPC, is also looking at directly importing about 60 per cent of its coal requirement of about 15 million tonnes during the next fiscal, instead of sourcing it from State Trade Corporation and MMTC."To import fuel (coal) directly, we have established a fuel import cell and the tender for the same would be floated very soon," he said.
Meanwhile, NTPC is also looking at acquiring coal blocks in Queensland and North South Wales, Australia, and has identified 2-3 such properties, for which it is in talks with merchant bankers.NTPC, currently generates over 32,000 MW of power, of which nearly 60 per cent is coal-based.The company is planning to ramp up this capacity to 50,000 MW by March, 2012.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NTPC gets 4 bids for huge boiler tender: source

Indian power utility NTPC Ltd has got four bids from consortiums including French, Japanese and Italian firms in its multi-billion dollar tender to buy boilers for five projects, a company source said on Thursday.NTPC on Wednesday opened the technical bids for the tender for supply of boilers for 11 plants with 660 megawatts capacity each, the source, who did not wish to be identified, said.
Bharat Heavy Electricals and France's Alstom, Larsen &Toubro and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, BGR Energy Systems and Japan's Hitachi Ltd, and Gammon India and Italy's Ansaldo STS SpA have submitted the bids, he said.NTPC reissued the tender in June for supply of nine boilers for its four projects and two for a project of state-run Damodar Valley Corp.
The company cancelled a previous tender for the boilers as only one company, BHEL, was left in the running. However, it has shortlisted three bidders after technical evaluation for purchase of turbines for the plants.
"The combined tender (boilers and turbines) is expected to cost about Rs 40,000 crore (about $8.53 billion) of which the package for boilers is estimated at Rs 18,000 to 22,000," the source said.
BHEL and two consortiums of Bharat Forge and Alstom and Japan's Toshiba Corp and JSW Energy have qualified for the turbine generator package.The source said the bulk tender for supply of boilers and turbines would be awarded by December or January.An NTPC spokeswomen declined to comment.
India's power capacity growth plan, which aims to add 100,000 megawatts during 2012-17 to its current installed capacity of 166,366 MW, is attracting global players.

Consultative paper soon to help fix energy saving targets

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency will release the consultative document for fixing the methodology of energy saving targets for select industry under the proposed PAT (Perform, Achieve and Trade) scheme, in early September.Parliament has already passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2010 to pave way for launching the scheme. The Bill is now awaiting Presidential assent.
“The consultative document will be placed for deliberation of the CEOs of the identified industries to define the final methodology to fix the energy savings targets. We are hopeful that the exercise (consultation with CEOs) will be over in October and the energy savings targets for all the industries will be notified in December,” Mr Ajay Mathur, Director-General of BEE, told newspersons here on Friday.He was in the city in connection with an environment and energy conclave organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Bureau has set a five per cent energy saving target for 685 industrial units (from sectors like power, iron and steel, textiles, paper pulp, fertiliser, cement, alumina and railways), consuming 55 per cent of the 450 million tonne oil equivalent fossil fuel consumed in the country every year, in a three-year cycle beginning April 2011.
Under the scheme, the energy inefficient units (vis-à-vis the targeted levels) will require to buy energy savings certificates (ESC) from the efficient units to ensure an over all improvement in energy efficiency. The certificates are tradable on energy exchanges.
On the tentative methodology, Mr Mathur said that all industries except power sector are expected to reduce their specific energy consumption. Targets for power generation sector will be based on the design efficiency of the respective units.“We propose to set the targets for power sector based on how far a plant is from its design efficiency,”Mr Mathur said adding that once the targets are set it would be left to the electricity regulator to implement them.

According to Mr Mathur, the scheme scheduled to be implemented with effect from April 2010 may have significant impact on the power generation sector of the country as the inefficient units may either have to pay penalties through purchase of certificates or have to invest significantly in plant and machinery for the requisite energy efficiency.
“We have included each and every power utilities in the country as well captive power stations using over 30,000 tonne oil equivalent a year under the energy savings scheme,” he said.
Meanwhile BEE's proposal for a “graded excise structure for efficient and in efficient products” is caught in the GST (Goods and services Tax) tangle.“The Finance Ministry is positive towards the proposal. However, no formal steps could be taken in this direction until and unless GST roll out is complete,” he said.

'No blanket ban on Chinese power equipment import'

Planning Commission member Arun Maira today said a panel chaired by him had not recommended a blanket ban on the import of power and other capital equipment from China and other countries. Instead, the panel had suggested that importers would have to pay an import duty of 10-14 per cent to create a level playing field for domestic players, he said.
"The mandate given to the panel led by me was to suggest measures to ensure a level playing field for Indian companies. The panel has not recommended any ban on equipment from China and other countries. However, the panel has recommended import duty of 10-14 per cent on such capital equipment," he told Business Standard. He was here to participate in a Maharashtra Economic Development Council-organised seminar on micro, small and medium enterprises.Maira said the panel had submitted its report and the Cabinet was expected to take a decision in this regard. The ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises has supported the panel’s recommendations.
Maira’s statement is crucial, especially when independent power producers like Reliance Power, Tata Power, Essar Power, AES India, Adani are against the imposition of import duty.
They had already sent a communication to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying if the Cabinet approves the proposed levy, it would help Indian manufacturing companies like BHEL and L&T. However, it would adversely affect private sector power companies dependent on Chinese equipment
Indian power companies have ordered thermal power generation equipment for 21,055 mega watt (Mw) during the current XIth Plan Period and 13,870 Mw for the next plan period. Out of the 21,055 Mw capacities during XIth Plan, 2,865 Mw capacities have been commissioned.

Exempt steam coal from customs duty: Assocham

Import of steam coal should be exempted from customs duty to make the power generated out of such projects more affordable for the masses, says the industry lobby, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).Currently, the customs duty on import of stem coal is 5 percent.
Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said a huge number of steam coal based power projects are slated to be set up to meet the country’s growing demand for electricity.And the levy of basic custom duty on import of stem coal would result in higher cost of production and adversely impact competitiveness of Indian industry.

GAIL plans power units in four states

Taking advantage of its vast pipeline network, GAIL (India) is planning to put up a gas-based power plant each in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The country’s biggest gas marketing company already has land and other infrastructure available for these units.
Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi said the company had undertaken a feasibility study for the proposed units and a plan would be finalised in three to four months. “Wherever we have land, township and water availability, along with our gas pipeline, we will go for distributed power plants,” he told Business Standard.He said distributed gas-based power plants with smaller capacity would be more economical for the company. “The move will help us leverage our existing infrastructure in terms of land, manpower, etc.” The company’s investment in these plants would be in the range of Rs 3.5-4 crore for each megawatt.

The four plants, generating about 250 Mw each, would require 2.5 million standard cubic metres of gas a day. “Gas for these plants would either come from a domestic source or it could be imported as LNG (liquefied natural gas),” he added.
With GAIL already a promoter in the erstwhile Dabhol (Maharashtra) project, which is producing 1,800-1,900 Mw power, Tripathi said it had decided to enter the sector in a big way. GAIL is also a 12 per cent equity partner in Gujarat State Energy Generation Ltd. GAIL’s total investment in these two ventures is about Rs 1,100 crore.
Alongside gas-based plants, the company is also working on a commercial foray into wind and solar power. “We will participate in the bidding rounds of the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission,” said the CMD. The company planned to start with a plant of 10 Mw capacity but wanted to later scale it up to 50 Mw.
The solar power generation would be through a combination of both geo-thermal energy and photo voltaic technology. The project is meant for Rajasthan.On the wind energy side, it is studying the possibility of setting up a 100 Mw project for commercial purposes in Gujarat. The company already has a 5 Mw captive wind power project in the state.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Decision to allow Reliance Power to divert surplus coal from 3,960 MW Sasan power project against public interest, Tata Power tells SC

The government's decision to allow Reliance Power to divert surplus coal from the 3,960 mw Sasan power project in Madhya Pradesh to its another 4,000-mw project at Chitrangi in the same state is detrimental to the public interest, Tata Power Company Ltd on Friday told the Supreme Court.It said that there is a difference of Rs 1.26 per unit in tariff of power generated from Sasan UMPP and Chitrangi power projects as Reliance was selling power from latter at Rs 2.45 whereas it charged just Rs 1.19 per unit from Sasan UMPP.
“The difference of tariff will burden the consumer for 26 years with Rs 25,400 crore and is, therefore, wholly detrimental to public interest...” and permitting Reliance to sell power at a premium is “arbitrary,” Tata said in its affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.
According to the company, the government could have directed the Anil Ambani firm to sell power at the same tariff as that of Sasan UMPP or get tariffs determined under the tariff regulations for the thermal power station.Alternatively, Reliance should have been asked to hand over the extra coal at raising cost to public sector coal companies who are reeling under shortage of coal and have to resort to imports to meet domestic demand of power generating companies and other industries, the affidavit filed through law firm Karanjawala & co stated.
The bidding process for Sasan UMPP was never meant or intended to vest the successful bidder, R-Power, with the right to get extra coal of 9 million tonne per annum which could be used for developing other power projects, it said, adding the coal ministry’s decision to divert “incremental” coal from the captive mines of Sasan has conferred largess for private gains and windfall profit to Reliance.The apparently “stringent” condition imposed on R-Power that the power generated from the excess coal should only be sold through “tariff based competitive bidding” is a misnomer and in fact misleading, TPC stated.
It added that the existing laws and regulations for the use of captive coal does not provide for a situation where a mine allotted for one project can be used for running two independent projects by the same promoter without following the process of allocation of coal block through the screening committee and without following the procedure under the Coal Block Allocation Guidelines.
Besides, the existing policies does not permit the government to relax the primary condition of ‘exclusive use’ to the extent of 9 million tonne of coal proven reserves (including an extra mine of 5 million tonne) that was captive for Sasan UMPP, TPC said.It also said: “The diversion of this substantial quantity of coal from captive mines of Sasan UMPP cannot be countenanced through the exercise of power under clause (xii) of the allocation letters whereby the entire economics of the project that was bid out is dramatically altered.”Such benevolence on part of the government could not have been reasonably foreseen by a prudent and bonafide bidder, it added.
According to Tata, if the project had to be on the basis that captive mine would be for the promoter (and not captive for project), it would have vitally affected the bids received.“The petitioner will have itself given a much lower bid than Reliance and would not have run away from the race, had it been known that such a valuable resource of coal would be given to the promoter as a prize for the bid,” the affidavit stated.TPC's response has come on the Centre's reply which rejected Tata's allegations of favouring ADAG group firm Reliance Power for usage of coal from mines alloted to the Rs 20,000 crore Sasan Power Project.
The Centre had also questioned the locus standi of Tata Power, saying, "The petitioner cannot allege violation of any legal right vis-a-vis tender process, as it waived its right by not extending the bid."Early during the arguments before the Bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for TPC, had sought permission from the apex court to file its rejoinder to the government's affidavit.The matter is coming up for hearing on September 13.

Why an India-Japan nuclear deal is essential

An India-Japan civil nuclear pact would be critical in signalling that they would like to build a partnership to bring stability to the region at a time when China is going all out to reward Pakistan with civilian nuclear reactors, says Harsh V Pant
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada was in Delhi recently for the fourth round of India-Japan strategic dialogue and made it clear that negotiations on civilian nuclear cooperation pact are going to be rather difficult. 

There are indications that negotiations on the pact between Japan and India  have stalled and it now looks unlikely that this pact would be signed during the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's  visit to Japan in October as originally planned. India and Japan started discussions on the possibility of Japan signing a civil nuclear agreement with India in June. This was a significant move for Japan that has long been critical of Indian nuclear policy. Though India-Japan ties have blossomed in recent years on a whole range of issues, the nuclear issue has been a major irritant in the relationship.

The Indian nuclear tests of 1998 marked the lowest point in bilateral relations with Japan reacting strongly to the nuclearisation of the sub-continent. Tokyo suspended economic assistance for three years as well as put on hold all political exchanges between the two nations. Japan's economic measures against India included freezing of grant aid for new projects, suspension of yen loans, withdrawal of Tokyo as a venue for India Development Forum, a 'cautious examination' of loans to India by international financial institutions and imposition of strict control over technology transfers. 

Japan took the lead in various international fora like the G-8 in condemning nuclear tests by India and Pakistan while the Japanese Diet (parliament) described the tests as constituting a threat to the very survival of human beings.

This strong reaction from Japan was in many ways understandable given that the Japanese are the only people to have experienced the brutality of nuclear weapons and that experience has continued to shape their world-view. Yet, many in India saw the Japanese reaction as hypocritical given that India's genuine security concerns were brushed aside even as Japan itself enjoyed the security guarantee of the US nuclear umbrella. 

As many in India see it, Japan's commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in many ways, remains predicated upon its reliance on American nuclear deterrence. 
The US-India civilian nuclear energy cooperation pact has, however, changed the nuclear realities and Japan is trying to come to grips with India's new nuclear power status. 
Though Japan has supported the US-India civilian nuclear energy cooperation treaty, there remain differences between Japan and India on the nuclear issue. Japan continues to insist that India sign the NPT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty whereas India has no intention of doing so given its long-standing concerns regarding the discriminatory nature of these treaties. 
Current Japanese law allows nuclear exports only to states that unlike India are either a party to the NPT or allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to safeguard all its nuclear facilities. If India decides to go in for more nuclear tests in the future, the Japanese government of the day would be forced to respond in a manner that may be inimical to India-Japan ties. 
The Nuclear Suppliers Group approved the US-India nuclear pact in 2008 in which Japan went with the consensus that India's nuclear record warrants its support for the deal. There has been a gradual evolution in the Japanese approach towards the Indian nuclear capability. It refused to view the US-India nuclear pact as a danger to the global non-proliferation framework and was not an obstacle in the decision of the NSG to amend its guidelines enabling India to trade in nuclear technology and fuel.
But the Japanese government ruled out any civilian nuclear technology transfer to India, at least for the time being, as domestic sentiment in Japan remains strongly anti-nuclear. 
Since securing NSG approval, India has signed civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with states as diverse as Britain,France,Russia,Kazakhstan, Namibia, Angola and most recently, Canada.Many in Japan argue that that it would be foolhardy for Japan not to be part of this larger trend. Given the involvement of Japanese firms in the US and French nuclear industry, an Indo-Japanese pact is essential if US and French civilian nuclear cooperation with India is to be realised.

Japanese approval is needed if GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse are to sell nuclear reactors to India. Given the benefits that Japanese nuclear industry will reap from such a deal, it should not be a surprise that Japanese Atomic Energy Agency and its ministry of economics, trade and industry have pulled out all stops in support of the deal. 

But the anti-nuclear sentiment remains a powerful force in Japan and the Nagasaki declaration, issues on August 9 to mark the dropping of nuclear weapons on the city, specifically underlined Indo-Japanese negotiations on the nuclear pact. It berated the Japanese government for "promoting negotiations on a nuclear agreement with India, a non-NPT member country with nuclear weapons" and argued that Japan "is now severely weakening the NPT regime, which is beyond intolerable." 

In light of this staunch opposition to the nuclear pact, the Japanese government has asked India to include the statement that Delhi made to assuage the concerns of the NSG members in Vienna in 2008 as part of the agreement. India's statement at the NSG meeting had basically re-affirmed India's no-first-use policy, committed India to work towards a successful completion of the Fissile Missile Cut-Off Treaty and strengthening of export-control policies to prevent the spread of sensitive technologies. 

Despite Japanese demands, it is unlikely that India will agree to formalise these commitments and will insist that much like other states with which it had concluded similar nuclear pacts, the 123 agreement that it has signed with the US should form the basis of its pact with Tokyo.

The commercial dimension of the pact is certainly significant but much more important is the political symbolism accompanying the deal at a time when the rise of China is upending the regional and global balance of power. An India-Japan civil nuclear pact would be critical in signalling that they would like to build a partnership to bring stability to the region at a time when China is going all out to reward Pakistan with civilian nuclear reactors, putting the entire non-proliferation regime in jeopardy.

Tokyo and Delhi have a great opportunity to re-balance the strategic mile in Asia-Pacific and opportunities like this do not knock twice. Japan and India may very well decide to put things off until tomorrow but that tomorrow may never come.

NTPC provides Web access to environmental data from its 20 power stations to the Central Pollution Control Board

NTPC Ltd announced on Thursday that it has provided Web access to environmental data from its 20 power stations to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Mr S. P. Gautam, Chairman, CPCB, inaugurated the Web access of ambient air quality management data collected from 61 Automatic Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AAQMS) installed in NTPC stations in New Delhi.
The online real time data is updated on an hourly basis through wireless system. Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman and Managing Director, NTPC, Mr R. S. Sharma, said, “This is an important step towards NTPC's commitment to environment. Air quality management is essential for healthy existence of mankind and its management requires an integrated approach to consolidate technical, economic, physical and ecological aspects of air pollution.”
Meteorological stations have also been installed by NTPC in its power stations.These facilitate mathematical modelling to assess the impact of stack emission on Ground Level concentration (GLC) around the power plants. Better understanding of local and regional pollution sources is of prime introducing new technologies in the Indian power sector for higher efficiency and environmental gains.

MoEF Committee recommends 8 TPPs for environment clearance, prescribes ToR for 19 others

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has recommended eight thermal power projects (TPP) for environment clearance during its meeting held over August 9-10, 2010. Alongside, the EAC has prescribed terms of reference (ToR) for 19 other projects. Some of the more important projects have been listed below:
Projects recommended for environment clearance
  --NSL Nagapattinam Power and Infratech Limited's 2x660 MW TPP in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.
 --D B Power's 2x660 MW TPP in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh.
 --D B Power's 2x600 MW coal-based TPP in Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh.
 --Gujarat State Electricity Corporation's 1x800 MW Expansion of the existing TPP at Wanakbori, in the Kheda district of Gujarat.

 --Tata Power Company' 1x600 MW coal-based TPP in Cuttak district of Orissa.

 --SKS Power Generation (Chhattisgarh) Limited's 4x300 MW TPP in the Raigarh distrct of Chhattisgrah.
 Projects prescribed ToR

 --NTPC's 6x660 MW super critical technology-based TPP at Barethi in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.

 --Pragdisa Power Private Limited's 4x660 MW TPP in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
 --Vainateya Power Private Limited's 4x660 MW TPP in the Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu.
 --Welspun Energy Madhya Pradesh Limited's 3x660 MW TPP in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.
 --Tata Power Company's 3x660 MW super critical technology-based TPP in Saraikela Kharswan district of Jharkhand.
 --GMR Bundelkhand Energy's 3x660 MW super critical technology-based TPP in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh.
 --Dada Dhuniwale Khandwa Power's 2x800 MW super critical technology-based TPP in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
 --Railways' 2x660 MW super critical technology-based Adra TPP in the Purulia district of West Bengal.
 --Prithvi Khanij Sampada Private Limited's 2x660 MW super critical technology-based TPP in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra.
 --CESC's 2x660 MW TPP in the Hooghly district of West Bengal.

MP draws up plan to generate 800 MW power by '13

The Madhya Pradesh government has drawn an ambitious plan to generate 800 MW of power through solar, wind and biomass by 2013, to bridge the widening gap between the demand and supply of electricity in the state.“We have embarked on a plan to generate 200 MW of power through solar energy, 400 MW from wind energy and 200 MW from Biomass by the year 2013,” Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam (MPUVN) Managing Director, Mr Neeraj Mandloi said.“At present, we are generating 167 MW from Wind Energy and 19 MW from Biomass,” Mr Mandloi said on Saturday.
Under the solar cities development plan of the Government of India’s New and Renewable Energy Department, the state government has urged the Centre to include Bhopal, Jabalpur and Rewa also in the list of cities to be developed under the scheme, he said.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing a programme on development of solar cities aimed at reducing demand for conventional energy by ten per cent through energy efficiency measures and harnessing renewable energy.In the 11th plan period, 60 cities are proposed to be developed as ‘Solar Cities’ including two model cities, Mr Mandloi said.The Centre is providing financial support upto Rs 50 lakh for each solar city to the respective state governments for preparation of a master plan, awareness generation and capacity building activities, according to department sources.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NTPC to offer stakes to gas suppliers

NTPC will offer gas producers stakes in its power projects to ensure long-term fuel supply, a clear departure from its earlier strategy of buying equity in gas assets abroad.
The state-run power producer has offered up to 20% equity to Qatar Petroleum in its gas-based projects at Kayamkulam in Kerala and Ratnagiri Gas and Power in Maharashtra. The two power projects on the west coast of India depend on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) for fuel requirements.
“We had a few rounds of discussions with government of Qatar and expect to reach some agreement very soon,” a senior NTPC official said. “The model, if successful, will be replicated for other existing and proposed gas-based power projects,” he said, requesting anonymity.
The company’s board has empowered the management to negotiate a deal. NTPC doesn’t need prior approval from the government, which holds 84% in the company, as it has been granted maharatna status that offers functional autonomy to public sector firms.
Under the proposed deal, NTPC will spin off Kayamkulam power project into a special purpose vehicle and offer equity to Qatar Petroleum. The company hasn’t done a valuation exercise for the project.
“While we will like to keep equity participation from Qatar at the 10-20% level, in the case of Kayamkulam project it could be raised to 40%, depending on the interest shown by the government-owned company from Qatar,” said another NTPC official, who asked not to be named.
Offering equity stakes to component suppliers is a common practice in the automobiles industry, but replicating the same has been found difficult for resources based-companies, given the global competition for such assets. Secured fuel supply will help NTPC expand the capacity of these power plants.
The equity deal is expected to help NTPC clinch a long-term fuel supply deal, reducing its reliance on costly imported LNG secured through commercial deals.In the case of coal assets also, NTPC has decided to invite bids from companies interested in picking up stake, instead of searching overseas through merchant bankers.
Petronet LNG supplies gas to the 350 MW Kayamkulam project. NTPC wants to scale up the plant to 2,300 MW, but has not been able to proceed in the absence of fuel supply agreements. It also plans to expand the Ratnagiri plant by another 2000 MW. Currently it produces about 1940 MW of power.
In the case of Ratnagiri Power, erstwhile Dabhol power plant, stake offer to Qatar Petroleum will not be an issue as the project is an independent joint venture between central utilities and the state government.
Reliance Industries’ KG Basin field has vastly increased the gas supply, but even that falls short of the requirements of all existing and future projects. Natural gas is mostly imported from Qatar through supply agreements.
NTPC has indicated an initial gas requirement of 30 mmscmd for all the proposed new projects that includes expansion projects of 1000 MW each at Badarpur, Auraiya, Faridabad and Dadri and a proposed 2000 MW expansion of RGPPL.
The company generates about 4,000 MW of electricity from its seven gas-based plants, apart from 1,940 MW generated at Ratanagiri plant, a joint venture with GAIL and the Maharashtra State Electricity Board.The company requires 17 mmscmd of gas, which is expected to rise rapidly with an increase in gas-based power capacity to over 10,000 MW in the next five years. 

NTPC may set up thermal power project in MP

The country's largest thermal power generator, NTPC, may set up a thermal power project at Gadarwara, in Madhya Pradesh, a source in-the-know of the development said.NTPC officials today met Madhya Pradesh state government officials and are believed to have discussed the possibility of setting up a coal-based power project in the state.Stage-I of the project shall have an installed capacity of 1,320 Mw (2x660 Mw).
NTPC has a total installed capacity of 32,194 Mw, out of which 8,593 Mw is in the Western Region.The largest project of the company, the 3,260-Mw Vindhyachal Project, is also situated in Madhya Pradesh.NTPC had earlier decided to set up 3,960-Mw supercritical thermal power project in Uttar Pradesh on the initiative of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who wanted to set up a power plant in the Bundelkhand region.
However, the project has been put on hold after the UP government demanded that all the power produced from the project should go to the home state, whereas the rules permit the sale of only 50 per cent of the electricity generated to the state where the plant is set up.

Nigeria power grid: Power Grid Corp among final bidder

India's Power Grid Corporation is among the three firms shortlisted by the Nigerian Government to manage the country's electricity grid to be constructed at a cost of $ 3.5 billion.Besides Power Grid Corporation of India, the other two short-listed companies are Canada's Manitoba Hydro and Electricity Supply Board of Ireland, Bart Nnaji, head of the presidential task-force charged with reforming Nigeria's power sector, said.He said once the bid is finalised, the management would be handed over to the successful firm by the end of the year.
Nigeria's former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who is at present the Managing Director of the World Bank, had once described Power Grid Corporation of India as a very successful company "with emerging international best practices in transmission" which the World Bank is proud to be associated with.President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday revival of the power sector in Nigeria must need a yearly injection of USD 10 billion for ten years.
The country's election is scheduled for January 2011 and electricity is the most teething problem which the president needs to tackle in order to woo voters effectively if he finally decides to become a candidate.On August 10, the president promised to construct the $ 3.5 billion electricity grid that would have the capacity of 700-kilovolt within four years.Under the strategy, Nigeria will privatise power generation and distribution. Government will continue to own the national grid but its management will be privatised.
He announced that it will be funded by the government, private investors and international finance and development agencies and will address Nigeria's future energy challenges.Earlier this week, the country commenced shopping for bidders for 11 firms saddled with the responsibility of distributing electricity.This was after the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) announced the country's privatisation council has finally endorsed the search for core investors for companies functioning under the umbrella of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). 

Green signal for Jindal's 2,400-MW Chhattisgarh unit

The Union Environment Ministry has restored the Terms of Reference (ToR) for Jindal Power's 2,400-MW project in Chhattisgarh. Jindal Power is a subsidiary of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.
After awarding the initial clearance or ToR to the proposed Rs 13,000-crore project in Tamnar last year, the Ministry revoked it in June on the issue of land-use optimisation. Jindal Power said land for the entire expansion project had been optimised from 1041 ha to 456 ha (and not 62 ha mentioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests while withdrawing the ToR). The expert committee recommended that the project may be appraised, based on its review of the matter, by following the original ToRs, an Environment Ministry communication said.
The proposed plant is besides the Rs 4,338-crore, 1000 MW plant already functioning at Tamnar in the same area.Jindal Power officials had represented to the committee that the project would come up on 456 hectares and that there was no change in the plant's location.
The company had detailed that for the 1000 MW plant, 614 ha was approved of which 360 ha was for the main plant. However, the company had managed to accommodate 4x250MW units commissioned in 2008 on 245 ha and the balance 115 ha was available.The main plant would now be set up on 115 ha. This was possible because it would be sharing most of the facilities with the existing 1000 MW plant, they said.

Jindal officials had also submitted that there was no change in location of the proposed 4x600 MW plant and only land-use optimisation was done, which was also a requirement of the TOR issued on March 31, 2009. Jindal Power said it has already placed orders with BHEL for equipment worth Rs 765 crore. Coal linkages have been approved for the first two units of the 2400 MW plant. The company plans to commission two units of 600 MW each of the proposed 2400 MW by March 2012.

NTPC to undertake site selection process for nuclear plants

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) would shortly undertake work for site selection to set up nuclear power projects in Madhya Pradesh and other states.NTPC Chairman-cum-Managing Director, R S Sharma said the nuclear power projects would be set up under a joint venture between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and NTPC.
He said the two had recently signed an agreement for this purpose. Sharma said the NTPC plans to set up three thermal power projects in Madhya Pradesh, out of which two of 1320 MW each would be set up in Gadarwara in Narsinghpur district and Khargone town and one of 4000 MW at Barheti in Chhatarpur district.
The NTPC MD also said that the process for site selection for these three projects has already begun. Apart from setting up power generation projects, the NTPC has acquired six coal mines and has set up a target to meet 25per cent of the coal demand for its power projects from its own coal mines, he said adding the NTPC plans to acquire coal mines in Indonesia and Australia in the coming years.