Power

Rural Electrification- a distant dream !

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Rural_Electrification.jpegRural Electrification has been one of the key focus areas for the current government.The vision of “Power for All” has been shining brightly in the eyes of government and it aims to electrify all villages by May 2018.The following post will look at the current status of Rural Electrification and various initiatives taken by the government to achieve this target.

Meaning of Electrification

As per the earlier definition of Rural electrification “A village is classified as electrified if electricity is being used within its revenue area for any purpose what. so-ever..” However, the definition needs some revision and the overall purview of Electrification is currently amended definition of Electrification as follows :

Thus,as per the above definition it requires only 10 % of the households in a village to be connected for it to be classified as “electrified”. This implies that even if a large number of households remain un-electrified after covering 10%, still the village will qualify to be called as “Electrified”moreover, the definition doesn’t specify the minimum number of hours of electricity supply in the villages.

Initiatives/Schemes in Rural Electrification

Prima-facie, a couple of major steps have been taken by the earlier government and the current government.Some of these are :

  1. Establishment of REC (Rural Electrification Corporation) : REC was established in the 1969 with the objective of providing finance and promoting finance and promoting rural electrification across the country.Its main objective is to finance and promote rural electrification projects all over the country. It provides financial assistance to State Electricity Boards, State Government Departments and Rural Electric Cooperatives for rural electrification projects as are sponsored by them.
  2. RGGVY (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana) It was launched in April 2005 for attaining the National Common Minimum Program  goal of providing access to electricity to each and every household within a period of 5 years.The scheme was to officially end in 2009 ,however, due to non-attainment of the targets, certain allocation were made for the continuation in the 12th plan period (2012 -17). In terms of achieving the targets of lighting up unelectrified villages, the performance was much better in the initial years than in the last three years of the program.
  3. DDUGY(DeenDayal Upadhyaya Gram jyoti Yojana) : In Dec’14, the government announced DDUGY with some modification to the RGGVY scheme already in progress.It aims feeder segregation and strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas including metering of distribution transformers/feeders/consumers part from electrification of unelectrified villages,household.
    Villages Electrified
    Source :DDUGJY

     

    Current Status

As per the revised targets set by REC vis-a-vis government of India , 2,21,424 villages to be electrified out of which 95,977 have already been electrified ( Dated 20.04.2016 http://garv.gov.in/dashboard ) . Nine states (AP , Goa , Haryana, Kerala,Maharashtra,Punjab,Sikkim and Tamil Nadu) have achieved 100 % of the village electrification.Bihar is the worst performer in terms of household electrification. While 97 percent of the Bihar’s village are electrified, only 12 percent homes have electricity connections.

Targets 31.03.16
Targets of Balance Un-electrified Villages as on 31.03.2016
 Dilemma of Electrified and “Electricity”
As mentioned earlier around 98 % of the total inhabited villages have been electrified in India till dated but only around 64 % of he households have electricity connections. Many institutions have come up with independent research reports targeting the reality checks of the rural electrification program. A recent report by CEEW states in its report namely “Access to Clean Cooking Energy and Electricity, Survey of states” that only 4-5 % of households get supply for 20 hours or more.  This implies that a large part of electrification and energy access are superficial and the same needs to be cross-verified by third party agencies.
Conclusion
The benefits of energy access and security are no doubt immense as the electricity to distant villages has lead to significant improvements in the living standards of the villagers.In impoverished and undeveloped areas, even small amount of electricity have freed up large amounts of human time and effort.With the advent of rural electrification, use of kerosene oil has seen a significant dip in the recent years ,leading to and environment friendly solution.To ensure energy security in rural areas , a strategy needs to be evolved targeting :
  • Location specific technologies like solar,wind,mini-hydel so that target of electrification reach the granular level of society.
  • Technological improvement required at the micro level so that the systems are well maintained over longer duration with requisite maintenance strategies.
  • Last but not the least, there are still so many villages across India which have not experience the word “Electricity” and they are to be helped with utmost priority.
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Competitive Bidding- “Not so Competitive”?

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major-thermal-power-plants
As per Ministry of Power,about 25000 MW of capacity from private players is expected to come up in 13th plan which is a kind of paradox as per current scenario.State DISCOMs are reluctant and skeptical to issue bids,preferring to load shedding and buying from short term power market owing to low rates(CERC’s Short term power market Report :http://www.cercind.gov.in/2013/market_monitoring/MMC_Report_1213.pdf).Moreover fuel sourcing issues related to Coal,gas(Gas Pricing issues and recommendations https://knowpowernews.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/rangrajan-committee-report-on-natural-gas-pricing-and-its-repercussions-on-sector/) have emerged as a road block to the competitive bidding route.
In April 2003,CERC has somehow tried to end the stalemate and allowed TATA & ADANI to go for “Compensatory Tariff hike” but somehow the procuring states are not ready for the same(http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-10-09/news/42864252_1_mundra-project-tariff-hike-tata-power).
Reports of Compensatory Tariff Hike related to ADANI & TATA can be read here :
http://www.cercind.gov.in/2013/Reports/COMREP_%20APL.pdf
http://www.cercind.gov.in/2013/Reports/COMREP_CGPL.pdf

Current Scenario:
Over 52 GW of the projects have been awarded through competitive bidding route (Case 1 and Case 2 Route) http://www.powermin.nic.in/whats_new/competitive_guidelines.htm . No new Power Purchase Agreement has been signed under the purview of Case 2 Bidding since L & T’s 1320 MW plant in Rajpura(Punjab).
Earlier the bid invitation process at Odisha as well as Chattisgarh could not be completed but as per recent notification,Fresh Rfq will be invited for Odisha UMPP http://www.cmie.com/kommon/bin/sr.php?kall=wclrdhtm&nvdt=20130906125251890&nvpc=099000000000&nvtype=TIDINGS

Refer PFC(Power Finance Corporation) for detailed RFP as well as RFQ http://www.pfcindia.com/Content/UltraMegaPower.aspx
In June 2012, bids were invited by UPPCL on behalf of 4 DISCOMs to procure power starting from 2016-17 for 25 years. Developers are not placing aggressive bids due to changed market scenario as fuel supply sourcing issues as well as pricing risks have uprooted in recent times.According to UPPCL bid results, the average tariff quoted was hovering around Rs 5-6/unit.
Key Developments:
-In a move to promote competitive bidding for inclusive growth for the Indian power sector, CERC has adjudicated on ADANI case for requesting a tariff hike.The regulator realised that due to rise in Indonesian coal prices(due to change in regulations), it is quite viable to manage at the same tariff cost.
-Another major development that took place in the recent times was approval of mechanism to pass on the imported coal fuel price “http://www.domain-b.com/economy/general/20130621_consumers.html”. CIL need to sign FSA (Fuel Supply Agreement),according to which shortfall of the coal will be met through imported route on cost plus basis. Meanwhile after several rounds of discussion,MoP finally released SBD for case 2 Projects in September 2013 http://powermin.nic.in/whats_new/pdf/overview_of_the_draft_model.pdf Detailed RFQ as well as RFP can be referred here :
http://www.powermin.nic.in/acts_notification/electricity_act2003/pdf/RFQ_MPPA19092013.pdf
http://www.powermin.nic.in/acts_notification/electricity_act2003/pdf/RFP_MPPA19092013.pdf

Some of the Key points being highlighted in SBD are:
-Bidding will be done on single parameter i.e “capacity charge” (comprises of RoE(Return on Equity,Interest on Loan Capital,Depreciation,Interest on Working Capital, Operation & Maintenance cost ,Cost of secondary fuel,special allowances in case of R & M of a thermal power plant).
-The basic building of SBD is adopting DBFOT Model(Design,Build,Finance,Operate and Transfer)which says the power plants will be transferred to contracting DISCOMs after the completion of the project life.
– Fuel charge will be a pass through component and it will be reflected in the distribution tariff as quoted.
-Incentive will be provided to the developers on improving the Station Heat Rate(The Station Heat Rate of a conventional fossil-fueled power plant is a measure of how efficiently it converts the chemical energy contained in the fuel into electrical energy,usually expressed in Kcal/KWh).
-Land acquisition will be procured by the utility as the concessionaire may face difficulty for getting the land at the aforesaid location.

Future Scenario
With the finalisation of the revised SBD for Case 1,more states will initiate the process of issuing RFPs thereby giving the clarity on SBD.Provisions related to tariff revision and acceptance of Long Term power procurement as compared to short term would also drive states to procure more power.Changing sector dynamics of policies and regulations is a positive sign for the sector and thus making India a more competitive one.

Decentralised and Distributed Generation(DDG): Policy Recommendations for Implementation

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Power is essential for the socio-economic development of a country and is being recognized as a basic infrastructural requirement. Although the installed capacity has increased to 210 GW but India faced an energy deficit of 10.1% in 2011-12.
Even today, 40 per cent of households are denied electricity; the other 60 per cent do not have reliable access to electricity and is lagging service, measured by hours of supply as well as penetration. Power cuts, erratic voltage and low or high supply frequency have added to the ‘power woes’ of the consumer.
Today, the need of the hour is sustainable power supply which will help address the need for increased demand. For a large and dispersed country like India, with its unique geography and current state of economy, innovative means of producing energy needs to be looked at to reduce its dependence on oil and coal as a primary source of energy.
Ministry of Power, Government of India launched Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) in 2005 for providing access to electricity to rural households. Electrification of about 1.15 lakh un-electrified villages and electricity connections to 2.34 crore BPL households by 2009 was on the agenda. Under the scheme of Rural Electricity Infrastructure and Household Electrification, DDG was introduced in the XIth Plan to address the issue with the recommendations of Gokak Committee.
Technologies which can be used for Distributed Generation are:
• The Internal Combustion Engine.
• Biomass
• Turbines
• Micro-turbines
• Wind Turbines
• Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)
• Photovoltaic
• Fuel Cells
• Small-Hydel
Penetration of DDG: As on 30-11-2012[ ], around 6% of the villages are still to be electrified and these villages will be electrified with a mix of GE and DDG.

Benefits of DDG
-Utilization of waste fuel to Energy
-Investment Deferral in Transmission Sector
-Power Quality and Ancillary Service
-Remote Areas Electrification
-Power Quality

Barriers to implementation of DDG
-Lack of Adequate Information for market development.
-Poor Access to Credit
-Lack of awareness of RET(Rural Energy Technologies) in rural India
-Limited Site specific issues may erupt
-Financial Viability-A major factor

To successfully implement DDG,Overall strategy that can be thought of is

-Support Incentive in the near term
-Transition to New Market
-Reducing remaining institutional barriers.

Model/Proposed Framework for Implementation of DDG:

• Rural Electrification Policy: The current REP Clearly discusses the means of achieving 100% rural electrification but it falls short of recommending a single nodal Agency for all rural electrification efforts as shown in Fig 1. The Agency will have to act as an overseer for channelizing of funds through various agencies like MNRE, REC etc. and encouraging private participation in the sector.

Under Sec 14 of Electricity Act 2003, no licence is required for electricity generation & distribution in notified rural areas (26 states have notified).RE Policy states that for villages/habitations, where grid connectivity would not be feasible or not cost effective, off-grid solutions based on stand-alone systems may be taken up for supply of electricity so that every household gets access to electricity.

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• Management of DDG systems: Local authority/panchayat/societies need to maintain the system as they are the real consumers and a sense of belongingness may incorporate in them.
• Selection of Technology: Relevant technology need to be adopted by the authorities with adequate feasibility analysis(in terms of raw materials, feedstock level, transportation facilities, usage pattern of consumers etc.) of particular region.
• Capital Subsidy from Government: Generally Rural cooperative societies manage the high expenditure of the DDG but owning to huge capital expenditure involved in the preliminary stage, government should provide adequate subsidy to the developers or the EPC companies whosoever is involved in the project. The incentives/subsidy should be based on the various factors like geographic location of area, planned capacity addition and output performance.
• Enabling guidelines for Tariff revision: Under the purview of CERC, Tariff setting and revision should be taken care by the concerned nodal agency which has been assigned the successful implementation of DDG in a particular area and moreover there should be crystal clear transparency in this process.
• CDM Benefits: All RE projects are eligible for CDM benefits, DDG projects can be made financially more viable and competitive after encompassing the monetary benefits associated with them.
• Considerations to be taken w.r.t various institutional Models recommended by Gokak Committee: Models like Sunderbans Model, TERI Model, Bangladesh Model may be adopted after suitable changes in order to increase people participation at large.

• Other recommendations:
 Extend RGGVY to fund evacuation infrastructure
 Develop transparent and simple interconnection rules and procedures.
 Streamlining Project Approval

In the long run, distributed generation will help consumers to get power at lower tariff as power will be available at lower per unit cost. More employment opportunities, both at plant management level and in the manufacturing sector for related machinery, will improve living standards of the people. Availability of power at low cost will attract more investments, which would be more evenly distributed throughout the country rather than being limited to cities alone.
Going forward, concerted efforts by the Union and State Governments, financial institutions, academic and research institutes, non-governmental organisations, as well as multilateral and bilateral agencies is required. A distributed generation matrix for India is recommended for lighting the lives of those for whom lighting a bulb still remains a distant dream!

References:
• Biomass Energy for Rural India Society, available at http://bioenergyindia.kar.nic.in Central Electricity Authority http://www.cea.nic.in)
• Village Electrification report of CEA
• Gokak Committee Report on Distributed Generation
• “Electricity Act 2003”, Ministry of Power, Government of India, New Delhi, India, Jun. 2003.
• World Bank Report on “Empowering Rural India: Expanding Electricity Access by Mobilizing Local Resources” 2010.
• California Energy Commission “Distributed generation and cogeneration policy roadmap for California” 2010
• Chandrashekar Iyer,” Decentralized Distributed Generation for India” – 2011

Indian Coal Sector- The Bottlenecks

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Globally, coal resources have been estimated at over 861 billion tonne.While India accounts for 286 billion tonne of coal resources (as on 31 March 2011), other countries with major chunk of resources are USA, China, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa and Mozambique.Coal meets around 30.3% of the global primary energy needs and generates 42% of the world’s electricity.India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. Of the total reserves, nearly 88% are non-coking coal reserves, while tertiary coals reserves account for a meager 0.5 % and the balance is coking coal. The Indian coal is characterised by its high ash content (45%) and low sulphur content.The power sector is the largest consumer of coal followed by the iron and steel and cement segments.

Some Facts about Coal Generation:

At the end of September 2012, 35 coal-based power plants had less than seven days of

coal stocks . This was due to the following:

  • Twenty-two of these occurrences is due to no, inadequate or delayed receipt from  Coal India or one of its subsidiary firms.
  • Ten of these instances are due to plants running at above-planned PLFs.
  • Five instances are due to inadequate import of coal.

Similarly, for the first half of 2012-13, the average PLF of coal-based plants has been 68.27%, as opposed to 71.20% for the same period a year ago. Approximately 12.3 BU of generation shortfall in this period is directly attributable to the shortage of coal.

Some of the broader aspects of the Coal Sector can be listed as follows:

  1. Operational and Sustenance Issues:
  • Issues relating to fund raising for various coal projects in rural and semi urban areas, and this can be primarily cited as monopolization of the CIL in the sector which is barring the private sector investment in the sector
  • Issue related to performance of mining activities in India as most of the mining that is done in India is Open Cast Mining(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-pit_mining) instead of Underground Mining(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mining)
  • Private sector investment is also underdeveloped as there is not a detailed classification of various minerals according to UNFC(http://ibm.nic.in/unfc.pdf).

    2. Key Administrative Issues:

  • Long queue of Mining applications are lying at various levels of state and center levels thereby creating roadblocks in the path of adequate mining.
  • There has been a proposal for Single Window Clearance Agency(SWCA) that will root out the so called “red tapism” in various governmental procedures.
  • There have been a case of multiple registration counters/mechanisms for traders,miners,developers thereby making the final target a blurred one to be achieved in a target time.

    3. Regulatory Issues: According to mine developers there are many loopholes in the policy regimes and regulatory issues regarding mining of natural resources.Prominent ones may be listed as follows:

  • There is a lack of incentive mechanism in the mining sector-recommendation will be like to extend performance based incentive as has been laid down in NELP policies.
  • There has been lack of policy support in transfer of mining licenses.The mine owners are not able to mine scientifically while complying to all the environmental norms and would like to dispose off these areas or develop them through forming a joint venture.States may allow this move in order to increase the production capability of the state mining companies.
  • The government must strictly adhere to timelines as per the MMDR act and MCR, and extension should be granted only on genuine cases as permitted under law.

  4.Fiscal Issues: There have been really poor connectivity issues between the mining areas and moreover the evacuation facilities are also having a downsizing trend.

  5. Infrastructural Issues: Cadastral (Khasra) maps are either not digitized or the geo referencing has not been done properly. This creates problems in lease boundary  determination, thus hampering genuine miners. As a recommendation states may appoint a nodal agency to undertake these prefeasibility studies and thereby indicating the authenticity of data too.

These are some basic issues that are needed to be tackled by Indian Power Sector at the earliest and thereby making it a efficient coal production nation. Various recommendations about the problems will be taken up in the subsequent posts.

References: Indian Chambers of Commerce, MoP, CEA etc

miners.

Revival Strategies for Indian Power Sector

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India being fifth largest energy consumer in the world is rising high in terms of installed capacity (207 GW,Source : CEA as on 11.Nov.2012). Much progress is evident in Infrastructure,Telecom but things in power sector is not going as per the planning done by our GoI and MoP and thus India’s economic growth is at risk. Inspite of  having so many reforms and policies,Indian power sector is grappling with “Cancer” and it requires some sheer reforms that will ultimately lift it to more sustainable position. Some of recent reforms/policies that have jolted Indian power sector in recent times can be summarised as below:

  1. Competitive Bidding of Captive Coal Blocks: Competitive Bidding Mines Rules,2012(http://www.coal.nic.in/100212.pdf) has been notified in Feb,2012 and according to which Captive coal blocks will be allotted on the basis of competitive bidding to the power plant developers.After the recent COAL SCAM(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_coal_allocation_scam) there was a lot of hue and cry about the allotment of coal mines to non serious players in the Indian power market.Almost each and every bidder has earned a windfall gain through the Coal Scam. According to the recent Competitive Bidding guidelines, Coal will now be allocated to companies in specific end use sectors(excluding power companies) through an auction under which two part bids would be invited over a floor price.For power companies, the respective state will select a developer on the basis of competitive tariff bids and recommend coal block allocation. Moreover power companies are required to pay the reserve price fixed by state government for such coal blocks.
  2.  Approval of draft of MMDR(Mines and Minerals(Development and Regulations) Bill,2011: Another much awaited bill is the MMDR Bill(http://pib.nic.in/archieve/others/2011/sep/d2011093002.pdf) which has been approved by the cabinet in Sep,2011.It will be enacted after getting approval from President as well as Parliament.The bill provides a strong legislative environment for socio- economic conditions of the mining areas and the people which are effected  by the same.The core of bill is a provision that mandates coal mining lease holders to contribute 20% of their Post tax profits( PAT -It is the net profit earned by the company after deducting all expenses like interest, depreciation and tax.PAT can be fully retained by a company to be used in the business. However dividend is paid to the share holders from this residue.) to a distinct mineral fund,which will be used to meet social compensation obligations.With the advent of this policy,it might make a dent to the profits of CIL,SCCL and they can take a harsh step of increasing the coal prices which will affect the developers and consumers at last.
  3. Revision of Royalty Rates: Another significant aspect that occurred in recent times is the revision of Royalty rates in which there is an increase of 14% ad valorem and 6% advalorem on coal,lignite respectively.(http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=82191)
  4. Exemption of Import Duty on thermal Coal:  The finance Bill that has been passed by Parliament enforces the exemption of  5% basic customs duty and 1% Countervailing duty  on thermal coal imports for indefinite time.This is major step in favour of major coal importers as well as power plant developers.Moreover,ECB has been allowed in case of Indian power sector which will be used to part finance the rupees based debt of power plant projects.
  5. Presidential Decree to CIL:  A presidential decree has been issued to CIL for supplying coal to power generating companies under the terms and conditions of FSA.
  6. Revision of Standard Bidding Documents: In the generation side, There has been a major revision in case of Case 1 and Case 2 Bidding Documents in lieu of competitive bidding.MoP has also issued drafts related to UMPP Power projects and these aimed at more stringent bidding process with higher performance guarantees and other eligibility norms.Only core sectors companies can participate in bidding process and company can’t have more than 3 UMPPs in the pre commissioning stage.CERC has been made a regulatory body to intervene in the cases related to PPAs.
  7. Issue of Guidelines for Short Term Market: MoP released a notice of guidelines related to comptetive bidding in short term power market(accounts for 10% of the total electricity generated in the market).
  8. Imposition of Import Duty on Power Equipment:  Union cabinet approved the request of imposing 21 % import duty on the power plant equipment. The move has been taken to restrict the cheaper equipment that are being used in the Indian power scenario thereby hampering the growth of Indian manufacturing industries which are still struggling to develop the power plant.
  9. Steps in Renewable Sector: A major step taken in Renewable sector is the withdrawal of Accelerated Depreciation and GBI i.e Generation Based Incentives (http://www.eai.in/debate/scrapping-of-the-accelerated-depreciation-incentive-for-wind-projects). This move will led to low capacity additions in the coming years & it has been speculated that MNRE will reintroduce incentives in the 12th plan.
  10. Regulatory Initiatives: CERC has played major role in the past year in formulating various key policies especially related to transmission and distribution sector i.e tightening of frequency band from 49.5 – 50.2 to 49.7 – 50.2 Hz. This has been primarily done to increase grid security in more stricter manner (under Electricity Grid Code 2010)
  11. Ensuring Timely tariff revision: In Nov 2011,APTEL (Aplleete Tribunal) passed a landmark judgement regarding timely revision of tariffs by state DISCOMs.SERCs(StateElectricity Regulatory Comissions) has been directed to issue suo moto proceedings for tariff determination within a month of scehduled tariff petition.In June 2010,GERC became the first commission to implement APTEL’s order.
  12. Implementation of Open Access: In Nov 2011,MoP announced all consumers to be eligible for Open Access who have their load more than 1 MW.Moreover state regulators have jurisdiction over fixing of energy charges for these consumers. Inspite of these efforts, there is a need to take strict steps to implement it as in some cases like Odisha they are trying to suppress it by Sec 11 of EA 2003.
  13. Renewable Energy Regulations: Renewable Energy Regulations has been made effective from 1st,April 2012 for five years.It lays down the guidelines for tariff determination and moreover the floor prices, forbearance prices have been revised. Forbearance Price of Non Solar RECs Rs 3300/MWh & Floor Price as Rs 1500/MWh(Solar RECs).

So, a bunch of steps have been taken to revive the Indian Power Sector but the Sector requires strong implementation strategy which will ultimately make India from Power deficit nation to power surplus nation.

References: PowerLine Magazine,Govt. sites like MoC,MoP etc

Is GCV Method apt for Indian Scenario??

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The average cost of coal production in India is steadily increasing, despite increase in
productivity. The coal pricing mechanism is not consistent with the international practice.
Prior to nationalization in 1973, coal prices were set administratively low in comparison
to the production cost leading to losses for many coal mining companies. To allay some
of these losses government set up the Bureau of Industrial Cost & Prices in 1970 to
recommend the appropriate price of coal, based on the average of production cost of all
mines which led to problem for the coal companies with high production cost. In 2000 a new
Colliery order was passed for deregulating the prices of all the grades of coal and Ministry of
Coal will no longer involved in setting the price of coal. According to the order each coal
company is allowed to set its own sale price based on the prevailing market prices.
The recent move of Coal India to resort to fix sale price of coal on Gross Calorific Value (GCV)
rather than on useful heat value of the fuel will have a direct impact on the sale price. This
clearly indicates that Colliery order which is still in place, but only on the paper as the prices
are still being guided by the Government. Though the GCV practice is very much consistent
with the International practice, we need to address one main question as far as India is
concerned: Do we have the proper infrastructure in the place which can accommodate this
practice? As per CIL, the move will have negligible effect where as NTPC claimed that their
coal bill will be rise by 40% from ` 20, 000 Cr to ` 28, 000 Cr. Also there is no clarity on the
method which is to be adopt by CIL for classification, sampling and analysis to finalize the
grade of coal or GCV band of mine. Another important question which raises concern that
why Coal India has gone for GCV analysis on its own where as the Office of The Coal
Controller is the authorized body for declaring the grades and ascertaining the coal
availability. NTPC the largest consumer of coal has requested the Power Ministry to take up
Tthe issue with Coal Ministry. But, all goes in vain as Coal India moved to the new system from
January 1, 2012.
Many of the public utilities have complained that this new system had resulted for wrong
classification of coal because the quality of the same coal which they were getting before 31
st
December, 2011 as 4200 GCV now they are procuring as 5300 GCV. This points the accusing
finger on the classification procedure and implementation of GCV by CIL. Companies have to
pay much higher prices for the same quality coal than what is required. It is good to keep
pace with international practices but to implement it blindly without proper planning is
surely not a justifiable move by CIL.

Solar Energy – World’s Future??

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Solar Energy has changed its face in the recent times in a big way,Talking about its expansion,it has transformed itself from a cottage industry to 100 billion $ company within the span of few years in Germany.Solar PV (Photo Voltaic- refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell) price is decreasing alongwith the total Installed capacity has increased to a staggering figure of 65GW. Cost may decline to $2/ wp (Watt Peak) and leading for further developments in various OECD(Organisation for Economic & Non Cooperation development) countries across the globe.Both the downstream as well as upstream players are looking to tap its potential that will ultimately lead to their growth.

The transition has surely occurred in Solar Energy whether its cost or its installed capacity.

Cost dropped from 4$/pw to 1$/pw whereas installed capacity has increased from 4.5GW(2005) to 65GW today.Subsidies that related to Solar Power has attracted various players into the market leading to rise of competition.With the advent of Chinese manufacturers,market has become oversupplied & thereby mismatching the demand supply gap. Government is trying to reduce the subsidies levied in this regard in order to balance the situation. Number of companies have filed for bankruptcy in this case.(In India too Mosaer Baer Solar has posted losses in the 5th consecutive year). MAC Global Solar Energy index fell to 65% in 2011.Various companies like GE,SAMSUNG,Hanwa(Korea) are planning to enter in the field of the Solar PV manufacturers making a way for sustainable development for solar energy in the near future.

Annual Solar PV capacity will keep on increasing day by day and may even compete with other renewable sources of energy in the longer terms.As expected Solar PV cells will increase around 50 fold in 2020.

Some of the potential areas for Solar Power Development can be summarised as below:

  • Off Grid Applications; These are the high demanding areas for solar power such as Irrigation department,telecommunication towers,remote industrial sites,military area units etc.The dearth in local distribution area has led to its growth and is expected to grow by a figure of 15-20 GW by year 2020.
  • Residential as well as commercial retail consumers: Many small scale as well as medium scale industries are already generating their power using solar applications.Distributed power generators may take some steps in order to make Solar Power generation as unattractive.Companies have also opted for taking financial help from the World Bank in this very regard.Moreover there are some nations which has adequate potential of solar energy but retail electricity prices are on a high.
  • Isolated Grids: Small Grids fueled by D.G has an average LCOE(Levelised Cost of Energy- Refer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source) require around $ 0.32 to 0.40 /KWH.This area has vast potential of Solar Energy.
  • Peak Capacity in Growth Markets: Various emerging markets are having a huge potential for the peak energy demands and thereby adequate are being taken too.Demand in this particular segment is exoected to grow by 175 -200GW by 2020.
  • New Large Scale Power Plants: New solar-power plants must reach an LCOE of $0.06 to $0.08 per kWh to be competitive with new-build conventional generation such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear.Steps are being by the government as well as Solar PV Companies to meet this target with the technological improvements they are trying to implement.Distributed Rooftop solar will be the major criterion in this regard.

How to Tackle the existing problems?

Key Factors for Upstream Players:

Various steps/options need to be explored by the players and should have around 50-100MW to compete in the solar market.

  • Development of scalable technologies:  Companies like MEMC,REC are opting for Fluidised Bed Reactor mechanism to reduce the energy intensity of  polysilicone manufacturing process thereby leading to the drop of price of Polysilicon.Manufacturers are also opting for copper indium gallium selenide manufacturing process.
  • Drive operational excellence in manufacturing: Employing an efficient workforce will help the manufacturers in this very regard to fulfill the objectives.This will help manufacturing companies to increase their capacity to more that 30-40 %.
  • Balance of Systems to be addressed : Balance of system(wires,switching, invertors) need to seriously taken by the Solar power manufacturers that can significantly reduce their costs.

Key success factors for downstream players:

Downstream players need to identify their customer choices and their aspirations:Some of the various options which can be taken up by the downstream players are

  • Develop targeted customer offerings.
  • Minimize customer-acquisition and installation costs.
  • Secure low-cost financing.
The solar industry is undergoing a critical transition. The rules of the game are changing, and many current players could face significant challenges as the industry restructures.But adequate steps are being taken to overcome these challenges.

Ref: Mckinsey Report on Solar Sustainability 2012.