Monday, 20 February 2017

Saudis Kick Off $50 Billion Renewable Energy Plan to Cut Oil Use

Saudi Arabia is kicking off its $50 billion renewable-energy push as the world’s top crude exporter turns to solar and wind power to temper domestic oil use in meeting growing energy demand.

Bidders seeking to qualify to build 700 megawatts of wind and solar power plants should submit documents by March 20, and those selected will be announced by April 10, Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said Monday in an e-mailed statement. Qualified bidders will be able to present their offers for the projects starting on April 17 through July.

“This marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development,” Khalid Al-Falih, the energy minister, said in the statement. The ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office intends to set up “the most attractive, competitive and well executed government renewable energy investment programs in the world,” he said.

Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco are developing renewable energy to either curb their fuel imports or conserve more valuable oil that could otherwise be exported. Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, Al-Falih said last month in Abu Dhabi. 

Building more solar, wind and nuclear power plants is part of a broader plan that the kingdom announced in April to diversify away from crude sales as the main source of government income.

The two projects in this round are a 300-megawatt solar facility at Sakaka in the country’s northern Al Jouf province and a 400-megawatt wind plant at Midyan in northwestern Tabuk province, according to the statement.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Three big changes that will give boost to India’s nuclear programme

NEW DELHI: India's nuclear programme is set to get a huge boost thanks to three big changes. First, Japan has asked India for a dedicated nuclear reactor site, signaling that not only is it willing to shed all inhibitions of doing nuclear commerce with India but is also keen to be counted with the US, France and Russia as a power building nuclear parks here.
Second, India is giving big contracts for six reactors each to US blue-chip companies GE and Westinghouse. This is a big shift from India's long-standing policy of signing deals for two reactors at one go. The six-reactor deal with the two American companies will mean cheaper pricing for India.
Third, a critical component of the nuclear industry, the insurance structure, will be activated next month when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) buys a nuclear insurance policy at Rs 100-crore premium from a consortium that includes General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and a group called Nuclear Risk Insurers from Britain.
The Japanese willingness to set up a nuclear park in India is a major foreign policy advance. This is because Japan is the only country that has faced a nuclear attack and is still willing to invest in India, which despite the Indo-US nuclear deal is still a nuclear weapon state outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Meetings are slotted over the next few months to close Indo-Japan nuclear negotiations.
Tokyo's decision shows an even wider global acceptance of India's nuclear programme. Plus, Japan's government-driven investment plans have typically suited India most. Critical infrastructure projects, the Metro for example, took off on the back of the Japanese government's financial commitment. Capital-intensive nuclear programmes will benefit from Japanese involvement.
The 6-reactor-each order for Westinghouse and GE, which got finalised following US President Barack Obama's visit earlier this year, will lower costs, and costs have always been an issue while negotiating nuclear commercial deals with the US. The sites for these reactors are in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
One reason why high per unit cost of power have typically been cited by US companies were the provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CNLD) that asked for what many stakeholders thought were very high order of compensation.
An insurance pool was a critical part of the liability setup, and GIC plus the British group's Rs 1,500-crore insurance pool will cover India's civil nuclear programme, with NPCIL buying the insurance next month. According to the CNLD Act, this sum would be made available as compensation right away after any nuclear disaster or accident that impacts areas 10 km beyond the site. Payment will not depend on fixing responsibility and will be quick.
Since the CNLD Act made suppliers - say, GE or Westinghouse - liable for a nuclear accident, as opposed to global norm of holding the operator, in India's case NPCIL, responsible, nuclear liability rules became anti-investment. This issue was resolved through an insurance pool that covers risks for suppliers.

The resolution happened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came back from the US late last year and instructed officials that the issue must be solved without changing the law and without putting a big financial burden on the government.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

PM Narendra Modi likely to inaugurate Vizag Steel's revamped unit in July

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the Rs 12,300-crore first phase expansion project of RINL's Vizag Steel Plant in the first week of July.

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd ( RINL) had initiated an expansion and modernisation plan at its Vizag facility to enhance its liquid steel capacity to 6.3 million tonne per annum (MTPA).
The project is complete and currently the plant is running tests and other necessary procedures, a source said.

"The plant will be commissioned next month and the Prime Minister is expected to visit Vizag in the first week of July to inaugurate the project and formally commission it," the source added.
Earlier this month, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had told: "RINL's expansion plan is over and trials has started. We have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the plant in July."

The plant produces about 3.6 MTPA liquid steel at present and once the inauguration is done the capacity will go to about 6.3 MTPA, he had said.
Vizag Steel Plant is the country's first shore based integrated steel plant and is known for its long steel products used in construction, manufacturing, automobiles, general engineering, etc.

Earlier the Prime Minister had urged the domestic industry to boost steel output to surpass China in order to become the biggest producer in the world.

While dedicating to the nation Rs 12,000-crore expansion project at SAIL's Rourkela Steel Plant, Modi had said India has surpassed the United States in production, but stood behind China and "we must go to the top."

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Nalco to invest Rs 5,540 crore in 1 million tonne alumina refinery

KOLKATA: The board of National Aluminium Company (Nalco) has approved a significant capacity expansion plan to set up a one million tonne alumina refinery at Damanjodi, Koraput, Odisha at a proposed investment of Rs 5,540 crore. Nalco already has a captive bauxite deposit at Pottangi in the state, which will be utilized in this project. This is the first major expansion in the state run aluminium company in step with the Modi government's Make in India campaign.
With a view to boost the ancillary and downstream industries, Nalco is also committed to supply 50,000 tonne of aluminium metal to 'Angul Aluminium Park' which has been formed as a joint venture between Nalco and Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha. Apart from investing in its mainstay metals business, the company is also stepping up its fledgling presence in the renewable energy sector. In a statement on Monday, the company said is "in an advance stage of setting up of 100 MW wind power plant at a suitable location with an estimated investment of Rs 660 crore."

The aluminium major reported a more than two fold rise in net profit to Rs 354.87 crore in Q4 FY15, due to an exceptional gain. Against this the company had posted a net profit of Rs 172.45 crore in the previous corresponding period. Total income, however, declined by 2% to Rs 1,801.25 crore in January-March quarter of 2014-15 from Rs 1,838.20 crore in the same period of 2013-14.

For fiscal FY15, Nalco's net profit went up to Rs 1,322 crore in FY15 against Rs 642 crore in same period of FY14. During the year, the company achieved its highest ever gross turnover of Rs 7,771 crore, a 10.6% rise against Rs 7,024 crore achieved in 2013-14.

The company's export turnover for the fiscal 2014-15 was Rs 3,307 crore. The company's board which met in New Delhi last Saturday (May 30), recommended final dividend at a rate of 10% (Re. 0.50 per equity share of Rs 5 each), amounting to Rs 322.16 crore for the financial year 2014-15, on the paid-up equity share capital of Rs 1288.62 crore.

Nalco produced 3.27 lakh tonne (lt) of cast metal in FY15 against 3.16 lt produced the previous year. Alumina hydrate production was a shade lower in FY15 at 18.51 lt against 19.25 lt in the previous year. While Nalco's captive power plant achieved net power generation of 5,131 million unit against 4,989 million unit achieved in last fiscal, Nalco also generated 175 MU of wind energy during the year by operating a 50.4 MW wind power plant at Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh and another 47.6 MW plant at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

JBM to invest Rs 1,600 crore on solar power vertical

JBM group's ambitious 1,600 crore foray into solar power will be funded by a mixture of equity and debt.

The solar diversification, to be called JBM Solar, will conduct ground-mounted and roof top power projects. This is the second big diversification by the auto component manufacturer after its bus making facility.

"Our 1,600 crore investment in the solar business will comprise 25% equity and 75% debt," said Nishant Arya, executive director, JBM Group. "The equity element will, initially at least, come from internal accruals." The 1,600 crore investment is intended to cover 3 years and generation of 300 MW. Positioned as an independent power producer, the company is also looking at diversifying into wind energy and biomass in future. The solar business is expected to contribute 15% of total revenue at group level to JBM. Solar apart, the company is also lining up a capex of around 200 crore for capacity expansion for group company JBM Auto.

"We will be enhancing capacity in different locations in FY15-16 and this includes the 100 crore we have earmarked for capacity expansion at our Chennai plants." The company has four plants in Chennai - 2 at Maraimalainagar and one each in Oragadam and Sriperumbudur. As for the bus division, JBM Auto expects 15% of its revenue to come from this business, said Arya. "We are adding to the topline in FY16," he said.

JBM Auto, which saw a 15% drop in net profit for the fourth quarter, took a hit on its bottomline due to tooling sales. "Tooling is a seasonable business and our profits would have dipped more if not for the improved efficiency and value addition in the components business which contributed a lot more to the bottomline," said Arya.

In FY16, JBM Auto will "benefit from new model development. We are working in a big way on new model development and with double digit model launches in passenger vehicles, we expect a lot of action," said Arya. The passenger vehicle industry should roll out 9-10 new models in FY16 in the passenger vehicles segment alone, he said.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Adani plans 1,000-Mw solar park in Tamil Nadu

After announcing solar parks in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Adani Power has firmed up plans to set up a 1,000-megawatt (Mw) one in Tamil Nadu. The proposed energy park is likely to attract around Rs 7,000-crore investment.

Although an Adani spokesperson declined to comment, a state government official and sources in the company confirmed the development.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Delhi University students devise way to tap power from Metro

Harnessing renewable energy is the need of the hour in today's fuel-driven world. In what could be a novel way of generating non-conventional energy, a group of Delhi University students have proposed an innovative way to tap the potential of wind churned out by Metros.
The project, which has been undertaken by students of Kalindi College, has also garnered the support of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
A 10-student team of the physics and computer science department, have proposed to set up a turbine at an underground metro station to check if it can be successful in harnessing energy from the wind generated by the Metros.
DMRC officials found the project viable and gave consent for setting up the turbine at the Chandni Chowk metro station. "One day, while standing at a metro station, the students realised that the wind generated in the tunnel by these trains is being wasted. They then decided to come up with an idea to harness the energy," principal investigator of the project Dr Punita Verma told MAIL TODAY.
It was decided to install the turbine alone the underground tracks at the mouth of the tunnel, where the maximum wind velocity is 6.5 m/s, without obstructing the operation and safety of Metros.
"We installed a three-blade turbine and a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in speed of less than 1.5 m/s as part of the first phase. We connected it to a battery and measured the amount of power it generates. We also discovered that as stations have varied constructions, the same turbines cannot be used at all Metro stations," Punita said.
The project, which kicked-off in 2013 by a different group of students, has received a grant of Rs 15 lakh from the university. While the first phase involved research work, DMRC engineers were roped in to test the project's feasibility.
"We are working on different designs of the turbine. We will customise them according to the wind velocity and frequency of trains at different stations. Once design is approved by DMRC, firms will make the turbines," Punita said.