August 14, 2014

Which energy path will India follow: coal or renewables?

“India is a climate lynchpin, as it has historically argued that southern countries cannot take action on climate change because they need to develop first. But countries like India can – and should – develop and tackle climate change at the same time. Two villages in central India are demonstrating a choice between very different models of development: one, a person-centred approach based on zero emission clean energy; the other, corporate-centred and based on climate-wrecking coal,” writes the Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo.

Suggested Tweet: #India is a climate lynchpin: choice between climate wrecking coal & renewables writes @kuminaidoo

top news

Two NSW politicians resign over illegal donations scandal: Two members of the ruling conservative Liberal Party have resigned from the New South Wales Parliament following revelations of illegal donations from the company of Nathan Tinkler, who was promoting a new coal loader, and other property developers. A conservative member of the federal parliament, Bob Baldwin, may also face questions after it was revealed that he had written to ministers urging support for the coal loader and had forwarded the letter to an executive at Tinkler’s company. (Newcastle Herald, Newcastle Herald)

Power company presses Indonesian government for land acquisition: Dyah Kumala Sari, an executive of PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia (PT-BPI) which is promoting the 2000 megawatt (MW) Central Java Power Project, has revealed that the company had a meeting last week with the Coordinating Economic Minister, Chairul Tanjung. “What we understood is that Pak CT [Chairul Tanjung] would use persuasive ways to continue the land acquisition,” Dyah said. In June PT-BPI declared force majeure on the proposed project due to the refusal of landowners to sell their land. (Jakarta Post, CoalSwarm)

Protests loom over Polish/German mining plans: Proposals by PGE and Vattenfall to build major lignite mines on either side of the border between Germany and Poland have spurred a cross border alliance. PGE have proposed to build a 10,000 hectare mine near the towns of Gubin and Brody commencing production in 2018. Vattenfall are considering building a new mine-mouth lignite-fed power station at Jaenschwalde within the next five to ten years. Residents are planning an 8-kilometre cross border human chain on August 23 to protest against the proposed mine plans. (Bloomberg)
Indonesian coal company edges closer to default: Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Bumi Resources credit rating to ‘selective default’ after Indonesia’s most indebted coal company failed to make a US$375 million debt repayment. Bumi Resources is struggling to win support from bondholders for a debt restructuring deal which will be voted on at a meeting in Singapore on August 22. (International Financing Review, Jakarta Globe)

Bangladesh approves new Japanese-funded plant: The Bangladesh Government has announced the final approval for the construction of a 1200 MW ultra-super-critical coal plant, coal port and associated facilities on Matarbari island. The US$4.5 billion project will be financed with a US$3.8 billion loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency with the remainder from public finances. (The Daily Star, CoalSwarm)

US coal plants used less: The US Energy Information Administration reports that US coal imports, largely for power plants along the east coast, have fallen from more than 27 million tonnes in 2007 to 6.3 million tonnes in 2013. The number of plants using imported coal has dropped from 48 in 2006 to 13 in 2013. The EIA also reports rapidly falling utilisation rates of all coal plants. “The average utilization rate of the entire coal fleet declined from 74% in 2006 to 59% in 2013. At plants that consumed imported coal, this drop was larger, falling from a peak of 74% in 2007 to 37% in 2013,” it states. (Energy Information Administration)

“Increasing regulations and the establishment of carbon markets promise to limit the attractiveness of coal [in China] … Moreover, the country is aggressively pursuing an 'everything but coal' development plan for the power sector, with rapid growth in capacity for alternative energy sources,”

wrote Citi analysts.


Australia: Queensland Government approves 300-kilometre Galilee Basin railway.

Canada: Coal dock company given exemption from ban on felling bald eagle nesting trees.

China: Environmental regulator says Beijing cut coal use by seven per cent in first half of the year.
Serbia: Three months after flood, third Kolubara coal pit re-opens.

Thailand: Military regime rules out nuclear but opens door for plan for coal plant and renewables.

Tibet: Protests erupt over possible Chinese coal company plans.

“For the first time in the [Australia’s] National Electricity Market’s (NEM) history, as a result of decreasing operational consumption, no new capacity is required in any NEM region to maintain supply-adequacy over the next 10 years,”

states the Australian Energy Market Organisation in its annual assessment of the adequacy of generation capacity to meet demand. Increasing end-use efficiency, the closure of a smelter, increasing large scale renewable generation and distributed solar power are resulting in declining demand.

companies + markets

Indian buyer vows to expand Mozambique exports: International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL) – a consortium of Indian government-owned coal end users – has announced that it will invest US$300 million to rapidly expand the export capacity of the Benga mine in Mozambique. ICVL chairman C S Verma stated that the company aims to expand production from the current 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) capacity to 16 Mtpa within five years. (Times of India)

Cloud Peak Energy swings new deal on exports through Canada:  Cloud Peak Energy, a major US producer with three mines in Montana and Wyoming, has negotiated to initially export up to an extra 2.2 million tonnes through Westshore Terminals’ coal loader in British Columbia. As a part of the deal, Westmoreland Coal, which sold its export volume rights with Westshore Terminals, is planning to expand its exports through Port Rupert, further north in British Columbia. (Cloud Peak Energy, Platts)
Private power costs soar for Sri Lankan utility: The National Electricity Consumers Movement (NECM) has expressed concern that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is paying as much as US 52 cents per kilowatt hour (c/kwh) for the output of thermal power plants owned by Independent Power Producers (IPP). However, for wind projects the CEB only pays US 15 c/kwh initially and declining over 20 years to US 6 c/kwh. “All the IPPs are selling electricity at much higher prices than renewables. Also these IPP prices will be ever increasing with the increasing fossil fuel prices,” said Bandula Chandrasekara, an adviser to the NECM. (Sunday Leader)

Australian energy regulator says surplus coal plants could close: The Australian government’s energy forecaster has projected that there is “potentially between 7,650 MW and 8,950 MW of surplus capacity” across the National Electricity Market this year. “Five power stations the size of Yallourn [a 1,480 MW plant in Victoria] could be closed down and consumers wouldn’t know the difference. The lights would not go out,” wrote Giles Parkinson in RenewEconomy. (AEMO, RenewEconomy)

“Mercury is a toxic, bio-accumulating trace metal whose emissions to the environment have increased significantly as a result of anthropogenic activities such as mining and fossil fuel combustion … Our findings suggest that anthropogenic perturbations to the global mercury cycle have led to an approximately 150 per cent increase in the amount of mercury in thermocline waters and have tripled the mercury content of surface waters compared to pre-anthropogenic conditions,”

wrote ten scientists in a letter to the scientific journal, Nature.

resources                      take action

A Clash of Competing Necessities: Water Adequacy and Electric Reliability in China, India, France, and Texas, CNA, July 28, 2014.

This report assesses options to avoid or reduce the growing conflict between power generation and water use. It documents the water and cost benefits of reducing water demand through end-use efficiency, the lower water demand of gas over coal and the zero or negligible water use and other pollution from renewables. This is an important report, especially the case studies on India and China.

Tell Tata Power to clean up their mess at Mundra

On August 13, to co-incide with Tata Power’s annual general meeting, has launched a Twitterstorm to remind TATA Power about their responsibility to the 25,000 people affected by the 4000 MW Tata Mundra power plant in Gujarat, India .

Suggested Tweets:

#TataAGM Tata Mundra Power Project ignored the potential impacts of radioactivity from the coal ash pond. Will@Tatapower answer?
#TataAGM @Tatapower, Mundra project blocked access to fishing & grazing grounds, depriving an entire community to sustain n live.
#TataAGM Tata Mundra violated its environmental clearance by destroying inland ecosystems. Will @Tatapower speak up now?

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