Monthly Non-Fossil Fuels News Commentary: June – July 2017
India’s latest solar auction, one of the biggest in the country, drew a surprisingly enthusiastic response with a big chunk of the 1,500 MW of projects on offer won by public sector mining giant NLC India Ltd. The lowest bid in the auction in Tamil Nadu, where solar radiation is weaker than in Rajasthan, came from Bengaluru-based Raasi Green Earth Energy, which won 100 MW at ₹ 3.47/kWh. Bids were invited in May and the results were declared. The tariff of ₹ 3.47/kWh is well above the lowest solar bid in the country so far of ₹ 2.44/kWh made at an auction at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan in May, but it is a substantial drop from the winning bid of ₹ 4.40/kWh at Tamil Nadu’s auction in February. The biggest winner was public sector mining giant NLC India, which had bid for the entire 1500 MW, but was awarded 449 MW. The company mines lignite, which is also called brown coal, and generates power. What is interesting to note is that domestic investment in large solar projects is coming from large fossil fuels companies particularly coal companies. Notwithstanding attractive subsidies, experts said that some political pressure to invest in solar energy could not be ruled out.
Joining the NLC is CIL the world’s largest miner of coal which said that it will generate 1 GW of renewable electricity this year as part of its plan to produce as much as 10 GW clean power in total in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. Even Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd a steel company is said to have been advised to make a foray into solar and renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to generate thermal power.
State companies such as CIL and NTPC Ltd, the country’s biggest thermal power producer, are planning to aggressively spend on solar projects probably out of pressure from the central government. Solar power generation capacity has more than tripled in three years to over 12 GW. Indian solar power plant developers – including companies backed by Japan’s Softbank and Goldman Sachs – are meanwhile quoting ever-lower tariffs in auctions to win big projects, raising questions over India’s role in the renewable energy market. Experts say that the choice of becoming a consumer rather than producer of renewable technologies India may bear a disproportionate share of the cost of making a transition to low carbon energy sources. While financial and non-financial subsidies (such as RPOs or feed in tariffs that are underwritten by tax payers or rate payers) make solar energy investment an attractive option for overseas and domestic investors, the domestic socialisation of the large transaction costs of integrating intermittent and uncertain solar energy into a grid committed to 24*7 electricity service imposed costs on an economically challenged sections of the population. Some social science experts commented that India may be producing a global public good (carbon reduction) at domestic cost which is not necessarily equitable.
Yet another crutch was offered to solar power with transmission subsidies. Solar power projects will be exempted from interstate transmission charges till the end of December 2019, making it feasible to compete with thermal power. The decision was taken by the power ministry in consultation with the MNRE and other stakeholders since imposition of charges would have raised cost of using solar power from another state by ₹1-2.50/kWh, depending on the distance it is transmitted and voltage at which it is supplied. The Delhi Metro Rail Corp, for example, signed an agreement in April to draw most of its daytime power needs from the 750 MW ultra mega solar power project – three plants of 250 MW each – being built at the Rewa solar park, Madhya Pradesh.
Providing solar pumps to farmers is the new give away scheme that cannot be easily be criticised by economic observers even if they are committed to liberal market fundamentals as it involves solar energy which is enjoying divine status. A number of states are unrolling massive subsidy schemes to offer expensive solar pumps to farmers. The Punjab government plans to set up solar photovoltaic projects to run over 2000 agriculture pump sets by extending 80 percent subsidy in FY18. In the budgetary provision for FY18 an allocation of ₹1 billion was made under the scheme. Punjab provides free power to over 1 million agriculture tube-wells and incumbent Congress government has announced to continue the subsidy on power. The state government was liable to pay ₹ 63 billion as power subsidy to Punjab State Power Corp Ltd for supply to agriculture sector, BPL and SC households in FY17 as per the tariff orders of Punjab State Electricity Board.
Not to be left out farmers in Tamil Nadu too can avail themselves of 90 percent subsidy for solar-powered irrigation pump sets if they exit the waiting list for farm connections. The State government will give 1,000 solar-powered irrigation pump sets of 5, 7.5 and 10 hp under a model programme to farmers across the State. These off grid units will be available with 40 percent State government subsidy, 20 percent from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; 30 percent from Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation and the farmer’s share will be 10 percent. This scheme will be implemented at a cost of ₹ 150 million. To avail this benefit, farmers will have to apply for irrigation pump sets under the seniority scheme. The government will also offer Tatkal scheme in which farmers can get conventional agriculture connection within six months of application. They will have to shell out ₹ 250,000 for a 5 hp motor connection; ₹ 275,000 for a 7.5 hp motor supply; and ₹ 300,000 for a 10 hp supply. The connection will be provided within six months for 10,000 applicants. The government also plans to establish a 500 MW solar park through a private player; and a mobile app will also be developed for power consumers to pay their utility bills.
In addition, over 12,000 solar pumps have been distributed so far to the farmers at subsidised rates under ‘Saur Sujala Yojna’ in Chhattisgarh. Focus will be on 85 tribal-dominated development blocks for the distribution of the solar energy-based irrigation pumps. 20,000 farmers may be covered under this scheme by the end of this year and farmers belonging to remote areas and inaccessible regions, should be given priority while distribution. Farmers are being provided solar-irrigation pumps of 5 hp and 3 hp at heavily subsidized rates in the state. Solar irrigation pump worth ₹ 350,000 (3 hp) is being given to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe classes at the cost of ₹ 7,000, to Other Backward Class (OBC) at ₹ 12,000 and general category farmers at ₹ 18,000. The remaining amount is borne by the state government.
Gujarat saw its highest ever levels of power generation from wind energy, thanks to high wind velocities on its coast and steadily increasing generation capacity. Wind power generation in the state reached a record 3,460 MW on June 20, 2017. The rise also come as a major relief to GUVNL, which is currently getting less from private companies under PPAs. According to data from the Union ministry of new and renewable energy, of all the states, Gujarat added the second highest wind power generation capacity, 1,275 MW, in FY17. The state currently has total installed capacity of 5,339 MW. Wind power production has picked up at a time when the state-run power utility has been getting less power from private sector power producers for quite a while. GUVNL is bullish on green power to meet its future needs. The state entity recently invited bids to purchase 1,000 MW of renewable energy. GUVNL floated tenders to procure 500 MW each from wind and solar power projects, to fulfil its RPOs and meet the future needs of its distribution companies.
Attracted by the opportunities in India’s green energy space, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. is planning to enter the country’s renewable energy sector. To start with, the Moscow-based Rosatom, through its unit JSC OTEK, may acquire wind energy projects in India. Rosatom, which has a partnership with NPCIL for the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, is also planning to set up small hydropower projects in the country. Rosatom’s India strategy follows US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement on grounds the deal favoured India and China and was unfair to the US. Of the total capacity targeted, 60 GW is to come from wind power. Wind power is the major component of India’s renewable sector. Of India’s 57.26 GW of installed renewable energy capacity, wind power accounts for over 56% or 32.27 GW. Having control over the supply chain will help Rosatom in reining in costs and offering competitive tariffs as India’s wind energy sector moves away from feed-in tariffs to an auction-based market. SECI plans to auction 4,000 MW of wind energy power-purchase contracts every year. With the disruption caused by India’s low clean energy tariffs playing out, rating agency Crisil cautioned that the risk profile of wind projects will increase. India’s ultra thermal plants, designed to run on foreign coal, may no longer afford to do so economically in the future, Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance Studies Australasia with the IEEFA said. This can be seen in the case of India’s two largest thermal power projects in Gujarat’s port town of Mundra — Adani Power’s 4.6 GW and Tata Power’s 4 GW plants. Both are no longer competitive owing to nearly doubled price rise of coal from Indonesia since their planning and incapability to hike tariffs, Buckley said. Adanis’ Mundra plant has previously been disclosed to be operating with 100 percent imported coal from Indonesia while Adani Power has been operating at a net loss, and has been doing so for the last seven years, Buckley said. As India works through and resolves domestic supply shortages, the need for imported thermal coal will continue to progressively decline. India targets for all public sector undertakings to be using 100 percent domestic coal by this fiscal, following NTPC’s move to virtually cease coal imports in 2016-17. An IEEFA report titled “NTPC as a Force in India’s Electricity Transition” showcases how the Indian government is shifting rapidly towards a low-carbon economy — a step towards achieving the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement aim of cutting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. India’s draft “Ten Year Electricity Plan” calls for a staggering 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027, in addition to 72 GW of hydro and 15 GW of nuclear energy.
An Indian social business has launched the country’s first solar satellite television service, bringing clean energy powered entertainment to households and businesses through a pay-as-you-go payment scheme. Simpa Networks, which began operations in 2011, is one of thousands of social enterprises in India tapping into the renewable energy market in a country where one-fifth of the 1.3 billion population has no access to electricity. With the majority of those without power from poor communities in countryside, the company focuses on selling solar powered products such as LED lights, phone charging points and fans on financing to rural homes and shops in northern India. The system, which includes an 80 W solar panel, 20″ energy efficient LED television, battery, solar charge controller, is available on a repayment plan of up to 36 months. Interest applies but approximate rates were not revealed. Customers make an initial payment to have the system installed then use a pay-as-you-go model for the electricity. The payments contribute to total cost and, once fully paid, the customer owns the system and the electricity is free. The service, which was launched, has around 350 customers so far in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Simpa uses its “SmartPanel” technology which enables remote monitoring and control of the rooftop solar panel. Customers prepay for the energy and the SmartPanel delivers power until the prepaid credits expire and the customer must then recharge. The company said the payment plan is effective as such technology would be unaffordable for most rural families. With no credit history, most are considered “unbankable” and would not be able to access loans easily, it said. Given solar television service is new and few know how to use and maintain it, the company said, Simpa has trained rural solar technicians who are responsible for installation, after sale services and monthly collection of payments.
Cab aggregator Ola and WWF-India joined hands to support ‘Sahasra Jyoti’, a renewable energy project in the Sundarbans. The ‘Sahasra Jyoti’ initiative is aimed at bringing sustainable development to the Sundarbans by enabling energy access to 1,000 households through solar energy. The ‘Sahasra Jyoti’ project is aimed at setting up individual micro solar power stations for 15-20 hamlets in the Satjelia Island which is a forest-fringe island, sharing its boundary with the Sundarban Tiger Reserve and has an approximate population of 40,000 people.
Not surprisingly all this capacity will contribute to India’s solar power generation capacity which is expected to nearly double to 22 GW by the end of current fiscal. India has set ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar energy and 60 GW of wind power capacities by 2022. In FY17 net capacity addition of renewable energy was higher than that of conventional energy. As India is moving towards meeting its commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change, its renewable energy market is likely to witness a strong growth over many years, the rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said. According to the rating agency, India’s emission reduction commitments under the Paris agreement will lead to a sharp rise in renewable energy capacity. India aims to achieve 40 percent of cumulative installed capacity through non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 from the current 30% and also plans to grow its renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 from the current 57 GW. It further said the rise in renewable energy capacity will bring execution challenges, including land acquisition, establishing resource quality, grid connectivity and availability. On the financing of renewable energy projects, India will need to invest close to $150 billion to meet its 2022 renewable energy targets. Since domestic banks are constrained in their lending to renewable projects, foreign capital will play an important role. However, foreign currency financing is constrained by the limited hedging products available to fully cover the rupee currency risk of purchase power agreements, it said.
India is staying true to its ambitious renewable energy targets by showing a steady growth in renewable energy installations in India, which as of April 2017 account for 17.5 percent of the total energy source. The latest data, which is provided by the ministry of new and renewable energy, has been analyzed by Mercom Capital Group. India’s overall installed capacity has reached 329.4 GW, with renewables accounting for 57.472 GW. The figures show a significant rise on the data released by the ministry in February when the figure stood at around 50 GW. In April 2017, solar reached 3.8 percent of total installed capacity up from 2.23 percent in April 2016. Country’s coal-fired fleet remains strong with a 59 percent share in the total energy mix, although NTPC has showed itself to be the principle supporter of the government’s green energy agenda. India has set a target of reaching 170 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, out of which 100 GW is to come from solar. Though Niti Ayog’s draft energy policy is refreshingly forthright on the challenge of incorporating renewables it observes that rooftop solar set-ups would have become the norm by 2040. But in the immediate run-up to universal coverage of electricity, it may not be viable to tap rooftop solar for homes, according NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy. The policy notes that the share of solar and wind is expected to be 14-18 percent and 9-11 percent in electricity, and 3-5 percent and 2-3 percent in the primary commercial energy mix by 2040. However, oil and gas would have almost maintained their shares of 26 percent and 6.5 percent in 2015-16 to 25-27 percent and 8-9 percent in 2040, respectively. This will be in spite of a more than three times increase in gas consumption, owing to a large increase in total energy, the increase in gas would be less in percentage terms. While coal would have risen in absolute terms (nearly double), but in relative terms, it would have reduced its contribution from 58 percent in 2015 to 44-50 percent in 2040. The overall share of fossil fuels would have come down from 81 percent in 2012 to 78 percent by 2040. By 2040, solid biomass is expected to be replaced by liquid and gaseous fuels, and electric cooking will be a major practice across the country, according to the Niti Aayog’s vision. But 30 percent of the rural households will remain dependent on solid biomass for cooking.
The finance ministry has rejected an ambitious ₹200 billion plan to prop up local solar equipment manufacturers with incentives and subsidies to help them withstand the flood of Chinese imports. The domestic industry is concerned about rising imports of solar equipment, which rose 38 percent to ₹ 214 billion in FY17, accounting for 90 percent of the solar cells and modules used by Indian solar developers. The MNRE began working on the policy soon after an appellate body of the WTO upheld a complaint made by the US against the ‘domestic content requirement’ component in India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in September last year. The solar mission had a provision by which a part of India’s solar capacity target had to be met using locally made solar panels and modules, which the US maintained contravened three separate WTO agreements to which India was a signatory. The plan, intended to help Indian solar manufacturers’ lower their costs through various subsidies and thereby enable their products to match global prices, would have cost the exchequer ₹200 billion.
India’s Adani Group inked a deal with East Hope Group, one of China’s largest companies, which will invest over $300 million to set up a manufacturing unit for solar power generation equipment in Gujarat. An estimated investment of more than $300 million is expected to be made by East Hope Group in India, as part of the proposed cooperation between the two conglomerates. East Hope Group, a 70 billion yuan company, is one of the largest corporate houses in China.
Private utility Tata Power said it has completed the construction of its 187 MW Shuakhevi hydro power project in Georgia. The company, through Adjaristsqali Georgia, its joint venture with Norway’s Clean Energy Invest AS Norway and IFC InfraVentures has completed the construction of the 187 MW plant, Tata Power said in a statement. The Shuakhevi project is the largest hydropower plant to be built in Georgia over the past fifty years, and its project investment cost exceeded $420 million, it said. The project will generate about 470 GW of clean energy while lowering greenhouse gases emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes per year and the power generated by this will be exclusively sold within Georgia throughout the winter which is a period of energy deficit.
The Union Cabinet may take up for approval this month the hydro-power policy which aims to provide about ₹167 billion support for stalled 40 hydel projects, entailing 11,639 MW capacity, and to classify all such ventures as renewable energy. Once it is approved, the distinction between large and small hydro plants would go, which would enable India to achieve clean power capacity of 225 GW by 2022. At present, a hydropower project of up to 25 MW is classified under renewable energy and is entitled to various incentives provided by the government. Projects beyond this capacity are not in this category and hence not entitled to the benefits. Out of the 30 GW installed power generation capacity, 44.59 GW comes from large hydro projects (above 25 MW) and 57.26 GW from other renewable power generation capacities. India has set an ambitious target of adding 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 which includes 100 GW of solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power (up to 25 MW capacity each). Under the policy, the government will provide interest subvention of 4 percent during construction for up to 7 years and for 3 years after the start of commercial operation to all hydropower projects above 25 MW. It is proposed that the funding for this policy would come from coal cess or national clean energy fund or non- lapsable central pool of resources for northeastern states for eight years till 2024-25. A Hydro Power Fund would be created under the power ministry for providing funds to the projects under the policy. The policy provides for Hydro Purchase Obligation for hydro projects of over 25 MW capacity. Under this, the distribution companies would be mandated to buy a proportion of power from these plants. However, this benefit would be available to those hydropower plants, which would be able to begin commercial operations after five years of notification of this policy. The policy would also mandate power ministry to engage with bankers and financial institutions for modifying lending terms and conditions for hydropower projects. The list of purchase obligations on distribution companies may actually grow as producers and importers of natural gas want an obligation to purchase gas based power.
The second 1,000 MW unit at the KNPP will restart generation soon, the NPCIL said. The unit was under outage due to control circuit malfunction, Power System Operation Corp Ltd said. In May only, the unit was shut down due to water and steam leakage. It was reconnected to the grid several days later. India’s atomic power plant operator, NPCIL has two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at the KNPP built with Russian equipment. The first unit was shut down for annual maintenance and refuelling, a process that would take around two months.
Rest of the World
Technological breakthroughs made most of the non-fossil fuel sector internationally. A solar-powered drone backed by Facebook that could one day provide worldwide internet access has quietly completed a test flight in Arizona after an earlier attempt ended with a crash landing. Facebook’s long-term plan for the drone, called Aquila, is to have it and others provide internet access to 4 billion people around the world who are currently in the dark.
Scientists have developed solar-powered smart windows with tunable glazing that can control the heat and light inside a home, saving up to 40 percent in an average building’s energy costs. The system developed by researchers at Princeton University in the US features solar cells that selectively absorb near UV light, so the windows are completely self-powered, inexpensive and easy to apply to existing windows. The smart window controls the transmission of visible light and infrared heat into the building, while the new type of solar cell uses near-UV light to power the system. Since near-UV light is invisible to the human eye, the researchers set out to harness it for the electrical energy needed to activate the tinting technology.
Scientists at Stanford University in the US have developed a device that can wirelessly charge a moving object at close range. The technology could one day be used to charge electric cars on the highway, or medical implants and cellphones as you walk nearby. According to the study, published in the journal Nature, wireless charging would address a major drawback of plug-in electric cars their limited driving range. A charge-as-you-drive system would overcome these limitations. A coil in the bottom of the vehicle could receive electricity from a series of coils connected to an electric current embedded in the road. Mid-range wireless power transfer is based on magnetic resonance coupling. The team transmitted electricity wirelessly to a moving LED light bulb but the demonstration only involved a one milliwatt charge, far less than what electric cars require. The scientists are now working on greatly increasing the amount of electricity that can be transferred, and tweaking the system to extend the transfer distance and improve efficiency.
NASA will test a new flexible solar panel on the International Space Station, that rolls up to form a compact cylinder and may offer substantial cost savings as well as an increase in power for satellites in the future. Traditional solar panels used to power satellites can be bulky with heavy panels folded together using mechanical hinges. Smaller and lighter than traditional solar panels, the ROSA consists of a centre wing made of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. ROSA can be easily adapted to different sizes, including very large arrays, to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft. It also has the potential to make solar arrays more compact and lighter weight for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on Earth. The technology conceivably could be adapted to provide solar power in remote locations. The technology of the booms has additional potential applications, such as for communications and radar antennas and other instruments. The ROSA investigation looks at how well this new type of solar panels deploys in the micro-gravity and extreme temperatures of space. The investigation also measures the array’s strength and durability and how the structure responds to spacecraft manoeuvres.
US solar installations will fall 16 percent this year, according to a report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, as utilities slow procurement of projects to meet state mandates and residential systems become harder to sell. Following a banner 2016 driven by expectations that a key federal tax credit would expire at the end of that year, the utility-scale market is expected to drop to 8 GW this year from more than 10 GW last year, the report said. The utility market, which accounts for about half of all solar systems, is expected to resume growth in 2019 as utilities seek to procure projects before the 30 percent federal tax credit for solar projects begins to step down in 2020. Prices on solar systems dropped further during the first quarter, falling below $1 per watt for the first time, the report said. Residential solar is expected to rise 2 percent for the year, well below the 19 percent growth it logged last year. California is experiencing a major decline in adoption of home installations that contributed to a 17 percent first-quarter drop in the nationwide market. Large national installers that make up close to half the market, like Tesla Inc’s SolarCity and Vivint Solar Inc, have slowed growth to focus on profitability. The market for non-residential solar, which includes commercial and community solar installations, rose 30 percent in the first quarter thanks in part to a robust community solar market in Minnesota and growth in New York.
With the Trump administration expected to publish an analysis that could undermine the US wind and solar industries, two renewable energy lobbying groups released their own study saying new energy sources pose no threat to the country’s power grid. Wind and solar advocates have said the government study’s outcome appeared to be pre-determined to favour fossil fuel industries. The new report, commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association and Advanced Energy Economy, said cheap natural gas is behind most of the decline in the numbers of US coal-fired power plants in recent years, not government subsidies that have bolstered the growth of wind and solar power. It also said there is no evidence to show that wind and solar energy are threatening the reliability of the electric grid. The groups commissioned the report shortly after Energy Secretary Rick Perry in April ordered a 60-day study of the reliability of the grid and said Obama-era policies offering incentives for the deployment of renewable energy had come at the expense of energy sources like coal and nuclear.
Solar energy in the US alone employs more people traditional coal, gas and oil combined. The US Department of Energy report said solar power employed 3,74,000 people over the year 2015-2016, leading to 43 percent of the power sector’s workforce. Whereas, the traditional fossil fuels employed 187,117 people, making up to just 22 percent of the sector’s workforce. In 2016, employment in the solar power has increased by 25 percent, adding 73,000 new jobs to the economy, while wind energy employment witnessed an increase of 32 percent. In a period of ten years, between 2006 and 2016, the net generation from the traditional fossil fuels has declined by 53 percent, whereas, electricity generation from the natural gas increased by 33 percent, and solar by over 5,000 percent in the same period. The report suggests that 6.4 million Americans now work in the energy industry. In 2016, 300,000 new net jobs were added, which made up 14 percent of the entire job growth of the US for the year. The revelation is contrary to the ideology of the US President Donald Trump, who has just stepped out the Paris climate deal. Donald Trump’s environmental document has made no serious note of climate change or global warming. Some experts observed that higher employment numbers could signal higher transaction costs rather than economic or energy efficiency of the sector.
Germany raised the proportion of its power produced by renewable energy to 35 percent in the first half of 2017 from 33 percent the previous year, according to the BEE renewable energy association. Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. Germany has been getting up to 85 percent of its electricity from renewable sources on certain sunny, windy days this year. The overall share of wind, hydro and solar power in the country’s electricity mix climbed to a record 35 percent in the first half, the BEE said. The government has pledged to move to a decarbonized economy by the middle of the century and has set a target of 80 percent renewables for gross power consumption by 2050. It aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels and 95 percent by 2050.
Brazil’s government will not award new licenses for wind and solar power generation projects, despite requests from the renewable energy sector, as power markets struggle with oversupply in a sluggish economy. Brazil was one of the world’s fastest growing markets for the wind power sector in the first half of the decade with a flurry of farms appearing along the nation’s vast, windy coast. But a deep recession that began in early 2014 and from which Brazil is only now emerging brought the trend to a halt. The last licenses for new wind or solar generation projects were awarded in 2015. An auction for licenses was called off in 2016 and it is unlikely new licenses will be issued this year.
EDF’s Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor being built in northwest France is fit for service despite weak spots in its steel, but the utility will have to replace the reactor cover by 2024 at the latest, nuclear regulator ASN said. The ASN’s provisional ruling – which will be followed by a final ruling in October after consultation of the public – is in line with recommendations in a report by its technical arm IRSN, which says Flamanville can start up safely but will need constant extra monitoring over its lifetime and will need to replace its reactor cover after a few years of operation. Following the discovery of carbon concentrations in the Areva-made base and cover of the Flamanville reactor late 2014, ASN had ordered EDF and reactor maker Areva to do extensive testing of the reactor’s steel and has reviewed the results of these tests in the first half of this year. The ASN’s green light for Flamanville, slated for start-up in late 2018, is also a European Commission precondition for approving EDF’s planned takeover of Areva’s reactor business. EDF plans to build two of the same Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactor models in Hinkley Point, Britain.
South Korea’s oldest nuclear reactor, the 40-year-old Kori No. 1, will halt operations, becoming the country’s first nuclear plant to close permanently amid plans for a shift towards natural gas and renewables. South Korea is the world’s fifth-biggest consumer of nuclear energy, and one of few countries to export its technology, having won an order to build reactors in the United Arab Emirates. But a scandal over forged certificates for spare parts in 2012 and the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in neighbouring Japan have undermined public support for nuclear power, while the new left-leaning government aims to speed up plans to move away from both coal and nuclear. Another 11 of South Korea’s 25 reactors are set to shut down by 2030 as they reach the end of their operating lives, although some may push to have their operating licenses renewed. With the country still setting its long-term energy plans, it is unclear how many will be replaced by new reactors. Since Kori No.1 began operations on June 19, 1977, the 587 MW reactor has generated enough electricity to meet the entire country’s current demand for around 100 days, according to data from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission. The energy ministry estimated it will take at least 15 years to fully dismantle Kori No. 1, at a cost of about $571 million. Some experts hope that shutting the reactor may help South Korea catch up to the United States, Japan and Germany in decommissioning plants. The global decommissioning market is expected to grow to about $980 billion by 2050, according to a report by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute.
MW: Megawatt, GW: Gigawatt, kWh: kilowatt hour, CIL: Coal India Ltd, RPOs: Renewable Purchase Obligations, MNRE: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, hp: horsepower, GUVNL: Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, SECI: Solar Energy Corp of India, LED: Light Emitting Diode, KNPP: Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, PPAs: Power Purchase Agreements, FY: Financial Year, NPCIL: Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd, IEEFA: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, WTO: World Trade Organization, US: United States, NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ROSA: Roll-Out Solar Array
Courtesy: Energy News Monitor | Volume XIV; Issue 5