India is the world’s fastest-growing market for the fossil fuel. So why are investors fleeing?
If India is such a bright hope for global coal demand, why can’t investors see it?
The country will experience the largest increase in coal burning through 2023, according to the International Energy Agency, with a 3.9% annual pace of growth that should be enough to offset falling consumption in developed countries. BloombergNEF, whose forecasts tend to be less bullish than the IEA’s on fossil fuel demand, is not far behind: Coal-fired generation will increase about 48% by 2030 to hit 1,512 terawatt-hours, more than all of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
The curious thing is that when you look at the Indian power sector, there are few signs it’s on the brink of a boom. Quite the opposite: As many as 65 gigawatts of the 90GW of private-sector generators connected in India are under financial stress, according to a parliamentary report last year. As my colleague Andy Mukherjee has written, the resulting 1.8 trillion rupees ($26 billion) in bad loans is contributing to a nonperforming asset crisis that risks undermining the Indian financial system.
Furthermore, activity to increase coal-fired generation is overwhelmingly dependent on state support. Out of 48GW of coal generators planned to be built by 2027 under the country’s current electricity plan, just 14% is being developed by the private sector; a matching 48GW of generation is already slated for retirement by the same date.
Even that modest level of private investment appears to be retreating now, according to a report published Friday by the Centre for Financial Accountability, a Delhi-based group pushing for better standards of development finance. Lending to coal-fired power fell 90% in 2018, to 60 billion rupees from 608 billion rupees the previous year, the CFA said. The vast majority of that total was refinancing of existing plants: Just 12 billion rupees was dedicated to new generation, all of it to just one state-backed plant in Uttar Pradesh…Full Story
President Donald Trump is scaling back sweeping Obama-era curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants burning coal, his biggest step yet to fulfill his campaign promises to stop a “war” on the fossil fuel.
Yet the Environmental Protection Agency’s rewrite of the Clean Power Plan — which is being unveiled Wednesday — will do little to halt a nationwide shift away from that fossil fuel and toward cheaper electricity generated by the wind, the sun and natural gas.
The U.S. is experiencing “a wave of coal retirements — and we don’t think we’re near the end of it,” said Nicholas Steckler, head of U.S. power for BloombergNEF. “Coal is inferior to natural gas in many ways today — it’s less flexible, it’s higher cost, even its fuel is generally more expensive, and, of course, it’s dirty. It has so many reasons stacked against it.”
The EPA’s final “Affordable Clean Energy” rule is designed to pare carbon dioxide emissions by encouraging efficiency upgrades at individual power plants. Like an earlier proposal released in October, the final rule will empower states to develop performance standards for plants based on assumptions about the kind of improvements that can be eked out by plugging duct leaks, installing advanced soot blowers and making other upgrades at the sites.
EPA says more Americans will die under its power-plant rollback
Where the new plan focuses on what can be achieved at individual coal plants, the Clean Power Plan it is replacing aimed to drive broader changes in the U.S. electric mix and threatened to spur a wave of coal plant closures. That measure — one of former President Barack Obama’s signature initiatives to combat climate change — compelled states to make systemwide changes in the name of cutting emissions, from bolstering energy efficiency and adding renewables to shutting coal-fired plants altogether.
Industry advocates say the Trump administration is curbing federal government overreach and leveling the playing field.
“It won’t necessarily be the saving grace for coal,” but “this regulation gives coal a fighting chance,” said Nick Loris, an economist with the Heritage Foundation. The EPA is following the rule of law and removing “government-imposed barriers that will lead to increased innovation, competition and efficiency that will ultimately drive down pollution.”
The EPA’s new approach is rooted in Clean Power Plan foes’ arguments that the agency does not have legal authority to regulate emissions beyond the boundaries of existing plants. In some cases, efficiency gains spurred by the new rule could encourage utilities to run their coal power plants more often, undercutting potential environmental benefits…Full Story
By Elisabeth Mahy | BBC
Britain has broken its record for the longest continuous period without generating electricity from coal.
National Grid said that the coal-free period lasted more than 90 hours before coming to an end on Monday afternoon.
It is the longest period since the industrial revolution and breaks the previous record set in April 2018 of 76 hours and 10 minutes.
The government plans to phase out Britain’s last coal power plants by 2025 to cut greenhouse gases.
Duncan Burt, director of operations at National Grid, told BBC Radio 5 Live it was “a really big deal”.
“It’s all about the sunny weather we’ve been seeing, so energy demand is low. There has been lots of lovely solar power off the panels too.”
In April, 2017 Britain went its first full day without coal since the 19th century.
Coal made up less than 10% of the country’s energy mix last year and will be less than that again in 2019, according to National Grid…Full Story
As Nersa prepares for public hearings on Eskom’s 45% Multi-Year tariff increase request (on top of an already approved 12% increase), Energy Expert Ted Blom has called on Eskom to scrap its application as the still captured and corrupt utility should not be granted any increases until a full forensic audit has been completed.
As we now enter 2019, Eskom is rudderless,” says Blom. “The Eskom board has proved to be dysfunctional and required Ministerial intervention on several occasions. Although appointed 12 months ago, they have been unable to carve out a credible turnaround plan, despite the use of expensive outside consultants.” Blom further pointed out the skills shortage which has lead to the President intervening by appointing “8 wise men” to steer the Board in the right direction by a deadline set for 31 January 2019.
“The many futile interventions point to an unsalvageable and bankrupt Eskom,” says Blom, “In fact, the pillaging is still continuing, this time by another ‘third force’ which has replaced the Zupta gang.”
The extent of the pillaging has already been confirmed by the Public Protector, the Parliamentary Investigation report, the Dentons report, and in Eskom’s annual report where it references corruption over 30 times. Questions remain as to why no-one has been prosecuted and no monetary recovery has occurred.
Throwing coal on the fire is an acknowledgement of serious design flaws at Medupi and Kusile, resulting in an estimated 10% or more performance incapacity – according to Minister Gordhan’s latest revelations. Yet Eskom kept this quiet since the first commission began in 2012.
Where are the auditors and Eskom Governance structures in all this mess?
In addition, Eskom has also acknowledged coal procurements lapses of late. According to Blom, rampant coal procurement fraud has been ongoing since 2006, and Eskom has ignored or blessed this ongoing fraud annually.
Although Eskom has acknowledged a bloated headcount (estimates are by 35 000 including ghost workers), Nersa continues to ignore the gross inefficiencies and has, since 2008, granted tariff increases of some 500% above the corresponding inflation rate. “This has just fueled and financed the rampant corruption,” claims Blom.
Still to be uncovered is the actual loss been forced onto Eskom as a result of Government’s corrupt renewable schemes. “Last year, it sucked around R34bn from Eskom revenue and is destined to increase to R50bn for this year “ states Blom. Another 14 GW of REIPP is in the pipeline on top of the currently approved 6GW – Blom suggests this will “kill off” Eskom within months as lenders can see the writing on the wall.
Blom intends representing electricity users at each of the 10 provincial public hearing venues from 14 January to 4 February 2019. “Against these dire circumstances, it is NOT appropriate for Eskom to proceed with their ‘business as usual’ tariff increase applications,” Blom stated…Read More