Monthly Archives: April 2011

Need to review safety at N-plants: Parikh

India’s Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) expert group chief Kirit Parikh has said that there is a need to completely review the safety measures at India’s various nuclear energy plants in view of the Japan shock, but cautioned against steering away from the nuclear energy option.

The Parikh report in August 2006 had formalised the use of nuclear energy option to meet the spiralling energy requirements of the country. The report estimated India to produce 63,000 MW of nuclear power by 2032 from the current level of 4,780 MW or about 3 per cent of total power capacity.

Parikh told Zee News, “There indeed is room to review and upgrade safety arrangements at nuclear power sites in India. But in terms of the option it is wrong to say that nuclear power is more or less risky than coal. Coal has claimed no less life in India.”

He cautioned that there was need to understand that the nuclear power fallout is not like a nuclear bomb which comes without any warning. In case of any emergency in nuclear power, there would be warnings but yes the learning from Japan needs to be incorporated, he added.

Asked whether the Japan experience should lead to any change in the projections for nuclear energy option here, Parikh said, “The mix prescribed in 2006 is still valid. We have to understand that there has to be focus on renewable energy sources and globally there is an inclination towards solar and wind but in the Indian context it would be premature to say that these sources would become the primary drivers anytime soon. Yes, we need to examine these at length to ensure we optimize the output from these emerging formats.”

The 2006 Parikh expert committee on integrated energy policy, while formally acknowledging country’s need and dependence for nuclear energy, had admitted to “India being poorly endowed with Uranium”. The report had further said, “Available uranium supply can fuel only 10,000 MW of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR).”

On the cost advantage or disadvantage of the nuclear energy option in view of conflicting reports, Parikh said, “We prescribed a competitive energy market but that has not been followed. It is not a question of option A versus B. What we said was that there is a need for bringing about price competiveness.”

He lamented the unwillingness of the government to accept expert body’s recommendations in full. “The government has only acted in a piece meal system and free pricing remains elusive. It needs to move away from administered mentality.”

The 2006 expert body IEP report, however, had underscored the cost disadvantage. The IEP report warned, “India is extracting Uranium from extremely low grade ores (as low as 0.1% Uranium) compared to ores with up to 12-14% Uranium in certain resources abroad. This makes Indian nuclear fuel 2-3 times costlier than international supplies.”

The report, however, saw merit in use of thorium. Parikh, however, stuck to his earlier proposition that India cannot afford not to pursue the nuclear energy option. His 2006 report had concluded that “despite the many delays and disappointments in achieving set targets of nuclear energy development in the past, this is an option we cannot afford not to pursue”.

Source – Zee News

Tata Power Company commissions the largest solar power plant in Maharashtra

In a bid to build a robust renewable energy portfolio that is 20-25% of its total generation capacity, Tata Power, India’s largest integrated private power utility, commissioned its 3 MW, Photo Voltaic (PV) based, grid connected solar power plant at Mulshi, Maharashtra.

This is the first and largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the State of Maharashtra and one of the largest in India. The plant is spread over 12 acres of land and is situated near Pune. The Company had set up its first solar power plant of 100 kW way back in 1996 at Walwhan in Lonavla.

Mr. Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Power, said, the commissioning of the grid connected 3 MW Solar power plant in Mulshi marks a significant milestone for Tata Power.

This addition reinforces the Company’s sustainability agenda and the commitment of setting up generation capabilities through renewable sources, said Sardana. MERC is one of the regulators to have adopted Renewable Power Obligations (RPO) and Tata’s customers in Mumbai would be getting Green Power through solar energy, he added.

The energy produced from the 3 MW Solar plant in Mulshi will be purchased by Tata Power- Distribution in Mumbai to meet the RPO as per MERC guidelines.

Tata BP Solar is the technology provider for the project. The project is Tata Power’s and Tata BP Solar’s novel experience in building, operating, and maintaining a megawatt-scale grid-connected solar power plant in India. Given the modular nature of the system, the project was executed in 9 months.

The Company has an aggressive plan of generating 25000 MW by 2017 and intends to have a 20-25% contribution from “clean power sources” which will include a mix of Hydro, Solar, Wind, Geothermal and Waste Gas generation.

Apart from the 3 MW solar plant at Mulshi, the Company, through its subsidiary, is implementing a solar power project of 25 MW in Mithapur, Gujarat for which it has already signed the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. (GUVNL), under the Gujarat State’s Solar Power Policy 2009.

The Gujarat solar project is targeting Commercial Operation in December 2011. Tata Power’s subsidiary, NDPL has also commissioned a 1 MW grid connected roof top solar plant in Delhi.

Tata Power is India’s largest private sector power utility with an installed generation capacity of about 3120 MW and a presence in all the segments of the power sector viz Generation (thermal, hydro, solar and wind), Transmission, Distribution and Trading.

Source – investinindia.com

Himachal Pradesh CM Inaugurates 6th International Hydro-Power conference

Shimla: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, said that the Himachal Pradesh was providing reliable and quality supply of electricity to consumers to all in the State. He said that 100% revenue village of the State had been electrified long ago. Not only this, the consumers in the State had to pay of the lowest tariffs in the country. He said that the State also resolved to contribute to the maximum possible extent to the national endeavor to have renewable energy sources make up 40% of the total installed capacity in the country.

Inaugurating 6th International Hydro-Power conference for speedier harnessing of hydro-power potential in Northern Himalayas here yesterday evening, Chief Minister said that the state had over 23,000 MW of identified hydro-potential out of which 6728 MW had so far been harnessed. He said that the priority was being accorded for speedy harnessing balance hydro power potential in a manner that optimizes returns to the State. With a view to achieve this, the State initiated the process of involving both the Central Government PSUs and the Private Sector in a big way in hydro-power development. The proposed distribution of 23000 MW in various sectors is likely to be 17% State sector, 39% Central/Joint sector, 38% private sector and remaining 6% is projects less than 5 MW, he added.

He said that in current financial year 2011-2012, 2090 MW power with the commissioning of the 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo project, Malana-II (100 MW), Budhil(70 MW), Chamera-III (231 MW), Parvati (520 MW) and some other small Hydel Projects was likely to be added in the power system. He said that by the end of the 12th Plan the State would have over 17,000 MW of generating capacity.

He said that to embark upon our ambitious programme in Hydel generation, the Pradesh had formulated its own Hydro-Power Policy in 2006 and have improved further on this policy in the last three year which seeks to safeguard the interest of the people of the State on one hand and to protect the delicate ecology and environment of the other. He said that to ensure development of local area during the construction stage, mandatory provision of 1.5% of project cost has been kept in the state policy and in post- commissioning scenario, a provision for 1% Additional Free Power has been earmarked for development of local area in line with the National Hydro-Policy.

Prof. Dhumal said that the Government sector has also been made more accountable by fixing the time limit for accordance of TEC at State-level. The condition of Governments right to participate upto 49% of equity in projects above 100 MW on selective basis has been removed to give more clarity to the expected bidders. He said that power sector was critical to the development of the economy because development in all other sectors depends, to a great extent, on this sector. The State Government is fully aware of this fact and has accorded top priority to this sector, he added.

Chief Minister said that conditions for mode of sale of power generated from projects above 5 MW had been redrafted such that the developer has more options to market the generated power. He said that after implementation of these modifications we have recently allotted 13 projects with aggregate capacity of 1304 MW. The entire bidding process was completed in a period of nine weeks compared to over a year in earlier rounds of allotment, he added.

Chief Minister said that since a number of projects are coming up simultaneously in the same river basins the MOEF has added the requirement for basin studies/carrying capacity studies of the rivers/streams. He said that these studies are essential in the present context but it is also a fact that these are time consuming and implementation of projects should not be held up while these are completed. He said that the State had already taken a lead in this by starting the basin studies for Satluj Basin and also started the process for initiating the action on conducting the similar studies in other basins.

He also congratulated INDIA-Tech Foundation for convening this conference to discuss the important issues related to speedier harnessing of hydro-power potential in Northern Himalaya.

Sh. R.V.Shahi, Chairman, India Tech. Foundation and Former Power Secretary, Govt. of India said that there was a dire necessity to harness the available Hydro-Power Potential speedily to meet the growing power requirements. He said that Himachal Pradesh had progressive Hydle policy which would result into speedy exploitation of the identified Hydle potential. He also elaborated the status of Hydle-Power potential of the country.

Sh.D.P.Goel, Managing Director, J.P.Karchham Hydle-Power Corporation underlined the need to harness Hydle-Power potential under PPP mode and also increase the share of local stakeholders in the power projects executed in the area. He said that Karchham project would be commissioned by August this year.

Sh. J.K.Sharma, Director Projects, NHPC said that Hydro-Power happened to be the clean development mechanism and was competent to meet the shortage of electricity. He said that maximum of Hydle potential was in Himalayan region to meet the power requirements for the country to larger extent.

Sh. Inder Mohan, President, India Tech. Foundation said that Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir States had Hydle potential of over 45000 MW and both the States had entrepreneur-friendly policy.

Sh.R.P.Singh, Chief Managing Director, Satluj Jal Vidhut Nigam welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries. He also detailed out the power generation activities of the corporation and thanked the Chief Minister for his moral and other support.

Sh. Shabir Ahmad Khan, Minister of State for Power Jammu & Kashmir elaborated the Hydle-Power generation activities in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and said that the State was poised to emerge energy surplus State in-coming few years. He said that Jammu & Kashmir would be taking benefits from the experience of Himachal Pradesh.

Sh. V.K.Pandit, Former Secretary, Power Govt. of India proposed vote of thanks on the occasion.

Present on the occasion among others were Smt. Rajwant Sandhu, Chief Secretary, Sh. Deepak Sanan, Principal Secretary (Revenue), Senior Officers of State Government and representatives from different Hydro-Power companies.

Source - orissadiary.com

Orissa to think twice before introducing competition in power

Though not totally opposed to the competition in the power sector, Orissa government today said it would “think twice” before introducing competition in the electricity distribution system.

The state government’s views on the proposal of introducing competition in the electricity distribution, came out at a workshop organised by Independent Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI). “We are not opposed to competition in the power sector. Orissa is the first state in the country to privatise power sector. However, we need to study ground situation properly before taking any decision on opening up power distribution market,” said Energy minister Atanu S. Nayak. Nayak was replying to a proposal mooted by director general of IPPAI Harry Dhaul at the workshop. Seeking introduction of competition in the electricity distribution system, Dhaul argued that the consumers should be given a choice to select their distributors. Like any other products, the consumers need to have rights to chose the distributors instead being forced to avail power from one specific company, he said.

“When consumers are given choice in telecom, television and many other products, they should be given equal opportunity in power sector also,” Dhaul said.Asking IPPAI to enter into competition in social sector, Orissa’s Energy secretary P K Jena observed that electricity was not essentially a market product. Power is more linked with social obligations of a government and therefore should reach the poor people on priority basis. Stating that the state did not get expected results from power sector reforms, Jena pointed out that about 28 states in the country were yet to bring reforms in the sector. Jena feared that the poor consumers might suffer in the process of competition among power distribution companies. Describing Orissa as the ultimate destination for power generation in the country, Amitabh Mudgal, senior vice-president of marketing and corporate affairs, Monnet Power Company Limited, said that any reforms should start from the state. Orissa is the only state in the country which has the potential to generate 50,000 MW of electricity from the present level of 4,000 MW. Therefore, the state should open up the distribution market for the welfare of the consumers.

Source – PTI

India Calls for A Robust Power Grid in SAARC Region

India has called for integrating the entire SAARC region by a robust Power Grid system to address power deficit in South Asian Countries. Speaking at the Round Table Conference on ““Promoting Investment Opportunity in Power Sector in South Asia: Leveraging Cross Border Power Trading”, Minister of State for Power, Shri K.C. Venugopal said here today that a SAARC power grid linking Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has the estimated potential to install at least 1,00,000 MW in the region for common use among its member countries. He added that although India has reached a significant installed capacity of 1,72,000 MW, the shortages have been in the range of more than 8% in the energy and 10% during the peak hours. Its revised 11th Five Year Plan target of capacity addition is more than 60,000 MW, which is more than the total capacity added in the previous two Plans.

Shri Venugopal said that although the issue of cross border trading is a complex one involving market, technology, finance and most importantly geo-political issues, there has been some success as well. One of the good examples of cross border power trading is between Bhutan and India and also to certain extent between Nepal and India. Bhutan is supplying almost 1200 – 1400 MW to the Indian grid and the arrangement between the two countries has been working to the satisfaction of both sides. The Minister added that the success of power trading between Bhutan and India has encouraged the two countries to take up more hydro projects through cooperative ventures and many Indian public sector companies are engaged in collaboration to add 10,000 MW capacity in Bhutan by the year 2020.

Expressing satisfaction on increasing private investment in power generation, Shri Venugoapal said that out of more than 58,000 MW power projects under construction, private developers are supporting about 32,339 MW. Thus Indian power sector is showing good example of Public-Private Partnership to enhance generation capacity and overall electricity availability in the country.

The one day conference was attended by the delegates from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and deliberated on current level of energy trades particularly electricity between India and neighbouring countries.

Source – Press Information Bureau

New body for nuclear oversight

Signalling its resolve to go ahead with a proposed $10 billion (Rs44,600 crore) nuclear plant, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on Tuesday announced it would set up an independent, statutory nuclear regulatory body.

The move, which comes at a time when the government is contemplating a greater role for the private sector as it pushes for higher reliance on nuclear power, would make the regulatory process transparent and the body accountable to Parliament.

It also conveys the UPA’s resolve to tackle the public agitation against the project.

“The government will introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to create an independent and autonomous Nuclear Regulatory Authority of India that will subsume the existing Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB),” it said in a statement after a meeting headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Fears of a disaster after the nuclear accident in Fukushima in Japan had intensified protests against the proposed 9,900 megawatts nuclear plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, by farmers and fishermen in the villages near the proposed site, who were already against land acquisition for the project.

Pledging the government’s intent for tighter safety norms, minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh said: “Today, a very important decision has been taken that each reactor in Jaitapur…will have a stand-alone safety system, a dedicated operating and maintenance system… Fukushima saw the cascading of the failure of one reactor, and that is what caused much of the public concern on Jaitapur.”

Srikumar Banerjee, who heads the department of atomic energy, said the move was “significant” as the new regulator would be a statutory body and, hence, answerable to Parliament.

The Jaitapur plant, expected to be operational by 2019, would be the first nuclear plant after New Delhi signed a nuclear accord with Washington in 2008, ending what it refers to as a nuclear apartheid against India since its nuclear test in 1998.

The project consists of six reactors to be built in stages with Paris-based Areva SA.

Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra, said his government was engaging with the “society” and political parties. A “substantial compensation package has been worked out by the government of Maharashtra and NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd), and will be announced soon,” he said.

M.P. Ram Mohan, an expert on nuclear law at the Energy Research Institute, said the government’s decision was a “positive” step and an independent body would bring about greater transparency in the workings of atomic energy regulators.

“If it’s a statutory body, there will be more questions, discussions as well as greater participation by social scientists in the way regulators clear nuclear projects,” he said. “It’s high time that such a body came about.”

Source – livemint

India generates 811 billion units electricity in 2010-11

PTI reported that India saw an electricity generation of 811 billion units in the last fiscal marginally lower than the set target primarily on account of shortage of coal and water.

The country needs enhanced infrastructure and power capacity to sustain high growth trajectory had targeted an electricity generation of 830.8 billion units in 2010-2011.

The figure represent a growth of over 5% as against 768.4 BU achieved in 2009-2010 financial year.

In the last fiscal, the electricity generation from thermal power sources stood at 664.9 BU compared to the target of 690.9 BU.

The CEA said that “Growth of thermal generation was mainly restricted due to coal shortages, receipt of poor quality or wet coal closure of some units in the Western region due to acute raw water shortage.”

Source – Indian Express

HCL Infosystems to execute Jharkhand R-APDRP

The Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) has roped in the HCL Infosystems to have the information technology (IT) backing for power sector reforms in the state.

To achieve the task, the Jharkhand State Electricity Board has signed a Rs 138 crore deal with the HCL Infosystems for implementing IT infrastructure under the centrally-aided Restructured- Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP).

It would cover 30 towns including 66 sub-divisions and 354 offices of the JSEB.

JSEB Chief Shiv Basant said the project would help the power utility company from ‘concept to commissioning’ for facilitating reduction of aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses through strengthening and upgradation of the transmission and distribution network.

This project will work towards establishing reliable and automated systems for sustained collection of accurate base line data, and the adoption of Information Technology in the areas of metering, billing, energy accounting and customer care to provide the right information and experience to customers.

This modernisation of the IT systems will also help curb revenue leakages and ensure increase in overall revenues and thus contribution to the exchequer, he added.

HCL Infosystem Chief Operating Officer (enterprise business) Rajeev Asijia said it was a major recognition for the company to have tied up with the JSEB for power reforms in the State, which possessed immense potential for growth in infrastructure sector.

“The HCL Infosystem on its part would act as a leading system integrator in the power reform with the awarding of the third RAPDRP in the country,” he added.

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Solar Power: Possible breakthrough could result in drop in cost

The breakthrough – unveiled Friday in a scientific paper in the Journal of Applied Physics by University of Michigan researchers – shows that if light is intense enough, it can, when traveling through nonconductive material, such as glass, at the right intensity can produce magnetic fields 100 million times stronger than previously deemed possible.

During these conditions, the magnetic field has enough strength to equal a strong electric effect, producing an “optical battery” that leads to “a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation”, Prof. Stephen Rand said. Under these circumstances, the magnetic effects develop strength equivalent to a strong electric effect.

A new kind of solar cell utilising this effect would not require absorption of light to produce energy. Instead, energy can be derived from the intensive magnetisation induced by the light.

To manufacture modern solar cells, extensive semiconductor processing is required. With this new type of generation, all that is required would be lenses to focus the light and a fibre to guide it, both of which can be made efficiently out of glass.

According to the researchers, the core of the discovery is a new type of  “optical rectification”. In traditional optical rectification, light’s electric field causes a charge separation, or a pulling apart of the positive and negative charges in a material. This greats a voltage.

This electric effect had previously been detected only in crystalline materials that possessed a certain symmetry, but the researchers found that under the right circumstances and in other types of materials, the light’s magnetic field can also create optical rectification.

In a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physics, Rand exposed the research using a new technique that requires “lenses to focus the light and a fiber to guide it, rather than semiconductor processing.

In terms of making this a practical, low cost power producer there is a challenge in the fact that the intensity of the light must be huge about 10 million watts per square centimeter. Why is that a big deal? Because ordinary sunlight is much less than even one watt per square centimeter.

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