EESL secures $454 million funding from Global Environment Facility

In a boost to India’s efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide $454 million in funding for energy-efficiency projects run by state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL).

This funding by the GEF, an international partnership of 183 countries, United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), will help EESL’s projects mitigate 60 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide emissions.

India is among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.

The funding will be utilised for EESL’s programmes for street lighting, domestic lighting, five-star rated ceiling fans and agricultural pumps and also help diversify its portfolio.

The energy-efficiency market in India is estimated at $22.81 billion.
According to information available on its website, GEF has provided over $17 billion in grants and an additional $88 billion in financing for over 4,000 projects in 170 countries.

“The GEF project further brings together many technical and financing partners including United Nations Environment (UN Environment Programme), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), which aim to mitigate 60 million tonnes of CO2eq (carbon dioxide equivalent), and will enable a total direct energy savings of 38.3 million gigajoules (GJ) by 2022 and 137.5 million GJ by 2032,” the statement added.

India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

EESL, promoted by public sector firms in the energy sector—NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd, Power Finance Corp. Ltd and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd—is leading India’s energy efficiency programme seeking to reduce carbon emissions as part of its climate change goals.

The state-run firm has been offering large procurement contracts in the energy sector enabling businesses to leverage scale and achieve economy to bring down prices.

The massive scale of EESL’s energy efficiency programme has helped in reducing the price of LED lights significantly.

The state-run firm is also leading India’s electric vehicle procurement programme and is buying 10,000 electric cars.

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Cabinet approves revised price of ethanol under EBP

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister, has approved the revision in the price of ethanol under Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for supply to the Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies. The revised price of ethanol would be fixed at Rs.40.85/- per litre under EBP and will be applicable for the forthcoming sugar season 2017-18. GST and transportation charges will also be payable additionally. The revised price will be applicable during ethanol supply period from 1st December 2017 to 30th November, 2018.

The approval will facilitate the continued policy of the Government in providing price stability and remunerative prices for ethanol suppliers. It will also help in reducing dependency on crude oil imports, saving in foreign exchange and benefits to the environment.

Background:

In order to augment the supply of ethanol, the Government in December, 2014, decided to administer the price of ethanol under EBP Programme. The Government fixed the delivered price of ethanol during ethanol supply year 2014-15 & 2015-16 in the range of Rs.48.50 to Rs.49.50 per litre including Central/State Government taxes and transportation charges. It improved significantly the supply of ethanol from 38 crore litres during ethanol supply year 2013-14 to 111 crore litres during 2015-16.

This price was re-examined for ethanol supply year 2016-17 in the context of firming of sugar prices and falling crude prices and consequent under-recoveries of OMCs. The Ex-Mill price was revised to Rs.39/- per litre. Additionally, Central/State Government taxes and transportation charges were payable. It is estimated that for ethanol supply year 2016-17, about 65 crore litres of ethanol will be procured.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was launched by the Government in 2003 which has been extended to the Notified 21 States and 4 Union Territories to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also sought to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.

However, since 2006, OMCs were not able to receive offers for the required quantity of ethanol against the tenders floated by them due to various constraints like State Specific issues, Supplier related issues including Pricing issues of ethanol.

OMCs have to start the ethanol procurement process for the upcoming sugar season 2017-18 for which ethanol pricing under EBP Programme needs to be decided.

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Country’s First Electric Bus Service

In a boost for green transport in Himachal Pradesh, Transport Minister G S Bali Thursday flagged off the country’s first electric bus service for Rohtang Pass, a tourist destination near Manali. Bali termed it a pioneering initiative to check vehicular pollution at Rohtang Pass in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders to restrict the number of diesel and petrol operated tourist vehicles in the ecologically fragile area.

The launch of the electric bus service before Dussehra festivities in Kullu could benefit tourists, who otherwise had to struggle to get permits for taking their vehicles to Rohtang Pass. Bali said the HRTC, which will run the electric bus service, will make 10 vehicles available in Kullu and later the facility would be extended to other areas. The minister also laid the foundation stone for a Rs 30-crore modern bus stand at Kullu.

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Methanol a clean, cheaper fuel

The government has asked the think-tank NITI Aayog to study the automobile standards developed in China to use methanol as an alternative fuel. Experts believe that Methanol economy will help India use its vast reserves of coal while driving import substitution.

Methanol is a promising fuel for waterways as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels. India imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran at present. Across the world, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future. Methanol can be blended with gasoline in low-quantities and used in existing road vehicles, or it can be used in high-proportion blends such as M85-M100 in flex-fuel or dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles. Technology is also being commercialized to use methanol as a diesel substitute.

Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.
Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.

As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.

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China produces gas from ‘flammable ice’ under South China Sea

China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea. The government has promised to “actively develop” natural gas hydrate over the 2016-2020 five-year plan period.

Flammable ice consists of methane trapped within water crystals, and has been identified as a potential new gas source for China, with the South China Sea thought to contain some of the world’s most promising deposits.

Officially known as methane clathrates or hydrates, they are formed at very low temperatures and under high pressure. They can be found in sediments under the ocean floor as well as underneath permafrost on land. Despite the low temperature, these hydrates are flammable.

By lowering the pressure or raising the temperature, the hydrates break down into water and methane – a lot of methane. One cubic metre of the compound releases about 160 cubic metres of gas, making it a highly energy-intensive fuel.

Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.

Methane hydrates are thought to have the potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could be key to future energy needs – likely the world’s last great source of carbon-based fuel. Vast deposits exist basically underneath all oceans around the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves. Countries are scrambling for a way to make the extraction safe and profitable.

Accessing the power of this flammable ice has been difficult, for two reasons.
First, these reserves are often distributed over a large area rather than concentrated in one spot as oil or natural gas reserves often are.
The bigger problem, however, is that, true to their moniker as flammable ice, methane hydrates are unstable and potentially explosive. Drilling into the sea floor could destabilize the methane ice crystals and cause explosions, spewing vast troves of methane into the atmosphere, where it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Any exploitation of the reserves must be done with the utmost care because of environmental concerns. The potential threat is that methane can escape, which would have serious consequences for global warming. It is a gas that has a much higher potential to impact climate change than carbon dioxide.

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World’s first full-scale floating wind farm

Construction has begun on the world’s first full-scale floating wind farm, around 15 miles off the coast of north-east Scotland.
Five turbines will be installed, which together are expected to provide 30 megawatts of energy – enough to power 20,000 homes. One of the turbines is currently in place, with the rest expected to be in place by the end of August.
Leif Delp, the director of the £190m project known as Hywind, said the objective was “to demonstrate the feasibility of future commercial, utility-scale wind farms.”
A pilot floating turbine device has been successfully operating in Norway since 2009.
Each turbine is 175m high and weighs 11,500 tonnes, using a large buoy to keep upright. The turbines also make use of new blade technology, which sees the blades twist in order to lessen the impact of wind and currents.
The park will be around four square kilometres in size, with each turbine floating at a depth of between 95 and 120 metres.
Unlike normal turbines, floating turbines are not attached to the seabed by foundations. Rather, they are attached by long mooring tethers, allowing them to be placed in water as deep as one kilometre. Traditional, fixed-turbines work best at a depth of 20-50m.

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