Think-tanks call for states to adopt Clean Energy Standards

Think-tanks call for states to adopt Clean Energy Standards

10th july 2018

US states could set far more ambitious decarbonisation targets by replacing Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) with Clean Energy Standards (CES) encompassing all clean energy sources including nuclear, according to a new joint report by the Breakthrough Institute and Third Way think-tanks.
Twenty-seven US states, plus the District of Columbia, currently have in place binding RPS, which are most commonly used to promote renewable electricity sources like solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal, the report notes. These on average mandate a generation share of 26% renewables with an average target year of 2022. Collectively, this would result in at least 16% of total US electricity supply from carbon-free renewable resources in the coming years. Such policies are a “good step in the right direction”, but states could cut their emissions more affordably, rapidly and reliably if their policies extended to a wider set of carbon-free resources, the report says.
Including all zero-carbon resources in a portfolio standard could encourage a state to “stretch farther” and enable higher targets – within “striking distance” of the ultimate goal of full decarbonisation – the report finds.
Despite “aggressive policy support” from federal and state governments, the contribution of renewables to decarbonisation has been undercut by recent nuclear plant closures, the Breakthrough Institute said. “When nuclear plants retire, they have often been replaced by new fossil fuel infrastructure (mostly gas) that will last for decades. Clean Energy Standards prevent this backsliding by creating a policy incentive to keep nuclear plants open – and even if nuclear plants retire, utilities must replace nuclear entirely with clean generation,” it said.
“In the last few years we’ve seen more and more support for saving America’s existing nuclear plants. But much of the action has been in the form of one-off, plant-by-plant bailouts or proposals to subsidise coal along with nuclear at the federal level. Clean Energy Standards could ensure that economic support for nuclear derives from its climate benefits, not tenuous arguments about reliability or national security, and provide a coherent and holistic framework for doing so,” the Institute said.
“Because all clean sources count towards the [CES] mandate, innovative technologies like carbon capture, waste-to-energy, and advanced nuclear will receive support as well,” it added. “Long-term policies should recognise the long-term shifts in energy technology that are likely to occur in electricity decarbonisation. For example, in states with significant recent investment in gas generation, carbon capture could be the cheapest decarbonisation pathway over the course of the next few decades. Waste-to-energy, meanwhile, is net carbon negative when compared to uncontrolled landfills, and should be compensated for its climate benefits within a CES on a prorated basis.”
Several states have already taken legislative action to recognise nuclear energy for its environmental attributes and its contribution to fuel diversity. The states of New York and Illinois have launched zero-emissions credit programmes, while Connecticut has passed legislation enabling the Millstone nuclear power plant to enter into a competitive procurement process alongside other zero-carbon energy sources.
With most state RPS set to expire over the next three to five years, the report urges states to consider adopting a CES instead, which the Breakthrough Institute described as the simplest baseline policies for power-sector decarbonisation. “They will – and should – never be the only climate policies. But through their simplicity and inclusivity, they could be politically viable in more states, and they provide the maximum amount of flexibility for clean energy deployment and innovation over the long term,” it said.
The report, Clean Energy Standards: How more states can become climate leaders, is authored by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameson McBride, Jessica Lovering, Josh Freed and Ted Nordhaus, and was published on 27 June.
Source: WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS

India will get 75 per cent electricity from renewable energy in 2050: BNEF

India will get 75 per cent electricity from renewable energy in 2050: BNEF

10th july 2018

India will generate 75 per cent of its overall electricity from renewable energy, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Of this, 34 per cent would come from solar energy and 32 per cent from wind energy.
Wind and solar energy are set to surge to almost 50 per cent of world generation by 2050 — on the back of the precipitous reduction of cost, and the advent of cheaper batteries that would enable electricity to be stored and discharged to meet shift in demand and supply, stated Bloomberg New Energy Outlook 2018 report, released by BNEF on Friday
“We project that cheap renewable energy and batteries would reshape the entire electricity system. Looking ahead, we see new power generation assets growing, the cost of wind energy to come down significantly and renewable to supply 62 per cent electricity in China and 75 per net in India by 2050. Asia Pacific is recording almost as much investment in power plants as the rest of the world combined with China seeing 49 per cent and India 29 per cent of the total regional investment, ” said Shantanu Jaiswal, head of India research, BNEF
He further added that the arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it become increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar, so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. “The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.”
The report projects $11.5 trillion being invested globally in new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050, with $8.4 trillion of that going to wind, solar and a further $1.5 trillion to other zero-carbon technologies such as hydro and nuclear.
This investment would produce a 17-fold increase in solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide, and a six-fold increase in wind power capacity. The levelised cost of electricity from new PV plants was forecast to fall further 71 per cent by 2050, while that for onshore wind drops by a further 58 per cent. These two technologies have already seen levelised cost of electricity reductions of 77 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, between 2009 and 2018.
Source: ET ENERGYWORLD

Coal India may offer 30 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal for non-power sector

Coal India may offer 30 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal for non-power sector

10th july 2018

Coal India plans to offer a mix of 30 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal at its recently announced fourth tranche of long-term supply contract for the non-power sector.
In the auction, the offer price for the coal would be the notified price for the non-power sector. Notified price for non-power is almost 20% higher than price fixed for the power sector.
“Auctions would be held in phases where each phase would be meant for a specific industry and the first one would be for sponge iron sector where around 7 million tonnes of coal is on offer by seven Coal India subsidiaries” said a senior Coal India executive.
This would be followed by offers for other sectors like cement, steel and captive power plants. According to a senior Coal India executive, 25 million tonnes of thermal coal would be on offer under the auction while the rest at 5 million tonnes would be coking coal for metallurgical uses.
According to a preliminary plan, South Eastern Coalfields will offer 9 million tonnes of coal; Central Coalfields, 6.11 million tonnes and Northern Coalfields 6.3 million tonnes. Mahanadi Coalfields plans to offer 5.2 million tonnes while Western Coalfields would be offering 3.5 million tonnes. Bharat Coking Coal and Eastern Coalfields would be offering 0.5 million tonnes and 0.55 million tonnes respectively.
This is part of the government’s plan to replace all existing fuel supply agreements allotted on nomination basis to the non-power sector with supply contracts decided through e-auctions. The government will not renew existing agreements although they will not be prematurely terminated.
“If a fuel supply agreement expires before announcement of long-term supply contract auction, Coal India will not renew it but will continue to supply coal till a fresh round of auction is announced. They would be eligible for bidding for the exact amount of coal they have been receiving through their recently expired fuel supply agreement. They would have to participate in the auctions meant for the non-power sector in which they belong,” a senior Coal India executive said.
This auction is likely to be followed by an auction for the power sector. This would be power companies that do not have coal supply agreement and power purchase agreement. The auction would be on the basis of highest bid like in the case of non-power sectors.
Source: THE ECONOMIC TIMES

China’s steel base to further slash capacity

China’s steel base to further slash capacity

10th july 2018

Hebei Province is to continue huge capacity cuts in the next three years, according to a government plan announced on Wednesday.
The province will slash capacity of steel and iron, coal, concrete, and coke by 40 million, 30 million, five million and 10 million tonnes respectively next three years, according to the plan.
Since 2013, Hebei shifted its energy and industry structures from coal and steel to emerging, high-end industries. From 2013 to 2017, the province cut capacity of steel, iron and concrete by 70 million, 64 million and 71 million tonnes respectively.
China plans to eliminate 100 million to 150 million tonnes of crude steel capacity and 500 million tonnes of coal in the five years from 2016.
Source: XINHUA

JSW Steel to spend ₹7,500 crore to raise production capacity

JSW Steel to spend ₹7,500 crore to raise production capacity

10th july 2018

JSW Steel, a part of the diversified $13-billion JSW Group, announced on Wednesday that it planned to increase the annual steel manufacturing capacity of JSW Vijayanagar Works in Karnataka to 13 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) at a cost of ₹ 7,500 crore.
The expansion is likely to be over by March 2020, according to a company statement. At 12 MTPA currently, JSW Vijayanagar Works is the largest state-of-the-art single location steel manufacturing unit in India.
The company will also set up a 1.5 MTPA coke oven plant at Vijayanagar to bridge the current and expected gaps in coke availability. This is likely to be commissioned by March 2020.
The coke oven unit is expected to provide significant cost savings for the company over the longer term. It will also modify and enhance capacity of its steel melting shop, the flat and long products mills, along with allied facilities to utilise this additional hot metal.
The company’s current project to revamp and upgrade the capacity of blast furnace-3 at JSW Vijayanagar Works is on track, a release said..
“With steel consumption in India expected to grow, these capacity enhancement initiatives will ensure our readiness to promptly service emerging customer demand,” said Vinod Nowal, deputy managing director, JSW Steel.
JSW Steel has also started operations at two iron ore mines (Tunga & Nandi Mines) in Karnataka for which it has already received statutory clearances.
The cumulative capacity of these two iron ore mines is 0.71 MTPA. For the remaining three mines, JSW Steel expects statutory clearances and approvals during the current fiscal.
The annual production capacity of the five mines acquired by JSW Steel, through 2017 auction, is approximately 4.66 MTPA. Once all five mines are operational, they are expected to fulfil approximately 20% of the iron ore requirement of JSW Vijayanagar Works steel manufacturing unit.
All these five mines are located within 20-35 kilometers from the Vijayanagar unit giving it an advantage of lower logistics cost. Historically, JSW Steel was completely dependent on the external market to meet its iron ore requirements.
JSW Steel remains strategically focussed on enriching its product mix by increasing the share of value added & special steel products, according to the statement.
Source: THE HINDU

US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy

US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy

10th july 2018

The trade war that erupted Friday between the U.S. and China carries a major risk of escalation that could weaken investment, depress spending, unsettle financial markets and slow the global economy.
The opening shots were fired just after midnight, when the Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of imports from China, and Beijing promptly retaliated with duties on an equal amount of American products. It accused the U.S. of igniting “the biggest trade war in economic history.”
Because of this first round of hostilities, American businesses and, ultimately, consumers could end up paying more for such Chinese-made products as construction equipment and other machinery. And American suppliers of soybeans, pork and whiskey could lose their competitive edge in China.
These initial tariffs are unlikely to inflict serious harm to the world’s two biggest economies. Gregory Daco, head of U.S. economics at Oxford Economics, has calculated that they would pare growth in both countries by no more than 0.2 percent through 2020.
But the conflict could soon escalate. President Donald Trump, who has boasted that winning a trade war is easy , has said he is prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports — a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China shipped to the U.S. last year.
Escalating tariffs are likely to slow business investment as companies wait to see whether the administration can reach a truce with Beijing. Some employers will probably put hiring on hold until the picture becomes clearer. The damage could risk undoing some of the economic benefits of last year’s tax cuts.
“Trade disruption is the greatest threat to global growth,” said Dec Mullarkey, managing director of investment strategies at Sun Life Investment Management. “The direct effects will be amplified as business confidence drops and investment decisions are delayed. Markets are still hoping that the key players return to the negotiation table.”
The root of the conflict is the Trump administration’s assertion that China has long used predatory tactics in a drive to supplant America’s technological supremacy. Those tactics include cyber-theft as well as forcing companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China’s market. Trump’s tariffs are meant to press Beijing to change its ways.
The rift with China is the most consequential trade conflict the administration has provoked. But it’s hardly the only one.
Trump is also sparring with the European Union over his threat to tax auto imports and with Canada and Mexico over his push to rewrite the North American trade pact. And he has subjected most of America’s trading partners to tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Many caught in the initial line of fire — U.S. farmers absorbing tariffs on their exports to China, for instance — are fearful. The price of soybeans has plunged 13 percent over the past month on fears that Chinese tariffs will cut off American farmers from China, which buys about 60 percent of their soybean exports.
“For soybean producers like me, this is a direct financial hit,” said Brent Bible, a soy and corn producer in Romney, Indiana. “These tariffs could mean the difference between a profit and a loss for an entire year’s worth of work out in the field, and that’s only in the near term.”
Christine LoCascio, an executive at the Distilled Spirits Council, said she fears China’s tariffs on U.S. whiskey will “put the brakes on an American success story” of rising exports of U.S. spirits.
Even before the first shots, the prospect of a trade war was worrying investors. The Dow Jones industrial average has shed hundreds of points since June 11. But the risks are now priced into the market, and the Dow actually rose nearly 100 points Friday to 24,456.48.
China’s currency, the yuan, has dropped 3.5 percent against the dollar over the past month, giving Chinese companies a price edge over their U.S. competition. The drop might reflect a deliberate devaluation by Beijing to signal its “displeasure over the state of trade negotiations,” according to a report from the Institute of International Finance, a banking trade group.
The Trump administration sought to limit the impact of the tariffs on U.S. households by targeting Chinese industrial goods, not consumer products, for the first round of tariffs.
But that step raises costs for U.S. companies that rely on Chinese-made machinery or components. And it could force them to pass those higher costs on to their business customers and, eventually, to consumers.
If you like Chick-fil-A sandwiches, for instance, you may feel the effects. Charlie Souhrada of the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers said the tariffs could raise the cost of a kind of pressure cooker Chick-fil-A uses.
The administration has placed “these import taxes squarely on the shoulders of manufacturers and, by extension, consumers,” Souhrada said.
One way the tariffs will squeeze farmers, landscapers and construction firms is by raising the price of excavators and loaders made by Bobcat, which uses attachments imported from China. U.S. suppliers rarely make these attachments, so the company must import them.
Jason Mayberry, Bobcat’s assistant general counsel, said in a filing submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office that the company would have to raise prices to offset the tariff. Bobcat’s raw material costs have also risen because of the administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
The Federal Reserve is picking up signs that the trade war is causing businesses to rethink investment plans. In the minutes from its June meeting, the Fed noted that some companies have delayed or reduced plans to buy or upgrade equipment.
And if Trump extends the tariffs to up to $550 billion in Chinese imports, consumers won’t be able to avoid getting caught in the crossfire: The taxes would hit products like televisions and cellphones.
That’s what happened to imported washing machines, which were hit by separate Trump tariffs in January. Over the past year, their price has surged more than 8 percent.
American trade groups are urging the two countries to resume talks.
“Tariffs will bring retaliation and possibly more tariffs,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. “No one wins in a trade war.”
Source: ABC NEWS

Nikkei Manufacturing PMI rises to 53.1 in June, the fastest growth in 2018; job creation accelerates too

Nikkei Manufacturing PMI rises to 53.1 in June, the fastest growth in 2018; job creation accelerates too

10th july 2018

The latest Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey brings plenty to cheer about. The PMI rose to 53.1 in June from 51.2 in May, consistent with the fastest improvement in the health of India’s manufacturing economy in the year so far.
This is the 11th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI remained above the 50-point mark. A score above 50 means expansion, while a reading below 50 points toward contraction. According to the survey, the sector’s activity grew at the strongest pace since last December, supported by rise in domestic and export orders.
“India’s manufacturing economy closed the quarter on a solid footing against a backdrop of robust demand conditions, highlighted by the sharpest gains in output and new orders since last December,” said Aashna Dodhia, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, and author of the report. Furthermore, new orders from international markets rose for the eighth consecutive month, while the rate of expansion accelerated to the fastest pace since February.
There’s good news on the employment front, too. Reflecting stronger demand conditions, manufacturing firms were encouraged to engage in purchasing activity and raise their staffing levels. “On the jobs front, the latest survey data pointed to a healthy labour market, with job creation accelerating to the sharpest since December 2017,” said Dodhia. The report added that the jobs growth was evident across consumption, intermediate and investment goods.
However, input costs faced by Indian manufacturing companies rose in the month under review, thereby stretching the period of inflation to 33 months. “The RBI recently raised interest rates for the first time in four years to contain inflation and stabilise the rupee. However, input cost inflation quickened to the strongest since July 2014 in June, suggesting that the central bank could remain under pressure to tighten monetary policy,” Dodhia added.
To remind you, last month, the apex bank had upped its retail inflation projection by 0.30 per cent and kept the policy stance in the neutral zone, even as it hiked the key rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent.
The report added that panellists had reported that steel and fuel were among the key items that increased in price. Subsequently, firms raised their output charges at the fastest pace since February.
According to The Hindu Business Line, this index is based on a survey conducted among purchasing executives in over 400 companies, which are divided into eight broad categories: Basic Metals, Chemicals & Plastics, Electrical & Optical, Food & Drink, Mechanical Engineering, Textiles & Clothing, Timber & Paper and Transport.
Meanwhile, despite the strengthening demand conditions, the survey found that business confidence had eased to the weakest level since last October. According to Dodhia, the dip in optimism partly reflected concerns of a potential market slowdown in the year ahead. “Indeed, some of the key challenges to the 12-month outlook include tighter domestic monetary policy and persistently high inflation,” she added.
To conclude on an optimistic note, the report also said that demand conditions are likely to improve over the next year.
Source: BUSINESS TODAY

India Services PMI rebounds strongly in June

India Services PMI rebounds strongly in June

10th july 2018

The Nikkei India services Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rebounded to 52.6 in June from 49.6 in May, marking the sharpest rate of expansion in a year.
A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while a reading below 50 points toward contraction.
Input cost inflation remained solid, but services providers were unable to fully pass on higher input costs to price-sensitive consumers.
“The service economy returned to expansion territory in June. Encouragingly, the latest performance was the strongest seen in a year,” said Aashna Dodhia, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“However, overall input costs rose at the strongest rate since July 2014, and amid a weak rupee and higher oil prices, inflation may remain elevated. Given these circumstances, the chances of further monetary policy tightening have heightened,” Dodhia added.
Source: NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW

India’s eight core industries grow 3.6% in May

India’s eight core industries grow 3.6% in May

10th july 2018

Growth of India’s eight core industries slowed to 3.6% for the month of May, down from 4.7% in April. Cumulative growth for the period ended March 2018 was 4.1%.
The eight core sectors include coal, crude oil, natural gas, petro-refinery products, fertiliser, cement, electricity and steel industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
“It is disappointing in the sense that it is slower than the trend growth that we have observed even in the last year,” said D K Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL, and added that a single month’s data was not enough, and that he would wait for a few more months to read more into the performance of these industries.
He added that the overall automobile segment has performed well over the last four-five months and given the thrust on construction and what the GDP numbers showed, steel and cement should also be doing well.
Driven by an uptick in the manufacturing sector, the general index of industrial production rose to 4.9% in April, compared to last year, in line with the estimates from the CNBC-TV18 poll.
The IIP for the month of April rose to 123.0, from 117.3 in the corresponding period last year, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said.
The cumulative growth for the 11-month period of April-March is at 4.3%.
Coal:
Coal production (weight: 10.33%) increased by 12.1% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 14.0% during April to May, 2018-19 over corresponding period of the previous year.
Petro-refinery products:
Petroleum refinery production (weight: 28.04%) increased by 4.9% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 3.9% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Crude Oil:
Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98%) declined by 2.9% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index declined by 1.9% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Natural Gas:
The Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88%) declined by 1.4% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 2.0% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Fertilizers:
Fertilizers production (weight: 2.63%) increased by 8.4% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 6.6% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Steel:
Steel production (weight: 17.92%) increased by 0.5% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 2.1% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Cement:
Cement production (weight: 5.37%) increased by 5.2% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 10.7% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Electricity:
Electricity generation (weight: 19.85%) increased by 3.5% in May 2018 over May 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 2.8% during April to May, 2018-19 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Source: CNBC TV 18

Indian economy set for a surge, India to double the size of GDP to $5 trillion

Indian economy set for a surge, India to double the size of GDP to $5 trillion

10th july 2018

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said the Indian economy is set for a surge with the GDP size expected to double to USD 5 trillion probably by 2025. He was speaking after launching the platinum jubilee celebrations of chartered accountants’ apex body ICAI.
“Indian economy is set for a surge and in the next decade, probably even by 2025, India is expected to double the size of the GDP to USD 5 trillion,” Kovind said.
Emphasising that adherence to fair taxation system is much more than merely providing revenue to the government, Kovind said chartered accountants are the watchdogs of public trust and have a key role to play and are facilitators of tax payers as well as taxation system.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs P P Chaudhary mentioned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on July 1 last year, where he had described chartered accountants as doctors responsible for the economic health and well-being of the society.
“He had also said that our chartered accountants are known all over the world for their excellent financial skills.
“While mentioning various steps taken by the Union Government against the black money, he had urged the chartered accountants to introspect and weed out corrupt practices from their fraternity. He had also urged the chartered accountants to advise their clients to follow the path of honesty,” the minister said citing the Prime Minister’s speech.
The Prime Minister’s words continue to be true even to this day, Chaudhary said.
According to Chaudhary, the government’s fight against black money is continuing and that around 2.25 lakh suspected shell companies have been identified. These entities are being analysed and suitable action would be taken, he added.
Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha said that frauds in banks and people involved in setting up of shell companies need to be dealt with sternly.
On a personal note, the minister said that he sometimes feels that there is a need for the ICAI to work towards getting rid of those elements that have strayed away from the principles of the institution.
ICAI President Naveen N D Gupta said the world congress of accountants would be held in India in 2022. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has more than 2.80 lakh members.
Source: PTI