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????? ??? pictwittercom/KmrgoYJSvS — BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) September 7 2017 ‘Karnataka govt fears us’ Accusing the government of using the police machinery against BJP workers Ashoka claimed "This shows the government fears the BJPs agitation" "If thegovernment has the guts they should have allowed us to protest.they are using police against us.itis our right as an opposition party to protest against thegovernment and we will go ahead with our rally" he said With no permission from the police for the rally a delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Assembly Jagadish Shettar had met Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Wednesday insisting it should be allowed Siddaramaiahhad said on Wednesday "We have no objections to do a rally. we have asked the police to ensure that there is no disturbance to law and order andpublic" Over 10000 workers storm Mangaluru; B S Yeddyurappa at protest site leads from the front CNN-News18’s @nagarjund with more details pictwittercom/CwnPi0U7vE — News18 (@CNNnews18) September 7 2017 With inputs from agencies New Delhi: NDA government’s ambitious project to inter-link rivers is not feasible on a large scale senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi who chaired a Parliamentary panel that examined the issue of Ganga rejuvenation said on Wednesday Joshi said rivers can be inter-linked on small scale but it is not "practical" to go for large-scale interlinking at the national level Talking to reporters after tabling a report of the Estimates Committee on Ganga Rejuvenation the BJP veteran claimed thousands of kilowatts of power will be required to run pump sets to lift water from one end to another "It will require power and money We are short of power as it is.how will water cross the Malwa Plateau Imagine the number of pumping sets required" he contended But he clarified that river interlinking is not one of the subjects of the Estimates Committee He said had it been practical then nature itself would have done it "The rivers would have been inter-connected But it is not" The government has identified three projects for interlinking of rivers Representational image Reuters Based on concurrence of the states concerned three links — Ken-Betwa link Damanganga-Pinjal link and Par-Tapi-Narmada link have been taken up for preparation of detailed project reports (DPRs) by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) out of 30 inter-state links identified under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) The DPR for Ken-Betwa link project and Damnganga-Pinjal link has been completed by NWDA and submitted to the states concerned DPR of Par-Tapi-Narmada link is in various stages of completion and the Supreme Court on 27 February 2012 had directed the government to take up Ken-Betwa link project for implementation at the first instance itself According to a government estimate approximately 35 million hectare of additional irrigation potential and 34000 mega watts of hydro-power generation are the likely benefits envisaged under NPP apart from the incidental benefits of flood moderation navigation drinking water supply fisheries salinity and pollution control Joshi meanwhile suggested that mass afforestation and rain-water harvesting were practical solutions to fight water crisis The river interlinking project is considered the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002 the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year But few water and irrigation experts have maintained the idea of inter-linking of rivers was conceived in 1992 By Mukta Patil On 12 May 2017 India recorded its lowest-ever solar tariff of Rs 244/unit of electricity That is a 73 percent fall since 2010 and compares favourably with India’s cheapest power source: coal electricity from which now ranges between Rs 3/unit and Rs 5/unit The new low solar cost was announced at a reverse auction — in which the role of buyer and seller is reversed and the seller with the lowest bid obtains the business — by the state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) at the Bhadla solar park in north-west Rajasthan This was mainly possible due to a drop in the cost of solar modules (largely due to technology advances) the prices for which fell 29 percent in India in the first quarter of 2017 over the previous year Representational image AP Renewable energy could generate 49 percent of electricity in India by 2040 because more efficient batteries — to store electricity when the sun does not shine — will provide flexibility of use and boost the reach of renewables cutting the cost of solar energy by a further 66 percent over current costs according to the Bloomberg New Energy Outlook 2017 report In an email interview with IndiaSpend Tim Buckley director of Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) a thinktank based in the US acknowledges the sunny investment climate for solar technology in India but warns that a failure to honour legal and policy commitments could destabilise investor confidence in the whole solar programme Buckley 50 has been a financial analyst throughout his career 17 years of which were spent as a managing director at Citigroup a bank A long-distance runner in his private life Buckley became involved with the energy sector a decade ago after a discussion with his then chairman Chris Cuffe (an Australian financial markets leader) Buckley asked Cuffe why he was interested in the technology development of renewable energy and his reply stuck: Along with food and water security energy security drives strategic thinking in all nations Buckley believes that the rise of technology innovation in energy markets is driving “profound change” globally and he is “fascinated” by India’s commitment to pursue an energy transformation that aims at increasing non-fossil fuel capacity in its generation mix from about 33 percent currently to 40 percent by 2030 Q: What is causing the cost of solar-cell technology to drop so drastically and how much of a contributor is this to the drop in price of solar power The cost of solar modules is free falling due to rapid and sustained technology improvements adding to the massive economies of scale being achieved Production volumes globally are growing 10-30 percent annually for the last decade By selling at close to zero profit margins China continues to subsidise the production and exporting of solar modules to gain global market share and India is a key beneficiary of this Solar’s sustained volume growth is driving the construction of whole new plants every month and this is accelerating the deployment of the latest technology at very fast rates and makes old solar module manufacturing plants in just four to five years of age to be outdated The only choice the plant owner has is to upgrade the technology employed or heavily discount the price of old module production So module prices have halved in the last two years and IEEFA expects this decline to continue over the coming decade This is a key contributor but not the only one India has a very strong clear and transparent renewable energy policy framework and this provides investors with the certainty to invest Indian solar has also benefited from the falling cost of debt (from 12-14 percent per annum two years ago to 85-95 percent today) following exchange rate stability falling inflation rates and the government’s provision of strong counterparty risk management on renewable tariffs (through NTPC India’s largest power utility and the central government’s SECI) The cost of debt is a major input into the cost of solar generation given the operating costs are near zero once built The rapid upscaling of investment has also encouraged learning by doing driving the costs of implementing solar down along the entire value chain from finance regulatory approval engineering procurement and construction (EPC) and land acquisition to grid connection Global capital flows into India are playing a key role as well endorsing supporting and encouraging the positive policy moves of the Indian government Energy minister Piyush Goyal is also taking the learnings of each solar tender and replicating the factors that are driving down tendering prices For example land acquisition grid connections and payment certainty are all major risk factors affecting power sector investment in India so the latest solar tenders provide clarity on all of these pre-bidding Tenders also have 12-18 month time limits and performance requirements to ensure the state governments get clarity and on-time project delivery in return Q: How sustainable is this trend of dropping prices Do you expect prices to fall further or have they reached the lowest point staying steady now IEEFA would expect some stabilisation of solar tariffs around these record lows of Rs 244-262/kWh (kiloWatt hour a unit of energy) seen in May 2017 These new low prices are truly phenomenal prices don’t need to go lower at these levels solar is the low-cost solution for India’s growing electricity needs A major long term win for Indian electricity consumers is also that these solar tariffs are fixed in nominal terms for the 25-year contract duration This means contracted solar prices will fall some 5 percent annually in real terms over the long term Electricity’s long history of inflationary pressures is now looking to a future of sustained deflation a powerful added incentive for India But at $38-40/MWh (Megawatt hour which is 1000 kWh) Indian solar is still 20-30 percent above the record low global prices seen in 2016 of $24-30/MWh in the UAE Mexico and South America Chilean solar prices have also come in lower than in India So as Indian borrowing costs continue to fall and technology advances medium term IEEFA would expect India will see even lower solar prices Q: Will falling prices make developers wary of further investment in the sector and if so to keep the momentum going what kind of policy interventions might be required The bids of May 2017 were extremely competitive with a multitude of global and Indian majors tendering into the very transparent bidding process; they all went in with their eyes open But investors will be alarmed that solar tenders signed off and won back in 2016 are now being stalled by lack of approval progress from the state governments who are questioning if they should honour solar contracts entered into 12-24 months ago at tariffs that were commercial back then ie Rs 4-7/kWh but now in hindsight look expensive Failure to honour legal and policy commitments could destabilise investor confidence in the whole solar programme Given targets of 100GW of solar by 2022 catalysing $100 billion of investment requires global investor confidence Moves by state governments to undermine the rules of engagement could damage this Short term penny pinching undermines massive transformational long term gains for the people of India and the economy overall Q: The levelised cost of electricity from solar photovoltaics (now almost a quarter of what it was in 2009) will become cheaper than coal in China India Mexico the UK and Brazil by 2021 It is already at least as cheap as coal in Germany Australia the US Spain and Italy (Levelised cost of electricity is all expenses of generation from a power generating plant including site development permitting equipment and civil works finance operations and maintenance) But if we count the price of solar power and storage together it is far higher than thermal (coal) power so can we really say that cost of solar generation has fallen below or is at par with coal powered electricity Solar today represents only three percent of installed capacity and just one percent of total Indian electricity generation so there is no storage cost involved solar helps solve the peak power shortages evident in the middle of the day when the industry is operating File image of Tim Buckley Indiaspend website When we fast forward to solar being 10-20 percent of generation across the whole of India say in five to eight years time then grid integration and supply/demand balancing will really become a material barrier to ever more solar additions That is why it is important that India also continues to develop other generation capacities eg biomass wind and hydro particularly pumped hydro storage capacity and invest aggressively in both expanding overall national grid capacity and modernising the grid infrastructure International grid connectivity (Bhutan Bangladesh Nepal Sri Lanka) can also play a larger role in the next decade as it already does across Europe The grid system also needs to become smart — so storage costs will rise but if there is a smart grid system pricing signals will improve — the development of time of use pricing structures will then incentivise all electricity producers to generate and/or supply electricity at times of peak demand These technologies already exist and are getting cheaper by the month So India’s grid will need to expand and transform along with generation PowerGrid Corp of India (the state-owned electric utilities company) is leading well but sustained state-owned electricity distribution company reforms are a critical prerequisite to India’s successful electricity transformation Looking at solar and storage costs combined means looking at the cost and more importantly the value of peak electricity demand best served by a time of use tariff to address the evolution and modernisation of the Indian grid Entirely manageable with the right regulatory signal and leadership Q: How will the solar renewable sector be affected when subsidies are removed or reduced gradually say in five years time The solar sector in India is not based on massive subsidies That is one of the great positives that Goyal has achieved Any subsidies are generally available to all power generator technologies for example tax holidays and accelerated depreciation So any gradual move to level the playing field and remove all subsidies for power generation will actually help drive solar investment given coal fired power generation has the most subsidies of all that being the right to externalise many of their operating costs in terms of air particulates carbon and water pollution and insufficient coal ash waste disposal compliance (Patilis an analyst with IndiaSpend) Indiaspendorgis a data-driven public-interest journalism non-profit initiative scrutinising for veracity and context statements made by individuals and organisations in public life Mumbai: After incessant downpour threwlife out of gear disrupting road rail and air traffic?

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