Lights On Briefing: India's solar own goal, Nepal power trade and more

What you need to know this week

Lights On Briefing: India's solar own goal, Nepal power trade and more

Happy Tuesday and welcome to today’s edition of Lights On, with this week’s key stories on energy and climate change in South Asia.

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Solar own goal

More than 25GW worth of solar power projects are now running behind schedule due to a spike in module prices and a supply crunch, after the government’s import duties on Chinese components kicked in. India is heavily reliant on cheap, high quality imported components, and experts had warned for a long time that duties up to 40 percent on modules and 30 percent on solar cells were going to damage the sector.

Developers who had been able to promise solar tariffs as low as INR 2 per kWh, signing deals before the custom duties came into effect, could now find themselves overshooting the amount by INR 0.5-0.8 per unit.

Green bonds for the energy transition

India could soon have its bespoke climate financing framework, allowing investors to support green energy and infrastructure in the country through green bonds. According to sources speaking with The Print, the government will soon come up with a list of projects that will qualify under this category. The green bonds are expected to have a long tenure to reflect the standard timeline of green infrastrastructure development.

Battery safety

India’s electric mobility ambitions suffered a serious setback when several vehicles caught fire last spring, possibly due in part to the high temperatures recorded in the country at the time. Now the government is trying to rectify the situation and has issued more stringent regulations for the safety of battery packs and engine design for the whole range of electric vehicles on two, three and four wheels, including scooters, auto rickshaws and cars. The rules are expected to come into effect from 1 October.


Who foots the bill?

As the disastrous rains subside in the country, Pakistan takes stock of the damages. The debate over who is liable for the tragedy that has killed more than 1,300 people rages on, with the government demanding that polluting countries pay up for what they say is unquestionably a climate disaster. While the circumstances of this year’s exceptional floods point to climate change, the jury is still out on the exact contribution it made, and in turn on where the main responsibility for the damages lies. Meanwhile, gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory diseases are spreading fast among the thousands displaced by flooding in the Sindh region.

Solar ambitions

Earlier in August, the government laid out a new plan to tackle the energy crisis that has been crushing the country’s economy for years - the addition of 14GW of new solar capacity in 2022. Of these, 9GW are expected to be fast tracked under the ‘Solar Energy Initiatives’ programme, which offers tax incentives as well as import duty waivers. It remains to be seen if the government will be able to follow through with the plan after the recent floods radically shifted the country’s priorities.


India’s energy outpost

India’s government-owned Power Trading Corporation (PTC) will set up a first power trading company in Nepal, with a view to harnessing the country’s abundant hydropower energy to benefit India, Bangladesh and in the long run Vietnam and Myanmar, providing that the right infrastructure is in place. The plan is a significant evolution from PTC’s original mandate to move power only to and from India, and it bolsters the country’s ambitions to become the centre of a region-wide energy system.

On Twitter this week

Why is #bellandur area of #bangalore flooding badly? A clue👇🏽

Agara-Bellandur-Varthur #lakes were connected #wetlands.
Then, built over. See change 2003-2015.
Prolly worse now!#Environment ≠ an “obstacle to clearances”
It’s what we need to pay attention to, to save ourselves 31, 2022

Research and further readings

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