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Sri Lanka Faces High Electricity Production Costs

The CEB spokesman said earlier that they are generating more than 60 per cent of the electricity using thermal power…report Asian Lite News

Sri Lanka’s state-owned electricity producer and distributor, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), has urged people to use electricity sparingly as demand for power has grown due to the dry weather, a senior official told the media.

CEB spokesman Noel Priyantha told the media on Sunday that electricity demand has increased by between three and four gigawatt hours in the past month, Xinhua news agency reported.

Usually, electricity consumption increases during dry periods in Sri Lanka as people use electric fans and air conditioning to keep cool, energy experts say.

Priyantha said the percentage of electricity produced by hydropower has dropped to 21 per cent in recent days due to dry weather, and 4.5 per cent of electricity is generated from solar and five per cent from wind farms.

The CEB spokesman said earlier that they are generating more than 60 per cent of the electricity using thermal power.

The cost of generating electricity using thermal power is high and this is one of the main reasons why the cost of electricity production is among the highest in Asia, Narendra De Silva, general manager of CEB, has said

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Africa News

‘Electricity crisis continues to undermine economic growth’

Some of the power stations which are reaching the end of their lives will be repurposed from coal to renewables, the President added…reports Asian Lite News

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the electricity crisis in the country continues to undermine economic growth and investment.

“Load shedding damages businesses, disrupts households, compromises the provision of social services, and affects the safety and well-being of the people,” Ramaphosa, also President of South Africa’s ruling party African National Congress (ANC), made the remarks at the ANC’s National Executive Council lekgotla on Sunday.

“Resolving the energy crisis and putting an end to load shedding is one of our most immediate and pressing challenges,” he added.

As a result of load shedding, companies are reluctant to invest, productivity is dampened, economic growth cannot be sustained, and jobs cannot be created on the necessary scale, said Ramaphosa.

He noted that they have signed agreements with independent power producers for 26 renewable energy projects, which will generate around 2,800 megawatts (MW) of power; they are also negotiating to import 1,000 MW from neighbouring countries.

Some of the power stations which are reaching the end of their lives will be repurposed from coal to renewables, the President added.

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-Top News Europe

‘Electricity restored to 9 mn Ukrainians’

Several energy infrastructure facilities and residential buildings were damaged in Zhytomyr, Kiev, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions as a result of the strikes…reports Asian Lite News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy announced that nine million citizens have had their electricity supply restored after a large-scale Russian missile attack on December 16.

In his Sunday evening address to the nation, the President said: “There are new results in bringing electricity and heating back to our people.

“Another three million Ukrainians have had their energy supply restored. Plus six million yesterday (Saturday). That is, after the terrorist attack on Friday (December 16), there is already a result for nine million of our people.

“In most cities, public transport is also resuming normal operations.”

Zelensky also went on to thank “everyone who carries out repair works in any weather and around the clock, as well as partners who help Ukraine with equipment, and businesses that turn their shops, cafes, enterprises into new Invincibility centres”, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.

On December 16, Russians fired 70 cruise missiles and four guided air-launched missiles, of which 60 were shot down by Ukrainian air defence forces.

Several energy infrastructure facilities and residential buildings were damaged in Zhytomyr, Kiev, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions as a result of the strikes.

The next day, Zelensky had said that electricity had been restored for almost six million Ukrainians, but there were still major problems with the water supply.

Russia has launched more than 1,000 missiles and Iranian-made attack drones since the wave of strikes began on October 10, although most of them have been intercepted by air defences.

The biggest barrage, in mid-November, involved more than 100 missiles and drones.

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Zelensky urges EU to assist in purchasing gas, electricity

Since October 10, Russia has carried out eight waves of air strikes against Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure…reports Asian Lite News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the European Union (EU) to assist Kiev in purchasing gas and electricity needed to run through the cold season, the presidential press service reported.

“I urge you to continue doing everything so that we can maintain the energy supply for Ukrainians,” Zelensky said while speaking at a meeting of the European Council via a video link.

Ukraine needs the EU support in buying two billion cubic meters of gas that would be used to compensate for the damage caused by Russian strikes at other types of energy generation, Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying.

Besides, Ukraine is interested in importing electricity from the EU worth 800 million euros ($849 million), he added.

Since October 10, Russia has carried out eight waves of air strikes against Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure.

According to the Ukrainian government, about half of the country’s energy facilities have been damaged due to the attacks which has resulted in widespread electricity outage amid freezing winter temperature.

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-Top News Europe

France reassures Britain on electricity flows

However, French grid operator RTE told the Financial Times that France would probably still be in a position to export power to Britain at moments of extreme stress…reports Asian Lite News

France has said it should be able to provide Britain with power at critical moments if electricity supplies come under strain this winter, despite problems with nuclear reactors that have forced it to rely on imports.

Grid operators in France and Britain have been in discussions about energy supplies in recent months, with authorities on both sides of the Channel signalling they will need imports to avoid power cuts this winter.

France is Europe’s biggest power exporter. But a record number of outages and maintenance stoppages at its fleet of 56 nuclear reactors — which reached a peak in the middle of this year when more than half were offline — have for the first time turned the country into a net importer.

The problems in France have compounded western Europe’s energy crisis in the wake of Russia’s decision to shut off gas exports via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline at the end of August.

Fears about possible energy shortages this winter escalated last week when National Grid, the company that oversees Britain’s electricity and gas systems, warned of the potential for rolling three-hour blackouts in the worst-case scenario that is unable to secure sufficient gas and power supplies from the continent, particularly during prolonged cold periods.

However, French grid operator RTE told the Financial Times that France would probably still be in a position to export power to Britain at moments of extreme stress.

“France and the UK don’t have their peak times at the same moment,” said Thomas Veyrenc, RTE’s executive director in charge of strategy.

“You can have a situation in which France is exporting to Britain but importing from all other countries. We can have a position as a net importer but still be an exporter to the UK at moments when [it] is running into difficulties,” Veyrenc added.

France shares three subsea electricity power cables with Britain. During a normal winter, the UK relies on imports from France to meet demand, particularly during the peak hours of 5pm-8pm. But the UK has been a net power exporter to France this year because of the problems with the French nuclear fleet.

British officials are also cautiously optimistic that flows between the two countries can continue. France’s electricity needs are generally greatest between 8am and 1pm rather than in the evening because of its large industrial base, UK officials said. This could mean flows switch directions at different times of the day to meet peak demand in both countries.

Nevertheless, analysts remain nervous about whether energy supplies will continue to flow across borders in Europe this winter.

One of Germany’s grid operators warned earlier this month that it may have to slash electricity exports to France and other countries to prevent a breakdown of its own power system. The Norwegian government in August also raised the prospect of curbing exports to European neighbours due to low water levels at its hydro power stations.

“My advice to everyone is to pray for a mild winter,” said Niall Trimble, managing director of the consultancy The Energy Contract Company.

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EU plans overhaul of electricity market  

Against the backdrop of the Ukraine war, wholesale gas prices spiked, resulting in more expensive electricity…reports Asian Lite News

“Skyrocketing” energy prices expose the limits of the European Union’s (EU) electricity market design, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said while announcing plans for a structural reform.

The market “was developed under completely different circumstances”, von der Leyen said on Monday.

“That’s why we, the commission, are now working on an emergency intervention and a structural reform of the electricity market,” she said, without elaborating on the changes under consideration.

The EU has grappled with surging energy prices for the last six months in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers is planned for September 9.

Electricity prices in the European market are set by the most expensive energy source needed in production, currently gas-fired power plants.

Against the backdrop of the Ukraine war, wholesale gas prices spiked, resulting in more expensive electricity.

A reform of the European electricity market could revise this so-called merit order mechanism and allow consumers to pay less for cheaper electricity generated with solar and wind energy.

German Economy Minister Robert Ha beck also recently announced market reforms to separate customer prices for electricity from the rising cost of gas.

Praising EU efforts to end a chronic over reliance on Russian fossil fuels, von der Leyen cautioned against developing a new dependency on China for strategic raw materials like Lithium for batteries.

“Out of the 30 critical raw materials today, 10 are mostly sourced from China. So we have to avoid falling into the same dependency as with oil and gas,” von der Leyen said.

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Africa News

Botswana turns into electricity exporter

Botswana’s peak and off-peak hours are during the evenings as well as mornings and in the afternoon and during weekends when industries are not open…reports Asian Lite News

Botswana is dominated by coal-fired power generation and had only one power station Morupule A before 2010.

To ensure energy security and increase electricity self-sufficiency, Botswana started the 600 MW Morupule B power Station project in 2010 with the CNEEC as the general contractor.

According to Zhang Xiangrong, CNEEC project manager, with the joint efforts of the Botswana government and the company, the plant operation is stable currently. The company started the renovation project of the power station in 2019. At present, the first unit has been renovated and the trial operation will be finished in September.

“Morupule B power plant is fully functioning with all the four units producing 150 megawatts of electricity each,” said Moagi, adding that Morupule A power plant is generating at least 232 megawatts thereby bringing Botswana’s power generation to 832 megawatts per hour.

According to Moagi, Botswana utilizes 580 megawatts during peak hours while only 360 megawatts are needed at off-peak hours. Botswana’s peak and off-peak hours are during the evenings as well as mornings and in the afternoon and during weekends when industries are not open.

Moagi said South Africa, whose public electricity utility in Eskom is facing generation problems, is willing to buy power from Botswana. The BPC has therefore started engaging Eskom to purchase the excess electricity supply generated during off-peak periods to protect plants against load management fluctuations and also ensure that surplus electricity has a secured market.

Speaking during a media briefing after the Botswana-South Africa Business Roundtable in Gaborone, capital of Botswana on Aug. 4, 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said the willingness shown by Botswana to sell South Africa excess electricity will strengthen economic and trade ties.

By selling power to South Africa, Botswana hopes to realize its goal of becoming “a regional benchmark in power delivery” by 2026 with the Maduo26 strategy, a five-year plan unveiled last year.

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-Top News India News

AAP promises free electricity within 24 hrs of coming to power in UP

The AAP leader also promised free electricity to farmers if his party came to power and all cases related to power issues would be withdrawn…reports Asian Lite News.

Ahead of the 2022 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday assured to relieve people of high electricity bills by promising 300 units of free electricity within 24 hours of them coming to power in the state.

“AAP will give people of Uttar Pradesh respite from high electricity bills. Within 24 hours of coming to power, our government will provide 300 units of free electricity for residential use to every single person in the state,” Sisodia – Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister tweeted.

The AAP leader is in Lucknow on Thursday to lay the ground for the upcoming polls early next year.

He said that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal firmly believes that electricity is a basic right of every citizen and not a luxury. It is the duty of every government to provide electricity to its people.

“We will ensure that the people get electricity without any disruption. UP has power plants and therefore it is better positioned than Delhi,” he said.

The AAP leader also promised free electricity to farmers if his party came to power and all cases related to power issues would be withdrawn.

Deputy CM’s visit to the Hindi-belt state came just a day after Sanjay Singh, Uttar Pradesh in charge of AAP, released the list of 100 Vidhan Sabha in charge, including 35 from the other backward castes (OBCs), of the party as the party candidates for assembly polls.

“We have given representation to all communities on the list. Doctors, engineers, advocates, postgraduate, farmers and youths figure on our list,” Singh had said, adding that some candidates could be changed later if they do not seem to be in line with the party’s policies and programmes.

BJP making efforts to win seats lost in last assembly polls

The Uttar Pradesh BJP is putting extra efforts on those seats which the saffron party lost in the 2017 assembly polls. Leading from the front, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP Uttar Pradesh chief Swatantra Dev Singh have already started visiting these constituencies to reach out to the voters.

A senior party functionary said that the party leadership including the chief minister has decided to give special focus to the seats which the party had lost in the last assembly polls. “Around 80 seats we lost in 2017 assembly polls and we are working on to win these seats in next year’s state elections. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and state president Singh will be visiting all these constituencies in future,” he said.

During their visit, Adityanath and Singh will interact with people and tell them about the works of the BJP government at the Centre and in the state. Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Harish Chandra Srivastava told IANS that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and party state president have started visiting assembly constituencies which they have lost in last polls.

“Chief Minister Adityanath and state president Singh will hold public rallies or meetings to explain to people about several development and welfare initiatives started by the BJP government at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh. First such program was held in Kushinagar,” Srivastava said.

The party feels that among these seats many were lost with thin margins and with little extra efforts it can be won this time. “After Adityanath and Singh’s visit to these assembly segments, the party workers will get in touch with voters at regular intervals,” another party functionary said.

BJP state unit leaders claim that winning these seats not only increase the party tally in assembly but also balance any possible loss of existing seats. “There is no anti-incumbency against the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and by winning these seats; we will be increasing our numbers in the next assembly polls. Seeing the development in these constituencies, people have realised the pace of development will be accelerated by electing BJP MLA,” another party leader said.

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Mamata urges PM not to introduce electricity amendment bill

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 seeks to propose amendments to the Electricity Act 2003…reports Asian Lite News.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that states were not consulted properly before the initiation of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the Parliament and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “refrain from the initiation of the legislation” because it will hamper the interest of the larger section of the society.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Modi, Banerjee said, “Power is too important a sector for such unilateral interferences, especially when ‘electricity’ as a subject is in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India and any legislation on a subject in such a list needs serious prior consultation with the States. In the present case, there has been some tokenism of consultations, but no real exchange of views, which is antithetical to the federal structure of our polity”.

Registering her protest against the recent Central government’s move to place the much-criticized Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the Parliament, the chief minister said, “Such a laissez faire approach would result in concentration of private profit – focussed utility players in the lucrative urban-industrial segments, while poor and rural consumers would be left to be tended by public sector DISCOMS”.

“In the name of market reforms, the State will give up its commanding height, state PSUs will become sick and ailing and yet forced to serve areas where no corporate body would focus. Allowing cherry-picking to select private entities cannot be the goal of public policies, particularly in a strategic sector like power,” she alleged.

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 seeks to propose amendments to the Electricity Act 2003. The 2003 Act governs the power sector structure and policy. It recommends the generation, distribution, transmission, trading and use of electricity. Further, it also sets rules and regulations for regulatory authorities in the state and central departments of the power sector. The first few amendments introduced to the Act were in 2014.

The 2020 amendment Bill has proposed the setting up of a National Selection Committee instead of a separate selection panel for the appointment of state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs).

Alleging the sweeping abdication of the State’s pre-eminent role in the power sector in favour of unregulated and de-licensed private players, the chief minister wrote, “The avowed objective of the Bill is to provide plural choices to the consumers, even while actually the Bill will finally end up in profiteering by the new service providers through enhancements in tariffs and every sector of the society will suffer due to increased tariff”.

Mamata Banerjee said that the proposed Amendment strikes at the root of that federal architecture. “The reduction of the role of the state public utility bodies, the unchecked enhancement of the role of private corporate bodies, and the curtailment of the authority of the states in the power sector together imply a sinister design, whereby crony capitalism will get nourishment at the cost of the states, the public sector and the common people at large,” she wrote.

“The dilution of the role of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and the State Distribution Companies implies a political design to demolish state bodies and domestic industries. Direct interference by the Central Government in activities involving distribution will not at all be helpful to take care of the interest of the common people and the States,” she added.

“I would like to request you to kindly refrain from the initiation of the legislation and to ensure that a broad-based and transparent dialogues on the subject is opened up at the earliest,” she said.

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Provinces hit by blackout after power pylon destroyed

The incident took place before dawn in Jangal Bagh locality in eastern Parwan province…reports Asian Lite News

One dozen Afghan provinces, including Kabul, remained without electricity as another power pylon was destroyed by an explosion on Wednesday, national power company Breshna Sherkat confirmed.

The incident took place before dawn in Jangal Bagh locality in eastern Parwan province, north of Kabul, an official from Breshna Sherkat told local media, adding that a technical team has been sent to the area to assess the destruction.

Afghan technical teams were working to repair and restore the power supply as three electricity towers were destroyed a couple of days ago in the region, reports Xinhua news agency.

Afghanistan has been facing power shortages in recent days.

The government has imported power from neighbouring Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, but the imported energy is still too little to meet domestic needs.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.

At least 27 power pylons have been destroyed or damaged by explosions along the power grid in recent months.

Last week, at least 100 shops and 20 houses were set ablaze by Taliban militants in Andkhoy district of Afghanistan’s northern Faryab province.

Fighting between government forces and the Taliban erupted in the restive district on June 23 and the militants seized it the next day.

However, the militants evacuated the district on June 25 after heavy fighting where 25 insurgents were killed, provincial police spokesman Mohammad Karim Yurash said.

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“The Taliban militants fled leaving 25 bodies behind. But before escaping they torched up to 100 shops including those selling carpets, grocery and vegetables. The militants also set ablaze 20 houses in the district,” Yurash told Xinhua.

Confirming the incident, another provincial official Nasir Ahmad Azimi asserted that the ongoing war and the recent clashes have hugely damaged the local economy as many shops and houses had been destroyed.

Another member of the provincial council, Abdul Ahad Elbik told Xinhua that the fighting had inflicted heavy property losses on the people and fighting is still continue in parts of the restive district.

Andkhoy is a port district of Faryab province, which connects the war-torn Afghanistan to Turkmenistan.

Taliban militants have captured more than 70 districts since the start of the withdrawal of the US-led forces from Afghanistan on May 1.

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