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1.

New factory-focused solar tender in the offing for India

With last year’s embarrassing manufacturing-linked capacity tender limping along, it has been reported the Indian government – whichever form it takes after the current elections – is considering anot ......

  • India
  • Administration & Marketing
  • 13 Jun 2019
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Description With last year’s embarrassing manufacturing-linked capacity tender limping along, it has been reported the Indian government – whichever form it takes after the current elections – is considering another tender to incentivize the establishment of a domestic solar industry. MAY 8, 2019 PREETI VERMA LAL EMPLOYMENT HIGHLIGHTS MODULES & UPSTREAM MANUFACTURING POLICY INDIA How will the latest attempt to encourage a domestic solar industry fare? And which prime minister will oversee it? Image: Adam Jones/Flickr ShareIcon FacebookIcon TwitterIcon LinkedInIcon Google PlusIcon WhatsAppIcon Email From pv magazine India. With domestic solar manufacturing in the doldrums and India’s first manufacturing-linked PV tender having been met with a tepid response, the nation is mulling a new procurement exercise to develop an industrial base for solar – this time with no generation capacity element attached. Business news service Bloomberg has reported plans are being considered in India for a solar cell and module manufacturing tender which would include a financial incentive. The news comes as the world’s biggest democratic elections continued to unfold, with polling completed in 424 of India’s 542 Lok Sabha constituencies on Monday. India has around 3 GW of annual solar cell production capacity and 9 GW of module capacity – figures eclipsed by some individual businesses in China – and in February the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs provided Rs8,580 crore ($1.23 billion) of viability gap funding to enable government-owned companies to establish 12 GW of solar capacity with costlier Indian-made products. An attempt by the government to staunch the flow of solar imports by applying a 25% safeguarding duty on them appears to have done little to help the expansion of domestic solar manufacturing. Chinese imports dominate With the domestic production sector supplying just 15% of India’s solar equipment needs, the nation continues to import almost 90% of its PV modules. Chinese imports make up almost 89% of India’s total solar needs with Singapore a distant second, followed by Taiwan. India also imports solar products from Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The Solar Energy Corporation of India suffered a humiliating outcome last year after floating a tender to attract 5 GW of new solar manufacturing capacity with the carrot of 10 GW worth of power purchase agreements. With PV project developers required to locally manufacture equipment in order to secure capacity, the procurement stumbled through six postponements as its scale was reduced. The bidding window for the surviving version of the tender has been extended three times with the latest deadline, on Tuesday, widely expected to be pushed further out. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Rohit Gadre said the next Indian government’s attempts to develop a solar manufacturing industry will encounter familiar hurdles, including domestic policy and competition from ever cheaper solar imports. A manufacturing tender without a generation capacity element can only succeed if it provides assured long-term demand for domestic modules, Gadre said, and that will prove difficult in the face of Chinese competitors which have already built strong supply chains and impressive economies of scale and which are furiously expanding production capacities even further. Compounding the lack of demand at home for Indian modules, the export market slumped 19% to be worth just $107 million last year, from $132 million in 2017.
Industry Administration & Marketing
Source https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/05/08/new-factory-focused-solar-tender-in-the-offing-for-india/
2.

New factory-focused solar tender in the offing for India

With domestic solar manufacturing in the doldrums and India’s first manufacturing-linked PV tender having been met with a tepid response, the nation is mulling a new procurement exercise to develop an ......

  • India
  • Administration & Marketing
  • 22 May 2019
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Description With domestic solar manufacturing in the doldrums and India’s first manufacturing-linked PV tender having been met with a tepid response, the nation is mulling a new procurement exercise to develop an industrial base for solar – this time with no generation capacity element attached. Business news service Bloomberg has reported plans are being considered in India for a solar cell and module manufacturing tender which would include a financial incentive. The news comes as the world’s biggest democratic elections continued to unfold, with polling completed in 424 of India’s 542 Lok Sabha constituencies on Monday. India has around 3 GW of annual solar cell production capacity and 9 GW of module capacity – figures eclipsed by some individual businesses in China – and in February the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs provided Rs8,580 crore ($1.23 billion) of viability gap funding to enable government-owned companies to establish 12 GW of solar capacity with costlier Indian-made products. An attempt by the government to staunch the flow of solar imports by applying a 25% safeguarding duty on them appears to have done little to help the expansion of domestic solar manufacturing. Chinese imports dominate With the domestic production sector supplying just 15% of India’s solar equipment needs, the nation continues to import almost 90% of its PV modules. Chinese imports make up almost 89% of India’s total solar needs with Singapore a distant second, followed by Taiwan. India also imports solar products from Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. The Solar Energy Corporation of India suffered a humiliating outcome last year after floating a tender to attract 5 GW of new solar manufacturing capacity with the carrot of 10 GW worth of power purchase agreements. With PV project developers required to locally manufacture equipment in order to secure capacity, the procurement stumbled through six postponements as its scale was reduced. The bidding window for the surviving version of the tender has been extended three times with the latest deadline, on Tuesday, widely expected to be pushed further out. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Rohit Gadre said the next Indian government’s attempts to develop a solar manufacturing industry will encounter familiar hurdles, including domestic policy and competition from ever cheaper solar imports. A manufacturing tender without a generation capacity element can only succeed if it provides assured long-term demand for domestic modules, Gadre said, and that will prove difficult in the face of Chinese competitors which have already built strong supply chains and impressive economies of scale and which are furiously expanding production capacities even further. Compounding the lack of demand at home for Indian modules, the export market slumped 19% to be worth just $107 million last year, from $132 million in 2017.
Industry Administration & Marketing
Source https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/05/08/new-factory-focused-solar-tender-in-the-offing-for-india/
3.

India’s 10 GW mega tender has now been trimmed to 3 GW

A week after rejecting the sole bid received – from Azure Power – for its manufacturing-linked 10 GW solar procurement, the government has trimmed the size of the ill-fated exercise by more than two-t ......

  • India
  • Administration & Marketing
  • 14 Feb 2019
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Description A week after rejecting the sole bid received – from Azure Power – for its manufacturing-linked 10 GW solar procurement, the government has trimmed the size of the ill-fated exercise by more than two-thirds. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is refusing to give up on a tendering exercise originally intended to drive 5 GW of domestic PV manufacturing capacity by dangling the carrot of 10 GW of solar generation capacity. Bids are now being invited for the selection of solar developers to set up 3 GW of interstate transmission system (ISTS) connected projects through competitive bidding. With the capacity on offer trimmed by more than two-thirds, the total amount of solar manufacturing capacity successful bidders must commit to in India has been halved, to 1.5 GW. The much-hyped ‘world’s biggest’ 10 GW tender, issued by SECI in May, initially mandated some 5 GW of manufacturing capacity linked to ISTS-connected solar projects with an aggregate capacity of 10 GW. Following a poor response, SECI reduced the manufacturing component to 3 GW, and the minimum project bid capacity from 1 GW to 600 MW. Those tweaks still proved insufficient to drum up interest and, after six postponements, the tender finally attracted just one bidder, Azure Power. Allaying fears the tender would be scrapped as a result, SECI decided to forge ahead with the lone bidder but the Indian government last week opted to reject the tariff it received, citing dissatisfaction with the price. Now it appears SECI is staging one more attempt to at least claw some capacity – generation and manufacturing – out of an exercise that has been dogged with problems since its inception.
Industry Administration & Marketing
Source https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/30/indias-10-gw-mega-tender-has-now-been-trimmed-to-3-gw/
4.

Influential committee says taxpayers ‘deserve better’ from public procurement system

The government has created a culture encouraging companies to bid for contracts at undeliverable prices, a committee has warned. After the collapse of Carillion MPs raised concerns about the emergence ......

  • United Kingdom
  • services
  • 30 Jul 2018
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Description The government has created a culture encouraging companies to bid for contracts at undeliverable prices, a committee has warned. After the collapse of Carillion MPs raised concerns about the emergence of a cluster of large companies that are expert at winning public contracts – despite not always delivering good service. The public accounts committee (PAC) claims little consideration is given to whether businesses can meet the demands of the contract at the right price. Around £250bn of public money is spent through commercial relationships each year, but a report by PAC says the taxpayer “deserves better” than the “secretive or opaque” contracts which account for much of this spending. “The government has created a merry-go-round procurement culture that encouraged a small number of companies to bid for contracts that they knew they would be unable to deliver for the agreed price,” it adds. “The government has allowed a culture to develop in which a small number of large companies that believe that they are too big to fail pursued new business with little apparent consideration of their ability to deliver the right service at the right price.” Carillion, the UK’s second largest construction company, collapsed under a debt pile of £1.5bn on January 15. It had employed 43,000 people, including about 20,000 in the UK. The PAC said Carillion’s collapse had “brought to a head” concerns about the government’s approach to procurement, which covers contracts on everything from medical assessments for benefits claimants to building nuclear weapons. It said that outsourcing was carried out to save money and encourage innovation but “too often” the aims were not being met. The committee has seen government assessments of its largest suppliers that show how many contracts at any one point are performing badly. But it has not released the information over fears it could have a severe impact on smaller supply chain businesses. MPs warned, however, that Whitehall’s red-amber-green rating system is not working “either as a carrot or as a stick”. A cabinet office spokesman said a new raft of regulations introduced around public procurement was designed to build a “healthy and diverse marketplace of companies bidding for contracts”.
Industry services
Source http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/public-procurement-report-public-accounts-committee-carillion-1-5620438
5.

India: The first solar plant bid at INR 2.44 expected in August

The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) says the nation will exceed 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity as plans for bidding for 115 GW of renewable power projects to March 20 ......

  • India
  • services
  • 21 Jul 2018
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Description The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) says the nation will exceed 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity as plans for bidding for 115 GW of renewable power projects to March 2020 were announced. The target for PV parks has been increased from 20 GW to 40 GW with some 41 parks in 21 states – with aggregate capacity of more than 26 GW – already sanctioned. India is well on track to achieving its 175 GW target of installed renewable energy capacity on the back of encouraging policy measures, according to the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) that is. Transparent bidding and the facilitation of procurement of solar and wind power through a tariff-based competitive bidding process have led to a significant fall in the cost of both power sources in India. In 2017, competitive bidding guidelines for the procurement of solar and wind were issued and, consequently, the lowest tariff of INR2.44 per unit for solar and INR2.43 per unit for wind was reached. The first solar plant bid at INR2.44 will be launched in August. The government of India has also waived inter-state transmission system charges and losses for the inter-state sale of renewable power for projects commissioned by March 2022. This will encourage the development of projects in states that have greater resource potential and land availability and will also help create a pan-Indian renewable power market, as generation above a state’s requirement can be transmitted to resource-poor states without financial burdens. The government has already outlined a Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) trajectory up to next year and is in the process of extending that to 2022. It is hoped a Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO) will encourage coal-based thermal power generators to diversify into renewables. To optimize land use and harness solar and wind energy potential, the MNRE has introduced a solar-wind hybrid policy to better harness renewable resources and, to an extent, address renewable energy variability. The Ministry has also introduced a tender for setting up a 2,000 MW solar-wind hybrid in existing projects. The national target for solar parks has been raised from 20 GW to 40 GW and 41 parks in 21 states with an aggregate capacity of more than 26 GW have already been sanctioned. The largest such project, with a 2 GW capacity, is under implementation in Pavagada, in Karnataka state. A new solar park policy has been announced to encourage participation by private parties and central public-sector undertakings (CPSUs) in setting up such schemes. To drive domestic solar cell manufacturing, the government has issued an expression of interest for setting up solar PV manufacturing capacity by offering the carrot of an assured offtake of 20 GW. Green Energy Corridor projects aim to foster grid infrastructure for renewable power evacuation and reshape the grid for future requirements. The intra-state transmission scheme (InSTS) being implemented by eight renewable-rich states with an investment of INR101,410 billion will set up around 9,400 circuit kilometers of transmission lines and substations with a total capacity of around 19,000 MVA, and should be completed by March 2020. New schemes at advanced stages include the KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) and the SRISTI (Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for the Solar Transfiguration of India). Under the KUSUM scheme, the government will provide farmers with 2.75 million solar water pumps – 1.75 million of them standalone and 1 million grid-connected. The planned scheme will also help farmers instal 10 GW worth of solar power plants of intermediate capacity – 0.5-2 MW. The scheme also envisages 50,000 grid-connected tube-wells and lift irrigation and drinking water projects. A round-the-clock renewables policy has already been finalized. “[More than] USD42 billion investment was made in renewable energy in India during [the] last four years,” the MNRE said in a statement. “Indian companies have begun to explore foreign stock exchanges as a source of funds. India is progressively becoming a most favored destination for investment in [renewables].” Foreign investors can enter joint ventures with Indian partners for financial and/or technical collaboration and for developing renewable energy-based generation projects and having 100% foreign investment as equity secures automatic approval. The government of India is also encouraging foreign investors to set up renewable energy-based power generation projects on a build-own-operate basis. Renewable projects set up in the last four years have created around 10 million days’ employment annually. Under the Suryamitra program, launched in 2015 to create a qualified technical workforce, more than 18,631 suryamitras have been trained. “[The] last four years have been path-breaking in India’s renewable energy landscape, with [the] installed capacity of renewable power already reaching [more than] 70 GW,” added the MNRE statement. “[More than] 40 GW [of] renewable power capacity is under construction [or] tendered. Globally, India stands fifth in renewable power [rankings] and sixth in solar power installed capacity. Solar energy capacity increased [more than] eight times – from 2.63 GW in 2014 to 22 GW.”
Industry services
Source https://www.pv-magazine.com/2018/06/06/india-the-first-solar-plant-bid-at-inr-2-44-expected-in-august/
6.

Punjab CM’s Suggestion, of a Public Procurement-linked Incentive to Curb Crop-residue Burning, is not a Great Idea

Crop residue burning: Why Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s suggestion is not a great idea Between the carrot and the stick, the carrot works better, many would say. Even Punjab chief minister Amarinder Si ......

  • India
  • Food & Agriculture
  • 21 Sep 2017
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Description Crop residue burning: Why Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s suggestion is not a great idea Between the carrot and the stick, the carrot works better, many would say. Even Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh believes so. To stop the polluting practice of crop-stubble burning, the chief minister has proposed that farmers be incentivised to not resort to such farm waste disposal. Singh suggests that farmers who don’t burn crop stubble be given Rs 100 per quintal over and above the MSP during procurement of grain by central agencies. Now, the smoke from crop burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh causes Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) to choke every year, right after the kharif crop is harvested in these states. Just from the perspective of letting Delhi breathe easy, incentivising farmers to give up crop residue burning would seem a sound proposal. Only, bonuses on MSP are not the best way to do this. Linking the incentive to the MSP-public procurement system, a wasteful and leaky mechanism, would make dismantling the latter very difficult—a per-quintal bonus means more grain will be pushed into the procurement system, making the system that much more indispensable to farm livelihoods. Besides, while crop burning is a serious issue in many states, central agencies chiefly procure from Punjab and Haryana farmers. Singh’s proposal, thus, may help Delhi, but will do little to comprehensively discourage the practice. Recent Nasa images showed a massive surge in crop-residue burining in Punjab and Haryana, indicating that the threat of penalty, as fixed by the National Green Tribunal, hasn’t had the desired impact. So, incentivising farmers may be an option that the government needs to explore seriously. But it should be more in the vein of subsidising tech-driven alternatives to farm-waste disposal like rotavators, etc. Such a measure could have a more widespread impact, given it wouldn’t just be to the benefit of Punjab and Haryana farmers.
Industry Food & Agriculture
Source http://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/crop-residue-burning-why-punjab-cm-amarinder-singhs-suggestion-is-not-a-great-idea/863926/
7.

Hotels get creative in adding on costs

Among surcharges, fees are ones for in-room coffee, pool towels, gym access As hotel fees hit record highs, even the free in-room coffee is no longer sacred. For Laura Schooling, the only thing ......

  • United States
  • Hotel & Hospitality
  • 15 Oct 2016
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Description Among surcharges, fees are ones for in-room coffee, pool towels, gym access

As hotel fees hit record highs, even the free in-room coffee is no longer sacred.

For Laura Schooling, the only thing worse than being jet-lagged in a hotel room and finding no coffee is discovering that in-room caffeine is available -- but for $3.50 a K-Cup.

"I went to get my coffee in the morning, and it just felt like such a scam," said Schooling, who traveled frequently in a former job as a marketing executive based in the San Francisco Bay area and encountered the costly coffee during a stay at the Empire Hotel in New York City.

"It just seems petty," she said. "It's not about the money -- it's about the principle."

The Empire Hotel's parent company, Amsterdam Hospitality, did not respond to requests for comment.

Unfortunately for travelers, fees and surcharges are a growing moneymaker for hotels and not likely to go away anytime soon. New research from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University indicates that hotels in the United States will tack on $2.55 billion in fees this year -- the highest amount since Bjorn Hanson, a professor at the center, began tracking them in 2000.

Like the airlines, hotels came to embrace add-on fees gradually. For years, the annual total for the hotel industry in the United States hovered around $1 billion, except in 2002, when the aftermath of 9/11 and the dot-com bust left many hotels scrambling to fill rooms and reluctant to foist extra fees on guests.

But beginning about a decade ago, annual growth in the fees really began to pick up. With the exception of 2009 -- a bruising year for hotels in the fallout from the financial crisis -- the amount collected in fees has risen every year since the recession ended.

The good news now, if it can be called that, is that the rate of increase has slowed.

"The growth isn't as large as it's been, but that's only because there's been so much in the past," Hanson said.

"It's almost a challenge to come up with a new category of charges," he said. "The easier ones to think of have mostly been introduced."

But hotels are rising to the creative challenge.

MGM Resorts International drew complaints from customers and even inspired a Change.org petition this year after introducing what it termed "modest" parking fees of up to $10 a night at its Las Vegas properties -- a departure for hotels and casinos along the Strip.

In a blog post, the chief executive of MGM Resorts International, Jim Murren, argued that paid parking was a necessary evil in an evolving market. But patrons and visitors complained on social media and expressed concern that MGM's competitors would see an opportunity and follow suit.

More hotels, not only in Las Vegas, are adding parking fees, even for unattended self-parking. And hotels all over the country are adding fees for perks that used to be free or based on availability, like late checkout or early check-in, or a request for a room on a high floor or one with a king-size bed. Some are adding bellhop charges for help with bags or for holding luggage -- fees separate from the tips travelers already give the bell staff.

Hanson said those billions of dollars in add-ons would probably be even greater if not for the fact that much of the new lodging coming onto the market today is limited-service hotels, like Holiday Inn Express, where fewer services mean fewer opportunities to tack on fees.

Also helping offset the fee frenzy is the trend among hotels to dangle free Wi-Fi as a carrot to induce guests to join their loyalty programs. But free broadband goes only so far.

"I think consumers in a lot of instances feel like they're being nickel-and-dimed," said Bobby Bowers, senior vice president for operations at the hotel research and data company STR. "It just gets on your nerves."

Resort fees, in particular, have long been an irritant for visitors to places like Las Vegas and Florida. The fees typically cover amenities like pool towels, beach chairs, fitness-center access and a daily newspaper -- and guests are required to pay whether or not they actually use any of those things.

Now resort fees are turning up in urban locations as well, and their costs are rising, said Randy Greencorn, co-founder of ResortFeeChecker.com.

"We are seeing an increase in the actual amounts being charged," he said, with some hotels charging as much as $50 on top of the regular rate -- an amount that can double the price of some off-peak rooms in Las Vegas, he said. "I think the problem is that hotels will keep increasing their fees until consumers push back."

A big part of the annoyance is the surprise factor. The Federal Trade Commission said in 2012 that hotels must disclose mandatory resort fees to guests. But travelers often overlook the disclosures at the time of booking, and by the time they reach the front desk, they are usually not in a position to go elsewhere.

Traveler advocacy groups are pressing the FTC to revisit the issue.

"When only the room rate is provided, consumers are given a false price," said Charles Leocha, chairman and a founder of Travelers United. "When the hotel has mandatory fees, if they're mandatory, they must be included in the room rate."

Two Democrats in Congress, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington, have also been trying to legislate a solution.

McCaskill introduced legislation that would make hoteliers roll the resort fee into the room rate, rather than break it out as a separate charge. DelBene sent a letter to the FTC in January urging the agency to take action, and plans to introduce a companion bill to McCaskill's, according to her office.

This would mean fewer unexpected expenses for travelers like Ed MacConnell.

MacConnell, who lives in Bucks County, Pa., stayed last spring at the Melia Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration, in Florida, while closing a real estate deal. He recalls being surprised to find that on top of the room rate of about $200, he was charged a $15 nightly resort fee for in-room coffee, water and pool towels. It grated all the more, he said, because the housekeeping staff forgot to provide the water and coffee some days.

"I'm sure it was probably in the fine print somewhere," he said. "It's not even the matter of paying it. It's paying it to not get it."
Industry Hotel & Hospitality
Source http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2016/sep/04/hotels-get-creative-in-adding-on-costs-/?business

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