India Will Sell Only Electric Vehicles by 2030. India’s power minister Piyush Goyal said at a Confederation of Indian Industry session in April that the government plans to make all its cars electric by 2030. “By [that year], not a single petrol or diesel car should be sold in the country,” he said. While the move could drive power demand in the nation that depends on coal power for the bulk of its electricity, India has also announced it will refrain from building any new coal plants after 2022, shifting its focus instead to install a total of 175 GW of renewable capacity by that year. Industry experts widely suggest that India’s push for electric vehicles may facilitate energy storage to help balance the surge in solar power generation it is anticipating. However, they point out that India’s car manufacturers aren’t equipped for such a radical change, nor does India have enough time to set up infrastructure to support electric vehicles. A number of industry stakeholders have urged the government to promote more research and development on electric vehicles.
German Court Rules Nuclear Fuel Tax Is Unconstitutional. The German Federal Constitutional Court in early June upheld a 2014 ruling of the Financial Court of Hamburg that held the nuclear fuel tax levied to German nuclear generators despite the country’s announced nuclear phase out in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster is unconstitutional. The ruling means that nuclear generators will receive a refund of about $7 billion they have paid between 2011 and 2016. The tax was levied every time the nation’s three nuclear plant owners, E.ON, RWE, and EnBW changed a fuel rod.
Eskom Synchronizes Medupi Coal Plant to Grid. Unit 4 of South African state-owned utility Eskom’s Medupi Power Station Project in Lephalale, Limpopo, was synchronized to the national power grid on May 31, becoming the third of the plant’s six units to come online. Once completed, Medupi will be the fourth-largest coal-fired power plant, and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. It will consist of six supercritical units with an installed capacity of 4,800-MW. The planned operational life of the power station is 50 years.
GE Inks Major Agreement for Vietnam Power Facilities. GE and Vietnam Oil & Gas Group (Petrovietnam) on May 31 signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the development of two 750-MW combined cycle gas turbine power plants—Mien Trung I and II. If built, the plants will be fueled from natural gas from the Blue Whale Gas Field, which is the country’s largest to date, having an estimated 150 billion cubic meters of reserves. The Mien Trung I Plant is expected to begin operations in 2023 and Mien Trung II in 2024. GE will help Vietnam identify the latest technology solutions to provide higher efficiency, lower fuel consumption, and lower emissions. GE’s development partner International Mainstream Renewable Power also signed a joint development agreement with Phu Cuong Group to develop an 800-MW wind farm in Soc Trang province. That deal follows a 1-GW initiative signed with the Ministry of Industry and Trade last year.
Siemens to Deliver Equipment for Significant Plant in Jordan. Siemens will supply two SST5-5000 steam turbines, two air-cooled SGen5-1200A generators, and the turbine control system for the 470-MW Attarat steam power plant in Jordan, which is being built by China Energy Engineering Group Guangdong Power Engineering Co. as general contractor for the operator of the plant, the Attarat Power Co. When it begins operation as expected in mid-2020, the plant will supply enough power to cover up to 15% of Jordan’s power demand. Because Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world, and the power plant will be built in the desert at Attarat Um Ghudran, 100 kilometers southeast of the Jordanian capital Amman, one of the plant’s unique features is that its air-cooled condensers will save up to 90% of the water needed for the plant’s operation compared with the use of a wet-cooling system. ■
—Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor