Daily News Wrap-Up: Ministry Announces 25% Incentive for Critical Minerals Explorations

Juniper Green Energy secures $150 million to support the expansion of its operational capacity

September 14, 2023


In a bid to enhance the exploration of critical minerals within the country, the government of India announced a 25% incentive on the approved project cost for exploration agencies, Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister for Mines and Coal, has said. The decision aims to expedite the discovery and extraction of critical minerals, reduce the country’s dependence on imports, and foster self-sufficiency in these vital resources. Critical minerals are integral to contemporary industries, encompassing electronics, defense, and renewable energy.

Juniper Green Energy, an independent renewable energy power producer and operator of solar, wind, and hybrid power projects, received an investment of $150 million from AT Capital Group and Vitol to support the expansion of its operational capacity. The two investors had invested $200 million in Juniper nearly two years ago. With an operational portfolio of nearly 800 MW and an under-construction capacity of 435 MW, Juniper Green expects to solidify its position as a key player in the Indian renewable energy sector.

The Ministry of Power said distribution companies can procure power from the common pool after the expiry of the power purchase agreement (PPA), as per the provisions of the program issued by it in April. In April, the Ministry issued a program for pooling tariffs for coal or gas-based thermal power plants whose PPAs have expired in the backdrop of increasing demand for electricity at a time when India is transitioning to non-fossil fuel sources. The program was meant to ensure the availability of adequate resources in the grid for peaking, balancing, flexing, and redistributing benefits such as reliability and cost-effectiveness among the beneficiaries.

The European solar manufacturing industry, represented by SolarPower Europe, wrote to the European Commission, highlighting a critical issue regarding the low prices of photovoltaic (PV) modules imported from China into Europe. SolarPower Europe reports that solar PV module prices have plummeted by over 25% to €0.15 (~$0.16)/W since the start of the year. European PV glass and module manufacturers are struggling to sell their products under these circumstances, and there is a looming risk of many European manufacturing companies facing severe difficulties, including insolvency, if swift action is not taken.

The Power Grid Corporation of India emerged as the successful bidder for the execution of the Inter-State Transmission System Project to evacuate power from Renewable Energy Zones in Rajasthan for 20 GW, Phase-III Part C1. The letter of intent was formally received on September 11, 2023. The scheduled commercial operation date for the overall project is 18 months from the effective date. The project is to be undertaken on a build, own, operate, and transfer basis, encompassing several critical components, including establishing a novel 765/400 kV substation with the integration of STATCOM technology in Ramgarh.

Recent findings from a study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory emphasize the importance of subjecting perovskite solar cells to a combination of stress tests simultaneously to best predict their real-world functionality. One of the key takeaways from the research is that outdoor conditions place considerable stress on solar cells, leading to efficiency losses and reduced power production over time. Solar cells, including those based on perovskite materials, must endure a range of harsh environmental conditions, such as humidity, heat, and varying light levels.