Bridge India

MNRE released the final version of National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy last week. The policy aims to “provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid systems for optimal and efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.” A major change from the draft policy is…

ISTS tenders face long delays

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), India’s chief power sector regulator, recently issued a draft procedure for applying for connectivity to the inter-state transmission system (ISTS). The draft procedure comes in the wake of last year’s CERC order on transmission connectivity ‘squatting’ and seeks to provide much needed clarity for ISTS connectivity for RE projects.

National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous technical institution set up by MNRE, has invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) for India’s first offshore wind project. The 1,000 MW project is proposed to be located about 25 km from Pipavav port off the coast of Gujarat. Transmission infrastructure for sub-sea connectivity shall be the responsibility of project developer(s). Due date for submission of EOI is 25 May 2018.

Gujarat government has cancelled the 500-MW state tender, for which an auction was held just four weeks ago. Capacity was won in this tender by Kalthia Engineering (50 MW), Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (150 MW), Acme (100 MW) and Azure Power (200 MW). Reason for cancellation has been cited as winning tariffs, between INR 2.98 – 3.06/kWh, being “on the higher side”.  In the same week, the state cancelled another tender for short-term purchase of 2,000 MW of conventional power again because the prices (INR 4.97/kWh-INR 8.00/kWh) were deemed to be too high.

About two weeks ago, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), a statutory agency constituted under the Ministry of Power, released final National Electricity Plan for the five-year period beginning April 2017. The Plan is an important document – it should provide a roadmap for power sector development and serve as a planning guide for all government agencies. Unfortunately, unrealistic assumptions about power demand growth and RE capacity addition as well as some fundamental exclusions render the exercise futile in our opinion.

Last week, MNRE issued a clarification to its guidelines for competitive bidding of solar PV projects. The clarification allows inclusion of changes in duties and other cesses in Change in Law provisions in power purchase agreements. It effectively means that risk of any new duties or changes in duties including safeguard and/or anti-dumping duties arising after the “last date of bid submission” would be borne by the power purchasers ie DISCOMs.

  • The protection offered to developers is highly welcome even if it poses some operational challenges and doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely;
  • It paves way for the tender pipeline, stuck for many months, to start moving forward;
  • The status of projects auctioned without any explicit protection remains unclear;

Gujarat conducted e-auction for a 500 MW utility scale PV solar tender last week. Capacity has been won by four developers at tariffs between INR 2.98 – 3.06/ kWh – Kalthia Engineering (50 MW, INR 2.98), Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSEC) (150 MW, INR 3.00), Acme (100 MW, INR 3.06) and Azure (200 MW, INR 3.06). Losing bidders include Hero, Adani, Shapoorji Pallonji, Mahindra, Mytrah and Fortum.

  • Tariffs have gone up by 22% in 3 months because of the threat of safeguard duty;
  • Ministry of Power statement that developers would be expected to bear duties only as applicable on the date of auctions is being disregarded by them;
  • We expect little progress on over 11,700 MW of tenders stuck in pipeline until there is clarity on duty decision;