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Forcing change: The AP government remained steadfast in its resolve to reshape its RE policy as it pushed through major reforms including the withdrawal of energy banking facilities | Photo: DNA India

Andhra Pradesh changes renewable energy policy to prevent ‘financial drain’ of discoms

Andhra Pradesh government made key changes in its renewable energy policy, including withdrawal of facility for energy banking, which according to the government was causing a huge financial loss to discoms. The government said the audits have revealed that solar, wind and hybrid power projects reported abnormal spurt in power purchase cost, ruining the financial health of discoms. The changes in the policy are significant in the backdrop of the new government’s policy of reviewing all power purchase agreements entered into by the previous TDP regime with renewable energy companies. The previous government’s policy enabled 100% banking of energy all through the year which was considered as deemed purchase by Discoms at 50% of the average pooled power purchase cost. This caused a loss of around Rs 5,000 crore to discoms, the new Jagan Mohan Reddy government said.

India mulls new law to protect global investors

Following Andhra Pradesh’s decision to cancel renewables energy agreements over high tariffs, Centre is planning to announce new law that will provide for penalties to prevent state governments from taking any such step.  Centre has warned the Andhra Pradesh government against scrapping PPAs signed by the previous government, as it would badly impact India’s ability to attract foreign investments and the sanctity of legal contracts. “Once the Act is brought in by the finance ministry, it will be binding on all states,” the Mint quoted government official.

20,000 MW of renewables projects stuck over land clearance issues, PM steps in 

Indian prime minister has asked his cabinet secretary to intervene and expedite clearances of renewable-energy projects that are stuck over the issues of land, right of way and forest clearances. The Green Corridor Projects worth Rs 10,141 cr for installing 19,000 MVA intra-state transmission have been stuck over clearances in 8 renewable energy rich states of Tamilnadu, Rajasthan, karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. The transmission lines will help evacuate 20,000 MW of clean power by 2020.

Renewables investment dropped steeply last year in India, China: BNEF survey

Latest survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says new investment in wind, solar and other clean energy projects dropped to $133 billion in 2018 from $169 billion in 2017, mainly because of a slowdown in Chinese investment. Investment by India and Brazil also declined, because of lower costs for solar and wind. China’s clean energy investment declined to $86 billion from $122 billion in 2017. The survey of 104 emerging markets and found that developing nations were adopting cleaner power sources, but not enough to limit CO 2 emissions or the impacts of climate change. But, coal power consumption and production rose in developing countries to a new high of 6,900 terrawatt hours (TWh) last year, from 6,400 TWh in 2017.

Solar installations increased in first 9 months of 2019, solar power generation falls

Mercom research says solar installations in India increased 44% in Q3 2019 reaching 2,170 MW, compared to 1,510 MW in Q2 2019. Year-over-year installations increased by 36% compared to 1,592 MW in Q3 2018. Researchers added that solar installations in Q3 2019 beat the declining trend seen over the past five quarters; but Mercom revised forecast down for 2019 as over 1 GW of projects have been delayed. The rooftop market continues to be weak over cash crunch and consistent regulatory issues, Mercom CEO Raj Prabhu said. Projects have been delayed over legal issues, land problems, execution delays, tariff approvals, policy issues of Andhra Pradesh state, Mercom said. Over 200 MW of projects are likely to be canceled due to delays in commissioning, which will result in companies losing their bank guarantees. 

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) said solar power generation numbers declined by 14% quarter over quarter (QoQ) in the third (Q3) quarter of 2019. Solar power generation in India was at 10,530 million units (MUs). Experts say it is normal in monsoon season for solar generation to fall. Solar power generation numbers, showed increase by 25% year-over-year (YoY) compared to  Q3 2018.

SECI manufacturing-linked solar energy auction receives good response

Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd’s (SECI) latest auction of 5GW solar energy projects has been received with enthusiasm by developers. Adani Green Energy, Azure and Navyug have submitted bids for a total of 10 GW projects, and a tariff based reverse auction is expected to be conducted by SECI later this week. The news will come as a respite for the state-run entity as investments in renewable energy have slumped over the past year. The new auction is for manufacturing-linked projects in which developers will have to set up solar equipment manufacturing capacity of 1 GW and power generation projects of 4 GW in a project with total capacity of 5 GW.

Cash for consumers? Delhi discom BSES plans solar power trading at individual level

Delhi’s power discom BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), is set to launch a blockchain-based platform on a trial basis for consumer-to-consumer solar power trading. This will allow consumers to monetise their rooftop solar power infrastructure. Rooftop solar infrastructure owners can sell their excess solar energy to their neighbours even if they do not have rooftop solar power, said a BSES spokesperson. The discom has collaborated with Australia’s Power Ledger, in the blockchain technology, to launch the consumer-to-consumer solar power trading on a trial basis. No hardware device or investment is needed to sign up to the Power Ledger platform. The technology utilises close to real-time data from smart meters to facilitate peer- to-peer trading.

India seeks $1 billion state loan to clear discoms’ debt

After commercial banks’ reluctance to lend money to debt-ridden discoms, India has asked state lenders to provide $1 billion to help discoms clear longstanding debts to green power firms, Reuters reported. The discoms owe solar and wind power generators including Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power and Softbank-backed SB Energy over 97 billion rupees ($1.35 billion), according to the Central Electricity Authority. Centre has asked state lenders Power Finance Corp Ltd, REC Ltd and IREDA to extend short-term securitised loans to the discoms at preferential rates, the report added. 

Foreign investment is key to India’s renewables target- a slowdown in overseas funding could hurt India’s pledge to increase adoption of renewable energy.

Tamil Nadu told to revise ‘irrational’ tariff order, pass fresh tariff order for renewables power

Tamil Nadu has been asked to pass fresh tariff order to procure renewable power, after renewable power lobby complained that the tariff’s were set irrational. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has asked the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (TNERC) to revise tariffs after National Solar Energy Federation of India Limited (NSEFI) and Welspun Renewables Energy Private Limited (WREPL), challenged the state’s tariff order saying that the tariffs were irrational, were set arbitrarily, and were not based on sound legal, regulatory, and economic principles. In a separate case APTEL directed Gulbarga Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (GESCOM) to clear all dues of renewable developer Azure Power by November 29, 2019, Mercom reported.

China to cut renewable power subsidy to $807 million in 2020

China has said it will reduce renewable power subsidy to $806.5 billion (5.67 billion yuan) in 2020 from 8.1 billion yuan in 2019. China is withdrawing subsidies to renewable power providers since they are expected to achieve grade price parity with coal plants. China’s first three quarters in 2019 marked 16 gigawatts (GW) of new solar installed capacity. New solar installations in 2019 will be as much as 25 GW, down from 41 GW last year, due to easing subsidies on centralised solar projects, experts said. In 2021 Cina plans to end subsidies for onshore wind projects.