No deal: Andhra Pradesh’s decision to relook at renewable energy contracts has sent the wrong signal to global investors. Photo: Mint

Andhra Pradesh vs Centre: No deal yet on the issue of cancelled PPAs

Andhra Pradesh’s latest stance on the issue of high-cost renewable PPAs has disturbed the fragile peace between the Centre and the state government. The Jagan Mohan Reddy government has said that the panel, headed by the Union power secretary, to work on a compromise between the Centre and the state “doesn’t have the mandate to discuss” the subject of long-term solution of the problem of high-cost PPAs. Andhra Pradesh said the Centre needs to create confidence in the states which handle central projects, in case anything goes financially wrong with the projects. Andhra Pradesh’s move to renegotiate PPAs has sent the wrong signal to global investors. This has also thrown out of gear the “compromise formula” that was struck between Centre and state representatives on November 7, that included non-revision of those power purchase agreements (PPAs) whose tariffs have been fixed by the state electricity regulator.

Maharashtra’s massive miss of solar pump target

Displaying a dismal performance, the state discom MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) has installed only 12,500 solar pumps, far fewer than what is required to meet the target of one lakh solar farm pumps by March 2020 under the Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Yojana (MSKY). The MSEDCL should have by now installed over 66,000 pumps. At this rate, it will require five more years to meet the target, experts point out.

Reviewing energy projects: Maharashtra going the rebellious Andhra way?  

Centre’s estranged ally Shiv Sena, now ruling Maharashtra in alliance with the NCP and Congress, has decided to review several big infrastructure projects worth around Rs7 trillion, signed under the previous BJP government, reported the Mint.  

Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s power regulator has ordered state discom MSEDCL to pay all dues to three wind power generators towards the outstanding delayed payment charges to the tune of nearly $98,631. A penalty of 1.25% per month will be charged upon further delay. 

Minister: India will achieve 100 GW solar target by 2022

India will achieve a target of 100 GW solar energy by 2022 by adding 66 GW of solar in the next three years. Environment minister Prakash Javdekar made the ambitious claim on the sidelines of the climate conference at Madrid, adding that five years ago, India had just 3 GW of solar energy, but today it has 33 GW. “The prices of solar energy used to be Rs20 per unit. Now, it is just 10% of it,” he said. 

India’s renewable energy capacity is 37%. The minister said the government wants to increase it to 40% of energy capacity through renewable energy. Globally, India is the third-biggest solar installer after China and the US. India has touched 20 GW cumulative solar capacity four years ahead of the 2022 target. According to IEEFA’s Tim Buckley, India requires $500-700 billion in renewable energy and supporting grid investment over the coming decade in order to meet its renewable energy targets.

Centre to bail out discoms through easy loans

The Centre plans to bail out state discoms as they fail to pay dues to energy generating companies (gencos).  With solar and wind power tariffs at a record low, banks are wary of lending to renewable energy developers, and the state power distribution companies (discoms) are incurring huge debts and payment dues to power developers, The Centre is considering concessional loans from public sector lenders Power Finance Corp. (PFC), Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd (REC) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) to help discoms clear green energy dues. India plans to achieve an ambitious 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Discoms owe over Rs67,000 crore in dues.

HC issues notices to Gujarat on variation charges

The Gujarat high court issued a notice to the state government over its policy of “variation charges” on a plea filed by solar lobby, the National Solar Energy Federation of India. The lobby wants the state authorities to allow more production variation margin than the present 7%. The solar and wind energy producers said they have to give an estimate of electricity production a day ahead to the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC), but since they cannot control variations because of weather conditions their estimates inevitably vary. The federation said some states allow 15% variation, before they impose penalties.

In a separate case, Gujarat government’s land offer to wind energy developers have come too late, and have few takers. Because of fast approaching commissioning deadlines, winners of the SECI auctions ended up buying expensive private land in the state and elsewhere.

Minister says India achieved over 31GW grid connected solar capacity

India’s minister of state for power RK Singh told Parliament that a total 31,696 Mega Watt (MW) of grid connected solar power generation capacity has been set up in the country till October 2019. The aim is to install 1,00,000 MW grid connected solar power capacity by December 2022.

Meanwhile, the National Thermal Power Corporation invited solar bids for projects totalling 923 MW, between the range of 50MW to 300 MW. under the domestic content requirement (DCR) category, which mandates the use of domestic solar manufactures. In another project announcement, the Solar Electricity Corporation of India (SECI) has changed and extended the bid submission deadline for its tender for 1.2 GW of the interstate transmission system (ISTS)-connected renewable energy projects to December 16, 2019, from the previous date of November 29. 

India working with German financial institution KfW to cut rooftop solar cost to Rs2.50 per unit

India is working with German financing institution KfW on a rooftop solar scheme that will reduce the cost of power to Rs2.5 per unit. Union minister Nitin Gadkari said the industry must help India reduce the cost of power and suggest what tax relief government can offer to increase exports. 

China solar exports rise to 58 GW in first three quarters of 2019, despite slowdown at home

Despite a slowdown at home, China managed to push its solar modules overseas. Exports rose to around 58 GW of capacity in the first three quarters of the year, compared to 41.6 GW for all of 2018, Reuters reported. According to reports, Chinese solar firms’ foreign earnings will rise 25% in 2019, while module output has already jumped 32% in the first nine months of export demand. However, new capacity is expected to fall to 25-30 GW, down from 44 GW in 2018. The report said subsidy cuts hurt, but new projects would restore renewable growth in 2020.

UP set to be the first to use blockchain for solar power trading 

The Uttar Pradesh government introduced blockchain technology for its rooftop solar power segment, becoming the first state that has amended its regulatory framework to enable P2P energy trading in India. The project is being implemented by Australian company PowerLedger in partnership with the power ministry’s India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF). The pilot project will test energy trading through blockchain from rooftops with solar power to neighbouring households and buildings. Smart meter systems will enable households to set prices, track energy trading in real time and enable the settlement of surplus solar transactions, ISGF said. India has set a target of installing 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2022.

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