In a setback to the new Andhra Pradesh government, power tariff regulator, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel), stayed the state’s move to renegotiate power-purchase agreements. Private solar power firm Greenko had moved the plea against Andhra Pradesh discom’s decision to slash tariff from Rs3.74 per kWh to Rs2.44 per kWh retrospectively from Oct. 27, 2017.
Most renewable energy companies are mulling to move the Andhra Pradesh high court on the matter. Andhra’s representative earlier defied centre saying many companies were waiting at their doorstep to invest. The two central government companies, NTPC and Solar Energy Corp of India (SECI), refused to attend Andhra Pradesh’s meeting for renegotiating of tariffs and threatened the state discoms of legal action.
Govt evokes special powers to speed up transmission lines for 66.5 GW of RE
Using its “special powers” to fast-track expansion of renewable energy capacity, the centre has cleared early regulatory approval to set up transmission lines for 66.5 GW of renewable energy. While transmission lines will now be accorded ‘national importance’ status, successful bids will be subject to bank guarantees and regulatory requirements of long term access (LTA) applications.
Govt relaxes land acquisition norms for public enterprises to set up solar projects
In an attempt to boost solar energy targets, the Indian government has relaxed land-ownership criteria for central government-owned solar power companies. Now they can set up solar parks, and approach developers without having to own the land. Private firms will still have to possess the land to set up solar parks, but they will be entitled to external connectivity from government transmission lines. The government had to modify the land criteria because central firms didn’t always have the desired land available, Mercom reported.
Consider this: Each MW of solar power requires five acres of land. While chasing the ambitious 40 GW by 2022 solar energy target, the government is leaving nothing to chance, even as private solar projects run into delays over issues of high tariffs and cancelled PPAs.
By 2030, India to exceed Paris targets of renewable power by 60%: IEEFA
A study by IEEFA says India “will overachieve Paris targets” of installed renewable energy capacity by 60%. IEEFA based its forecast on India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) projections that predicted that instead of 40% , India will have 63% of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources, including hydro projects by 2029-30. IEEFA said this is 60% more than what India promised at Paris in 2015.
In June this year, India tendered 13GW of solar projects. CEA’s report expects a drastic fall in coal power capacity to merely 35% from the current 64% of total installed capacity, in the next 11 years. The CEA said India will require “stability needs” of 440 GW of variable renewable energy capacity, supported by 73 GW of hydro and 10 GW of biomass. Meanwhile, a top government official claimed India’s renewable power capacity rose around 150% in the past five years to 77.6 GW, and is expected to touch 260 GW by 2024.
India: Renewables got $1.5 billion in FDI, jobs grew five-fold in 5 years, IEA expects spike in investments
Power minister RK Singh informed Parliament that the renewable sector received $1.5 billion in Foreign direct investment (FDI) this fiscal, 20% more than the last fiscal year. The total FDI over five years has been at $4.8 billion. India allows 100% FDI in renewables through the automatic route and ranks fourth in the renewables attractiveness index report. The latest CEEW study says India’s renewable sector jobs have grown five-fold in the past five years. In 2019, nearly 100,000 people worked in the solar and wind industry, up from 19,800 workers in 2014.
Faith Birol of the IEA said India may increase its renewables target (175 GW by 2022), which will spike up investments in the sector. Last year, the power minister said India will exceed the target to touch 225 GW.
India amends bidding norms: If solar firm defaults on payment, lender will take over
If solar power developers default on payments, the lender will be entitled to take over as promoter as per the procedure – that’s the latest amendment to the grid-connected solar power norms. The ministry of power has, for the third time, amended competitive bidding guidelines in a year. Experts say the new amendments are radical as there is hardly a case of solar developers defaulting on loans, the problem is the opposite: Purchasers failing to pay developers on time. The other amendment requires the developer to maintain minimum 51% shares in the project company executing the power-purchase agreement (PPA) for at least three years from the commercial operation date (COD).
Wind turbine maker Suzlon defaults on $172 million in bond payments, risks bankruptcy
Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy has, yet again, defaulted on credit payments. This time it failed to pay bonds worth $172 million and may even claim bankruptcy. Experts say Suzlon is a victim of its own bad management of debt, as well as the issues ailing the Indian wind energy industry.
Suzlon earned a lot under the feed-in tariff system, which allows companies to sell power at pre-determined rates. But the norms changed to competitive bidding, resulting in a steep fall in tariffs, which prompted states to abandon Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Rating agency ICRA expects India to install upto 4,000 MW of wind capacity in FY 2019 , but says “execution is a key challenge,” as companies need policy assurances on tariffs and PPAs.
Indian solar rooftop firms shutting shop as govt. fails to pay incentives?
Over the past six months, Indian EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) rooftop solar firms are facing a financial crisis and have been forced to shut shop because of falling tariffs and profit margins, the Financial Express reported. Over 12 EPC rooftop solar firms have reportedly fallen to bad times, which experts blame on policy decisions such as retrospective cancellation of net metering, and failure of the government to pay promised subsidies of 20% to 30% of the total capital cost.
China to back nearly 23 GW of feed-in tariff solar projects
Even as China aims to end solar subsidy by 2021, it recently approved a massive 22.7 GW of feed-in tariff solar scheme in the country’s first unified bidding for a total 4,338 solar projects. The lowest bid was at around $0.04. China plans to get these projects connected to the grid by the end of 2019. If solar PV projects are connected to the grid after June 30, 2020, the approved feed-in-tariff will be revoked, and the projects would stand canceled, Mercom reported. China saw a drop of 40% in solar installation in Q1 of 2019 at 5.2 GW of solar PV capacity installed, compared to Q1 2018, in which China had installed 9.65 GW of solar PV capacity.
For the first time, Germany generates more power from renewables than coal and nuclear
The first half of 2019 had plenty of sun and wind in Germany, during which time the country’s renewable energy sources made more electricity than coal and nuclear power plants together. Consider this, 47.3% of electricity used in the country came from renewables for the first time, while coal and nuclear power plants offered 43.4% power to the users. While coal production during the first half of 2019 declined drastically, experts say wind power rose by 20% and solar energy spiked by 6% compared to the same period in 2018.