REC Market demand & supply forecast for FY 16-17

Every year, around the mid-year mark we forecast the demand and supply in the RECs markets for the remain-der of the financial year. The second half of the FY is the busy period for the RECs markets as most transactions take place in this period. As an example, of the 43 lakh non-solar RECs sold last year, 9 lakh were sold between Apr – Sept 2015 and 34 lakh were sold from Oct 15 – March 2016 (21% and 79% split between the two halves of the year).
FY 16-17 is characterized by several changes in the RECs markets :-

  • Significantly higher demand compared to same pe-riod last year for Non-solar RECs (non-solar RECs de-mand is up by 51% compared to the same period last year, ie April to November)
  • Drastic reduction in RECs issuances due to impact of CERC’s 4th amendment to RECs regulations
  • Impeding price change in the short term (April 2017) particularly for solar RECs
  • Changing regulations in light of the national tariff policy (NTP). This will result in much higher RPO and removal of exemption for co-gen. However, due to inconsistencies in the NTP with the Electricity Act 2003 we expect the impact of these changes to be visible only in the next FY.

Overall, we expect demand to remain robust for Non-solar RECs (but not for Solar RECs). Increased demand, combined with significantly lower issuances of RECs will result in much improved clearing ratio for projects that are holding RECs.
Demand Comparison
As mentioned above, demand for non-solar RECs has been robust compared to the same period last year. As of Novem-ber, demand is up by 51% compared to the same period last year.
We expect this trend to continue, driven by several factors –

  • Several regulatory commissions have given out orders for RPO compliance during the year – this is likely to result in significant demand in the coming months. Notable examples are Maharashtra and Kerala.
  • Private Discom’s, which are large buyers, have so far re-mained marginal participants in the market. This is expected to change in the coming months.
  • CPP and open access consumers will continue to be ma-jor buyers, with several new participants coming into the market in the coming months.

Demand for Solar RECs this year compared to the same pe-riod last year has been down by 1%, or essentially the same. However, we believe that by end of FY 16-17, there is a pos-sibility that the total demand totals less than that of the pre-vious year.

This is because the current floor prices are valid only till March 31, 2017. The general expectation is of a small correction in the price of Non-solar RECs and a signifi-cant correction in the price of solar RECs. Besides this, the vintage multiplier (of 2.66x) currently in place will also expire. This may result in

(a) Significant price reduc-tion of Solar RECs,

(b) a major jump in S-RECs inventory as existing S-RECs are adjusted to the new price, and

(c) drastic reduction in S-RECs issuance from April 2017 on-wards.
These changes in the near future make market forecast-ing for solar RECs a perilous task. Our approach assess demand in the same basis as mentioned above, but moderates it by a significant factor as closer to March obligated entities are expected to hold off purchases till new prices take effect.

RECs Supply
Two factors have resulted in reduced supply of RECs :-

 

  • Several projects have existed the RECs mechanism in favor of green power sale/ state tariff PPA or captives as RECs are no longer a viable mechanism
  • Impact of the 4th amendment to RECs regulations by CERC

As a result, Non-solar RECs issuance is down by 38%  compared to the same period last year, and Solar RECs issu-ances down by 41%. Going forward, we expect the non-solar RECs issuance to remain subdued compared to last year (as a big impact of the 4th amendment has been on sugar co-gen project which see issuances starting from November to April or May). For the full year FY16-17 we forecast Non-solar RECs issuance to be 35% below the last year number. The reduction in Solar RECs issuance is due to higher issu-ance last year as a result of solar vintage multipliers, and time-lag this year as the documentation related to 4th amendment is completed. Overall, we expect the year to end with roughly 30% lower issuance compared to last year.

Demand and supply
We have forecast demand under three scenarios –

(1) Base case – demand from states that have enforced RPO in the past or have current orders for RPO enforcement are in-cluded. Even for such states, a probably of demand material-izing is applied to the total RPO gap;

(2) Medium enforce-ment – expected demand from states that have on-going RPO assessment are added to the demand in scenario 1;

(3) High enforcement – this scenario envisages that most states will take some action towards RPO enforcement. Under this scenario, even those states that have not enforced RPO regulations till date are expected to initiate action, albeit the expected demand from such states is moderated by assign-ing a low probability (20-30%).

Conclusion:

Looking at the overall picture after the demand-supply forecasting exercise shows the following:

  • Non-solar RECs markets are showing a significant improvement. Demand is up by 51% compared to last year, and this year may become the first one in which demand exceeds issuance during the year. This is a major development towards the revival of the RECs markets.
  • Solar RECs market however is lagging behind. Demand has failed to increase this year, and may actually be lower than last year. This is driven primarily by expectation of drastic price decrease in April 2017. Only possibility of this scenario changing is if a large demand comes Discom’s.

 

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