SECI favours lowest bid in recent solar auctions, cancels rest

The nodal agency for National Solar Mission, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has canceled mostly all but the lowest bid project in its mega solar auctions held in July. The decision to cancel 2400 MW solar capacity out of 3000 MW came to light at a meeting of developers with government officials and SECI on August 1st, 2018. Out of all the tenders, only ACME solar won 600 MW for quoting INR 2.44/unit. The government felt all the other bids were too expensive and not competitive enough.

Among the canceled projects were 1100 MW by SB energy (a Joint Venture between Japan’s Softbank, Taiwan’s Foxconn & Bharti Airtel), 500 MW by Renew Power, both of which quoted INR 2.71/unit and lastly 300 MW each by Mahindra solar and Mahoba solar (Adani group) who quoted INR 2.64/unit. The developers felt that if they quoted below INR 2.71/unit, it would be not feasible for them to sustain.

Recently an auction in Uttar Pradesh was also canceled for 1,000 MW without stating any reasons.

Post the Safeguard duty implementations, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also requested the Finance Ministry to exempt the ongoing solar power projects from the 25% safeguard duty imposed on imported solar equipment. The developers showed their concern over the increase in capital of the projects. While the duty seeks to protect the domestic solar manufacturing industry, project developers have mentioned that the duty would increase solar power tariffs.

Looking at the trend of the competitive tariff over the past years, tariff prices have dropped drastically, and the developers have gone weary of the ongoing trend and believe that they won’t be able to sustain the long-term agreement. However, the government is of the opinion that the tariff is too high and not competitive enough yet.

Maharashtra joins the list of states with final Forecasting and Scheduling regulations

Recently Maharashtra became the latest state to publish final Forecasting and Scheduling (F&S) regulations. These regulations were published in the State Gazette on July 20, 2018. With this, all supposedly “RE rich” states except Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have finalized their F&S regulations.

The detailed summary of the regulations is as below:

Regulation Applicable on All grid-connected Wind and Solar Power Generators with pooling station capacity not less than 5MW or that of an individual Generator connected to some other Substation, shall not be less than 5 MW.

Deviation Accounting: The deviation accounting can be either carried out based on the Available Capacity:-

Available Capacity (AvC) = 100/Actual Generation – Scheduled Generation AbsoluteError in %

Point of Forecasting: Pooling Station or STU Feeder where injection is made.

Keypoints

  • No Aggregation – Clause 5.13 specifies the aggregation of schedules at Pooling Substation level only, and not of multiple pooling station capacity.
  • Further charges in case of shortfall in DSM pool – Clause 12.1 (d) specifies that any shortfall in the aggregate amount of Deviation Charge payable by Solar and Wind Energy Generators at the State periphery and the amount receivable from them by the Pool Account shall be recovered in proportion to their deviation reflected at the State periphery.

Sr.

No.         

Absolute Error in %age terms in 15-minute time block                               Deviation Charge payable to Pool Account for Wind/Solar Generation
1 < = 15%

None*

2 >15% but <=25% At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25%
3 >25% but <=35% At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25% + Rs. 1.00 per unit for the balance energy beyond 25% and up to 35%
4 >35%

At Rs. 0.50 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 15% and up to 25% + Rs. 1.00 per unit for the shortfall or excess beyond 25% and up to 35% + Rs. 1.50 per unit for the balance of energy beyond 35%      

Role of a QCA:

  • Provide day ahead, weak ahead and intra-day forecast, schedules and periodic revisions;
  • Coordination with DISCOM/STU/SLDC for metering, data collection, communication/issuance of dispatch/curtailment.
  • De-pooling of charges among generators
  • Commercial settlement of DSM charges and all other ancillary and incidental matters.
  • The QCA shall furnish weekly meter readings to the SLDC by 00.00 hours on Thursday of the previous week, in addition to the data provided to the SCADA Centre, for the purpose of energy accounting under these Regulations.

Revisions:

  • 16 revisions are permitted starting from 00:00 Hrs of the day for Wind & Solar Generators
  • All revisions will be effective from the 4th time-block

Important differences between intrastate and interstate transactions:

  • The sale of power within Maharashtra by Solar and Wind Energy Generators connected to the Intra-State Transmission Network shall be settled by the Procurers on the basis of their actual generation.
  • The sale or of power outside Maharashtra by Solar and Wind Energy Generators connected to the Intra-State Transmission Network shall be settled by the Procurers on the basis of their scheduled generation.
  • Inter-State transactions at a Pooling Sub-station shall be permitted only if the concerned Generator is connected through a separate feeder. In that case, a separate Schedule will have to be provided for its energy generation.
  • The Generator shall pay the Deviation Charges applicable within Maharashtra in case of deviations in the State DSM Pool Account, the consequences of such deviation at the Inter-State level being governed by the CERC Regulations governing the Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related matters.

MoP reveals proposed amendments related to captive power plants in Electricity Rules 2005

Ministry of Power recently announced proposed amendments in the electricity rules 2005 related to provisions regarding captive generating plants. The captive power producers body ICPPA expressed their woes against the proposed amendments.  According to ICPPA, these amendments are aimed at creating new ways of earning Cross Subsidy Surcharge (CSS) from captive users.

The amendments state that any captive user whose ownership of that plant is not exceeding 15% shall not qualify the power plant as a captive power plant. The proposed amendments have associated the ownership of the captive power plant with the eligibility of being a captive user.

In case the captive user fails to abide by the rules, then the electricity generated by the plant will be considered as if its a supply element by a generating company.

ICPPA secretary Rajiv Agrawal while interviewing with Economic Times said that “If any user is forced to draw lesser power share due to genuine reasons like the closure of its end-use plant for maintenance then the whole power generated in a year will be treated as non-captive and state income will charge CSS on it. It means all users of CPP will also have to pay the penalty, and thus the CPP may have to close down.”

The amendments suggest each captive user utilize 51% of the generated electricity from the captive plant and in case of group captive, each member should have a 26% equity share in the plant to be able to utilize the power from the plant.

“Captive plant set up by a company or any other body corporate, shall mean the issued and paid-up share capital in the form of equity share capital with voting rights (excluding equity share capital with differential voting rights) only as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. In other cases, ownership shall mean proprietary interest and control over generating station or power plant, Provided further that for the purpose of assessing status as captive generating plant, a normative debt : equity ratio of 70:30 will be considered i.e. at least 26% of the equity base of 30% of capital employed, in the form of equity share capital with voting rights (excluding equity share capital with differential voting rights) needs to be invested by Captive user(s).”

In our opinion, the proposed amendments can bring stability in the electricity sector and increase the workability of DISCOMs across the country. By suggesting the eligibility of captive plants to be associated with the ownership in the plant the commission is asking the captive users to conduct rightful investments and be responsible towards the generation from the plant.

Read the document here.

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