UTTAR PRADESH ISSUES BONDS UNDER THE UDAY SCHEME

In an article in the Business Standard ,under the provisions of the Ujwal Discoms Assurance Yojna (UDAY) agreement, the state of Uttar Pradesh has issued bonds worth Rs 10,000 Cr. This is its second issuance against the debt of the discoms that it took over. The UP government had entered into a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Power and UPPCL to avail the benefits of UDAY which was aimed at helping the distressed power distribution companies with their finances.

Last year, UP was the first state to issue bonds having issued Rs 24,000 crore worth bonds by July.

REConnect performed a review of the UDAY scheme in one of it’s blogs. The link for the same can be found here

DEMAND FOR SOLAR TO BE HIT DESPITE LOW TARIFF RATES

In a Business Standard article, though solar tariff rates have hit an all time low in the REWA bidding, the future of solar projects seems bleak as there are no new tenders from the big states. Tenders from SECI and NTPC are facing delays and those from Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are getting downsized. In states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the project biddings have been postponed. For the year 2016-17, only 10 GW of solar power has been awarded out of which 30% has been by the states and the rest has been from SECI and NTPC.

REC Trade Results February 2017

The Feb trade session remained a robust one, following the record setting session in January.  Total Non-solar demand was 10.4 lakhs (vs 15.2 L demand in January), and clearing ratios on IEX and PXIL were 8.7 and 6.2% respectively. On a year-to-date basis, this year Non-solar RECs demand has been significantly higher than last year. March 2017, which will be the last trading session of FY 16-17, is also expected to result in high trading volumes.

 

Solar RECs trading, on the other hand, has remained subdued. One reason is the significantly solar capacity coming online in states (with record low tariffs) – this result in Discom’s not buying solar RECs in large volumes. Also, the expected price drop in April 2017 may be resulting in potential buyers deferring purchases.

 

Non Solar – The clearing ratio stood at 8.72% and 6.2% in both IEX and PXIL respectively.

Solar – Clearing ratio stood at 1.26% and 0.34% in IEX and PXIL respectively.

 

 

 

KEY PROVISIONS FOR THE RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN UNION BUDGET 2017

Nothing exceptional was noticed in the budget this year with regards to the Renewable Energy sector. There was no change in the accelerated depreciation rate or the coal cess. Neither was there any change seen in the National Clean Energy Fund. This year’s budget proved to be quiet uneventful for the renewable energy sector. The only development that has been cited is that 7000 railway stations will be powered by solar energy. The allocation of budget to MNRE was 5,437 Cr which wasn’t a big change since last year’s budget of 5,000 Cr. Other than that, there weren’t any exceptional changes. An article in the Livemint also mentioned the following ” While total budgetary outlay to renewable energy marginally increased, there is little to celebrate. This budget is unlikely to catalyse action, attract private investment or underwrite risks. An opportunity was lost.”

 Key features of the budget can be found here

REC Trade Results January 2017

This month’s trading saw a remarkable turnaround with respect to the overall Non solar REC clearance. The clearance ration stood at a shooting high of 10.8% for non solar. The demand for solar REC saw marginal improvement in respect to the month of December. The total transaction value stood at 244.7Crores in comparison to 74.4 Crores last month.

Analysis of Trading:

Non Solar – The clearing ratio stood at 13.5% and 5.7% in both IEX and PXIL, with a drastic increase of 260% in the no. of REC’s traded as compared to last month.

 

 

Solar – Clearing ratio stood at 1.2% and 0.7% in IEX and PXIL respectively, with a significant increase of 49% in total demand of Solar RECs as compared to December.

 

MNRE’s RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS AMBITIOUS AND UNATTAINABLE WITHOUT COOPERATION FROM STATE GOVERNMENTS

As reported by The Hindu the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set the targets for solar and wind capacity additions for this year to 12,000 MW and 4,000 MW respectively. This comes as a surprise since the achievement till October for the same has been 1750 MW and 1502 MW respectively. Although these targets are ambitious, they are achievable as per the industrial players only if the lack of seriousness shown by the state government towards promotion of renewable energy decreases.

As per the article, the state governments are not on board. All the energy producers face a plethora of problems such as high prices and cross subsidy surcharges (CSS). Also, some state authorities such as that of Maharashtra make it more difficult for the private producers to sell electricity. States such as Tamil Nadu allow net metering only for individual houses and not for educational institutes and factories. This goes against the intentions of the Government of India to see 40,000 MW of rooftop plants by 2020.

Co-founder and director of REConnect Energy Solutions, Vishal Pandya, made the following observation about the scenario “Whether it is open access or rooftop or enforcement of renewable purchase obligations, the intent on the part of the state machineries seems completely missing”.

Review of UDAY Scheme on completion of one year

The UDAY scheme was launched an year ago, and was then touted as signature Discom reform scheme of the central government. In this article, we have analyzed the impact of UDAY scheme, responsiveness of the states, extent to which the Discom’s have got benefitted and also the reforms which they were supposed to undertake.

To briefly summaries, the UDAY scheme aimed at “financial turnaround of Power Distribution Compa-nies”.
Under the scheme, the state government was re-quired to take over 75% of the existing debt of the Discom and issue State Government bonds in re-turn.

The remaining 25% debt would be issued either as a bond by the Discom (guaranteed by the state gov-ernment) or the terms of the loan would be changed by the banks. In return, the Discom’s were required to undertake a series of reforms.

The key ones were:

  • Reduction of AT&C losses to 15% by 2018-19,
  • Quarterly tariff revision (to partly reduce the burden of large revisions once a year),
  • Reduce the gap between cost and revenue per unit to zero by 2018-19 and
  • Discom’s were to comply with RPO outstanding since April 2012 as per timelines suggested by MoP.

For a more detailed list of the requirements and for a detailed understanding of the scheme, refer our article here, or the scheme document here. After an year from launching, 17 states and UT’s have signed up for the UDAY scheme, while 15 have not. Notable states that have not signed up include Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Orissa, Assam and Telangana.
These states have relatively large Discoms and, espe-cially in the case of Tamil Nadu, significant accumulated losses and bank debt. Another way to look at this is the political affiliation of the state.
Most states that have signed up for UDAY scheme are associated or governed by BJP. Notable exceptions are Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar. The only notable exception amongst the states that have not signed is Assam (governed by the BJP).

Bonds issuance:
8 states have issued bonds, aggregating to Rs 149,000 crore. The coupon rate (interest rate) on these ranges from 8.12% to 8.55%. Of the total bonds issued more than 80% are contributed by just 3 states – Rajasthan, UP and Haryana. To understand the impact of the bond issuance, we analyzed the balance sheet of one Discom (the Jaipur Discom). The key points are:

*Coupon rates are as per latest issuance
Total debt of the Jaipur Discom has reduced by Rs 5,722 crore, or 22% of the total. However, this ag-gregate number includes a significantly higher amount of debt that was directly taken by the Discom from the banks. This debt is now replaced with debt owed to the state government. Thus, while the debt burden of the Discom has not changed much, its the banks that have benefited the most – they now own government bonds (which are a very good asset to own), compared to Discom loans. The performance on the actions that the Discom’s were supposed to take is analyzed below.

Note : Additional Bank debt taken over in June 2016 – Rs 7,228 crore.

Tariff increases:
Of the 8 largest Discom’s analyzed, not a single Discom undertook tariff revisions on a quarterly basis. Further, there was a wide difference between tariff increases of different Discoms. Discom’s of UP, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand & J&K did not increase tariff at all. While Ra-jasthan increased domestic tariff by 2%, Chhattis-garh increased the same by 21%. It is important to note that while Rajasthan issued bonds of 58,000 crores, Chhattisgarh only issued bonds for Rs 870 crores (the lowest amongst all states).

Haryana raised domestic tariff by a respectable 19%Industrial tariff increased also show a similar story – Rajasthan raised tariffs by 1.67%. ,Haryana by 0.98%, while Chhattisgarh by 18%. Other states did not raise tariffs.
Renewable Purchase Obligations:
An important requirement of the UDAY scheme was that Discom’s were to be fully complaint of RPO  from April 1, 2012 onwards. The scheme document says the following with regards to RPO -
“Clause 9 – DISCOM’s opting for the scheme will comply with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) outstanding since 1st April 2012, within a pe-riod to be decided in consultation with MoP”


However, the MoU entered between the Ministry of Power and the Discom’s is completely silent on the RPO requirement. Prima facie, it appears that this point has been dropped by the Ministry. The only exception is the MoU with UP Discom, which has the following provision.
“Clause 1.3 (f) – In compliance with the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) outstanding since 1.4.2012 to 31.3.2015, Discoms of UP shall fulfill RPO obligation 3 years after the Discom reaches break-even i.e. the Financial year 2019-20”
This clause presents several legal and practical prob-lems that will impact the REC markets significantly. Firstly, it is in direct contravention to the Electricity Act 2003 which obligates RPO on all consumption.

There is no provision for waiver or roll forward of such obligations. In light of this, can the MoP and UP Discom circumvent an act of the parliament and mutually decide a timeline for compliance? Further, the MoU wordings itself leave ample scope for further delay/ waiver when it says – “...3 years after the Discom reaches break-even…”. If the Discom does not reach break-even does that mean it will get further time?
In short, the original intent of the UDAY scheme re-sulting in RPO compliance has been abandoned by the Ministry of Power itself.
Reduction in AT&C losses:
AT&C losses remain very high for most Discom’s in the country. This is due to several reasons – weak distribution infrastructure being one. However, this caption is also a proxy for un-checked theft of power and un-metered supply. Even without the UDAY scheme, AT&C losses have been declining. However, since this data becomes available only at the time of ARR filing by the Discom, it is not possi-ble to verify if the decline has accelerated after the adoption of UDAY.

*Source: Forum of Regulators (FoR) Report
Conclusion:
The UDAY scheme has resulted in significant redrawing of the balance sheet of the Discoms. The beneficiaries of the scheme have been the banks, which were sitting on unsustainable levels of debt with loss making enti-ties. This debt has now been replaced with high quality government debt. However, in terms of real reforms and changes on the ground, whether relating to tariff increases or RPO compliance, there seems to be little that is changing. Unless the government follows through with actual op-erational changes, the story is likely to repeat itself over the next 5-10 years, where Discom’s will have again built up unsustainable debt and losses.

Our previous blog on Uday scheme can be accessed here.

PORTUGAL RUNS ON RENEWABLES FOR FOUR AND A HALF DAYS

In a remarkable achievement reported by The Guardian, the country of Portugal ran only on renewable power for 107 hours in the month of May. The sources of renewable power that the country relied on were hydro, wind and solar power.

During the year 2016, 59% of the national energy production was fulfilled through renewable energy while the remaining was from fossil fuels. Out of the 59% yielded from renewable sources, 2% was from solar, 25% was from wind and remaining 32% was from hydro. The article quoted  ”the managing director of the Portuguese Renewable energy association Apren, believes that by 2020, Portugal will be able to generate 60% of its energy from renewables and will be able to completely rely on renewable power by the end of 2040”.

ANALYSIS OF GERC DRAFT REGULATION ON FORECASTING, SCHEDULING, DEVIATION SETTLEMENT OF WIND AND SOLAR GENERATING STATIONS

Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) has published draft regulations for forecasting and scheduling for wind and solar projects. Important aspects of the regulation are discussed below.

Earlier Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had come out with their draft DSM Regulation on Forecasting & Scheduling of Wind & Solar.  So far, Karnataka is the only state that has published final regulations.

The last date for giving comments and suggestions is 16th February 2017.

 

Executive Summary:

  • Forecasting and scheduling will be mandatory for all the wind and solar generators connected to the State grid, including those connected via pooling stations.
  • Error will be calculated on the basis of Available Capacity (AvC), with permissible deviation of ±12% for old wind projects and ±8% for new wind projects (ie, projects commissioned after Jan 2010). Permissible deviation for solar project will be ±7%.
  • Aggregation of more than one pooling station is allowed.
  • Penalty rates are different than those in the model FOR regulations. For wind, the initial penalty is Rs 0.35/unit, increasing to Rs 0.70 and Rs 1.05 per unit in higher penalty bands. For solar, the initial penalty is Rs 0.60/unit, increasing to Rs 1.2 and Rs 1.8 per unit in higher penalty bands.
  • 16 and 8 intraday revisions will be allowed for wind and solar energy respectively (one revision every 1.5 hours). Revisions will be effective starting from 4th time block onwards.
  • Settlement will be done through the “Qualified Coordinating Agency” or QCA. QCA will be treated as a state entity, registered with SLDC.
  • SCADA & Telemetry data is to be mandatorily provided to SLDC by the generators. SLDC shall formulate Data/information exchange requirements and protocols for the same.

 

Detailed Analysis:

GERC has recently come up with draft regulation for forecasting and scheduling and deviation settlement mechanism. The primary objective is twofold: a) facilitate large-scale grid integration of solar and wind generating stations b) maintaining grid stability and security. Highlights of the draft regulation are below:

Applicability:

All Wind & Solar Pooling sub-stations, irrespective of their capacity, commissioning date and connectivity voltage level, have to provide a day-ahead and a three day ahead schedule, and intra-day revisions to a maximum of 16/day for wind and 8/day  for solar energy.

Aggregation of more than one pooling station by the QCA will be allowed.

Error calculation and penalty bands:

  • Payment for generation shall be as per actual generation (this is different from the inter-state regulation, where payment is on the basis of scheduled generation).
  • Error is calculated based on Available Capacity (this is same as in the case of draft regulations of TN, MP, Odisha, Rajasthan and Jharkhand).
  • The deviation slab has been kept as (+/-) 12% for old projects and (+/-) 8% for new projects. The reference date for old and new projects is 30.01.2010.
  • Unlike all other DSM regulations, the absolute error for wind energy generators will be reduced by 1% every year from start of fourth year till subsequent 5 years.
  • At the end of 5th year the absolute error shall become <=7% for old projects and <=3% for new projects in case of wind projects.
  • Similarly in case of solar projects the absolute error shall be reduced by 1% every year from start of the fourth year till subsequent 5 years, reaching the minimum of <=2%.
  • Penalty is calculated at fixed amounts per unit (whereas, for Inter-state it is calculated as a percentage to PPA rate).
  • A tripartite agreement will be formed amongst the Generator, QCA and SLDC, in case the generator fails to pay the deviation charges within specified timeline.
  • Energy accounts shall be prepared by SLDC on 10 day basis.
  • De-pooling shall be done in proportion to available capacity, energy generated in each time block, absolute error of individual generator or any other methodology between QCA & Generators.

 

Detailed Mechanism defined for Deviation Settlement

In case of Intra-State transmission, Penalty Mechanism for wind generating station or pooling station commissioned prior to 30.01.2010

 

 

In case of Intra-State transmission, Penalty Mechanism for wind generating station or pooling station commissioned after to 30.01.2010

In case of Intra-State transmission, penalty mechanism for solar generating station or pooling station

A brief comparison of the draft regulation of the 6 states and the Model Regulation is given in the table below:

 

QCA:

The qualified coordinating agency (QCA) will be required to meet certain eligibility criterion. Briefly, these are:

  • Providing F&S services for more than 2 years
  • Having a net-worth of more than Rs 2.5 crore
  • Have experience of working in different “terrains and regions”
  • QCA should have a well qualified team in-house, including skills of data science, statistics and software development
  • QCA should be using software of a “at least CMMI Level 3 certified” company

 

Solar Power Tariff hits new low

A recent article in the Business Standard highlighted the solar power tariff which has hit a new low.  In a Solar Energy Corporation of India’s auction of rooftop solar power projects, Gurgaon-based Amplus Energy Solutions quoted a tariff of Rs. 3 /unit defeating the previous low of Rs 4 /unit for a solar park in Rajasthan by a quarter. The rooftop projects will be installed on buildings of NGOs, educational institutes, hospitals, trusts and not for profit companies in these states.

The lowest tariff quote for these projects is same as average tariff offered by state-run generation utility NTPC for power from its coal-fired plants and nearly half of tariffs charged by some private power producers.

Till now, a solar project at Badhla in Rajasthan held the record for the lowest tariff at Rs 4 per unit in the solar park category. The lowest tariff before that was Rs 4.34 per unit, quoted by Fortum India in January.

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