Major wind project acquisition gets cancelled following an APERC order

A recent order of Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) was stayed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court related to the reduced tariff of electricity supplied by the wind projects that received Generation-based Incentive (GBI) from the center.

A recently proposed acquisition between Greenko and Orange went into shambles due to the significant order. The central government had devised the GBI scheme only to encourage investments in the wind sector by providing an additional incentive of 0.50 for every unit of energy actually generated by a generator over and above the tariff granted by the regulator.

The  APERC order in question was challenged by Orange renewables and  HERO group and requested suspension of the order at a primary level. Apparently, APERC does not have the jurisdiction to alter its own order.

The APERC had passed the order modifying its earlier tariff orders on the ground that it had earlier failed to give effect to its regulations that require incentives to be deducted from the tariff. “Prima facie, the 1st respondent- Commission has no jurisdiction to exercise the power of review in the manner it did,” the court said in its order.

Andhra Pradesh has approximately 2,000 MW wind capacity installed and the order had an impact of more than INR 2,000 Cr, for the wind generators in the state who had factored in the GBI while working ou their finances for the projects.

As of now, the Greenko-Orange deal has been called off to the delay of payments related to GBI. Wind generators have been denied GBI in Andhra Pradesh for over two years now and this development might bring some clarity for them.

 

 

Parliamentary panel worries about the power sector post RBI’s revised framework on NPA’s

Reserve bank of India recently issued a revised framework for the resolution of stressed/non-performing assets. A Lok-Sabha committee was called to discuss the consequences of the framework on the electricity sector. The committee was of the opinion that the electricity sector has been forced towards Non-Performing Assets post the revised framework. As per the guidelines, one of the objectives of the revised framework is to ensure prompt action to provide relief to the stress in a borrower’s account as soon as the default takes place. However, the committee was of the opinion that a solution was indeed necessary but not at the cost of affecting the electricity sector majorly. A  37th report of the standing committee on energy on the subjects of stressed/Non Performing Assets in the electricity sector was presented post extensive discussion in order to resolve the issue of NPA in the electricity sector as per the extant RBI guidelines and other legal/ financial/ statutory provisions applicable at that time.

The Committee focussed on 34 coal-based thermal power plants which were categorized as ‘stressed’ due to issues such as:

  • Non-availability of Fuel:

– Cancellation of coal block.

– Projects set up without Linkage.

  • Lack of enough PPA by states
  • The inability of the Promoter to infuse the equity and working capital
  • Contractual/Tariff related disputes
  • Issues related to Banks/Financial Institutions (FIs).
  • Delay in project implementations leading to cost overrun.
  • Aggressive bidding by developers in PPA.

As per the Revised Framework, the extant instructions on resolution of stressed assets such as Framework for Revitalizing Distressed Assets, Corporate Debt Restructuring Scheme, Flexible Structuring of Existing Long Term Project Loans, Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme (SDR), Change in Ownership outside SDR, and Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A) were withdrawn. The Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) as an institutional mechanism for resolution of stressed accounts has also been discontinued. Now, all accounts, including such accounts where any of the schemes have been invoked but not yet implemented, shall be governed by the revised framework.

Although the new guidelines have been termed as ‘harmonized’ and ‘simplified’ generic framework, yet they are far from being so. Prior to these guidelines, an asset was classified as NPA if a loan or an advance where interest or installment of principal remains overdue for a period of 90 days in respect of term loan. Similarly, stressed assets were accounts where there has been a delay in payment of interest and/or payment as against the repayment schedule on account of the financial difficulties of the borrower. Under the previous framework, failure of an asset to serve its debt obligation within the prescribed time was taken to be indicative of a developing stress of potential NPA and consequently, corrective measures of various grades i.e. rectification, restructuring, and recovery were the options keeping in view the totality of the situation.

However, the new regime has let go with all such measures and any failure beyond the duration of SMA (Special Mention Accounts) is supposed to directly and immediately invoke the provisions of a resolution plan, making the revival extremely difficult. The committee, therefore, recommended that in the interest of the economy in general and the Electricity Sector in particular, the revised guidelines should be “harmonized and simplified” in the real sense.

 

Not implementing Safegaurd Duty on solar modules and cells for time being: Ministry of Finance

A recent development in the safeguard duty event, the Orissa High Court has directed the Ministry of Finance to withdraw the duty by August 13, 2018, and issued a stay until August 20, 2018. The stay came after a petition was filed by Hero Future Energies, ACME, and Vikram Solar against the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR).

Vikram Solar’s petition stated the following:

  • Suitable exemption/clarification for SEZs (Special Economic Zones) from duties of safeguard, which will put SEZs at par with manufacturing units located in domestic tariff area (DTA).
  • Considering SEZ units as a part the of domestic industry for the purpose of safeguard investigation.
  • EPC contracts which are already awarded should be kept out of the ambit of safeguard duty

The safeguard duty is currently applicable to companies in SEZ affecting a majority of the domestic solar manufacturing capacity.

Ministry of Finance had announced to levy 25% safeguard duty based on the final recommendation proposed by the DGTR. The duty came into effect from July 30, 2018. The ministry levied the duty despite Orissa High Court’s order to put a stay on the safeguard duty on solar modules and cells. ACME Solar had filed a petition post the DGTR recommendations and received the stay order from the court. The Orissa court had then directed the government not to issue any notification regarding the safeguard duty until August 20, 2018. But after the sudden imposition of the duty, the three companies filed a new petitions in the Orissa HIgh Court.

Hence, considering the recent stay order put in force by the Orissa on the safeguard duty notification, the Ministry of Finance announced that the government will, for the time being, not imply the payment of safeguard duty on solar imports.

The current scenario draws doubts on the future of safeguard duty and whether the Indian solar sector embraces it going ahead.

MERC announces generic tariff for various RE sources

Recently the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) announced an order for generic tariff determination of various renewable resources including Solar and Wind. Even after the generic tariff is realized, DISCOMs opt for competitive bidding for tariffs due to the low rates. The details regarding the tariffs for various RE sources is a follows:

Renewable energy sources

Tariff without AD Tariff with AD
Non-Fossil Fuel-Based Cogeneration Projects INR 4.99 _
Biomass projects INR 7.30 INR 7.44
SHP (5 MW-25 MW) INR 3.66 INR 3.92
SHP (1 MW-5 MW) INR 4.36 INR 4.64
SHP (500 kW-1 MW) INR 4.86 INR 5.14
SHP 500 kW and less INR 5.36 INR 5.64
Wind Energy projects INR 2.87
Utility-Scale Solar PV Projects INR 2.72

Rooftop Solar PV projects INR 3.22

The above mentioned solar rooftop tariff will be applicable from August 1 2018 to March 31 2019 and for wind projects between August 1 2018 – March 31 2019 for  a period of 13 years from the date of commissioning. However, in a recent project auction base tariff of INR 2.52/kWh was discovered (INR 0.35/kWh less than the new generic tariff).

In case of SHP, the above-mentioned tariffs will be applicable between August 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, for 35 years (with capacity up to 5 KW) and 13 years for SHP with a capacity greater than 5 MW and up to 25 MW.

Recently Maharashtra also announced its final regulations for the forecasting, scheduling and deviation management regulations in July 2018.

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.

REC trade results July 2018

Non-solar: Non-solar RECs prices continue to rise on the back of robust demand and limited availability. The RECs were traded at the price of INR 1050 at PXIL ( 5% above the floor price) and INR 1200 at IEX (20% above the floor price). The non-solar REC inventory was completely exhausted in July 2018 with a clearing ratio of 100% at PXIL & IEX both respectively. A total of 235,437 RECs were traded in this session.

Solar: Solar RECs registered the highest ever traded volume. Total 13,82,632 RECs were traded in the current trade session. The clearing ratio was 40.23% at PXIL & 36% at IEX respectively. RECs traded at the floor price, i.e. INR 1000 at PXIL and IEX both respectively. As compared to the available supply of Solar RECs on March 31, 2018, 77% of the RECs have already been sold.

 

Government to float 12 GW solar energy scheme which may help domestic manufacturers

Amidst the US-India WTO dispute a new 12 GW energy scheme which has been deftly crafted to mandate local manufacturing without violating WTO’s trade rules, is in the final stage of approval and will help local industry in India sustain the blow of cheap imports.

The scheme worth INR-8,000 cr will be a significant boost for Indian manufacturers who are also waiting for the imposition of a safeguard duty on solar components. The scheme has already been cleared by the Expenditure Finance Committee which is a part of the Department of Expenditure in the finance industry.

The government can mandate the use of locally manufactured components as a part of the scheme since the power is for the government’s own consumption. The scheme will have an implementation period of four years by 2022, with a minimum manufacturing capacity of 3 GW of solar cells per year which is the current size of the domestic solar cell market in India.

In the recent developments of the safeguard case, the Directorate General of Trade Restrictions recently recommended up to 25% safeguard duty on imports from China and Malaysia for a period of two years.

Initially, in February 2013 the United States requested conversations with India concerning certain measures of India relating to domestic content requirements under National Solar Mission for solar cells and solar modules. The appellate body post listening to both parties plea gave the verdict that DCR measures were inconsistent with WTO non-discrimination obligations.

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.

HERC announces a combined order for multiple matters

Haryana Electricity regulatory commission recently announced an order on multiple matters including Suo Motu for amendment and/or modification of HERC (Terms and Conditions of Determination of Tariff from Renewable Energy Sources, Renewable Purchase Obligation and Renewable Energy Certificate) Regulations, 2010 and its subsequent amendments (hereinafter referred to as RE Regulations, 2010). The Commission invited views and comments from the stakeholders and answered to them individually. The order also talks about the following:

Suo-Moto proceedings on RPO compliance

If an Obligated entity fails to comply with the obligation to purchase the required percentage of power from renewable energy sources or the renewable energy certificates, it shall also be liable for penalty as may be decided by the Commission under section 142 of the Act. Provided that in case of genuine difficulty in complying with the renewable purchase obligation because of the limited availability of renewable energy or non-availability of certificates, the obligated entity can approach the Commission for relaxation or carry forward of compliance requirement to the next year. However, in normal circumstances, the renewable purchase obligation shall not be waived off. Provided further that where the Commission has consented in writing on an application made by the obligated entity to carry forward of compliance requirement, the provision of regulation 58 (1) of these regulations or the provision of section 142 of the Act shall not be invoked.

The petition filed by Amplus seeking implementation of exemption or waiver of  wheeling charges, cross-subsidy charges, transmission and distribution charges and surcharge for ground-mounted and rooftop solar power projects

Waivers/concessions shall be applicable till the aggregate installed capacity of 500MW of Solar PV Plants in the State is achieved, where after the Commission shall review the provision of waivers/concessions taking into account the financial impact on the Distribution Licensees. Further, provided that waivers/ concessions once provided to any project shall be applicable for a period of 10 years,

The petition filed by Haryana Power Purchase Centre (HPPC) on behalf of the Haryana Distribution Licensees seeking a relaxation of Renewable Purchase Obligation

The Commission has considered the above submissions and is of the considered view that, after considerable deliberation, the RPO targets have been fixed. Further, even the Discoms have raised the issue of these targets being on the higher side. Further, it has been submitted by the Discoms / HPPC procurement of RE power in the peak hours will not only add to the demand-supply gap but also add to the surplus and backing down of cheaper conventional power putting an avoidable financial burden on the electricity consumers of Haryana. Hence, the Commission finds no reason to change the RPO targets as appearing in the draft Regulations as the same in the considered view of the Commission attempts to balance the interest of all the stakeholders.

Read the complete order here.

Go to top