The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) Has Notified The Draft Open Access In Inter-State Transmission (Fifth Amendment) Regulations, 2018

Aug 13, 2018
Source Power Weekly Newsletter
Reformsand Regulations

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has notified the Draft Open Access in Inter-State Transmission (Fifth Amendment) Regulations, 2018. The draft amendment aims to create a regulatory framework for the implementation of National Open Access Registry (NOAR) - a centralised electronic platform, owned and operated by the National Load Dispatch Centre (NLDC). The CERC has sought comments and suggestions on the draft amendment by September 9, 2018.

The CERC has notified the Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in Inter-state Transmission and related matter (Seventh Amendment) Regulations, 2018. The amendments propose to include storage plants of installed capacity 50 MW and above, including pumped storage plants, as applicants eligible for grant of connectivity. The CERC has sought comments on the draft regulations by August 30, 2018.

Central Sector

Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) is preparing a detailed project report for setting up a 1,500 MW pump storage hydro electric project (HEP) at Lagu Pahar on Bokaro river. The project comprising six 250 MW units would entail an estimated cost of Rs 52 billion. The project would serve as a storage facility for an upcoming grid-connected solar project. The company has obtained initial environment clearance for the project. Initially, the project was conceived as a normal HEP, but was shelved since it became unviable. In a separate development, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court against DVC and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited regarding the export of power from 300 MW of capacity for a 15-year time period to Bangladesh. The PIL challenges the legalities involved in the bidding process.

NTPC Limited is mulling over issuing a tender for import of 2.5 million tonne of coal. The imported coal will be utilised at the company‘s coastal power projects in Simhadri, Kudgi and Farakka. The imports are estimated to cost around Rs 13.72 billion at $80 per tonne of coal. NTPC had last imported coal three years ago. In a separate development, NTPC has obtained approval from NITI Ayog for setting up a coal mining subsidiary to handle its coal mining operations. The company has been allotted 10 coal blocks with geological reserve of over 7.3 billion tonnes and production potential of about 111 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Currently, the company is producing coal from five coal blocks with total geological reserves of 3.8 billion tonnes and mining capacity of 56 mtpa.

The union government has directed 24 state and central power plants holding large fuel stocks to increase generation to allow others to run at a lower capacity and build inventories before the festive season. Out of the 24 identified pants, 19 have been running on a capacity less than 75 per cent. The plants facing coal shortages can in the meanwhile build inventories.

The Ministry of Finance has suspended the imposition of safeguard duty on solar panels and modules imported from China and Malaysia till the writ petition challenging the imposition of the duty is disposed off by the Odisha high court. In July 2018, finance ministry had notified the imposition of safeguard duty of 25 per cent on solar panels and modules imported from China and Malaysia for a year, followed by 20 per cent for the next six months and 15 per cent for another six.

In order to utilise natural gas-based generating stations as peaker plants, NTPC will operate four gas-based plants aggregating 2.3 GW of capacity in the evenings only. The Central Electricity Authority aims to deploy 20 GW of gas-fired capacity as peaking stations to even out supply fluctuations from renewable energy sources.

The union government is considering awarding 25 small and mid-sized power transmission contracts aggregating Rs 12 billion to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid). Reportedly, these contracts entail upgradation of existing substations. The contracts are either too small to be auctioned or need to be executed on an urgent basis.

Invest India, the investment promotion and facilitation agency set up by the central government has collaborated with energy sector companies to offer lab-to market opportunity for Indian start-up firms focusing on the energy sector through a three month “Integrate to Innovate” programme. The selected start-ups will receive an amount of Rs 500,000 along with access to technology, technical and commercial mentorship from the corporates and access to potential customers through the corporate network of partners. Invest India is a non-profit venture under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industries

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has written to various state governmentsto ease up the procedures for implementation of renewable energy projects. It has also removed the mandatory registeration for renewable energy projects with the respective state nodal agencies as well as recommendation by the state nodal agencies for clearances.The ministry's move comes in the wake of complaints received by MNRE regarding misusing of the process of registration in certain states.

State Sector

The Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Authority (JREDA) has drafted a state solar rooftop policy 2018 with an objective of achieving 500 MW of solar rooftop capacity by 2022. The policy, which is yet to be notfied, will provide a one-time financial subsidy of up to a minimum of 30 per cent for large scale plants and households. JREDA is also working on a solar map so that the state can meet targets set under the Jharkhand Solar Policy 2015.

Private Sector

The bidding undertaken by NTPC for setting up 2,000 MW of interstate transmission systemconnected solar project witnessed the lowest winning tariff of Rs 2.59 per unit. While Acme Solar Holdings (600 MW), Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure (500 MW), Azure Power (300 MW) bagged 1,400 MW of capacity at Rs 2.59 per unit, SB Energy, the joint venture of SoftBank, Foxconn and Bharti Airtel won the remaining 600 MW at Rs 2.60 per unit.

Financials

Coal India Limited (CIL) has recorded a total income of Rs 254.70 billion in the quarter ended June 30, 2018, a 17 per cent increase over Rs 217.74 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The company’s net profit stood at Rs 37.86 billion for the quarter ended June 2018, a substantial increase of 61 percent over Rs 23.51 billion during the same period last year.

GMR Infrastructure Limited has registered total revenue of Rs 3.01 billion in the quarter ended June 30, 2018, a 5.9 percent decrease over Rs 3.20 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The company’s net loss stood at Rs 968.3 million for the quarter ended June 2018, as against a loss of Rs 2.63 billion during the same period last year.

Debt and Equity

Adani Green Energy Limited has acquired 100 per cent stake in equity share capital of Adani Renewable Energy Park Limited (AREPL) from Adani Tradecom LLP and Adani Trading Services LLP. In a separate development, AREPL has formed a joint venture company with Government of Rajasthan namely Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan to develop solar parks of up to 10,000 MW capacity.

Powergrid has entered into a term loan facility agreement for Rs 100 billion with the State Bank of India (SBI). The loan proceeds would be used to meet the capital expenditure for expansion and renovation works as well as for various undergoing and new transmission line projects.

The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) has signed a Euro 200 million loan agreement with the German bank KfW. The loan proceeds would be utilised to finance clean energy projects in the country. This is REC's fourth line of credit under Indo-German development cooperation.

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