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Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has allowed coal block allocatees the flexibility to sell 25 per cent of the coal output in the open market on payment of an additional premium.

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has allowed coal block allocatees the flexibility to sell 25 per cent of the coal output in the open market on payment of an additional premium.

Central Sector

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has allowed coal block allocatees the flexibility to sell 25 per cent of the coal output in the open market on payment of an additional premium. The committee has approved the methodology for allowing the allocatee of coal mines for specified end use or own consumption to sell 25 per cent of actual production on run-of-mine (ROM) basis in the open market with the payment of additional premium on such sale under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. In the case of auctions, the successful bidder will be required to pay an additional premium of 15 per cent of its final bid price on per tonne basis, for the actual quantity of coal sold in open market. In case of allotments, the successful allotee will be required to pay an additional reserve price of 15 per cent of the Reserve Price, for the actual quantity of coal sold in the open market. The move aims to address the issue of lack of response from bidders during the earlier tranches of auction/allotment under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

The CCEA has approved the Phase-II of Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme for achieving a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from rooftop solar (RTS) projects by 2022.The programme will be implemented with total central financial support of Rs 118.14 billion. In the Phase-II of the programme, the central financial assistance (CFA) for the residential sector has been restructured with a provision of 40 per cent CFA for RTS systems up to 3 kW capacity and 20 per cent for RTS system capacity beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW. For group housing societies, CFA will be limited to 20 per cent for RTS plants for supply of power to common facilities. Further, CFA will not be available for other categories i.e., institutional, educational, social, government, commercial, industrial, etc.

CCEA has approved the launch of the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme with a central aid of Rs 344.22 billion to provide financial and water security to farmers through harnessing solar energy aggregating 25.75 GW by 2022. The proposed scheme consists of three components - 10,000 MW of decentralised ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power plants (Component-A); installation of 1.75 million standalone solar powered agriculture pumps (Component-B); and solarisation of 1 million grid-connected solar powered agriculture pumps (Component-C).

The Ministry of Power (MoP) has issued a clarification regarding renewable purchase obligation (RPO) for captive power plants (CPPs). Regarding capping of RPO for CPPs, the MoP has stated that the RPO of a CPP may be pegged at the RPO level applicable in the year in which the CPP was commissioned. As and when the company adds to the capacity of the CPP, it will have to provide for the additional RPO as obligated in the year in which new capacity is commissioned. There should not be an increase in RPO of CPP without any fossil fuel-based capacity being added.

Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited, a joint venture of NTPC Limited and the Indian Railways, has commissioned the third 250 MW unit at its upcoming 1,000 MW Nabinagar thermal power project (TPP) at Aurangabad in Bihar. The first two units of the coal-based power plant are already under commercial operation and the fourth unit is at an advanced stage of execution. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited is the principal contractor for the TPP and is involved in its design, manufacture and commissioning.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has exempted industries like steel, cement, and metal from mandatory prior environment clearance for setting up a new or expanding the existing CPPs equipped with waste heat recovery boilers (WHRB) without using any auxiliary fuel. The exemption to industries having potential for waste heat recovery has been given to promote energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

NTPC Limited has shut down a 500 MW unit of the 3,000 MW MW Talcher Super Thermal Power Station in Odisha after coal stock in its stockyard plummeted due to strike by local villagers. If the coal shortage continues, power supply to Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka is likely to be affected. The plant with six 500 MW units requires 55,000 mt of coal per day.

NLC India Limited (NLCIL) and NHPC Limited have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the area of power trading by offering surplus power available in the northern and northeast region to the bulk consumers in southern region at an affordable tariff. This MoU is expected to create a win-win situation for the generators and bulk consumers.

State Sector

The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MAHAGENCO) has notifies a tender for setting up solar photovoltaic power projects aggregating 138 MW in the vicinity of its power stations. The projects are to be developed under a public-private partnership model and will supply power under a power purchase agreement (PPA) of 25 years. The scope of work for the tender includes the design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection, testing, and commissioning of solar projects.

The Southern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APSPDCL) and Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APEPDCL) have jointly filed a petition with the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) seeking relief in the terms and conditions for tariff determination for wind power projects in the state between 2015-16 and 2019-20. The petition also seeks revision in the power purchase agreement (PPA) for wind power projects and the tariff fixed by APERC in its orders dated December 13, 2019. The discoms seek to change the parameters used to determine the tariffs of wind power plants which would result in lower tariffs. The discoms claimed that a shift in market dynamics and technological interventions do not justify the Rs 4.84 perunit tariff — determined through the earlier mechanism — anymore and has resulted in an unjustified burden on the consumers of the state.

The Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) has issued a tender for setting up 75 MW of solar power projects at Dhuvaran and another 100 MW at Raghanesda Ultra Mega Solar Park at Banaskantha in Gujarat. The brief scope of work includes the supply, design, engineering, manufacturing, packing and forwarding, transportation, unloading storage, installation, and commissioning of the project. The last date for the submission of bids is March 11, 2019 and the technical bids will open on the same date.

Private Sector

EVI Technologies is planning to invest around Rs 1 billion till 2020-21 to set up 20,000 charging stations across the country. The charging stations include home as well as public charging stations. The firm has also tied up with BSES Rajdhani Power Limited to set up around 3,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Delhi. The 3,000 charging stations are being planned at an investment of around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per station.

Projects and Ventures

ABB Group has secured an order worth Rs 2.70 billion to supply state-of-the-art converters for electric locomotives for Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) of the Indian Railways. The converters are custom-designed and will be manufactured at one of ABB's largest factories for locomotive applications in Nelamangala, near Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Debt and Equity

NHPC Limited has issued secured, redeemable, non-cumulative, non-convertible, and taxable Xseries bonds on a private placement basis with an issue size of Rs 15 billion. The bonds will have a tenure of ten years from the deemed date of allotment including a moratorium period of three years and a coupon rate of 8.65 per cent per annum. The deemed date of allotment for the bonds is February 8, 2019. The company has also proposed to list the issue at the wholesale debt market of the National Stock Exchange.

Power Finance Corporation (PFC) is planning to raise up to Rs 40 billion in capital through tier-II bonds to strengthen its capital adequacy. The company's capital adequacy ratio (CAR), which stood at 17.71 per cent in early part of 2017-18, improved to 17.91 per cent at the end of September 2018 and presently stands at 19 per cent.

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