The Ministry Of Power Is Planning To Finalise The Proposed Hydro Policy In Order To Revive Stalled Hydropower Projects Aggregating About 5,950 MW.

Jan 7, 2019
Source Power Weekly Newsletter
Central Sector

The Ministry of Power is planning to finalise the proposed hydro policy in order to revive stalled hydropower projects aggregating about 5,950 MW. According to the Central Electricity Authority estimates, the annual loss of energy generation from these stalled hydro projects is about 18,761 MUs. The initial draft of the new hydro policy was prepared by the ministry in 2017 but the final policy is yet to be notified and is reportedly at an advanced inter-ministerial consultation stage at present

NTPC Limited is planning to invest about Rs 103 billion in greenfield solar and thermal power plants in Uttar Pradesh. The company has proposed to set up a 1,600 MW thermal power project at Shaktinagar (Singrauli) in Sonebhadra district of the state with an investment of Rs 90 billion. The project proposal has already been approved and a power purchase agreement (PPA) has also been signed with Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited. In addition, NTPC is setting up two solar power plants aggregating 250 MW in the state with an investment of Rs 13 billion.

The Ministry of Finance has signed an agreement with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), for deployment of 15 electric vehicles (EVs). In addition, 28 charging points (24 slow charging points, 4 fast charging points) have been installed at North Block in New Delhi for charging these vehicles. With this initiative, the Department of Economic Affairs is expected to save over 36,000 litres of fuel every year and reduce over 440 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The department has also issued an office memorandum for all the government offices in Delhi/NCR to switch to electric vehicles.

The Ministry of Power has recommended ‘Maharatna’ status for Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid). The ‘Maharatna’ status would provide greater financial autonomy to the company as it could decide on investments of up to 15 per cent of its net worth in a project without government approval as against the cap of 10 per cent of net worth at present as a Navaratna. If the proposal is approved by the central government, Powergrid will become the eighth ‘Maharatna’ public sector undertaking and the second in the power sector, the first one being NTPC.

State Sector

The Andhra Pradesh government has new renewable energy policies in line with its target to achieve 18,000 MW of renewable energy capacity in the state by 2021-22. The state government has launched the Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Policy 2018, Wind Power Policy 2018 and Solar Power Policy 2018. The projects under the wind-solar and wind policies would be divided into three categories - projects set up in government or revenue lands, projects for captive use or direct sale to third-party, and projects under the renewable energy certificate (REC) mechanism. The new solar policy targets a total of 5,000 MW capacity in the next five years.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned the 800 MW supercritical unit at the Kothagudem thermal power station (KTPS) of Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TSGENCO) within a record time of 46 months. The project was executed on engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) basis. BHEL is executing the 4,000 MW Yadadri project and the 1,080 MW Bhadradari project in Telangana.

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) has issued the draft Deviation Settlement Mechanism (DSM) and Related Matters (First Amendment) Regulations, 2019. The regulations aim to maintain grid discipline and grid security. These amendments have been made in line with the DSM regulations put in place by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. The draft is up for comments till January 24, 2019. RERC has also notified draft amendments in net metering regulations as well as renewable energy tariff regulations, and comments on the same can be furnished by January 21, 2019.

The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has notified Rooftop Solar PV Grid Interactive System Gross/Net Metering Regulations, 2019. UPERC has increased the upper cap for rooftop solar PV systems’ size to 2 MW as against 1 MW proposed in the draft regulation in order to achieve the target of 4,300 MW of rooftop solar PV capacity in the state by 2022. Further, the regulator has increased the limit of available distribution transformer capacity to 100 per cent.

The Gujarat government is likely to sign MoUs for Rs 500 billion with various companies to set up renewable energy projects in Gujarat at the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019. During the summit which is scheduled on January 18-20, 2019, Gujarat Power Corporation Limited will also be laying the foundation stone for 5,000 MW solar power park entailing an investment of Rs 250 billion within the Dholera Special Investment Region. Further, the Energy and Petrochemicals Department will be signing an agreement with Powerica Limited to set up an Rs 12 billion 200 MW wind project at Devbhumi Dwarka in Saurashtra

The Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited (HPGCL) has invited an expression of interest (EoI) to set up 16 MW of canal top solar photovoltaic (PV) projects at WYC Hydel Power Station at Bhudkalan in Yamuna Nagar. The bid submission deadline is February 12, 2019. The scope of work includes the installation, commissioning, grid synchronisation, and operation of the canal-top solar PV projects.

Private Sector

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Sasan Power Limited (SPL) to stay the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity’s (APTEL) judgment that allowed compensation claims owing to ‘change in law’ of PPA. SPL operates the 3,960 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project in Madhya Pradesh. In November 2018, APTEL had set aside the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) order which disallowed SPL’s claims seeking compensation for issues like changes in law during the construction of the power plant among others. APTEL had asked the CERC to either ask the states/discoms to pay increased compensations or allow it to raise tariffs. The Supreme Court’s intervention came after a plea was filed by the power off-takers including Haryana Power Purchase Centre, Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited, Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company, and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited against the APTEL’s order.

EESL has completed the installation of 50,000 smart meters in areas served by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). With this, NDMC has become the first distribution company in India to implement 100 per cent smart metering solution. The adoption of smart meters will lead to annual savings of Rs 124.7 million to NDMC which include revenue recovery due to improvement in billing efficiency. In addition, EESL and NDMC also signed an MoU to install public e-charging stations. The initiative is undertaken to collaborate on promoting electric vehicles in the NDMC area.

Projects and Ventures

Sterlite Power has secured a contract for transmission capacity augmentation project for seven districts in West Bengal. The project will cover districts of Purba Medinipur, Murshidabad, Burdwan, Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, and Hooghly. Currently, there is a transmission capacity shortage of 150 MW power in the New Kolkata region. The upgraded lines will ensure reliable access to power in this part of the region.

Debt and Equity

Essar Global Fund Limited has replayed its last tranche of Rs 120 billion debt to its Indian and foreign lenders. The Rs 120 billion is over and above Rs 300 billion debt paid to the lenders in 2017. In total, the company has repaid Rs 1,370 billion of debt. The company has also purchased US$260 million face value notes issued by Mesabi MetallicsInc (Essar Steel Minnesota).

India Grid Trust (IndiGrid) will be soon launching its Rs 30 billion qualified institutional placement (QIP). The fund-raising will help the infrastructure investment trust acquire new assets in the power transmission space. The process is expected to be completed by June 2019.

Adani Group is likely to buy the 51 per cent stake in Coastal Energen Private Limited (CEPL) which has been taken over by lenders led by the State Bank of India. CEPL operates a 1,200 MW imported coalbased power plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.

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