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Tamil Nadu solar auction: Most winners agree to lower prices

Tamil Nadu solar auction: Most winners agree to lower prices


BENGALURU: In yet another case of winning tariffs being renegotiated, all but two of the 18 winners of the last solar auction held by Tamil Nadu have agreed to lower the prices they had quoted to that of the lowest bidder, Rs 3.47 per kwH. The mega tender of 1,500 MW, which was opened in early July, had seen winning bids between Rs 3.47 per kwH and Rs 3.97 per kwH. The lowest price was quoted by Raasi Green Earth, which sought to put up 100 MW, and the highest among the winners by public sector mining giant Neyveli Lignite CorporationBSE -0.11 % (NLC), which bid for the entire 1,500 MW, but was allotted 449 MW. Following renegotiations, they will all supply power to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Co (TANGEDCO) at Rs 3.47 per kwH.
Two of the 18 winners—Clean Power Solar, which bid to put up 104 MW at Rs 3.90 per kwH, and SRL Green and Clean Power, which sought 6 MW at the same price—have opted out rather than reduce their bid. Two others have reduced the sizes of their projects – Solitaire BTN Solar, which bid for 150 MW at Rs 3.69 per kwH, will now put up 100 MW at Rs 3.47 per kwH, while Rays Power Infra, which had asked for 200 MW at Rs 3.85 per kwH, will now construct 100 MW. The 260 MW that these four companies have opted out of have all been allotted to NLC, which instead of its allotted 449 MW, will now be building 709 MW. “This kind of readjustment of tariffs is not accepted practice, but it has happened before,” said an investor in renewable energy projects. “The tenders floated usually have a wide ranging clause that the authority doing so can cancel the bid at its discretion. This clause is used to insist on post-bid opening changes.”
Ever since the solar auction conducted by Solar Corporation of India (SECI) at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan in May this year, which saw the winning tariff drop to Rs 2.44 per kwH, a number of state discoms have been trying to bring down the relatively higher tariffs reached at various other auctions they conducted. TANGEDCO itself has been trying to get the winning developers at another 500 MW auction in held in January-February this year, at which the lowest tariff was Rs 4.40 per kwH, to bring their prices down to Rs 3.47 per kwH, the lowest price at the subsequent auction. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand have also successfully renegotiated tariffs reached at auctions held in2015 and 2016 respectively, forcing developers to agree to lower prices. Though the Indian Banks Association has protested such reworking, fearing it could turn the loans banks have given developers into NPAs and the ministry of new and renewable energy has deplored the practice, it still continues.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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