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SECI's wind tender gets cold response for fourth time

Solar Energy Corporation of India is the renewable energy ministry's nodal agency that is responsible for conducting wind and solar auctions. It had issued the tender on Friday with a ceiling tariff of Rs 2.93 per unit. The ceiling tariff had earlier been revised from Rs 2.85 per unit to Rs 2.93 to encourage participation.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2020, 09.00 AM IST
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State-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India's 1,200 MW wind tender has failed to get the minimum number of bids for the process to continue, the fourth time in a row, in a sign of the difficulties facing the country's wind industry.

Solar Energy Corporation (SECI), the renewable energy ministry's nodal agency that is responsible for conducting wind and solar auctions, had issued the tender on Friday with a ceiling tariff of Rs 2.93 per unit.

A senior official of SECI confirmed the development, requesting not to be named. “The deadline for bidding would be extended to January 24,” the person said. SECI's tender rules state that if there are less than two participants, an extension of one week will be provided.

The ceiling tariff had earlier been revised from Rs 2.85 per unit to Rs 2.93 in an attempt to encourage participation. The projects can be located in any part of India and will be linked to the interstate transmission system to supply power.

Central entities have not managed to award wind projects in the past due to poor response. State-run NTPC, the country’s largest power producer, had issued a 1,200 MW wind tender late last year but it received no response from developers. In another tender issued in 2018, it faced difficulty in getting the tariff approved by the state regulatory commissions, because of which many developers withdrew from the tender.

According to BloombergNEF, India is expected to install only 2.9GW renewable energy capacity in 2019, as against 2.3GW in 2018. In 2016-17, 5.4GW was added.

Experts attribute this to aggressive tariffs, distribution companies cancelling auctions, reluctance of some state governments to lease land for projects won through central auctions, and connectivity issues, among others factors.

"At this point the issue is really not about ceiling tariff. The developers are more concerned about availability of suitable land and access to transmission infrastructure. Unless they get clarity on these issues, bidding is likely to be subdued for wind and wind-solar hybrid tenders," said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India.

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