Manu Srivastava Takes on Key Role in Madhya Pradesh Energy Department

He was instrumental in implementing the 750 MW Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project


The Madhya Pradesh government has appointed Manu Srivastava, IAS, as the Additional Chief Secretary in the Power and Renewable Energy Department.

Srivastava was earlier the principal secretary of the Technical Education, Skill Development, and Employment Department, and the Rural Industries Department.

Before these appointments, Srivastava served as the Principal Secretary of Madhya Pradesh’s New and Renewable Energy Department, overseeing key responsibilities. He was also the commissioner for the New & Renewable Energy Department, the Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam, and the Chairperson of Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMSL).

Under Srivastava’s leadership, RUMSL played a critical role in the development of ultra-mega solar power projects, managing activities conventionally undertaken by central public sector undertakings (CPSU) at the state level.

One of his major accomplishments was the implementation of the 750 MW Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project.

The Rewa project was then one of the largest single-site solar power projects in the world, spread over an area of 1,590 hectares. Compared to then prevailing solar project tariffs of ₹4.5 (~$0.054)/kWh with viability gap funding (VGF), the tariff of the Rewa project was a historic low at ₹2.97 (~$0.036)/kWh for the first year and a levelized rate of ₹3.3 (~$0.04)/kWh over 25 years. It is significant that this tariff was achieved without any VGF support.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had acknowledged that the primary reason for the low tariffs was the careful structuring of the project risk-sharing mechanism. A sound payment security mechanism backed by a state guarantee for timely payment to developers was a critical point for investors who were wary of power distribution companies delaying payment to developers by several months to even a year in many states. The other ground-breaking measure was the assured offtake of power and provision of deemed generation beyond 50 hours of back-down.

The project was undertaken by RUMSL, a state government organization, without the involvement of CPSUs.

RUMSL took charge of various activities, including conceptualization, market consultations, financial and legal structuring, and bid process management. It also undertook land development and associated infrastructure, international bidding processes, and negotiations with key stakeholders such as Delhi Metro and MPMCL for power purchase agreements.

The project received the World Bank Group’s President’s Award for innovation and excellence and was included in the Prime Minister’s “A Book of Innovation: New Beginnings.”

During Srivastava’s tenure, Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam achieved a first-year tariff of ₹1.38 (~$0.017)/ kWh under the renewable energy service company mode for 8.6 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects.

The solar sector over the years has benefited from a dynamic leadership in the energy departments at the central and state levels.