Month in a Minute: News Highlights from India’s Renewable Sector in October 2019

Despite the festive season, the month witnessed some major developments in the clean energy sector


Compared to the previous month, there was a lull in India’s renewable energy sector mainly due to the long festive season in October. However, there were some important highlights and developments in the month.

Here are some of the major news headlines from October:

India’s power supply deficit stood at 0.5% during the six months between April and September 2019, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). During these six months, 683,389 million units (MUs) of energy was supplied against a demand of 687,107 MUs, leading to a deficit of 3,719 MUs. The supply deficit and peak power deficit for the six months stood at 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively.

The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has requested the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh to bail out solar generators from the ongoing renewable energy dispute in Andhra Pradesh. The federation has underlined in the letter that solar projects in Andhra Pradesh have been suffering due to rampant curtailment of solar generation since July 2019.

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has provided relief to Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) after it was penalized by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) for not meeting its renewable purchase obligation. The DISCOM has argued that the commission imposed a penalty due to misinterpretation of facts which, according to the company, “is absolutely an erroneous assumption.”

A new analysis by the World Economic Forum and the Ola Mobility Institute shows there are ten states and union territories that are building momentum for EV usage in three sectors: manufacturing, infrastructure, and services.  The report, EV Ready India – Part 1: Value Chain Analysis of State EV Policies, examines programs and policies in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. It highlights the opportunities for the sector and builds a common framework for analyzing state EV policies through trend analysis of value chains.

In another major development, the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued a stay order on the central government’s proceedings against electricity distribution companies in the state for not providing letters of credit to power generators in line with the order from the center. In June 2019, the central government approved a proposal to make it mandatory for distribution licensees to open and maintain adequate letters of credits as the payment security mechanism under power purchase agreements.

Avyan Renewable Solar will acquire 13,91,896 equity shares representing 31% of the equity share capital of SunEdison, according to a recent corporate filing by SunEdison with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) wrote a letter to domestic manufacturers, state nodal agencies, and concerned stakeholders regarding the mandatory testing of concentrated solar thermal products.

The recent launch of the Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) program to solarize India’s agriculture industry has met with mixed responses. While some are lauding the government’s initiative, some are pointing out clauses and conditions that might affect the domestic solar industry adversely. The latest response to the program has come from the National Solar Energy Federation of India that has written to Union Power Minister R.K. Singh, suggesting several modifications that should be incorporated in the KUSUM program for smoother implementation.

The Ministry of Power (MoP) released its seventh annual integrated ratings for the state distribution companies. The Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency (ICRA) and Credit Analysis and Research (CARE) were the designated rating agencies. This year DISCOMs saw a significant increase in rating upgrades; there were 20 upgrades and only one downgrade.

The Government of India has clarified that the target date for achieving the cumulative 175 GW renewable power installed capacity is December 31, 2022. According to the letter issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the clarification was issued after the date for achieving the stated target was being mentioned differently (by the year 2022 or by the year 2021-22) in various sources.

Adani Green Energy Limited announced that its subsidiaries, Adani Renewable Energy Limited, Wardha Solar (Maharashtra), and Kodangal Solar Parks Private Limited, have approved the issuance of dollar-denominated 20-year senior secured green bonds amounting to $362.5 million. In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, Adani Green added that the companies intend to use the proceeds from the issue to repay their respective foreign currency loans and rupee borrowings. Further, the balance of the net proceeds is expected to be used for capital expenditure and other project related liabilities.

Domestic solar module manufacturers expressed their discontent months after the imposition of the safeguard duty. In an interaction with Mercom, they stated that the policy had failed to achieve the desired objectives of protecting domestic manufacturers from a sudden surge of imports since the safeguard duty was imposed for only two years, and the implementation period of utility-scale solar projects is 18 to 24 months.

Image credit: juwi