NTPC and SECI Overachieve Renewable Tender Targets for FY24 by 6.6%

While NTPC and SECI exceeded their targets, SJVN and NHPC fell short

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In the first year after setting renewable energy bidding targets, the implementing agencies designated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) exceeded their goal of bidding out 50 GW of solar, hybrid, wind, and round-the-clock (RTC) projects, moving closer to the 200 GW target by 2028.

The target, set out in April last year, called on Renewable Energy Implementing Agencies (REIAs) to issue of at least 50 GW of renewable energy projects in the financial year 2023-24, including 10 GW of pure wind energy.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), NTPC, NHPC, and SJVN collectively issued 53.32 GW of renewable energy tenders, or 6.6% more than the target of 50 GW. Of the 10 GW tenders reserved for wind projects,11.6 GW were issued, or 16% higher.

Excluding standalone wind projects, the agencies issued tenders totaling 41.72 GW against the targeted capacity of 40 GW, or 4.3% more than expected, according to information published in MNRE’s year-end review.

However, some agencies performed better than others during the period.

NTPC and SECI led the charge, exceeding targets by 20.4% and 6.9%, respectively, but SJVN and NHPC fell short.

“If you look at various government orders, things got streamlined over a period,” said Ajay Kumar Sinha, Additional General Manager at SECI, adding that although the pace picked up by mid-year, the government achieved its objective.

“In the given time, if you consider the calendar year, I think MNRE is very much on target,” said Sinha.

Agency-Wise Bidding Trajectory Status for Solar Projects in FY24

While SJVN missed its target by 5.2%, NHPC’s total tendered capacity showed a deficit of 17.3% owing to a “lack of experience” when compared to other implementing agencies like SECI or NTPC, according to Pradeep Chandra Pant, a former advisor at MNRE.

Pant also alluded to a lack of finances as a possible challenge. “Capital expenditure constraints on the part of developers is why (some) REIAs have failed to meet their targets,” he said, adding that REIAs are mere intermediaries and the extent of finance allocated by developers, which depends on investor’s appetite for solar projects and foreign direct investment, usually dictates the bidding uptake.

But praising the target-breaking pace of issuing tenders, Pant said: “If you set high targets, what you’ll achieve will also be high.”

Meanwhile, a total of 28 GW, or 65.88%, has already been auctioned from the overall 41.72 GW of tendered capacity, according to Mercom data. Here, NHPC leads the REIAs with 97% of tendered capacity already auctioned, while SECI has auctioned a little more than half of its tendered capacity.

The lack of a predetermined bidding trajectory before last year created uncertainty, supply chain challenges, grid connectivity issues, higher project costs, and the risk of inadequate participation in tenders, industry experts had told Mercom.

This year, however, the bidding trajectory or calendar for renewable energy tenders offered certainty and long-term visibility of the market, enabling companies to effectively plan their finances, secure module supplies, and manage supply chain constraints more efficiently.

A visible tender list also helps project developers address grid connectivity issues by aligning the gestation period of projects with the timeline for setting up substations and evacuation systems.

“Last year, the MNRE issued a bidding calendar, and it’s heartening to see that bidding agencies have diligently adhered to it, resulting in the auctioning of 40 GW this year. What’s even more promising is the subsequent signing of PPAs after these auctions,” said Ashish Agarwal, Head of Solar and Storage at BluPine Energy.

He lauded the visible trajectory, saying it provides developers with a clear roadmap for their investments, bringing certainty to their business plans. “The visibility of the bidding pipeline is crucial in ensuring stability and confidence in the renewable energy sector,” he said.

According to MNRE, India stood fourth globally in renewable energy installed capacity and had the third-highest new capacity addition of 63 GW in the last five years. Further, MNRE has been working to achieve 500 GW of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.

India’s renewable energy capacity, including large hydroelectric projects, made up 43.1% of the country’s cumulative power capacity, with 190.6 GW installed at the end of March 2024, as per data from the Central Electricity Authority, MNRE, and Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker.

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