APTEL Directs GUVNL to Maintain Status Quo in the 700 MW Scrapped Solar Auction

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has asked the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) to maintain the status quo in the scrapped 700 MW solar auction until further orders. It said that the distribution company (DISCOM) cannot proceed with the request for selection (RfS) as of now, nor can it open the technical and financial bids, according to Mercom sources.

It directed the state DISCOM to file its reply by March 31, 2021, and the appellants to file the rejoinder by April 3. The case has been posted for further hearing on April 14 and April 19.

Background

In March 2020, GUVNL had invited bids for 700 MW of projects to be developed at the Dholera Solar Park.


In the auction for the reissued tender in August 2020, Vena Energy Renewables and Tata Power quoted a tariff of ₹2.78 (~$0.0380)/kWh for 100 MW of projects each, ReNew Solar quoted ₹2.79 (~$0.0381)/kWh for 200 MW, and SJVN quoted ₹2.80 (~$0.383)/kWh for 100 MW.TEQ quoted ₹2.81 (~$0.384)/kWh for 500 MW of projects but was awarded only 200 MW under the bucket filling method.

Later, in another auction by GUVNL (Phase XI) for 500 MW of projects, a record low tariff of ₹1.99 (~$0.0270)/kWh was discovered in December 2020. After this low bid, GUVNL decided to cancel its earlier auction for 700 MW of solar projects and retender it (Phase IX), hoping to discover a lower tariff.

After GUVNL decided to cancel the letter of award, the developers filed a petition with APTEL which directed GUVNL to extend the validity of bids in its scrapped 700 MW solar auction by two weeks. The order was issued on Feb 19, 2021.

Now, APTEL has asked GUVNL to maintain the status quo.

Speaking to Mercom on this latest development, advocate Aditya K. Singh said, “This order was necessary to ensure that third party rights do not arise, as that would have opened the floodgate of litigations. GUVNL very cleverly wanted to proceed with the tender making it subject to the outcome of the appeal, which was a violation of the interim order passed by APTEL.”

Mercom’s premium event Mercom India Solar Summit, to be held virtually on April 8 and 9, has an exclusive session on ‘Tenders and Auctions – From Pipeline to PPAs, How We Get There.’ You can click here to register for the event.