The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has ordered that the Stage II connectivity of ReGen Wind Farm should be revoked.
The wind farm had asked for an extension of the timeline for filing the documentation required in line with the detailed procedure. In its order, the Commission has also directed the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) to allocate the bays allotted to it to other applicants.
ReGen Wind Farm (Vagarai) Pvt. Ltd., was granted Stage II connectivity, and it had to submit the documents within nine months from the issue of the detailed procedure (by February 15, 2019), which it failed to do. ReGen Wind Farm is the lead generator in a 13-member consortium seeking to develop a 600 MW wind farm at Pugalur in Tamil Nadu. It had filed a petition asking for a time extension to fulfill the criteria of the detailed procedure until next Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) bids are completed and sufficient time after that to achieve the financial closure of the project.
Previously, the developer was directed to submit land records and documents of achievement of financial closure, and the CTU was directed to verify them and report about the compliance.
According to the detailed procedure:
- The developer has to submit the proof to CTU within nine months from the date of the grant of Stage-II connectivity.
- In case a developer has submitted the proof of release of at least 10% funds, it should submit documents showing financial closure.
- If a developer has submitted the documents of financial closure, it should present the proof of release of at least 10% of the funds.
ReGen Wind Farm had submitted that it had acquired 50% of the land out of the total land required for the 600 MW capacity, and it had also included a list of land locations for the proposed project with the location map in compliance with the land rights requirement.
The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), the CTU, in its response, had said that although the petitioner had submitted a list of locations and a location map of the land showing land use rights, it had not provided any documentary proof of ownership or lease rights or land use rights.
In its petition, ReGen Wind Farm had requested the Commission to direct PGCIL to record the compliance under the detailed procedure in the light of the investments made by it. If not, it had requested it to extend the time to comply with the detailed procedure until the next SECI or NTPC bids are completed.
In 2016, the CTU had informed about the grant of connectivity of 600 MW capacity to the petitioner at the 230 kV Pugalur sub-station and the allotment of two bays of 300 MW each at the CTU’s substation.
The petitioner had executed the bay consultancy agreement and remitted the initial deposit against consultancy services for the execution of two 230 kV bay extension work at 400/230kV sub-station of PGCIL at Pugalur. Consequently, it was granted Stage-II connectivity approval for 600 MW.
ReGen Wind Farm had also tried to qualify under various bids initiated by the nodal agencies – SECI and NTPC. However, in all the auctions, the minimum capacity offered was 50 MW, making it ineligible for the company.
The petitioner had submitted that the bid initiated by SECI for 1,200 MW of wind power projects in India (Tranche-VI) was also based on the individual size of 50 MW and above at one site with the minimum bid capacity of 50 MW for inter-state projects.
Despite these circumstances beyond the control of the petitioner, the parent company of the Petitioner – ReGen Powertech Private Limited (RPPL), took various measures to develop a project to utilize the connectivity and made substantial investments to the tune of about ₹3.78 billion (~$52.7 million) for the project.
The CTU had requested ReGen Wind Farm to submit the necessary documents before February 14, 2019, failing which the Stage–II connectivity would be revoked without further notice.
In its order, the Commission observed that reserving the bay for a wind power project that is not ready for commissioning will result in underutilization of bays, which should be avoided at all costs in the national interest. Stating this, it denied a further extension to the wind developer after it failed to produce the document in the nine-month window given to it.
In a similar order passed a few days ago, the CERC directed the CTU to revoke the stage-II connectivity of Toramba Renewable Energy. It has also asked the CTU to return the bank guarantee to the company within ten days from the issue of the order. Toramba Renewable Energy was developing a 300 MW wind generation project at Horti in Osmanabad, Maharashtra.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.