In an important clarification, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced that the period of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 will be considered from March 25, 2020, to May 31, 2020.
This is in continuation of the Ministry’s earlier notice, which was issued on April 17, 2020. It had directed that the renewable energy implementing agencies be granted an extension of time for projects amounting to the total period of the lockdown plus 30 days for normalization. The industry needed a clarification on what would be the dates that would be considered as lockdown as the lockdown has been lifted in phases in various states.
The MNRE has also said that this would be a blanket extension and that there would be no need for any case-to-case investigations.
The central government announced a complete lockdown of the country on March 24, 2020, to arrest the spread of the virus, which was then extended in phases.
The Ministry said that this period of lockdown will apply to all those projects which are under the various programs of the MNRE and those which are being developed through the renewable energy implementing agencies.
According to the Ministry’s new notification, project developers may also grant the same extension period (March 25, 2020, to May 31, 2020) to other stakeholders down the value chain like the engineering procurement construction (EPC) contractors, material and equipment suppliers, and original equipment manufacturers.
It also stated that the timelines for intermediate milestones of a project might also be granted an extension within the extended time provided for commissioning.
The MNRE had previously issued an order directing agencies and establishments to treat any delays because of supply disruptions due to the spread of the coronavirus in China or any other country as a force majeure event and to grant suitable extensions for these projects. A force majeure is declared in the event of unforeseeable circumstances that prevent parties from fulfilling a contract.
In the extended period of lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued its revised guidelines allowing the renewable industry to resume the construction of renewable energy projects from April 20, 2020.
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Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.