Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the Ministry of Power (MoP) has decided to extend the scheduled commercial operation date (SCoD) of the interstate power transmission projects that were under construction on the date of the lockdown (March 25, 2020). The government has provided an extension of five months for these projects.
The ministry said that this step hadbeen taken to provide relief to interstate transmission projects that have been severely affected by the nationwide lockdown that was announced on March 25, 2020, to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The state transmission utilities had requested the extension of the SCoD to mitigate the risks of disruption in supply chains and the workforce caused due to the lockdown.
The starting date of long-term access for transmission lines, whose SCoD has been extended, would also be extended by five months. As per the notification, the extension will not be applicable for projects having SCoD before March 25, 2020.
Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced that the period of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 would be considered from March 25, 2020, to May 31, 2020, for all renewable energy projects under construction.The ministry’s notice directed renewable energy implementing agencies to grant an extension for projects amounting to the total period of the lockdown along with 30 days for normalization. Developers wanted the extension tobe increased to at least six months to meet the challenges of labor mobilization and other logistical constraints as a result of the lockdown.
Considering the transmission projects now have more time for completion, there could be a mismatch in renewable projects being commissioned and the evacuation infrastructure being ready.However, solar projects have only been given lockdown+30 day extension. Unless the extension given to solar projects is increased, we could see a situation where the transmission infrastructure is unavailable to evacuate solar power.
To the relief of the developers, MoP has waived interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges and losses on all solar and wind projects commissioned before June 30, 2023.This deadline was revised from March 31, 2022, set previously.
Rakesh Ranjan 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.