The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued amendments to the RfS document for the supply of 5 GW of round-the-clock (RTC) power from grid-connected renewable projects complemented with power from coal-based thermal projects.
As per the new request for selection (RfS) document, the bidder can submit a single bid offering a minimum amount of 250 MW capacity and a maximum of 5 GW. The range was 500 MW to 5 GW earlier.
Recently, the Ministry of Power (MoP) issued guidelines for the procurement of round-the-clock power from grid-connected renewable projects complemented with power from thermal power projects.
According to the amendment to section II clause 10, the minimum bid capacity should be 250 MW, and the developer should supply renewable power complemented with thermal power, keeping at least 85% availability annually. The developer will be required to offer power such that at least 51% of the annual energy offered corresponds to renewable power, and the balance is being provided from thermal sources. The developer can combine storage for ensuring that it achieves the required minimum annual availability of 85%.
The amended RfS states that the project capacity can be more than the contracted capacity. Project capacity will be in AC capacities for solar PV and wind power components as declared to be installed in the power purchase agreement (PPA). At the time of commissioning, installation of the rated capacity of wind and solar PV components as declared in the PPA, will be verified by the Commissioning Committee.
The possible RTC configuration for a contracted capacity of 500 MW could be 300 MW of solar, 200 MW of thermal, and 100 MW of wind (3:2:1).
As per the amendments, the renewable projects that have already been commissioned will not be considered under this RfS. Also, enhancement of already commissioned projects will not be considered as an eligible project under this RfS. However, already commissioned or under construction thermal projects will be considered under this RfS, provided they have unused generation capacity that can be made available for long-term supply of power. Earlier it was mentioned that the thermal energy could be based on domestic coal as fuel, or coal from imported sources. However, whether the fuel is domestic coal or imported was to be stipulated at the time of bid submission. This clause has been removed now.
As per the new RfS, the renewable projects, along with the energy storage system (ESS) installed, if any, can either be co-located or be at different locations. Other elements of RTC power, i.e., solar, wind, and thermal, can be connected with the interstate transmission system (ISTS) network at different ISTS sub-stations. Earlier, there was no mention of ESS in the bidding document. It was mentioned that for better grid balancing, various components of RTC power should be connected with the central transmission utility (CTU) network, but within the same regional load despatch center (RLDC) region.
The documents further state that the buying entity should bear the ISTS charges and losses corresponding to the energy injected from the thermal power of the project. Further, energy injected from the thermal component, if any, should be subject to applicable regulations with respect to deviation settlement mechanism (DSM). Earlier, the regulation said that the developer would have to bear the ISTS charges and losses levied for any renewable source utilized that is not eligible for a waiver.
Another amendment said that after the commissioning of the project, if for any year, the project availability is less than 85% on an annual basis, the developer would be liable to pay liquidated damages to distribution companies. The damages will be 25% of the cost of this shortfall in energy terms. Earlier, this was applicable only for the renewable component of the power supplied, which was set as 51%.
The documents further state that bidders selected by SECI based on this RfS should submit a performance bank guarantee (PBG) for a value at the rate of ₹1 million (~$13,523)/ MW/project, at least seven days before signing of PPA. The period set earlier was within 70 days of issuance of letter of award (LoA) or before the signing of PPA.
Previously, the deadline for tariff adoption was simply 60 days. Now, the modification states that the Commission will adopt the tariff within 60 days of submission of the petition or 120 days from the date of signing of PSA.
According to the new amendments, the total net worth of the consortium should be ₹1.5 billion (~$20.28 million). The minimum requirement of net worth to be met by lead member A should be a minimum of ₹1.05 billion (~$14.2 million), and to be met by consortium member B should be ₹450 million (~$6.08 million). Earlier, the total net worth of the consortium was fixed at ₹1 billion (~$13.52 million). The minimum requirement of net worth for the lead member A was set as ₹700 million (~$9.46 million), and for consortium member B, it was set as ₹300 million (~$4.06 million).
Recently, SECI extended the bid submission deadline for this tender. The revised deadline for bid submission is now September 1, 2020, for hard copies and August 28, 2020, for soft copies.
In May this year, SECI announced the winner of its tender for 400 MW of renewable power on an RTC basis. ReNew power won the auction for the entire tendered capacity of 400 MW with a quoted tariff of ₹2.90 (~$0.038)/kWh.
In January this year, MNRE had come up with a draft plan to supply RTC power from renewable (solar, wind, and hydro) projects, which will be complemented with power from thermal projects. The MNRE had asked for feedback from various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Power, renewable energy associations, and state governments and their power distribution companies (DISCOMs), among others.
Thermal-based sources can be used to generate power on demand. By combining a conventional source of energy with non-conventional sources, it would be possible to minimize or even negate the effects of intermittency in power generation. So far, one of the only ways to use renewable energy without intermittency issues is with energy storage solutions, which require a large amount of capital expenditure on batteries.
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.