The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a request for selection (RfS) for renewable energy developers to supply 5 GW of round-the-clock (RTC) power from grid-connected renewable power projects, bundled with power from coal-based thermal projects in the country.
The tender said that land, connectivity, and long-term open access will be within the scope of the work of the developer. Interested bidders must pay an earnest money deposit (EMD) of ₹500,000 (~$6,743) per megawatt undertaken in the form of a bank guarantee. The last date for the submission of bids is May 4, 2020.
The minimum project capacity a developer can bid for is 500 MW and the maximum is 5 GW. A single bidder can be allocated a maximum of 5 GW of projects, according to the terms of the RfS.
SECI stated that renewable projects that are already commissioned cannot be considered under this RfS, but projects under construction or those that are not commissioned yet will be taken into account.
The tender added, however, that thermal projects that have already been commissioned and ones that are under construction can be considered as long as they have additional generation capacity that can be made available for long-term power supply. The thermal power can be based on domestic coal as fuel, or coal from imported sources.
The renewable power developer (RPD) is expected to supply renewable power complemented with power generated from thermal-based energy sources, if required, on a “round-the-clock” basis, keeping at least 80% availability on an annual basis.
The developer will supply at least 51% of the annual energy from renewable sources, including energy storage systems if any. The balance can be drawn from existing coal-based thermal energy projects. The tender further added that the developers can combine energy storage systems for ensuring that it achieves the required minimum annual availability of 80%. However, a minimum of 51% of energy should be dispatched from renewable sources, including dispatch from the storage systems.
For this tender, SECI did not specify an upper ceiling tariff. However, it said a single “composite tariff” would apply to the project.
According to the RfS, the composite tariff shall comprise “normative composite fixed charges” amounting to 70% of the composite tariff and “normative composite variable charges,” amounting to 30% of the composite charges. It added that this 30% of the total quoted tariff will be indexed with the coal prices which will be notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
To be eligible to take part in the competitive bidding process, the net worth of the bidder must be at least ₹15 million (~$202,291)/MW of the quoted capacity in the preceding financial year. Applicants must also have had a minimum annual turnover of ₹24.5 million (~$330,409) in the last financial year.
To tackle the intermittency issues in solar and wind, ‘reverse bundling’ is now being used where high-cost thermal power is allowed to be bundled with cheaper renewable energy and provided round-the-clock to the distribution companies.
Earlier, Mercom reported that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy came up with a draft plan to supply round-the-clock power from renewable (solar, wind, and hydro) projects, which will be complemented with power from thermal projects. Following this, SECI had announced a notice inviting tender (NIT) for the procurement of 5 GW of power on a round-the-clock basis from renewable energy sources complemented with thermal power projects on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis.
SECI also invited an expression of interest (EoI) from power generators involved in hydro, pumped storage, gas, battery storage, and thermal generating stations to supply power to SECI, which it would then blend with different renewable sources. The aim is to meet the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, which need to be supplemented with other conventional sources of power.
Nithin Thomas is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. More articles from Nithin.