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While maintaining a stable outlook on the solar power sector, domestic rating agency India Rating has revised upwards the outlook on the wind power sector to stable from negative for FY19 but has maintained its negative outlook on the thermal power sector.

Citing lack of visibility for tying up long-term power purchase agreements, the agency has maintained its negative outlook on the thermal power sector for FY19.

The agency expects favourable environment for the wind and solar energy sectors as bids are being driven by Central agencies and power purchase agreements (PPAs) are becoming favourable to developers in terms of addressing grid curtailment and termination issues.

"Development of guarantee funds by states/bidders, incentives to local solar panel manufacturers and exploring of wind-solar hybrid projects and offshore wind projects indicate a sustaining growth momentum in renewable power," it said in a report today.

India Ratings feels uncertainties in solar panel costs, unpredictable behaviour of distribution companies (discoms) and operational troubles from wind turbine manufacturers need to be addressed by renewable developers.

"We believe that avoidance of downtime of solar and wind plants are critical in ensuring the predicted internal rate of returns," the report said.

According to the agency, adequate liquidity back-ups and counterparty risks as the most critical factors for renewable projects.

It, however, maintained a negative outlook on the thermal power sector for FY19, due to lack of visibility for tying up long-term PPAs.

"Existing excess power tie-up of discoms and PPAs already signed with central and state sector generating companies for buying power from 40GW under construction thermal plants, preclude the need for purchasing power from private thermal plants under long-term PPAs," it reasoned.

India Ratings feels excess power tie-up, ahead of requirement, increases the power purchase costs for discoms.

"Also, thermal plants remain vulnerable to coal and water availability; thus certainty in these two linkages is hard to come by," it added.

Meanwhile, the agency has maintained a stable outlook on transmission projects owing to high project availability and a stable receivables period for interstate transmission assets.

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Power produced from wind and solar projects will become viable and more attractive for discoms as the government last week waived off inter-state transmission charges for wind and solar projects commissioned till March 2022, in a bid to encourage the use of power generated through these sources.

"For generation projects based on solar and wind resources, no interstate transmission charges and losses will be levied on transmission of the electricity through the inter-state transmission system for sale of power by such projects commissioned till 31st March 2022," said a letter issued by the power ministry last week.

The move will take away future possibilities of additional cost to discoms, encouraging them to purchase power produced from wind and solar projects, the industry said. "This should give discoms good reasons to meet their renewable purchase obligations," a renewable energy developer said on condition of anonymity.

The revised Tariff Policy 2016, states that “in order to further encourage renewable sources of energy, no interstate transmission charges and losses may be levied till such period as may be notified by the Central government on transmission of the electricity generated from solar and wind sources of energy through the inter-state transmission system for sale”.

For wind and solar projects, the existing waiver was previously applicable to projects commissioned up to March 31, 2019 and December 31, 2019, respectively.

“This should also help more people go for the next round of bidding because projects will look more viable,” said the person cited above. “This should give more impetus. Tariffs are already pretty low, and this should come as a relief.” Solar and wind power tariffs in the last few months have already reached grid-parity, helping it compete with thermal power. With the transmission charges waived off, it will make selection of location for these projects more efficient, experts say.

“The waiver is very positive for power utilities, who can now source wind and solar power from the few resource-rich states,” said Kameswara Rao, leader-energy, utilities and mining at PwC India. The policy is very positive for renewable companies as they can sell to all obligated entities (that is, all who are required to meet renewable purchase obligation) and not just power utilities, Rao pointed out. “Also, given the long time frame, renewable companies will try to set up multiple mega projects,” he said.

The waiver applicable for 25 years since the date of signing a power purchase agreement (PPA), will be allowed to only those solar and wind projects that are awarded through competitive bidding process.


ArcelorMIttal, which earlier this week submitted a bid to acquire Essar Steel, has said it exploring the possibility of establishing a 600 MW solar farm by utilizing the land in Karnataka originally allotted to it for a proposed $6.5 billion project to set up a 6 million tonne greenfield steel plant.

The company said its decision was prompted by "excess capacity of steel worldwide and uncertainty in iron ore availability locally." The world's largest steel company said it has sought permission from the state government on this and the proposal is under consideration and added that it hopes to get approval for the same.

Arcelor said this would contribute to the mitigation of Karnataka's power crisis and to the participation in the National Solar Energy mission of the Government of India. The statement was part of the company's update on previously announced investment projects, including India greenfield projects, in its latest annual report.

Arcelor said it had explored investment opportunities in India and in June 2010, entered into a memorandum of understanding with authorities in the state of Karnataka in South India that envisaged the construction of the six million tonne steel plant with a captive 750 megawatt power plant, representing a potential aggregate investment of $6.5 billion.

The company has completed all of the necessary steps to acquire the land. ArcelorMittal India Limited received possession certificates for 2,659 acres of private land following the acquisition of 1,827 acres and 832 acres in December 2011 and October 2012, respectively, leaving a balance of 136.33 acres of land owned by the Karnataka government, which is being processed for allocation.

"However, in view of excess capacity of steel worldwide and uncertainty in iron ore availability locally, the company is also exploring the possibility of utilizing the land in Karnataka for the establishment of a solar farm for generating solar energy," it added.

Incidentally, in January 2018 ArcelorMittal decided to took over the assets of Exosun, a company that specializes in trackers for solar farms. Based in Martillac, France, Exosun designs, develops and markets steel solar trackers that allow photo-voltaic panels to follow the sun's path, and thus increase the performance of ground-mounted solar farms.

In its decade-long existence, Exosun had delivered more than 55 solar farms all around the world, amounting to a total 700 MW installed capacity. I a statement to announce the acquisition in January, ArcelorMittal had said it already operates in the solar energy market with a presence in steel solar frames which are manufactured in units in Europe, China and Egypt.

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The Krishna district police have installed at least 16 blinkers that function with solar power in strategic areas along the national highways of Kolkata-Chennai and Vijayawada-Machilipatnam to avoid road mishaps and strengthen traffic signalling system.

In an official release, SP Sarvasresth Tripathy said 14 blinkers had been set up on the Kolkata-Chennai national highway that passes through the Krishna district. The police also erected more than 300 wooden poles, to indicate that a location was a ‘danger zone’.

They conducted a clean and green drive along the eight km stretch of the Krishna river embankment road between Vijayawada and Thotlavalluru police limits. All the unwanted growth, on either side of the embankment road, had been removed, ensuring a clear way for the vehicles to proceed on the road.

On Friday, police personnel took out a bike rally by wearing the helmet to create awareness on the use of the headgear in the limits of various police stations.


All street lights in all municipal corporations will be replaced by LED lights, said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

This replacement will be done in the state as part of the Centre’s Street Light National Programme (SLNP).

For this initiative the Urban Development Department (UDD) and the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to install 20 lakh LED streetlight across the state. This move is estimated to save 500 MW of power and the electricity bill is expected to reduce by at least 50 per cent, said an official.

As per the agreement LED lights will be set up in the streets of all major cities of the state, including Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and Nanded.

Under the project the existing sodium vapour, mercury vapour bulbs will be replaced by LED bulbs, and the lights will be maintained for seven year period. Fadnavis said that the replacement of the bulbs will be completed by the end of December 2018.

Friday, 16 February 2018 16:35

SBI-UK DFID invest in India's SunSource Energy

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India’s largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) has invested an undisclosed amount from its Neev Fund in Indian solar player SunSource Energy, for developing solar project assets in states with low levels of capital investment, the company said in a statement on Friday.

SunSource Energy, a solar project developer and EPC services provider, currently has 200 MWs of solar projects in India and abroad. The company targets to reach 1.5 GW of capacity by 2025, the statement said.

Founded in 2010, the company’s turnover has been rising at a compounded growth rate of nearly 200 percent year-on-year.

Adarsh Das, CEO and Co-Founder of SunSource Energy said “Our focus on environmentally sustainable solar energy solutions is fully aligned with Neev's focus on under-invested states. We look forward to deploying this capital into solar assets in these states, and significantly contribute to the sustainable development of these states”.

The Neev Fund, an initiative of SBI and UK’s department for International development (DFID), is an infrastructure private equity fund which aims to invest in low income or developing states in India, with a focus on infrastructure sub-sectors such as renewable energy, agricultural supply chain, among others.

Gavin McGillivray, Head, UK DFID India said, “We are pleased that Neev Fund is the first investor in SunSource. The investment will help the company grow in India’s under-invested states."

This is Neev fund’s fourth investment, and Varsha Purandare, MD, and CEO of SBICAPS said, “Neev Fund has been a highly successful partnership between SBI and the DFID of UK, having made a meaningful impact in India’s low-income states and a model fund for future funds by SBI/SBICAPS.”

The funding will help SunSource develop projects in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhatisgarh, outside of their operations in other cities.

“Collaborations like these help SunSource reduce our clients’ costs and deliver effective solutions,” said Kushagra Nandan, President, and Co-Founder of SunSource Energy.

Economic Laws Practice, a leading Indian law firm, was the key legal advisor, and Venturebook Capital Advisors was the financial advisor, on the transaction.

Thursday, 15 February 2018 17:14

Centre targets industry to save power

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The Centre, through its company Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), is planning to replicate its success in the LED space in the commercial sector by creating a market for low-cost, energy-efficient motors, a senior official said.

S.P. Garnaik, national programme manager (CGM) at EESL said “About 30-34% of the total energy consumption goes to the industrial sector, which is a substantial amount. And out of that, about 70% is electrical energy consumption.” Most of this electricity consumption is due to the use of motor-driven systems, Mr. Garnaik added.

“Now, we can address the efficiency issues in the entire system or as at the sub-assembly level, which is at the motor level,” Addressing the entire system has larger opportunities but is more complex. You need so many technological interventions. So, initially, we decided to address it at a component level,” Mr. Garnaik said.

Using a combination of economies of scale and design efficiencies, Mr. Garnaik said EESL had so far been able to create motors in the capacity range of 1.1 KW to 22 KW that are 30% cheaper and result in an average of 15% lower electricity usage.

Mr. Garnaik said “Apart from the price benefit, one of the other levers to create demand is the fact that the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion has issued a quality assurance guidance that says that manufacturers will have to supply a minimum energy performance standard adhering to the ‘International Efficiency-2’ (IE-2) level”.

The EESL motors are of the IE-3 level, which save between 7% to 23% of electricity compared with the current industry standard, depending on the application, Mr. Garnaik said.

“The present practice is of using non-IE motors,” he said. “About 99% of the motors being used are IE-1 or non-IE.” Phase 1 of the nation-wide programme, to be unveiled by Power Minister R.K. Singh, would seek to replace 1.2 lakh motors of the capacity of 1.1-22 KW, which would save 175 million units of electricity, he said.

In the second phase, two lakh motors would be replaced, including those of a capacity higher than 22 KW. “There are in total about 11 million motors that can be replaced, which works out to about 15 billion units of electricity being saved,” Mr. Garnaik said. “This can lead to 6,000 MW of capacity reduction. But 11 million cannot be done overnight.”


A new study by US based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) places Tamil Nadu in the ninth spot globally among areas that generate wind and solar power The report, “power-industry transition, here and now”, includes case studies of markets – ranked by relative share of reliance on variable renewables – that include Denmark, South Australia, Uruguay, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Texas, California, and Tamil Nadu.

While Denmark had a share of 52.8% of the total wind and solar generation in 2017, Tamil Nadu’s share was 14.3% and stood at ninth place. “We show how nine leading countries and regions have adapted to high market shares of wind and solar power using existing integration technologies and policy measures to improve their diversity of domestic generation without compromising reliability or undercutting supply,” said the study.

Tamil Nadu leads India in variable renewables’ market share. Tamil Nadu also leads India in installed renewable energy capacity. Of the total 30GW of installed capacity across the state as of March 2017, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6GW or 32% of the total. Firm hydroelectricity added another 2.2GW or 7%, nuclear 8% and biomass and run-of-river 3%.

“As such, zero emissions capacity represents a leading 50% of Tamil Nadu’s total. With much of Tamil Nadu’s renewable energy coming from end-of-life wind farms installed 15-25 years ago, average utilisation rates are a low 18%, making the contribution of variable renewables to total generation even more impressive,” said the study.

“A more diversified electricity generation mix will serve Tamil Nadu better. New low cost solar capital additions and a major repowering of TN’s wind projects, a concerted improvement in energy efficiency plus reduced transmission and distribution losses, should deliver more than 80% of all electricity demand growth in the coming decade,” IEEFA’s Energy Finance Studies Australasia director Tim Buckley said.

By adopting more green power, the discom will be able to operate profitably and at a lower tariff for consumers, said Buckley. TN, which has a total wind capacity of 8,000MW and solar to the extent of 2,500MW, is hoping to increase the capacity as well as evacuating more renewable power.


Minister for Local Administration KT Jaleel here on Tuesday said that a private company has come forward to set up an advanced waste to energy plant in the limit of Kozhikode Corporation.

Addressing the gathering after commissioning the Plastic Recycling Plant and shredding unit set up by the Kozhikode Corporation at the West Hill Industrial estate, he said, the advanced plant which will produce electricity from the generated waste will be set up at Njeliyanparamba trenching ground. He said the corporation will provide required land for the company to set up the modern waste disposal plant. He said the company will sell the produced electricity to Kerala State Electricity Board and the company will also manufacture bio manure.

Minister Jaleel said that Clean Kerala Company will set up an electronic waste processing plant on three acres of land at Kuttippuram for the disposal of generated e-waste, bulbs and tubes. He said Clean Kerala Company will also set up glass recycling plant for the disposal of glass waste.

He said Rs 200 crore advanced waste to energy plant will be come up on 15 acre land at Brahmapuram in Cochin and the work inauguration of it will be held next month. He further said Rs 15 crore advanced waste management plant on 80 cents of land taken up at Sultan Bathery will be ready by March.

Minister said that the shredded plastics will be used for the road tarring works at all the local self-government body limit. The LSG department has issued a direction in this regard to all the LSG bodies directing them to make use of twenty percent of total shredded plastic waste in each LSG limits for its road repair works.

The commissioned plant at West Hill Industrial Estate was set up at a cost of Rs 40 lakh has the capacity to dispose two tonne of plastic waste per day. Niravu will operate the plant for a term of three years and it will also provide Rs 30,000 per month to the corporation in return of allowing them to operate the plant. With the commissioning of the recycling plant, the civic body has succeeded in placing a permanent mechanism for the disposal of generated plastic waste.

Mayor Thottathil Raveendran presided over the function. Deputy Mayor Meera Darshak, health standing committee chairman K V Baburaj and others attended the function.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 17:11

Wind tariffs end descend, edge up to Rs 2.44/unit

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Fall in wind power tariffs seem to be have bottomed out as the price inched up to Rs 2.44 per unit in the latest auction for 2000 MW capacities.

The auction was conducted by Solar Energy Corporation (SECI) yesterday.

Earlier in December, the wind power tariff had dropped to an all time low of Rs 2.43 per unit in an auction conducted by Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL). The tariff last year started its descend to touch a low of Rs 3.46 in the first round of auction for 1GW capacity by the SECI.

The price fell further to Rs 2.64 in the second round of auction for 1 GW by the SECI in October 2017.

The firming up of wind tariff will boost clean energy in view of India's target of having 60 GW wind energy capacities by 2022.

At present, India has an installed wind capacity of 32.7 GW. The government has planned to auction 10 GW each in 2018- 19 and 2019-20.

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