In what could be seen as another blow to the country’s plan to increase the share of renewables-based power in its energy basket, solar and wind power developers have once again displayed a muted response to one of the government’s schemes for increasing renewable energy capacity. The Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) latest bid to set up 1,200 MW of wind-solar hybrid plants has attracted dismal inte-rest from the industry, with only two firms putting forward their bids, offering 1,050 MW in total.
According to sources, the renewable energy arm of Adani Group has put forward bid for 600 MW and SBG Cleantech, a joint venture between Japan’ SoftBank Group, India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’ Foxconn Technology Group, has sought 450 MW. It is not immediately known if SECI would cancel the auction as the last date for bid submission has already been postponed six times. The initial deadline was set as August 8.
Industry sources said the ceiling tariff set for the auction is untenable and does not justify the risks that developers are taking. Initially, the tariff ceiling for the auctions were set at Rs 2.93/unit, but had to be reduced to Rs 2.60/unit as per the directions of the ministry of new and renewable energy.
The capacity offered under the tender was also cut down to 1,200 MW from the original proposition of 2,500 MW. The tariff-cap was later raised to Rs 2.70/unit. A representative from a major renewable firm told FE that cutting ceiling tariffs send mixed signals to the industry, which is reflected in the underwhelming response. “The industry needs a sustainable business model,” the person added.
The hybrid policy was launched in May, primarily to overcome the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of wind and solar power plants. The model envisaged configuring wind turbines and solar systems at same grid connection points for optimal utilisation of power generating and transmission capacities.
The response to the auctions comes only a day after 10,000 MW manufacturing-linked so-lar tender got bids for only 2,000 MW. This tender’s fate is also not known. Phone calls to SECI officials remained unanswered.