The reverse auction to be conducted by Gujarat for 500 MW of wind power has been further delayed, with the high court ordering that the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (GERC) approval of the bidding procedure will have to wait for its order on October 30. The court was responding to a petition by the Indian Wind Energy Association (InWEA), which said that GERC cannot adopt tariffs achieved through auctions in absence of any bidding guidelines by the central government. Sources in Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) told FE that the state electricity board has already received bids for 1,500 MW for the auction, and the last date for bid submission has been extended to November 3 from October 24 after the high court order. The tenders for the wind auction, along with 500 MW solar power, was initially invited in June. The deadline for submission has been changed multiple times by the states at the requests of prospective bidders.
For the solar tenders, Gujarat discovered a lowest tariff of Rs 2.65 per unit in September — the cheapest solar rate yet under any state owned scheme.
InWEA claimed that GERC’s green signal to the wind auction on October 6 was not in line with the mandates of the Electricity Act, 2003. The association had earlier pointed out to GERC during the hearing for the approval earlier this month that since the projects would only be operationalised during FY19, the state should not hasten the process in the absence of bidding guidelines by the central government. In the same hearing, representatives of the Indian Wind Power Association — another wind industry body — had confirmed that all the queries were satisfactorily addressed by GUVNL in the pre-bid conference.
The 500-MW wind projects in question would enable the state to fulfill its renewable purchase obligations till FY19. The wind auction in Gujarat is expected to fetch tariffs close to the record low rate of Rs 2.64 per unit, discovered earlier this month in the second competitive bidding for 1000 MW conducted by SECI. About half the capacity wind projects from the above auctions under the central government scheme, won by Inox and ReNew Power, are likely to be commissioned in Gujarat. The ministry of new and renewable energy, in its draft wind-bidding guidelines published in April, had proposed to allow state-owned power companies to conduct reverse auctions for procuring wind power. It aimed to promote the competitive bidding mechanism instead of feed-in tariffs — a cost-based compensation system prevalent earlier. The final guidelines from the ministry on the issue are not out yet.