Solar project developers have urged the ministry of new and renewable energy to postpone auctions, which NTPCNSE 1.73 % and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) have scheduled for the next few weeks, until transmission issues are sorted out.
NTPC, which held a 750 MW solar project auction last week, has invited bids for another 2000 MW, while SECI has issued tenders for 8000 MW.
Developers are worried as final rules relating to grant of connectivity to the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) as well as the regulations for General Network Access for renewable energy projects have not yet been announced, causing uncertainty over grid connectivity for the projects. The draft rules were released by the Central Electricity Authority in early April for comments, but no public hearing on the matter, as is required, has been held yet. “Our feedback from industry members is that the draft procedure for grant of connectivity has many contradictions with respect to allocation of connectivity in multiple stages,” the Solar Power Developers Association wrote in a letter sent to the ministry.
The association fears that unless there was “complete clarity in terms of obligations of developers, off-takers and interfacing agencies,” developers might find themselves unable to connect their power projects to the national grid even after completing the work. Some developers including Azure Power, Avaada and Sprng Energy have also separately written to the ministry with the same request.
“Earlier, all solar projects were connected to state transmission utility (STU) substations,” Shekhar Dutt, director-general, SPDA, told ET. “States would release the list of substations with available capacity for evacuation and bidders would participate after considering it. This is the first time tenders have been invited by SECI and NTPC for solar power to be evacuated via ISTS at substations Central Transmission Utility.”
Developers said draft rules for connectivity to ISTS saddled them with uncertainty at a time when transmission lines of state utilities and ISTS were carrying at nearly full capacity, and getting a connection was far from certain.