Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy has indicated that the ministry may consider extending the Interstate Transmission System ISTS waiver for renewable energy projects by at least six months.
Addressing CEOs Interactive Session organised by the industry chamber the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (FICCI) Renewable Energy CEOs Council and FICCI Power Committee on Tuesday, Singh urged for the power generation to be doubled. He asked the industry to start adding capacity without waiting for bids to come out as Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) penalty would be made more stringent.
In an oblique reference to reducing India’s import dependence for solar equipment on China, the minister said the government was looking at strengthening local manufacturing units for solar instead of “depending on neighbouring countries”.
Alluding to reforms in the sector, he said that amendments in the Electricity Act were essential to making the sector viable and sustainable. The minister urged the industry to communicate the importance of these reforms. He added that the sanctity of contracts had to be maintained and this applied to all parties involved and a failure to do so would result in blacklisting of errant companies.
Speaking on the issue of the open bid available only for the short-term, Singh said that the ministry was working towards a centralised bid system for making coal available for the long-term without linkage to power purchase agreements (PPAs). The minister exhorted the industry to start-up and stand-up for its rights. He added that the government was taking steps to bring back growth in these challenging times and demand would accelerate going forward.
Ranjit Gupta, Chair, FICCI Renewable Energy CEOs Council & CEO, Azure Power said that the reforms in the Electricity Act and Tariff Policy were much needed to enable foreign investors to come to India. He added that the industry would push for the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Gupta said that the renewable energy sector suffered less during the COVID-19 crisis because of the proactive steps taken by the government. He added that the FICCI Renewable Energy CEOs Council is engaging directly with the states and raising concerns for a speedy resolution, and mentioned that one such engagement had already taken place with the Energy Minister of Gujarat on June 5.
Vipul Tuli, Chair, FICCI Power Committee & Managing Director, Sembcorp Energy India said that under Singh’s leadership reforms in the power sector had been prompt, rapid and helpful. He added that the industry was also stepping up to the plate in response to the efforts made by the government.
Underlining issues of the sector, Tuli said that liquidity has been a challenge for the industry. The other issues were the absence of long-term bids and the challenges of environmental equipment for the power sector.