The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) said that all under-construction renewable energy projects which were to be commissioned after April 1 will be eligible to claim time-extension for completion of their work. The extension has been granted to all renewable energy projects being developed under various Central government agencies.
The tenure of the extension will be decided later.The MNRE order, clarified that “such time-extensions are not used as a ground for claiming termination of power purchase agreement (PPA) or for claiming any increase in the project cost”.
Through a separate order, the MNRE has also allowed existing solar power plants under Central government agencies to submit their invoices against power supply through digital medium.
During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, MNRE had granted a blanket five-month extension to renewable energy projects for meeting their deadlines for completion. However for this year “the actual quantum of time-extension shall be decided in due course depending on the Covid-19 related developments that take place in the coming weeks,” the MNRE said.
In 2020, the government had announced that delays in construction activities for renewable energy plants due to coronavirus would be seen as a force majeure event. However, this time it has refrained from declaring the disruptions as force majeure.
A force majeure means extraordinary events or circumstance beyond human control. The current installed renewable energy generation capacity stands at 94 giga-watt (GW).
The time relaxation is seen to benefit about 34 GW of renewable energy projects worth `1.35 lakh crore currently under various stages of implementation.
Seeking a blanket three-month extension on commissioning deadlines, the National Solar Energy Federation of India in March had pointed that “owing to the continued rise in Covid-19 cases and a re-surge in many parts of the country, solar power projects continue to face implementation issues due to the absence of government officials, lockdowns, slow processes due to understaffed office being overly busy and pre-occupied with pending works”.
Citing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the supply chain and delays by other parties in land allocation and building associated power transmission network, ReNew Power and Acme Solar had sought to terminate their PPAs signed with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in 2020.