The wind industry is in ICU, says Ramesh Kymal, one of the doyens of the industry and Chairman of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association. He says he will not countenance any move to bring in a ‘competitive bidding’ regime.

The provocation for this statement was the recent Wind Policy of Rajasthan that seeks to procure wind power from 300 MW of fresh capacity, the tariff for which will be determined by a process of competitive bidding.

Rajasthan has put out a ‘request for proposal,’ under which a developer can put up wind projects anywhere in the State and sell the power to Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation at rates determined by the bidding process.

The wind industry has, for long, been opposing tariff determination by a competitive process, saying that while, in principle, the policy is fine, the time for such a move is not opportune. It will sound the death-knell for the industry, says Kymal, pointing to a number of “variables” — unlike in the case of conventional power — such as uncertain generation, poor transmission system, power producers not being paid on time and the burden of cross-subsidy charges.

The Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association, whose members command some 3,000 MW of wind capacity, has opposed competitive bidding on similar grounds.

The wind industry fears that Rajasthan could set a bad precedent, particularly as sporadic calls for competitive bidding have been emanating from time to time — for instance, from a regulator in Karnataka.

The industry is already down in the dumps, with the current year’s capacity addition trending towards just half of last year’s 3,000 MW, mainly because of the withdrawal of a couple of key incentives (which are likely to be restored soon.)

We are not going to take this lying down, says Kymal, adding that the IWTMA will “first appeal to Rajasthan.”

Kerala empanels 14 firms for solar programme

Tata Power Solar, Aditya Birla Solar, Su-Kam and Waree are among the 14 companies empanelled by Kerala’s Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology, for the State’s ambitious ‘10,000 rooftops’ programme. The programme seeks to facilitate households interested in putting up solar photo-voltaic power plants on their rooftops by offering them a subsidy of Rs 39,000 per kW of installed capacity, over and above the subsidy given by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. According to Madhavan Nampoothiri, Founder-Director of RESolve Energy Consultants, 4,705 applications were received as of January 18. The applicants can now choose from the 14 companies registered to put up rooftop plants and be eligible for the State government subsidy.

ramesh.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 3, 2013)
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