Companies

SoftBank, Adani Group in race for SECI’s hybrid power projects

ksenia kondratieva Mumbai | Updated on November 20, 2018 Published on November 20, 2018

FILE PHOTO   -  THE HINDU

Bid for 1,050 MW capacity of the 1,200 MW on offer

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) auction for 1,200-MW hybrid solar and wind energy capacity under the government’s new National Wind-Solar Hybrid policy, conducted on Tuesday was undersubscribed again.

Only two major players, SoftBank Energy and Adani Group, submitted bids for total of 1,050 MW of capacity, three sources with direct knowledge of the development told BusinessLine. The Adani Group has bid for 600 MW while SoftBank Energy has bid for 450 MW.

When contacted, the spokesperson for SoftBank said the company does not comment on bids, while Adani Group and SECI spokespersons could not be reached for comments.

SECI had rolled out the tender in June. Since then, it had postponed the tender several times as no bids were submitted by industry players, even after SECI reduced the capacity auctioned by half — from the initial 2,500 MW to 1,200 MW.

While the official results of the tender are expected next week, sources said it is yet to be seen whether SECI will cancel or postpone the tender again or will go ahead with just two bids. While the latter is quite possible, considering the tender was postponed multiple times, it will defy the principles of competitive bidding, sources added.

Hybrid concept assumes that setting up solar and wind generating plants at one site could lead to savings in capital cost by better utilisation of common infrastructure such as land, roads and evacuation lines. However, industry players believe the tariff cap of ₹2.70 per unit (reduced from the initial ₹2.93 per unit), identified by SECI, does not make hybrid projects viable even after certain optimisation is achieved.

“Hybrid has its own challenges because land parcels have to suit both wind and solar and only few States can provide such opportunities. For us, the tariff of ₹2.7 per unit was not viable, despite we are the only developer in the country having a hybrid project of over 80 MW already implemented,” Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies, said.

Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, Bridge To India, agrees there are not many sites optimal for both wind and solar energy generation. “Purely from a cost perspective, we don’t think there is an advantage in executing hybrid projects. There maybe other advantages in terms of optimising transmission capacity, or land resource, but this does not translate into a cost-based advantage,” Rustagi said.

According to a source, the SECI may go ahead with two bidders by conducting a reverse auction, which will further reduce the current tariff.

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Published on November 20, 2018
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