Macro Economy

Electricity derivatives to offer certainty of power offtake for renewable investors

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 08, 2021

Sale of power in the futures market to benefit RE developers, discoms

The introduction of derivatives to India’s short-term power market will make it easier for renewable project developers to enter into offtake arrangements with the state-owned distribution companies (discoms), according to The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

“The launch of new financial instruments will enable developers to hedge their offtaker risk without requiring the signing of long-term contracts with discoms for the financial closure of projects,” says Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist, Lead India at IEEFA.

Also read: New coal-fired power plants will be economically unviable: IEEFA

The power purchase agreements (PPAs) provide investors with certainty of offtake of power over a long duration and de-risk them from price volatility. However, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) currently has 15-16 gigawatts of auctioned capacity waiting to be signed by discoms, and this backlog of unsigned PPAs is now impacting the development of new renewable energy projects.

Discoms are struggling with huge financial losses and have become increasingly reluctant to enter long-term PPAs with renewable energy developers due to the discovery of record low renewable tariffs as low as ₹1.99/kWh at the end of 2020.

“The sale of power in the futures market will provide flexibility and certainty of supply for both discoms and developers. It will also help develop the price signal needed to incentivise supply into peak demand periods, which is the key to enabling battery deployments and demand response management,” says Garg.

Under the proposed structure, physical delivery of electricity will be separated from financial settlement.

Long-term contracts in the physical (spot) market will be traded on power exchanges under the jurisdiction of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), while in the financial (derivatives) market contracts are set to be traded on commodity exchanges regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The physical and financial electricity markets will complement each other, according to Garg.

“A spot market at power exchanges and the derivatives market will feed into each other. It will be a virtuous cycle in which the derivatives market will establish forward prices, more participants will shift from PPAs to exchanges, increasing liquidity in derivatives and subsequently increasing liquidity in the spot market at power exchanges and vice versa.”

Also read: India's renewable energy growth stalled by delay in signing PSAs

“It will also enable the sale of hybrid products. With an increasing share of renewable energy in the total generation mix, multiple products including wind, solar and biogas, along with battery storage, are likely to see more demand.”

The rollout of the financial market follows the launch last year of the Real-Time Market and the Green Term-Ahead Market.

Published on June 08, 2021

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