Storage Stays In Focus With New 1200 MW tender Plan from SECI

After the success of its previous 1200 MW tender for renewable generation plus guaranteed peak supply, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a notice inviting tender (NIT) for a repeat of its previous tender. That was oversubscribed by 420 MW.

SECI informs us that details will be uploaded soon on the website of the agency.

The previous tender, which was eventually won by Greenko Group and Renew Power, with 900 MW and 300 MW allotments respectively, was hailed a huge move forward in making renewable energy a dependable partner for the national grid, by providing energy on demand through massive storage commitments. To maintain momentum on renewable energy, the government has also been pushing for a more sustained push in storage technologies, preferably manufactured in India.

Even in the proposed tender, like the previous one,the RE generating component could be either a solar photovoltaic (SPV) system or a wind energy system or a hybrid system of both technologies. The tariff design is likely to have the same two-part tariffs option: Peak Tariff and Off-Peak Tariff.

Greenko had won the bid with a blended tariff rate of Rs 4.07, while Renew Power’s blended rate was Rs 4.30. Rates considered competitive with fossil fuel powered generation in India today.

The peak tariff rate (storage backed) of Greenko had been Rs 6.12, while for Renew, it was Rs 6.85. Greenko’s bid stood out for its use of pumped hydro as its storage option, while Renew stuck with battery storage.

Industry insiders claim that the biggest challenge for these new storage backed tenders is the appetite  among major players for such massive commitments. The storage play usually involves a huge jump in total investment required, and both the previous winners have had the benefit of access to large dollops of debt and equity funding.

On top of that is the fact that  due to size and complications, the projects are likely to take longer to execute. With a clear ceiling on the non-peak rate at Rs 2.88 per KwH, bidders will also need to factor in the disruptions the Covid-19 pandemic might have caused to the market.

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