“There were meetings between Tangedco officials and the winning developers on July 21 and again on August 10,“ said a person familiar with the development.“Tangedco has not put anything in writing, but that is what it wants. It will not sign PPAs for a higher tariff.“
Indeed, in Tamil Nadu government circles, there was indifference to the fate of the earlier solar auction since a bigger sale held later achieved a much lower tariff.
“If the developers want to cancel their projects, they can do so,“ said an official. “Tangedco has found a lower tariff. No PPA has been signed as yet. It is entirely Tangedco’s choice.“
Tangedco officials refused to comment on the matter.
Some developers who claim to have acquired land and made other investments in anticipation of their projects are set to file a petition with the regulator to compel Tangedco to accept the tariff of `. 4.40 per unit. They will emphasise that Tangedco flouted the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order of June 13 directing it to sign all power purchase agreements related to the first auction and submit them within a month.
If they file the petition, it will be Tangedco’s second run-in with renewable energy developers this year. Wind developers have taken it to court to stop efforts to hold another auction while a TNERC order setting a levelised wind tariff remains valid till the end of the current financial year. (See ET, August 7.) The first tender for the 500 MW solar auction received a tepid response due to stringent conditions such as a project completion deadline of 12 months. Bids were received for 292 MW from 20 entities. The biggest bidder was Rays Power Infra, which sought and won 100 MW at ` . 4.40 per unit. The project size eventually went down to 224 MW with 16 bidders.In June, the discom obtained regulatory approval for a uniform rate of . 4.40 per unit.` By then, Tangedco had auctioned 1,500 MW of solar projects, relaxing some tough conditions and easing the completion deadline to 24 months. Mining major Neyveli Lignite Corporation bid for the entire lot but was ultimately awarded 449 MW.The 18 winning bids of the 25 put in varied between ` . 3.47 and `. 3.97 per unit and here, too, all winners were asked to match the lowest bid, which they did.