BENGALURU: The Gujarat High Court has passed an interim order restraining the state from holding its first wind energy auction scheduled for November 1. The court acted in response to a petition by Indian Wind Energy Association, which said the Gujarat State Electricity Commission’s permission to hold the auction was contrary to law because the Centre has not issued guidelines for the sale of state wind projects.
The state distribution company, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd., has been stopped from going ahead with the auction until the matter is disposed of. The next hearing is scheduled for October 30. “It is clarified that no further orders approving the bidding process… shall be passed by the commission, pending the present petition,” the court said.
The association said guidelines governing wind auctions by states had not yet been announced by the Centre, as required by the Electricity Act, 2003. The auction of 500 MW of wind projects in Gujarat was originally slotted in mid-July and was delayed for various reasons. The GERC was ambivalent about giving permission for the sale before sanctioning it on October 6.
GUVNL set a deadline of October 24 for techno-commercial bids, which have to pass muster before bidders are allowed to participate in the price auction, which was scheduled for November 1.
Following the court order, the last date for techno-commercial bids has been extended to November 3 and no date has been set for the actual auction. Techno-commercial bids for about 1,500 MW of wind projects have already been submitted for the auction, according to people familiar with the matter. GUVNL officials were unwilling to respond to the court order. However, a government official said: “They have talked to lawyers and are confident that the reverse auction will eventually take place.” A wind power developer confirmed that they had been told to keep filing their techno-commercial bids.
“We were given to understand that the auction process is only temporarily on hold,” he said. The wind energy association had earlier petitioned the Madras High Court against Tamil Nadu’s 500 MW wind auction in August on similar grounds.
The court allowed the sale to go ahead, stipulating that allocation letters to winners should not be issued until it ruled on the matter. In mid-September, IWEA voluntarily withdrew its petition.
Wind energy tariffs declined in auctions of 1,000 MW each held by an arm of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in February and October. At the first auction, the tariff fell to Rs 3.46 per unit, lower than the prevailing rates of Rs 4-6 per unit set by various state power regulators. At the second auction, the winning bid dropped further to Rs 2.64 per unit.
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