Karnataka’s 860MW dispersed solar tender has been oversubscribed by four times and the state has released another 1.2GW tender, to the surprise of a top analyst firm that foresees grid integration troubles ahead.
A total of 26 bidders put in submissions for a cumulative 3,320MW of capacity, led by the likes of Renew Power, Greenko, Aditya Birla and Asian FabTec.
Vinay Rustagi, managing director at consultancy firm Bridge to India, told PV Tech that the level of interest and high number of bidders was “pretty surprising” given that projects in Karnataka have had issues in the past in terms of execution timelines and delays. Moreover, India also has several major policy decisions outstanding, including the threat of both Safeguard and Anti-Dumping Duties.
Players are vying for projects of 20MW size, to be located in 43 taluks; a taluk is a subdivision of a district such as a group of villages. The submissions were as follows:
Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), the nodal agency overseeing the state’s solar policy, which issued the tender in December, has now also issued another 1.2GW(AC) tender for solar capacity located at the Pavagada Solar Park.
This will be for 24 blocks of 50MW(AC) projects. The minimum capacity for the bids is 50MW and the maximum is 1,200MW. The deadline for submission of techno-commercial bids is 19 February 2018. Work will be carried out on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis under open category. Power will be procured by Karnataka’s ESCOMs for a period of 25 years.
Rustagi said Karnataka is already one of the largest states in terms of solar capacity and has substantial wind deployment. Thus, from a grid integration as well as balancing and stabilising the grid point of view, this “could be a major trouble in future”.
He added: “It is surprising that the state is going so aggressive on renewables and we are not sure what kind of work is going on behind the scenes to balance the grid or balance renewables with other sources and how these issues will impact the future power situation in Karnataka.”
Grid issues are particularly relevant to the 1.2GW tender located all in just one solar park, however, the 860MW tender does involve a number of projects dispersed across taluks througout the state.
Rustagi said: “To an extent there are these small projects dotted all around the state connected to the local network. That does minimise the challenges in terms grid stability and management, but nonetheless the macro issue still remains.
“If solar is going to be 60-70% of the peak power requirement in the state in the next two years and then combined with wind that approaches almost 80-100% then we do have a serious issue, a potential trouble spot in store for the state.”
In Solar Media’s latest print edition of PV Tech Power we featured the followng article: ‘India’s ‘head in the sand’ over solar grid integration challenges‘.