Tata Power, Adani, ReNew Power jostle for space in Odisha to set up units

Solar energy majors are making a beeline for putting up units in Odisha after Gridco, the state's bulk power trader, invited bids to select 200-Mw of grid-connected solar power projects. Companies like Acme, ReNew Power, Tata Power, IBC Solar, Sahara Power, Essel Group and Adani Green Energy have already evinced interest.

"At a recent pre-bid meeting, 52 companies participated. Many state-based firms are also keen,” said an official. Witnessing a strong response, Gridco is expecting to garner at least 20 bids.

The project will be developed in a non-solar park model, where bidders are given a free hand to choose their land. The capacity may be allotted to bidders with lowest tariffs discovered under the competitive bidding process followed by e-reverse auction. Gridco will enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidder for 25 years from the date commercial operations begin. 

The project will help the state achieve the cumulative solar target of 2,378 Mw under the national target of 100 Gw of solar power by 2022. "Capacity of an individual project shall be a minimum of 10 Mw and maximum up to 100 Mw in multiples of 5 Mw,” said the official.

The latest tariff rate in Odisha for solar is Rs 4.5 per Mw under a scheme of the new and renewable energy ministry.

Recently, Essel Green Energy, part of the Subash Chandra-owned Essel Group, won bulk of the 270-Mw tender for solar capacity at Odisha floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. Essel Green Energy was awarded 240 Mw, Jyoti Infrastructure bagged 10 Mw and IBC Solar Ventures bagged 20 Mw from the tender.

Private sector interest in Odisha's solar power sector had not seen enough traction till now as opposed to central PSUs that have been interested in putting up projects in the state. After NTPC, NLC and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), SJVN, a mini-ratna PSU, has evinced interest in participating in the state's solar park programme.

Odisha recently cleared a plan by NEEPCO to invest Rs 9.44 billion to set up a 200-Mw solar power plant. The unit is scheduled to start operations in December 2019. It has also provided in-principle clearance for 250 Mw solar power project proposed by NLC at the cost of Rs 45 million per Mw. The government has also offered to sign a PPA with NLC.