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Power PSUs to acquire over 2 lakh hectares for solar parks
 20th Nov 2019 | Source by https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Power PSUs to acquire over 2 lakh hectares for solar parks

NEW DELHI: Central public sector undertakings (PSUs) will acquire more than two lakh hectares to set up 47,000 mw of green power units under a new plug-and-play model, aimed at accelerating solar capacity expansion by derisking projects from land acquisition and availability of transmission corridors as well as reduce tariffs by up to 20 paise per unit.

Under the new model, PSUs under the power and renewable energy ministries will acquire the land through fully-owned SPVs (special purpose vehicles. The land may be purchased outright or leased from state governments and private land owners. State governments too can take full ownership of SPVs in suitable cases.

Central utilities such as PowerGrid will set up the transmission infrastructure for these locations. This will result in a hassle-free staging arena — called ‘ultra-mega renewable energy power parks’ hosting aggregate capacity of 4,000 mw each — for promoters without having to worry about stumbling over land acquisition or transmission issues. The projects within a park will be given out on the basis of tariff-based bidding.

“Land acquisition and power evacuation are the two main risks for renewable energy projects. Where you have land, transmission may become an issue and vice-versa. The new model de-risks the projects and reduces financing cost for promoters. Naturally, the tariffs will come down,” power and renewable energy minister R K Singh said in response to a TOI query.

Renewable energy secretary Anand Kumar said making the state government a stakeholder will cushion projects from transience in land laws. “This is a transparent system, removes inefficiencies in the land acquisition eco-system and promises a stable administrative and fiscal outlook for projects,” he said, adding the PSUs can earn by taking part of tariff revenue as rent or can opt to sell out at a later stage.

Singh said the PSUs were in the process of forming SPVs, with promising outcomes in Gujarat and Rajasthan. “I spoke to the Rajasthan chief minister and he has agreed to offer more attractive terms for land. The state cabinet is expected to clear the proposal shortly. Gujarat too has offered land in Dholera,” he said. Kumar said SECI (formerly Solar Energy Corporation of India) will bid out the 4,000 mw Dholera project by December 31.

The model envisages individual projects of 2,000 mw within a park. But projects in multiples of 600 mw will also be allowed in multiple locations in cases where new transmission lines have to be laid. In cases where transmission links already exist, projects will be allowed in multiples of 250 mw. Floating solar projects too are covered under the model, wherein the minimum size could be be 50 mw.

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