Gujarat High Court clears decks for first wind auction
The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed a petition opposing the holding of the state’s first wind auction. An official at the state power distributor, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) that was to conduct the auction, confirmed that the decks were now cleared for it to go ahead with the auction.
The auction had been opposed by the Indian Wind Energy Association on the grounds that the guidelines governing such auctions had not yet been announced by the Centre and thus holding it contravened Section 62 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The Gujarat High Court then passed an interim order on October 24, restraining GUVNL from holding the auction, as ET reported the following day.
Following the October court order, the last date for filing techno-commercial bids, which have to pass muster before developers are allowed to participate in the actual price auction, had been postponed to November 7. GUVNL confirmed that the last day would now remain unchanged. Date for the actual auction is yet to be announced.
GUVNL had first announced this auction of 500 MW of wind projects, along with 500 MW of solar projects, in mid-June and had intended to hold them on successive days in mid-July. For various reasons, the entire process was delayed with the solar auction finally being held on September 17.
The wind auction, however, could not be held then as the state’s power regulator, Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission, remained ambivalent about giving permission, before finally sanctioning it on October 6. Accordingly, GUVNL had set a deadline of October 24 for the techno-commercial bids, while the price auction was earlier scheduled for November 1.
Curiously, despite the absence of central guidelines, Tamil Nadu has already successfully held a 500 MW wind auction in end-August (ET, August 31). The Wind Energy Association had petitioned the Madras High Court as well against the auction on similar grounds, but the court allowed the auction to go through, stipulating only that allocation letters to the winners should not be issued till it gives a ruling. In mid-September, however, the association withdrew its petition.