Coronavirus: MNRE grants extension to renewable energy projects

New Delhi: Anand Kumar, Secretary at the MNRE (Ministry of New & Renewable Energy), has said on Thursday that all Renewable Energy projects under implementation will be given an extension of time, considering the period of lockdown and time required for remobilisation of the workforce in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement was made by Kumar in a tweet a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21-day-long lockdown starting March 24 midnight “to break the chain of coronavirus.” The spread of coronavirus has not only disrupted the supply chain of components used in Renewable Energy projects but also has impacted the availability of workforce.

The force majeure clause for the renewable energy sector

Last week, the government had allowed the renewable energy sector to invoke the force majeure clause in the wake of the disruption caused by Coronavirus outbreak. The MNRE and its various agencies will treat delays caused by disruption to supplies from China and elsewhere as force majeure events, as it considers requests for extensions and waivers over previously-agreed project delivery deadlines, a statement had said.

Renewable energy projects in India are facing delays in the wake of the virus outbreak and the subsequent shutdown, casting uncertainty over India’s ability to now meet its target of installing 175 GW or renewable energy projects by 2022.

Centre asks states to allow renewable power generation

In a separate notification on Thursday, the MNRE asked state governments to allow movement of material and staff to ensure continuous renewable power generation following the nationwide lockdown. The ministry, in the notification addressed to the concerned authorities of all states, said, “Power generation, including renewable power generation, is an essential service for securing smooth and uninterrupted power flow across and within states.”

Apart from allowing permission for staff, vehicles and associated workforce to move around, the MNRE also asked states for a waiver under Section 144. It said that curfew or any other limitation placed on a number of people to gather in locations like sites, substations, transmission lines and towers etc and other related locations where it may be required for operation and maintenance activities of renewable power generation and associated equipment, should be lifted.