Indian government supports wind energy supply chain as lockdown continues

After extending the lockdown until the 3 May, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order on 14 April, stipulating revised lockdown measures. In this order it was announced that selected additional activities will be allowed from 20 April, but manufacturing facilities are unlikely to resume activities until 3 May due to the extended lockdown period and varied implemented restrictions by State government and local Authorities .

Since construction activities are allowed for wind or renewable projects, there are two main issues:

  1.  Most site engineering teams have moved to their home residence since the national lockdown was implemented, also the Project Site, which are generally far from their sites.
  2. Construction work is allowed within the limits of municipal corporation and municipalities where workers are available on site i.e. it does not require to have workers brought in from outside to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, there are following concerns which will further delay the schedules:
  • There is a challenge in mobilising the team for logistics and transport movement;
  • Though transport has been allowed, there will be slow down as many interstate roadblocks are anticipated. Raw and engineering materials at the Port/Custom Bond Warehouses are currently pending for clearance, which may further delay the production schedule;
  • Factory management must rework on inventory and plan production levels, which will start initially at 25-30% availability and will later ramp up production in mid-May;
  • Post O&M operation of WTGs may be held, due to the non-availability materials or other critical components in the site office’s inventory.

India’s annual wind turbine shipments will be reduced by about 30% and equipment supply may be delayed by more than 6 months. Although deadlines are extended for renewable projects under construction, the industry has also requested a six-month extension of time for commissioning.

Wind is considered as an essential service and the Indian government has issued an order to maintain a ‘Must Run’ status for wind farms and are preparing a package to ensure that the dues from the utilities (Discoms) are paid to the generators even though the demand for power has decreased due to the shutdown of commercial and industry establishments.

The government is also working on issuing certificates for concessional imports of specific goods for the wind sector, which will be available to OEMs and specific component manufacturers. Additionally, the renewables industry has been given a moratorium of 3 months on repayment of loans by the Reserve Bank of India.

Considering the COVID-19 outbreak as a supply chain export opportunity, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had requested all state and port authorities to identify land for setting up renewable energy manufacturing to establish export services hubs, providing their full support to companies. Moreover, the ministry hopes to put forth a fresh bid of 2000 MW of wind in the near future.