• MNRE has extended the project commissioning extension period for renewable energy projects in India that couldn’t be completed on time due to COVID-19
  • Earlier the extension was granted from March 25, 2020 to May 31, 2020 which has now been extended till August 24, 2020
  • Time extension can be passed down by developers to other stakeholders in the supply chain
  • It will be a blanket extension for all renewable energy projects and no documents will be asked to prove the delay, the MNRE said

The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has approved an extension of 5 months for renewable energy project commissioning in the country whose completion timeline was disrupted due to the  COVID-19 pandemic related lockdown.

In an office memorandum issued by the ministry, it says a time extension of 5 months from March 25, 2020 to August 24, 2020 will be allowed for all renewable energy projects under implementation on the date of the lockdown i.e. March 25, 2020 through implementing agencies designated by the ministry for its various schemes.

It is a blanket extension to be given to all renewable energy projects without case-to-case examination. The ministry specified that no documents/evidence will be asked for the extension. COVID-19 pandemic will be treated as a force majeure as the ministry announced previously but back then it covered the extension period between March 25, 2020 and May 31, 2020 (see MNRE Asks To Treat Lockdown As Force Majeure).

Timelines for intermediate milestones of a project may also be extended within the extended time provided for commissioning, said the MNRE and added that the developers can also pass on the benefit of such time extension to other stakeholders down the value chain.

The ministry’s order for commissioning timeline extension comes in response to renewable energy developers asks for additional time to get back on track after the lockdown. A lot of companies, across industries including renewables, are facing still labor shortage onsite as most temporary staff reportedly left for their hometowns during the lockdown. All the requisite staff is yet to come back to work and it is one of the major reasons for project delays being experienced on ground.

On the extension, renewable energy power producer Amp Energy India’s Co-Founder and CEO Pinaki Bhattacharyya said, “This is a positive move by MNRE and showcases their intent of helping the sector tide over these tough times by providing the developers sufficient extension timelines. Having said that, the government should not impose more trade barriers after extending SGD such as Basic Customs Duty. The power costs have already gone up, any additional duty will further increase the cost of power for consumers and this would not a great move given the current situation.”