The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has clarified that the extension provided by implementing agencies on account of the Covid-19 pandemic should in no case be more than six months, including the five-month blanket extension given earlier.
The Ministry said that if the implementing agencies feel the need for an extension beyond six months, they should it make a reference for consideration of MNRE with due justification and supporting documents. The implementing agencies will not grant such extensions on their own.
In February this year, MNRE issued a notification denying requests for another five-month extension for commissioning renewable energy projects, stating that these extensions would not be granted routinely in the future. Even though a blanket extension was provided previously, further extensions may be given by implementing agencies only in exceptional cases.
The Ministry had received requests for another five-month extension for commissioning renewable projects beyond the five-month extension between March 25, 2020, and August 24, 2020, amid the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Previously, the Ministry had issued a notification asking the implementing agencies to treat the lockdown as a ‘force majeure’ event. The Ministry had received requests from developers and renewable energy associations to treat the pandemic as a force majeure event for the grant of extension in the scheduled commissioning date of projects.
On April 17, 2020, the Ministry had issued a blanket commissioning time extension for all renewable energy projects under construction following the nation-wide lockdown. The extension was for the period of the lockdown plus 30 days for normalization. The stakeholders, however, were not happy with the 30-day extension and wanted it to be at least six months to tide over the challenges of labor mobilization and other logistical constraints as a result of the lockdown.
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