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Centre extends deadline for all renewable energy projects amid nationwide lockdown
In a relief for India’s green energy sector, the Union government on Thursday extended the project completion deadline for all renewable energy projects, considering the prolonged nationwide lockdown and the time required to reassemble workers. The move shields these developers from the risk of penalties, including fines and encashment of bank guarantees, for missing deadlines. India is currently under the world’s largest lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes in the backdrop of the government’s earlier decision to consider the disruption of the supply chains due to the spread of the coronavirus in China or any other country under the force majeure clause (FMC). “All renewable energy projects under implementation will be given extension of time considering period of lock down and time required for remobilisation of work force," new and renewable energy secretary Anand Kumar said in a tweet on Thursday. The growing pandemic has impacted India’s green energy trajectory. According to the power purchase agreements (PPAs), any delays in project completion timelines attracts penalties. India is running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme, with an aim of having 175 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy capacity by 2022. By then, it plans to add 100GW of solar capacity, which may need investments of around $80 billion, growing more than three-fold to $250 billion during 2023-30. Invoking the force majeure clause enables a developer to cite disruption from an unforeseen event—in this case the virus pandemic—to justify the delay.