New Delhi: A top ministerial panel headed by Defence Minister AK Antony will meet next Thursday to finalise fresh bidding norms for ultra mega power projects.
If the norms are approved, the process of invitation of bids for the proposed ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) is likely to pick up pace.
"The Empowered Group of Ministers will meet on 25 July for finalising the new standard bidding documents for the UMPPs," a power ministry official said.
These projects are the ones where the fuel source is established in advance.
UMPPs are coal-based generation projects with an average capacity of 4,000 MW. The new bidding norms will apply to case-I and II projects.
Case-I projects are where developers have the choice to decide on location, fuel and technology to be used.
In case II, the location of the project and fuel to be used are already decided before start of competitive bidding.
A decision is expected to speed up the process of inviting bids for the proposed UMPPs in - Chhattisgarh (Sarguja), Odisha (Bedabahal) and Tamil Nadu (Cheyyur).
The government has so far allotted four UMPPs of which three have been bagged by Reliance Power -- Sasan (Madhya Pradesh), Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tilaiya (Jharkhand). Tata Power has already commissioned the Mundra UMPP in Gujarat.
With significant volatility in fuel prices, especially in imported coal costs, many power generators have been adversely impacted since they don't have the option to pass through the higher costs to end consumers.
Power sector, which is projected to see a capacity addition of about 88,000 MW in the current Five Year Plan (2012-17), is grappling with multiple woes. These include fuel scarcity, environmental hurdles and weak financials of distribution companies.