Dispute resolution committee established in response to developer demands

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The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has established a three-member dispute resolution committee to resolve contractual and other problems between renewable energy developers on one hand and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and energy conglomerate NTPC, formerly the National Thermal Power Corporation.

“The mechanism of DRC [the dispute resolution committee] will be applicable for all solar/wind schemes/programs/projects being implemented through/by SECI/NTPC,” yesterday’s order stated.

According to the ministry, the committee will consider appeals against SECI decisions related to extension of time requests due to ‘force majeure’ events such as floods, earthquakes, delays in receiving land from solar park developers and in connectivity etc. Such clauses fall under the definition of ‘contractual agreements’ and if a developer is not satisfied with a SECI or NTPC decision, it may appeal to the dispute resolution committee within 21 days.

Cases involving unforeseen issues not covered by contractual agreements, such as instances where a site is to be procured by a developer but there is a delay in land allotment due to a policy change or registration by the government; or delays in the grant of connectivity due to a court stays will be placed before the committee for consideration, the order stated.

The final decision of dispute resolution, however, will lie with the minister for new and renewable energy. The recommendations of the new committee, along with ministry observations, will be placed before minister for a final decision within 21 days of receipt of a recommendation by the committee.