Adani’s Subsidiaries Petition Tamil Nadu Commission Against Solar Power Curtailment

Three of Adani Power’s subsidiaries (Ramnad Solar Power, Kamuthi Renewable Energy, and Adani Green Energy) have filed a petition before the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) against the curtailment of solar power.

The petition was filed against the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO), Tamil Nadu State Load Despatch Center (TNSLDC), Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (TANTRANSCO), and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The petition addressed the issue of curtailment of solar power in Kamuthi, the world’s sixth-largest (as of 2018) solar park and Ramnad solar power project.

The applicants filed petitions before the commission to direct the respondents to stop issuing curtailment instructions to their solar power projects as it was causing huge losses to the companies. The petitioners have also requested the commission to issue a direction to the respondents to strictly enforce or implement ‘must-run’ status of solar power projects in the state. Adani has also asked for compensation for the loss of generation.

The three Adani subsidiaries have requested the commission to consider deemed generation to the solar projects for the loss of generation due to outages or backing down instructions and to approve the methodology for estimating deemed generation.

However, the commission noted that enforcing the “must-run” status of solar projects in the state is essentially a regulatory aspect `and not an adjudicatory one for it to review. If the nature of the petition is adjudicatory, then it would be termed as a dispute resolution petition.

On the other requests raised, the commission stated that many questions need to be answered. The duration of curtailment has to be ascertained from the records of the SLDC and if any power flowed not the grid during that period. Moreover, what was the grid frequency when backing down was ordered and whether backing down of solar power would have been avoided by replacing it with conventional energy.

The commission has therefore asked the petitioners to file a fresh petition as a “dispute resolution petition” with all the details for the commission to consider and review.

Earlier this year, the TNERC informed the state load dispatch centers that they could not curtail solar generation. The state order came after the TNERC examined a petition filed by the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI). The federation has also written to Karnataka recently, highlighting the same issue.

Curtailment issues have been highlighted by developers in various states. Curtailment is a reduction in the output of a generator, typically on an involuntary basis, from what it could otherwise produce given the resources available. Curtailment of electricity generation has long been a regular occurrence in the electric power industry for a variety of reasons, including a lack of transmission access or transmission congestion.

Back in 2017, when issues first came to light, the Adani Group approached the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), which directed the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) to hear its plea. Later, TNERC  rejected its petitions.

Acknowledging the rising curtailment issue, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy also issued a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories, asking them to ensure that ‘must run’ status has been accorded to both wind and power projects in the states in line with the Indian Electricity Grid Code 2010 and the Electricity Act 2003.