The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) accepted the petition filed by Wardha Solar and Parampujya Solar, asking to ensure the ‘must-run’ status of renewable projects in Karnataka.
Earlier, Wardha Solar (Maharashtra) Private Limited and Parampujya Solar Energy Private Limited had filed a petition requesting the Commission to direct the Karnataka State Load Despatch Center (KSLDC) to enforce the ‘must-run’ status granted to their solar projects.
Both these special solar power vehicles belong to Adani Solar. They had also requested the Commission to direct KSLDC to stop issuing directions to back down power from these solar projects.
On February 15, 2016, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) had issued a tender for the selection of 1 GW of grid-connected solar projects to be set up in Karnataka.
Later, SECI executed a power supply agreement with the distribution licensees of Karnataka for the supply of solar power from these projects.
In August 2016, Parampujya Solar entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with SECI for the supply of 40 MW power from its solar power project in Karnataka at a tariff of ₹4.43 (~$0.06)/kWh. On September 22, 2016, Wardha Solar entered into nine PPAs with SECI for the supply of 350 MW power from its solar power projects in Karnataka at a tariff of ₹4.43 (~$0.06) /kWh.
From April 2018 onwards, KSLDC issued instructions to the developers to backdown generation from their power projects in Karnataka, citing grid safety and security as the reason for back down.
In May 2019, the developers wrote to the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) that the projects were facing rampant curtailment due to a lack of grid strengthening by KPTCL, which had led to generation losses. KPTCL informed Parampujya Solar that projects had been backed down as a last resort to maintain grid security.
Subsequently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued a letter stating that the ‘must-run’ status of solar and wind projects must be honored, and curtailment of power is allowed only for grid security.
Wardha Solar and Parampujya Solar noted that before the installation of the solar projects, the connectivity approval was issued by KPTCL after analyzing all the possibilities and infrastructure available to evacuate the available power.
The developers stated that KSLDC was responsible for the generation loss caused, and it must pay the deemed generation charges corresponding to the power that was ready to be evacuated from the solar power projects.
The Commission noted that the backdown instructions to solar projects could only be issued if grid security is endangered. However, no such reason was ever communicated to the developers and that KSLDC issued the backdown instructions solely due to routine requirements such as lower demand in the system and unavailability of transmission corridor for the evacuation of power.
The Commission said that even though the generation projects are connected to the state grid, the tariff-related matter comes under the jurisdiction of this Commission. Consequently, the petition would be heard before the Commission.
The Commission directed the parties to complete the pleadings in the case, adding that the petition would be listed for hearing in due course for which another notice will be issued by the Commission.
According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, Karnataka has an installed large-scale solar capacity of over 7.3 GW. It has a development pipeline of ~343 MW, making it the leading solar state of the country.
In a similar case last year, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission had informed the state load dispatch centers that it could not curtail solar generation other than for reasons of grid security.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).