The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has passed an order granting regulatory approval to the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for setting up transmission systems under the second phase of its transmission program for solar energy zones (SEZs) in Rajasthan.
The PGCIL, a state-owned power transmission company, had submitted a petition to the Commission seeking approval of transmission systems for 11.1 GW of solar projects. Of this, 3 GW is to be built under the intrastate system by the state and 8.1 GW under the interstate transmission system (ISTS).
These transmission systems are part of the much larger program, which includes setting up transmission infrastructure for solar and wind projects with a power generation potential of 66.5 GW. This comprises 20 GW solar and 9 GW wind projects under phase-I; and 30 GW solar and 7.5 GW wind projects under phase-II.
The implementation has already started for 8.9 GW of systems in Bhadla (3.55 GW), Fatehgarh (3.5 GW) and Bikaner (1.85 GW) complexes. Long term access (LTA) applications were received for 8.6 GW of projects, while stage-II connectivity applications were received for 4.3 GW of projects.
The Commission stated that since the petition was not entirely covered under the scope of existing approval regulations, it has relaxed these provisions to be able to approve the transmission systems considering the importance of the program as specified by the Ministry of Power (MoP).
The relaxations were made by way of deferring the LTA applications and associated bank guarantee requirements until the renewable projects were awarded to successful bidders, and they were asked to follow regulatory LTA connectivity procedures. The approvals were granted on the condition that the distribution companies and consumers would be liable for paying transmission charges after the renewable energy generating stations in the SEZs reach their date of commissioning.
In its order, the CERC noted that it has decided that it would be best to use an extra high-voltage-alternating current (EHVAC) transmission program, as opposed to the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) systems that were agreed upon earlier. The estimated cost of the proposed system for 8.1 GW of renewable energy generation under ISTS is ₹121.9 billion (~$1.63 billion).
Additionally, the CERC also approved the PGCIL’s request for the approval of recovery of the transmission charges of the assets, as per the Commission’s regulations.
The Commission also stated that the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) must make sure that the construction of transmission systems keeps up with the construction progress of renewable energy generation stations to minimize any financial impact on DISCOMs due to the non-utilization of these transmission assets.
In conclusion, the CERC ordered the CTU to submit quarterly progress reports on the construction progress of the program, details of LTAs granted, and power purchase agreements signed to the MoP, the Government of India, and the Central Energy Authority (CEA).
Recently, Mercom reported that the PGCIL invited bids to establish transmission systems to evacuate power from solar energy zones in Rajasthan. The invitation was issued under phase II, part-A of the transmission program for the evacuation of power from solar energy zones in Rajasthan (8.1 GW). The project has two packages– one transmission line package each at Ramgarh-II SEZ PP-Fatehgarh-II (TW01) and Ramgarh-II-Jaisalmer-II (TW02) – and they both require the installation of a 400 kW D/C Line (Twin high-temperature low sag (HTLS) with a minimum capacity of 2,200 MVA on each circuit at nominal voltage).
Earlier, The CERC approved a transmission license to Powergrid Bhuj Transmission Limited (PBLT) to build transmission systems for 2 GW of renewable energy projects in Gujarat. The PBLT, a subsidiary of the PGCIL, had filed a petition with the Commission for the projects at Bhuj-II in the state on a build, own, operate, and maintain basis.
Nithin is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai.