The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued a detailed procedure for granting connectivity to renewable projects to the interstate transmission system (ISTS).
This procedure will apply to central transmission utility (CTU), regional load despatch centers (RLDCs), state load despatch centers (SLDCs), state transmission utility (STU), concerned distribution companies, and renewable energy implementing agencies like the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
According to the guidelines, the dedicated transmission lines, including bays at generation pooling stations, will be under the scope of work of the developer, and the associated bays at the ISTS substation will be under the scope of transmission licensee owning the ISTS substation.
The CTU will grant stage-I connectivity indicating the location (ISTS substation where connectivity has been granted) within 60 days of receiving the application.
In case the allotted capacity at the location where stage-I connectivity has been granted becomes unavailable, an alternate location will be specified at the time of grant of stage-II connectivity.
The stage II connectivity will be given to the applicant who has applied for stage I connectivity or has applied for stage I connectivity and stage II connectivity simultaneously. The applicant should have ownership for 50% of the land required for the capacity of the stage II connectivity and should have attained the financial closure of the project.
The Commission has also proposed that renewable hybrid generating projects, including round-the-clock hybrid projects, will be eligible for separate stage-II connectivity for each location based on the same power purchase agreement (PPA). The developer of the project should submit the location and capacity at each location, duly certified by the renewable energy implementing agency or the distribution licensee.
According to the guidelines, after the allocation of stage II connectivity, the applicant should submit the proof to CTU within nine months from the date of connectivity. It should submit the proof of financial closure, and land acquisition cost through equity, supported by the auditor’s certificate.
The central Commission has further proposed the connectivity bank guarantee for stage I and stage II.
If the project developer themselves construct the bay or are granted a bay which is already allocated to another applicant, stage II will not be charged. If the stage-II connectivity is revoked, both stage I and stage II guarantee would be encashed. The proceeds from the encashed amount would then be adjusted in monthly transmission charges. If not enchased, the guarantees would be returned within 30 days of declaration of commercial operation of the generation project.
According to the order, the stage-II connectivity grantees would be required to complete the dedicated transmission lines and pooling substations on or before the scheduled commercial operation date of the generation project as decided at the time of making an application for the stage-II connectivity.
If the grantee fails to complete the dedicated transmission lines or pooling substations within the stipulated timeline, stage-II connectivity would be revoked, and both guarantees would be encashed.
A developer applying for both stages of connectivity simultaneously can apply for stage-II connectivity at the bay that has already been allocated to another developer for sharing the dedicated transmission line. Two or more developers can apply for stage-II connectivity at a common bay along with an agreement for sharing the dedicated transmission line.
In February this year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy designated NTPC Limited as the renewable energy implementing agency to facilitate the application of connectivity and long-term access in the ISTS network.
CERC had earlier issued a draft regulation for sharing inter-state transmission charges and losses. The Commission had stated that the regulations would apply to all the designated ISTS customers.
The CERC has published regulations for ISTS implementation. The regulations were issued to lay down the broad principles, procedures, and processes to be followed for the planning and development of an efficient, coordinated, reliable, and economical system of ISTS for the smooth flow of electricity from generating stations to the load centers.
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). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.