CERC Releases Inter-State Transmission Connectivity Draft Regulations for Solar and Wind Projects

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has released draft regulations for granting Inter-State Transmission Connectivity to solar and wind projects.

The proposal, entitled “Grant of Connectivity and General Network Access to the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) and other related matters, Regulations, 2017,” would apply in all cases where connectivity and general network access (GNA) are granted to the inter-state transmission (ISTS) grid.

The draft regulations are open for comments, suggestions, and objections until December 14, 2017.

Under the 2017 Draft Regulations, a project of 100 MW would be charged ₹400,000 (~$6,097) for connectivity and GNA; a project between 100 MW and 500 MW would be charged ₹600,000 (~$9,146); a project with a capacity greater than 500 MW and up to 1,000 MW would be charged ₹1.2 million (~$18,291); and a project with a capacity that is greater than 1,000 MW would be charged ₹1.8 million (~$27,437) for connectivity and GNA.

According to the proposal, the application processing timeline for a wind or solar project would be about 60 days. GNA applications would take about 120 days to be processed if transmission does not need to be augmented, and 180 days if transmission augmentation is required.

Key Highlights

Projects that are already connected to the state grid would be allowed to seek connectivity and GNA to ISTS, subject to the payment of transmission charges that correspond to the additional connectivity, GNA, and applicable state charges.

State transmission utilities acting on behalf of distribution licensees and other intra-state entities that are seeking GNA to ISTS would need to apply for GNA each year for a five-year period.

Connectivity applications for renewable energy generating stations, solar power park developers, wind power park developers, or wind-solar power park developers would be done in two stages, Stage-I and Stage-II.

Renewable energy generators including solar power park developers, wind power park developers, and wind-solar power park developers, would all have to apply for GNA two years before the expected commissioning date of their projects considering their low-gestation period.

The draft regulations would also allow for more than one power generator to share a dedicated transmission line that connects their generating stations to the ISTS pooling station after all aspects of the sharing are formalized among the generators, including the sharing of transmission charges and transmission line losses among the generators.

The withdrawal of start-up power would not be allowed more than 15 months from the expected date of first synchronization and 6 months after the date of first synchronization.

The injection of power from renewable energy sources would not be allowed to exceed six months from the date of first synchronization.

A captive generating project (CGP) would be allowed to have surplus capacity which it could then sell on a long-, medium-, or short-term basis or the CGP could also seek to evacuate power to a captive user through the ISTS. A CGP would apply for the connectivity for a quantum of the maximum exportable capacity – that is the maximum electricity in MW that can be generated and supplied – that is proposed to be connected to the ISTS.

Metering would be done at the interface connection point between the generator and the licensee’s transmission system.

Interface meters would be installed by the central transmission utility for the use of regional entities, which would pay for the cost. Meanwhile, state transmission utilities would install the interface meters for use by state entities and the cost would be borne by the state entities.

When transmission constraints necessitate the curtailment of the power flow on a transmission corridor in real time after the day-ahead schedule has been finalized, transactions that had already been scheduled may be curtailed by the regional load dispatch center (RLDC).

The deviation rate for the intra-state entity will be 105 percent (for over-withdrawals or under generation) and 95 percent (for under-withdrawals or over generation).

The ISTS is crucial for India’s renewable energy sector. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) tendered a total of 750 MW of solar at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan and the power will be sold to consumers in Uttar Pradesh. The SECI also tendered 1,000 MW of Interstate Transmission System (ISTS)-connected wind power projects under Tranche-II. The new regulations will provide guidance for the optimal utilization of available transmission network and grid. These Draft Regulations will also aid SECI in inter-state power trading.

Image credit: Mercom India