CERC Releases Procedural Guidelines for ISTS Connectivity of Renewable Projects

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has released procedural regulations for granting Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) connectivity to renewable energy projects.

This procedure is being issued in accordance with Regulation 27 of the CERC (Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in Inter-State Transmission and related matters) Regulations, 2009 (Connectivity Regulations).

The procedure will apply to renewable energy generating projects, solar parks, wind farms, wind-solar hybrid projects, Central Transmission Utility (CTU), central government agencies such as Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Regional Load Dispatch Centers (RLDCs), State Load Dispatch Centers (SLDCs), State Transmission Utilities (STUs) and concerned distribution companies (DISCOMs).

The procedure came into effect on May 15, 2018, but with a few exceptions. CERC will issue separate enforcement dates for wind as well as wind-solar power park developers authorized by central or state government. A different date will also be issued for solar park developers authorized by state government and generation project or power park developers authorized by central or state government based on hybrid of renewable sources and storage.

The connectivity applications will be processed in two stages.

Those developers who are interested in setting-up renewable generation projects and have a minimum capacity of 50 MW can apply for connectivity.

Key Highlights

  • The generation capacity already connected to grid for which connectivity has been granted under the present regulations, cannot apply for additional connectivity for the same project capacity.
  • In the event of a proposal to augment the capacity, a fresh application for additional capacity will be submitted as per the provisions of this procedure.
  • The applicants who have been granted connectivity to ISTS for the projects based on a renewable energy source can change the generation project to be based on another source in part or full, after informing the CTU. In such cases, CTU will incorporate the necessary change in the connection agreement.
  • Connectivity granted to a company can be utilized by its wholly-owned subsidiary company including special purpose vehicles (SPVs). In such cases, the parent company cannot sell its shareholding in the subsidiary company before the lock-in period of one year after the commencement of supply of power.
  • For the connectivity system, the dedicated transmission line including line bays at generation pooling station will be the applicant’s responsibility and the terminal bays at the ISTS sub-station will be under the scope of transmission licensee owning the ISTS sub-station.
  • Wind project developers (competitive bidding winners) have the option to implement the bays associated with their dedicated lines at the ISTS sub-station by themselves or through the transmission licensee owning the sub-station.
  • Those who fail to apply for stage-II connectivity within 24 months from the grant of stage-I connectivity will cease to be stage-I grantee and their application fees will be forfeited.
  • The developer of renewable energy project will develop the dedicated transmission infrastructure of a definite power evacuation capacity irrespective of the quantum of connectivity applied for.
  • In case the developer of renewable generation project is not able to fully utilize the dedicated transmission infrastructure, it may share the same with other developers of renewable generation projects with a view to ensuring optimum utilization of the transmission system.

CTU will monitor the utilization of the dedicated transmission infrastructure. In case CTU observes that the dedicated transmission infrastructure has remained underutilized, CTU will seek an explanation from the developer, who will then have to give the reasons through an affidavit within 30 days of issue of such notice. If CTU believes that the spare capacity is not being put to use without reasonable justification, and it is resulting in denial of opportunity to other renewable generators, the matter will be brought to the notice of the CERC for directions with regard to the utilization of the available spare capacity.

The current procedure provides for adjudication in the case of underutilization of connection bays. In July 2017, Mercom reported that Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) filed a petition with the CERC seeking regulatory intervention on an urgent basis to ensure efficient utilization of bays for connectivity by wind and solar generation projects.

Mercom previously reported that the Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) has written to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), seeking postponement of scheduled auctions for projects, considering the ongoing transmission issues.

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Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.