Determining Commercial Operation Date Essential for Wheeling Agreement for Renewables

The Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has ordered Amplus Green Power Limited to submit generation data to the state load despatch center (SLDC) to determine the date of commercial operation (COD) of its solar projects for the supply of power to open access consumers.

It directed Amplus, a renewable power generator, to submit the data to the SLDC for verification before the COD of its projects is determined. It explained that only after this is done, the generator would be allowed to enter into a wheeling and banking agreement (WBA) with open access power consumers.

Background: 

Amplus had filed a petition with the Commission stating that it had submitted its project commissioning certificate issued by the Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (UPPTCL) for entering into a wheeling and banking agreement. However, the Commission asked the company to submit its certificate of COD and not the commissioning certificate.


Amplus contested, saying that while the Indian Electricity Grid Code (IEGC) provides a procedure for declaration of COD for thermal projects, there is no such provision for renewable projects. It also stated that under the UPERC’s regulations for captive and renewable energy (CRE) projects, the definition for power purchase agreements (PPAs) only covers agreements between a generator and a distribution licensee for power supply to DISCOMs.

However, in this case, this does not apply as the power is being supplied to captive users and that the requirement to “demonstrate generation capacity as per the terms of the PPA” would not apply to its case. It added that per the existing regulations, no fixed parameters defined the kind of tests renewable projects need to undergo to demonstrate generating capacity.

The company explained that it had submitted all the required documents to the SLDC and acquired the charging code for energy injection from the solar project. The SLDC, however, said that these were not relevant to the declaration of COD.

The SLDC said that for renewable projects, the project’s ability to maintain peak output in line with its installed capacity for at least one 15-minute time block for three days should be furnished. It added that following this demonstration, the COD for the installed capacity will be approved.

Amplus agreed to provide the relevant meter reading instrument (MRI) data but asked the SLDC to “not be prejudiced” towards it is as there is no standard procedure prescribed for this. It also asked the SLDC to complete the procedure in a “time-bound manner” as it has already signed the banking agreement with the open access consumers and the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) is expected to sign it, as well.

Commission’s Analysis and Decision: 

Upon analysis, the Commission reiterated on the UPERC’s Grid Code Regulations that says, “no generating units shall be synchronized with the state power grid without the necessary instructions from the SLDC.”

It added that generating units need to demonstrate that they can generate power equal to their installed capacity and that no generating unit can inject power into the grid without the declaration of the COD. It said that this also applied for third-party sales where there is no PPA or where the generator does not sell their power at the power exchange.

The Commission also said that renewable energy projects must demonstrate their ability to maintain peak output for at least one 15-minute time block for three days within two weeks.

The UPERC subsequently directed Amplus to provide its data to the SLDC, which in turn, would verify it and provide clearance for the declaration of COD. Following this, it would be allowed to enter into a wheeling and banking agreement.

The Commission explained that to enter into a wheeling and banking agreement, the COD is to be declared first. Following this, UPPCL is to provide Amplus with a bank guarantee format. Amplus is expected to submit this bank guarantee for an amount equal to the applicable charges as per the state regulations or the tariff order.

It said that upon completion of these processes, the wheeling and banking agreement would be signed, and the petitioner will have to submit an undertaking stating that the agreement would be subject to the ability of the project to meet the conditions of the captive generation power project.

Last year, Amplus Energy invested in its second open access solar project of 100 MW in Deoria district, Uttar Pradesh. The investment in this project amounted to nearly ₹5 billion (~$ 72.5 million). Amplus previously invested ₹2.5 billion (~$36 million) to establish a 50 MW solar open access project in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh.

Previously, Mercom reported that the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission shed light on what qualifies to be a captive generation project and when they can withdraw banked energy.