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The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) recently allowed distribution companies (DISCOMs) time up to March 31, 2023, to fulfill their renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets, including backlogs from previous years.
The Commission said the RPO targets could be met by purchasing renewable power or renewable energy certificates (RECs). It asked the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) to report to the Commission the extent of the shortfall and the amount equivalent to the shortfall for the purchase of RECs. Until then, the DISCOMs would be exempted from depositing any amount for RPO shortfall or backlog.
Haryana Power Purchase Center (HPPC) had filed a petition requesting a waiver of the backlog of solar RPO for FY 2020-21 & FY 2021-22 because of delay in commissioning renewable energy projects due to force majeure events like Covid-19 and ‘Change in Law.’
The Commission had approved 1,088.1 MUs and 2,901.8 MUs from non-solar and solar sources for compliance with RPO for FY 2021-22. It ordered the carry forward of the anticipated RPO backlog of FY 2020-21 to FY 2021-22. A backlog of 1,259 MUs and 48 MUs in solar and non-solar RPOs, respectively, for FY 2020-21 had been ascertained at the end of FY 2020-21.
A summary of the RPO trajectory specified and actual reported by the DISCOMs (except hydropower purchase obligation) for the period FY 2020-21 until FY 2023-24 is given below:
HPPC, in its submission, said that the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic hindered the fulfillment of RPO obligations.
It had made sufficient tie-ups and envisaged 5,686 MUs during FY 2020-2021 and FY 2021-22, against the target of 5,444 MUs for solar power, i.e., 2,542 and 2,901 MUs for FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22 respectively.
Per the current tied-up contracted capacity from renewable sources, 4,264 MW of power was expected by FY 2023-24.
The non-trading of RECs in energy exchanges on account of orders of APTEL and the limited availability of short-term power had posed further challenges in meeting RPOs during 2020-21 and 2021-22.
The DISCOMs argued that even after accounting for the backlog, they would exceed the revised RPO targets set by the Ministry of Power in the current financial year.
In its order dated June 1, 2020, for FY 2020-21, the Commission had waived the RPO shortfall for FY 2019-20. Given the difficulty faced by the DISCOMs, the Commission had allowed the RPO shortfall for the FY 2020-21 to be carried forward to the FY 2021-22 and allowed the RPO targets to be met by March 31, 2022. However, the DICSOMs had failed to meet the target. In case renewable power was unavailable, the DISCOMs showed no inclination to take the REC route to fulfill their obligation.
During FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22, the DISCOMs had made no effort to achieve the minimum target set even though the quarterly information submitted by the nodal agency, i.e., HAREDA, showed a deficit in the compliance of RPO targets.
The Commission observed that from the quarterly report submitted by HAREDA for Q1 FY 2022-23, there was a shortfall of 2756 MUs (solar) and 1359.04 MUs (non-solar).
However, as the DISCOMs were confident of exceeding the RPO targets in FY 2022-23, the Commission allowed time up to March 31, 2023, for them to achieve the target, including the backlogs.
It directed HAREDA to monitor and report compliance by the obligated entities immediately after the close of FY 2022-23 but not later than April 15, 2023.
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Rakesh Ranjan 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.