Key Government Policy Announcements for India’s Renewable Sector in October 2018

The month of October witnessed a series of orders in the renewable energy sectors, especially from the different State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERC). One of the important orders came from CERC giving relief to solar project developers by accepting GST as ‘Change in Law’.

Here is a roundup of key policy announcements made by central government and state agencies in the renewable energy sector in the month of October 2018.

State

The Himachal Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (HPERC) has issued HPERC (Renewable Power Purchase Obligation and its Compliance) (Fifth Amendment) Regulations, 2018.  Per the new regulation the state’s solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) has been set at 7.25 percent and its non-solar RPO at 10.25 percent for financial year (FY) 2019-20.

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has provided relief in three separate cases related to the delay in the compliance of RPOs by corporations. KERC had heard the petitions of JK Cements Works Limited, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Pvt. Ltd., and Khayathi Steel Industries Pvt. Ltd.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has passed an order directing the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (MSETCL) to pay a total sum of ₹5.5 million (~ $0.075 million) to Mahati Hydro Power Projects Pvt. Ltd. towards the balance payment for the construction of the evacuation arrangement beyond the inter-connection point.

The Meghalaya State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MSERC) has issued new regulations for RPOSs and their compliance. These regulations will apply to all distribution licensees (DISCOMs), captive users, and open access consumers in Meghalaya. The RPO specified in this regulation will be valid up to March 31, 2021.

MERC has approved Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited’s (MSEDCL) proposal to procure long-term bagasse-based cogeneration power through competitive bidding. This paves the way for grid-connectivity and a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 200 MW of bagasse-based cogeneration projects in the state.

The Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TSERC) has passed an order establishing the generic tariff for bagasse-based power plants in Telangana for the control period 2018-2020. The commission has determined the levelized fixed cost to be at ₹2.23 (~ $0.03) per unit.

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) has issued an order stating that wind power generating companies should get a rebate under their respective Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) along with 25 percent of the late payment surcharge within thirty days of the order.

MERC has approved the initiation of a district (circle) wise competitive bidding process for the procurement of solar power under Mukhyamantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana. Under this petition, 2 MW to 10 MW capacity projects would connect to the distribution network, with a total of 1,400 MW connected through competitive bidding.

TSERC has passed an order asking Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (SPDCTL) and the Transmission Corporation of Telangana Limited to allow the grid synchronization of the project, thereby providing relief to Clean Solar Power (Chitradurga) Private Limited, the project’s solar project developer.

KERC has proposed changes to the regulations passed in 2011 with regards to the procurement of energy from renewable sources. Under Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) must purchase minimum of 12 percent of its total energy procurement from renewable sources of energy.

HPERC has issued draft amendment to rooftop solar regulations. According to the proposed amendment, If the amount of subsidy or grant or both exceeds 50 percent of the capital cost of the rooftop solar system, the rates of ₹5 (~$0.068)/kWh and ₹4.5 (~$0.061)/kVAh, as applicable, will be reduced by 50 percent.

MNRE

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a notification that any delay in the scheduled commissioning date of solar projects due to unavailability of internal execution or transmission system by solar park developers will now be liable for a penalty.

MNRE has temporarily withdrawn its order which specified the requirements for compulsory registration of solar module manufacturers in the country. The order titled “Approved Models and Manufacturers of Solar Photovoltaic Modules (Requirements for Compulsory Registration) Order, 2018,” was issued by the government as a step forward after the Quality Control Order issued last year.

National

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued an order extending the validity of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to up to April 31, 2019, which are due to expire between October 31, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

The Ministry of Power has issued a proposal incorporating modifications to the revised proposal for amendments to the Electricity Act 2003. In the proposal, the government has introduced many novel features such as the adoption of a uniform tariff structure across all states and consumer categories. It has also recommended the imposing of a penalty for exceeding the approved load in any given month.

CERC has issued an order to compensate solar power developers (SPD) through an upfront lumpsum payment, which SPDs would have incurred as an additional capital expenditure after the introduction of GST Law.

Nitin is a staff reporter at Mercomindia.com and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer