The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has ordered five entities to comply with their solar and non-solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) requirement for Financial Year (FY) 2017-18 in FY 2018-19. The commission has said that it is going to review their performance during the RPO compliance verification process for FY 2018-19.

The entities involved are Gigaplex Estate Pvt. Ltd., Mindspace Business Parks Pvt. Ltd., Indian Railways, Tata Power Co. Ltd. (Distribution) and Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST).

RPO compliance has always been the obstacle in India achieving its renewable energy installation goals. Though the government promptly releases RPO goals, they are rarely met, and Mercom has been diligently reporting this issue over the years. States regulatory agencies are slowly beginning to enforce RPO but it has been inconsistent, and lately, there have been rulings where states have gone back and retroactively changed RPO goals.

While examining the petitions, the MERC noted that Gigaplex Estate has a standalone and cumulative shortfall for solar RPO of 0.39 million units (MUs) and 0.42 MU respectively until FY 2017-18. The entity has a cumulative shortfall for non-solar RPO of 0.013 MUs until FY 2017-18 and a cumulative shortfall for mini/micro hydro RPO of 0.003 MUs until FY 2017-18.

On the other hand, Mindspace Business Parks has a standalone shortfall for solar RPO of 1.59 MU and a cumulative shortfall of 1.57 MUs until FY 2017-18, a cumulative deficit of 0.393 MUs for non-solar RPO until FY 201-18 and a cumulative shortfall for mini/micro hydro RPO of 0.03 MUs until FY 2017-18.

Meanwhile, Tata Power Co. Ltd. (Distribution) has a standalone shortfall for solar RPO of 20.654 MUs for FY 2017-18 and a cumulative deficit of 15.963 MUs.

According to the MERC, BEST has a standalone shortfall for solar RPO of 65.571 MUs for FY 2017-18 and a cumulative shortfall of 66.887 MUs, besides a cumulative shortfall of non-solar RPO target of 4.628 MUs.

The state commission has ordered these entities to meet their cumulative shortfalls until FY 2017-18 in FY 2018-19. The commission will review the same during RPO verification proceedings for FY 2018-19.

The MERC also found that Indian Railways has a standalone shortfall of 48.393 MUs for solar RPO in FY 2017-18 and a cumulative shortfall of 74.48 MUs. The standalone deficit for its non-solar RPO stood at 254.06 MUs for FY 2017-18 with a cumulative shortfall of 537.80 MUs. The standalone shortage for its mini/micro hydro RPO was 0.508 MUs for FY 2017-18, with a cumulative deficit of 1.08 MUs.

The commission has ordered the Indian Railways to meet its RPO shortfall for FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17 in FY 2018-19. The commission also ordered Indian Railways to purchase solar, non-solar and mini-micro hydel power and renewable energy certificates to fully meet these standalone shortfalls for FY 2017-18 by the end of March 2020 in addition to RPO targets for that year.

In a similar order passed by the commission recently, it had directed the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) to comply with its solar RPO requirement for FY 2017-18 by March 2020 to fulfill the solar RPO requirement of the year. In August 2018, MERC had asked MSEDCL to fully meet its standalone and cumulative shortfall of solar RPO targets in FY 2016-17 by the end of March 2019 instead of March 2020. The solar RPO targets were to be met either by the purchase of solar power or through solar RECs.

The MERC has also ordered the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), the designated state agency by the MERC, to submit all the data in respect of RPO compliance by June 30, 2019.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with 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.