The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has directed the Maharashtra State Load Despatch Center (MSLDC) to amend its forecasting and scheduling procedure in line with the rules and principles of the commission within two weeks.
The commission has also asked the MSLDC to undertake stakeholders’ consultation for the draft amendment and submit the amended procedure after considering the stakeholders’ comments for approval within 45 days.
The commission has noted that there are specific challenges in implementing the MERC Forecasting and Scheduling Regulations as raised by various petitioners. Forty-three renewable energy generators filed a petition along with Maharashtra State Load Despatch Center (MSLDC) and Manikaran Analytics Limited for the removal of hurdles from the provisions of the MERC (Forecasting, Scheduling and Deviation Settlement for Solar and Wind Generation) Regulations, 2018, and its implementation.
In this case, the respondents were Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL) and Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd (MSPGCL).
Due to the similarity of all the 43 cases, the commission heard them together on August 22, 2019.
The commission has considered a few issues to be addressed in the order based on various problem areas raised before it, which are as follows:
Registration of the Qualified Co-Ordinating Agency (QCA) and appointment of QCAs of pooling sub-stations where currently no entity is in position to achieve specified 51% majority.
The Commission observed that of the 102 pooling sub-stations, only 67 are registered with the MSLDC, and about 32 of them have not yet appointed/registered their QCA with the MSLDC. The Commission has asked the MSLDC to maintain and update the list of all renewable energy generators based on connectivity and synchronization permissions granted. Further, it has directed the MSLDC and distribution companies to issue notices to those renewable energy generators who have not appointed QCA and not registered the QCA with MSLDC to comply with the regulations within one month from the date of issue of this order and submit the report of pending compliances (if any) to the Commission. The Commission has also suggested limited aggregation of pooling sub-stations having installed capacity of up to 20 MW and connected to 33 kV transmission network for complying with forecasting and scheduling regulations.
The commission has directed the state transmission utility and distribution licensee, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Limited, to take on all the activities related to metering arrangements for all renewable energy pooling sub-stations. It has also granted an additional period of six months from July 1, 2019, to Jan 1, 2020, and with this, the commercial implementation of the renewable energy forecasting and scheduling regulations will commence from January 1, 2020.
During the trial period of six months, the pooling sub-stations which are already registered will continue submitting schedules to MSLDC and collection of meter data as prescribed. MSLDC will continue implementing all the activities including, scheduling of renewable generation, computation of absolute error, renewable deviation and renewable energy deviation charges, preparation of mock renewable energy DSM (Deviation Settlement Mechanism) bills. MSLDC will publish the renewable energy schedule, energy accounting statement and DSM Statement (including mock DSM bills) on its website for each QCA and every pooling sub-station, separately. These bills would be issued to QCAs; however, QCAs shall not be required to pay the DSM charges against these DSM Bills during the trial period of six months from July 1, 2019, up to December 31, 2019. Further, QCAs will continue de-pooling of the renewable energy DSM charges among the generators for their respective pooling sub-stations, but no commercial transactions will take place.
In March 2019, Mercom had reported that MERC had exempted renewable energy qualified coordinating agencies for meter reading, data collection, and communication from pay scheduling and forecasting charges. However, the initial corpus that QCAs must deposit remained unchanged.
Initially, the QCAs had been asked to deposit ₹25,000 (~$357.6)/MW as a corpus for solar and ₹50,000 (~$715.6)/MW for wind projects. Mercom had reported back then how Maharashtra was behind when it came to meeting renewable purchase obligation (RPO), and these new added costs could inhibit large-scale project development.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.