MNRE Seeks Stakeholder Comments on Repowering Wind Projects Below 2 MW Capacity

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India has an estimated wind repowering potential of 25.4 GW considering wind turbines of less than 2 MW capacity, according to the ‘Policy for Repowering of the Wind Power Projects, 2022′ issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The policy intends to facilitate the optimum utilization of wind turbines below 2 MW whose design life is completed by maximizing their energy yield per square kilometer of the project area by deploying state-of-the-art onshore wind turbine technologies.

Once approved, the policy will annul the earlier wind repowering policy issued in 2016.

Stakeholders can submit their comments by November 1, 2022.


Eligibility

Repowering will be allowed for wind turbines with less than 2 MW capacity and whose total capacity has completed 90% of its design life. A set of existing wind turbines will be eligible for repowering if the project area is a contiguous land and all turbines considered for repowering are connected to a single polling substation.

For standalone projects, State Nodal Agencies (SNA) or Central Nodal Agencies (CNA) must identify the potential turbines for repowering and elicit interest from the potential project owner. The project owner must then submit the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for repowering the old project to the SNA or CNA for verification.

Based on the DPR, the SNA or CNA will coordinate with the respective transmission utility for the availability of the transmission capacity, if required. On scrutiny of the project and transmission capacity availability, SNA or CNA can consent to the project developer after obtaining in-principle approval from the distribution company.

Implementation arrangements

In the case of aggregation projects, the SNAs or CNAs can identify the potential turbines for repowering. In such cases, SNAs or CNAs either nominate any state or central public sector enterprise as Wind Repowering Project Aggregators (WRPA) to repower the project or elicit interest from private developers.

The selection of the private developer as WRPAs will be based on minimum technical criteria and the submission of consent letters from all the identified turbine owners.

A private developer can also identify potential turbines for repowering and submit a proposal to the SNA or CNA, along with consent letters from all the identified turbine owners. In such cases, the SNA or CNA must nominate the private developer as the WRPA.

Arrangement for power purchase

The power generated, corresponding to the average of the previous three years’ generation before repowering, would continue to be procured per the terms of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

If the PPA tenure is less than 25 years, the DISCOM concerned must arrange to extend the tenure of the PPA for 25 years from the original project’s commissioning date and continue to procure the power generated for the remaining tenure of the PPA.

Project developers can sell additional wind power capacity to the incumbent DISCOMs or any other entity through open access if the DISCOM concerned refuses to procure the power. The power procured by the DISCOM concerned will be at the discovered tariff of the project.

Wind turbines undergoing repowering would be exempted from supplying power to the purchasing entity during repowering. The repowering period must not exceed two years from the commencement of the repowering.

The DISCOM will neither have any right over the additional power generated nor will it be obligated to purchase the additional power generated after repowering.

When captive or third-party sale wind power projects are being repowered, their consumers must be allowed to purchase power from the grid. The SNA or CNA may coordinate with DISCOMs to temporarily facilitate such load.

Incentives

For repowering projects, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will provide an additional interest rate rebate of 0.25% over the interest rate available to new wind projects financed by the agency.

The Wind Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) compliance of the state where the repowering project is situated will be exempted for the remaining period until the commissioning of the repowered project. An enhanced RPO multiplier will be provided to the repowered project for the remaining period of PPA.

In July, the Ministry of Power issued a policy mandating wind RPO to boost wind installations and reduce the cost of power generated from wind projects. States will have to meet 0.81% of their energy demand from wind power in FY 2022-23. By 2020-30, the requirement will be 6.94%.

Wind Repowering Committee

Within one month of the announcement of this policy, MNRE will appoint a Wind Repowering Committee (WRC) to help implement the repowering policy. The joint secretary of wind, MNRE, will chair the WRC. Other members will include representatives of IREDA, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Central Transmission Utility, SNAs, and three independent experts from the wind sector. A representative from the National Institute for Wind Energy will be the member secretary.

India installed 878 MW of wind capacity in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022, a 129% year-over-year increase compared to 384 MW installed in the same period last year. Installations grew over 104% quarter-over-quarter compared to Q2 2022. The significant rise in installations during the quarter was primarily due to the commissioning of projects that were pending.