The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has requested the Union Power Minister R.K. Singh to bail out solar generators from the ongoing renewable energy dispute in Andhra Pradesh.
The federation has underlined in the letter that solar projects in Andhra Pradesh have been suffering due to rampant curtailment of solar generation since July 2019.
In August 2019, Mercom had reported that the Amaravati High Court issued an order asking the state load dispatch center and the state’s transmission company (APTRANSCO) to stop the curtailment of power from solar and wind energy projects.
According to NSEFI, the curtailment has not only resulted in considerable losses to the solar power developers but is also a wastage of natural resources.
The federation feels that the Andhra Pradesh State Load Dispatch Center (APSLDC) has failed to carry out its duties and has alleged that it’s a “willful violation of the Indian Electricity Grid Code, 2010 curtailing solar (must-run) projects without grid security”.
Quoting the curtailment priority under the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission Terms and Conditions of Open Access Regulation 2005, NSEFI has further pointed out that short-term open access (STOA) be curtailed first followed by the long-term open access and at the end, “the schedule of distribution licensee is to be reduced.”
Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, the chief executive officer of NSEFI, has also stated in the letter that the curtailment has not been done on account of the decrease in energy demand.
According to NSEFI, the average demand in Andhra Pradesh varies from 6,500 MW to 7,200 MW/ day, and nearly 60% to 70% of solar power is being curtailed.
“This implies that there would be a severe grid safety and security related problem being faced resulting in the curtailment of must-run solar power projects,” states Pulipaka in the letter.
Further, he argues that if solar power projects are being curtailed, then even STOA, LTOA, and distribution licensee schedules should be curtailed.
“However, the evidence on Southern Regional Load Dispatch Centre website points out that the short-term open access schedule from the national grid of AP Transco has increased instead of any decrease,” adds the letter.
According to Pulipaka, “The curtailment of solar power in the absence of curtailment of STOA/LTOA and DISCOM schedule either implies that there is no grid safety and security issue or that solar power is being singled out for curtailment in violation of its “must-run” status.”
In July 2019, NSEFI, in its letter had requested Singh for his immediate intervention in the curtailment of renewable energy projects in the state despite the “must-run” accorded to them.
The renewable energy in the state of Andhra Pradesh has been going through tough times ever since chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy’s newly-formed committee decided to deliberate and bring down the costs in all the high-priced PPAs for wind and solar power projects signed during the term of the previous government, alleging corruption.
Following the state’s surprise move, the power minister had written to the chief minister, asking him to exercise restraint in the matter and not hurt investor interests in the state. However, the state went ahead with its decision, making the developers seek legal support. Later, Singh also penned down his apprehensions about the proceedings in a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah.
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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.