NTPC Asked to File a Fresh Petition to Bundle Thermal with Renewable Power

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) recently asked NTPC Limited to file a fresh petition to bundle thermal power with renewable power.

It was hearing a petition in which NTPC had sought approval for the use of solar power from its floating solar project at the Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station to replace the thermal power scheduled for its beneficiaries.

The power generator had also requested the Commission to approve the tariff for the floating solar power project and the mechanism of scheduling, energy accounting and the deviation settlement mechanism, renewable purchase obligation (RPO), waiver of transmission charges, and sharing of net gains.

Background


NTPC has a 25 MW floating solar project at its Simhadri thermal project in Andhra Pradesh under the ‘Flexibility in Generation and Scheduling of Thermal Power Stations to Reduce Emissions’ program of the Ministry of Power. The project was commissioned in September 2021.

NTPC said that it intended to use the solar power from its floating solar power project to replace the thermal power supplied from the Simhadri station to its beneficiaries. If the solar power was not fully utilized to replace the thermal power due to any constraint, the remaining power generated from the solar power project might be sold in the market or any other entity.

It had also submitted that as per the ‘Flexibility Program,’ solar power would be supplied at a tariff equal to the energy charge rate (ECR) of the Simhadri thermal station. Also, the net gain from the supply of solar power would be shared with the beneficiaries equally.

NTPC added that no separate transmission access for dispatch of solar power to the beneficiaries of the thermal power station was being envisaged.

The solar power cost was higher than the weighted average ECR of the Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station. Therefore, it proposed to replace the thermal power from the Kudgi Super Thermal Power Station instead, subject to the evacuation of power through the existing interstate transmission system (ISTS) network.

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), in its reply, said that conditions sought by NTPC were not maintainable as the present petition was only for the determination of levelized tariff for the 25 MW floating solar power project.

TANGEDCO said that while NTPC was free to enter into a separate power purchase agreement (PPA) with any party to supply renewable power, the beneficiaries could not be forced to take the bundled power under the ‘Flexibility Program.’

It also added that the proposal to replace the thermal power of the Kudgi station with solar power was made to compensate for the deficiencies in the plant’s generation capacity.

Commission’s analysis

The Commission noted that the Simhadri floating solar power project neither had any arrangement for the supply of electricity to a distribution licensee nor determined the tariff for the renewable power being generated from the project. The Commission directed the Power System Operation Corporation to take note of these facts.

Considering that NTPC had proposed replacing the thermal power of the Kudgi thermal power station instead of the Simhadri station, the Commission asked NTPC to file a fresh petition with appropriate relief for the beneficiaries.

Last November, the Ministry of Power outlined a detailed mechanism allowing the bundling of thermal and hydropower projects with standalone renewable energy projects or renewable energy projects with battery storage systems either through setting up renewable energy generation capacities themselves or through developers by inviting bids.

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