The Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) has filed a petition with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) seeking regulatory intervention on an urgent basis to ensure efficient utilization of bays (mechanisms that connect interior project transmission system to the national grid via the pooling substation) for connectivity by wind and solar generation projects.
The PGCIL in its petition stated, as per provisions of the present regulations, an applicant who has been granted connectivity at the existing or under construction sub-station is required to undertake implementation of the dedicated transmission line as well as the terminating bays.
However, under the extant provisions of regulations, there are no enumerated reciprocal obligations on the connectivity applicant to sign any agreement or submit any bank guarantee or fulfill any other financial obligation.
Once the connectivity is granted, often the grantees take no action towards making actual use of the connectivity so granted for want of enumerated actions to be taken by it. This results in the connectivity grantee blocking available infrastructure at the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) substation for use by other entities.
In the Tirunelveli substation, out of 19 applicants, only one has signed the bay implementation agreement even though several have been granted connectivity as far back as 2014-15. In the Bhuj substation, out of 26 bays, 16 have been allocated.
Under normal procedure, connectivity applications are processed giving priority by month of application. Due to this, applicants who can utilize the bays are left waiting while unutilized allocated bays are present.
The PGCIL further stated that the reason they filed their petition was the receipt of large number of connectivity applications from wind generators and solar power park developers.
The PGCIL has asked CERC to devise mechanisms to address such issues in the short- and long-term future. The PGCIL has proposed submission of a bank guarantee at the rate of Rs.10,000/MW by connectivity applicants. To ensure the seriousness of the applicant post bay allocation, the PGCIL proposed that the grant of connectivity be made provisional.
As of now, connectivity applications can be made by a generating station using 50 MW – 250 MW of renewable energy.