SECI Invites Solar, Wind Energy Generators to Supply Power Through Open Access

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) from interested renewable energy generators for the supply of power through open access.

The EoI is for those renewable energy generators (wind, solar, and hybrid (wind and solar) with commissioned projects that are expiring or have no active power purchase agreements (PPA) or are about to commission the projects in 3 – 6 months. This power has to be injected at the nearest possible central transmission utility (CTU) substation.

This power will be used by the commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers so that they can meet their renewable purchase obligations (RPO) on an immediate basis by purchasing renewable power through the short-term, long-term, or medium-term open access.

The feedback received from this EoI will be used to prepare the tender for the procurement of power from wind, solar, and hybrid generators. SECI may decide the tariffs through open tender.

The SECI will sign the PPA with the generators at the tariff arrived through a competitive bidding process for a period which may range from three months to ten years.

The generators have to apply for open access for supplying power to the C&I customers through SECI.

The last date to submit responses is January 31, 2020.

SECI will be the implementing and monitoring agency of this project. It will issue the bid documents, invite bids, finalize bids and sign PPA with the selected bidders. SECI will expedite the delivery of renewable power through open access at the state periphery. Payment security mechanisms (including LC) on back to back basis may also be provided to give comfort to the bidders. SECI will also facilitate statutory clearances for the successful bidders.

This is a unique proposal by SECI for open access renewable power supply. The open access market is an attractive source of power for large consumers as it allows them to procure clean energy at competitive prices from offsite projects using the existing transmission and distribution infrastructure. However, it is marred by restrictive policies and a plethora of charges for consumers, which has made the proposition unattractive. It is no surprise that the open access solar market still accounts for less than 10% of the total installed solar capacity, according to the Mercom Solar Project Tracker. This step by SECI could help developers of stranded projects struggling to get the necessary approvals.

Off late SECI has been coming up with innovative models inviting interests from the renewable energy developers.

Recently, Mercom reported that the Solar Energy Corporation of India invited another expression of interest from power generators involved in hydro, pumped storage, gas, battery storage, and thermal generating stations to supply power to SECI, which it would then blend with different renewable sources. The aim was to meet the challenges posed by the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, which need to be supplemented with other conventional sources of power.

Earlier, SECI announced two tenders for 1,200 MW of solar and 1,200 MW of wind-solar hybrid projects connected to the interstate transmission system (ISTS). The projects under both the tenders will be developed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis, and SECI will enter into a power purchase agreement for 25 years based on the terms, conditions, and provision on the request for selection.

Previously, SECI had also issued a tender to procure 400 MW (2×200 MW) of renewable energy on round the clock basis. Under this tender, solar, wind, and hybrid projects could be developed. Moreover, the renewable power installations could be further augmented with necessary energy storage systems as per the developer’s requirements to meet the criteria of supply of power during the peak hours.

Image credit: Kenueone [CC0]