According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) newly introduced amendments to the competitive bidding process guidelines for grid-connected wind-solar hybrid projects, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will be treated as a procurer and not a nodal agency.
SECI had been designated as a nodal agency in the earlier wind-solar hybrid projects bidding guidelines.
Highlights from the amendments :
The hybrid power generator will be allowed to fully or partly commission the project even before the scheduled commissioning date as long as the transmission connectivity and long-term, medium-term, or short-term access are available. Previously such early commissioning was allowed only with transmission connectivity and long-term access.
Delay in commissioning due to delay in LTA Operationalization
In the earlier guidelines, the generators had to submit long-term access confirmation before commissioning the project and selling power to the procurer from the scheduled commissioning date.
According to the amended guidelines, long-term, medium-term, or short-term access confirmation can be submitted by the generator before commissioning the project. However, a hybrid power generator must have long-term access from the scheduled commissioning date.
Interstate transmission system and intrastate transmission systems substations at the delivery point and the transmission infrastructure for which the generator applies for connectivity must be completed before the project’s scheduled commissioning date so that the two timelines match.
After the grant of connectivity, if the generator has complied with all the application formalities and procedures outlined and the delay in the transmission networks is entirely the responsibility of the central or state transmission utilities, and beyond the control of the generator, such projects will be eligible for suitable time extension in their scheduled commissioning date. Earlier, the guidelines allowed for an extension of not more than 60 days.
DISCOMs can be direct power procurers
In the previous guidelines, the payment security by distribution companies (DISCOMs) to intermediary procurer and intermediary procurer to the hybrid power generators was defined. Due to this, DISCOMs were unable to procure power directly from the hybrid power generators.
In the Wind -Solar Hybrid bidding guidelines, the hybrid power generator will be allowed to fully or partly commission the project even before the scheduled commissioning date as long as the transmission connectivity and long-term transmission connectivity access.
As per the amendment guidelines, the hybrid power generator will be allowed to fully or partly commission the project even before the scheduled commissioning date as long as the long-term/medium-term/short-term transmission connectivity access is available.
As per the Wind-Solar Hybrid bidding guidelines, long-term access confirmation was necessary to be submitted by the generator before commissioning the project.
As per amendment guidelines, Long -term/ Medium-term/Short-term access confirmation shall be submitted by the generator before commissioning the project. However, from the sale of power to procurer from Scheduled Commissioning Date (SCD), hybrid power generators must have long-term access.
Power generators will be provided suitable time extension in their scheduled commissioning dates if there is any delay in the operationalization of long-term access/Medium-term access/Short term access which as per the earlier guidelines provided the generators for an extension of 60 days, subsequent to the readiness of delivering point and power evacuation infrastructure.
According to the new amendments, DISCOMs can directly procure power from hybrid power generators. This provision will help DISCOMs to procure power at a lower tariff by omitting the trading margin they had to pay to SECI.
DISCOMs must have a payment security fund to support payment for at least three month’s billing of all projects tied up with the fund. DISCOMs can also choose to provide State Government Guarantee, in a legally enforceable form, to ensure that there is enough security to the hybrid power generators for the energy charges and termination compensation if any.
In May 2018, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced the wind-solar hybrid policy to provide a framework for promoting large grid-connected wind-solar PV hybrid projects for optimal and efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.
In October 2019, the Ministry issued its draft guidelines for the tariff-based competitive bidding process to procure power from grid-connected wind-solar hybrid projects. In October 2020, the final guidelines were announced.
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Harsh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.