Solar Developer Seeks CERC’s Help to Align Long-Term Access with Project Commissioning

Independent power producer Azure Power had recently approached the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), seeking a deadline extension from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) to lay the transmission lines.

In response to the appeal, CERC, in a recent order, directed Azure Power to file an affidavit, explaining the current developments leading to delay in commissioning the 1,200 MW of solar projects being developed in Rajasthan. Azure Power has been asked to submit its response by May 14, 2021.

Azure Power had further appealed to the Commission to direct PGCIL to not penalize for the delay in commissioning of the transmission line and the pooling substation. Taking cognizance of the request, the Commission noted that the central transmission utility would not take any coercive action against the company during the hearing. The Commission also asked PGCIL to file its reply by May 24, 2021.

Azure Power filed a petition with the Commission requesting it to direct PGCIL to extend the start date for the long-term access and the deadline for the completion of the dedicated transmission line and the pooling substation to match with the extension of the commissioning dates of the projects.


Background

Azure Power is developing 1,200 MW of solar projects in Rajasthan and has obtained long-term access for 1,200 MW (600 MW for Bhadla and 600 MW for Bikaner) per the terms of the agreements signed with PGCIL.

However, the commissioning of the projects was delayed, and later, the commissioning dates of the projects were extended by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

Following this, Azure Power requested PGCIL to extend the long-term access start date and deadlines to complete laying the transmission line and the pooling substation in agreement with the extended commissioning dates for the projects. However, PGCIL did not accept the request.

After the filing of the petition, certain developments took place, as SECI extended the commission dates of the projects further. The Ministry of Power also issued an order stating that the long-term access and the commissioning of the transmission facilities also be extended by five months.

Commission’s Analysis

Considering the events that took place after the filing of the petition, the Commission has asked Azure Power to file an affidavit by May 14, 2021, to bring on record the recent developments that took place with the projects.

The petition will be listed for hearing in due course, for which a separate notice will be issued.

In February this year, CERC approved the revised guidelines for interstate transmission system connectivity to renewable energy projects. As per the revised rules, the procedure will apply to central transmission utility, regional load dispatch centers, state load dispatch centers, state transmission utility, concerned distribution companies, and implementing agencies.

Earlier, CERC had dismissed a solar developer’s plea for utilizing connectivity and long-term access to its two wholly-owned subsidiaries and said the move was not permitted. If the parent company exercised its control over more than 50% of the company’s voting shares directly or indirectly, the request for long-term access and utilization of connectivity for its subsidiaries could not be approved, it had said.

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