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Rate challenge for hybrid power projects

Experts expect CERC to soon come up with rate framework for smooth implementation

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Renewable power sector players have said the success of draft hybrid wind and solar energy policy would depend on the tariff (rate) level, which might be feed-in rate-based or bid-based. Besides, overall regulatory clarity in terms of rate norms for hybrid projects remained a key. The draft policy released last week aimed at promoting a large grid-connected wind-solar PV (photovoltaic) system for optimal and efficient use of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. Wind farms have scope of adding solar PV capacity. According to the policy, in the locations with wind power density, the size of the solar PV capacity could be smaller. In case of the sites where the wind power density is lower or moderate, the component of the solar PV capacity could be on a higher side. Rays Power Infra chief executive Ketan Mehta told Business Standard, “The policy implementation needs to done very carefully — the evacuation policy needs to be clear, transmission augmentation might need to be done in most cases, scheduling, and forecasting of delivered power needs to be calculated accurately, and plant layout needs to make sure windmills don’t cast any shadows on the solar panels.

On the technology level, direct current integration of combined power needs to be designed carefully. Also, rate determination will be a key issue. Wind power currently works on feed-in tariffs (FITs), while solar works on bidding. So the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) needs to come up with an FIT for wind solar hybrid framework.” He said the variability in generation would decrease, as both sources would compensate for each other and night-time generation would be a plus. ICRA senior vice-president Sabyasachi Majumdar said while there were inherent advantages in hybrid projects in optimal utilisation of resources, the project economics for such projects would be critically dependent on the rate level, which may be either FIT-based or bid-based. ''In our view, overall regulatory clarity in terms of rate norms for hybrid projects remains a key. CERC is hence required to lay down generic rate principles as well as scheduling and forecasting framework norms for such projects, which would in turn provide guidance for State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) to follow,'' Majumdar said. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India partner Debasish Mishra said distribution utilities would be keen to see a stable and predictable supply pattern from such combination of renewable-energy technologies apart from cost optimisation due to saving in land and evacuation costs. ''Wind IPPs (independent power producers) are complaining of getting backed down in some states during low demand period in the grid, despite having must-run status,” he said.

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First Published: Wed, June 22 2016. 00:36 IST
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