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Govt invokes special powers to speed up power transmission lines for renewable energy

New Delhi: The government on Thursday invoked special powers to direct electricity regulator to clear transmission schemes identified for 66.5 Gigawatt capacity of renewable energy projects.

The directions under section 107 of Electricity Act, aimed at fast-tracking deployment of transmission infrastructure for renewable energy plants, includes according ‘national importance’ status to such transmission lines and deferring fulfilment of requirement of long term access (LTA) applications and associated bank guarantees till the renewable generation projects are awarded to a successful bidder.

The regulatory procedure of LTA and connectivity will be followed by the successful bidder.

Power and renewable energy minister R K Singh has cleared a proposal for early regulatory approval by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for transmission schemes identified for 66.5 Gw national renewable energy mission projects, an official statement said.

The schemes, identified by Renewable energy ministry in consultation with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and central transmission utility, comprise around 28 Gw under phase-I and around 38.5 Gw under phase-II as part of mission to set up 175 Gw renewable energy capacity by 2022.

As of May 2019 about 80 Gw of renewable energy generation has been commissioned and the balance 95 Gw has to come up in the next three years.

As the gestation period of renewable energy projects is shorter than for transmission facilities, it is necessary that the present system of transmission planning and implementation for renewable energy projects is carried out in mission mode, the statement said.

Industry body CII on Thursday released a white paper “New Age Power Systems: For 21st Century India Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities” with recommendations on efficient transmission system. It said that the countey’s vision of a Five trillion-dollar economy will require an estimated investment of Rs 5 lakh crore in the transmission sector over the next few years.

The transmission sector has seen a fall in the investments to below Rs 1.8 lakh crore in the last five years but this will need to see a significant jump as 500 GW of renewable energy is added to the grid by 2030.

The 8-point agenda drawn up for a robust transmission system includes recommendations on planning, operations, costs to name a few. The report seeks to draw up a blue print for the country’s vision on power for all and electric mobility.

The major recommendations include urgent need to upgrade capacities within existing infrastructure, clearly distinguishing the role of the central transmission utility from the functions of the developer, redefining the scope of planning for the Centre which should be based on the capacity of the transmission line instead of the geography and the need to bring in competition and move away from the cost-plus approach or regulated tariff mechanisms.

Strelite Power group CEO Pratik Aggarwal and chairman of CII’s core group on transmission said that the report illustrates that competitive bids have ensured tariff reductions by almost 30% compared to projects awarded on a nomination basis that follow a cost-plus approach.

News Date: 18-Jul-2019

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