CERC Issues Draft Amendments for ISTS Connectivity of RE Projects

CERC has issued the draft amendments for its regulations and procedure for granting of connectivity to projects based on RE sources to the ISTS.

CERC ISTS Connectivity

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has issued the draft amendments for its regulations and procedure for granting of connectivity to projects based on renewable energy (RE) sources to inter-State transmission systems (ISTS).

The central commission has stated that the detailed procedure is proposed to be amended in view of seventh amendment to the CERC (Grant of Connectivity, Long-term Access and Medium-term Open Access in inter-State Transmission and related matters) Regulations, 2009 notified oil January 2019, and based upon feedback from the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) and subsequent developments in the sector.

As per the amendments, the guidelines will now be applicable to the CTU, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), regional load despatch centres (RLDCs), state load despatch centres (SLDCs), state transmission utility (STU), concerned Discoms, and renewable energy implementing agencies like the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

According to the amended guidelines, the dedicated transmission lines, including bay(s) at generation pooling stations, will be under the scope of work of the applicants/ developers, and the associated bay(s) at the ISTS substation will be under the scope of transmission licensee owning the ISTS substation subject to compliance of relevant provision of tariff policy.

Upon receipt of the connectivity application, CTU shall carry out necessary study for grant of connectivity in the available margin in the nearest existing ISTS substations or in new sub-stations under implementation/ planning stage. New sub-stations for harnessing renewable generation potential shall be planned by CTU in consultation with CEA, and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) or its designated agency/ authority/ nodal officer.

As per the amendments, the CTU should grant Stage-I connectivity indicating the location (ISTS Substation where connectivity has been granted) within a period of 60 days of the last date of the month in which the application was received. Further, if capacity at the location where Stage-I connectivity is granted becomes unavailable at a later stage, an alternate location shall be allocated to the applicant at the time of grant of Stage-II connectivity.

The connectivity granted under this Procedure can also be utilised for the intrastate sale of power.

Furthermore, any entity which has been issued the Letter of Award (LoA) by, or has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with, a Renewable Energy Implementing Agency or a Discom consequent to tariff-based competitive bidding, on submission of such LoA or PPA will be eligible for stage-II connectivity under the procedure, as the case may be:

Provided that,

(a) Such entity is a grantee of Stage-I connectivity or has applied for Stage-I Connectivity or has applied for Stage-I Connectivity and Stage-II Connectivity simultaneously.

(b) An entity implementing the Renewable Hybrid Generating Station(s)including Round the Clock Hybrid Project, shall be eligible to apply for separate Stage-II Connectivity for each location based on the same LOA or PPA, for the capacity of the project not exceeding the quantum of power for which LOA has been awarded or PPA has been signed.

(For this purpose, the locations and capacity at each such location, duly certified by the Renewable Energy Implementing Agency or the distribution licensee, as the case may be, shall be submitted along with the Connectivity applications.)

And after the allocation of stage-II connectivity, the successful applicants will have to submit the proof to CTU within nine months from the date of connectivity. It should submit the proof of financial closure, and land acquisition cost through equity, supported by the auditor’s certificate.

A developer applying for both stages of connectivity simultaneously can apply for stage-II connectivity at the bay that has already been allocated to another developer for sharing the dedicated transmission line. Two or more developers can apply for stage-II connectivity at a common bay along with an agreement for sharing the dedicated transmission line.

For more information click here. Comments and suggestions from stakeholders have been invited on the draft regulations with a deadline of August 16, 2020.

Recently, we had reported that the Ministry of Power (MoP) had extended the waiver of inter-state transmission system (ISTS) charges and losses on the supply of power generated from solar and wind power projects until June 30, 2023.

In its notification, the Ministry added that no ISTS charges would be levied for 25 years from the date of commissioning of the power plants for the supply and sale to entities having renewable purchase obligations (RPO), irrespective of whether this power is within RPO or not, provided that in case of distribution licensees (Discoms), the power has been procured competitively under the guidelines issued by the Central Government

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.