CESC Seeks Solar Power Suppliers To Meet RPO Obligations

CESC Seeks Solar Power Suppliers To Meet RPO Obligations

CESC, the privately owned discom and power generator that is entrusted with managing power for the city of Kolkata in West Bengal, has advertised for its April to October renewable purchase requirements. RPO’s are considered key to driving demand for solar power, enabling the sector’s expansion. In fact, even as CESC has advertised for its requirements, solar projects worth over 10 GW await PPA’s with state discoms simply not stepping up to sign those with either SECI or other agencies.

Owned by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, the utility discom has kept options open for power sourcing from West Bengal or outside it. No surprise, considering the limited solar power capacity in West Bengal, especially at utility scale. CESC itself has three coal fired generating plants, with a total capacity of 1225 MW. Vintage varying from Titagarh (1982) to Budge Budge (1997)

Key points include the delivery point to be in West Bengal state periphery/ Interconnection of the Project with WBSETCL. Tariff to be quoted at Delivery Point. Minimum quantum at least 5.0 MW. All Open Access charges upto and beyond the Delivery Point shall be on the Seller and CESC resp. Power can be scheduled on Day Ahead or Firm based on availability and requirement of the parties. The RE power shall be scheduled in weekdays in 08:00 to 18:00 hrs and on Sundays & Holidays in 12:00 to 18:00 hrs. Requirements are lower on holidays.

The call for renewable power from such discoms, that happen to be profitable and well run, would be a welcome support for the renewable energy producers, as well as trading markets in green power. The big issue of course might be the limited number of discoms who will follow suit, considering the fact that many remain steeped in losses. Thus, despite the pressure to meet RPO from state regulators as well as central ministry’s, too many states remain well behind in meeting their basic RPO commitments. For 2021-22, the Ministry of Power has  specified a solar RPO of 10.5% for state discoms, and overall  21.18 % for renewable energy, including Hydro. Separating the solar component was a key move, considering the availability of Hydro power for many states, which had led to lax progress on solar procurement.

With the pandemic working out a massive second wave currently, it is anyone’s guess how many states will actually meet those requirements, considering how multiple state regulators extended timelines, or condoned failure to meet solar procurement for 2020-21.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International