MERC Allows Tata Power Extension On SCOD For Its Hybrid Plants

Highlights :

  • The case was related to a 225 MW hybrid project at Bikaner & a 98.05 MW hybrid plant in Maharashtra.
  • The relaxation was granted on the basis of an MNRE order on the issue.
MERC Allows Tata Power Extension On SCOD For Its Hybrid Plants MERC Allows Tata Power Extension On SCOD For Its Hybrid Plants

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), in its latest judgment, allowed the Tata Power Green Energy (TPGEL) extension on its Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) for two solar-wind hybrid projects. It included the 225 Megawatt (MW) hybrid project at Bikaner district in Rajasthan and a 98.05 MW hybrid plant in Maharashtra. 

The hybrid renewable energy generator told the Commission that the delay was sought because of force majeure, unprecedented sandstorm and other reasons. It also cited an official memorandum of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), which allows the green energy producers relaxations in SCOD for projects for which the bids were finalized before March 9, 2021. It was mainly due to the increase in Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on the import of solar cells. In this case, the PPA was signed with the discom-TPC-D on October 22, 2020. 

TPGL, with the 225 MW hybrid project, was supposed to supply green energy at the discovered price of Rs 2.59/unit to TPC-D. The authorities concerned earlier had already extended the SCOD to July 6, 2022. The developer meanwhile commissioned the project finally on August 2, 2023. 

In its petition before the CERC, TPGL cited four reasons to seek relaxation. One was the delay due to a notice by the Gram Panchayat to stop the construction of a transmission line for the project. Other reasons included the occurrence of an unprecedented sandstorm at the project site and technical specifications issued by the Committee formed by the Supreme Court on Technical Specifications. It also cited the Short Term Open Access requirement since Long Term Access was not available at the delivery and injection point.

CERC also said that although the MNRE circular was for central entities, the benefits must go to state discoms and players. “The Commission notes that although the quoted MNRE OM are applicable for Central Agencies implementing Renewable Energy projects, but for maintaining parity for the projects being implemented by State Discoms, this Commission has been adopting such OM for state-specific projects also,” the order read.

While hearing the case, the Commission did not go to the merits of the force majeure. It relied on the MNRE notification on the issue, which grants relaxation in SCOD to renewable energy generators. 

“It is worth noting that in the present case, the project has been commissioned on August 2, 2022, and power flow has been established. This demonstrates that TPGL has taken efforts and all possible measures for implementing the project and accordingly commissioned the project. Although, as per the above MNRE OM, TPGL would be eligible for an extension of SCOD till March 2024, as the project is already commissioned on August 2, 2022, with a delay of just 26 days, TPGL has requested to extend the SCOD by such actual delay of 26 days,” the Commission order read.

It also added, “In view of the above, the Commission allows the actual date of commissioning (August 2, 2022) to be considered as extended SCOD. It is clarified that this ruling is based on MNRE OM dated January 25, 2023, and May 1, 2023, and the Commission has not gone into merits of alleged force measure events claimed in the petition.”   

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