Daily News Wrap-Up: CERC Notifies ISTS Charges Waiver for Renewable Projects

POWERGRID bags three interstate transmission system projects

March 13, 2023


The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has amended the CERC (Sharing of Inter-State Transmission Charges and Losses) Regulations, 2020, waiving interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges for renewable energy generating stations and pumped hydroelectric stations beginning commercial operations by June 30, 2025. The ISTS waiver is among the various amendments contained in the CERC (Sharing of Inter-State Transmission Charges and Losses) (First Amendment) Regulations, 2023.

Powergrid Corporation of India (POWERGRID) has won three interstate transmission system  projects in the tariff-based competitive bidding process. The company won the first project for a transmission system to evacuate power from solar energy zones in Rajasthan (8.1 GW), under Phase-II Part E on a build, own, operate, and maintain basis. The project involves establishing a 756 kV D/C transmission line along with associated line bays in the state. POWERGRID was also declared the successful bidder to set up an interstate transmission system for two projects in the western region of the country on a build, own, operate, and transfer basis.

The CERC recently approved the tariffs of ₹2.37 (~$0.028)/kWh and ₹2.38 (~$0.029)/kWh discovered through a competitive bidding process for 1,400 MW of ISTS-connected solar power projects (Tranche-IX). The Commission also approved the trading margin ₹0.07 (~$0.0009)/kWh as agreed in the power sale agreements. The Commission noted that the changes in rates of Safeguard Duty, Goods and Sevices Tax, Basic Customs Duty on solar inverters, and the Great Indian Bustard issue were ‘Change in Law’ events as per the provisions of the power purchase agreements.

The Union Government has launched a High Price Day-Ahead Market and surplus power portal, aiming to ensure greater power availability during the peak demand season. Last August, the Ministry of Power had proposed the introduction of HP-DAM. The ministry had implemented a price cap of ₹12 (~$0.15)/kWh on electricity exchanges last year after noticing that prices on some days had reached up to ₹20 (~$0.24)/kWh. The cap was enforced from April 1, 2022, in both the Day-Ahead Market and Real-Time Market, and later across all segments from May 6, 2022 to prevent profiteering.

Utility-scale solar installations in the United States dropped by 31% to 11.8 GW in 2022 compared to 2021 owing to uncertainties from the anti-circumvention probe and detainments of solar equipment caused by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Withhold Release Order. While installations were lowest for the utility-scale segment since 2018, the U.S. installed 20.2 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity in 2022, down 16% from 2021, taking the total installed solar capacity to date to 142.3 GW , according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2022 released jointly by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie.

The European Commission has adopted a new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to support measures in sectors that are key for the transition to a net-zero economy in line with the Green Deal Industrial Plan. The Commission in February presented the Green Deal Industrial Plan to enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s net-zero industry and support the fast transition to climate neutrality. The Green Deal Industrial Plan is seen as a counter to the United States Inflation Reduction Act, which has proposed a $369 billion spending for clean energy.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer ISE have developed a solution that combines power from renewable sources with electricity from the public grid and uses batteries to compensate for fluctuations. The approach is expected to benefit companies that aim to invest in sustainability with photovoltaics and reduce their energy costs in the process. One of the major challenges facing the widespread adoption of renewables is the fluctuating output of photovoltaic systems. For energy-intensive companies especially, this means that their distribution networks are rapidly becoming inadequate.