Distributed Solar Projects in Chhattisgarh Exempted from Transmission Charges
The exemption will apply to projects expected to be commissioned by December 27, 2023
The Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (CSERC) has issued amendments to the Grid-Interactive Distributed Renewable Energy Sources Regulations, 2019.
As per the amendments, the first 500 MW of open access solar projects will be exempted from transmission charges, cross-subsidy surcharge, wheeling charges, and state load despatch center (SLDC) charges for the entire life of the project.
Earlier, the cross-subsidy surcharge, transmission charges, and wheeling charges were exempted for the entire useful life of the solar project for the first 300 MW capacity. The amendments were applicable for the first 300 MW capacity that had achieved commissioning or would have achieved commissioning within two years from the date of notification of the regulations, i.e., July 27, 2021.
The amendment would apply to the first 500 MW capacity that achieved or would achieve commercial operation by December 27, 2023.
For independent distributed renewable energy systems (IDRES) (other than those for the first 500 MW or projects that will achieve commissioning by December 27, 2023, whichever is earlier), the transmission charges and wheeling charges will be in accordance with the tariff order issued by the Commission.
For IDRES projects to be commissioned after December 27, 2023, the cross-subsidy surcharge will not be increased during the 12 years from the date of operation of the generating project using renewable energy sources.
Banking of Energy and Other Open Access Charges
For both categories, i.e., IDRES projects to be commissioned by December 27, 2023, and projects to be commissioned after December 27, 2023), the banking facility will be available for the project’s useful life.
Banking of 100% of energy injection will be permitted for all captive and open access consumption. The applicable charges will be 2% of the banked energy, and the banking year will be from April to March. Earlier, the banking charges were set at 5% of the banked energy.
There will be no peak withdrawal charges for units redeemed from the banked energy during the regular period (5 am to 6 pm) and the off-peak load period (11 pm to 5 am the following day).
However, banked energy redeemed during the evening peak load period (6 pm to 11 pm) will incur peak withdrawal charges, amounting to 30% of the energy drawn during these peak hours.
For captive use or third-party sale, energy injected into the grid from the synchronization date until the open access approval date will be considered banked energy. The synchronization date will be considered the commissioning date.
The unutilized banked energy or surplus energy at the end of each banking cycle will be considered lapsed, and the energy generating station will be entitled to get renewable energy certificates to the extent of lapsed energy.
According to the amendments, if the project is scheduled to be commissioned by December 27, 2023, any surplus energy remaining at the end of the financial year will be procured by the distribution company (DISCOM). The purchasing rate will be set at the lowest rooftop solar tariff determined through competitive bidding by the DISCOM in the preceding financial year. If such a tariff is unavailable, the lowest tariff discovered by the Solar Energy Corporation of India during the last financial year will be used as the reference.
Additionally, for sale to the DISCOM, energy injected into the grid from the date of synchronization to the commissioning date will be purchased by the DISCOM at the first-year tariff of the project.
All solar power projects will be awarded must-run status, i.e., injection from the solar power projects will be considered as deemed to be scheduled.
No IDRES project will be subjected to scheduling and deviation settlement for commercial purposes. However, for grid operations, scheduling will be applicable.
According to a new clause, the DISCOM will award green certificates yearly to consumers and captive users for the green energy supplied by the DISCOM beyond the renewable purchase obligation of the respective entities.
Another new clause states that any consumer with contract demand or sanctioned load of 100 kW or more, except for captive consumers, may choose to generate, purchase, and consume renewable energy per their requirements by requisition from the DISCOM.
Consumers can choose green energy for either a specific percentage of their consumption or their entire energy consumption. To do so, they can request the DISCOM, which will then procure the requested amount of green energy and supply it accordingly. Consumers can submit separate requisitions for solar and non-solar energy if they want to differentiate between them.
The consumer may voluntarily purchase more renewable energy than is obligated, and for ease of implementation, this may be in steps of 25% and going up to 100%.
The Commission will establish the tariff for green energy, considering various factors such as the average pooled power purchase cost of renewable energy, any applicable cross-subsidy charges, and service charges that cover the reasonable cost incurred by the DISCOM in providing green energy.
Any requisition for green energy from the DISCOM will be for a minimum period of one year.
The quantum of green energy should be pre-specified for at least one year. The green energy purchased from the DISCOM or renewable energy sources other than the DISCOM in excess of the RPO of the obligated entity will be counted toward the RPO compliance of the DISCOM.
The minimum size of distributed renewable energy system under open access that can be set up by August 31, 2023, has been set at 500 kW. For remotely located distributed renewable energy systems seeking wheeling and transmission of energy to their captive load or open access consumers, the maximum capacity will be limited to 2.5 times the contracted demand or the desired open access quantum from the DISCOM.
The minimum size of distributed renewable energy system under open access that can be set up from September 1, 2023, will be 100 kW. Earlier, the Commission had set the minimum size of the distributed renewable energy system at 500 kW.
In May last year, CSERC issued an order to clarify the wheeling and banking regulations for IDRES projects.