Expert Group Underlines the Need to Treat Wind, Solar, and Hydro Projects as ‘Must-Run’

The expert group was constituted to review the Indian Electricity Grid Code Regulations 2010


Wind, solar, wind-solar hybrid, and hydro projects must be treated as ‘must-run’ power projects, suggests a panel reviewing the Indian Electricity Grid Code (IEGC) 2020.

The draft report also suggests that such projects should not be subjected to curtailment on account of merit order dispatch or any other commercial consideration.

“In the event of constraints in the transmission system, the renewable generation may be curtailed if it is the only source which relieves the constraint. Curtailment could also be required in case all the flexible resources are harnessed by the appropriate load dispatch center (LDC), but frequency remains above 50.05 Hz, the Area Control Error (ACE) remains high and any further reduction in conventional generation would necessitate de-commitment of units leading to shortage conditions and possible load shedding during the peak hours,” states the draft.

In May 2019, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) constituted an expert group to review the provisions of CERC’s Indian Electricity Grid Code Regulations 2010.  According to the expert panel headed by former Central Electricity Authority (CEA) chairman Rakesh Nath, during an interactive session with the stakeholders, it was pointed out that the cost of forecasting infrastructure and error in forecasting could be reduced by doing a forecast over a large geographical area—a practice followed in Europe.

The practice, which was recommended in a study sponsored by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) through GIZ, Germany for India, has been successfully demonstrated for intra-state renewable generators in the three states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, states the report.

The draft report also mentions that the existing scheduling and dispatch code has been reviewed thoroughly and redrafted with new features such as real-time market, combined scheduling for qualified coordinating agencies (QCA), and security-constrained unit commitment.

Each QCA, representing the renewable generator, could have a coordination center within the region in which it is located for round the clock operational coordination.  Provided that where the renewable generator does not appoint a QCA, the respective generating station may undertake operational coordination.

The experts have suggested that those wind, solar, and hybrid projects that are commissioned after March 31, 2022, could have the option to provide primary response individually through battery energy storage system (BESS) or through a common BESS installed at its pooling station.

New codes such as the protection and commissioning code and cybersecurity code have been included in the draft. Protection and commissioning code includes a centralized database containing details of relay setting for grid elements while the cybersecurity code provides for the identification of critical information infrastructure.

Along with the summary from the stakeholders, the report has been submitted to the CERC for its consideration.

Last year, the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the state of Goa and union territories issued draft regulations for determining tariffs from renewable sources, including solar. According to the regulations, all renewable energy power projects will be treated as “must-run,” and the procurement of power from such projects will not be subjected to ‘merit order dispatch’ principles. In case the payment of any bill payable under these regulations is delayed beyond a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of a bill, the generating company will levy a late payment surcharge at the rate of 1.25% per month.

In August 2019, Mercom reported that the MNRE issued a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories, asking them to ensure that ‘must run’ status is accorded to both wind and solar power projects in the states in line with the Indian Electricity Grid Coded 2010 and the Electricity Act 2003.

Now, the challenge before the government lies in combatting the violation of the must-run status rules at the state level.