Maharashtra DISCOM to Procure 500 MW of Renewables with Energy Storage to Meet its RPO

Aims to procure power on a long-term basis for 25 years

September 3, 2019


The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has filed a petition before the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) seeking its approval for the procurement of 500 MW of flexible and schedulable power to fulfill its Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

The MSEDCL wants to procure the power from renewable energy sources along with energy storage facilities for a period of 25 years. The petitioner also seeks the approval of tender documents.

MSEDCL has stated that it has already contracted 9,852 MW of renewable power as on March 31, 2019, and has planned to contract around 8,000 MW of renewable energy especially solar power to meet its RPO targets. By FY 2021-22, around 16,500 MW of renewable power is expected to be fed into the grid, says the petition.

In the petition, the MSEDCL has added that it is facing difficulties in purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) due to the non-availability of adequate quantity of RECs and their increased rates in the market.

“In such a scenario with increasing targets of RPOs on a year-to-year basis, it is necessary that MSEDCL should contract sufficient renewable power through long-term contracts,” states the petition.

It further mentions that whenever there’s low availability of power from contracted generation due to the shortage of either fuel or water or for cost optimization purposes, then power is purchased from the market to meet the consumers’ demand.

“Also, contracted renewable generation for meeting RPO is available during a certain period of the day and is not available round the clock,” MSEDCL states.

The MSEDCL suggests that for the integration of large amounts of renewable energy power into the grid, shifting of agricultural load during the daytime to solar power and  supply of electricity with changed demand pattern will be required. Therefore, to fulfill the RPO target and to meet modified demand pattern, MSEDCL has proposed to procure flexible and schedulable power from renewable source with storage facility on long-term basis for 25 years.

The flexible and schedulable generators may inject power either through renewable generation or pumped storage or batteries. “The construction of these projects may take around three to four years and will be available after FY 2021-22 if the process is initiated now,” states the petition.

Considering the various aspects of such flexible generation, MSEDCL intends to procure 500 MW of flexible generation from renewable sources along with the energy storage system through the competitive bidding process which will also support MSEDCL to fulfill its RPO targets.

The MSEDCL has also prepared tender documents (Request for Selection and draft PPA) for the procurement of power from flexible, schedulable power generators on a long-term basis from renewable energy sources.

The commission has noted that there are deficiencies in the tender document submitted by MSEDCL and there’s no clarity on the location or co-location of the energy storage project.

The commission has ordered MSEDCL to rectify all the deficiencies and errors in its RfS document and refer to the tender document of the Solar Energy Corporation of India issued on a similar concept.

Mercom reported recently that SECI had issued a Request for Selection for setting up 1.2 GW of renewable projects connected with the interstate transmission system (ISTS) and with a guaranteed peak power supply (ISTS-VII). In this tender, a project should have at least two components. One will be the energy storage system component, and the other will be the renewable energy generating component. The RE generating component can be either a solar photovoltaic (SPV) system or a wind energy system or a hybrid system of both technologies.

MSEDCL has filed a petition with the MERC seeking its approval to procure power from wind projects whose energy purchase agreements (EPAs) have expired to fulfill its RPO.

After falling short of its solar RPO target, and been warned by the MERC to comply with it. In March, MERC had issued an order to MSEDCL to comply with the solar RPO requirement for FY 2017-18 by March 2020.