India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued guidelines for round-the-clock supply of electricity by bundling solar and thermal power.
Under the new guidelines, power project developers can sign power purchase agreements with the discoms for 24×7 supply containing at least 51% renewable power while the balance will come from coal-fired power plants. The developers can have battery storage to support renewable power projects.
The developers are required to ensure 85% availability both during the peak hours as well as annually. The penalty, equivalent to a 25% shortfall in energy supplied calculated at the maximum composite tariff payable during the year, will be levied on the developer, in case 85% availability is not achieved.
The bids will be issued for a minimum capacity of 250 megawatts to fulfill economies of scale. The bidders can tie up with more than one thermal power generator for renewable energy and therefore even small thermal power plants can get the chance to participate in the bidding process.
This is considered as a great move by the Indian government as this scheme will help revive several distressed and stranded thermal power assets. The distressed thermal power plant generators can now tie up with renewable energy generators to quote a single composite tariff bid. This new scheme will ensure round the clock power supply without disturbing grid stability. While the ministry has so far allowed only coal-based power plants to submit bids, gas-based power plants have also requested the government to allow them to participate.
Over the last few years India has taken several measures to improve the reliability of renewable power supply. It has issued solar-wind hybrid tenders as well as storage equipped solar and wind tenders.
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