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Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission favouring private wind energy producers?

According to reports,  state run generation companyMahagenco is upset over the bias of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) towards wind energy at the cost of solar energy. While Mahagenco is the sole generator of solar energy in the state, only private players produce wind energy. MSEDCL and state government also have opposed the Commission’s directives in this regard pointing out that costly wind energy will burden common consumers.

The Commission has been charged with favouring private players as it has approved the highest rates in the country for wind but the lowest for solar energy. Moreover, it has approved the tariff for wind energy on suo motu basis. A Mahagenco official told TOI MERC had sanctioned a rate of Rs 5.81 per unit for wind energy. “Against this, Tamil Nadu ERC has ayed a rate of only Rs 3.51 per unit. Surely, the conditions for wind power generation can’t be so different from Maharashtra. The closest to Maharashtra is Gujarat with Rs 4.23 a unit which is also far lower.

“On the other hand, the rates of solar energy both photovoltaic and solar-thermal are the lowest in the country. Here too the difference is staggering. MERC has sanctioned Rs 7.69 and Rs 10.71 a unit respectively. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu ERC’s rates are Rs 18.45 and Rs 15.51 a unit. Gujarat’s rates are Rs 10.37 and Rs 12.91 a unit, which are the second lowest,” he said.

The official claimed Mahagenco found rates for solar energy unviable. “It will become impossible for us to recover our capital cost at these rates. It seems MERC wants us to shut shop so that MSEDCL is forced to buy renewable energy from private wind companies. Interestingly, they have already recovered their capital cost,” he charged.

MSEDCL has been steadfastly opposing MERC’s compulsion to purchase costly wind energy. MSEDCL contends its financial position does not allow it to meet renewable energy (RE) obligations. MERC has directed MSEDCL to meet 0.25% of its power requirement through solar energy. Another 7.75% is to be met by other type of REs like wind, bagasse, etc. The quota for wind is between 4 and 5%.

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