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MSEDCL finally lays out policy to promote wind power

According to reports, In order to promote wind energy in the state, MSEDCL has formulated a policy in consultation with Mahatransco and Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA). This is in response to the central government fixing a renewable energy purchase obligation (RPO) target for every power distribution company.

The rules provide that the share of wind energy increases every year, so MSEDCL will execute power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind energy generators. The total capacity in MW will be decided by the state government and MSEDCL board considering the fulfilment of RPO. The PPAs will be signed with generators chronologically. The ones who commission their units will get preference.

The energy generator will have to submit commissioning certificate issued by MSEDCL circle office, grid connectivity permission, detailed project report and required technical specifications.

He will also have to given an undertaking that the generator is brand new and the wind power plant (WPP) has been set up as per guidelines of union ministry for non-renewable energy. The WPP has to be located within 10km radius of the declared wind site (where wind speed is above a certain limit). The generator will have to give an undertaking that the entire energy generated by it will be sold to MSEDCL.

MSEDCL and Mahatransco will help the generator by providing grid connectivity. If the capacity is up to 10MW, it will be given by MSEDCL and for bigger projects it will be Mahatransco.

The policy has prescribed time limit for granting grid connectivity permission. For projects up to 50MW it is fifteen months, for those having capacity between 50MW and 150MW it will be 21 months and between 150MW and 300MW it will be 30 months. Extension of six months will be granted once in case of genuine difficulties by MSEDCL or Mahatransco.

If the wind power project is not installed within the time period stipulated in the grid connectivity permission plus extended time period of 6 months, then the grid connectivity permission shall lapse automatically and wind generator shall have to apply afresh for renewal of grid connectivity.

MSEDCL has agreed to purchase wind energy with great reluctance. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had promoted it on its own. The rate for wind power ranges from Rs 4.93 to Rs 5.67 per unit, which is far higher than thermal power rates, which are one of the highest in the country in the state. On the other hand, the rates of solar energy are quite low as compared to other states.

MERC had faced criticism that the wind energy rates were high because it was being produced by private companies while solar power rates were lower because Mahagenco was the only generator.

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