Renewable Energy Current Affairs

Government extends transmission charge waiver to solar, wind power till March 2022

The Union Power Ministry has extended waiver of inter-state power transmission charges and losses for solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 March 2022 in order to give boost to clean energy sources.

Key Facts

The waiver will be available to solar and wind projects for 25 years from date of commissioning provided developers sign power purchase agreements with entities, including power distribution companies (discoms), for sale of power for compliance of their renewable purchase obligation. Moreover, the waiver will be available to only those projects which are awarded through competitive bidding process as per guidelines issued by central government. These new conditions for wavier of transmission charges and losses irrespective of purchasing entity will be applicable prospectively.

Significance

The order assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious target of having 175GW of renewable energy capacities (100GW of solar, 60GW of wind energy, 10GW energy from Biomass and 5 GW from Hydel). At present, India’s installed renewable generation capacity is 62.84 GW excluding large hydro projects above 25 MW. The Union Government also has planned to auction 40GW of solar energy capacities and 20GW of wind projects in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to meet the tall order.

Background

Earlier, the waiver was available to solar and wind power projects commissioned till 31 December 2019, and 31 March 2019, respectively. It was available for a period of 25 years from date commissioning of the project.  Moreover, under it incentive was not available to firms other than discom. Thus, other entities procuring clean energy from these projects were at disadvantageous position.

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Development of Solar Cities scheme: 60 Solar Cities to be developed

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) under its “Development of Solar Cities” scheme has sanctioned development of 60 Solar Cities including 13 Pilot and 5 Model Cities up to 12th Five-year Plan period (2012–2017). So far, master plans of 49 Solar Cities have been prepared. Moreover, Stake-holders Committees have been constituted in 21 Cities and Solar City Cells have been created in 37 Solar Cities.

Development of Solar Cities scheme

The Scheme aims at reducing minimum 10% in projected demand of conventional energy at end of five years, through combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in city and energy efficiency measures. Under it, local Governments are motivated for adopting renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures.

Solar City developed under this scheme will have all types of renewable energy based projects like solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, waste to energy etc. It may be installed alongwith possible energy efficiency measures depending on the need and resource availability in the city.

Objectives of Solar City Scheme

  • Enable and empower Urban Local Governments (ULBs) to address energy challenges at City-level.
  • Provide framework and support to prepare Master Plan including assessment of current energy situation, future demand and action plans.
  • Oversee the implementation of sustainable energy options through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
  • Build capacity in ULBs and create awareness among all sections of civil society.
  • Involve various stakeholders in the planning process.

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