WISE HOLDS STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP TO DISCUSS MAHARASHTRA POLICY

WISE with support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi, has undertaken the project, 'Accelerating RE Deployment in Maharashtra: Implementation Support to the State'. The project attempts to suggest policy provisions for encouraging the development of innovative RE projects like repowering of old wind turbines, installation of canal-top solar PV projects and wind-solar hybrid projects in the state. To discuss and deliberate upon the various aspects with regard to the implementation of such projects in Maharashtra  against the backdrop of the recently released 'Comprehensive Policy for Grid-connected Power Projects based on New and Renewable (Non-conventional) Energy Sources–2015', WISE organized a stakeholder workshop on 9 March 2016 at Le Meridian, Pune.

Dr Pramod Deo, former Chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, who was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session, during his speech touched upon certain critical aspects of the Maharashtra RE policy, especially the guidelines dictating the sale of electricity by RE generator and procurement of power by the distribution licensees which is not consistent with the provisions under Electricity Act 2003. Dr Deo after hearing the implementation issues from the stakeholders pointed out that the state government may think of reviewing the Maharashtra RE policy, and this is an appropriate time as the new tariff policy has been notified by the Government of India in January 2016. He also pointed out that investments in power evacuation for RE projects should not be limited to the green energy corridor, and policies and tariff should be formulated accordingly. G M Pillai, founder Director General, WISE, presented a brief background about the project. Other dignitaries at the inaugural session included Deepak Gupta, Senior Programme Manager (Power), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi; and Manoj Pise, GM, Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), Pune.

The inaugural session was followed by panel discussions and stakeholder interactions on the Maharashtra policy and on integration of new and innovative RE project technologies. The panel discussion was initiated by the session chairman, Dr Deo. Besides the distinguished personalities who graced the inaugural session, the panelists included Santosh Mahadik, VP – Marketing and Projects, Suzlon Energy Pvt Ltd, Pune; and Balawant Joshi, Managing Director, Idam Infrastructure Advisory Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. Stakeholders included senior executives from the renewable energy industry and high-level government officials.




KEY OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
THAT EMERGED FROM THE WORKSHOP

  • The generation targets set in the policy should take into account limited land resources available in Maharashtra.

  • Funds collected under the Green Energy Fund (GEF) by MEDA should be utilized for power evacuation infrastructure in RE projects.

  • Policy targets should be formulated as per available power evacuation infrastructure.

  • The policy should be in accordance with the national targets and should make provisions accordingly.

  • Electricity duty exemption (for the first 10 years for captive wind power projects) needs to be restored to encourage capacity addition under captive / group captive power project mode.

  • The policy envisages the largest share of energy from solar power (7500 MW). In this scenario, it should create a level-playing field for both DISCOMs and IPPs to realize the targeted capacity addition and avoid discriminatory treatment in power procurement.

  • Lack of additional transmission infrastructure and reluctance of DISCOMs to sign fresh PPAs of repowered projects have discouraged investments in this sector. Maharashtra should follow the successful examples of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana in developing RE based power evacuation infrastructure.

  • An inclusive policy, where views of stakeholders including industrial and domestic consumers and generators are taken into consideration, should be formulated for the state.

  • Issues such as selling power under open access (OA) in states where there is no such provision for inter-state OA, and unwillingness of DISCOMs for purchase of additional power generated act as roadblocks for developers, and should therefore be urgently looked into.

  • Modification is required in the policy to permit Time of Day (ToD) metering adjustment in OA; the same was available in the previous policy, but is omitted from the current one. Banking charges should also be re-introduced to encourage open access from captive consumers.

  • Non-discriminatory OA, as per EA, 2003, Section 42 (2) should be allowed in the state.

  • A clear roadmap for implementing and regulating net-metering should be drafted.

  • Inclusion of technologies like wind-solar hybrid, canal-top solar PV and wind repowering projects should be included in the policy.

  • Different tariff should be followed for repowered wind projects so as to incentivize the developers for additional generation.

  • Investor-friendly tariff regime is the need of the hour to encourage more innovative projects in RE.

  • For ensuring fuel linkage and sufficient quantity of biomass, it is suggested that the government conduct a scientific study for assessment of surplus biomass in the state. Based on the study, the state government should devise a strategy for centralized collection of biomass by project developers.

  • RE power cost is on par or cheaper than thermal power, considering the cost of generation of new coal power projects. MEDA should take up a study to identify the benefits of RE generated electricity for the end consumer.