Draft Policy Suggests ‘Reverse Bundling’ For Round-The-Clock Power Supply
High voltage electricity power lines hang from pylons to supply the city grid operated by the Fortum Oyj energy company in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photographer: Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg)

Draft Policy Suggests ‘Reverse Bundling’ For Round-The-Clock Power Supply

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The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has proposed a draft policy for the supply of round-the-clock power to distributors through a mix of renewable energy and electricity generated in coal-based thermal power plants.

Addressing issues of intermittency, limited hours of supply and low capacity utilisation of transmission infrastructure, the draft power policy provides for ‘reverse bundling’—high-cost thermal power clubbed with cheaper renewable energy.

A power generating firm will have to supply electricity that consists of at least 51 percent of renewable energy and the rest drawn from thermal sources. The generator will supply renewable energy complemented with thermal power in round-the-clock manner, keeping at least 80 percent availability on an annual basis, the draft said.

"The main objective of the scheme is to provide round-the-clock power to the discoms through bundling of renewable power with thermal power and to scale up renewable capacity additions. It will also facilitate fulfilment of renewable purchase obligation requirement of the obligated entities," the ministry said, inviting comments from stakeholders on the new policy.

While India is committed to installing 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, intermittent power generated via such sources and its implication on grid safety has been a concern. Parallelly, there is 26 GW of stranded thermal power assets lying unutilised which can provide firm power to the grid.

To bridge the gap, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has come out with the draft renewables-based round-the-clock power. The scheme is unique in the world as conventional and non-conventional resources will complement each other to provide sustainable firm power to the grid.

The draft power policy has been welcomed by industry bodies Association of Power Producers and ASSOCHAM.

Association of Power Producers said the scheme will help with utilisation of thermal power capacity, especially since the new super-critical coal-based thermal power plants have quite a high ramp rate, which can be effectively utilised to provide renewable energy-blended round-the-clock power.

The policy states that the renewable power may include solar, wind, small hydro, or a combination thereof, with or without any energy storage system.

A composite single tariff for renewable energy, complemented with thermal power will be quoted by the bidders at the delivery point, it said, adding successful bidder will be selected through a transparent bidding process wherein bidders will quote a composite single tariff for bundled energy.

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