According to reports, industrial units with captive renewable energy generation capacities are concerned over the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order making it mandatory for them to meet the 6 per cent Solar Purchase Obligation.
Under the Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy of 2012, approved by the Regulatory Commission last week, industrial and commercial power consumers have to meet 6 per cent of their electricity requirement from solar power from January 2014. They can do this either from a captive solar power source, purchase from a third party, including the utility, or simply pay the solar tariff to the utility.
However, according to the Tamil Nadu Spinning Mills Association, members of which own over half the State’s wind power generation capacity of about 7,000 MW, the order also applies to industrial and commercial consumers who meet their power needs using wind or other renewable energy.
The Association’s Chief Advisor, K. Venkatachalam, in a communication to the members, has pointed out that the Electricity Act 2003, a Central Act, seeks to promote renewable energy sector through a Renewable Purchase Obligation by requiring that a specified portion of the total electricity consumption is met from renewable energy sources.
The obligation covers utilities, distribution licensees, consumers with grid-connected captive generation capacities and open-access consumers.
The TNERC RPO Regulations 2010 mandate that 9 per cent of the power consumption should be met from renewable energy, including 8.95 per cent from non-solar renewable energy and 0.05 per cent from solar power.
The 6 per cent solar power obligation under the latest policy is over and above the 9 per cent RPO and applies to entities using other renewable sources, including wind and biomass. Renewable power cannot again be subjected to SPO, he felt.
Also, the solar purchase obligation takes effect from January 2013, when 3 per cent is mandated, and 6 per cent from January 2014. As of now, there are not enough solar generation capacities, which means that consumers who have to meet the obligation will simply have to fork out the money.
K. Kasturirangaian, Chairman, Indian Wind Power Association, said some of the provisions of the Solar Order are not in line with the Central Electricity Act.