Solar power producers move court against curbs on output

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Adani Green Energy (Tamil Nadu) and a few other private solar power generators in the State have approached the Madras High Court, accusing the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) and the Tamil Nadu State Load Despatch Centre (TNSLDC) of not allowing solar plants to generate power to their full capacity by issuing oral instructions to back down for about 7 to 10 hours every day.

Justice M. Duraiswamy has clubbed all their cases and posted them for hearing on January 10.

In its affidavit, Adani Green Energy (TN), which had set up a 216 MW solar power plant at Kamuthi taluk in Ramanathapuram district, said it had invested Rs. 1,477.61 crore in the project and was now facing bankruptcy because of the curbs imposed by the State entities in violation of their commitment to purchase power.

According to the company, the State government had notified its Solar Energy Policy in 2012 with a vision to generate 3,000 MW of solar power by 2015.

‘Heavy losses’

One of the aspects of the policy was to encourage setting up of solar power plants. Aspiring project developers came forward to set up plants and Tangedco promised to procure energy generated by them through a long-term power purchase agreement up to a capacity of 1,000 MW.

On September 12, 2014, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) issued a comprehensive tariff order and fixed tariff for purchase of solar power at Rs. 7.01 a unit. Subsequently, the petitioner company entered into an energy purchase agreement with Tangedco for supplying 216 MW of power at the rate fixed by TNERC. One of the clauses of the agreement was that the power would be evacuated to the maximum extent.

“However, the petitioner has been continuously forced to suffer huge losses due to backing down instructions from the TNSLDC and forceful disconnection/curtailment of supply from their solar power plant by Tangedco/Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (Tantrasco).

“Invariably, these instructions are issued over the phone without any written confirmation either prior to or after backing down/disconnection in the name of real time operation,” the company alleged.

Contending that such curtailment could be done only in exceptional circumstances of maintaining grid stability or safety and that too as a last resort, including backing down of conventional generators, the company said: “Non-evacuation of solar power at times of peak generation… is a wastage of installed infrastructure… By such conduct, the respondents are breaching their obligation in so far as ‘Must Run’ status of the petitioner was concerned.”

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