GROUP CAPTIVE: THE SINKING SHIP
The renewable energy sector is a sector that goes through frequent development which brings about a change and evolved way in which people think and practice renewable energy like the concept of group captive which came about as a result of the changes and evolution of the concept of open access in the power sector and advancement in the technology of the renewable sector.
The Group captive is an arrangement regulated under the section 9 of the Electricity act 2003 and the electricity rules, 2005 wherein an organization or a person with the help of associated contracted members can set up a power plant at an offsite which would allow them to draw the electricity from their plant at the offsite at a lower cost due to the waiver in the open access charges and would only encompass the wheeling charges, transmission charges, distribution loss charges and the transmission loss charges. This makes the group captive a very attractive option for the industry players which further creates parallel opportunities in investment and employment.
However, the adoption of the group captive through the open access has slowed down due to major roadblocks in the path ahead. The group captive projects have not shown the growth that was expected due to major problems faced by the equity holders of the plant due to several different reasons like the lack of support from the Discoms which leads to problems like increase in the transmission charges, Discoms flouting the policy measures like the Rajasthan Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. ignored the policy measures in place for the captive projects and issued a notice that levied Rs. 0.60 as electricity duty. Another problem faced by the renewable developers is the delay in the signing of the contracts and permissions required like in the case of Haryana where the solar developers have already invested approximately Rs. 20 Billion, however, they are being denied the signing of the connection agreement and the long term open access agreement by the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Ltd. In addition to this, problems like the inconsistencies in the policies across the states, curtailment of renewable energy, and the lengthy arbitration process has made these hurdles in the path of the renewable energy developers a major setback. It further makes the investment in open access unviable in the long term.
India is new to the renewable energy sector and however fast paced it may be, India will have to make more efforts in adopting this technology especially when clean energy is to become the future source of our electricity. One of the ways, the problems in the energy sector could be met if the entire process is streamlined and the fruit of advanced technology is reaped by making the entire process online.