Powering the Distribution Companies (DISCOMs)
The MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) of India has recently introduced a new policy for the supply of round-the-clock (RTC) power from renewable energy (solar, wind or small hydro) power projects. The need behind this is to address the biggest issue with the energy sector, intermittency. Solar and wind energy are the main renewable energy sources, but they are not available severely throughout the day. This is limiting their use in modern grids.
The primary purpose of the scheme is to provide RTC power to the distribution companies through the mixing of renewable energy power with thermal power and to increase the renewable capacity additions. The ministry has issued, “It will also facilitate fulfillment of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) requirement of the obligated entities.”
The Reverse Bundling Process
To overcome the intermittency issue, limited power supply and low capacity utilization of infrastructure, the process of reverse bundling is introduced by the ministry. In this process, the high-cost thermal power is allowed to be mixed with renewable energy which is comparatively cheaper.
As per the draft, a generator will supply power such that out of total energy supplied, around 51 percent of the energy will be renewable energy and the balance is drawn from thermal sources. The combination of powers will be supplied by the generator in RTC manner and it will keep at least 80 percent energy availability on an annual basis. “RE power may include solar, wind, small hydro, or a combination, with or without any energy storage system. The option of selecting the type and the mix of RE sources and the usage of ESS shall be with the generator,” the ministry further added.
Transparency in the Bidding Process
The successful bidder for the renewable and thermal energy will be selected on the basis of a transparent bidding process. The bids will be invited for the combination of RE power with a single thermal fuel source, coal. The ministry said that the bidders will decide tariff as a composite single tariff for the energy and this will be considered as a bidding parameter.