The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced guidelines for procuring round-the-clock power from grid-connected renewable energy projects supported by conventional thermal power projects. The combination or ‘bundle’ of power will ensure power supply throughout the day as the conventional power will help mitigate the intermittency of renewable power. As per the guidelines, at least 51 per cent of the power supplied should be sourced from renewable power projects, which may include storage. Moreover, power generators will have to ensure at least 85 per cent availability annually as well as during peak hours. Failing the 85 per cent supply requirement will result in a penalty equivalent to 25 per cent of the shortfall in energy terms, calculated at the maximum composite tariff payable during the year. Also, the power purchase agreement must be of 25 years or more from the date of start of supply.
The successful bidders will be selected through a competitive bidding process. As per the document, the bidders must quote a single tariff for the round-the-clock projects at the delivery point. The minimum capacity for bids will be 250 MW. However, bidders can club smaller thermal projects to tie-up with renewable projects. The renewable energy component can include solar, wind, hydropower or any combination of these. Including a storage component is not necessary. These guidelines will help address the issues of intermittency, limited hours of supply and low capacity utilisation of renewable power plants, and make them more attractive for state-owned power distribution companies.