MoP modifies Green Energy Open Access Rules to comply with regulations

The Ministry of Power (MoP) has issued the Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy Through Green Energy Open Access) Amendment Rules, 2023. It includes measures for the banking settlement cycle, new charges, and exemptions for offshore wind projects from additional surcharges. It will enable consumers to purchase green energy based on their consumption. These changes are intended to align existing rules with newly approved regulations and provide consumer flexibility to promote renewable energy open access. The amendments went into effect from January 27, 2023.

In June 2022, the MoP published the Green Energy Open Access Rules 2022. The amended rules changed the terms related to banking from ‘month’ to ‘cycle,’ which provides additional flexibility to states with different banking settlement periods and is critical for renewable energy generators. However, the states need to wait until the ministry issues a definition for the term “cycle,” which was mentioned in the new amended rules. The notification clarified that credit for banked energy cannot be carried forward to subsequent banking cycles and must be adjusted within the same cycle.

At the end of each banking cycle, any surplus banked energy will be considered lapsed. Renewable Energy Certificates will be issued to the renewable energy generator for the lapsed banked energy. The amendments also revise the Green Energy Open Access charges, adding banking and standby charges where applicable. It also includes load dispatch centre fees, scheduling charges, and deviation settlement charges in accordance with the relevant commission regulations. The new rules exempt non-fossil fuel-based ‘waste to energy’ projects that supply open access consumers from the additional surcharge as well as the previously notified cross subsidy surcharge.

Consumers who provide a notice to the distribution licensee at least a day before delivery of power for a standby arrangement before the day ahead market closure time will be exempted from such charges. According to the new rules, any consumer may purchase green energy up to a certain percentage of their total consumption. They can request this from their distribution licensee, who will procure and supply the requested green energy capacity. Customers will also be able to submit separate requests for solar and non-solar energy.

Offshore wind projects that are completed by December 2025 and supply open access consumers will be exempted from the additional surcharge. The new provision replaces previous rules that exempted green energy used to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia. Green open access customers will be required to pay standby charges where applicable and specified by state regulators. The standby charges should not be more than 25 per cent of the energy charges for the consumer tariff category.