The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has issued a draft national wind solar hybrid policy on June 14, 2016, with a target of implementing 10 GW of such hybrid capacities by FY 2022.
“The national hybrid policy, although still at draft stage now, is a step in the right direction for promotion of renewable energy sector on a larger scale”, says Mr. Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President, ICRA. This is also aided by policy & regulatory support proposed towards the hybrid projects in the draft policy, given the eligibility of hybrid RE to meet the renewable purchase obligation norms (RPO, both solar and non-solar) by the obligated entities as well as continuation of all other policy & financial benefits which are currently made available to existing wind & solar projects.
The key objective of the proposed policy is to promote a large grid connected wind-solar PV system for optimal and efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and thus achieving better grid stability.
Given that critical infrastructure such as land & evacuation network for wind or solar project accounts for about 10-12% of overall project cost, hybrid projects would benefit from a reduction in capital cost to some extent due to common infrastructure and land use in place. Further, the variability in generation profile is likely to be reduced to some extent by the hybridization of wind and solar projects at same site, given that generation from both the sources is at different intervals and in complimentary seasons. This in turn would partially address the concerns of distribution utilities over the grid stability arising due to the intermittent nature of wind or solar.
“While there are inherent advantages in hybrid projects in optimal utilization of resources, the project economics for such projects (whether for new or hybridization of existing wind & solar plants) would be critically dependent upon the tariff level which may be either feed-in tariff based or competitively bid based, as is proposed in the policy. In our view, overall regulatory clarity in terms of tariff norms for hybrid projects remains a key”, says Mr. Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice President, ICRA.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission is hence required to lay down generic tariff principles as well as scheduling & forecasting framework norms for such projects which would in turn provide a guidance for State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERCs) to follow.
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