Ministry Revises Terms of Reference of NCT to Fast-track ISTS Projects

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The Ministry of Power (MoP) has revised the terms of reference of National Committee on Transmission (NCT) to fast-track planning and approval of inter-state transmission system (ISTS) projects.

The move will fast-track transmission planning and approval process thereby facilitating renewable energy development and integration to the power system.

Unlike conventional electricity Generation, which has long gestation period, Renewable Energy Generation needs about 18 months of time for commissioning, while transmission system needs 18-24 months for commissioning. Accordingly, the need for fast tracking the transmission planning and approval process was felt so as to minimise the mismatch between ISTS commissioning and RE commissioning, a power ministry statement said.

For enabling growth of Renewable Energy capacity, areas which have high solar/wind energy potential, as identified by MNRE, need to be connected to ISTS, so that RE capacity can come up there. This is a national mission as a part of our energy transition goal. The revision in terms of reference of NCT will help in timely developing the required ISTS system for having 450 GW of Renewable Energy by 2030.

To expedite approval of ISTS, the power to approve ISTS projects costing up to Rs 5 billion have been delegated. Now, the project proposals for expansion of ISTS costing up to Rs 1 billion will be approved by the central transmission utility and the proposals costing between Rs 1 billion and Rs 5 billion will be approved by NCT. The Ministry of Power will approve proposal costing more than Rs 5 billion, said the ministry.

In the ISTS planning and approval process, there were two regional committees namely Regional Power Committee (RPC) and Regional Power Committee (Transmission Planning) (RPC-TP) which had to be consulted separately, which delayed the process of planning and approval of ISTS.

In order to avoid duplication in regional consultation and to reduce the time taken for planning process, RPC-TP has been dissolved and term of reference of RPC is being modified to facilitate regional consultation in ISTS planning and approval process.

It has been provided that CTU after consulting RPC shall submit the proposal for expansion of Inter State Transmission System to the NCT for their consideration.

After considering the recommendations of the CTU and views of the RPCs, the NCT shall propose expansion of ISTS. NCT shall examine the cost of the proposed ISTS scheme, and formulate the packages for the proposed transmission schemes for their implementation. NCT meetings are to be held every quarter, and monthly, if required, stated the power ministry statement.

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