ACME Solar Holdings Private Limited (ASHPL) (Petitioner) has submitted a petition in conjunction with Regulation 41 of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) (Connectivity and General Network Access to the Inter-State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022. The petition aims to obtain relief from certain provisions of the GNA Regulations to alleviate the challenges currently faced by the Petitioner due to the operation of these regulations.
ACME Solar has invoked CERC (Connectivity and General Network Access to the Inter-State Transmission System) Regulations, 2022, to treat the Medium-Term Open Access (MTOA) and Long-Term Access (LTA) granted to them under the Connectivity Regulations, 2009, as deemed to have been granted under the new 2022 regulations, without the requirement of submitting bank guarantees.
The backdrop to this request lies in ACME Solar’s journey to develop a 300 MW Solar Power Project in the State of Rajasthan, initiated with a Letter of Award from Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) in March 2019. ACME Solar established M/s ACME Heergarh Powertech Pvt. Ltd. as a Project Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with MSEDCL in August 2019.
The project’s connectivity journey included the grant of Stage-II connectivity by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) in June 2020, culminating in a Transmission Agreement for Connectivity signed in July 2020. Bank guarantees were also furnished as part of this process.
Subsequently, ACME Solar applied for Long-Term Access (LTA) in October 2021, which was granted by Central Transmission Utility of India Limited (CTUIL) in December 2021. Despite the LTA agreement, ACME Solar commissioned the Solar project’s 300 MW capacity on May 22, 2022, and began scheduling power under Short-Term Open Access (STOA) due to the non-operationalization of LTA by CTU. This decision was explicitly reflected in the Commissioning Certificate, with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) approving the scheduling of power through STOA.
Furthermore, ACME Solar sought Medium-Term Open Access (MTOA) to address the limitations of STOA scheduling. While MTOA was granted in September 2022, it has not yet been made effective by CTUIL.
ACME Solar continues to schedule power under STOA, incurring substantial DSM (Deviation Settlement Mechanism) penalties due to the unavailability of schedule revisions under STOA. Additionally, two instances of non-payment by MSEDCL resulted in the Petitioner’s power not being scheduled under STOA.
The introduction of the GNA Regulations in June 2022 led to ACME Solar facing the necessity of submitting Conn BG-3 bank guarantees. The situation arises from the project’s commissioning despite the LTA not being in effect, leaving ACME Solar with no further actions to undertake.
In light of these developments, ACME Solar has petitioned the Commission to allow the transition smoothly to the new regulations without the mandatory submission of bank guarantees, particularly Conn BG-3.
This request is pivotal in addressing the operational hardships faced by ASHPL and ensuring a seamless transition to the latest regulatory framework. The decision of the Commission in this matter is anticipated to have significant implications for the renewable energy sector and its regulatory landscape.
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