The Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) recently made a significant decision in response to a request from Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVN Ltd.), taking a proactive step to further the state’s solar energy goals. The decision revolves around the implementation of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, including Canal Bank and Canal Top Solar PV plants, and the margin to be allowed for eligible government organizations.
In August 2023, the UERC introduced the UERC (Tariff and Other Terms for Supply of Electricity from Renewable Energy Source and non-fossil fuel-based Co-generation Stations) Regulations, 2023 (RE Regulations, 2023). These regulations aimed to provide a framework for the development of renewable energy projects in the state, including the Canal Bank and Canal Top Solar Power Plants, through tariff-based competitive bidding.
Following the release of the RE Regulations, UJVN Ltd. submitted a formal request to the Commission. Their request centered on expanding the scope of solar PV projects eligible for inclusion under the first proviso of Regulation 2(3) of RE Regulations, 2023. UJVN Ltd. argued that the exclusion of solar PV projects beyond Canal Bank and Canal Top was incongruent with the Solar Policy, 2023, which encouraged solar PV installations on unused government land.
In response to UJVN Ltd.’s request, Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) emphasized the need to keep the margin allowed to government organizations at a minimum, suggesting a reduction from the existing 8% to 1%-2%. UPCL argued that this would help control consumer tariffs and highlighted its initiatives to procure cost-effective solar and wind power.
The Commission carefully analyzed both UJVN Ltd.’s request and UPCL’s recommendation. While UPCL had proposed a reduction in the margin, the Commission decided not to amend the existing regulations in this regard. Instead, it invoked its powers under Regulation 53 of RE Regulations, 2023, to address the issue in a more comprehensive manner.
The Commission’s decision allows UJVN Ltd. and other government organizations to have specific margins over and above the bid tariffs for solar PV projects, while ensuring that these margins do not exceed the generic tariff determined by the Commission for the year of commissioning. This move aims to facilitate the development of solar power projects on unused government land, contributing to the state’s solar energy generation capacity.
The Commission’s decision to strike a balance between promoting solar energy development and managing consumer tariffs is a positive step toward meeting Uttarakhand’s renewable energy goals. By allowing government organizations to have specified margins for solar projects, the state can harness the potential of untapped resources and further its commitment to sustainable energy. This decision positions Uttarakhand as a player in the renewable energy landscape, aligning with national and global efforts to combat climate change.
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