The latest solar RPO trajectory announced by Maharashtra falls short of the central government’s plan to increase the share of solar power in electricity consumption to 8% by FY2022.
With the initial set of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) targets expiring on 31 March 2016, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission notified fresh targets up to FY2019-10 on 30 March 2016.
As per the gazette notification dated 30 March 2016, Maharashtra has set a target to procure 15% of all its electricity from renewable energy sources by FY2019-20. This includes 3.5% exclusively from solar power projects. The increase in solar RPO from the initial target is much more substantial compared to the increment in non-solar RPO targets.
Solar RPO targets increase at an average rate of 0.625% per annum between FY2016-17 and FY2019-20 while non-solar RPO targets increase at an average annual rate of 0.50% during the same period. While the overall RPO target trajectory is inline with the central government’s guidelines of 15% renewable energy share by FY2022, it falls way short of the recently revised solar RPO target of 8% by the same year.
The distribution licensees are also required to provide, with evidence, their plans to procure electricity from renewable energy sources in their submissions for multi-year tariff petitions.
While the notification clears the air on several contentious issues and reiterates several important rules and procedures it remains silent on the provision to allow distribution licensees to fulfil any shortfall in RPO targets on cumulative basis; the practice has been prevalent in Maharashtra. Despite falling short of their targets, major discoms, including MSEDCL, Tata Power and Reliance Infra, have not attracted any penalty so far.
In a separate ruling, the Commission approved Reliance Infra’s prayer to allow fulfilment of mini/micro hydro RPO target by procuring non-solar RECs. As a result, the distribution licensee is expected to procure around 5,910 non-solar RECs.
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