Draft wind-solar hybrid policy proves restrictive

The goal of the policy is to reach a wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022

Updated - October 18, 2016 01:13 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2016 11:53 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The goal of the policy is to reach a wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022.

The goal of the policy is to reach a wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022.

The government’s draft policy for wind and solar hybrid plants, released for public comments recently, is a good step, but restrictive as it puts a cap on the size of such units.

The policy, which is available on the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s website and is open for public comments till June 30, lacks in details relating to tariffs, according to experts.

“The draft policy aims to facilitate hybridisation of existing solar or wind systems, besides new hybrid projects,” Shalu Agrawal, Programme Associate at the Council On Energy, Environment and Water said in an interview. “However, it is restrictive in suggesting that hybrid capacity addition, for existing plants, must be limited to the sanctioned transmission capacity.”

This could pose a problem for areas where transmission capacity is not enough to cater to the energy potential, Ms. Agrawal added.

“In wind farms with low turbine density, a significant solar potential could be tapped (even of the order of 500 kW to 1 MW, depending upon plant area), which would require additional transmission capacity,” Ms. Agrawal said.

Laying framework

The main aim of the policy is to lay a framework for promoting large grid connected wind-solar photovoltaic system. This will be helpful for creating optimal and efficient transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation to achieve better grid stability. The goal of the policy is to reach a wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022.

“The hybrid power injected in to the grid will not be more than the transmission capacity/grid connectivity allowed/sanctioned for existing wind/solar project,” according to the draft policy, placing the onus of size restrictions on the utility owner rather than on the government, which is responsible for transmission capacity. “This will ensure that no augmentation of transmission capacity is required,” according to the policy statement. While hybrid systems are viewed as a good step forward for the renewable energy sector as they stand to facilitate the efficient use of both land and transmission infrastructure, the draft policy is not detailed enough when it comes to tariff structures and financial incentives.

“The national hybrid policy, although still at draft stage now, is a step in the right direction for the promotion of renewable energy sector on a larger scale,” Sabyasachi Majumdar, Senior Vice-President at ICRA said.

“While there are inherent advantages in hybrid projects in optimal utilisation of resources, the project economics for such projects (whether for new or hybridisation 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,” Mr. Majumdar said.

“The draft policy is not clear about the financial incentives for hybrid systems and merely refers to the existing incentives for solar and wind projects,” Programme Associate Ms. Agrawal said. “Achieving the targeted capacity of 10 GW, as mentioned in the draft, would require a firm commitment towards facilitating such systems, from the regulatory as well as financial perspective.”

The superimposition of wind and solar resource maps shows that there are large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate potential, according to the policy. “The existing wind farms have scope of adding solar PV (photovoltaic) capacity and similarly there may be wind potential in the vicinity of existing solar PV plants.”

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