New tariffs for WtE plants in process

There are no functioning Waste-to-Energy plants in the State

March 17, 2019 01:24 am | Updated 01:24 am IST - Bengaluru

With the validity of tariffs for Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants in the State coming to a close by March-end, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) is in the process of fixing new tariffs for such plants. A public hearing is scheduled to be held on Monday for the same.

The Commission’s discussion paper on determination of tariff to WtE plants in Karnataka has proposed to fix a tariff of ₹5.65 per unit for a period of 20 years from the date of commercial operation.

The prevailing tariff of ₹7.08 per unit – determined in September 2016 – was extended to the 2018-19 financial year because, as the KERC noted, no WtE plants were established in the State since the 2016 order.

However, there appears to be no functioning WtE plants in the State. According to the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL), the allotted capacity for ‘municipal solid waste’ is 25.50 MW, while the commissioned capacity is nil. This is in stark contrast to other sources of energy: the commissioned capacity for biomass is 134.03 MW, for cogen 1703.16 MW, hydro 853.46 MW, wind energy 4747.24 MW and 5655.61 MW for solar energy as on February this year.

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep said the civic body was open to having WtE plants set up in the city, but it would have to be at no cost to the palike. “The WtE plants will have to be set up at zero cost to the BBMP. We will give nothing other than land for them to operate. All other capital investment will be theirs. We will keep an eye on what the commission decides, and if there is any profit sharing model involved,” he said.

A plan was announced earlier by the government to set up a WtE plant at Chikkanagamangala. However, experts were skeptical of the move, pointing out that garbage generated by Indian households has a higher composition of wet waste, due to which the calorific value of garbage will be reduced and the cost of generation of electricity will be high.

Decision on revision soon

The KERC is yet to decide on making an announcement on the revision of tariffs in the State, given that the model code of conduct is in place for the Lok Sabha elections. The new tariffs are applicable from April 1.

In their tariff petitions submitted to the KERC, electricity supply companies (Escoms) have sought a hike in tariff ranging from ₹1 to ₹1.65, and the commission had held public hearings recently. Last year, the KERC had put off the announcement of revised tariffs until after the State Assembly elections as the code was in place.

In 2018-19, the Escoms had sought hikes ranging from 82 paise to ₹1.62, and the KERC announced a 20 to 60 paise hike in tariffs across categories, with the hike percentage being around 6%. For 2017-18, the Escoms had sought a hike of ₹1.48 per unit. However, the KERC had allowed for an average hike of 48 paise per unit ranging from 15 paise to 50 paise per unit for all categories, which added up to an average 8% increase.

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