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Centre, wind firms team up against states

NEW DELHI: The central government has teamed up with wind energy producers in their regulatory battle against states that are not meeting their obligation to fulfil a part of their energy needs from renewable sources.

The ministry for new and renewable energy has asked the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity to allow it to be a party, or ‘implead’ in the case filed by wind energy producers against all 26 state regulators, the Forum of Regulators and the central electricity regulatory commission (CERC).

“We have impleaded MNRE as a participant in this case because it seems to be the only way to enforce RPO (renewable purchase obligation) on the states, who are not meeting their targets year on year,” said Alok Srivastava, joint secretary in the ministry. He said the ministry had written to all the state power utilities, power distribution companies several times to comply by their renewable purchase obligations.

“We now wish to take a stricter route,” he said. The ministry has written to the tribunal and the existing petitioners in this case, Indian Wind Energy Association and Indian Wind Turbine manufacturers Association (IWTMA) to include them as one of the petitioners. The two associations submitted to the tribunal in January that all the state commissions had failed to implement the RPO regulation.

“State commissions across the country, in discharge of their obligations under Electricity Act, 2003 have notified the Renewable Purchase Obligations Regulations. However, most of the state commissions are failing to discharge their obligations under the Act in true letter and spirit,” said the submission to APTEL.

RPO, launched in 2010, makes it obligatory for distribution companies, open-access consumers and captive power producers to meet part of their energy needs through green energy. The obligation to buy solar power for all states, ranges from 0.25% to 1.90% of their requirement.

The obligation to buy renewable power from other sources is in a larger band of 2.5% to 10%. In the three years since this regulation was introduced, none of the states have fulfilled their obligations. Last year, only solar powerrich states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan were the only ones to achieve their solar- RPO targets.

“The wind power producers have also not been paid by utilities for months. In Tamil Nadu alone, the payment is delayed by 15 months,” IWTMA secretary general DV Giri told ET.

The petitioners also expressed their concerns over state commissions’ move to relax the targets by either permitting the obligated entities to carry forward their obligation or relinquish the liability all together for certain years.