The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is optimizing India’s renewable energy potential with the release of new guidelines aimed at promoting the integration of wind and solar power sources. These Guidelines were notified on 21st August, 2023.
These guidelines underline the benefits of combining different sources of renewable energy to reduce variability, enhance output, and make better use of transmission infrastructure and land resources.
The MNRE’s Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy, first issued on May 14, 2018, and later amended on August 13, 2018, is designed to establish a framework for the development of large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems. The primary goals of this policy are to:
- Optimal Utilization of Infrastructure: By combining wind and solar energy, the policy seeks to make the most efficient use of transmission infrastructure, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and enhancing grid stability.
- Promote Competition: Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, encourages competition in the electricity sector. The MNRE’s guidelines aim to promote competitive procurement of electricity from grid-connected wind-solar hybrid power projects, thus protecting consumer interests.
- Fulfill Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO): The guidelines also aim to facilitate renewable capacity addition and the fulfillment of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) requirements for distribution licensees.
- Transparency and Fairness: These guidelines provide a standardized framework for intermediary procurers to facilitate transparent and fair procurement processes. This framework allows for the inter-state sale-purchase of long-term power at competitive prices in consumer interest.
- Risk-Sharing and Profitability: The guidelines establish a risk-sharing framework among stakeholders to ensure reasonable returns for investors in wind-solar hybrid power projects, thereby encouraging further investments, enhancing project bankability, and increasing profitability for investors.
Key Applicability Criteria:
- The guidelines apply to long-term procurement of electricity through competitive bidding for projects with a bid capacity of 10 MW and above connected to intra-state transmission systems and 50 MW and above for projects connected to inter-state transmission systems.
- The rated power capacity of one resource (wind or solar) must be at least 33% of the total contracted capacity.
- Wind and solar projects within a hybrid project may be located at the same or different locations.
- Storage may be added to a hybrid power project to reduce output variability, provide higher energy output for a given capacity, or ensure the availability of firm power for a specific period.
- Power procured from these projects may be used to fulfill Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) based on the rated capacity of solar and wind power in the plant.
These guidelines, once notified in the Official Gazette, will replace the previous guidelines issued by MNRE. Projects awarded, under implementation, or commissioned under the previous guidelines will continue to be governed by them. Any ongoing bids will be modified to align with the new guidelines.