Costly solar power PPAs - burden to Punjab Consumers

Vinod Gupta | February 11, 2019 11:25 AM

CHANDIGARH: The power generation from solar and biomass plants these days in Punjab is more than the total  generation of state  sector thermal plants  and Hydro projects and balance power supply is given by private sector private thermal generators in the state.

The solar and biomass plants are supplying more than 50 lakh units per day while thermal plants at Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt are under shut down due to no demand.

Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has fixed a target of 2.70% for solar energy and 4.3 % for non solar energy for Punjab State power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) under renewable energy purchase obligations. The solar energy target for the current financial year is 927 million units but it is forced to purchase 1548 million units under power purchase agreements. With the commissioning of more solar units next year’s purchase of solar power is likely to be 1663 million units against target of 1089 million units.

PSPCL in its tariff petition for 2019-20 has stated that the corporation will buy 1440 million units of solar power at the average rate of Rs.6.93 per unit amounting to Rs. 968 crore and 1090 million units from biomass units at average rate of Rs. 5.95 per unit amounting to Rs. 638 crore. The costly injunction of renewable energy will cost Rs.1606 crore. In the current financial year the supply from renewable energy sources is likely to be 2211 million units for Rs. 1407 crore.

Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA).has commissioned 27 Nos solar power plants with capacity of 219 MW under its phase I and 21 no plants of capacity 194 MW solar Power Plants have been commissioned under phase II. Now  under Phase III ,19 no plants of 500 MW solar power plants which were allocated and out of which 12 plants of 325 MW capacity plant have been commissioned and 175 MW are under construction.

The cost of solar power being supplied to PSPCL under 25 years power purchase agreements varies between Rs.5.97 per unit to Rs. 17 per unit with average cost of Rs. 6.73 per unit.

 V K Gupta Spokesperson All India Power Engineers Federation said that now these days the solar power cost has come to less than Rs. 3 per unit why Punjab cannot renegotiate power purchase agreements and reduce the burden to the common consumers .Recently central government has asked the revision of PPAs upwards of ultra mega thermal plants as the existing power supply cost by private generators is not viable.

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