India invites 2.5 GW bids for ISTS-connected wind-solar hybrid projects

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The Solar Energy Commission of India (SECI) has invited proposals for the establishment of Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS)-connected wind-solar hybrid projects across India, on a build-own-operate basis for an aggregate capacity of 2,500 MW.

It will enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs) with successful bidders, and power sale agreements with the interested buying entities. The duration of these agreements shall be 25 years from the commercial operation date of the projects. The maximum tariff payable to each hybrid project developer (HPD) is fixed at Rs 2.93/kWh for the entire term of 25 years. Project selection will be technology agnostic.

Project costs and fiscal incentives

The projects are required to be designed for interconnection with the transmission network of the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) at a voltage level of 220 kV or above. Developers must set up projects, including the transmission network up to the delivery point, at their own cost. The cost of bay construction at the CTU substation shall also be borne by them, if applicable under the CTU provisions.

Bidders can avail fiscal incentives like accelerated depreciation, concessional custom duties and tax holidays available for such projects as per prevailing conditions. However, no separate central financial assistance is envisaged for the implementation of the projects.

Individual project capacity offered

The minimum size of a single hybrid project shall be 50 MW to be interconnected at a single delivery point. The rated project capacity of either of the project components (solar and wind power) must be more than 25% of the rated capacity of the other component. For example, if a hybrid project comprises 200 MW of rated wind power capacity, the corresponding solar component capacity must be a minimum of 50 MW. The hybrid project capacity for this arrangement shall be the sum of these two component capacities.

The solar project component may also be sub-divided into a number of blocks, being set up at multiple locations, if required. However, such blocks for a single solar project component shall be located within the same state. Such blocks must have a minimum capacity of 20 MW, and the blocks must be set up in multiples of 10 MW. The minimum voltage level for a single block must be 33 kV. These individual blocks must be pooled at a minimum voltage level of 33 kV, at a pooling station.

MNRE guidelines

Last month, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued guidelines for these hybrid projects, under the National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy. The guidelines provide a framework for promotion of large, grid-connected, wind-solar PV hybrid systems for optimal utilisation of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. As per the guidelines, SECI has been designated as the nodal agency for implementation of the scheme.