“Solar curtailment in Andhra Pradesh, a willful violation,” NSEFI writes to power minister

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Drawing attention towards rampant solar power curtailment in Andhra Pradesh, National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has urged power minister R.K. Singh to intervene and bail out solar generators in the state.

“Solar power projects in Andhra Pradesh have been suffering unprecedented continuous curtailment since July 2019 till date due to backing down instruction issued by AP State Load Dispatch Centre (AP SLDC). Such curtailment—for more than 50% time—has not only resulted in huge losses to the solar power developers but also wastage of natural resource which can provide clean energy,” the lobby group wrote to power minister.

In its letter, NSEFI highlighted that curtailment of solar projects, despite the ‘must run’ status accorded to them, is not only in contravention to law but has also been a coercive action against wind and solar generators who approached High Court and Appellate Tribunal of Electricity against the state government’s action for reduction in tariff.

An act of willful violation

NSEFI submitted that the backing down instructions for solar projects can be given by system operator only on consideration of grid safety matters such as system frequency going beyond the permissible limit (49.9 to 50.5 Hz). Even in such cases, thermal generation has to be backed down first and only then the solar generation can be backed down.

“However, in blatant disregard to the Indian Electricity Grid Code, 2010, APSLDC is backing down solar power even during low frequency while the state thermal power generators are continuing to generate power,” it stated.

“The grid frequency since July 2019 till date has been in the permissible range of 49.9 to 50.05 Hz, thus there is no issue of grid safety, but the AP SLDC has curtailed wind power projects by more than 90% in the said period. Further, the state thermal generation capacity has been ramped up in these time blocks,” it added.

NSEFI highlighted that state generators Vijayawada Thermal Power Station and Rayalseema Thermal Power Plant project were previously not operating at their technical minimum capacity. However, their plant load factor ramped up to 70-80% between July 2019 till date while solar power projects were arbitrarily backed down by more than 60-70% of their operational capacity during the same period.

Further, no curtailment of short-term open access/long-term open access and Discom schedule either implies that there is no grid safety and security issue or that solar power is being singled out for curtailment in violation of its ‘must run’ status.