Covid-19: MNRE terms utility-scale solar power generation ‘essential service,’ allows related material and personnel movement

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The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has asked states to permit movement of staff, vehicles and material required for operation of utility-scale solar plants in order to ensure uninterrupted renewable power generation during the nation-wide lockdown for Covid-19 outbreak.

“Power generation (including renewable power generation) is an essential service for securing smooth and uninterrupted power flow across and within states. In the current scenario of Covid-19 outbreak and nationwide lockdown announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister, there will be need to ensure uninterrupted power generation (including generation from renewable energy power plants)”—it said in a letter issued to different state authorities.

The MNRE said operation  of  renewable energy generation plants  is  critical  for  maintaining  power supply across the country as these “generate electricity and supply the same to grid even in situations  when  the conventional  power  plants  may  not be running at optimal levels due to logistics constraints w.r.t. supply of fuels like  coat, natural gas, diesel, etc.”

The MNRE further announced waiver from section 144, Nationwide Lockdown, Curfew, or any other limitation on number of people to gather in locations like “renewable energy generation station” sites, substations, transmission lines and towers, etc. and other related locations where it may be required for operation and maintenance activities of renewable power generation and associated equipment.