PATIALA: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has demanded the national electricity policy be reviewed to maintain a balance between renewable energy and thermal energy and has urged R K Singh Union Power Minister to discuss the matter with the power engineers.
The over dependence on the private sector to achieve a target of adding 175000 renewable power and curtailment of the addition of any thermal energy is neither good for the power sector nor for the country. A major shift to renewable energy is likely to render part of coal based thermal plants idle as per new electricity policy.
As per recently released power ministry’s report “greening the grid” the plant load factors of coal based thermal plants will drop from 63 per cent to 50 per cent with more than 19,000 MW of capacity that will never start, and 65,000 MW of capacity. The study has revealed that even if there is no additional renewable power added to the grid, about 10,000 MW capacities of existing thermal stations will not run even for a single day in 2022. The investments in these plants being sunk, it is no longer possible to recover any returns from them although their useful life is still not over.
AIPEF executive committee demanded a review of all long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) entered with private sector companies for thermal and solar generation and expressed great concern about stranded thermal capacity in several states as these are not operated for months at a stretch on account of higher variable rate. With the present situation of surplus capacity the financial condition of several state power utilities is deteriorating whereby high-cost power contracted under earlier PPAs has to be availed or alternately capacity surrendered and charges paid without availing energy.
PPA’s should be amended to give the state Discoms the choice to surrender surplus power from private generators (IPP) and this power should be at the disposal of IPP who should be free to sell power from that surrendered capacity to any purchaser at any rate and the fixed charges for that surrendered capacity should not be payable by the state discoms.