THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The latest Renewable Energy regulations issued by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission have set impossible targets for KSEB Limited. The public utility, which had failed miserably to meet its renewable energy obligations when the target was lower, has been asked to increase the share of renewable energy in its product mix to even higher levels.
Last fiscal, when the total energy sold by KSEBL was 23,000 million units, the share of renewable energy in the total power sold by the utility had to be five percent. Therefore, the share of renewable energy (solar + wind + biogas + mini hydel) should have been 1150 MU. But KSEBL generated just 602 MU from renewable sources.
The latest regulations stipulate that the share should be 7.5 percent during the ongoing fiscal, and 9.75 percent during 2018-19. Renewable energy is split into two components: solar and non-solar (wind, biogas, and mini hydel). For 2017-18, this fiscal, the share of solar in the total sales should be 1.50 percent, and that of non-solar, six percent (a total of 7.5 percent). KSEBL fares poorly in both solar and non-solar production. The utility’s net solar generation is a negligible 0.81 million units. Under the new regulations, it has to generate 271.96 MU this fiscal, and (given that the share of solar should be 2.75 per cent in 2018-19) an imposing 453 MU next fiscal.
“We evidently cannot achieve the target,” a top KSEBL official said. KSEBL cannot complain as the regulations have been framed on the basis of National Tariff Policy. KSEBL could have achieved its solar target had the Kasargod Solar Park project panned out the way it had envisaged. The plan was to generate 200 MW from the park, but only 50 MW could be achieved.
“We had taken possession of the necessary land for the purpose, but local issues forced the revenue department to cancel the possession last month,” the official said. Non-solar targets, too, are impossible to achieve. As it stands, the net wind generation is only 1.38 MU. Wind power should be raised to at least 400 MU this fiscal to meet the non-solar target. KSEBL has only two options. It can go for a tariff-based bidding to purchase solar and wind power from private producers. If this is not enough, or fails to work out, it can pay through the nose to purchase ‘renewable energy certificates’ from independent power producers and states that have surplus renewable production.