Fossil fuel power projects clubbed with renewables can dispatch power without agreement

Under new norms, thermal power plants can set up renewable energy projects anywhere and dispatch power without additional agreement. The new norms are part of the revised programme on ‘Flexibility in Generation and scheduling of thermal and hydro power stations through bundling with renewable energy and storage power’, Mercom reported.

The new guidelines allow all new and existing coal and gas-based power plants or hydro power stations to set up or procure renewable energy from projects either co-located within the premises or outside. Fossil fuel power projects can use renewable energy to supply power against their existing PPAS. The RE in the mix will count towards the Renewable Purchase Obligation compliance of the DISCOM, according to the Mercom report. 

$2.5 billion aid on cards for domestic manufacturers of grid-scale batteries 

India is planning to introduce a $2.5 billion subsidy scheme to boost domestic manufacturing of grid-scale batteries to bring down the cost of energy storage in the country. The government is in the early-discussion stage to offer incentives to battery manufacturers over a certain period of time and the total subsidy could be around Rs200 billion, power minister Raj Kumar Singh said.

The minister said India is considering importing lithium from Australia to counter China’s dominance over the metal’s trade. To assure energy security, India plans to expand its coal power fleet by 25% through 2030 unless cheaper storage is available, the minister said.

New battery waste management rules: Producers and importers to recycle batteries

The Indian government released new Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022, in line with its recent announcement to back the “circular economy”. Under the Extended Producer Responsibility concept (EPR), the producers, including importers, will have to collect, recycle or refurbish the waste batteries, Mercom reported. They will be responsible for recovering material such as cobalt, lead, nickel, lithium, plastics, rubber and glass etc. from waste into new batteries. The new norms mandate producers, traders and suppliers to get the waste batteries recycled and not dumped. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will monitor the entire process of inspecting waste batteries for recycling. Disposal of batteries in landfills and incinerators are also prohibited. 

Rajasthan regulator: Firms selling solar power outside should give 10% free to state

Rajasthan’s electricity regulatory commission advised the state government to consider framing rules to mandate solar power producers selling power outside the state to provide 10% free power to state discoms. Those supporting the move argue that the generators use the entire ecosystem of local areas, including vast stretches of land, power infrastructure and environment, which is much more in comparison to that used by any other industry. Therefore, they owe the discoms free power, which can be supplied to the local population.

But solar industry representatives said that Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation is already taking Rs2 lakh per megawatt from power generators who supply it to customers outside the state and if the state goes ahead with the plan, it will set a bad precedent for the rest of the country.