The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has advised the Union power ministry to achieve the level of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) by states to 10 per cent by 2015. RPO is the percentage of electricity to be procured from renewable energy sources, according to the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), which was published in 2008.
The suggestion came at a time when Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have already achieved an RPO level of more than 10 per cent, whereas many other states such as Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Bihar have not even touched 2 per cent.
As electricity is a concurrent subject and most of the utilities are owned by state governments, CERC has noted that cooperation of states is required to attain the national goal of enhancing RPOs. The purchase or use of renewable energy was necessary in view of limitations on conventional source of power.
According to CERC, in order to meet the 10 per cent RPO level by 2015, about 45,482 mega watt (Mw) of renewable energy capacities would be required. The commission has noted that in some states the impact of including renewable energy could be relatively higher than other states. This would be typical for states which have fuel resources and therefore the cost of conventional energy is less.
CERC Chairman Pramod Deo, in his recent communication to Power Secretary P Uma Shankar, recalled that NAPCC envisaged the RPO to be five per cent in 2010 and thereby increasing 1 per cent every year to reach 15 per cent in 2020.
At present, renewable energy accounts for about 4 per cent of the country’s overall electricity generation.
“A study undertaken by the Forum of Regulators has found ramping up the renewable based energy capacity to meet the RPO level of 10 per cent in 2015 should be feasible. While the estimated impact of enhanced RPOs on tariff in terms of paise per unit is not significant, it would require distribution utilities to claim and get approved higher annual revenue requirements before their respective electricity regulatory commissions,” Deo said.