MNRE asks Tamil Nadu to prevent curtailment of solar power

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The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has written to the Tamil Nadu government, urging it to prevent arbitrary curtailment, or backdowns, of solar power in the state. 

MNRE, solar power, Tamil Nadu, India
In a letter dated September 18, Dilip Nigam, advisor-National Solar Mission, MNRE, urged Vikram Kapur, principal secretary in the Tamil Nadu government, to “instruct the concerned officials at the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Co (TANGEDCO) not to curtail generation from solar plants, which in any case are must run plants”.

Nigam’s letter maintains that “the ministry has received various representations regarding backing down of solar projects” in Tamil Nadu and points out that “solar power developers need to be given adequate confidence to maximise development of solar power capacity in the state”.

The petitions say arbitrary backdowns have been causing solar developers huge losses, apart from affecting efficiency of electrical equipment installed and shortening their lifespan. Adani’s petition, for instance, claims that between April 1 and August 31 last year, it incurred losses of Rs 36.38 due to backdowns.

The main reason for backdowns is the erratic or ‘infirm’ nature of solar and wind energy, which varies according to the intensity of solar radiation and the velocity of the wind. State load dispatch centres tend to shut off such power if they fear overloading the grid. But there have been numerous government directives, as well as from the TNERC in the past, saying renewable energy should have “must run” status, and if overloading is indeed an issue, conventional power supply should be backed down.

By Baishakhi Dutta

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