Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission Enhances Green Energy Open Access With New Amendments

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has introduced amendments to the Distribution Open Access Regulations to enhance the green energy open access system in the state. These changes, outlined in the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Distribution Open Access) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2023, aim to streamline processes and promote the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid.

The amended regulations, effective upon publication in the Official Gazette, bring notable modifications to various sections, with a focus on encouraging the uptake of green energy open access. One key addition is the definition of the “Central Nodal Agency,” designated by the Central Government to establish and manage a unified green energy open access system for renewable energy.

In terms of eligibility criteria for consumers, the amendments specify that consumers with a contracted demand or sanctioned load of 100 kW or more, either individually or through multiple connections aggregating 100 kW or more in the same electricity circle of a Distribution Licensee, can access power through green energy open access. The amendments also address considerations for captive consumers, ensuring that no load limitations apply to them.

The regulations emphasize the importance of sourcing power along with green attributes for open-access consumers, aligning with the broader goal of promoting renewable energy. Provisions are made for consumers with rooftop renewable energy generating systems, allowing them to simultaneously avail open access under the amended regulations.

Further, the amendments introduce procedural changes, requiring adherence to formats and timelines established by the Central Nodal Agency for seeking green energy open access. This move aims to bring uniformity and efficiency to the application process.

To support the growth of renewable energy, the amendments exempt consumers from utilizing power from non-fossil fuel-based waste-to-energy plants or for the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia from certain surcharges. Additionally, provisions are made for offshore wind projects commissioned up to December 2032.

Banking charges for energy storage have been adjusted to 8% of the banked energy, promoting efficient utilization. The regulations also address the treatment of unutilized surplus banked energy, allowing renewable energy generating stations to receive Renewable Energy Certificates for the lapsed banked energy.

These amendments reflect MERC’s commitment to creating a conducive regulatory environment for the integration of renewable energy sources, promoting sustainability, and aligning with national and global clean energy goals. The simplified and streamlined regulations aim to facilitate the transition towards a greener and more sustainable energy landscape in Maharashtra.

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