Sunday, September 19, 2021

Govt’s new RE rules set to push Green Hydrogen in India

The Union government has recently proposed a novel set of “Draft Electricity Rules, 2021” for promoting Renewable Energy through Green Energy Open Access.

The novel rules proposed by the govt. are set to accelerate the growth of renewable energy in India. Further, the move is set to promote the purchase of clean energy sources including green hydrogen and waste-to-energy plants.

What is clean energy?

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association defines clean energy as energy derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources and that derived from energy efficiency measures.

While the US Dept. of Energy recognizes Solar, Wind, Hydel, Geothermal, Bioenergy, Nuclear energy, and Hydrogen as sources of clean energy.

Rationale Behind (Objective):

The novel draft rules identify green energy as electrical energy generated from renewable sources of energy for consumers, including industries that have a load of 100 kW or more.

– By proposing the new rules, the govt aims to standardize the purchase of clean energy by means of uniform renewable purchase obligation, on all obligated entities like- distribution licensees, open access consumers & captive power consumers.

(The renewable purchase obligation is a mechanism listed under the Electricity Act, 2003 by which the big consumers have to purchase a certain percentage of their total consumption of electricity from renewable energy sources)

– Further, the proposed rules aim to accelerate the adoption of renewable power by addressing related concerns in the green energy sector.

About the draft|
New provisions under the draft

– According to the new draft rules, “any entity (obligated or not) may elect to purchase & consume renewable energy as per their requirements”, through personal generation directly from RE sources or by procuring RE through open access from any developer, purchase of renewable energy certificates, or by the purchase of green hydrogen.

– The tariff for green energy shall be determined by the appropriate Commission, which “may comprise of the average pooled power purchase cost of the renewable energy, cross-subsidy charges & service charges covering all prudent cost of the distribution licensee for providing green energy”.

– Further, the draft stated that there shall not be any capacity limit for the installation of power plants from renewable energy sources, however, the electricity generated should be utilized for internal use & not be fed into the electricity grid.

– Emphasis is also laid in the proposed draft for the Commission to put in place regulations to provide “Green Energy Open Access to consumers willing to consume green energy.” However, it has also been clarified that only consumers who have sanctioned a load of 100 kW & above shall be eligible to take power through this system.

– The draft proposes that a “central nodal agency” shall be notified by the central government which will operate a single-window green energy open access system for renewable energy.

‘Waste-to-energy’:

Any consumer can meet their Renewable Purchase Obligation by purchasing green hydrogen. However, the quantum of green hydrogen would be computed by considering the equivalence to the green hydrogen produced from one MWh of electricity from the renewable sources or its multiple”.

Green hydrogen: Tops the Indian government’s priority list

Green Hydrogen produced using electricity from renewable sources is on the top of the Indian government’s list of priorities.
PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech mentioned “green hydrogen” as the future of the world and announced the setting up of the National Hydrogen Mission.

He further said- “We have to make India a Global Hub for Green Hydrogen production and export … This will not only help India to make new progress in the field of energy self-reliance but will also become a new inspiration for clean energy transition all over the world.”

What it means for India?

India with an ambitious RE target of an installed capacity of 175 gigawatts to be achieved by 2022 has recently crossed the 100 GW mark.

In June this year, the Union power minister RK Singh highlighted a way to India’s energy transition by means of rules being framed for a “green tariff’ policy. The policy is expected to help electricity distribution companies supply electricity generated from clean energy projects at a cheaper rate as compared to power from conventional fuel sources.

The rules proposed by the Union power ministry have been uploaded online since August 16 to seek comments and feedback from all stakeholders within 30 days.

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