CERC Approves Green Infra Renewable Energy Limited’s Proposal for 5% Additional Capacity for Its Wind Power Project in Tamil Nadu

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The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has granted permission to Green Infra Renewable Energy Limited (GIREL) to install an additional 5% capacity for its 249.90 MW Wind Power Project located in Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu. The project is part of the Scheme for setting up 1,000 MW ISTS-connected Wind Power Projects initiated by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) on October 22, 2016.

The petition, filed under Section 79(1)(f) read with Section 79(1)(b) of the Electricity Act, 2003, sought permission for the additional capacity installation. The respondents included Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI), PTC India Limited (PTCIL), BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL), and North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL).

The CERC order, issued in response to petition numbers 114/MP/2022 & 115/MP/2022, concluded that GIREL is not prohibited from installing the additional 5% capacity after the commissioning and commercial operation date (COD) of the project. The commission directed SECI, as the nodal agency for the implementation of MNRE schemes, to allow GIREL to install the additional capacity subject to certain conditions. The additional capacity will be used to meet the auxiliary power requirements and transmission losses of the project.

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The CERC order stipulates that GIREL shall not be allowed to inject or sell more power than the maximum permitted capacity, in accordance with the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and the Request for Selection (RfS) issued by SECI. The commission also dismissed SECI’s contention that GIREL had concealed the installation of 252 MW capacity in its Project II, as the capacity was within the permissible limit of 262.5 MW (250 MW allotted capacity plus an additional 5%).

The central issue at hand is whether the Petitioners can install an additional 5% capacity after the commissioning and COD of their Projects, where 100% of the Project capacity has already been installed. The Petitioners, GIREL and GIWEL, have commissioned their respective projects in Tuticorin (Project I) and Kutch (Project II). They are now requesting permission to add the 5% additional capacity to their projects. SECI, however, argues that the option to install the additional 5% capacity was only available until the commissioning and COD of the Project and rejects the Petitioners’ plea on the grounds that it cannot be done after the initial installation, commissioning, and COD.

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The MNRE guidelines and the RfS do not specifically prohibit the installation of the additional 5% capacity after the COD. Had SECI and MNRE intended for the entire project capacity, including the 5% additional capacity for auxiliary power consumption, to be installed before the commissioning or COD of the Project, they would have explicitly stated so in their respective guidelines and RfS. In these cases, no provision in either the MNRE guidelines or the RfS issued by SECI prohibits the installation of additional capacity after the commissioning and COD of the Project.

SECI’s contention that no additional capacity can be installed after the commissioning and COD amounts to imposing a new condition after the original contract is already in motion. According to the Supreme Court’s judgment in Delhi Development Authority v. Joint Action Committee, a party to a contract cannot impose terms and conditions at a later stage that were not part of the original contract. Furthermore, Section 62 of the Indian Contract Act stipulates that any novation, alteration, or rescission in the contract must be made with the mutual agreement of the parties.

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In conclusion, the provisions in the MNRE guidelines and the RfS issued by SECI do not prohibit the Petitioners from installing additional capacity after the commissioning and COD of the Project. As there is no clear prohibition, and considering the legal principles discussed, the Petitioners should be allowed to install the additional 5% capacity in their respective projects.

The CERC’s decision demonstrates its commitment to encouraging renewable energy development in India and supporting the government’s clean energy goals. The approval of GIREL’s proposal for additional capacity is expected to further promote the growth of wind power projects in the country.

With inputs from ChatGPT.

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