Trends and Way Forward in the State Electricity Sectors: An Experience Sharing Workshop

Prayas (Energy Group) convened a two day experience sharing workshop involving more than 40 civil society actors from 14 states. Decades after the reform process the sector continues to be a in a state of flux with several technological and structural changes adding to the complexity, challenges and uncertainty. Addressing this emerging scenario requires agile, forward looking and innovative approaches by all stakeholders including DISCOMs, Regulatory Commissions and Consumers. In this context, the objective of the workshop was to improve the understanding and engagement of civil society groups in the state electricity sectors through experience sharing.

Through state-level presentations and discussions on key issues such as power procurement, supply and service quality, rural electrification, regulatory governance and ensuring effective consumer participation the participants deliberated key aspects of the emerging scenario and discussed approaches for a way forward.

During the proceedings of the workshop each participant gained more ideas for continuing engagement with the sector in their own areas of work with an informal network for support.

This workshop is expected to be a first step of such interactions, and more such events will be organised over a period of time.

Roundtable discussion on issues related to renewable energy grid integration with a focus on forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement regulations

The Government of India has announced a target of 175 GW (100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind) of renewable power in the country by 2022. Considering this target, the penetration of renewables may reach as high as 33% in terms of capacity and 21% in terms of generation. Operating the grid efficiently, economically and securely with high penetration of intermittent wind and solar generation, especially with concentrated deployment in few states can be additionally challenging.
One of the important steps that the regulatory set-up has been working on is the introduction of forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement mechanisms for wind and solar generators. While this is an important first step, as the share of RE increases it will crucial to understand its implications on various sectoral stakeholders.

In this context, Prayas (Energy Group) organised a roundtable discussion to deliberate on the various specific challenges around forecasting, scheduling and deviation settlement regulations for renewables and broader RE grid integration aspects. The discussion was carried out under Chathan House rules to enable frank and open discussions. The objective was to understand the different perspectives of various stakeholders (ERCs, Generators, DISCOMs, LDCs, etc.). Our hope was that these deliberations would constructively inform policy and regulatory officials as they work on the important task of framing rules around renewable energy grid integration. The roundtable was attended by 36 people representing a strong diversity of stakeholders including SERCs, DISCOMs, SLDCs, Wind/Solar developers, Consulting, Thermal Generators, Transmission Utilities, Academia, Power Exchanges, Consumer representatives and Forecasting and Scheduling service providers.

Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector

The full-day event "Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector" consisted of three sessions, with each session focusing on one recent publication from Prayas. The event was well attended with each session having between 20 and 30 participants from across a wide spectrum consisting of regulators, senior bureaucrats, utility representatives, trade union representatives, civil society organisations, consultants, energy and environment researchers and think tanks.

In the first session, PEG presented its report Price of plenty analysing the "surplus" power situation in the country, its causes, implications and possible solutions. The report presentation was followed by remarks from Mr. Anish De (KPMG) as a discussant. This was followed by a robust discussion among participants sharing their perspectives on the topic.

In the second session, discussion revolved around the PEG report In the name of competition which analyses the saga of retail electricity competition in Mumbai. The analysis looks at the history of evolution of retail competition in Mumbai, the roles of various players involved and lessons for future reforms in this direction. Daljit Singh (independent researcher) and Geeta Gouri (former Member, Competition Commission of India) shared their views as discussants, following which participants shared and discussed their ideas on this issue.

The last session was based on a recent book published by PEG reviewing India's electricity sector reforms over the last 25 years. PEG made a presentation on the book titled Many sparks but little light which covers thermal, hydro and renewable generation, electricity distribution and associated fuel sectors of coal and gas. After PEG presented the motivation for the book and its major conclusions, Srinivasa Murthy (former Chair, Karnataka ERC) and Mahesh Rangarajan (Professor, Ashoka University) complimented PEG for publishing the book and shared their thoughts on it. Participants in the session also shared their views on the book as well as the future of the sector.

Stakeholder Workshop on Renewable Energy onsite generation and use in Buildings

Worldwide, buildings use about 40% of energy and they emit approximately 1/3rd of GHG emissions. In India, residential and commercial buildings account for 31% of the electricity consumption2 and is increasing at a rate of 10-12% a year. Prayas Energy Group (PEG), Pune and Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (GKSPL), New Delhi are collaboratively working on identifying the opportunities and avenues to overcome the challenges in realizing the potential of onsite renewable energy generation and use in buildings. In this regard, PEG and GKSPL organized a half-day stakeholder discussion on October 20, 2016 to share the initial findings of this study and to get inputs on understanding key challenges, opportunities and action points in further increasing the effective use of RE in buildings.

Pune-Maximum Solar City launch

Pune has been selected under the GoI’s Smart Cities Mission and one of the important areas of focus under this initiative is to substantially increase the use of solar power, especially Rooftop Solar PV (RTPV) within the city. To further accelerate the pace of solar deployment in the City, newly formed PSCDCL (P U N E Smart City Development Corporation Ltd.) launched the ‘Pune-Maximum Solar City’ initiative on 10th May 2016, as a first step towards facilitating Solar in Pune. PSCDCL in collaboration with city based national think tanks; PEG (Prayas Energy Group) and PIC (Pune International Centre) organised a citizens and media awareness programme. The event was attended by over 100 citizens and 30 rooftop solar developers from Pune.

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