New draft policy on hybridising wind and solar plants released

Studies show that hybridising the two can lead to efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure

By Mridul Ganguly
Published: Thursday 16 June 2016

grid stability depends heavily on the size of solar or wind elements with respect to the resource availability

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released a new draft policy on hybridisation of wind and solar power plants.

The ministry had recently announced new target to reach 175 GW installed capacity from renewable energy sources including 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind by the year 2022. The new draft policy aims to help realize these targets.

Is it beneficial?

Scientific studies have revealed that solar energy and wind energy are almost complementary to each other. Hybridising the two can bring about efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure and land and reduce variability in renewable power generation, achieving grid stability.

Superimposing the maps of wind and solar resources shows large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate potential. Already existing wind farms have the scope of adding solar PV capacity and similarly there may be wind potential in the vicinity of existing solar PV plants.

The policy focuses on providing a framework for promotion large grid connected wind-solar PV system and encourages new technologies  involving their combined operation.

How can power plants be hybridised?

There are different approaches towards integrating wind and solar power production depending upon the size the sources integrated and the technology type.

However, grid stability depends heavily on the size of solar or wind elements with respect to the resource availability.

For reducing the variability in renewable power generation, the locations where the wind power density is high, the size of the solar PVs capacity to be added could be relatively smaller. On the other hand, in case of the sites where the wind power density is relatively lower or moderate, the component of the solar PV capacity could be relatively on a higher side.

Government has also made provisions where existing wind power or solar power projects, willing to install solar PV plant or wind turbine generators respectively, can avail the benefit of hybrid project, but with few conditions on its way.

The energy produced in hybrid plants can be sold to distribution companies, third parties or used internally. The price of energy when sold to distribution companies is decided by the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) for that hybrid power project. The hybrid power so purchased by distribution companies may be used to offset both solar and non-solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO).

Commenting on the new policy Sridhar Sekar, senior research associate in the renewable energy division at non-profit Centre for Science and Environment says, “The overall policy is a good initiative, but the government needs to elaborate on the tariff plans and needs to bring more transparency into it. There has to be a proper distinction made between RPO and non-solar RPOs.”

Incentives for hybrid plants

The ministry will be responsible for issuing guidelines to determine generic tariff for wind-solar hybrid system and further frame regulations for forecasting and scheduling for the hybrid systems. The government will also give incentives for building wind-solar hybrid systems.

Financial incentives currently given to wind and solar power projects will be extended to hybrid projects. Low cost financing will also be made available for hybrid projects through Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and other financial institutions including multilateral banks.

The government also plans to support the development of technology and set standards for hybrid systems.

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