Energy Dialogue with RSN
Why is electricity generation important?
Keywords: Generation, Electricity, Power, Technical
Power is basic human need. It is one of the critical infrastructures on which sustainable economic growth depends. The power generation strategy of the government focuses on the low-cost generation, optimization of capacity utilization and fuel mix, controlling the input cost, technology upgradation and utilization of non-conventional energy sources.

Climate Change is a matter of continuing concern. Further, massive electricity requirement is expected in next few years for following usage:
  • E-Mobility (Transportation sector)- Government of India has ambition to introduce electric vehicle by 2030 therefore massive electric vehicle charging infrastructure had to be laid down and accordingly electricity production.
  • Water Desalination- 30% of the India’s Population resides near the sea shore, keeping in view the water scarcity it will be advisable to have massive desalination program from abundant sea water. This can be done by cheap production of electricity through solar and/or wind energy especially off shore wind power plants and floating solar power plant.

Electrification of Cooking

3.2 billion people across the world do not have clean fuel to cook. Further they use cow dung cakes and precious trees are cut for cooking food. Leading to indoor pollution and consequent health hazard for women and children and climate change. This can be easily rectified by solarization of cooking. Hence, ramping up electricity generation will help in mitigating climate change besides other benefits. In line with this, the government of India has come up with ‘Go Electric Campaign.’

India will require massive electricity generation capacity by 2030 to achieve the above objectives. Massive investment in the generation capacity is needed to ameliorate the situation. There is a large gap between unit cost of supply and revenue. Clearly the DISCOM’s are not in the position to invest funds into generation.

In this background, the Act of 2003 has brought about a fundamental change in the regulatory regime of generation. The Act has brought in the regime of license free generation of electricity. Moreover, captive generation is being freely permitted. However Nuclear Power generation remains a licensed activity and Hydro generation needs techno-economic concurrence of Central Electricity Authority.

Delicensing of Generation

Section 7 of the Electricity Act, 2003 states that-

“Any generating company may establish, operate and maintain a generating station without obtaining a licence under this Act if it complies with the technical standards relating to connectivity with the grid referred to in clause (b) of section 73”.

By virtue of Section 7, Generation of Electricity has been de-licensed. However, following technical standards must be satisfied:

  • Technical Standards as to grid connectivity
  • Technical Standard as to environment

Technical Standards as to Grid Connectivity

Section 73 (b) states that:

The Authority shall perform such functions and duties as the Central Government may prescribe or direct, and in particular to- specify the technical standards for the construction of electrical plant, electric lines and connectivity to the grid.

The CEA has been mandated to specify technical standards for grid connectivity and all generators must comply with the specifications to be part of the regional or local grid systems. The central electricity authority has released following regulations with respect to the above:

  • CEA Technical Standards for Communication system in power systems operations Regulations, 2020
  • CEA Technical Standards for Distributed Generating sources Regulations, 2013
  • CEA Technical Standards for Construction of Electrical Plants and Electrical Lines Regulations, 2010

Technical Standards as to Environment

Various Environmental norms have to be complied by any entity proposing to install a generation station. The Acts which deal with standards to be followed are:

  • ACTS
    1. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) amended Act, 1987
    2. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amended Act, 1988
    3. Forest Conservation Act, 1980 as amended in 1988 which stipulates compensatory afforestation for diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose
    4. Environment (Protection) Amended Act, 1991
    5. Wildlife (Protection) Amended Act 1991
    6. Public Liability Insurance (Amendment) Act 1992
    7. Environment in Impact Notification, 1994 under Environment Protection Act 1986
    8. Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2018

    1. Environment Setting of Industrial Project Rules 1999
    2. Hazardous Waste Handling and Management Rules 1989 amended in 2000
    3. Manufacture Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules 1989 as amended in 2000
    4. Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) (Amendment) Rules, 2010
    5. Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2018