The government has notified the ‘Green Open Access Rules 2022’ in a bid to accelerate India’s renewable energy programmes. These rules are notified for promoting generation, purchase and consumption of green energy including the energy from waste-to-energy plants.

The notified rules enable simplified procedure for the open access to green power. It will enable faster approval of green open access, uniform banking, voluntary purchase of renewable energy (RE) power by commercial and industrial consumers, applicability of OA charges etc.. As per the notification, commercial and industrial consumers are allowed to purchase green power on voluntarily basis. Meanwhile, captive consumers can take power under green open access with no minimum limitation. Every consumer thereby becomes stakeholder to contribute in achieving India’s commitment of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel by 2030. Also, discom consumers can demand for supply of green power to them.

Besides, the green open access is allowed to any consumer and the limit of open access transaction has been reduced from 1 MW (megawatt) to 100 kW for green energy in order to enable small consumers also to purchase renewable power through open access. The release further notifies that there will be transparency in the approval process of the open access applications.

As per the rules, the approvals are to be granted in 15 days or else it will be deemed to have been approved subject to fulfilment of technical requirements. It will be through a national portal. Meanwhile with regard to the tariff, the statement read that the tariff for the green energy shall be determined separately by the appropriate commission, which shall comprise of the average pooled power purchase cost of the renewable energy, cross-subsidy charges, if any, and service charges covering the prudent cost of the distribution licensee for providing the green energy to the consumers.

The rules is expected to streamline the overall approval process for granting open access, including timely approval, to improve predictability of cash flows for renewable power producers. It will also bring uniformity in the application procedure. The rules provide certainty on open access charges to be levied on green energy open access consumers, which includes transmission charges, wheeling charges, cross-subsidy surcharge and standby charges. In addition, the cap on increasing the cross-subsidy surcharge as well as the removal of additional surcharge not only incentivises the consumers to go green but also addresses the issues that have hindered the growth of open access in India.

Moreover, consumers will be given certificates if they consume green power. Cross subsidy surcharge and additional surcharge shall not be applicable, if green energy is utilised for production of green hydrogen and green ammonia. Besides, there shall be a uniform renewable purchase obligation on all obligated entities in the area of a distribution licensees.

Commenting on the development, Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said, “We are grateful to chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for their continuous support on taking this issue with the Ministry of Power. We welcome the notification of the Electricity (Promoting Renewable Energy through Green Energy Open Access Rules) Rules 2022 for promoting renewable energy through green energy open access which prescribes for any consumer who has contracted demand/sanctioned load of 100 kW or more except for captive consumers.”