Guidelines for Slope Stability in Hydro Power Projects

  • The Ministry of Power (MoP) on October 10, 2023 issued the Guidelines for Slope Stability in Hydro Power Projects (Guidelines). The Guidelines aim to deal with aspects to be kept in view before and during construction of hydro projects, including mandatory aspects like building retaining wall wherever slope is interfered, reinforcement/strengthening of any identified geological fault, etc.
  • Guidelines are applicable to Hydro Power Projects Developers (Developers) in hilly terrains.
  • The Guidelines categorize projects with capacities of 400 MW and above as vulnerable, and project authorities are required to do extensive evaluations of the upper reservoir regions, identify fault locations, and execute appropriate remedial actions to maintain stability.
    • The Guidelines divide stages of slope stabilization/monitoring into 3 stages in the following manner:
    • Practices to be followed prior to commencement of construction, including survey and investigation (S&I) at regional geological level, project geological level, mapping and satellite imaging, collection of field data and testing, etc. followed by design and engineering of slope.
    • Slope stabilization methods including restoration of failed slope, if required, during construction which includes structural as well as non-structural measures.
    • Practices to be followed post commissioning of the Project like monitoring of movement of vulnerable slopes especially in reservoir rim area and energy dissipation area.
  • The Guidelines provide that for vulnerable projects, the Project Authority shall be responsible for examining the upper reaches including reservoir area, dam site and identify faults/slides and take remedial measures for stabilization.

R&D roadmap for green hydrogen ecosystem in India

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on October 10, 2023 issued the R&D roadmap for green hydrogen ecosystem in India (Roadmap).
  • The objectives of the said Roadmap are as follows:
    • Develop efficient, safe, and cost-effective hydrogen storage methods that enable high density storage, reduce leakage, and allow for easy and quick refueling.
    • Ensure long-term durability and reliability of hydrogen storage, transportation, and compression systems to promote their widespread adoption.
    • Demonstrate distributed above ground storage solutions available at a capital cost lower than INR 30,000/kg by 2030.
    • To undertake research activities on underground storage to validate the performance in different geologies, to identify better and more cost-effective materials and to encourage improved designs.
    • Demonstrate the large-scale underground storage across various media at a capital cost lower than INR 3000/kg by 2030.
  • The building of a conducive research and innovation environment for green hydrogen within India is one of the key pillars of the National Green Hydrogen Mission. The Roadmap summarizes India's current state of research and technology development and makes recommendations for a national research and innovation strategy to strengthen the green hydrogen ecosystem.

Draft Notification on Renewable Generation Obligation

  • The Ministry of Power (MoP) on October 6, 2023 issued the Draft Notification on Renewable Generation Obligation (Draft Notification). By way of the said Notification, the MoP, in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, exercised its powers conferred under sub-Section (x) of Section 14 of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 (52 of 2001), and specified the minimum share of renewable energy by designated consumers having established coal/lignite-based generating station, in order to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Key aspects:
    • Renewable energy sources shall mean sources of renewable energy such as hydro, wind, solar including its integration with combined cycle, biomass, biofuel cogeneration, urban or municipal waste and such other sources as recognized or approved by the Central Government.
    • Power plants starting operations by March 31, 2023 will need to adhere to Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO) of 6%. Those commissioned between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2025 will have a 10% mandate and obligations post April 1, 2025 will be determined based on their commercial operation dates.
    • Bureau of Energy Efficiency has been designated as the authority to monitor the compliance of RGO by the Generators.
    • Any designated consumer having established coal/lignite-based generating station who fails to comply with the stipulated mandatory percentage target of RGO shall be subjected to penalty under Section 26(3) of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, as amended from time to time.

Recent Judgements

Nabha Power Ltd (NPL) v. Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL)

Supreme Court of India | Judgement dated October 09, 2023 | Civil Appeal No. 2425 of 2023

Background facts

  • The dispute pertaining to recovery of deductions of monthly tariff by the Respondent gave rise to proceedings under the Electricity Act, 2003. The matter escalated from the Regulatory Commission to the Appellate Tribunal and reached the Supreme Court.
  • The Apex Court's judgment in Nabha Power Limited v. Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd & Anr1 decreed:
    • The Appellant is held entitled to the washing cost of coal, the transportation from the mine site via washing of coal to the project site inclusive of cost of road transportation for the period where it was necessary.
    • The Gross Calorific Value (GCV) of the coal would have to be taken at the project site.
    • The amount payable to the Appellant as the consequences thereof be remitted within a period of 3 months from the date of the order, failing which it would carry interest @ 12% per annum (simple interest).
  • The Respondent subsequently filed MA No. 1562/2017 in this Civil Appeal praying for a direction to the State Commission to determine the amount payable by the Respondent as per the aforesaid reported judgment of October 05, 2017 and furthermore sought reasonable time to make the payment. The Court rejected this application on December 15, 2017 and directed the Respondent to calculate and disburse the owed sum within 4 weeks.
  • Subsequently, the Respondent sought a review of the main judgment via Review Petition Civil No. 165/2018. This review was dismissed on February 06, 2018 on account of no errors apparent on the face of the record.
  • Despite Court's directions, Nabha Power Limited remained unpaid, prompting them to file a contempt petition, which was tagged alongside another contempt petition filed by Talwandi Sabo Power Limited. The orders passed in these contempt proceedings dated August 07, 2019 and September 03, 2019, respectively, in identical terms, once again dealt with the controversy.
  • By referring to the main judgment pronounced by this Court on October 05, 2017, the bench observed that the judgment dated October 05, 2017 clarifies the formula's components and the judgment mandates adherence to this interpretation, emphasizing the elimination of unrelated figures in the formula's numerator and denominator.

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