India announces RPO compliance unit

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Enforcement of the RPO had been either weak or non-existent. Credit: IBC Solar

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has created a Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) compliance unit to improve enforcement of this key policy for clean energy deployment.

Former MNRE joint secretary Tarun Kapoor once said in 2015 that RPO was the “single most important” government policy driver for renewables in India, but then as now, enforcement of the RPO had been either weak or non-existent.

The RPO Compliance Cell will coordinate with states, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and SERCs on all things related to the RPO. It will oversee monthly reports on RPO compliance, coordinate periodic reporting, and act on non-compliance with the appropriate authorities.

Tarun Singh, a scientist at MNRE, has been designated as the nodal officer of the new unit.

An overwhelming majority of chief executives active in India’s solar market believe India will fall well short of its 100GW of solar by 2022 target, according to a recent CEO survey by Bridge to India. If the RPO compliance has a positive effect then hopes for reaching the target will grow, but historically, most enforcement efforts have been inconsequential.

Last October, power minister R.K. Singh said MNRE was planning to make RPOs statutory.

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