“In exercise of powers conferred under sub-section (1) of Section 178 and Section 66 read with clause (y) of sub-section (2) of Section 178 of the Electricity Act, 2003 and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, and after previous publication, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission hereby makes the following regulations for the development of market in power from Non Conventional Energy Sources by issuance of transferable and saleable credit certificates.”

Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) notified Regulation on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) in fulfillment of its mandate to promote renewable sources of energy and development of market in electricity. The framework of REC was developed to give push to Renewable Energy (RE) capacity addition in the country. With this Regulation, broad architecture of REC has been crafted at the national level.

• There will be a central level agency to be designated by the Central Commission for registration of RE generators participating in the scheme.

• The RE generators have two options – either to sell the renewable energy at preferential tariff fixed by the concerned Electricity Regulatory Commission or to sell the electricity generation and environmental attributes associated with RE generation separately.

• On choosing the second option – “sell the electricity generation and environmental attributes”, the environmental attributes can be exchanged in the form of REC. Price of electricity component would be equivalent to weighted average power purchase cost of the distribution company including short-term power purchase but excluding renewable power purchase cost.

• The Central Agency will issue the REC to RE generators.

• The value of REC will equivalent to 1 MWh of electricity injected into the grid from renewable energy sources.

• The REC will be exchanged only in the Power Exchanges approved by CERC within the band of a floor price and a forbearance (ceiling) price to be determined by CERC from time to time.

• The distribution companies, Open Access consumer, Captive Power Plants (CPPs) will have option of purchasing the REC to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO). Pertinently, renewable purchase obligation is the obligation mandated by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) under the Act, to purchase minimum level of renewable energy out of the total consumption in the area of a distribution licensee.

• There will also be compliance auditors to ensure compliance of the requirement of the REC by the participants of the scheme.

The Electricity Act, 2003, the policies framed under the Act, as also the National Action Plant of Climate Change (NAPCC) provide for a roadmap for increasing the share of renewable in the total generation capacity in the country. However, RE sources are not evenly spread across different parts of the country. On the one hand there are States (like Delhi) where the potential of RE sources is not that significant. This inhabits SERCs in these States from specifying higher renewable purchase obligation. On the other hand there are States (like Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu) where there is very high potential of RE sources. In such states there are avenues for harnessing the RE potential beyond the RPO level fixed by the SERCs. However, the high cost of generation from RE sources discourages the local distribution licensees from purchasing RE generation beyond the RPO level mandated by the State Commission.

It is in this context that the concept of REC assumes significance. This concept seeks to address the mismatch between availability of RE sources and the requirement of the obligated entities to meet their renewable purchase obligation. It is also expected to encourage the RE capacity addition in States where there is potential for RE generation as the REC framework seeks to create a national level market for such generators to recover their cost.

The concept of a national framework for REC was evolved by the Forum of Regulators (FOR). Along with adopting these Regulation of CERC, the State Commissions are expected to notify their regulations for enabling fulfillment of obligations by purchasing RECs to make the framework complete for implementation. Model regulation for State Commissions have already been evolved by FOR. Full text of the regulations is available on the website of CERC and FOR.