25 February 2020 | Mridul Chadha
Eight of the proposed 11 Renewable Energy Management Centres (REMCs) have commenced operations. REMCs were proposed to be set up by the Ministry of Power back in 2017 to aggregate renewable energy forecasts and dispatch schedules. They are expected to help optimise scheduling of conventional power plants and maintain grid balance.
In late-2018, 11 REMC contracts were awarded by Power Grid Corporation. Contracts for a national and six northern and southern REMCs were awarded to a joint venture of OSI Systems and Chemtrols while Siemens was awarded the western region REMC contract. Subsequently, eight state and regional-level REMCs in western and southern regions were partially operationalised in mid-2019. REMCs in northern region are still believed to be facing real-time data acquisition problems.
In December 2019, the Ministry of Power also approved establishment of REMCs for Telangana and South Andaman. More REMCs may be set up in other states as renewable power penetration increases.
Figure: Current REMC structure
Source: BRIDGE TO INDIA research
REMCs complement existing scheduling and dispatch system available to grid operators. To achieve high forecasting accuracy, the REMCs seek weather and generation forecasts from multiple service providers. Generation forecasts are made on intra-day, day-ahead and week-ahead basis.
Through REMCs, India expects to catch-up with developed markets like Germany, Australia and the United States in balancing and deviation settlement mechanism for renewable energy projects. Grid operators in these countries are responsible for regional forecasts while individual developers settle project-level generation deviation through open market instruments with or without penalties depending on regulations.
A major beneficiary of REMC initiative would be thermal power projects. These projects will be able to schedule their generation and source fuel more efficiently.
Establishment of REMCs is yet another step to integrate large-scale renewable energy in the grid. A logical next step in this direction would be to link renewable power project generation deviation charges to grid frequency and day-ahead market prices, as is the case for conventional power plants and DISCOMs.