By Charles F Moreira, Editor
India will achieve its target of 175 GW (gigawatts) or 175,000 MW (megawatts) of installed renewable electrical energy generation capacities ahead of its 2022 deadline, a senior government official said on 23 February 2018.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) will help mobilise sufficient funds for the solar energy projects, according to New & Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar at a PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) event in New Delhi that day.
With its secretariat based at the National Institute of Solar Energy Campus in Gurugram, Haryana, India, the ISA provides a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organisations, corporations, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. It has the backing of around 121 countries rich in solar energy.
The PHDCCI strives to achieve progress, harmony and development in the economy by providing a platform for promotion of trade, commerce & industry. It seeks to create a talent pool of highly proactive, dynamic and dedicated individuals who look forward to a career that fosters job enrichment and intellectual stimulation.
In the statement issued by industry body, Kumar said that over the years renewable energy has become cheaper and is set to replace conventional energy, which is a healthy development, and added that India has one of the fastest growing renewable energy programmes in the world.
“Prime Minister wants India to be an innovation hub for which we have to start thinking and supporting about the new ideas for renewable sources particularly in solar energy with the objective of providing renewable energy to the common man as an affordable pricing,” he added.
According to India’s Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Manpower, India’s total installed electricity generation capacity as of 31 December 2017 was 330,861 MW (megawatts), of which 80,677MW or 24% was by the state sector, 103,058MW (31.1%) by the central sector and 147,125MW (44.5%) by the private sector.
In terms of fuel type or power source used in this electricity generation, 192,972MW (58.3%) was coal, 25,150MW (7.6%) gas, 838MW (0.3%) oil, 6,780MW (2.0%) nuclear, 44,963MW (13.6%) hydroelectric (a renewable energy source) and as of 30 September 2017) 18.2% from various renewable energy sources including small hydro project, biomass gasifier, biomass power, urban & industrial waste power, solar and wind energy.
Meanwhile, according to Quartz India of 21 November 2017, almost 40% of all new electrical power capacity in India in 2017 was solar, the largest capacity addition to India’s electricity grid so far that year.
According to U.S. based research and consulting firm Mercom Capital Group, solar-generated electricity contributed 7,110MW or 39% of overall capacity additions that year, up from 4,313MW added in 2016 thus giving India a total solar-electric generation capacity of 14.7GW as of September 2017.
Amit Kumar, a partner at consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers told Quartz that the capacity addition in India’s renewable energy sector for the first time exceeded those in the conventional sector in the 2016 – 2017 financial year and this is likely continue into the 2017 – 2018 financial year.
According to the U.S.-based research institute, the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA), India’s demand for coal is also likely to peak by 2027 and it will be replaced by renewable energy sources, which IEEFA predicts will account for 27% by 2027.
According the the Government of India roadmap for 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, 100GW will be from solar and 60GW from wind power and the government is preparing its ‘rent a roof’ policy to support its target of 40GW electricity generation through solar rooftop projects by 2022.
Meanwhile, coal generated electricity is expected to increase from the 192GW in 2017 to between 331 and 441 GW by 2040, whilst the forecast for electricity generation capacity from renewable energy sources besides hydro in 2026 has been raised to 155GW from 130GW earlier, thanks to more than expected solar installation rates and successful wind energy auctions.
In the immediate term, the government’s goal is to generate two trillion units (kilowatt hours) of energy by 2019. This means doubling the current production capacity to provide electricity for residential, industrial, commercial and agriculture use, 24 hours, seven days a week.
A total of 16,064 villages out of the 18,452 villages in India without electricity have been electrified as of December 2017 as part of the target to electrify all villages by 1 May 2018.
India’s government is taking several steps and initiatives like a 10-year tax exemption for solar energy projects and so forth in order to achieve India’s ambitious renewable energy targets of adding 175 GW of renewable energy, including addition of 100 GW of solar power, by its year 2022 deadline.
The government has also sought to restart the stalled hydro power projects and increase the wind energy production target to 60 GW by 2022 from the current 20 GW.
In addition to renewable sources of electricity generation, at the consumption end, over 280 million LED bulbs were distributed to consumers across India by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under Unnati Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA).
To support growth in the power sector, the government has liberalised the electrical machinery industry sector and has also allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector.
The Government of India is planning to invite bids for the largest solar tender in the world, for installing 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity, to give a boost to manufacturing of solar power equipment in India. Foreign participation in the development and financing of generation and transmission assets, engineering services, equipment supply and technology collaboration in nuclear and clean coal technologies is also expected to increase.