Renewable energy installation status of India


    In Context 

    • According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the lockdowns slowed renewable energy installations in the country.
      • The pace of such installation is lagging behind India’s 2022 target.


    • India’s Commitment and Present status: As part of its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, India has said that it would install 175 gigawatts (GW) of green energy by 2022 and 450GW by 2030 but only 7 GW of such capacity was added in FY 2020/21.
      • A gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts.
    • Solar energy: Data from the Central Electricity Authority independently shows that India was to have installed 100 GW of solar energy capacity by March 2023 — 40 GW rooftop solar and 60 GW ground-mounted utility-scale. 
      • The country has managed to install only 43.94 GW till July 31, 2021.
      • The amount of power traded increased by 20% over 2020, by 37% compared to 2019 and by 30% over 2018. 
      • This led to prices on average increasing by 38% compared to 2020, by 8% compared to 2019 and by 11% over 2018
    • Coal: Coal stocks hit a new record high of 1,320 lakh tonnes (Mt) at the end of FY2020/21 and exceeded the monthly averages of the previous five years.
      • The country reduced its reliance on imported coal and replaced it with domestic coal, Coal India Ltd, India’s largest coal producer, had about two months’ supply.
      • Imported coal prices have been rising in the past few months because of resurgent demand after the pandemic — especially in emerging Asian markets such as China and India, but also in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the U.S.
      • Greater reliance on coal imports will increase thermal power prices in India, leading to higher prices for the ultimate consumers.
    • Suggestions 
      • India should minimise total land-use requirements through offshore wind, distributed rooftop solar, and solar on artificial water bodies.
      • Agricultural land has the potential to host a much larger proportion of renewable generation, providing a boost to the rural economy and reducing pressure on other lands.
      • The electricity system needed “flexible and dynamic generation solutions” such as battery storage, pumped hydro storage, peaking gas-fired capacity and flexible operation of its existing coal fleet.

    Renewable Energy Sector in India

    • As of 31st October 2020, India’s total renewable energy installed capacity (excluding hydropower above 25 MW) had reached over 89.63 GW
    • India’s wind power potential at a hub height of 120 meters is 695 GW. The wind power installed capacity has grown by 1.8 times during the past 6.5 years to about 38.26 GW (as of 31st October 2020) .
    • India has made remarkable commitments to tackle climate change and is on track to achieve its Paris Agreement targets.
    • India’s renewable energy capacity is the fourth largest in the world.
      • India has an ambitious target of achieving 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), announced in 2017 to pool best practices and resources from around the world for reshaping construction, transportation, energy, telecommunication and water.
    • India has worked systematically for putting in place facilitative policies and programmes for achieving the goal. The success is mainly attributed to several diverse policy instruments.

    Major Programmes in Renewable Energy Sector 

    • National Solar Mission (NSM) 
      • In January 2010, the NSM was launched with the objective of establishing India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for solar technology diffusion across the country.
      • The initial target of NSM was to install 20 GW solar power by 2022. This was upscaled to 100 GW in early 2015. 
    • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) 
      •  It was launched in 2019 and it aims to help farmers access reliable day-time solar power for irrigation, reduce power subsidies, and decarbonise agriculture. 
      • PM-KUSUM provides farmers with incentives to install solar power pumps and plants in their fields. 
    • Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II
      • A Scheme for the installation of solar street lights with 25% fund contribution from MPLAD Funds was discontinued from 1 April 2020 as the Government decided to suspend the MPLAD Funds for the next two years i.e. 2020-21 and 2021-22. 
      • However, the installation of 1.5 lakh solar street lights sanctioned under the scheme till March 2020 was under progress.
    • Solar Parks Scheme
      • To facilitate large scale grid-connected solar power projects, a scheme is under implementation with a target capacity of 40 GW capacity by March 2022
      • Solar parks provide solar power developers with a plug and play model, by facilitating necessary infrastructure like land, power evacuation facilities, road connectivity, water facility etc. along with all statutory clearances.
    • Green Energy Corridor (GEC)
      • To facilitate renewable power evacuation and reshaping the grid for future requirements.
        1. Inter-state GEC component with a target capacity of 3200 circuit kilometre (ckm) transmission lines and 17,000 MVA capacity sub-stations, was completed in March 2020
        2. Intra-state GEC component with a target capacity of 9700 ckm transmission lines and 22,600 MVA capacity sub-stations is expected to be completed by May 2021
      • A total of 7175 ckm of transmission lines have been constructed and substations of aggregated capacity of 7825 MVA have been charged.
    • International Solar Alliance (ISA)
      • The India-France joint initiative of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with an aim to reduce carbon footprint.
      • It has 122 sun-belt countries as its prospective member countries and currently boasts a membership of 86 countries globally.
      • It is the largest grouping of states, after the United Nations
    • Other schemes: Various National Schemes like National Action Plan on Climate Change, National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), National Biofuel Policy, etc.

    Challenges in the Renewable Energy Sector

    • Finance and investment: Gearing up the banking sector for arranging finances for larger deployment goals, exploring low-interest rates, long-term international funding, and developing a suitable mechanism for risk mitigation or sharing by addressing both technical and financial bottlenecks are major challenges. 
    • Land acquisition: It is one of the major challenges in renewable power development. Identification of land with RE potential, its conversion (if needed), clearance from land ceiling act, the decision on land lease rent, clearance from revenue department, and other such clearances take time
    • Technological Barriers: Renewable energy technologies are still evolving in terms of technological maturity and cost competitiveness, and face numerous market related economic and social barriers.
    • Innovation & Seamless Supply: Creating an innovation and manufacturing eco-system in the country; enabling the supply of firm and dispatchable power from renewables etc. are issues that need urgent attention.
    • Integration to grids: To economically integrate a larger share of renewables with the grid is a tough task.
    • Penetration in other sectors: Enabling penetration of renewables in the so-called hard to decarbonize sectors is going to be difficult.
    • Impact of Covid-19: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up tough challenges. The pace of renewable energy projects development and commissioning has been adversely impacted. 

    Way Ahead


    • Focus on domestic manufacturing: There is a need to strengthen the steps to promote domestic manufacturing in the Renewable Energy sector (Atma Nirbhar Bharat Policy). Procurement and use of domestically manufactured solar PV cells and modules have to be mandated for all entities.
    • Risk Mitigation & Easing Approvals: The ongoing efforts for mitigating investment risks and easing approval processes need to be strengthened. The State governments have to play a major role in the acquisition of land for RE projects.
    • Overcoming from Covid-19 crisis: Due to Covid-19, the operation of renewable energy generation plants was declared as an essential service, and a policy for granting an extension of time for various renewable energy projects treating the lockdown as force majeure has been put in place.
    • Make RE an attractive option: With progressively declining costs, improved efficiency and reliability, renewable energy is now an attractive option for meeting the energy needs across different sectors of the economy. 
      • The GOI has been driving a vibrant renewable energy programme aimed at achieving energy security, energy access and reducing the carbon footprints of the national economy. 

    Source: TH