Renewable energy in India : News & Updates


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Dec 3, 2017
Over 300,000 workers to be employed in solar, wind energy sectors in India
Over 300,000 workers will be employed in the solar and wind energy sectors in India to meet the country's target of generating 175 gigawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2022, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has estimated in a report.

The ILO said in its annual flagship report on the state of the global job market that action to combat climate change could create millions of new job opportunities and "more than" offset losses in traditional industries.

The UN labour agency said that 24 million new posts "will be created globally by 2030", but added that "the right policies to promote a greener economy" must also be in place for this to happen, along with better social safety nets for workers.

The report 'World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs' said India has set itself the goal of generating 175 gigawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2022, which corresponds to around half of its total electricity production.

The report cited estimates by The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) that say that based on surveys of solar and wind companies, developers and manufacturers, over 300,000 workers will be employed in the solar and wind energy sectors in India to meet the 2022 target.

"To meet the target, the number of workers required by ground-mounted solar, rooftop solar and wind power projects, will need to increase... The potential for employment creation is conditional on the domestic capacity of solar module manufacturing and the establishment of vocational training programmes and certification schemes," the report addd.

It said that in countries such as Denmark, Estonia, France and Germany, as well as in India, South Korea, the Philippines and South Africa, a number of environmental policies and national development strategies make reference to skills development for the green transition.

The report noted that India has made environmental sustainability a central objective of its development strategy in its twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17) and set up a comprehensive framework for skills development for green transition at the national level, targeting key sectors and institutions like the Skills Council for Green Jobs was set up for the purpose in 2015.

It said that based on the identification of skills needs in these sectors, 26 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses have been developed for occupations ranging from water treatment plant helper to solar project manager and improved cooking stove installer.

India is rapidly increasing its share of renewable energy sources but still relies on coal, oil and natural gas and the related carbon emissions for 80 per cent of its electricity.

The ILO report predicts that the transition to a green economy will also lead to the loss of six million jobs in industries that are heavily reliant on carbon-based production.

Two sectors, namely petroleum extraction and refining, are set to see job losses of one million or more.

In line with the historic Paris Agreement on climate change accord of December 2015, UN Member States pledged to respond to destructive climate change, by keeping temperature rises to below two degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels. This should lead to more new jobs in the sustainable energy sector through public policy shifts - as well as private sector development - ranging from the promotion of electric cars to energy-efficient buildings, according to the ILO report.

India and France have launched an International Solar Alliance at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015. The idea was to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach.

It indicates that the regional winners from investment in energy use and production will be Asia and the Pacific, with 14 million jobs created, the Americas (three million) and Europe (two million).

In contrast, negative job growth is forecast in the Middle East (minus 0.48 per cent) and Africa (minus 0.04 per cent) if the reliance of these regions continues, respectively, on fossil fuels and mining.
Over 300,000 workers to be employed in solar, wind energy sectors in India
India added more energy capacity from renewables than coal last year
For the first time ever, India has added more production capacity from renewable energy in a year than from conventional sources like coal.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, the country added around 11,788 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. That’s more than double of the 5,400 MW of capacity addition in the thermal and hydro power sectors during the same period.

The numbers are in sync with the Narendra Modi government’s plan to promote renewable power, targeting capacity additions of 175,000 MW from renewable sources by 2022.

Yet, new capacity in major sectors like wind and solar power has fallen short of targets. Instead, it is energy sources like small hydro, waste-to-energy, and biomass that have picked up pace, and even surpassed the annual targets set by the government.

The country’s wind power sector added around 1700 MW of capacity during the last financial year, far short of the targeted 4,000 MW. This was predominantly due to issues with the implementation of a policy change that the government introduced in 2017. The problems have since been fixed, and the sector is getting back on its feet.
Meanwhile, the solar power sector just about managed to go past its annual target of 9,000 MW last year. The target was revised downward from the 15,000 MW set in 2016. This sector, too, had a rough year due to policy uncertainties and fewer government tenders for setting up solar power projects.

The rooftop solar sector added around 350 MW in capacity, woefully short of the 1,000 MW target that was scaled down by the government from 5,000 MW last year.

Small is big
Albeit on a much smaller scale compared to wind and solar power, investments in clean technologies such as waste-to-energy or biomass power have been on the rise. The waste-to-energy sector, in particular, is seeing an increase in activity with several startups coming up with innovations, and the segment added 24 MW of capacity over the last year, far exceeding the 10 MW target.

“While we keep focusing on solar all the time, the entire private sector space, entrepreneurs are looking at other areas as well,” Kanv Garg, director of renewables and electric mobility at advisory firm EY, told Quartz. “People are now thinking about how to collect waste in the most economical manner, how to cut short the supply chain, which is a huge cost, and how to get money out of the entire space.”

The biomass sector, too, installed more capacity than the target last year, and the Indian government is beginning to pay more attention to bringing in policies and incentives for biomass power producers, according to industry observers.

“There is thinking on whether instead of doing crop residue burning what if you can (develop) a sourcing system where you aggregate agricultural residue and convert that into biomass pellets,” Kanika Chawla, a renewable energy expert at Delhi-based nonprofit Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), told Quartz.
The small-hydro power segment (projects of less than 25 MW capacity) also managed to exceed its annual target, although the longer-term target of 10 GW by 2022 may still be an uphill task.

Nonetheless, much of the country’s renewable energy growth will still come from wind and ground-mounted solar power projects. These operate on a much larger base, with a raft of government incentives or policies that other emerging renewables technologies lack.

Also, financial support, critical for the growth of the renewable energy industry, is still missing for some segments. “From the lenders’ point of view, they are very much skeptical on small hydro and biomass,” Ankur Agarwal, a renewable energy analyst with India Ratings and Research, told Quartz. “Biomass has problems with fuel availability, and small hydro is a very seasonal business, so assurance on cash flows is very less…lenders are not very positive.”
India added more energy capacity from renewables than coal last year
India Plans 2 Gigawatt Solar-Wind Hybrid Tender To Cut Costs
In an attempt to sustain low tariff bids and optimal use of transmission infrastructure, India is looking to introduce tenders for development of hybrid wind and solar power projects.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has announced plans to issue a tender to develop 2 gigawatts of solar and wind energy capacity. SECI will auction 1 gigawatt of solar and 1 gigawatt of wind energy capacity at a location likely to be disclosed once the actual tender documents are released.
The concept behind this tender is true co-development of solar and wind energy projects. Site planning would be done in such a manner that solar panels would be installed in shadow-free areas between wind turbines. This would significantly reduce land cost per megawatt of capacity installed.
There would be additional savings for integration of these projects with the transmission network. No specific or additional grid integration equipment would be required for installation. Such projects would ensure that project developers continue to quote highly competitive bids to install solar and wind energy projects.

Such projects, apart from cutting development and transmission integration costs, would also help in renewable energy penetration in states where land availability is an issue and restricts development of renewable energy on a very large scale.

Since hybrid renewable energy projects would in this manner and at this scale would be implemented in India for the first time, it will also be interesting to see how the power generated from these projects is handled. India has so far been unsuccessful in integration of large-scale storage systems with solar and wind energy projects in order to reduce the impact of their unpredictable generation on the grid. Combining wind with solar power projects may give greater flexibility to regulators to ensure a much smoother power injection compared to standalone wind and solar power projects.

Understandably, it will be much easier for the companies with experience in development of wind and solar power to implement these hybrid projects. Such companies include ReNew Power, Adani Power, Avaada Power, and Tata Power.
India Plans 2 Gigawatt Solar-Wind Hybrid Tender To Cut Costs | CleanTechnica
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EGEB: Perovskite cells may revolutionize solar power, India release a new energy draft policy, Solar Exchange to power Moldavia
Today on EGEB, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE made a breakthrough that may turn photovoltaic production upside-down. India bets on solar-wind farm hybrids in their new energy draft policy. Solar Exchange and the United Nations Development Programme team up to bring solar power to one of Europe’s most impoverished country.

Scientists pioneer on-site or “in-situ” solar installations deployment. Silicon-based photovoltaic technology dominates the market now, but an important competitor is on the way that may bring down costs. Perovskite cells skip several steps as they
“reverse the manufacturing process so that first the solar module is produced and subsequently filled with the photovoltaic material then directly activated on site, or “in-situ”? “With perovskite, a photovoltaic material that is currently being intensely investigated, and a photoactive salt, we have now succeeded, for the first time, in realizing a printed solar cell with an efficiency of 12.6 %”​
This low success rate warrants more work, but this technology is very promising and eco-friendly as it requires nearly the same process as glass production. Wastes from this production could then be recycled, transportation and infrastructure costs slashed, making solar power even more competitive than it is now.
India releases its new energy draft policy, suggests superimposition of solar and wind farms. As the greatest weakness of both energy sources is the inconsistent energy production, Indian authorities want to hybridize both so production can go on while one part is unproductive, like solar during the night.
“It is a great combination because then you have steady power coming from six in the morning to six in the evening from the solar, and then have wind which starts around 12 and goes on till about two or three in the morning,” said Ramesh Kymal, CEO of wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa’s India business.​
Savings are to be expected also in the electricity transmission infrastructure.
Moldavian university to be the first European recipient of Solar Exchange’s leased photovoltaic cells. Readers might remember last week’s EGEB about Solar Exchange, a startup planning to bring solar power to capital-starved countries by leasing individual photovoltaic cells to investors through the power of blockchains and cryptocurrency. The United Nations Development Programme approves the concept and is moving to implement it to the Technical University of Moldavia.
“The idea is to find new sources of finance to “help buildings go green overnight” – in this instance with rooftop solar panels, said Dumitru Vasilescu, a program manager with UNDP in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries.“ One of the biggest obstacles to countries investing in renewable energy is a lack of finance, as you often have to wait 10 to 15 years before you get a return on your investment,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. But the university will get a full 1 megawatt of energy installed in the summer, he said, as a result of the crowd-funding effort. Owners of the solar cells, in turn, will receive SolarCoins as soon as the university produces energy, earning interest of about 4 percent on their investment, Vasilescu added.”​
Moldavia imports three-quarter of its energy, making it vulnerable to markets changes and natural gas giant Russia, something authorities hope to change through renewable energy.
Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot program. Heliostats and the rising sun at Solar Reserve’s Crescent Dunes facility in Tonopah, NV. Photo by Ivan Boden.
EGEB: Perovskite cells may revolutionize solar power, India release a new energy draft policy, Solar Exchange to power Moldavia
A tipping point for solar energy?
Solar energy is poised to transform low-income economies, many of which are in the world’s sunniest regions. Solar’s growing share of the energy mix is being driven by better storage capacity and attractive generation costs. Large solar parks are now competitive with most alternatives; their average cost is below 5 cents per kilowatt-hour in some developing countries. Smaller-scale solar grids are also getting more competitive, opening new paths to financing this clean energy source. With rapid improvements in energy efficient lighting, refrigeration, water pumps, and other technologies for households, solar may soon be as game-changing as mobile phones have been in the last decade.

Solar’s potential is evident from its quick growth in India, where installed capacity recently topped 20 gigawatts (GW), putting the country closer to its ambitious target of 100 GW from clean energy by 2022 (an amount comparable to total installed capacity in the United Kingdom). Solar offers key advantages: facilities can be built quickly, do not need fuel to be transported to power plants, and can eliminate transmission costs where mini-grids or off-grid units are built to serve local communities.

Solar can reach people in areas that are poorly served by the national grid or electric utilities. Mini-grids and off-grid generation are well suited to low-income countries where much of the population lives in rural areas; they can also increase access in urban areas. This relieves pressure on traditional energy companies, which are often unable to provide adequate service because consumer tariffs are not enough to cover their costs. They have had to rely on government transfers, which have become more and more precarious. Inadequate service, in turn, makes customers less willing to pay for an expensive and erratic power supply. In a vicious cycle, large physical and commercial losses have further weakened the financial capacity of these companies and their ability to invest.

Technology trends in solar power are changing the supply and demand equation, making it easier to align incentives for producers and consumers, particularly in smaller communities. With costs falling and effective pay-as-you-go sales plans being introduced, the landscape is becoming like mobile communications, where consumers are ready to pre-pay if they value a service and find it affordable. This scenario already applies to small grids, especially in communities where users can easily verify each other’s behavior and help install and maintain equipment. It may soon apply to rooftop units, especially if storage costs drop further. The flexibility of deploying solar power can also make the provision of electricity subject to price competition that benefits consumers.

Solar offers a new financing equation in part because it does not face the price volatility associated with fuel costs for traditional power plants. Together with the ability to charge more effectively for the service, lower volatility makes it easier for investors to hedge their income streams and helps compensate for the higher capital intensity of solar. Less uncertainty also simplifies the design of contracts, the ex-ante determination of the subsidies needed, and budgeting over the lifetime of a project.

In this new environment, the regulatory burden to protect rights and align expectations of investors and consumers becomes lighter and easier to standardize. This can reduce transaction costs and the need for credit enhancement. The main risk becomes macroeconomic, from the impact of currency fluctuations on the cost of hard currency financing. This can largely be addressed by government guarantees to top off the debt service when the currency goes beyond a certain threshold. The liquidity can be repaid by the electricity provider as the impact of depreciation wears off or is absorbed by gradual tariff adjustments that permit the pass-through of currency fluctuations while keeping the service affordable. In these conditions, the macroeconomic risk becomes a liquidity risk rather than a solvency risk. The guarantees can be efficiently backed by contingent loans from multilateral development banks (MDBs), helping reduce the risk premium on commercial financing.

In some cases, MDBs can also help provide low-cost finance; blending it with commercial finance would help defray some investment costs and reduce the payback period to investors. This could address some of the obsolescence risks in the solar industry. In specific cases, the overall financing equation could benefit from treating solar energy as a potential export resource from low-income countries to mature economies. One early example is a new transmission link between Italy and Tunisia’s electricity grids, a project being prepared by the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), housed at the World Bank.

To make the most of solar power’s potential for profound transformation in many countries, it will be important to introduce low-cost, efficient energy storage at scale and understand better what’s possible in the new financial equation. It will also be essential to coordinate efforts globally. To help jump-start cooperation, the International Solar Alliance, supported by France and India and headquartered in India, is bringing together more than 120 countries to accelerate the deployment of solar energy. The alliance is helping realize a global vision in which solar plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change and ensuring a cleaner energy future.
A tipping point for solar energy?
India is beating China in the race to build massive solar power projects
Since its big entry a decade ago, China has led the global solar energy industry. A massive manufacturing sector that has driven down costs, coupled with supportive government policies, have helped it commission multiple large-scale projects and become the world’s largest producer of solar energy.

Meanwhile, neighbouring India has turned up at the party a little late—but is now racing ahead in terms of big projects. Half of the world’s 10 largest solar parks under construction currently are in India, says a report by US-based think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Project Size Country Bhadla Industrial Solar Park2,225 MWIndiaPavagada Solar Park2,000 MWIndiaChina Minsheng Investment Wuzhong Yanchi PV2,000 MWChinaScatec Solar Benban V PV Plant1,800 MWEgyptAnanthapuramu – I Solar Park1,500 MWIndiaMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park1,013 MWUAEKadapa Ultra Mega Solar Park1,000 MWIndiaQuaid-e-Azam Solar Park1,000 MWPakistanRewa Solar Park750 MWIndiaEnel Villanueva PV Plant754 MWMexico

China still has the largest ones. Its 1,547 megawatt (MW) Tengger Desert Solar Park, for instance, is the world’s biggest. But those that India’s building are larger. For instance, by early 2019, the work on a 2,225 MW facility at Bhadla, Rajasthan, is expected to be completed. A third of this plant is already operational. Also on the cards is a massive 5,000 MW solar park along the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat. Even for rooftop solar installation, India has gone big. A 19 MW system installed on an 82-acre campus of the RSSB Educational and Environmental Society in Amritsar, Punjab, is currently the world’s largest.

India has pioneered the concept of the ultra mega power plant (UMPP) in a single solar industrial park. This approach has been instrumental in driving economies of scale and procuring global capital flows…over the last two years with an immediate boon in the form of a halving of solar tariffs to a record low of Rs2.44 (per unit),” the IEEFA report said.

The country is targeting an installed capacity of 100,000 MW of solar power by 2022, up from around 21,000 MW now. It is also chasing an overall renewable energy capacity of 175,000 MW by that year.
This spike in activity has made solar energy cheaper than coal-based power and helped with capacity addition. China, meanwhile, is expected to achieve grid parity—when an alternate source of energy is as cheap or cheaper than power purchased from the grid—only by 2022, IEEFA said.

The Narendra Modi government has also been working to establish India as a clean energy leader. In March this year, for instance, the country hosted the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a non-profit group of 121 countries promoting solar energy. Industry experts saw the establishment of the ISA headquarters in India as a sign that India is claiming pole position in climate leadership.

Yet, multiple policy issues remain. For starters, there’s the expected imposition of import duties on solar panels, which could cripple growth. The country’s rooftop solar programme is also failing, with installation numbers falling short of targets.
Podcast | Does hybrid energy policy make sense for India? Find out.
The government has given the country’s booming renewable energy industry a serious boost. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced a new wind-solar hybrid policy last week that will see the installation of wind-solar-hybrid plants—where both windmills and solar panels are on the same piece of land.

So why does a hybrid policy make sense for India? The shortcomings of both wind and power generation separately. Solar and wind power both work only when their source of energy is good. Thus only when the sun shines at a particular intensity will the solar panels convert it into electricity and similarly, a relatively high windy day is needed to rotate the blades at a meaningful speed to generate current.

A hybrid project helps deal with this inconsistency and power can be generated from a plant almost round the clock. The other shortcoming is land, or rather the cost and lack thereof. Apart from the cost of equipment, one of the biggest costs, like it is for most industries India, is land acquisition.

The industry had requested a hybrid policy that would help earn better return on their capital. It looks like their prayers have finally been answered.

An MNRE official told the media, “In India…small wind-solar hybrid projects are under initial stages of implementation. But we realized there’s a need for a policy framework to bolster growth in this segment of renewables. Going hybrid also puts a sort of check on the intermittency of solar or wind, if considered separately.”
According to officials, the ministry is looking at launching a scheme for new hybrid projects which are 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than 100 per cent solar or wind projects. Under the scheme, the government will likely bid out hybrid projects on tariff based competitive bidding.

These projects could then be set up anywhere in India, depending on feasibility and land availability. Sources said the efficiency of such projects ranges from 40-45 percent as the two sources, wind and solar, complement each other. On the other hand, 100 percent solar or wind projects have shown efficiencies of 20 to 30 percent.

According to media reports, The centre has set an ambitious target of 175 Giga-watts of installed capacity from renewable energy sources by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power capacity. That is an increase of over 100GW from the total renewable power installed capacity in India currently, which is about 70 GW. It is expected that by 2030, approx.

40 percent of India’s installed capacity will be from renewable power. Most of the incremental power generation capacity is renewable in nature. India is rapidly increasing its share of renewable energy sources but still relies on coal, oil and natural gas and the related carbon emissions for 80 percent of its electricity.

That said, the primary objective of the govt’s wind-solar hybrid policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid systems for optimal and efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. This will achieve better grid stability. Studies have shown that in India, solar and wind resources are complementary to each other and the hybridization of these two technologies would help in minimizing the variability.

"Solar and wind power being variable in nature pose certain challenges on grid security and stability and therefore suitable policy interventions are required not only for new wind-solar hybrid plants, but also for encouraging hybridisation of existing plants," the ministry said.

The new policy also encourages new technologies, methods and solutions involving combined operation of wind and solar PV projects. It talks about the integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at AC as well as DC level. The policy also provides for flexibility in the share of wind and solar components in the hybrid project, subject to the condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25 percent of the rated power capacity of another resource for it to be recognised hybrid project.

The MNRE’s final policy also permits the use of battery storage in the hybrid project for optimising output and reducing variability. The policy makes it mandatory for regulatory authorities to list out and implement the necessary standards and regulations for such hybrid systems. Under this policy, the central government will extend all fiscal and financial incentives available to wind and solar power projects to hybrid projects. It will also support technology development projects in the field.

The power generated from hybrid facilities can be used for many purposes: Captive purpose; Sale to third-parties through open access; Sale to various state Discoms either at tariff determined by State Electricity Regulatory Commissions or through a transparent bidding process and Sale to Discoms at average power purchase cost.

If we look at the state of renewable energy in India, the sector had run into rough weather after a strong start, both at the operating level as well as the regulatory level. The poor financials of state electricity boards forced them to default on their power purchase agreements or PPAs. Falling equipment costs and increased domestic and foreign competition with access to cheap capital sent power tariffs crashing. Now with hybrid units, that would enable more electricity generation, and yields for investors can improve substantially.

Superimposing wind and solar resource maps for India shows large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate potential. Existing wind farms have the scope of adding solar PV capacity and, similarly, there may be wind potential in the vicinity of an existing solar PV plant.

Experts say India is an ideal market for hybrid projects, considering that many states are rich in both wind and solar energy resources. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh have large capacities of both wind and solar power projects.

“It is a great combination because then you have steady power coming from six in the morning to six in the evening from solar, and then have wind which starts around 12 and goes on till about two or three in the morning,” according to Ramesh Kymal, India CEO of wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa.

Hybrid projects allow power producers to better use land and electricity transmission infrastructure. These two components make up around 25% of the cost for a renewable energy plant. With hybrid projects, the wind and solar components will feed power into the same transmission lines, allowing companies to have almost twice the capacity on each site and to earn better returns on their investments.

India’s present transmission infrastructure is less than sufficient for handling the increase in clean energy capacity. Hybrid projects could help utilize these grids more efficiently. “Going forward, the grid is going to be a challenge so hybrid is the best, considering the bottleneck. That makes more economical use of your (electricity transmission) facility,” said Ankur Agarwal, a senior analyst with India Ratings and Research, told media outlet Quartz.

Some companies had experimented with hybrid projects a while ago but the sector is now gaining momentum. In January this year, the Solar Energy Corporation of India had invited expressions of interest or EoIs from engineering, procurement, and construction contractors to develop a 160 MW large-scale solar-wind hybrid project with an energy storage system in Ramagiri district of Andhra Pradesh.

NTPC, too, had invited tenders to set up a 3.5 MW solar+wind hybrid power project at NTPC Kudgi in Karnataka. In April, Delhi-based renewable power producer Hero Future Energies commissioned a 50 MW pilot project in Karnataka, where it put up solar panels on an existing wind farm.

There is an employment boom waiting to happen in the renewable energy sector. According to the ILO, the International Labour Organisation, more than 3 lakh workers will be employed in the solar and wind energy sectors in India to meet the country's target of generating 175 GW of from renewable sources by 2022.

"To meet the target, the number of workers required by ground-mounted solar, rooftop solar and wind power projects, will need to increase… The potential for employment creation is conditional on the domestic capacity of solar module manufacturing and the establishment of vocational training programmes and certification schemes," the ILO report observed.

For the next few years, however, India is likely to see mostly small-scale hybrid plants or projects where companies will convert their wind or solar farms into hybrid ones. According to analysts, this is because Indian companies still need to manage the technical issues involved in integrating the two different energy sources.

“It is not just putting two power plants together and making it one,” says Agarwal. “People have to figure out technical feasibility, integration between the two. Systems (are required) to manage the load coming from both wind and solar.”

Hybrid projects still require battery systems to store wind and solar power and synchronize the two. Energy storage technology is expensive in India as well as globally, and this will spike costs for the provider until the storage market develops in India.

Renewable power has low utilization rates and if the power generated is not evacuated to the grid, losses of the generation companies will mount. While hybrid policy will definitely tackle a key pain point for the sector, the major bottleneck remains. The government will need to make state electricity boards stay true to their commitments.

Fiscally-stressed state governments are keeping renewable power as backup power and not encouraging its mandatory implementation despite rules stating that they should. Unless this systemic issue is addressed, the hybrid policy will look good only on paper.
Podcast | Does hybrid energy policy make sense for India? Find out.
SoftBank and IL&FS to work on 20 GW solar projects in India
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is tying up with Mumbai-based IL&FS to develop solar power in India, according to a report in The Economic Times.

SB Energy and IL&FS will jointly develop more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity in India by 2025, the report adds. SB Energy is SoftBank's power and energy investment division.

SB Energy executive chairman Manoj Kohli confirmed the plan to the paper. The deal support's the government's push to develop renewable energy.

The formal announcement of the agreement is expected early this week, the report adds. Last month, SoftBank joined hands with Chinese company GCL System Integration Technology Co for a solar power venture in India worth $930 million.

The Japanese company had in 2015 said it would invest $20 billion, along with Foxconn Technology and Bharti Enterprises, in solar power projects in India.

SB Energy has already won bids to set up 1.4 GW of solar power projects in India, the report says.
India plans to achieve solar capacity of 100 GW by 2022.

SoftBank and IL&FS to work on 20 GW solar projects in India
India approves massive new 5,000 megawatt solar farm
The Indian Government has given planning permission to a huge new solar project which is set to become one of the largest in the world. The approval for a 5,000 megawatt (MW) solar farm in the state of Gujarat was announced earlier this month by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

The first 1,000MW stage of the project will be put out to tender soon. Once complete the project near the town of Dholera will be the largest solar farm in India, stretching over 11,000 hectares and eclipsing the 2,255 MW Bhadla solar park currently under development in Rajasthan.

Saudi Arabia recently signed an initial deal to build a larger 200 GW solar farm, the first stage of which will be 7,200 MW. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, said on Twitter that the Dholera project is estimated to attract 25,000 crore rupees ($3.7 billion), and employ 20,000 people. Gujarat is seen having particularly good potential for renewable energy with 300 days of sunshine and strong winds across its 1,000 mile coastline.

The new solar farm is also expected to help the government’s achieve its stated aim of creating 175 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity by 2022. “The tender for the first phase of the solar park is set to be out in June itself. The next phase will be undertaken in the subsequent months,” said Jai Prakash Shivhare, managing director of Dholera Industrial City Development Corporation Ltd (DICC), according to the Times of India.

Earlier this year, Coal India, the world’s largest coal company, admitted that it was “only a matter of time” that renewables replaced fossil fuels in the country. The development of solar power and energy storage are seen by
the company as the key changes in the market.
India approves massive new 5,000 megawatt solar farm
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India may install 225 GW renewable power by 2022: Power minister
India hopes to touch renewable power capacity of 225 gigawatts (GW) by March 2022, the country's power minister said on Tuesday, likely breaching the 175 GW target set in 2015.

"We will cross the target of 175 GW of renewable energy before 2022," R. K. Singh said, adding bids for the entire 175 GW will be out by March 2020.

India, which is a signatory to the Paris accord for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, has an installed capacity of over 70 GW, up from 34 GW in December 2014. The ministry has not revised the target but is hopeful 225 GW will be possible at the current pace of growth, Singh said.

The country is also planning to electrify all village households by December this year, he said. The majority of India's renewable energy comes from wind at over 34 GW, followed by solar at 21 GW. In the last four years, India's solar capacity has risen substantially from 3 GW in December 2014.
India may install 225 GW renewable power by 2022: Power minister
Solar water heating should be made mandatory in residential/commercial buildings. In most parts of India, there is enough year-round solar irradiation to at least provide all the heated water required for daily use. MOEF estimates urban-suburban water heating energy usage at around 30,000 GWh per year. Even if 30% of establishments convert to solar water heating, there will be a massive reduction in GHG emissions.
India’s New 227 Gigawatt Renewable Energy Target Is Ambitious, Challenging, But Possible, Says IEEFA
The announcement earlier this month from India’s power and renewable energy minister RK Singh that his country will increase its interim renewable energy target from 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 up to 227 GW has been heavily lauded, and though it “does look excessively ambitious,” according to Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, he nevertheless believes it is possible.

India’s power and renewable energy minister RK Singh announced last week that his government believes it will overachieve on its existing interim renewable energy of having 175 GW worth of renewable energy by 2022. As such, the minister announced that India was increasing its 2022 target by 52 GW up to 227 GW, which he said would require an additional $50 billion worth of investments over the next few years.

Already the world’s fifth-largest country in terms of installed renewable energy capacity with 70 GW, and another 40 GW under tendering or construction, India has been one of the leading locations for solar development in the world. As a country designated as “emerging,” India’s economy is growing at a rate which requires significant energy capacity additions, but to remain in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, the country needs to cut down on its reliance upon fossil fuel sources like coal.

The big question, therefore, is not whether India has the ambition — India has repeatedly shown it has the ambition for huge renewable energy goals — but whether India has the means by which to pull off such a mammoth task, considering how far they have to go in under five years.

To answer this question I spoke to Tim Buckley, the Director of Energy Finance Studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in Sydney, Australia. The IEEFA have been closely monitoring India’s energy sector for years, now, and are regarded as some of the world’s leading experts on the sector and its future. As a whole, “IEEFA remains very confident in the impressively growing renewable energy installation trends evident across India, with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to-date delivering on its ambitious tendering targets that could see 30-40 GW of annual renewable energy tenders finalised in 2018 and 2019 in order to build a pipeline of projects to put India on track for its long-term vision of 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027 as articulated in the National Electricity Plan 2018 (NEP 2018).”

However, the goal-posts under which these projects were awarded have now been extended. Can India deliver on its new target with the work it has already done?

“The suggestion that India will lift its interim renewable energy target for 2022 from 175 GW to 228 GW does look excessively ambitious relative to the installation activity of 16 GW annually in the last two fiscal years,” Tim Buckley explained to me. “But the level of ambition in India to deliver improved energy security, to wean itself off excessive and costly fossil fuel imports and to drive less polluting, more sustainable economic growth over the long term are clear and ambitious goals of the Modi government.

According to Buckley, one of the biggest issues for India is going to be integrating so much new variable renewable energy into the country’s electricity grid.

Grid integration is going to be serious challenge for India to achieve its variable renewable targets, no doubt,” Buckley explained. “Grid investment has been significantly accelerated, but even more will be needed to accommodate greater interstate transmission requirements. But India is currently moving domestic coal up to 1,500 km by rail to coal plants in Southern India – and rail capacity constraints are real and growing. Any suggestion that new non-mine mouth coal is cost competitive and sustainable is ridiculous, particularly given it takes over a decade to open up new interstate rail capacity.”

Coal has already taken a hit from India’s renewable energy drive, with net new thermal power added in the last two years averaging only 6 GW annually, according to IEEFA, down two-thirds on the previous four years.

If India were to more than double renewable energy installations to over 30 GW annually, India would have no need for any new thermal power capacity other than possibly some replacement capacity for the 48 GW of thermal power capacity coming to the end of its useful life by 2027,” Buckley explained. “With the average coal fired power plant’s utilisation rate averaging just 57% in 2017/18 across India, there is already excess thermal capacity in the system. With new low cost renewables, it is hard to see almost any financial institutions willing to fund new non-mine mouth coal fired capacity in India.”

Another important point worth making is the role that this new renewable energy target can play in achieving other goals and needs in India’s future. Beyond decreasing the country’s reliance on coal, the country is in need of new jobs, economic development and growth, and India is growing — India is expected to overtake China in terms of population by the middle of the next decade — and with that comes a natural growth of the country’s energy capacity, which the IEEFA expects to grow to 619 GW by 2027. While renewable energy will account for 44% of installed capacity (though less in terms of share of production), it will help to push thermal power generation down from 67% in 2017 to 43% in 2027.

“India has a need for some 20 million new jobs annually, so I would ask why can’t India deliver on this RE target to drive more sustainable growth?” Buckley asks.

“India’s electricity system requires production to grow 5-6% annually for at least the next decade, so this level of total capacity growth is entirely justified and needed. If international capital providers like SoftBank, Macquarie Group, Sembcorp and ENGIE and domestic power majors like Tata, Adani, Greenko, Renew Power, NTPC and Power Grid Corp are willing to provide the magnitude of investment required, India has the clear need for clean energy, and the world has a critical requirement for India to show an energy system transformation can be done successfully if the Paris Climate Agreement is to be achieved. Affordable clean energy will also underpin Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India strategy.”

India has also set its renewable energy tariffs at 10% to 20% below the cost of existing domestic Indian thermal power generation which, according to Buckley, is “a key factor” making the new renewable energy target “entirely economically rational … One only has to see the latest 500MW wind tariff result for Gujarat in June 2018. A result of Rs2.43-2.45/kWh (US$36/MWh), equal to the record low tariff set in 2017. A fixed flat with no inflation indexation for 25 years. Brilliant and deflationary.”

With the necessary political ambition and economics, what else needs to happen for India to achieve such a mammoth renewable energy target?

“227 GW of RE by 2022 would be a truly herculean task, and probably should be only considered an aspirational direction on the path to the NEP 2027 plan,” Buckley told me.

Beyond massive interstate grid upgrades, international export markets for Indian generated electricity would need to be created in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar, and a significant step up in pumped hydro storage capacity would also be a must, given the lack of competitively priced domestic gas for peaking capacity.

“But India is transforming its grid, and the level of historic inefficiencies have seen industry build 51GW of captive thermal power capacity, and I’ve seen reports there are upwards of 70GW of backup diesel generators, so far better India invests in the on-grid lower cost alternatives of variable renewables supported by properly costed on-grid peaking generation alternatives.”
India's New 227 Gigawatt Renewable Energy Target Is Ambitious, Challenging, But Possible, Says IEEFA | CleanTechnica
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Solar installations in India rise by 34% in Q1
"Q1 2018 was the best quarter on record for solar installations in India, with 3,269 MW, a 34 per cent increase compared to 2,448 MW installed in Q4 2017. Installations were also up when compared to the 2,991 MW installed in Q1 of 2017," Mercom Communications India said in a statement.

Solar installations in India increased by 34 per cent to 3,269 mw in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Mercom Communications.

"Q1 2018 was the best quarter on record for solar installations in India, with 3,269 MW, a 34 per cent increase compared to 2,448 MW installed in Q4 2017. Installations were also up when compared to the 2,991 MW installed in Q1 of 2017," Mercom Communications India said in a statement.

Mercom Communications India, a subsidiary of Mercom Capital Group, said that the surge in installations in first quarter of ongoing calendar year was primarily on account of completion of projects which were scheduled for commissioning the previous quarter, but had experienced delays due to grid connection issues.

This was the first quarter of over 3 GW installed in the Indian solar market and the fifth quarter in a row where at least 2 GW of solar installations, the statement said.

"Even though Q1 was a record quarter, solar procurement activity has been muted over the last few quarters. But with an anticipated decline in module prices, we expect to see tariffs decline and distribution companies ramp up procurement activity," CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group Raj Prabhu said.

The cumulative solar installed capacity totalled 22.8 GW at the end of Q1 2018, the statement added.
Solar installations in India rise by 34% in Q1
President Ram Nath to launch Solar Charkha Mission on June 27
President Ram Nath Kovind will launch Solar Charkha Mission on June 27, which will entail a subsidy of Rs 550 crore in the initial two years for 50 clusters, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said today. The scheme also aims at linking five crore women across the country to the initiative, the minister said.

"We are going to launch a new scheme called the Solar Charkha Mission on 27 June. The objective is to link 5 crore women to this initiative. We will also link it to self help groups," Singh said while addressing a press conference here.

The mission is expected to create one lakh jobs during the first two years, MSME Secretary AK Panda told PTI.

"The Solar Charkha mission has been approved by the government ... As of now the government has approved Rs 550 crore of subsidy for around 50 clusters. Every cluster will have between 400 to 2,000 artisans," Panda said.

According to him, investment up to Rs 10,000 crore is expected only in the micro enterprises sector in the current fiscal through subsidy as well as the credit component in the Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme.

Out of 1.14 lakh crore enterprises registered under GST, 7 lakh are large enterprises, whereas 1.07 crore MSMEs are registered, the secretary added.

President Ram Nath to launch Solar Charkha Mission on June 27
India to bring forward 100,000 megawatts of new solar power
The Indian Government has signalled its intention to launch the largest tender for new solar power capacity in the world. Power Minister R K Singh told an event in New Delhi this week that the government plans to launch an unprecedented bid for 100,000 megawatts (MW) of new clean energy.

“The biggest tender was floated in Spain. We brought out a single tender of 10,000 MW which would be opened in July. Now we will bring out a bid of one lakh MW which would also include solar manufacturing and storage,” he told the event, according to The Economic Times. One lakh represents 100,000 units.

The 100,000MW tender, or 100 gigawatts (GW), would far exceed anything that has ever been constructed, although the minister didn’t provide exact timings for the project.

Saudi Arabia has announced similar plans to build a $200 billion solar project, with the first phase coming in at 7.2GW.

Mr Singh also told the audience that India has already brought forward 70 GW of renewable energy capacity, and has another 12.5 GW in development.

The minister has previously spoken of his confidence that India would surpass its target to build 175 gigawatts of renewable energy “well before 2022”.

It’s clear that India has started to accelerate its renewable energy ambitions in response to climate change and air pollution concerns. Last month it approved a 5,000 megawatt solar farm in the state of Gujarat, which will become one of the largest in the world. It has also adopted new targets this week to greatly increase the amount of offshore wind in the country.

A World Health Organisation report ranked India as having some of the most dangerously polluted cities in the world, something which hasn’t gone unnoticed within the government.
India to bring forward 100,000 megawatts of new solar power
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India Transforms Market for Rooftop Solar
Sometimes change comes so quickly it takes time to get to grips with it. One such change is now beginning to take hold in India.

Endowed with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, India is making strides towards becoming a global solar superpower. Since 2009, when the country first launched the National Solar Mission, it has installed solar parks on large tracts of unused land across the country.

“But solar parks need land, and land is scarce in a densely-populated country,” explained Simon Stolp, lead energy specialist at the World Bank in Delhi.

“Rooftops, on the other hand, hold huge potential.”

Today, thanks to a new partnership between the World Bank and the State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest bank, the market for rooftop solar has also begun to take off.

“Tapping the rooftop solar market will be essential for India to meet its massive energy needs,” said Stolp. “The country has a lot of catching up to do - its per capita consumption of electricity is less than one third the world average.”

To meet these energy needs, India has set itself the ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, forty percent of which is to come from rooftop solar.

"Tapping the rooftop solar market will be essential for India to meet its massive energy needs. The country has a lot of catching up to do - its per capita consumption of electricity is less than one third the world average."

Getting the Financing
Until now, however, it was difficult to breakthrough into the rooftop solar market. Although the business case was strong, and the costs of solar panels were falling dramatically, financing was difficult to come by.

In solar plants, the largest capital investment goes toward the installation of solar panels, and must be made upfront. At today’s prices, this amounts to an investment of about Rs. 5 crores (approx. $ 760,000) to produce one megawatt of power. “But banks had no models for such new forms of lending,”explained Stolp. “And even where financing was available, the costs were just too high.”

Overwhelming Response
Things have now begun to turn around very quickly. Since June 2017, when the World Bank announced a $625 million loan to SBI to provide discounted finance for rooftop solar installations on factories and institutions, market response has been overwhelming.

In the past six months alone, SBI has approved 575 MW of rooftop solar installations, giving a huge boost to India’s nascent solar rooftop program.

“SBI has developed financing models that will provide loans at a very competitive pricing with long tenor,” explained Karnam Sekar, Deputy Managing Director, SBI. “Several capacity building measures and awareness programs are also being undertaken to sensitize operating functionaries.”

The Early Movers
One of SBI’s first borrowers was Amplus Energy Solutions, a private renewable energy developer, and an early mover in the field. “World Bank-SBI financing has enabled us to borrow at 8.25 percent – down from 12 percent before,” explained Sanjeev Aggarwal, MD of Amplus. “This has helped us lower the cost of solar energy we provide our customers.”

Today, Amplus has around 250 megawatts of solar plants – either installed or under construction - serving more than 70 customers across 20 states of India.

One of Amplus’s first customers was the India Yamaha Motor plant in the Noida industrial belt, across the river from Delhi. The motorcycle manufacturer first began installing solar panels on its Noida rooftops in 2016 to comply with the company’s global energy policy.

Today, Yamaha’s Noida facility is one of the largest manufacturing plants in India with a ‘captive’ solar rooftop facility of more than 20,000 solar panels which generate 6.3 MW of power.

Using Green Power in Manufacturing

The sea of solar panels on Yamaha’s rooftop is owned by the developer. “We buy clean solar power from Amplus at Rs.6 per unit - compared to Rs. 8.5 per unit from our usual energy provider,” explained Sanjiv Paul, senior vice president at Yamaha Motor India.

This has reduced our power costs by 20-25 percent.” During peak times, solar power meets a fifth of the Yamaha facility’s energy needs and, on holidays, the energy is fed back into the grid, creating an energy credit that the company can draw upon later.

The change is now beginning to catch on. While large multinational companies have begun to blaze the trail, others are lining up to follow.

“Until now, it’s been a hard sell, because changing mindsets takes time,” said Amplus’s Aggarwal, “But now I think the market is ready to take off. There may be blips in between, but I expect that in 3-5 years time the cost of rooftop solar power will fall to Rs. 2 to Rs. 3 per unit.”

“After all,” Aggarwal adds, “This is the first time in history that every person can generate her own clean renewable electricity – be it the smallest tea shop or the largest factory or institution.

With strong sunshine beating down on rooftops across most of this tropical country, the future of solar power in India is bright indeed.
India Transforms Market for Rooftop Solar
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India to auction 40 GW renewables every year till 2028
India will auction 40 GW of renewable energy projects comprising 30 GW solar and 10 GW wind every year for the next 10 years till 2028, indicating huge potential for domestic manufacturers and developers, a senior official said today.

"We have 30 GW solar energy bidding plan for 2018-19 and 2019-20. This 30 GW auction per annum would continue till 2028. Similarly, we have to auction 10 GW of wind energy for next 10 years till 2028 to meet the power demand of 862 GW by 2030," New and Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar told reporters at the Global Wind Day celebration by the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA).

Elaborating further, he said, "We have to do 350 GW in solar (to meet demand by 2030), of which 100 GW is planned till 2022. So we have to bid out at least 30 GW each year from 2020 onwards to achieve additional 250 GW."

The government's power projection indicates that India will have to bid out 140 GW of wind energy to meet demand by 2030, he said, adding the country would complete bidding of 60 GW of wind energy by 2o2o.

Kumar further said, "Therefore, we have to do 10 GW every year till 2028 to meet the overall power demand of 862 GW by 2030. India has already achieved 70 GW of renewable energy capacity including 22 GW of solar and 34 GW of wind."

India would ultimately have around 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, including 350 GW of solar and 140 GW of wind energy.

The secretary was of the view this capacity addition would give enough opportunity to domestic renewable energy equipment manufacturers and project developers.

The Central Electricity Authority and other government agencies have worked out a demand projection of 862 GW by 2030 factoring in 6 per cent growth in electricity demand per annum.

About the best bidding mechanism, he said, "We have engaged IIM Lucknow for preparing a detailed report on merits of close envelop auction and reverse bidding method. They are expected to give their report in July. The government will take call only after that."

Kumar explained that some players had expressed concerns that the bidders with deep pockets can hurt small developers by outbidding them in auctions for renewable projects.

However, he also admitted that tariff-based reverse auction helps in achieving the best pricing.

Under the close envelop auctions, the bid price cannot be changed whereas in reverse auction, the bid price is known and bidders can outbid each others.

The secretary also said the ministry would call a meeting of bankers and financial institutions in July to allay fears related to projects turning into NPAs or bad loans as there is no such case at present.

He said the 500 MW capacity in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park, Rajasthan -- which witnessed lowest solar tariff of Rs 2.44 per unit last year in May -- would be commissioned in August this year.

Suzlon Group Chairman Tulsi Tanti and President IWTMA said India would double its wind energy manufacturing capacity to 25 GW per annum by 2020.

He exuded confidence that India would overachieve wind energy capacity target of 60 GW by 2022 and would rather have 80 GW by that time.

He said that keeping in view scenario beyond 2030, offshore wind and solar-wind offshore would be the future in respect of issues and cost related to land acquisition.

India to auction 40 GW renewables every year till 2028
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India's huge solar ambitions could push coal further into shade
India says it intends to launch a tender for 100 gigawatts of solar power, 10 times the size of the current largest solar tender in the world – another Indian project scheduled to open for bids next month.

But analysts have said the country has neither the infrastructure nor the energy demand to warrant installing so much solar capacity in one go, saying the announcement reflects the scale of India’s ambition to become a renewable energy leader.

It is one of several green power promises made by Delhi this month on the back of continually falling renewables prices, with implications for coal projects including the proposed Adani Group mine in Queensland, Australia.

The Indian power minister RK Singh flagged the 100GW tender at an event in Delhi last week. While discussing a world record 10GW solar tender set to launch in July, Singh reportedly told the audience: “Now [we] will bring out a bid of one lakh megawatts which would also include solar manufacturing and storage.”

One lakh refers to 100,000 in the south Asian numbering system, equivalent to 100GW.

His office confirmed the plan to the Guardian but declined to provide further details other than that the tender would be launched “in the near future”.

‘Brilliant statement of intent’
The unscheduled announcement surprised some energy policy specialists who said it was unrealistic and unnecessary.

“There are many, many operational constraints to the plan in terms of land availability, transmission connections, who’s going to buy and pay for those [transmission] towers, and so forth,” said Vinay Rustagi, the managing director of Bridge to India, a renewable energy consulting firm.

“I don’t think a 100GW tender makes a lot of sense,” said Tim Buckley, a director at the pro-renewables Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, but adding he thought the plan was a “brilliant statement of intent”.

Delhi announced this month it was raising its target for the amount of renewable energy capacity it plans to install by 2022 to more than 227GW. The previous target, already considered ambitious, was 175GW.

About 70GW have been installed so far and another 40 are under construction or being put out to tender, according to government data from June.

Buckley said on current trends India was unlikely to reach the 227GW target, but said it was setting an aspirational goal to attract investment and develop the local industry. “The idea is, aim for the moon and you’ll hit the top of the tree,” he said.

There are constraints on how fast additional capacity can be added, not least the fact that India simply does not need much more power.

“India is not a hugely starved country in terms of power supply,” said Rustagi. “The growth in demand on the whole is pretty stable at 4% to 5%, and there is already enough capacity being added to the system to cater to this incremental demand.”

More than 200 million Indians still live without regular access to electricity. But Indians are among the lowest per capita users of electricity in the world, especially those being newly connected to the grid.

“These are all relatively poor rural households with very little demand for power,” said Rustagi. “Even if all the 250 million-odd people without electricity got power in the next year, our analysis says power demand would grow by about an additional 1%.”

He chalked up the government’s big energy promises to national polls looming next year. “The election is coming up in 2019 and they are facing various economic and industrial challenges,” he said. “I think it’s more a part of putting a very positive spin on messages.”

Coal put in the shade
At the beginning of the decade, India had planned to power its growth almost entirely using thermal coal, with about 600GW of coal power plant projects in the pipeline in 2010. Its plan spelled disaster for global efforts to keep warming below the two-degree target set by the Paris climate accords.

But as the price of renewables has crashed, and the impact of fossil fuels on Indian air and water has become clearer, the country has sought to reinvent itself as a green energy leader.

“We have missed the first and second industrial revolutions,” Singh said at an event in Delhi on Friday. “We caught up with the digital revolution, but we need to lead this revolution towards clean energy and renewable energy.”

India has shelved or cancelled nearly 550 thermal coal projects in the past seven years, Buckley said. More projects are likely to be cancelled as the price of renewables continues to fall: a report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week estimated the cost of solar and wind in India was now 50% cheaper than coal.

Singh said on Friday coal would remain a part of India’s energy mix because it was “a backbone” to the intermittent power provided by renewables.

But researchers say the proportion of energy the country derives from coal will keep falling – and that diminishing demand can easily be met by Indian mines, raising questions about the need for new projects such as the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin of Queensland, Australia.

“The incremental demand for thermal power in India is very little,” Rustagi said. “I don’t see how it makes sense to undertake a huge international project like [the Carmichael mine] … when we have enough domestic coal available.”
India's huge solar ambitions could push coal further into shade
Aditya Birla, Mahindra, Hero bid for 200 Mw solar project in Odisha
Diversified business conglomerates have joined the fray for developing 200-Mw of grid-connected solar power projects in Odisha. The companies included Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra Group, IBC Solar, Essel, Hero Group and Azure Power. Mahindra Group has applied through its group company Mahindra Susten.

Gridco, state's bulk power purchaser, which had floated the tender, has received 14 bids from the interested players. Sources said that against the target of 200 Mw, the state's bulk trader has received bids for a whopping 845 Mw and all the 14 players have qualified the technical round. The bids have a greenshoe option wherein Gridco can go up to 300 Mw capacity in solar installs. Gridco will enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidder for 25 years from the date of commercial operations. "We expect to conduct reverse bidding by the third week of this month," said the official.

The state has a cumulative solar target to generate 2378 Mw by under the National target of 100 GW of solar by 2022, which includes 1000 Mw of solar project. The bidder has the autonomy to identify the land for developing the project. Capacity of an individual project will be a minimum of 10 Mw and maximum up to 100 Mw in multiples of 5 Mw.

The latest tariff rate in Odisha for solar is Rs 4.5 per Mw under a scheme of the new and renewable energy ministry.
Recently, Essel Green Energy, part of the Subash Chandra-owned Essel Group, won bulk of the 270-Mw tender for solar capacity at Odisha floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. Essel Green Energy was awarded 240 Mw, Jyoti Infrastructure bagged 10 Mw and IBC Solar Ventures bagged 20 Mw from the tender.

Private sector interest in Odisha's solar power sector had not seen enough traction till now as opposed to central PSUs that have been interested in putting up projects in the state. After NTPC, NLC and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), SJVN, a mini-ratna PSU, has evinced interest in participating in the state's solar park programme.

Odisha recently cleared a plan by NEEPCO to invest Rs 9.44 billion to set up a 200-Mw solar power plant. The unit is scheduled to start operations in December 2019. It has also provided in-principle clearance for 250 Mw solar power project proposed by NLC at the cost of Rs 45 million per Mw. The government has also offered to sign a PPA with NLC.
Aditya Birla, Mahindra, Hero bid for 200 Mw solar project in Odisha