The Standing Committee on Energy has said that more funding is needed if India is going to install enough physical transmission infrastructure to meet its ambitious timeline for creating a Green Energy Corridor.
The committee presented its findings to the Lok Sabha in its 39th Parliamentary report, titled “Demands for Grants of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for the year 2018-19.”
The Green Energy Corridor plan was launched with the goal of strengthening India’s intra‑state and inter-state transmission systems to accommodate increasing amounts of intermittent generation from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The plan also calls for strengthening the control infrastructure and establishing renewable energy management centers (REMC) at load dispatch centers at state, regional, and national levels.
Beyond this, the Green Energy Corridor would also connect states that are rich in renewable energy resources to states that are lacking in renewable energy generation potential.
Much progress has already been made in the development of the Green Energy Corridor and more funds are being made available to support the program for the 2018-19 fiscal year. In its report, the Standing Committee said ₹6 billion (~$92 million) is being allocated toward the Green Energy Corridor in the 2018-19 period and the program is targeting a cumulative physical goal of 3,000 circuit kilometers (ckt-kms) of transmission lines.
However, the Standing Committee pointed out that there is a mismatch between this year’s goal and the funds allocated. More specifically, it noted that the target for transmission line installations in 2018-19 is more than five times as large as the physical target for 2017-18, but the budget is only being increased by 20 percent.
For 2017-18, ₹5 billion (~$77 million) were provided for the installation of 350 ckt-kms of transmission lines and for 2018-19, ₹6 billion (~$92 million) is being allocated for the installation of 1,900 ckt-kms of transmission lines in 2018-19.
The Standing Committee further observed, “The cumulative target of achieving 3,000 ckt-kms of transmission lines by March 2019, leaves 5,500 ckt-kms of transmission lines to be installed during 2019-20,” to reach the stipulated cumulative target of 8,500 ckt-kms of installed transmission lines for the Green Energy Corridor by March 2020.
The Standing Committee is apprehensive about whether the Green Energy Corridor target is attainable during the remaining period.
“This is not good news for wind and solar sectors. Over 11 GW of ISTS-connected solar and wind projects have been tendered so far this year. Though most of these projects will not be completed until some time in 2019, a robust transmission infrastructure is a must to be able to off-take and transmit multi-GWs of solar and wind power planned over the next several years as India looks to install 100 GW of solar by 2022,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
According to Mercom’s Q4 and 2017 India Solar Market Update, solar installations grew by 123 percent to reach a record 9.6 GW in 2017 and cumulative installations reached 20 GW. According to MNRE update, cumulative wind installations near 33 GW as of January 2018.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.