The Government of India (GoI) has clarified that the target date for achieving the cumulative 175 GW renewable power installed capacity is December 31, 2022.
According to the letter issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the clarification was made after the date for achieving the stated target was being mentioned differently (by the year 2022 or by the year 2021-22) in various sources.
In the same context, the MNRE has rejected reports expressing doubt on India’s renewable energy target. The ministry states that “it is not only confident of meeting 1,75,000 MW target but exceeding it by 2022.”
“In some of the recent media reports, apprehensions have been raised whether India would be able to achieve 1,75,000 MW renewable power installed capacity target by the year 2022. All these have cited the CRISIL report of September 2019.”
However, the doubts are ill-founded and not reflective of the status on the ground and plans. “By the end of September 2019, India has installed more than 82,580 MW of renewable energy capacity, with around 31,150 MW of capacity under various stages of installation. Thus, by the first quarter of 2021, India would have installed more than 1,13,000 MW of renewable power capacity. This would constitute nearly 65% of the targeted capacity. Besides this, around 39,000 MW of renewable power capacity is at various stages of bidding, which would be installed by September 2021, taking the percentage of installed capacity to over 87% of the targeted capacity. With only 23,000 MW of renewable power capacity left to bid, India is confident that the target of installing 1,75,000 MW of renewable power capacity will not only be met but exceeded,” says MNRE.
The ministry claims that such initiatives have resulted in a significant downward trend in solar and wind power tariffs.
“The wind power tariffs have fallen from ₹4.18 (~$0.06)/kWh in 2016 to ₹2.43 (~$0.034)/kWh during last year and even today it remains below ₹2.75 (0.049)/unit. Similarly, the solar tariffs have fallen from ₹4.43 (0.062)/kWh with VGF to ₹2.44 (0.034)/kWh,” states the Ministry.
According to the MNRE, the ministry, in consultation with the respective governments, is addressing the issues of allocation of land in Gujarat and revision of land facilitation charges in Rajasthan. Plan for erecting 66,500 MW of the new transmission system to ensure evacuation and injection of 1,75,000 MW of power into the main grid is under implementation. The additional transmission would come by October 2021 in phases, depending on location-based requirements. Also, the ministry is in the process of developing ultra mega renewable energy parks to overcome the problem of land allocation. These parks will have dedicated transmission.
“First such park is being planned in Dholera, Gujarat by SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India). These apart, the ministry has strengthened the power purchase agreement (PPA) clauses for strengthening investors’ confidence. For mitigating off-takers risk and ensuring timely payments to developers, the ministry has made the letter of credit must for purchase of power by distribution companies,” informs the MNRE.
CPSU to set up 12,000 MW solar projects
It also listed out the three new programs–the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) program phase-ll for setting up 12,000 MW grid-connected solar PV power projects, “which is not only aimed at achieving the target but also to enhance domestic solar PV manufacturing capacity.”
The second project is the PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surakshaevem Utthan Mahabhiyan) program to be implemented over the next four years for de-dieselization of the farm sector and increasing farmers’ energy independence and income. Under the program, India has plans to provide 1.75 million stand-alone solar agriculture pumps and carry out solarization of 1 million grid-connected agriculture pumps by the year 2022. Under the same program, the government is also encouraging farmers to set up small solar projects of the size of 500 kW to 2 MW on barren lands for their additional income. Three components combined, the program aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022, claims the ministry.
Central Public Sectors should give priority to RE Projects
Meanwhile, in a letter dated September 9, 2019, the MNRE requested the Department of Public Enterprises that, since renewable power, especially solar and wind, have become cheaper and its adoption is making economic and commercial sense, the Department of Public Enterprises may include “Usage of Renewable Power by CPSEs (Central Public Sectors)”.
The ministry has again requested that the CPSEs to accord priority to renewable energy projects in their investment plans.
“They can either set-up RE power projects on their own or participate in tariff-based bids for RE projects floated by SECI or set up manufacturing units for manufacturing solar PV cells/modules. This step will not only help CPSEs cut costs but also contribute to reducing the carbon footprints, besides helping in giving confidence to the player in the RE sector,” it states.
During the recently held United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Climate Action Summit in New York, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is going to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 175 GW by 2022 and will further take it to 450 GW.
According to the recent Q2 2019 India Solar market update published by Mercom India, renewable energy capacity additions crossed 120 GW mark (including large hydro) and accounted for nearly 35.4% of India’s capacity mix at the end of June 2019.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.