India poised to become Global Energy Powerhouse
Though India currently generates a large amount of its electricity from fossil fuel, the country’s renewable energy sector has shown a significant growth in the past few years. The growth has been achieved due to renewed push from the incumbent government and expedited capacity addition during past couple of years.
India is at an advantageous geographical location for solar power generation. As the country is located in the equatorial sun belt of the earth, most of the Indian states receive abundant sun light that can support large scale adoption of solar energy. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), most parts of the country experience clear sunny weather 250 to 300 days a year. Due to suitable environmental conditions, the country has become home to one the world’s biggest solar power plants. Similarly, many parts of country have been assessed to possess wind conditions that are suitable to set up wind power projects.
India’s renewable energy sector has also secured required policy support in recent years, with the country setting a target of a total renewable energy capacity of 175GW by 2022. The target includes 100GW from utility and rooftop solar projects, 60GW from wind, 10GW from biomass and 5GW from small hydro electric projects.
In 2017, India’s solar installations reached 20GW on a cumulative basis, reaching the target set by the National Solar Mission four years ahead the schedule. According to a research report published by Mercom Capital, the utility-scale cumulative installations in the country stood at nearly 18.4GW in 2017, with rooftop solar installations at 1.6GW. Besides, solar installations were the top contributors for new capacity additions during the calender year 2017. Overall, renewable energy accounted for 18.37% of the country’s energy mix in 2017.
Besides, renewable energy projects have found enough support from the domestic and international financial institutions. In January 2018, Indian private bank Yes Bank has agreed to mobilize $5bn by 2030 for the development of solar projects across the country.
Wind power: India has witnessed a decent growth in its installed wind power capacity in recent years. As of 30 December 2017, the country had a total installed wind power capacity of 32.8GW, with a significant part of it coming from projects in the South, West and North regions, according to the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Identifying the potential of wind energy as early as in 1990s, Tamil Nadu has now emerged as the leading player in wind power. The South Indian state had an installed wind power capacity of 7.5GW as of February 2016, according to figures provided by Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency. In April 2017, Sembcorp Green Infra had won a bid for the construction of a 250MW wind project in Tamilnadu. The other major wind power producing states in India include Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
Solar energy: With a constant drop in prices, solar energy is fast emerging as a major alternative source of energy to the meet India’s growing electricity needs and reduce harmful emissions into the environment. The falling rates have propelled the growth of solar power projects, with the country emerging as a home of the world’s biggest solar farms. Spread over a total area of 5,932.32 acres in Panyam mandal of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, India, the 1GW capacity Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is considered as the biggest solar project across the world. The project is being implemented by a joint venture of the Solar Energy Corporation of India, Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation and the New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh.