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2015: A Defining Year For Renewable Energy In India

By Author: Nikhil Mehra
Total Articles: 33

India’s power sector, one of the most diversified in the world, is undergoing a significant change since the beginning of this year. The central government’s focus on attaining ‘Power For All’ has accelerated capacity addition in the country. At the same time, the competitive intensity is increasing at both the market and supply sides.

The Planning Commission’s 12th Five-Year Plan estimates total domestic energy production to reach 669.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) by 2016–17 and 844 MTOE by 2021–22. By 2030–35, energy demand in India is projected to be the highest among all countries, as per a 2014 energy outlook report by British oil giant, BP.

Indian solar installations are forecasted to be approximately 2,200 megawatt (MW) in 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group, the global clean energy communications and consulting firm. India’s wind energy market is expected to attract investments totalling INR 1,00,000 crore (US$ 15.7 billion) by 2020, and wind power capacity is estimated to almost double by 2020 from over 23,000 MW in June 2015, with an addition of about 4,000 MW per annum in the next five years.

The central government has identified power sector as a key sector of focus this year to promote sustained industrial growth.

Some initiatives by the Government of India to boost the Indian renewable energy development sector include:

A Joint Indo-US PACE Setter Fund has been established, with a contribution of US$ 4 million from each side to enhance clean energy cooperation.

The Government of India announced a massive renewable energy project power production target of 175,000 MW by 2022; this comprises generation of 100,000 MW from solar power, 60,000 MW from wind energy, 10,000 MW from biomass, and 5,000 MW from small hydro power projects.

The Union Cabinet of India approved 15,000 MW of grid-connected solar power projects of National Thermal Power Corp Ltd (NTPC).

The National Offshore Wind Energy was announced to hasten the development of wind energy in India.

US Federal Agencies committed a total of US$ 4 billion for projects and equipment sourcing, one of the biggest deals for the growing renewable energy sector in India.

On 20 January 2015, a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) was signed in New Delhi between all Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to work towards a collective research and development (R&D) programme for developing indigenous technologies to enhance exploration and exploitation of alternative sources of energy.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified to include renewable energy under priority sector lending (PSL). Therefore, banks can provide loans up to a limit of US$ 2.36 million to borrowers for renewable energy projects.

The Road Ahead
The Indian power sector has an investment potential of INR 15 trillion (US$ 237 billion) in the next 4–5 years, thereby providing immense opportunities in power generation, distribution, transmission, and equipment, according to Union Minister Piyush Goyal.

The government’s immediate goal is to generate two trillion units (kilowatt hours) of energy by 2019. This means doubling the current production capacity to provide 24x7 electricity for residential, industrial, commercial and agriculture use.

The government had revised the National Solar Mission with the electricity production target of 100,000 MW by 2022. The government has also sought to restart the stalled hydro power projects and increase the wind energy production target to 60 GW by 2022 from the current 20 GW.

India is powering ahead with its renewable energy projects agenda with a range of new initiatives and policies to fuel its growth announced this year.

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