CHENNAI: India’s renewable energy expansion is set to overtake that of the European Union for the first time by 2022. The installed renewable energy generation capacity in the country would also double by then, says a report titled ‘Renewables 2017’ released by the International Energy Agency.
Solar photo voltaic (PV) and wind together would represent 90% of India’s capacity growth in the coming years as auctions have yielded some of the world’s lowest prices for both the technologies, the report said.
Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of the net new power capacity around the world last year, with almost 165 gigawatts (GW) coming online. New solar PV capacity grew by 50% globally last year, with China accounting for almost half of the expansion. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
By 2022, global renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43%, the report said. By then, renewables will account for 30% of global power generation, up from 24% in 2016.
“We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA while releasing the report. “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022,” he said.
This year’s renewable forecast is 12% higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in India and China. India, China and the United States will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022, the report said.
Globally, auction price of solar PV energy has fallen to three cents (Rs 1.97) per unit. In India, Rajasthan signed deals at Rs 2.44 per unit in May this year to produce 500 MW solar power. Wind energy tariff fell to Rs 2.64 per unit in an auction conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India in Gujarat on Thursday.
Renewable energy capacity addition in India, for the first time, got close to the thermal power sector last fiscal, going by statistics put out by the Central Electricity Authority. As against 11,551 MW addition in the thermal sector, renewable sources added 11,320 MW in 2016-17. Still, it fell short of the targeted addition of 16,660 MW as solar sector did not measure up to expectations. Against a targeted addition of 12,000 MW in the solar sector, what was actually achieved was only 5,526 MW.
India’s installed solar power generation capacity stood at 12,289 MW, wind energy 32,368 MW and other renewable sources at 9,743 MW as on March 31 this year.
The country has set an ambitious target of adding 1.75 lakh MW in the renewable energy sector by 2022, but may achieve only about 1.15 lakh MW by then, as per the projections of the Central Electricity Authority.
Along with the capacity addition, the country needed to build smarter grids for integrating renewables, said former Union energy secretary Anil Razdan. “We also need to create storage capacity so that the system is not disrupted and assets are not stranded,” he said.