NEW DELHI: The share of renewable energy in India’s electricity mix is set to increase to around 55% by 2030, as the country continues to expand its installed capacity in the face of growing power demand, Power Minister RK Singh said.
As part of the Paris Climate agreement, India had committed to produce 40% of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
“We have pledged in Paris that by 2030, 40% of our installed capacity will come from renewables. I believe we have already crossed about 30%, if we add hydro power. So by 2030, 53-55% of our capacity will come from renewables,” Singh, who is also in-charge of the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), said while addressing a business session with the President of Seychelles here on Monday.
India has set itself a target of adding 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022, which Singh recently said that the government will ‘over-achieve’, instead adding 227 GW within the same timeline. Currently, renewables account for around 20% of the country’s total installed capacity.
Singh said that the country’s power demand has been increasing at the rate of 6% per annum and is expected to grow further.
“It (power demand) will go up further, which means we will need to expand our capacity, so energy is a good market here,” Singh said, adding that India has become a highly competitive market in terms of renewables.
Singh said that the future solar bids will have a mandatory local sourcing component which will make foster domestic manufacturing in the country.
“The size of the bids will increase. Future bids will be tagged along with manufacturing. We bid out the capacity, plus the commitment to manufacture up to 50% of the capacity we bid for –manufacturing of solar cells right from polysilicon onwards,” Singh said.
He said that India has already installed 70,000 MW renewable energy capacity while projects of 40,000 MW capacity are in various stages of implementation.
“We are adding about 40 million consumers to the electricity network, the biggest expansion plan in the world,” Singh said.
Industry watchers, however, remain cautious of recent government announcements around over-achieving their renewable energy targets amid key policy concerns– safeguards duty on solar equipment, transmission constraints, availability of land for new projects, among others.
“It’s hard to make sense of recent MNRE announcements. They underestimate various operational and financial challenges and are not grounded in reality. Private investors want MNRE to address their problems instead of setting even loftier targets,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director at solar consultancy firm Bridge to India.
The rapid increase in solar capacity, however, also demands a breakthrough in storage solutions, which will make solar energy viable in the long run.
“Policy makers recognise that a quantum growth in future needs much lower costs, which can only come from local manufacturing,” said Kameswara Rao, leader- energy, utilities and mining at PwC India.
The power minister also said that India will become one of the largest markets for storage and the government may make manufacturing of storage systems, an “obligation” in future.