Policy & Politics

Published on September 23rd, 2015 | by Smiti

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India Aims For 350 GW Renewable Energy Capacity By 2030

September 23rd, 2015 by  

The Indian Government is planning to significantly boost the renewable energy capacity addition target for the medium term as part of its national climate change policy.

According to media reports, the government may soon announce a target to have 40% power generation capacity based on renewable energy technologies by 2030. This would translate to around 350 GW by 2030, pushing the country’s expected total capacity to 850 GW power generation capacity.

India currently has an installed capacity of around 275 GW, with over 36 GW of renewable energy capacity, contributing around 13% to the installed base.

The huge boost in the country’s renewable energy target will mostly comprise of solar (250 GW) and wind power (100 GW). Announced installed capacity targets for 2022 are: 100 GW solar power and 60 GW wind energy capacity. In the solar power market, the government is planning to have several auctions, including those for 25 ultra mega solar power projects. In the wind energy sector, the government has announced policy to open the offshore wind energy market, and may consider competitive auctions.

The new target may be announced as part of India’s commitment for this year’s global climate change summit in Paris. The Indian Government has made it clear that it would not commit to any emissions reduction or even peaking targets.

There are also reports that India may enhance its commitment to reduce emissions intensity. It is safe to assume that any target proposed by India would include conditions for substantial international support. Such a huge installed capacity targets would require unprecedented investment in India’s renewable energy market. India is looking to raise funds through green bonds and is also looking to secure low-cost debt finance from global development banks including the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, and KfW.





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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.



  • Aditya

    All in all, I was delighted by this development. I do think offshore wind will lead to a lot of capacity addition considering India’s vast coastline. However, competitive bidding is probably not the best way to go about it. Let it develop domestically for the first few years and demonstrate success and then you can introduce competitive bidding (like in Solar).

    What I feel is the biggest roadblock for this goal is financing (I suppose my background got me thinking about this first). Funds required for even the 100 GW target run up to $100-120 billion. Financial Institutions typically have caps on exposure to specific sectors. You have to remember, that financing is typically for 10-15 years locking up funds from Banks’ perspective. With projects under development worth 8.7 GW currently, I can already see signs of limited liquidity. It is hard to even imagine what will happen when this keeps growing 3-4 years down the line.

    James, I honestly don’t see the current Prime Minister asking for concessionary funding based on his track record. He has a habit of asking for “investment” over “support” or other such synonyms. The 2 things he has to (and will do imo) are:

    1. Introduce measures to eliminate or decrease forex risk for investors. This could include USD or EUR denominated tariffs.

    2. Sort out the utter mess the Indian power distribution companies are in with billions of debt and accumulated losses. Once they become stable or profitable, counter party risk substantially decreases making the sector as a whole far more bankable.

    • Bob_Wallace

      India needs to get moving on power and not put things off for years in an attempt to ‘build it here’.

      Indian citizens are dying from fossil fuel pollution and India badly needs more electricity.

      If you badly want a homegrown offshore wind industry then set up a development park where in-country companies can do their start up work. Subsidize them if you like. But let the people who can do the job now for the least cost get to work.

      Whatever profits from installing turbines which might flow to other countries should be more than offset by the money India will save with less fuel use and few health problems.

      • Aditya

        I think I put my views forward poorly.

        Let me explain. Policies formulated here over the years, have been influenced by numerous factors. Paucity of research/technical expertise and lack of direction/will being the foremost of those. The process itself was slow. Resources were not allocated and the power sector as a whole was not seen as a priority except for lining the pockets of politicians and industrialists.

        We now have a regime that has set what most believe, to be an ambitious goal for renewable energy (to put it mildly). What aids the goals for solar and wind, is that they have achieved, or within touching distance of grid parity. It is important to remember the context, power is routinely used as a political tool (subsidies to farmers) and distribution companies unwillingly forced to purchase renewable energy at higher prices than available among other factors.

        Also, vast potential of onshore wind and solar remains unexploited in the country. I assure you, the state is aggressively pursuing the renewable goal (8.7 GW of utility solar under development and 15 GW to be auctioned from April-March 2016).
        Considering all of that, and the fact that offshore is non existent in India, I believe we need to step up efforts as of today and that offshore is the ideal choice for wind in the future. I just am of the opinion it should not be done in haste. Projects should be developed to demonstrate the viability and then the exponential growth being witnessed in solar today can kick in albeit with a shorter cycle.

        • Bob_Wallace

          OK. But offshore wind has been in use for over 20 years, this is not a new technology.

          I don’t see much risk in letting one or more experienced companies bid some offshore projects and get the ball rolling. There will need to be port and ship development before large scale installations can occur. If Suzlon or RRB wants to develop offshore turbines or another Indian company wants to get into the installation business there should be more than enough opportunity.

          • Brian

            Agreed, Offshore wind has been around and is a mature technology. India needs to ramp it up, and take full advantage of it. Onshore wind also needs to be ramped up along with large solar power plants. Also India needs to decentralize solar and small wind, and put it on as many homes as possible.

          • Aditya

            Yes, India is absurdly late to the offshore wind party so to speak. I hope that changes, and fast. With the government finally approving the offshore wind policy, it is a step in the right direction.
            I agree with getting the ball rolling quickly too, besides CUF for offshore is markedly higher than onshore as well. Only hurdle for mass investment imo is that its still expensive. Still feel, they should start rolling out projects though.

            Bob, could you please share some comparative figures between LCOE of onshore and offshore please?

          • Bob_Wallace

            We don’t have any offshore (yet) in the US so I don’t have any actual numbers. I see numbers around 14c/kWh for European offshore but I don’t know how representative that is. I don’t know of a database where one could find an average.

            Onshore in the US has become very inexpensive. Unsubsidized, onshore is now less than 4c/kWh in sites with good wind resources.

            I don’t expect offshore to become as inexpensive as onshore but, at least in the US, it should be more valuable. Offshore wind turbines will produce more power during peak demand hours than do onshore.

            Has anyone produced a wind map for India at 100 meters or 140 meters?

          • Aditya

            Yes, I was going through the wind map of US a few weeks ago and notice the mid west has a lot of good wind zones. India not so much unfortunately.

            Currently the Wind tariffs range from 6-9c/KWh for new projects, depending on the area and state policy.

            The ministry recently released the wind map for India at 100 metres and the first project at hub height of 120 metres is under construction/partly commissioned.

            http://niwe.res.in/department_wra_100m%20agl.php

          • Bob_Wallace

            I can’t see a lot on the small map on the site page and for some reason can’t download the software needed to see it large.

            From what I can see I’m surprised at how little good onshore wind potential India has. Am I seeing that wrong?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me show you US wind maps at 50, 80, 100 and 140 meters.

            We thought we didn’t have much wind potential in our southeast states until the DOE produced wind maps that got to 100 meters and higher.

            You can see from the 50 meter map that we’ve got great offshore and Great Lakes wind potential. We’ve just started working on harvesting wind there. The foundations for our first Atlantic offshore towers are being set and (I think) someone is about to plant one in one of the Great Lakes soon.

          • Aditya

            Actually you are pretty much spot on. We have poor wind resources for onshore. Frankly I am surprised we are in our current position (23 GW of wind) considering the resources and the land hurdles. Like I explained earlier to James on another news story, land cannot be rented for wind from farmers due to non enforceability of contracts (farmers are heavily protected class in India).

            The 80m height wind map is nothing much to write home about either. As you can imagine, solar and offshore are the way to go as far as we are concerned. As far as I am aware, we dont even have much of zone 4 let alone higher. Quite encouraging to see the situation in the US particularly offshore. From what I can see most are atleast zone 6 and 7.

            What this says in essence agrees with your assessment. Considering our poor onshore wind resources, offshore should be aggressively pursued to meet renewable targets.

      • Jamset

        India ought to ban the production of 2-stroke scooters and tuk tuks.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You’re in India?

          If so, are electric bikes starting to catch on? Anything happening with battery powered autorickshaws?

          Kathmandu has had some battery powered microbuses for a number of years. I can’t recall seeing any in India where they would make more sense. (Kathmandu is uphill in both directions. ;o)

          • Jamset

            Electric motorcycles are not really threatening petrol motorcycles yet.

            Maybe an increase in energy density in batteries is required.

            But a British firm says hovering motorcycles are ready to go! (Not sure if battery or petrol powered)

          • Jamset

            Here is a video of men in India who converted a petrol motorcycle into an electric motorcycle.

            They say it takes 4 hours to make the switch. And they also mentioned the batteries in Jan 2014 are half price compared to 2007.

            This is way before the Powerwall launch. So I would imagine that electric motorcycles are inevitable.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oA_Bo03xZU

          • Bob_Wallace

            Interesting. A fast electric bike should have the same impact as the Tesla. Destroy the myth of slow.

            That should make electric bikes more popular and higher sales can help bring down costs.

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  • JamesWimberley

    A huge number. It’s 27% more than total current generation capacity. Clearly India will need to increase generation, but I do wonder if the government is not seriously underestimating the potential for efficiency savings. Simple intelligent controls on electric motors, such as for pumps, can slash their consumption. The Indian middle class is starting to buy air conditioning; again, better building design and controls can cut the need for cooling.

    If Ms Mittal’s reading of the the Indian negotiating position in Paris is correct, it is in for a rude awakening. Massive concessionary finance in exchange for no commitment to cap emissions, merely reduce intensity? It will be laughed out. There won’t be any support apart from kooks like Canada. India has a lot of poor people, but financially it is a middle-income country that can borrow vast sums on a commercial basis. The concessionary finance should go to really poor African countries like Ethiopia (link) which is planning not to cap but to halve its low emissions, and the drowning islands.

    • Jamset

      Some new buildings in India are supposedly LEED approved.

      I think India should put a big import tax on inefficient air conditioners and fridges.

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