The Indian Government is looking to use gas-based power generation assets alongside renewable energy capacity to expand low-carbon power infrastructure.
India’s Minister for Power, Coal, and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, recently stated that his government is working hard to significantly increase utilisation of gas-based power plants that have been either laying idle or operating at very low plant load factor for several years to fill the gaps left in power supply by renewable energy assets.
Goyal stated that renewable energy projects are not suitable to meet the peak load and thus gas-based power plants would have to be put into action. To increase generation at existing power plants the government recently auctioned gas supply contracts, and has also implemented a gas pooling mechanism wherein power plants are supplied domestic and imported gas to reduced the overall fuel price.
The Government is also taking measures to reduce the cost of electricity from renewable energy assets. Goyal recently announced that charges levied on inter-state transmission of electricity from renewable energy projects shall soon be removed. India is working on a dedicated power grid for renewable energy projects which would supply power across states.
To further reduce the cost of electricity, the Indian Government will also hold competitive auctions for renewable energy projects based on technologies other than solar power, as the central government and several state governments have already auctioned off several gigawatts of solar power capacity. Early next year, the government will auction offshore wind energy sites for the first time.
India aims to have an operational solar power capacity of 100 GW and wind energy capacity of 60 GW by 2022 in addition to 15 GW of other renewable energy technologies. In its recently submitted pledge to the United Nations, India stated a target of 250 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 and reduction of emissions intensity by 40%.