Renewable energy technologies, led overwhelmingly by solar power, continued to lead in new power generation capacity installed in India in the fourth quarter of last year.
According to data released by the federal government agencies, more than 93% of the power generation capacity added in India between October and December 2017 was based on renewable energy technology. This marks a continuation in the trend seen in the third quarter last year when just over 92% of the power generation capacity added in India was based on renewable energy technologies.
The overwhelming share of renewable energy technologies in new capacity added speaks volumes about the rapid pace at which solar and wind energy projects are being commissioned and the sluggish to no growth seen in the thermal, primarily coal-based, power sector.
Of the 2,887 megawatts of new capacity added in Q4 2017, 2,689 megawatts was based on renewable energy technologies. None of the capacity added during the quarter was based on any fossil fuel technologies. Solar had a massive share of 79% in the total new capacity added while bioenergy projects was a distant second with 8% share. Large hydro and wind energy projects had a share of 7% and 5%, respectively. Small hydro power projects wrapped up the new capacity addition with a share of 1%.
Hydro power projects with an installed capacity of more than 25 megawatts are currently not classified as renewable energy projects in India. However, the federal government has been mulling a change in this classification for a long time.
In the third quarter, solar power had a share of 82% in net capacity addition. Wind energy had a share of 10%, while large hydro power projects registered a share of 8% in the net new capacity added.
The thermal power sector not only saw no new capacity added in the third and fourth quarters last year but witnessed a decline in installed capacity. India retired and permanently shut down 1,126 megawatts of thermal power capacity in Q3 and 490 megawatts of capacity in Q4 last year. This is the reason the total renewable energy capacity added in Q3 and Q4 has been more than the net new capacity added.
Against a net capacity addition of 879 megawatts in Q3 India added 1,854 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, including 1,657 megawatts of solar power capacity. And against a net capacity addition of 2,397 megawatts in Q4, India added 2,689 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, including 2,281 megawatts of solar power capacity.
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