The Indian state of Gujarat has announced plans to aggressively increase procurement of renewable energy over the next few years.
The state-owned power utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has reportedly come out with a plan to procure 7 gigawatts of additional solar and wind energy by 2022 in order to fulfill its Renewable Purchase Obligation, i.e. the minimum percentage of electricity a state needs to procure from renewable energy projects.
GUVNL is required to procure at least 16% of its electricity from renewable energy projects by 2022. According to government data, the state had an installed renewable energy capacity of almost 7,000 gigawatts, mostly from solar and wind energy projects.
According to media reports, the utility will procure 5,500 megawatts of solar power and 1,500 megawatts of wind energy. The utility has already taken steps to achieve that target. It auctioned 500 megawatts of solar and wind energy capacity last year and earlier this year. It also issued a tender each for 1,000 megawatts wind and solar power capacity last month.
Gujarat has been a pioneer in India’s solar power sector. It was perhaps the first state in the country to have auctioned solar power projects. Gujarat’s solar power program predates the National Solar Mission launched by the Indian federal government in late 2010.
Yet, Gujarat has been lagged behind several new entrants, including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu in installed solar power capacity. There was a time when Gujarat had more solar power available than it required to fulfill its Renewable Purchase Obligation. For financial year 2017-18, however, the state failed to meet its 10% RPO target.
Gujarat may also be looking to increase its in-house renewable energy capacity as it faces a shortage of power supply from thermal power generators. Gujarat could probably take a leaf out of Tamil Nadu’s book. Tamil Nadu, having the largest installed wind energy capacity in India, generated surplus wind power last year and was forced to shutdown several thermal power plants due to over-supply. Tamil Nadu also sold a portion of the excess wind power and earned a healthy premium as well.