India has recorded perhaps its highest-ever renewable energy penetration in overall energy generation in the quarter of July-September 2018. The event is on expected lines after the country reported a historically high monthly share of renewable energy generation in July and August 2018.
According to government data, Indian power plants generated a record 359.3 terawatt-hours of electricity in Q3 2018. This is the highest-ever generation recorded in a quarter. Total renewable energy generation of 42.9 terawatt-hours was recorded, the highest-ever in India’s history. This record generation propelled the share of renewable energy in India’s overall energy generation to 11.9% in Q3 2018. This is the first quarter ever when the share of renewable energy technologies in energy generation has crossed 10%.
The share of wind energy in total energy generation was also the highest-ever at 8.2%, up from 4.6% in Q2 2018 and 6.4% in Q3 2017. The share of solar power dropped marginally, as expected, and will likely increase again over the next two quarters.
While the record-high share of renewable energy is in itself a good news, there are other things to cheer as well.
Despite the highest-ever total energy generation power generation from fossil fuel-based power plants was the lowest in four quarters and second-lowest in eight quarters. At 253 terawatt-hours, generation from fossil fuel-based power plants declined by over 7%, quarter-on-quarter.
Quarterly share of fossil fuel-based power plants is the lowest-ever at 70.4%, with the rest of the energy generated from renewable energy, large hydro, and nuclear power plants. Last month we reported in another analytical piece that India’s power generation was the cleanest-ever in August 2018 due to record-low generation from fossil fuel-based power plants, and increased renewable energy generation.
Contributing factors for this record generation from solar and wind energy projects include peak wind season during these months which pushed wind energy generation in the southern states, and the must-run status that wind and solar power projects enjoy. The must-run status means that power distribution utilities must procure all power generated from solar and wind energy projects, even if at the expense of fossil fuel-based power plants, which also explains the reduced generation from fossil fuel-based power plants.