The Indian government has reiterated its commitment to auction large volumes of solar and wind energy capacity in order to achieve the target of 100 gigawatts solar and 60 gigawatts of wind energy capacity operational by 31 March 2022.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the government stated that it plans to auction 60 gigawatts of solar power capacity and 20 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by March 2020 in order to achieve those targets.
According to the data released by the Ministry as of 31 October 2018, solar power capacity installed in India stood at just over 25 gigawatts, while an additional 36.6 gigawatts capacity was under construction or auctioned, bringing the total to 61.6 gigawatts. The Ministry hopes that the gap of around 40 gigawatts could be filled through fresh auctions between January 2019 and March 2020. This translates into an average capacity auction of around 2.7 gigawatts every month for the next 15 months.
For the wind energy capacity, the figures on 31 October 2018 stood at 35 gigawatts commissioned, and 9.4 gigawatts under construction or auctioned, bring the total to 44.4 gigawatts. The Ministry plans or expects fresh tenders of 20 gigawatts over a period of 15 months through March 2020 to achieve the installed capacity target of 60 gigawatts by March 2022. The monthly average capacity to be auctioned would be around be a manageable 1.4 gigawatts.
Timeline Implementation Remains Doubtful
This is not the first time that the Indian government has issued such a timeline for solar and wind energy auctions to achieve the 2022 targets. The MNRE had the same exercise a year ago, and has failed to keep up with its own timeline.
As per the initial timeline, the Ministry had planned for the auction of 13 to 14 gigawatts of wind energy capacity between January 2018 and March 2019. Instead, only 6.9 gigawatts capacity was auctioned between February and September 2018. The Solar Energy Corporation of India, an agency under direct control of the MNRE, had to reduce the size of multiple wind energy tenders, and even had to cancel or postpone some of them.
India also had to auction 30 gigawatts of solar power capacity between April 2018 and March 2019, and another 30 gigawatts between April 2019 and March 2020. This 60 gigawatts of capacity would now have to be squeezed into the remaining 15 months (January 2019 to March 2020). In the solar power sector, too, the SECI had to reduce the size of some tenders, partially annul the largest solar auction in the country’s history, and significantly reduce the size of a huge tender linked to development of manufacturing facilities.