Just ahead of its 75th independence day, India achieved a major milestone in its power sector — 100 gigawatts of installed renewable energy.
On the 12th of August, India’s minister for power and renewable energy, RK Singh, announced on Twitter that the country had achieved the milestone of 100 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity. As of the 31st of July, India’s renewable energy capacity stood at just under 99 gigawatts. 50 gigawatts of projects are under construction and another 27 gigawatts have been tendered, the government said in a press release.
Solar energy is the largest technology by installed capacity, accounting for 44%, followed by wind energy at 39.5%. Bioenergy accounts for 10% of the installed capacity, while small hydro power projects (less than 25 MW capacity) account for 5%. The rest of the capacity is contributed by waste-to-power capacity. If large hydro power projects are also accounted for, the renewable energy capacity increases to 146 gigawatts.
India has set a target to have 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by December 2022. This includes 100 gigawatts of solar power, 60 gigawatts of wind energy, and 15 gigawatts of bioenergy and small hydro power. While a large volume of capacity is under construction and at the tendering stage, India is unlikely to meet this ambitious capacity target. Disruption of installation activity due to COVID is one of the reasons for the very likely shortfall but India had been struggling to achieve annual capacity addition goals much before COVID.
In 2019-20 India managed to add 8.7 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, 26% short of the target. This was the fourth consecutive year when capacity addition targets were missed. Between September 2021 and December 2022, India needs to add 56 gigawatts of solar power capacity to achieve the 100 gigawatt target. In comparison, only 26.2 gigawatts of solar power capacity was added during 2015-16 and 2019-20.