Private sector driving renewable energy wave in India

Private sector driving renewable energy wave in India

Last Updated: April 09, 2022

Private sector- Supply growth is being led by private players, despite initially being led by public sector. Large power producers with coal constituting a large part of their portfolios including Adani Group, Jindal and Tata Power, have announced big renewable energy targets and investment to match.

Climate change – witnessed increasingly in extreme weather events – is now the biggest risk threatening energy and financial markets, and vulnerable people and communities.The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021 warns that to maintain the trajectory of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, immediate urgent action must be taken.

To mitigate this climate risk, India has set ambitious targets for renewable energy. The government has recognised that free solar and wind energy, backed up by batteries, and other clean technologies such as electric vehicles and green hydrogen, are necessary alternatives to increasingly obsolete high-emitting fossil fuel generation plants – coal, LNG and gas.

At COP26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Modi announced 500 gigawatts (GW) of non-fossil fuel capacity and 50% of energy from renewable sources by 2030 coupled with a net zero target by 2070. The response has been promising, and has brought forward increased competition in the traditionally coal-dominated energy market. As a result, India’s energy supply growth is now being led by renewable energy capacity additions.

Figure 1: Capacity Additions of Coal vs Renewables in India 2017 – 2022


Source: CEA, MNRE, IEEFA calculations * Till January 2022

Further, that supply growth is being led by private sector players, despite initially being led by the public sector. Large power producers with coal constituting a large part of their portfolios including Adani Group, Jindal and Tata Power, have announced big renewable energy targets and investment to match.

What caused the private sector to shift their focus to renewables?India faced coal shortages from August to October 2021 which led to high prices at the power exchange. Then in January 2022 Indonesia announced a coal export ban. The crisis exposed price volatility and energy security risks for India, showing imported coal as an unreliable source of electricity generation being heavily dependent on a long supply chain.

The largest business houses in the country responded by changing track, turning their attention to cheaper, cleaner, reliable renewable energy. It shows economics are driving such decisions, coupled with the return on investment being much higher for renewable energy projects.

Globally, there has been significant global capital momentum away from thermal coal and coal-fired power generation in the last few years. In total, IEEFA has tracked over 187 globally significant banks, insurers, and asset managers / owners that have implemented substantial formal coal exit policies since 2013. The year 2021 saw 51 new or updated policy statements.

This capital flow is a reflection of the rapidly diminishing economic merits of thermal coal and the growing understanding that alignment with the Paris Agreement and 1.5 degrees Celsius invariably leaves many coal projects as stranded assets, unable to deliver a viable return over their useful life. A flood of international capital is vying for renewable energy assets and the pool of economic, social and governance (ESG) led investors is growing rapidly.

While India has the potential to attract a large part of this capital, the flows have not been sizeable to date due to concerns about “greenwashing” and the overhang of legacy thermal assets on the books of major players such as NTPC and Tata Power. That trajectory however is changing following recent big announcements for renewable energy deployment in the next few years.

Figure 2: Current and Target Renewable Capacity Of Major Sector Players


Source: Company reports, IEEFA analysis

In July 2021, Tata Power announced it would not build new coal-fired generation projects and is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050. One week later JSW, another leading thermal power producer, announced 20GW of solar, wind and hydropower plants by March 2030 and an investment of Rs750 billion (US$10billion) with the aim of also becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

In fact, 2021 saw a sharp increase in renewable energy investment domestically and globally. India attracted about ~US$18.8 billion of that investment in renewable energy, three times the investment seen in 2020. Further, 2021 saw some big-ticket renewable energy investments by large private Indian companies.

CompanyAmountTo do what
RelianceUS$80 billionBy 2030-35, 100GW solar + giga factories for modules, fuel
AdaniUS$50 billionBy 2030, investment in renewables
ReNew PowerUS$9 billionBy 2025, new solar and wind projects

The share price performance of these companies indicates they are making the right moves by turning to renewables. Over a 5-year period, Adani Green Energy Limited has risen massively by 6,000% and Reliance by 350% vis-à-vis a 110% rise in Sensex.

A focus on solar and green hydrogen Private players are now building the ecosystem by increasing domestic manufacturing of solar modules, cells, wafers, and polysilicon, while reducing reliance on imports.

In October 2021, Reliance acquired REC Group of Norway for US$771 million. REC is a long-established solar module manufacturer with two facilities in Norway for making solar grade polysilicon and one in Singapore making PV cells and modules. Reliance has further invested US$29 million in German solar wafer manufacturer NexWafe GmbH and is entering a strategic partnership to commercialise NexWafe’s product in India.

Private players are now also betting big on green hydrogen (the only ‘renewable’ hydrogen) which will assist in decarbonising other sectors like refining, fertiliser, and steel. Reliance has partnered with renewables pioneer Henrik Stiesdal to develop and manufacture hydrogen electrolysers. And Adani Group and Ballard Power Systems have joined hands to evaluate a joint investment in hydrogen fuel cells manufacturing in India. Green hydrogen is considered to be the fuel of the future and IEEFA notes fuel cell manufacturing will likely be a game-changer in India’s energy transition.

Private capital, and power producers reeling under the burden of non-performing thermal assets, are driving a course correction. Apart from the 30GW already under construction, no new thermal projects are likely to come online in India.

Renewable energy momentum is continuing, and with the increasing competitiveness of ever-cheaper battery storage and unfolding new energy technologies, that momentum will likely escalate to a two-threefold increase in the growth of renewable energy by 2024.

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India’s solar irradiance 7 per cent below long-term average: Study

India’s solar irradiance 7 per cent below long-term average: Study

Last Updated: April 11, 2022

Solar Irradiance

New Delhi: In what could have significant ramifications for productivity and returns from solar power projects in India, the latest study has found solar irradiance over the country over the past ten years was 7 per cent below long-term average.

The study by Solargis, a data and software firm for solar investments, highlights the struggles that solar asset owners face with the impacts of extreme weather and long-term irradiance variability – levels that deviated from the long-term averages are often used to underpin production estimates and financial models.

“Solargis’ irradiance maps indicate up to seven percent below average solar irradiation for the (Indian) sub-continent over the last four years – reflecting the concerns of local asset managers about a decline in irradiance levels,” the Slovakia based firm said in a statement.

India's solar irradiance 7 per cent below long-term average: Study

It added that for India the irradiance variability is particularly notable around highly developed areas where aerosols and cloud cover can impact resource availability.

“If this data is not considered by developers, it could result in solar farms underperforming, with wider implications for investor confidence in one of the world’s fastest growing solar markets,” the firm said.

The study is a ten-year analysis of solar irradiance — over the 2012 to 2021 period — released today by Solargis and has illustrated the impacts of significant resource variability on several key global solar markets including India, Australia and North America.

“We are seeing margins tighten on global solar projects, due to multiple factors like the phase out of tax credits and subsidies, price volatility and rising supply chain costs. High-quality solar data will help to better understand and address deviations from expected production, forecast short-term performance and ultimately support effective integration into modern digitalised grids,” says Solargis CEO Marcel Suri.

Significant variation both above and below the long-term averages has been witnessed across North America, India and Australia, highlighting the variability challenge presented by solar, a promising yet intermittent renewable energy source.

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Meghalaya govt to power its remote health centres using solar technology

Meghalaya govt to power its remote health centres using solar technology

Last Updated: April 09, 2022

​Solar Technology – ​The state government said it plans to cover all rural health centres under the solar power scheme to improve the functioning of these centres and ensure that last mile delivery in the health sector is achieved using solar technologies.

Shillong: The Meghalaya government has successfully installed solar-powered devices in 100 health centres in remote villages, an official said on Saturday.

The state government said it plans to cover all rural health centres under the solar power scheme to improve the functioning of these centres and ensure that last-mile delivery in the health sector is achieved using solar technologies.

In a pilot programme, the National Health Mission has successfully powered 100 sub-centres in the 11 districts with solar devices, a senior health official said.

He said as part of the programme, energy-efficient equipment like radiant warmer, suction apparatus, spotlight, solar direct drive vaccine refrigerator and luminaries, were installed and made functional.

To meet the health demands of the vulnerable people in remote areas of the state, the government had partnered with SELCO Foundation to scale the remaining 342 sub-centres and 122 primary health centres (PHCs) across the state, according to the official.

The site assessment is in progress at all these centres to ensure last mile health care facilities in Meghalaya.

Irrespective of the difficult terrain, remoteness, vulnerability to climate risks and natural disasters of rural habitations, the intervention will greatly benefit from solar energy that can power critical healthcare services including immunization, maternal care, deliveries, diagnostics and contribute to increasing monitoring including vaccination of COVID 19 among others.

Joint Secretary, Health Department, Ram Kumar, who also heads the National Health Mission said, “Having consistent energy flow into the health systems, builds the confidence among people on the services provided by the health systems.”

He said the aim is to ensure that these health centres, irrespective of their remoteness, provide consistent power and ensure that services are available 24/7.

“Health centres are sustained on their own in terms of power so that there is no dependency on external power as well as have an efficient system of monitoring them,” he said.

In the programme, adopted on a pilot basis in Meghalaya and a few other states, the NHM is being supported by SELCO Foundation and Cryptorelief to cover the entire spectrum of public health facilities in the state, the official stated.

An ANM of Jalyiah, C Syrti, said, “We are getting important solar powered equipment which are used in conducting safer and healthier deliveries.”

SELCO Foundation and Crypto Relief said they are partnering with each other in one of the largest programmes for upgrading and empowering public health facilities with solar energy across five states.

CryptoRelief chief Sandeep Nailwal said, “The team at Crypto Relief realises the potential that solar powering health centres will enable a foundation to impact health indicators on the ground in these districts.”

SELCO Foundation CEO Dr Harish Hande said the company is honoured to partner with Meghalaya government.

“In this existing programme of 100 sub centres in the state, which can then be a model for countries to replicate and by using solar energy we can democratise the delivery of health to the last mile people,” he said.

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Maharashtra government and NTPC to jointly set up solar energy park

Maharashtra government and NTPC to jointly set up solar energy park

Last Updated: April 07, 2022

Solar Energy

Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) will form an equal joint venture with state-run NTPC Ltd to set up an ultra mega solar park in Maharashtra with 2500 MW generation capacity, the state said today.

The proposal to form a joint venture company was approved in the cabinet meeting held today, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (or its subsidiary / subsidiary) and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahanirmiti) will have a capital investment of 50:50, respectively, for the development of Ultramega Renewable Solar Park with a capacity of 2500 MW in the State,” Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.

For the venture the State Energy Department has been declared the nodal agency and has been entrusted with the responsibility of complying with the provisions of the unconventional energy policy of the state government.

A lump sum fee from the project holder in the solar energy park and annual operation and maintenance fee etc has been made permissible as per the guidelines of the Central Government.

For non-conventional energy, 17,360 MW capacity generation project will be developed by March 21, 2025, of which 12,930 MW capacity solar power project is targeted to be started. “At present 9305 MW capacity projects are in operation in the state and 2123 MW capacity solar power projects are in operation,” the statement added.

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Rajasthan at second position in achieving rooftop solar power target

Rajasthan at second position in achieving rooftop solar power target

Last Updated: April 07, 2022

Jaipur: Rajasthan is at the No. 2 position in achieving the target for implementing rooftop solar projects in the country.
Gujarat, which was given a target of 3200 MW, has achieved 54%, while Rajasthan has set up 33% of the allocated 2300 MW capacity.
In terms of capacity by February 2022, Gujarat has come at No. 1 having a capacity of 1,936 MW while Maharashtra has a 921MW capacity. Rajasthan’s installed capacity stands at 748 MW.
Subodh Agarwal, secretary, department of energy, and CMD of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation said that the state not only has the largest installed solar capacity in the country but also was second in achieving the rooftop capacity target allotted to it. TNN

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More EV Charging Stations, Hydrogen to Generate Electricity: Maharashtra Government

More EV Charging Stations, Hydrogen to Generate Electricity: Maharashtra Government

Last Updated: April 05, 2022

EV Charging Stations :

  • State energy Minister Nitin Raut says that his government is shifting focus from conventional fuel to hydrogen for generation of electricity.
  • State PSUs will form a joint venture with petrol companies to set up EV charging stations on the premises of petrol pumps.

The Maharashtra Government has promised a strong support for the hydrogen and electric vehicles’ charging infrastructure at the “Alternative Fuel Conclave” organised at Pune. While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that his government is planning to incentivize an ecosystem that helps the growth of electric vehicles and vehicles that run on alternate fuels, Energy Minister Nitin Raut declared that hydrogen will be employed in Maharashtra as an alternative fuel to generate power.

Nitin Raut said, “We are shifting our focus of generation of electricity from conventional fuel to hydrogen energy. Very soon, our State will be featured as a pioneer in the use of hydrogen energy.”

It was announced that the state government will amend the Renewable Energy Policy 2020 under which the 17360 MW of renewable energy is to realised. The policy has been relatively ineffective until now. The minister says that Maharashtra Government plans to better incentivize stakeholders here onwards.

Nitin Raut stated that the Energy Department plans to expand electric vehicles’ charging infrastructure in the state. He said, “In order to facilitate the increased use of green energy in the transport sector, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) is proactively taking the initiative to establish the EV charging stations. Even as a part of asset monetization, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company, Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company and Maharashtra State Power Generation Company have decided to form JV with Petrol companies to set up EV charging stations on the premises of petrol pumps.”

Nitin Raut also informed that if this model is successful, the next step would be to increase the number of charging stations in the schools and colleges’ premises, so that students would have easy access to charging.

“While taking initiatives, care has been taken to keep the electricity charges quite reasonable i.e. Rs 5.50 per unit in daytime use. However, during the night from 10 pm to 6 am the rate will be Rs 4.50 per unit. This shows our sincere commitment to reducing the carbon footprints,” said the Energy Minister.

MSEDCL is the nodal agency for the development of EV charging infrastructure in Maharashtra by encouraging the private sector. Maharashtra is leading the electric vehicles sales in India. In the first nine months alone of 2021-22, EV sales increased by more than 150 per cent.

As Maharashtra targets to have 10 per cent of all new registrations in the state from electric vehicles, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also requested the industry leaders to invest in manufacturing units of alternate fuels.

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