Renewed thrust on Renewable Energy: Piyush Goyal

India is running the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world. The government is aiming to increase share of clean energy through massive thrust in renewables. The year started with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s statement “India is graduating from Megawatts to Gigawatts in Renewable Energy production. The quote itself set up the higher expectation of clean energy generation in the country. The target of 20,000 Mw of solar power proposed to be installed in the country has been reset by the NDA government to achieve five time more at one lakh mw of solar power by 2022. As on 31.10.2015, cumulative capacity of about 38 GW of grid-interactive renewable energy capacity has been installed in the country.

The Centre has taken several initiatives to increase the uptake of renewable energy through policy initiatives including enactment of a National off shore Wind Energy Policy and throwing support behind generation-based incentives and accelerated depreciation.

UPSCALING OF RE TARGETS:

The Government has up-scaled the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power. The total investment in setting up 100 GW will be around Rs. 6,00,000 crore.

GREEN POWER CAPACITY INCREASED:

A total of 2,311.88 MW of grid-connected power generation capacity from renewable energy sources like solar and wind has been added so far this fiscal in the country. The government has set a target of 4,460 MW of power generation capacity addition this fiscal from renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and small-hydro. During the first seven months of the fiscal, 827.22 MW of solar power generation capacity was added, taking the cumulative electricity generation capacity from the source to 4,579.24 MW. The physical progress of achieving these targets is as follows:

REINVEST 2015:

First Renewable Energy Global Investment Promotion Meet & Expo (RE – INVEST) was organised with the intent of providing a platform to the global investment community to connect with stakeholders in India. The Ministry received total of 2,73,000 MW green commitments including 62,000 MW of renewable manufacturing in the event. On the occasion, 14 banks and financial institutions, 8 PSUs and private manufacturers, 15 private sector companies gave 70,000 MW of renewable finance Commitments.

INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE:

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched an International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference in Paris on 30th November as a special platform for mutual cooperation among 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. The Centre will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years.

LOWEST SOLAR TARIFFS:

In an e-reverse auction conducted by NTPC on 03.11.2015 for 500 MW (10 projects of 50 MW each) to be set up at Ghani Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh under National Solar Mission, Phase-II, Batch-II, Tranche-I of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, NTPC received the lowest tariff of Rs. 4.63 per unit of electricity. Total 30 bids were received totaling to 5500 MW capacity.

INTRA STATE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM:

In July 2015, the Cabinet has approved the creation of an intra state transmission system in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan at an estimated cost of Rs 8548.68 crore with Government of India contribution from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) of Rs 3419.47 crore (40 percent of the total estimated cost of project). Creation of an intra state transmission system will facilitate evacuation of renewable power from generation stations to load centres.

SOLAR CITIES:

The Ministry has approved 56 solar cities projects against the target of 60 solar cities under the Development of Solar Cities Programme. These parks will be able to accommodate over 20,000 MW of solar power projects. As on date, 27 parks with capacity of about 18000 MW in 21 states have been sanctioned.

SOLAR PROJECTS UNDER NATIONAL SOLAR MISSION:

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for the implementation of the scheme for setting up of 15,000 MW of Grid-connected Solar PV Power projects under the National Solar Mission through NTPC/ NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) in three tranches. The Government approved Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to apply to the Registrar of Companies for converting it into a Section 3 company and renaming it as the Renewable Energy Corporation of India (RECI).

Renewed thrust on Renewable Energy: Piyush Goyal

RE PROJECTS IN PRIORITY SECTOR LENDING:

In a communication to all central government ministries and departments, PSUs and organizations, state governments, educational institutions, the Ministry said the price of solar power has fallen drastically in the last two to three years and it is economical to generate the power through grid connected solar roof top systems for consumers in states where tariff is more than Rs 7 per unit.

SOLAR PUMPS:

The government has implemented a scheme to install one lakh solar pumps for irrigation and drinking water through State Nodal Agencies and NABARD. These pumps helped lakhs of farmers to increase output, income and also provide drinking water. The ministry has issued supplementary guidelines for 1,00,000 solar pumps during 2014-15 and Rs 353.50 crore was released to various agencies.

OTHER SCHEMES LAUNCHED FOR ACHIEVING SOLAR ENERGY TARGETS:

  • Off-grid Rooftop: It is proposed to set up 40 GW solar rooftop programmes where grid connectivity is already exist. 15% Government subsidy for non-commercial and non-industrial categories for using domestic solar panels would be provided.
  • Solar Parks: The Government has approved on 10th December, 2014 a Scheme for setting up of 25 Solar Parks, each with the capacity of 500 MW and above and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects to be developed in next 5 years in various States and will require Central Government financial support of Rs 4050 crore. These parks will be able to accommodate over 20,000 MW of solar power projects. As on date, 27 parks with capacity of about 18000 MW in 21 states have been sanctioned.
  • Setting up of over 300 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Defence establishments and Para Military Forces with viability gap funding. More than 150 MW projects have been sanctioned under the scheme.
  • Implementation of Scheme for setting up 1000 MW of Grid Connected Solar PV Power projects by CPSUs and GOI organization’s with Viability Gap Funding in three years period from 2015-16 to 2017-18. About 100 MW have been allocated to various CPSUs under the scheme.
  • Scheme for Development of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Plants on Canal Banks and Canal Tops: MNRE launched a Scheme for Development of Grid Connected Solar PV Power Plants on Canal Banks and Canal Tops in the country during the 12th Plan period at an estimated cost of Rs. 975 crore and with Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of Rs. 228 cr.
  • New loan scheme to promote rooftop solar power projects announced by IREDA. The scheme will provide loans at interest rates between 9.9 and 10.75 percent to system aggregators and developers.
  • Surya Mitra Scheme launched for creating 50,000 trained personnel within a period of 5 years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The course content has been approved by the National Council of Vocational Training as per the National Skill, Qualification Framework.

POLICY INITIATIVES

  • National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, 2015 : Under this Policy, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been authorized as the Nodal Ministry for use of offshore areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country and the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has been authorized as the Nodal Agency for development of offshore wind energy in the country and to carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks, coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies.
  • Restoration of Accelerated Depreciation Benefits for Wind Power Projects: After significant harm was done to the wind sector due to withdrawal of AD with effect from 1.4.2012, it has been restored on 18.7.2014. This decision of the Government will help in creating a robust manufacturing base for wind turbines in the country.
  • State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) of twenty States have notified regulatory framework on net-metering and feed-in-tariff to encourage rooftop solar plants.
  • Inclusion of renewable energy in categories of priority sector, in addition to existing categories.
  • Bank loans up to a limit of Rs 15 crore to borrowers for purposes like solar based power generators, biomass based power generators, wind mills, micro-hydel plants and for non-conventional energy based public utilities viz. street lighting systems, and remote village electrification. For individual households, the loan limit will be Rs 10 lakh per borrower.
  • Investments in RE is on Automatic route. No RBI/FIPB approval required.
  • PPAs have been standardized for projects under JNNSM.
  • Land procurement- Many states have provided deemed Non Agricultural status for land purchased for RE projects.
  • Clean Energy Fund: Coal Cess has been increased from Rs 100 to Rs 200/ton which will make available around Rs 12000 crore/year for supporting and incentivizing development of RE in the country.

POLICY AMENDMENTS UNDERWAY:

  • National Wind Energy Mission (Proposed): Initiated the process of establishing National Wind Energy Mission. The setting up of a Mission would help in (a) achieving the targets of 12th Plan and energy generation from renewable energy as set under NAPCC, and (b) addressing the issues and challenges which the wind sector is faced with, such as precise resource assessment, effective grid integration, improvement in technology and manufacturing base, to maintain its comparative advantage in the wind sector.
  • To allow generating / purchasing and bundling of renewable and allow pass through to such power plants where generation and transmission assets are fully depreciated.
  • Draft RE Act 2015 Increasing the share of RE in the energy mix will require enabling policies to stimulate changes not only in policies related to RE deployment but also in policies related to the planning of the complete energy system. The mandatory provisions after the enactment of Renewable energy Law will provide the requisite backbone framework to facilitate increase in the use of renewable energy.

OTHER INITIATIVES :

INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT:

On technical side, National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) is collaborating with premium institutions/ laboratories of USA, Japan and Germany in the fields of performance evaluation, long term operational reliability and indoor-performance testing of different technology modules. On the financial side, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is also operating Line of Credits from various Bilateral/ Multilateral institutions for further extending the credit to viable renewable energy projects in the country.

A MoU between India and France on 10th April, 2015 to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on the new and renewable energy issues, on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. Another MoU on Renewable Energy Cooperation was signed between India and Seychelles in March, 2015, to strengthen, promote and develop renewable energy cooperation between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. The PACE Setter Funds has been formally launched on 19th August, 2015 in New Delhi.

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