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Home » Cover Story » Clean energy to change the energy landscape

Clean energy to change the energy landscape

August 26, 2022 11:51 am

Clean energy to change the energy landscape
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Investments in power transmission and distribution (T&D) systems have prospered on the back of the ever-growing need to increase the performance and stability of grids. Modern grid operators in the transmission and distribution market are increasingly raising their stakes in modern grid technologies, notably smart grids.

An increased government’s focus on replacing an ageing power infrastructure is enriching the outlook of the transmission and distribution market. Growing spending on new technologies in electric power transmission is attracting loads of opportunities, found analysts in the global transmission and distribution market.

Increasing India’s renewable energy capacity.
Speaking about the plans to increase the capacity through various renewable energy resources, Shirish Garud, Director-Renewable Energy Technology, TERI, said, “There are various renewable energy institutes which offer government-funded research and technology transfer programs.” Most of these programmes are bilateral arrangements with European countries for research and promotion. This technical institute has created a separate department, which was earlier part of the mechanical engineering or electrical departments.

According to N. Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Executive Director, EY India, “We have various programmes active to increase India’s renewable energy capacity, including the National Green Hydro Mission, Production Linked Incentive scheme for manufacturing solar PV cells and modules, advanced cell chemistry, and battery storage, Indian Railways’ Net Zero target by 2030, the National Biomass Co-firing policy to use biomass such as paddy stubble and cow dung in coal power plants, and so on.”

In solar energy, there is a specialised lab research institute established by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the National Institute of Solar Energy, the National Institute of Wind Energy and many more.

From a power market perspective, Ravi Kuchi, Vice President – Business Development, IEX Limited, shared the developments from a power market perspective, saying, “Most of the states have started promoting renewable capacity energy. They have started giving incentives similar to any banking facility. It is where the energy is stored, and power is procured or consumed when needed with an incentive and reasonable interest rate. It has to be noted that most of the waivers are given on long-term PPAs. The procurement market charge has to be paid in full because of the plant load factor. “

As per data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), more than ₹5.2 lakh crores have been invested through the FDI route in India’s renewable energy sector during the last eight years.

Sanjay Udgirkar, Chief Risk & Contracts Officer at Manav Energy Pvt. Ltd., stated that the government’s announcement of a target of producing 50% of electricity from renewable sources is not merely rhetoric. Renewable energy accounts for a quarter of India’s total installed power capacity and 13% of its electricity generation, with 114GW. Regarding renewable energy investments and plans for 2020, India ranked third globally.

Land acquisition is a critical challenge in developing Clean Energy Parks India’s electricity supply footprint is continuing to transform rapidly. Through the major parts of the last decade, the government has consistently emphasised providing electricity for all and increasing the share of renewable energy (RE) to 450GW capacity by 2030.
The much-needed National Land Utilization Policy must balance socioeconomic, ecological, and environmental impacts and the benefits of clean energy production (plus transmission infrastructure). “The Government of India should continue to promote land-optimising technologies through the National Land Monetisation Corporation, among others,” Yuvaraj adds to this note.

According to Udgirkar, on the policy and regulatory framework side, the government of India has offered a stimulus package to support distribution companies (DISCOM) to install smart and prepaid metres to reduce losses and the revenue gap between the cost of power procurement and electricity tariffs. “It has also allowed state-owned DISCOMS to terminate PPAs with coal based plants over 25 years old, which will help reduce capacity payments and lead to more renewable energy in the system. This change is expected to minimise renewable curtailment nationwide from 3.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent “, he continues.

Addressing the major challenge, i.e., land acquisition to establish a clean energy park, Garud said, “We are a very populous country, and land is a limited resource available, so there are certain restrictions to conserve the ecological system of that particular area. While acquiring land, three main issues need to be addressed. One is preserving the ecosystem; second, giving benefits to the land owner; and third, providing proper valuations.

Improving DISCOM’s finances through renewable energy.
DISCOMs will benefit in the long run if they plan to use clean energy power as their primary long-term power supply option and move away from expiring conventional power purchase agreements. Given the flexibility provided by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and adopted by a few SERCs, Yuvaraj believes, “DISCOMs stand to benefit from procuring and distributing RE (green) power to opting consumers and corporations.”

The impact of RE on DISCOMs is highlighted. Udgirkar claims, “Despite numerous initiatives and bailout packages offered by various governments at the state and central levels, India’s distribution companies (DISCOMs) have significantly failed to improve their operational performance over the last 15 years. DISCOMs’ poor financial health has hampered India’s renewable
energy (RE) sector.” He continued that while the Indian government is eager to increase RE additions as part of international commitments. Some state DISCOMs face grid- maintenance challenges due to targets to integrate large-scale and forecast-vs-actual variations in VRE generation during any given year (both under-injection and over-injection) Many state utilities still operate old, relatively inefficient, and expensive thermal power plants far below capacity, even though the states are required by contracts to continue paying high-capacity charges. Many R&M programmes have been implemented to restore the nameplate rating, but pollution issues remain unaddressed. DISCOMs are also concerned about the rise of rooftop solar systems due to their impact on DISCOM financial stability (from revenue loss), distribution system issues (from reactive power, voltage impacts, and reverse power flows), and demand forecast uncertainty.

Regulatory support for RE integration and clean energy goals.

Key policy and regulatory interventions to achieve the desired RE grid integration for the targeted clean energy goals include a wide range of flexible options, viz., standalone and RE storage (allied services), demand response, flexible operating options for thermal (coal) power plants, Time of Use tariffs (agriculture sector), mandatory DSM across power intensive sectors, regulations for optimised resources planning, incentivisation of deployment of new technologies, R&D, smart grid penetration, acceleration of green corridors for transmission network strengthening, digital power systems including Artificial Intelligence, trading of Green Energy and its attributes, widespread implementation of Green Open Energy Access regulations etc. Opportunities ahead India’s wind generation capacity has been indeed overshadowed by the large-scale deployment of solar projects in the last few years. Yuvaraj explained that the Indian government continues to support the sector by implementing bidding processes, GBIs, repowering policies, and off-shore. Still, the private sector expects long-term and sustainable policies,
regulations, and incentives to lift this performance sector.

Kuchi pointed out that “the energy market is addressing both consumer and generator requirements, wherein payment security is majorly taken care of. There are numerous policy directives and government initiatives aimed at increasing market penetration.

Key suggestions include the launch of a fresh set of incentives; hybrid projects with storage; Make-in India-based manufacturing; accelerated repowering scheme; updation of wind potential; rezoning exercise; etc., The wind sector has transformed the growth of Indian allied industries since the 90s. It has enormous potential for 100% indigenous development and manufacturing of everything from towers to blades to power electronics.

We are capable of modelling solar farm earthing arrangements, providing high-performance earthing grid/system designs, and supplying/installing, testing, and commissioning lightning protection products for large solar projects, which accounts for a large portion of our current interest in RE. To address this, “Manav Energy’s mission is to continue to deliver a reliable tomorrow” regarding electrical safety. And the services/solutions provided range from earthing & bonding, lighting management, power systems and power quality studies, EMI/EMC Services, and so on, across a wide range of industries, including Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Rail & Metro, and Electricity Generation/Transmission/Distribution, including Renewable Energy (RE), “concludes Udgirkar.

One must choose a business model that addresses the commercial aspect while avoiding exploitation. Instead of selling land, farmers are given the option of a long lease, such as 20 years, which provides them with a consistent income while allowing them to retain ownership. Land can now be used for agricultural and energy production, allowing for multiple uses.

“DISCOMs stand to benefit from procuring and distributing RE (green) power to opting consumers and corporations.”-N. Yuvaraj Dinesh Babu, Executive Director, EY India

“Both consumer and generator needs are being met by the energy market, with payment security receiving most of the attention.”-Ravi Kuchi, Vice President – Business Development, IEX Limited.

“Increased system flexibility is required to maintain a constant balance of supply and demand as the resource mix shifts toward increased RE penetration.” -Sanjay Udgirkar, Chief Risk & contracts Officer, Manav Energy Pvt. Ltd.

“Conserving the ecosystem, giving benefits to the land owner, and giving proper valuations, remains challenging.” Shirish Garud, Director-Renewable Energy Technology, TERI.

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