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Renewable Energy mix is powering the Future

March 24, 2023 2:27 pm

Renewable Energy mix is powering the Future
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At present, India’s solar power capacity stands at approximately 65 GW, with project allocations ranging from 60 to 65 GW. With a target of 450 GW, India aims to achieve 350 GW of solar energy and is actively taking steps towards energy self-sufficiency through renewable sources. This achievement will benefit not only the economy but also the entire solar energy ecosystem and the Indian industry as a whole. The progress made by leaders in the renewable energy sector, including advancements in technology, manufacturing, and indigenous innovations, is driving India closer to its objective of becoming a self-reliant nation in energy generation. To evaluate the measures and initiatives taken to support the industry, this discussion will examine the Indian government’s various policies for solar, offshore wind, energy storage, and renewable energy trading platforms.
India is striving towards achieving its 2030 target of 450 GW of renewable energy, followed by zero carbon emissions by 2070. According to Deepak Jain, President of Solar Business at Grew Energy, the government is taking measures to boost Indian manufacturing and localise products and solutions through initiatives like PLI, BCD, and ALMM. These initiatives are boosting the Indian economy, making it the world’s fifth-largest economy and enabling the country to become self-sufficient in meeting its energy requirements through renewable sources.
Shaping India’s renewable energy ecosystem: key policies and regulatory developments and opportunities for improvement
Martand Shardul, Policy Director at the Global Wind Energy Council, has pointed out a few factors regarding the policies and developments in India. The recent policy amendment concerns renewable generation obligations, which is commendable. However, regarding the discussion on power exchanges and the increasing demand for clean power RTC, the national policy for wind and solar hybrid projects is the most significant policy. This policy now includes a provision for storage capacities, a breakthrough for adding more capacities for RTC. The central tendering agency of the government is already planning newer kinds of tenders that cater to the CNI segment, which is a priority area for decarbonisation.
The national policy for RTC that allows for clean power generation and hybrid projects is the top priority. In addition, green and electricity open access rules for 2022 are landmark policies. The green term ahead trading mechanism is also significant, as it allows access to green power and promotes the generation of green power. With the exchanges now operating in the country, this policy will likely introduce new dynamics in the power sector.
Strategies for India to capitalise on national hydrogen policy, emerging technology, and renewable energy integration while ensuring grid stability
India’s National Hydrogen Policy aims to promote hydrogen as a fuel source for various sectors, such as transportation, power generation, and industrial applications. This policy is expected to support renewable energy integration and grid stability in multiple ways. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources can be used to store excess energy, balancing the grid and improving overall stability. The policy is also expected to encourage innovation and investment in hydrogen technologies, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Overall, the National Hydrogen Policy has significant potential for renewable energy integration, grid stability, and energy security in India.
Saloni Michael Sachdeva, an energy analyst at IEEFA, agrees that green hydrogen offers immense opportunities. The Indian government has also introduced policies like the green hydrogen mission, for which approximately ₹19,000 crores have been allotted, in addition to the offshore wind policy, promotion of electric vehicles, introduction of the green day-ahead market, and easing of open access turns. A combination of these initiatives is required to meet India’s NDC and G20 targets by 2030 and 2070.
Renewable Energy_EPR Magazine
Transmission and distribution are improving through hybrid projects.
Regarding the transmission of renewable energy, the state-level DISCOMs and authorities are now more willing to deploy tenders for hybrid projects that combine solar, wind, storage, and hydrogen. “However, to support this, the transmission and distribution capacity at the state level needs to be increased. The capacity of the state transmission units and central transmission units (STU and CTUs) must be increased”, Sachdeva explains. Storage is also crucial in the short, medium, and long term. It will act as an energy construct in the medium and long term. In contrast, in the short term, it will act as an input to ancillary services, balancing intraday renewables and managing fluctuations caused by inefficient forecasting at the state and national levels.
Whereas, Shardul thinks power generators are more interested in selling on exchanges, and DISCOMs are also evaluating opportunities for selling their surplus power on the exchange. “However, long-term PPAs are still important for certain technologies, as they provide confidence and business risk mitigation”, he adds.
Recent global disruptions have led to a surge in commodity prices and the cost of renewable energy, highlighting the need for long-term PPAs for offshore wind, which is new to India. “Therefore, for mature technologies, an open mind must be kept regarding long-term PPAs”, Shardul highlights.
Investments in renewable energy technology will boost manufacturing capacities.
The current manufacturing capacity in India is 4.8 GW, which needs to be increased to at least 12 to 15 GW to support Indian players. The projected capacity is set to reach 33.6 GW, but the requirement is more than 30 GW. “This means that a huge investment is required to increase the capacity in this segment, particularly for high-efficiency cells like M10 and G-12 wafers. Additionally, there is a need for more players to enter the ingot, wafer, and cell capacity markets to support Indian module manufacturers” explains Jain.
Adding details on technology success, Sachdeva emphasises that the success of green hydrogen depends on reducing the cost of electrolysers. Hence, a lot of effort at the state and national levels is required to reduce the cost of electrolysers. The CEA is developing a guideline to propose a mandate under the Indian electricity code regulation to help states undertake resource adequacy planning, including green hydrogen. Such initiatives at the national and state levels will help grow the required technology and transmission policies and regulations.
Investments in the clean energy space are critical. Shardul emphasises that we must support renewable energy growth, implement the proper risk mitigation, and fund infrastructure development and philanthropic funds. This support is especially important for niche technologies and markets, like offshore wind, that still need to be mature in the country.
Uniform tariffs in renewable energy tenders: a game changer for the industry
Tarun Popli, Head of Business Development for Renewable Energy and Bid Management at Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited, highlights the significance of uniformity in tariff as per the Electricity Amendment ACT. So, this will be a game changer for the industry, addressing delays in obtaining Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for utility-scale projects that cause a lag of over six months. This lag creates discrepancies in assumptions and environments, making it challenging for utility-scale project owners to stay updated with global trends.
To address this issue, the Government of India has mandated uniform tariffs to be built into RE tenders, ensuring that regulators are comfortable approving the adoption of tariffs. While this is a positive step, Popli emphasises that the real challenge is ensuring uniformity across different RE tenders types, such as solar, wind, and hybrid. The tender construction should be the same or similar to prevent any confusion or disputes in the future.
Popli believes this move is a positive step but needs further exploration to improve and prevent disputes in the future. The industry can benefit significantly from a standardised and transparent approach to tariff determination, promoting growth and investment in renewable energy.
Continuing the discussion, Akhilesh Awasthy, COO of Hindustan Power Exchange Limited, highlights the benefits and advantages of short-term power markets that will drive the renewable energy scenario in India. One benefit is the expected significant growth of the role of short-term power markets, specifically exchanges, due to the variability of renewable energy production. This allows for better visibility of the quantum of energy to be produced closer to delivery, where the short-term markets can meet this challenge. This is critical for achieving the targeted 450 GW of renewable capacity.
Furthermore, long-term tenders have yet to see many takers due to uncertainty about prices and technology in the future, resulting in a need for short-term power markets to play a larger role. Additionally, there will be times when surpluses or deficits occur in producing around-the-clock power from renewable sources, such as green hydrogen use cases, where exchanges can play a role as a source or sink. These are essential aspects to consider, and initiatives such as increasing liquidity in the short-term market, including the mechanism of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), are welcome and can greatly contribute to renewable capacity addition. Renewable integration should be the primary reason for introducing MDB rather than focusing on minor cost savings.
Tarun Popli, Head, BD – Renewables & Bid Management, Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited
Uniform tariffs will change the game by solving delays in securing PPA for utility-scale projects.
Deepak Jain, President, Solar Business, Grew Energy
The government’s solar focus will help us achieve self-sufficiency through renewables.
Martand Shardul, Policy Director, Global Wind Energy Council
We must focus on creating long-term PPAs for offshore wind energy in India.
Akhilesh Awasthy, COO, Hindustan Power Exchange
Improved energy visibility near delivery boosts short-term markets meeting 450 GW renewables goal.
Saloni Micahel Sachdeva, Energy Analyst, IEEFA.
Developing a renewable energy mix is critical to achieving our 2070 targets.

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