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The measure in mixture: The Centre has finally provided some clarity on how discoms can meet renewable purchase obligations through power from hybrid power plants | Photo: Maui News

Discoms can choose proportion of wind and solar sources in hybrid projects to meet RPOs

The Centre has revised its National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy for discoms to meet renewable purchase obligation (RPO). Discoms can now choose the proportion of wind or solar in hybrid source power plants based on actual ratios of capacities installed by each source, in case there is a variation in the capacity mentioned in the PPA and the actual capacity, the Centre has clarified. Experts say this will achieve efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure, reduce variability in renewable power generation and achieve better grid stability. Under hybrid power plants, wind and solar systems are configured to operate at the same point of grid connection. A wind-solar plant is recognized as a hybrid plant if the rated power capacity of one resource is at least 25% of the rated power capacity of the other.

Centre asks Guj govt to fast-track land allocation for solar-wind project on Pak border 

Worried over the slow pace, the Centre has directed the Gujarat government to hasten the allocation of 60,000 hectares of land for the solar and wind park project in Kutch district, on the India-Pakistan border. According to the government, land acquisition along the border is not an issue at all for the 30,000 MW of solar and wind power project. This will be in addition to Gujarat’s renewables target of 30GW by 2022. Today, Gujarat has nearly 10GW production of renewable energy, which includes around 7GW wind and around 3GW solar energy.

Maha solar makers angry over “one-sided” tariff policy

Maharashtra’s power regulator’s draft renewables tariff policy has angered residents who have installed rooftop solar panels. They say the policy is one-sided and does not account for excess units their renewable energy systems generate.

According to the new policy, all the investments for solar installations will be done by the consumer, but still, they will have to purchase electricity from MSEDCL at thrice the price at which they will be supplying power back to MSEDCL. The proposed regulations will discourage solar installations, experts say. Maharashtra has a solar target of 4GW, but currently, it is generating only 266MW.

Renewable generation falls in Sep, ‘India’s renewables sector needs $30 billion yearly investment’

India’s renewable sector needs $30 billion investment annually to meet its targets, but today it is averaging about $11 billion a year in renewable investments, said Arunabha Ghosh, chief executive officer of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water. Ghosh stressed on the need to make the bidding process transparent at the tendering stage and preserving the sanctity of the contract. Experts say leading international investors such as pension funds are allowed to commit to projects with high credit ratings. Studies have shown that 60-75% of the cost of tariff of electricity is the cost of finance, not the cost of solar panels or turbines, Ghosh said. In September, power generation from renewable sources fell by over 7% due to decline in demand.

Meanwhile, the US government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has invested $350 million in six new solar and wind-power generation facilities in India, the US Department of State said. 

Southeast Asia going strong on solar power, capacity to triple by 2024

Southeast Asia’s cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is estimated to triple to 35.8 gigawatt (GW) in 2024 from an estimated 12.6GW this year, consultancy group Wood Mackenzie says. The region is expected to increase solar power capacity in the coming years as the cost of generating electricity from some solar power projects has become more affordable than gas-fired plants, report said. Analysts said Vietnam is the lead investor with a cumulative solar PV installation of 5.5GW (44% of region total capacity) by this year compared to 134MW last year. Reuters reported that recently at a solar project auction in Malaysia, 365MW was bid at a price lower than the country’s average gas-powered electricity.

Centre offers 75% subsidy on solar pumps to phase out diesel

Centre plans to offer 75% subsidy on solar pumps to encourage farmers to shift from polluting diesel irrigation pumps. Operational cost of solar pumps is cheaper than diesel ones , which will help farmers save on earning. The department of new and renewable energy has decided to grant 75% subsidy on 3hp, 5hp, 7.5hp and 10hp solar-powered pumps. It is mandatory to have ponds in the fields along with micro irrigation techniques to avail of this subsidy, the government said.

Fukushima to be redeveloped as solar, wind power hub

Japan’s north-eastern district of Fukushima, practically destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster, may get a second lease of life – this time as a renewable energy hub. A plan to develop 11 solar power plants and 10 wind power plants in the prefecture costing $2.75 billion by March 2024 is currently in the works. The power generation potential is estimated to be 600MW – about two-thirds that of a nuclear power plant. Electricity from the solar and wind energy park in Fukushima is planned to be sent to the Tokyo metropolitan area.

China and India to dominate wind power by 2050: IRENA 

China and India would continue to lead global onshore wind power installations, with the region accounting for more than half (2,656 GW) of the total global capacity by 2050, stated a new report by The International Renewable Energy Agency. China is expected to achieve renewable capacity of over 2,000GW, and India of more than 300GW by mid century. The report says a large number of onshore wind power deployments would occur in North America (mainly the US, at more than 850 GW), where the installed capacity would grow more than ten-fold from 2018 levels, reaching around 1150 GW by 2050.

Australia renewables first time deliver over 50% of the country’s power demand

Australia for the first time managed to deliver over 50% of the country’s electricity demand through solar, wind and hydro combined. Achieved for a week, 50% renewable energy mark is seen as a new milestone that experts say will become increasingly normal. Highest achiever was the rooftop solar providing 23.7% of all the power demand, followed by wind at 15.7%, large-scale solar with 8.8% and hydro at 1.9%. The data showed that coal was still the largest provider of electricity on the grid, with power stations fed with black coal generating 35.7% and brown coal plants at 13.5%.