Slower still: A long monsoon and under-utilised wind potential were among the factors attributed to India’s RE capacity posting its slowest growth in 4 years | Photo: Firstpost

India’s renewable energy generation grew slowest in 4 years

Latest state data has shown that India’s renewable energy generation witnessed the slowest growth in the past four years: Renewable power generation moved at a snail’s pace of 5.22% in the past eight months of the current financial year (April-November 2019). The power ministry figures showed the combined generation from solar, wind, small hydro- and biomass- and bagasse-based power plants was at 93.69 billion units (BUs) in the April-November period, as opposed to 89.04 BUs in the same period last fiscal. In November 2019, combined renewable energy generation grew 0.23% to 7.92 BU compared to 7.90 BU generated in November 2018. Industry experts said tariff renegotiations, delay in auction and issue of renewable energy tenders, under-utilization of wind energy potential and an extended monsoon were among the various reasons for the slowdown. 

December 2019 saw a significant rise in the solar tender activity compared to November 2019. In December 2019, tenders were announced for 2.3 GW of solar.

Companies lost Rs1,400 cr to Andhra Pradesh’s renewable power curtailment policy?

Of over 7,000 MW of installed renewable energy, Andhra Pradesh curtailed up to 25% of solar and 50-60% of wind power since August 2018, industry executives alleged, claiming that curtailments have caused renewable energy developers a loss of revenue of Rs1,400 crore. Last September, the high court had ordered Andra Pradesh’s discoms not to curtail renewable power, which industry executives say is a violation of court orders, as well as flouting of must-run guidelines laid by the Centre. Without revealing their names to the press, renewable energy forms’ executives said they have filed contempt plea against AP discoms. The court has adjourned the matter of curtailment issue to January 23. The state discoms began curtailing renewable power around July 2019, soon after YSR Congress-led new state government started to renegotiate PPAs signed by the previous administration, claiming the rates were much higher than the prevailing tariffs. 

Meanwhile, Suzlon Energy said it has defaulted on loans worth over Rs7,200 crore. The loans were given by a consortium of 18 banks, led by the State Bank of India, along with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

India needs land size of Chhattisgarh to achieve RE targets: Study

A recent study claims India needs a whopping 55,000 sq km to 1,25,000 sq km of land to meet its 175 GW of renewable energy targets by 2022. India has classified a huge 27% area as wasteland. But experts say the words “compensation” or “livelihoods” do not figure in the solar power policy. Many agricultural and pastoral communities in India are livid over state declaring common lands as wasteland and claiming ownership of it, saying the land belongs to everyone. The displaced communities experts say have been reduced to doing daily-wage labour or working as cleaners in the solar parks. 

Earlier, IndiaSpend study revealed that large tracts of arid and semi-arid land are being covered by solar panels. Experts point out that the economic cost of land acquisition is being calculated for compensations to land-owning farmers, but loss of livelihood is not addressed. 

House panel says govt’s 40 GW rooftop solar target “unrealistic”, needs a relook

India’s rooftop solar programme  is in dismal state of decline when it comes to meeting its 40GW by 2022 target, the programme needs a serious relook, latest report by a Parliamentary panel said. Government has achieved merely 11% of its annual rooftop solar target, according to state data. Parliamentary panel said at this rate it was highly unlikely that the target would be met, as there should have been installed rooftop solar capacity of 16,000 MW by 2018-19, but as of October 15, 2019, only 1,826 MW capacity has reportedly been installed. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has therefore revised the annual rooftop solar targets, according to which 3,000 MW capacity has to be commissioned during 2019-20. The Committee warned that the slow pace could derail the entire National Solar Mission and recommended that Centre should implement a simpler and quicker method of subsidy disbursement and provide incentives for rooftop solar installations. 

Rajasthan-NTPC, set to sign first deal under new 30GW RE by 2025 policy 
Under its new solar policy of achieving 30,000 MW by 2025, Rajasthan is set to sign deal with NTPC to set up un ultra-mega 925MW solar park in Jaisalmer, which the state expects will generate Rs 4,000 crore investment. The state is currently in discussion with three other Central public sector enterprises (CPSUs) such as Power Finance Corporation, Solar Energy Corporation of India, and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation for developing joint venture solar parks. Renewable developers are allowed 100% exemption from stamp duty and conversion charges under the new state policy.

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