India, faced with the challenge of a burgeoning population and the government’s key priority area being rural electrification and 24/7 power supply, has witnessed remarkable increase in the share of renewable energy growing from 1% to 14% of the total generation capacity in last 12 years.
A slew of steps such as an automatic approval route, 100 per cent FDI being permitted in the renewable energy generation and distribution project has seen the renewable energy sector growing in the country.
India has a current installed capacity of 44 GW of renewable energy with a major share being wind energy at 27 GW. Over the last decade India has added 156 GW in conventional energy and 31 GW of renewable energy; the share of renewable energy growing at 14% of the total generation capacity. A further transformation is expected as the Government has set the target of 175 GW from renewable energy sources by 2022.
Interestingly, as renewable energy sector made remarkable progress, with production increasing from 0.4% in 2002 to 5% to 6% in 2015, the share of wind energy is about two-third, and the balance is from small hydro, solar, biomass and water to energy and other sources.
From tax-credit driven investment to mainstream independent power producers (IPPs), the wind power sector has undergone a major shift in the country. This development has led to the setting up of large wind farms with deployment of latest technology and practices – larger MW class wind turbines, inclusive O&M practices for plant life, use of logistics tools for construction and maintenance, and seamless grid integration.
Further, the industry has gained from improvements in drive-train technology, tower structure and use of advance power electronics, which add to overall cost effectiveness.
“It is an exciting phase for Indian energy sector. The renewable energy sector is contributing to the energy security of the nation, to global climate change, and is also saving foreign exchange for the country on account of coal import substitution”, says Mr. Deepak Kochhar, Founder CEO, NuPower Renewables.
With rapid urbanisation, India will have more urban centers and new generation capacity must be developed. Given concerns around increasing electricity prices in urban areas, renewable energy which has minimal cost inflation is the best suitable solution.