15 GW wind-solar hybrid power to come up over 5 years, says Crisil

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 10, 2020 Published on June 10, 2020

About 15 GW of wind and solar hybrid (WSH) power will come up over the next five years, riding on strong support from Central PSU Solar Energy Corporation of India and several state governments.

According to Crisil, of this, 10 GW is already in the works — either under construction or being tendered — and will start feeding the grid by fiscal 2024.

The country has 37.69 GW of standalone wind energy capacity and 35 GW of solar capacity at the end of fiscal 2020.

Rahul Prithiani, Director, Crisil Research, says: “We expect the WSH market to grow and evolve as the number of projects and developers who seek to unlock value from the hybrid increases. However, the availability of good sites with strong irradiation and high wind speeds would be a key challenge, as evident in waning developer interest in the wind energy sector.”

There are proposals to set up 3.9 GW of pure-play WSH projects and 4.5 GW of WSH projects with energy storage systems currently.

WSH projects with storage are capable of catering to peak load generation, besides improving the capacity utilisation factor. Hence, these have the potential to reduce the country’s dependence on gas- and pumped hydro-based peaking plants.

In addition, Crisil expects 1.1 GW of hybrid projects to come up as part of the 5.4 GW set for development under the government’s round-the-clock power scheme, which has a mandatory 51:49 blend of RE and thermal.

Pinal Mehta, Associate Director, Crisil Research, says: “As with all power projects, pricing will be key to the success of WSH projects. We expect WSH tariffs to be in the ₹2.8-2.9 per kWh range, with a windheavy WSH configuration. We believe WSH pricing will become more competitive if the co-location clause (necessitating the wind and solar components to be located at the same place) is removed.”

In the case of WSH-with-storage projects, Crisil believes the weighted average tariff (peak and offpeak) of ₹4.04-4.3 per kWh, as discovered in recent bids, is competitive with thermal power tariffs, which are ₹4.4 per kWh.

Nevertheless, land availability and policies such as co-location will remain key monitorables for the viability of WSH projects. Other challenges, including adequate transmission infrastructure and technical issues such as grid balancing, would need to be addressed, too.

Wind-solar hybrid (WSH) power, which harnesses both solar and wind energy, is fast emerging as a viable new renewable energy (RE) option in India.

The way it works is, generation of solar energy tends to peak during the day and that of wind energy at night. The resulting intermittencies in supply, however, impact grid resilience, which makes distribution companies (discoms) reluctant to buy power from standalone wind and solar projects.

In the hybrid option, however, these two energy sources complement each other, which could help overcome the problems of variability of generation and grid security.

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Published on June 10, 2020
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