Economy

India gets set to transition to next phase of renewable power capacity, RE 3.0

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on September 22, 2020 Published on September 22, 2020

India’s solar energy installed capacity was 35,122 MW as of June 30, 2020.   -  THE HINDU

Utility scale projects with storage capacity to deliver consistent power, round-the-clock, as and when needed

The renewable energy sector is poised to provide on demand, firm, round the clock power and compete with fossil fuels.

Contributing to about 15 per cent of the country’s installed capacity and targetted to achieve 175 giga watt by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030, it is moving into the next phase — RE 3.0.

As the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy steps up efforts to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy projects, some of the recent tenders point towards this strategic shift. The SECI’s 1,200 MW tender with storage to procure power during morning and evening peak hours, the world’s first gigawatt scale installation, the 400 MW Round-The-Clock Renewable Energy tender and the 5,000 MW renewable-plus thermal power bundled tender, all sync with this shift to RE 3.0.

Also read: A truly bright future for renewables

Following the recent investment of $ 980 million into Greenko by Japan’s ORIX Corporation, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, tweeted, “Largest FDI transaction in renewable energy space. Greenko-ORIX transaction – tremendous boost for Renewables 3.0 investments in energy storage and clean energy under PM’s Atmanirbhar vision.”

With the green energy capacity exceeding 15 per cent of total installed power, there is considerable stress on the country’s national grid. The large gaps in minimum base demand and peak demand adds to the grid management woes. According to experts, in order to match the staggered energy generation, the renewable sector needs to shift from intermittent supply to round-the-clock supply with GW scale storage capacity.

Already saturated with standalone renewables, discoms are facing difficulty in absorbing excess renewable energy during the day and supply back to grid in the evening and early morning hours.

One can foresee, we are heading towards a shift from traditional power contracts to flexible energy contracts with battery storage and pumped storage backup for round the clock power.

Co-location of projects

The RE 3.0 is set to witness dispatchable renewable energy with integrated storage solutions, advanced forecasting capabilities, technologically advanced asset management capabilities, development of Energy as a Service, with GW scale solution providers. This will call for co-location of solar-wind-hydro resources, integrating GW scale storage solution.

Evolution

In RE 1.0, during the 1990’s wind energy projects connected to local grids with multiple power generating units and supplied power. A number of projects were set up in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh with good wind speeds. A decade later government-subsidised solar projects were established. These were marked by high capital cost, two to three times thermal power cost with a plant load factor of 18-22 per cent and tariffs of ₹15-18 per kwh.

The next phase, RE 2.0 saw the entry of global companies and large projects were tendered with tariffs ranging from ₹4.50-5 a unit, gradually dipping down to ₹2.34. Given the standalone and infirm nature of these power supplies, the State discoms and independent power producers are in constant tussle over tariffs and supplies. They no longer want standalone renewable project, but prefer a round the clock renewable project, paving way for RE 3.0.

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Published on September 22, 2020
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