Shift in renewable energy strategy: Move towards peak, on-demand robust power supply

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on June 23, 2020 Published on June 23, 2020

Discussions on for hybrid renewable projects

The rapidly-growing renewable energy sector in the country is in for some changes with the government, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the nodal agency, seeking to work towards ensuring they are able to support even during peak hours and on-demand supplies from hybrid and storage projects.

This means, there will be a gradual shift from standalone renewable energy projects to hybrid ones which are capable of supplying power without disruption even during peak times.

The SECI has invited views of all stakeholders in the energy sector from India and globally, including The World Bank, to discuss Strategic Roadmap for renewable energy in India.

According to the data presented by SECI and the MNRE, there is growing challenge of absorbing high cost in-firm renewables into the flexible grid leading to mismatch of supply and demand pattern from wind and solar generation pattern.

PM target upgraded

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set an ambitious target of 175 GW and increased it to to 450GW at the recent UN Climate Change Summit this year. To achieve that, the renewable energy penetration will have to grow from 9-10 per cent at energy level to 50 per cent by 2030 to meet the goals and to ensure sustainable energy future.

As per SECI predictions, up to 27-30 per cent curtailment of energy is required to meet 175 GW and up to 50 per cent to meet 450 GW target of renewable energy by the Distribution Companies (Discoms) adding to the average cost of energy and also instability for the Grid.

In this backdrop, the need to ensure on-demand renewable power assumes significance with SECI predicting that when India reaches its goal of 175 GW of renewable power, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power, and others rest, it will need curtailment of renewable power of about 27 GW. And when we move towards 450 GW of renewables (300 GW of solar and 140 GW of wind), the curtailment level could go as high as 100 GW.

Future procurement

During the interaction with SECI, various stakeholders presented their perspectives to ensure future procurement of energy should in form of firm and dispatchable renewables with energy storage. This move is aimed to enable energy transition in form decarbonised and lowest cost energy to future generation.

According to estimates, the country’s energy demand is growing at 5-6 per cent, mostly during peak time. The recent SECI’s peak power bid from renewables had discovered low tariffs. As per the MNRE projections, India will need to add 100GW of quality and decarbonised energy matching the demand requirements of Discoms to avoid curtailments by 2030.

In the post pandemic world, most economies globally are focusing their investments on the decarbonised infrastructure and energy. The European Union has recently announced Euro 500 Billion stimulus package with the condition of ensure rapid decarbonisation of the economies benefiting from the stimulus.

Published on June 23, 2020
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