Amp Energy India is targeting a capacity of about 5 giga watts (GW) of renewable energy over the next three to four years, having rapidly scaled up its capacity to 1.5 GW across 15 States in the country.

Armed with a financial commitment of over $100 million in July 2021 from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners which will enable it to add about 1.7 GW capacity, Pinaki Bhattacharya, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Amp Energy India, said, “We are looking at the next phase of growth to become a truly balanced renewable power producer with 5 GW of diverse power capacity over the next three years.”

Hybrid projects

Pushing for the growth of hybrid projects, he said, “We are looking at a total capacity of about 5 GW over the next three years. Of this, 1.7 GW capacity addition includes 900 MW of late stage projects covering solar PV and hybrid wind-and-solar PV, and an additional 800 MW of of projects in early stages.”

As India aims at achieving 175 GW of renewable energy power by 2022, it has to make up for lost time due to disruptions to the sector and the economy due to the two Covid pandemic waves.

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“With only 15 months to reach the target of 175GW of renewable energy by 2022, the government and the industry has to really buckle up and accelerate towards achieving this target. From a drop in equipment and material prices, to a strong global and private sector interest, it has all come together to enable the country’s renewable sector to become a global leader in energy transition,” he said.

To achieve this goal, he said, “The government must focus on project execution and make sure all tied-up capacity comes online in 2021 and 2022 so that the Discoms and industry can get the energy they have been promised.”

Five point approach

This can be achieved by using a 5 point approach, says Pinaki, outlining the key areas that need focus.

1. Breaking the target of 175GW: The utility sector has a target of 60 GW, and a 40 GW rooftop target. This 40 GW be converted to a commercial and industrial target and the gap in the capacity for rooftop solar can be plugged by considering open access and corporate PPAs (power purchase agreements).

The government must encourage corporates to buy power directly from developers. This will bring huge foreign investments into the country to build renewable energy projects, reduce the cost of manufacturing of the industries in India, and share the load with the utilities and Discoms to meet the 175 GW target.

2. Grandfathering of bids: For bids that have been auctioned before March 2021 when the notification on basic customs duty (BCD) was made, the government must provide the grandfathering clause so the BCD is waived from these projects resulting in a lower cost power for consumers and Discoms. This will immediately clear the PPA signing backlog, and protect the interests of developers and investors as project costs will not be affected.

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3. Removal of trade barriers: Imposition of the BCD increases the power cost for Discoms and consumers alike. This will increase the cost of manufacturing power as well as other industries in India. The government should provide direct subsidies to manufacturers to help them scale up their capacities.

The government should not tax the sector anymore to allow developers to get India to the 175 GW target. For example, the decision to hike the GST price in the middle of the year would lead to an increase in the cost of solar and wind power and may also render many projects unviable.

4. Promoting domestic manufacturing: The government must promote domestic manufacturing and provide the right push in terms of subsidy interventions and tax rebates so that Indian manufacturing is at par with its global peers in terms of both quality and quantity.

5. Project execution: Current focus must be on building capacity for 175 GW by 2022. No new bids must be announced till the backlog is cleared off.