Led by renewables, non-fossils’ share in energy basket surges

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on September 23, 2020 Published on September 23, 2020

Non-thermal generation rises to 30% of total in first 5 months of FY21 with policy push

The share of clean energy in India’s total power generation has risen rapidly to 30 per cent already this fiscal compared to 24.9 per cent in FY20. The pace of growth has been such that the country, in the first five months of FY21, has added as much non-fossil energy capacity as it had managed cumulatively in the last four years.

The share of generation from thermal plants in the country has been coming down and that of non-fossil power (which includes renewables, hydro and nuclear) has been increasing gradually over the last five years due to a major policy thrust on the renewables sector. The share of clean energy in overall generation in India increased from 19.6 per cent in 2015-16 to 24.9 per cent in 2019-20 (see chart), according to official data.

This fiscal, in particular, the share of clean energy has increased substantially.

During April-August 2020, total thermal power generation was 387,177 million units, which was about 69.7 per cent of the overall generation. In the same period, the power generated by the non-fossil segment stood at 168,149 million units, securing a share of 30.3 per cent.



Behind the surge

“There are three reasons. The growth in share (of green energy) is the result of a gradual increase that has been taking place in the last few years as there has been higher capacity addition in the renewable sector,” said Kavita Chacko, Senior Economist, CARE Ratings. “Secondly, the cost of renewable energy has seen a progressive decline over the years. The third reason is the ‘must run status’ to procure power from this segment.” The ‘must run status’ of renewable and hydro power plants, which mandates uninterrupted power procurement by utilities, has supported the higher generation by these power sources despite the fall in consumption during the lockdown.

Also, the restrictions on movement during the lockdown had impacted the thermal sector.

As on August 31, 2020, India had a total power generation capacity of 372.69 GW, of which renewable and overall non-fossil fuel sources accounted for 23.8 per cent and 37.90, per cent, respectively.

Three States — Karnataka (15,262 MW), Tamil Nadu (14,647 MW) and Gujarat (11,114 MW) — together account for about 46 per cent of India’s installed renewable capacity of 88,793 MW.

Northward bound

The share of clean energy is expected to move northwards with an additional 58.08 GW of renewable projects under different stages of implementation, while 28.43 GW of renewable projects are under various stages of bidding.

On the other hand, scores of thermal projects, stuck due to the lockdown, have suffered delays. Also, at least 15 thermal projects in the private sector across nine States, with an aggregate capacity of about 22,300 MW, are facing uncertainties due to financial stress and lack of PPAs (power purchase agreements).

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Published on September 23, 2020
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