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Southern states to lead India's renewable energy push, says report

The four southern states (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and united Andhra Pradesh) have 1,526 GW of solar energy potential and 1,124 GW of wind energy potential, making them the major contributors to India’s renewable energy ambitions.

January 20, 2021 / 06:41 PM IST
India has an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW - solar: 100 GW; wind: 60 GW; biomass: 10 GW; and small hydro: 5 GW - by 2022.

India has an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW - solar: 100 GW; wind: 60 GW; biomass: 10 GW; and small hydro: 5 GW - by 2022.

The south Indian states are likely to drive the renewable energy push in the country with an excess power of the order of around 23 gigawatts (GW) and 51 GW, respectively, for 2022 and 2030 in case of peak solar and wind scenario, said a report by the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP).

This can be achieved with all thermal generators operating at a technical minimum.

India has an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW - solar: 100 GW; wind: 60 GW; biomass: 10 GW; and small hydro: 5 GW - by 2022.

According to the CSTEP report, the four southern states (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and united Andhra Pradesh) have 1,526 GW of solar energy potential and 1,124 GW of wind energy potential, making them the major contributors to India’s renewable energy ambitions.

The report added that it requires an investment of around Rs 9,245 crore by 2030 to strengthen intra-region transmission infrastructure, in addition to the transmission network strengthening plans by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

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“To evacuate the proposed RE plant generation from the southern region under the must-run condition, the inter-regional transmission infrastructure requires significant upgrades, to transfer excess power to other regions. Resolving these can take India on to a path where RE is the mainstream electricity source,” the report said.

To achieve this, the report batted for encouraging thermal generators to schedule routine maintenance in June, July, and August (monsoon season), because of high renewable energy injections into the grid. Further, it is prudent to curtail wind generation instead of solar generation, due to the lower relative cost of the latter, it said.

The report also suggested conducting grid balancing studies to examine the maximum limit of RE addition.

According to the report, Tamil Nadu has the highest wind power installed capacity of 8,631 MW, while its solar power generation capacity stands at 2,228 MW. Karnataka has the highest overall renewable capacity (including biomass, co-generation, and small hydro) of 12.8 GW, with wind and solar contributing to 4,683 MW and 5,255 MW, respectively, based on 2018 data.

Andhra Pradesh also has appreciable wind (4,076 MW) and solar (2,642 MW) generation capacity. Telangana has a high solar capacity (3,410 MW), but almost negligible wind capacity (128 MW). Kerala has a comparatively low deployment of RE (138 MW solar and 52 MW wind), primarily because of limited resource potential—there is insufficient area with adequately high energy resource (solar radiation and wind speed).

Puducherry has very little solar (1.73 MW) generation capacity.
Shine Jacob

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