Rescue Renewable Energy! India’s renewable energy segment facing severe headwinds

It was 33 years ago that India saw its first 1.5MW wind energy project at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. Since then the country has seen rapid strides made by the renewable energy segment, especially the wind energy on the back of incentives and sops announced by the Government to promote the sector.

Now wind accounts for nearly 10 per cent of the country’s total installed capacity and half of its renewable capacity. A recent report by Chennai-based National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), says India has wind energy potential to the tune of 302 GW at 100 meter above ground level. With only 35 GW installed so far, it means a lot of untapped wind energy potential for a country to replace thermal energy from the grid.

But all is not well for the wind energy segment in the country. The incoherent government policies on incentives and subsidies, introduction of auction regime, which has resulted in lower tariff making projects unviable, has seen hiccups in  the auction process.

This is evident from the data gathered from the state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Since Feb’2017, the total auction capacity announced by SECI is 10,623.3 MW and till date a mere 676 MW or 6.46% of the total auctioned capacity has been commissioned. This is dismally low given the ambitious target the country has set for itself. India wishes to have 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.

Coupled with lack of large land parcels for the wind energy projects, inability of financial institutions to fund the wind energy projects and poor evacuation mechanism has resulted in creating hurdles for the wind energy sector.

If wind sector should play a role in the country’s energy security, a consistent and expectable policy environment is needed and evacuation infrastructure be made more robust.

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