The renewable energy sector in India made a sharp increase at the end of the last decade. But the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 became a big stumbling block in its progress to reach the 175 GW goal by 2022. With the increase in prices of fuels and abundant availability of natural resources, the scope of renewable energy in India is vast. The only thing required at this hour is a push from the Government that may eventually start the process of replacing non-renewable resources with renewable resources.
Recently on August 12, 2021, the Government of India announced that it has installed 100 GW of renewable energy without large hydro. This good piece of news came way too late as the last 2 years of renewable energy addition was sluggish. Presently too, it is not showing any encouraging trend in the near future despite the pandemic situation waning in the country.
The target falls way behind the 175 GW target that was set back in 2015. At that time, large hydro was not a part of renewable resources in India. By large hydro, we mean the hydro-electric plants having generating capacity of greater than 25MW. Until mid-2019, large hydro was not a part of the Ministry of New and Renewable but was administered separately as a part of the Ministry of Power. Now, the Indian Government has merged large and small hydro-electric power plants under renewable resources, taking the tally to 146 GW as of August 12, 2021.
As of October, 2021 according to the Ministry, the renewable energy tally stood at 103.05 GW. The 103.05 GW capacity included 47.66 GW of solar, 39.99 GW of wind, 10.58 GW of biopower and 4.82 GW of small hydro capacity. The rest of nearly 150 GW milestone was covered by large hydro. The Ministry also said that projects of 50.98 GW capacity were at various stages of completion, while projects of 32.06 GW capacity were under various stages of bidding.
As of 30th November 2021, the renewable energy capacity including large hydro reached the milestone of 150 GW, an addition of 4 GW since August. Hence, though it seems that 175 GW is not at all far away, reaching there will take a considerable amount of time unless some drastic measures are taken by the government. However, 2022 has a long way to go, and many sites of hydel, solar, wind and biomass energy have been allocated or auctioned. In a nutshell, despite India being very close to meeting its target of renewable energy, the last lap is still a long way to go.
Written by – Himadri Paul