Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Read the attached story
Mains level: Move towards India’s NDCs for clean energy
- While the government’s decision to re-classify large hydroelectric projects as renewable energy will certainly help the sector, the move will also go a long way in meeting the targets set for the sector.
New Hydroelectric Policy
- According to the new policy, large hydro projects will also be designated as renewable energy projects.
- So far, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy. Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy.
- The tag allows these to qualify as part of the framework for non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) of the states.
- Under this, power purchasers will have to source a portion of electricity from large hydro projects.
India’s renewable capacity
- India’s renewable energy sector had an installed capacity of 75,055.92 MW as of February 2019, according to data with the Central Electricity Authority.
- This made up about 21.4% of the overall energy mix, with the rest coming from thermal, nuclear and large hydro sources.
- With the inclusion of large hydro in renewable energy, the energy mix changes drastically.
- Renewable energy capacity would now be 1, 20,455.14 MW or 34.4% of the overall energy mix.
This won’t be additional
- This is a purely cosmetic change.
- No additional resources have been created through this policy. It is a reclassification of existing capacity.
- The policy has meant a drastic change in the renewable energy mix as well.
- Whereas earlier, wind energy contributed nearly 50% of all renewable energy capacity, it will now make up only 29.3%.
- Similarly, solar energy’s share will fall from 34.68% to 21.61%.
- There has been a huge imbalance in the thermal-hydro mix for the last few years because of a sharp growth in thermal and complete stagnation in hydro.
- The basic idea is to ramp up hydro because it provides grid stability which a renewable source like wind and solar do not.
- The key reasoning seems to be providing grid stability and a better energy mix.