Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

India Energy Outlook Report, 2021

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India Energy Outlook Report, 2021

Mains level : India energy sector

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently released the India Energy Outlook 2021 report.

Try this MCQ:

Q.The Global Energy Transition Index recently seen in news is released by:

a) International Energy Agency (IEA)

b) World Economic Forum (WEF)

c) International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

d) International Solar Alliance

Highlights of the India Energy Outlook Report

(1) Energy consumption

  • India at present is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.
  • It will overtake the European Union as the world’s third-largest energy consumer by 2030.
  • It will account for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades.

(2) Energy demand

  • India accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 — the largest for any country.
  • Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.
  • A five-fold increase in per capita car ownership will result in India leading the oil demand growth in the world.
  • Also, it will become the fastest-growing market for natural gas, with demand more than tripling by 2040.

(3) Industrial consumption

  • By 2040, India is set to account for almost 20 per cent of global growth in industrial value-added, and to lead global growth in industrial final energy consumption, especially in steelmaking.
  • The nation accounts for nearly one-third of global industrial energy demand growth to 2040.

(4) Dependence on fossil fuels

  • To meet its energy needs, India will be more reliant on fossil fuel imports as its domestic oil and gas production stagnates.
  • India’s oil demand is seen rising by rising by 74 per cent to 8.7 million barrels per day by 2040 under the existing policies scenario.
  • The natural gas requirement is projected to more than triple to 201 billion cubic meters and coal demand is seen rising to 772 million tonnes in 2040 from the current 590.

(5) Coal trade

  • India currently accounts for 16 per cent of the global coal trade.
  • Many global coal suppliers were counting on growth in India to underpin planned export-oriented mining investments.

(6) Per-capita emission

  • On a per-capita basis, India’s energy use and emissions are less than half the world average, as are other key indicators such as vehicle ownership, steel and cement output.
  • India will soon become the world’s most populous country, adding the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles to its urban population each year.

About International Energy Agency

  • The IEA is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
  • It was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.
  • At the end of July 2009, IEA member countries held a combined stockpile of almost 4.3 billion barrels of oil.
  • They are required to maintain total oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of the previous year’s net imports.
  • The IEA acts as a policy adviser to its member states but also works with non-member countries, especially China, India, and Russia.
  • The Agency’s mandate has broadened to focus on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development, and environmental protection.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Denmark’s artificial energy island project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Energy Island

Mains level : Energy Island Concept

The Danish government has approved a plan to build an artificial island in the North Sea as part of its effort to switch to green energy.

The Energy Island concept provides an innovative solution for countries like India grappled with the scarcity of land required for RE projects!

What is Energy Island?

  • An energy island is based on a platform that serves as a hub for electricity generation from surrounding offshore wind farms.
  • The idea is to connect and distribute power between Denmark and neighbouring countries.

What is the Danish project?

  • Denmark has already entered into agreements with the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium to begin the joint analysis of connections in the energy island.
  • The project is being called the largest construction project to be undertaken in Denmark’s history with an estimated cost of DKK 210 billion.
  • In June 2020, the Danish Parliament decided to initiate the construction of two energy islands, which will export power to mainland Denmark and neighbouring countries.
  • One of these islands will be located in the North Sea and the second island, called the island of Bornholm, will be located in the Baltic Sea.
  • The artificial island will be located about 80 km into the North Sea and the majority of it will be owned by the Danish government.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable Energy Generation: Betting on the green power market

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CERC

Mains level : Paper 3- Renewable energy markets

The article takes stock of the progress India made on renewable energy capacity and the steps taken for its trade through the creation of green markets.

India increasing share of renewable energy

  • As a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, India is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy capacity to 450 GW by 2030.
  • India has an installed renewable energy capacity of 89 GW.
  • India has today become the most attractive destination for investment in the renewable sector.
  • During the last six years, has attracted over Rs 4.7 lakh crore of investment, including FDI of about Rs 42,700 crore.
  • India witnessed 20% CAGR growth in the renewable generation since FY16 while total electricity generation saw 4.3% growth in the same period.
  • The current levelised cost of energy (LCOE) for large scale solar in India is around Rs 2.5 per kWh, compared to ~Rs 12 in 2010. 

Factor’s responsible

  • Waiver of inter-state transmission charges for the sale of solar and wind power, the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) trajectories for states, focus on maintaining the sanctity of contracts, permitting FDI in the renewable sector have accelerated the progress.

Trading in renewable power

  • Most renewable power generation companies in India are committed to selling their power to consumers—mostly discoms  under the long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
  • It is also a matter of gratification that most generation companies have adopted a robust system of forecasting and scheduling of power.
  • It is in this context, the CERC was approached for creating a market for green energy.
  • Ultimately, the CERC approved trading of renewable energy contracts under Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) on the energy exchange.
  • The green market commenced trade on August 21, in day-ahead contingency (DAC) and intra-day contracts in both solar and non-solar segments.
  • The green market has now launched two more options—daily and weekly.
  • This will further strengthen the market and allow participants to buy green energy through contracts available for trade in all the segments.
  • The energy will be delivered to the market participants leveraging the national, regional and state-level transmission and distribution network.
  • With robust value proposition such as transparency, competitive prices, flexibility, and payment security and financial savings that the exchange market offers, a pan-India green market has the potential to drive and facilitate the country to meet its renewable energy targets.
  • The green market will ultimately encourage green generators to adopt multiple models of sale and trading.

Conclusion

Going forward, the introduction of new segments such as green day-ahead market, long-duration green contracts, contract for difference (CfD), etc, will play a crucial role in furthering sustainability goals, and ensuring that all the renewable energy generated within the country is dispatched in the most efficient manner through a pan India wide exchange-based energy markets.


Source:-

https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/renewable-energy-generation-betting-on-the-green-power-market/2147657/

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] India’s first Green Energy Convergence Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Energy Convergence Project, EESL

Mains level : Green Energy Convergence Project

The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is set to roll out of India’s first Energy Convergence Project in Goa.

Green Energy Convergence Project

  • Under the project, EESL and the Department of New and Renewable Energy (DNRE) in Goa will carry out feasibility studies and implementation of decentralized solar energy projects.
  • The project aims to connect seemingly independent sectors like Solar Energy, Energy Storage and LED lights to provide solutions, which can enable in decarbonisation and affordable energy access.
  • It will include the installation of 100 Megawatt decentralized ground-mounted solar power projects on government land to be used for agricultural pumping.
  • It seeks to replace 6,300 agricultural pumps and distribute 16 lakh LED bulbs for rural domestic households.

Benefits of the project

  • The projects will accelerate the usage of renewable energy sources, especially for agricultural and rural power consumption in the State.
  • They will also contribute to the reduction of peak energy demand through the deployment of energy-efficient pumping and lighting thus contributing to overall sustainability.

About EESL

  • A joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID, the EESL was set up under Ministry of Power to facilitate the implementation of energy efficiency projects.
  • EESL is a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO) that seeks to unlock energy efficiency market in India, that can potentially result in energy savings of up to 20 per cent of current consumption.
  • It also acts as the resource centre for capacity building of State DISCOMs, ERCs, SDAs, upcoming ESCOs, financial institutions, etc.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)

Mains level : Not Much

As a first step towards Greening the Indian short term power market, the  Ministry of Power and New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) has launched pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity.

Try this question

Q.What is the Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM)? Discuss its working and key benefits to the Renewable Energy sector.

About GTAM

  • GTAM is an alternative new model introduced for selling off the power by the renewable developers in the open market without getting into long term PPAs.
  • This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.

Benefits of GTAM

  • It would lessen the burden on the RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO.
  • It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement. It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to the pan- India market

Key features

  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
  • GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
  • Further, within the two segments, GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts
  • Green Intraday Contract & Day Ahead Contingency Contract – Bidding will take place on a 15-minute time-block wise MW basis.
  • Daily & Weekly Contracts – Bidding will take place on an MWh basis.
  • Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis i.e. price-time priority basis. Subsequently, looking at the market conditions open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.
  • Energy scheduled through GTAM contract shall be considered as deemed RPO compliance of the buyer.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] India Energy Modeling Forum (IEMF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IMEF

Mains level : Various energy related alliances and partnerships

In the joint working group meeting of the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-US partnership, an India Energy Modeling Forum was launched.

Note the following things about IEMF:

1. It is a bilateral forum.

2. It is not associated with any International Agency say UN, IEA, IAEA etc.

3.On March15 last year, the idea was incepted and only a formal workshop was organized on IEMF (it wasn’t launched).

 

UPSC can puzzle you along these 3 points in a statements-based MCQ.

India Energy Modeling Forum (IEMF)

  • The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for policy makers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modelling and analysis in informed decision making process.
  • The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modeling teams, the GoI, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modeling activities and future areas of research.

What is Energy Modelling?

  • Energy modeling or energy system modeling is the process of building computer models of energy systems in order to analyze them.
  • There exists energy modelling forums in different parts of the World.
  • Such models often employ scenario analysis to investigate different assumptions about the technical and economic conditions at play.
  • Outputs may include the system feasibility, greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative financial costs, natural resource use, and energy efficiency of the system under investigation.
  • Governments maintain national energy models for energy policy development.

Outcomes of the forum

  • Discussions on energy modelling in India and the world explored how energy modelling can play an important role in decision-making.
  • The panelists laid focus on bridging the rural-urban divide and factoring in energy pressures from the informal economy within models.
  • Deliberations included a spotlight on how the impact of the evolving character of India’s cities, industries and especially the transport sector should be included in the any India-centric models.
  • The shift towards electric mobility, an increasing emphasis on mainstreaming of renewable energy options and overarching environmental concerns were also stated as key factors for determining India’s energy future.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Open access renewable projects at risk

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Open access charges

Mains level : Paper 3- Power sector

Let us discuss renewable energy. Recently, state governments increased the standard charges on open access renewable projects and incentives were cut back. So, what can be implications of such steps? Read to know…

What open access power user mean?

  • Open access allows large users of power – typically those who consume more than 1 MW – to buy power from the open market.
  • These open access buyers don’t have to depend on a more expensive grid.
  • Through incentives given by state governments, these non-grid avenues of power purchase have been encouraged in renewable energy projects.

Now, state governments increased standard charges on open access renewable energy projects or are cutting back on incentives.

Reason given by state: Tariff competitiveness of wind and solar power has shown a significant improvement.

Implications:

  • Credit rating agency ICRA said that with the changes in policy, the viability of open access – against grid-connected energy – is no longer as attractive.
  • The open-access charges applicable in case of third party sale of power have also increased highlights the rising regulatory risk for such independent power producers (IPPs).
  • Earlier,  concessions were available from levy of cross-subsidy surcharge, transmission and wheeling charges as well as favourable banking facilities to promote the renewable sector.
  • Now, the power policies in many states have either completely withdrawn or reduced incentives given to open access  customers.

Issues for group captive projects

  • A group captive scheme is where someone develops a power plant for collective usage of many commercial consumers.
  •  At present, a power project is considered ‘captive’ if consuming entity or entities consume at least 51% of the power generated and owns at least 26% of the equity.
  • The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) in Maharashtra has recently approved the levy of additional surcharge on group captive projects in renewable sector.
  • Group captive consumers were earlier exempt from such levy in Maharashtra.
  • Risk of other state following holds.

Challenges

  • The viability of power procured under the open access route depends on discount offered by the power producer as compared to the grid tariffs.
  • The applicable open access charges across the key states are estimated to vary quite widely from Rs.2.5 per unit to Rs. 5 per unit.
  • Open access projects have tenure (5-10 years) of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) under the third-party sale route as against the 25 year-tenure for PPA in case of utility scale projects.
  • Net tariff realised for such projects remains exposed to regulatory risk given the likelihood of revision in open access charges by the regulators.
  • It is also subject to tightening of energy banking norms being observed by SERCs across the states.

Consider the question “Examine the implications of policy changes adopted by the state with regard to open access charges and phasing out of other incentives to Independent Power Producers (IPPs)”

Conclusion

Move by states could jeopardise many projects and also threaten the progress made towards the adoption of clean energy.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Etalin Hydro Electric Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Biogeographic Zones, Etalin Hydro Electric Project

Mains level : India's border infrastructure

A group of conservationists has written to the Environment Ministry seeking rejection of the approved Etalin Hydro Electric Project in the Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Make a note of major dams in India along with the rivers, terrain, major Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks incident to these rivers.

Etalin Hydro Electric Project

  • Etalin HEP is a 3097 MW project based on the river Dibang.
  • It is envisaged as a run of the river scheme on rivers Dri and Tangon in the Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Dibang is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River which flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
  • The project is being executed through the Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited, a JV company of Jindal Power Limited and Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited.
  • It is expected to be one of the biggest hydropower projects in India in terms of installed capacity.

Issues with the Project

  • The Project falls under the richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone and would be located at the junction of major biogeographic zones like Palaearctic Zone and Indo-Malayan Zone.
  • It would involve the clearing of 2.7 lakh trees in “subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest and subtropical rain forests”.
  • Underscoring the inadequacy of the Environment Impact Assessment report on Etalin, the conservationists said observations by wildlife officials were ignored.
  • These include the threat to 25 globally endangered mammal and bird species in the area to be affected.

Back2Basics: Biogeographic Zones

  • A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of Earth’s land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms.
  • These zones delineate the large areas of the Earth’s surface within which organisms have been evolving in relative isolation over long periods of time.
  • They are separated from one another by geographic features, such as oceans, broad deserts, or high mountain ranges that constitute barriers to migration.
  • Originally, six biogeographic regions were identified: Palearctic (Europe and Asia), Nearctic (North America), Neotropical (Mexico, Central and South America), Ethiopian/Afrotropic (Africa), Oriental/Indo-Malayan (Southeast Asia, Indonesia) and Australian (Australia and New Guinea).
  • Currently, eight are recognised since the addition of Oceania (Polynesia, Fiji and Micronesia) and Antarctica.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Global Energy Transition Index, 2020 and its highlights

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global Energy Transition Index

Mains level : India's transition towards renewable energy

India has moved up two positions to rank 74th on a Global ‘Energy Transition Index (ETI)’ with improvements on all key parameters of economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability.

Possible prelim question:

Q. The Global Energy Transition Index recently seen in news is released by:

a) International Energy Agency (IEA)

b) World Economic Forum (WEF)

c) International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

d) International Solar Alliance

Energy Transition: What does it mean?

  • Energy transition refers to the global energy sector’s shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption — including oil, natural gas and coal — to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, as well as lithium-ion batteries.
  • The increasing penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix, the onset of electrification and improvements in energy storage are all key drivers of the energy transition.

What is the Energy Transition Index (ETI)?

  • The ETI is a fact-based ranking intended to enable policy-makers and businesses to plot the course for a successful energy transition.
  • The benchmarking of energy systems is carried out annually across countries.
  • Part of the World Economic Forum’s Fostering Effective Energy Transition initiative, it builds on its predecessor, the Energy Architecture Performance Index.
  • The ETI is a tool for energy decision-makers that strive to be a comprehensive, global index that tracks the performance of energy systems at the country level.
  • It also incorporates macroeconomic, institutional, social, and geopolitical considerations that provide enabling conditions for an effective energy transition.

Global rankings

  • Results for 2020 show that 75 per cent of countries have improved their environmental sustainability.
  • Sweden has topped the ETI for the third consecutive year and is followed by Switzerland and Finland in the top three.
  • Surprisingly, France (ranked 8th) and the UK (7th) are the only G20 countries in the top ten.
  • The scores for the US (32th), Canada (28th), Brazil (47th) and Australia (36th) were either stagnant or declining.

India’s highlights

  • India is one of the few countries in the world to have made consistent year-on-year progress since 2015.
  • India’s improvements have come across all three dimensions of the energy triangle — economic development and growth, energy access and security, and environmental sustainability.
  • The WEF said that the emerging centres of demand such as India (74th) and China (78th) have made consistent efforts to improve the enabling environment.
  • For India, gains have come from a government-mandated renewable energy expansion programme, now extended to 275 GW by 2027.
  • India has also made significant strides in energy efficiency through bulk procurement of LED bulbs, smart meters, and programs for labelling of appliances.

Threats posed by COVID-19

Beyond the uncertainty over its long‑term consequences, COVID-19 has unleashed cascading effects in real-time:

  • The erosion of almost a third of global energy demand
  • Unprecedented oil price volatilities and subsequent geopolitical implications
  • Delayed or stalled investments and projects
  • Uncertainties over the employment prospects of millions of energy‑sector workers

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[oped of the day] A cost-effective way to power generation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Power generation and energy security

Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. This will cover a key issue that came in the news and for which students must pay attention. This will also take care of certain key issues students have to cover in respective GS papers.

Context

India has been aggressively expanding its power generation capacity. Today’s installed capacity of 358 GW is about four times what it was in 1997-98. It shows a doubling of capacity in each of the past two decades. 

Sources of energy

    • Drivers – The major growth drivers have been renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and investment from the private sector. 
    • Private – The private sector accounts for almost half the installed generation capacity. 
    • Renewables – For the last three years, growth in generation from renewables has been close to 25%. 
    • Aggressive targets – India aims to have the capacity of renewable of 175 GW by 2022 and 500 GW by 2030. Solar and wind power plants would account for much of the targeted capacity from renewables. 

Realising the renewable targets – Thermal challenge

    • %share – the thermal generation capacity accounts for about two-thirds of the installed generation capacity in the country. Though there is increasing awareness about the environmental impact of fossil fuels, the reliance on thermal plants is unlikely to end any time soon. 
    • Capacity
      • Plant capacities are large and therefore targeted capacity additions can be achieved by constructing fewer such plants. 
      • It would take 18 solar or wind projects to generate the same quantity of power as one thermal plant. 
      • Administrative overheads that would have to be incurred in setting up the multiple projects could significantly add to the cost.
    • Cost of projects – infrastructure projects have an inverse relationship between size and unit cost, indicating economies of scale. 
        • As the capacity of power plants increases, the average cost of power per MW reduces. 
        • The average cost per MW for a thermal plant is about 25% lower than that of a solar plant. 
        • focus on developing larger solar and wind power plants that can also exploit similar economies of scale.

Project ownership

    • Private sector – Over the last two decades, 63% of the total planned generation capacity has come from the private sector. 
      • Private investment in renewables accounts for almost 90% of investment in wind and solar projects. 
    • Cost of private solar power – Private sector plants have an average cost per MW that is 12-34% lower for all categories except solar. 
      • Lower capacity cost has a direct impact on electricity tariffs.
      • Capacity costs account for more than 90% of the levelized cost of electricity, irrespective of the fuel type. 
    • Creating additional capacity at a lower cost will play a big role in keeping electricity tariffs low. 

Marginal capacity costs

    • Additional capacity – Even as total capacity in generation has been growing, the cost of installing additional capacity has fallen. 
    • Reasons for the decline could be as follows :
      • Advances in technology have resulted in the construction of larger power plants. 
      • Compared to the 15-year period before 2013, power plants installed in the past six years have on average been significantly bigger
      • The economies of scale in power generation. 
      • An increasing share of private sector investment. The share of the private sector in capacity creation has been 70% in the last decade as compared to 46% in the decade before that.

Conclusion and way ahead

    • With economic growth, the demand for power in India is only going to increase further. 
    • China added generation capacity that was equal to a third of India’s total installed capacity in 2018. 
    • India should create generation assets with the lowest unit cost by optimising plant capacities and encouraging private sector investment
    • The declining marginal cost for capacity can be used to replace existing capacity with newer capacity that are more efficient.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[op-ed snap] Raise the bar

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Renewable Energy - Challenges

CONTEXT

At the Global Climate Action Summit, Prime Minister made several announcements about the government’s plans to curb plastic use and invited countries to join the Coalition For Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. He announced the plan to cross the target of 175GW by 2022 and later to 450 GW. 

Progress so far

  • The country has made big strides in renewable energy (RE) in the last five years. 
  • Increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in the energy mix is one of India’s commitments under the Paris Climate Pact
  • India pledged an installed electricity capacity of 175 GW by 2022 — a more than 5-fold capacity increase in seven years
  • In the last four years, India has more than doubled its RE capacity.

Challenges

  • To meet its Paris Pact target, India will need to add more than 20 GW of RE installation a year.
  • This is more than double the rate achieved in the past four years. 
  • According to the clean energy research outfit, Mercom, India added 8.3 GW of solar capacity last year. This is a 13% dip from 2017.
  • The fall in the pace of adding solar installations has continued this year.
  • As per the report, land acquisitions are a major worry for large-scale solar projects. 
  • The loss in momentum shouldn’t be ignored as solar installations constitute nearly 60% of the country’s RE energy mix under Paris commitments.
  • When it comes to RE, the gap between installed capacity and actual electricity generation can be large, especially when weather conditions are not congenial.

Conclusion

The conversation about REs in the country have largely been about installed capacity. The discourse on needs to go one notch higher.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] Ocean Energy to be considered as Renewable Energy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ocean Energy, RPO

Mains level : India's RE committment


  • In a decision that would give boost to the ocean energy in India, Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy has approved a proposal to declare ocean energy as Renewable Energy.
  • Hereafter Ocean Energy will be considered as Renewable Energy and shall be eligible for meeting the non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).

Renewable Purchase Obligations

  • To provide a fillip to the ambitious renewable energy targets, obligations have been imposed on certain entitles to purchase energy from renewable sources by various state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs).
  • Renewable Purchase Obligation refers to the obligation imposed by law on some entities to either buy electricity generated by specified ‘green’ sources, or buy, in lieu of that, ‘renewable energy certificates (RECs)’ from the market.
  • The ‘obligated entities’ are mostly electricity distribution companies and large consumers of power.
  • RECs are issued to companies that produce green power, who opt not to sell it at a preferable tariff to distribution companies.
  • This is based on each state’s varying renewable energy potentials.
  • Regrettably, most states have shown poor proclivity in enforcing their RPO targets. The success of the RPO regime depends on strict adherence, which, in turn, depends on enforcement.

Back2Basics

Ocean Energy

Introduction to Ocean Energy 

  • Oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface and represent an enormous amount of energy in the form of wave, tidal, marine current and thermal gradient.
  • A variety of different technologies are currently under development throughout the world to harness this energy in all its forms.
  • India has a long coastline with the estuaries and gulfs. MNRE looks over the horizon at development of new technology and considers the various options available to support its deployment.
  • Most types of technologies are currently at pre-R&D / demonstration stage or the initial stage of commercialization.
  • Basic R&D is being looked after by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (example: National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai).

Potential

  • Total identified potential of Tidal Energy is about 12455 MW, with potential locations identified at Khambat & Kutch regions, and large backwaters, where barrage technology could be used.
  • The total theoretical potential of wave energy in India along the country’s coast is estimated to be about 40,000 MW – these are preliminary estimates.
  • This energy is however less intensive than what is available in more northern and southern latitudes.
  • OTEC has a theoretical potential of 180,000 MW in India subject to suitable technological evolution.

Technology 

Although currently under-utilized, Ocean energy is mostly exploited by just a few technologies: Wave, Tidal, Current Energy and Ocean Thermal Energy.

  1. Tidal Energy 
  • The tidal cycle occurs every 12 hours due to the gravitational force of the moon.
  • The difference in water height from low tide and high tide is potential energy.
  • Similar to traditional hydropower generated from dams, tidal water can be captured in a barrage across an estuary during high tide and forced through a hydro-turbine during low tide.
  • The capital cost for tidal energy power plants is very high due to high civil construction and high power purchase tariff.
  • To capture sufficient power from the tidal energy potential, the height of high tide must be at least five meters (16 feet) greater than low tide.
  • The Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat on the west coast have the locations in the country where potential exists.
  1. Wave Energy 
  • Wave energy is generated by the movement of a device either floating on the surface of the ocean or moored to the ocean floor.
  • Many different techniques for converting wave energy to electric power have been studied.
  • Wave conversion devices that float on the surface have joints hinged together that bend with the waves.
  • This kinetic energy pumps fluid through turbines and creates electric power.
  • Stationary wave energy conversion devices use pressure fluctuations produced in long tubes from the waves swelling up and down.
  • This bobbing motion drives a turbine when critical pressure is reached. Other stationary platforms capture water from waves on their platforms.
  • This water is allowed to runoff through narrow pipes that flow through a typical hydraulic turbine.

iii. Current Energy 

  • Marine current is ocean water moving in one direction. This ocean current is known as the Gulf Stream.
  • Tides also create currents that flow in two directions.
  • Kinetic energy can be captured from the Gulf Stream and other tidal currents with submerged turbines that are very similar in appearance to miniature wind turbines.
  • Similar to wind turbines, the movement of the marine current moves the rotor blades to generate electric power.
  1. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) 
  • Ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC, uses ocean temperature differences from the surface to depths lower than 1,000 meters, to extract energy.
  • A temperature difference of only 20°C can yield usable energy.
  • Research focuses on two types of OTEC technologies to extract thermal energy and convert it to electric power: closed cycle and open cycle.
  • In the closed cycle system, a working fluid, such as ammonia, is pumped through a heat exchanger and vaporized. This vaporized steam runs a turbine. The cold water found at the depths of the ocean condenses the vapor back to a fluid where it returns to the heat exchanger.
  • In the open cycle system, the warm surface water is pressurized in a vacuum chamber and converted to steam to run the turbine. The steam is then condensed using cold ocean water from lower depths.

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[pib] SARAL – State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SARAL Index

Mains level : Renewable energy in India

  • Union Ministry for Power and New & Renewable launched the State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index–SARAL.

 About the SARAL Index

  • To achieve our rooftop solar targets, it is important to develop an ecosystem that ensures information symmetry, access to financing and clear market signals.
  • Thus, the MNRE has developed the State Rooftop Solar Attractiveness Index–SARAL that evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development.
  • SARAL is the first of its kind index to provide a comprehensive overview of state-level measures adopted to facilitate rooftop solar deployment.
  • SARAL has been designed collaboratively by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (SSEF), ASSOCHAM and Ernst & Young (EY).
  • The Index would incentivise rooftop solar by creating healthy competition among the States.

Components of SARAL

  • robustness of policy framework
  • implementation environment
  • investment climate
  • consumer experience
  • business ecosystem

 Benefits

  • It encourages each state to assess the initiatives taken so far, and what it can do to improve its solar rooftop ecosystem.
  • This will help states to channelize investments that can eventually help the sector grow.
  • In addition, such an exercise is likely to create a more conducive environment for solar rooftop installations, encourage investment and lead to accelerated growth of the sector.

 States performance

  • The State of Karnataka has been placed at the first rank in the Index that evaluates Indian states based on their attractiveness for rooftop development.
  • Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have got 2nd, 3rd and 4th rank respectively.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

M-Sand

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : M-sand

Mains level : M-sand as an alternative to conventional sand


  • In three months, the TN State government will put in place an M-sand policy that aims to promote the use of M-sand as an alternative building material.
  • It is aimed to eliminate the pervasion of sub-standard products in the market through regulation of trade.

 Manufactured sand (M-Sand)

  • M-sand is a substitute of river sand for concrete construction.
  • Manufactured sand is produced from hard granite stone by crushing.
  • The crushed sand is of cubical shape with grounded edges, washed and graded to as a construction material.
  • The size of manufactured sand (M-Sand) is less than 4.75mm.

Why use M-sand?

  • Manufactured sand is an alternative for river sand.
  • Due to fast growing construction industry, the demand for sand has increased tremendously, causing deficiency of suitable river sand in most part of the word.
  • Due to the depletion of good quality river sand for the use of construction, the use of manufactured sand has been increased.
  • Another reason for use of M-Sand is its availability and transportation cost.
  • Since manufactured sand can be crushed from hard granite rocks, it can be readily available at the nearby place, reducing the cost of transportation from far-off river sand bed.
  • Thus, the cost of construction can be controlled by the use of manufactured sand as an alternative material for construction.
  • The other advantage of using M-Sand is, it can be dust free, the sizes of m-sand can be controlled easily so that it meets the required grading for the given construction.
  • Usage of M-sand prevents dredging of river beds to get river sand which may lead to environmental disaster like ground water depletion, water scarcity.

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[op-ed snap] Renewable hybrid energy systems as a game changer

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Hybrid solar wind

CONTEXT

Two recent auctions for wind/solar hybrid projects conducted were under-subscribed. However, we can believe that renewable hybrids can play a key role in helping India accelerate the decarbonization of power generation and lowering the cost of electricity in the medium term.

Facts

  1. Bids totaling 1.56GW were awarded against a total of 2.4GW on offer. The discovered prices were marginally below the ceiling tariff of₹2.70. 
  2. India added 65-70GW of wind and solar capacity so far, with wind and solar contributing 9.5% of generated energy in 2019.
  3. If the government target of 175GW is achieved by 2022, this share could exceed 15-16%.

Renewable energy – inherent challenges

  1. It relies on intermittent sources, producing energy only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.
  2. Its output is constrained to specific hours of the day.
  3. Its use leads to lower utilization of transmission lines. This can create issues in matching peak power demand with renewable output and raise the costs of transmission. 
  4. Countries with renewable energy penetration of 15% indicate that flexible energy resources that can rapidly ramp up or down are needed. These could include hydro or gas-based power, or energy storage solutions.

Renewable hybrids can be a solution

  1. A hybrid system can combine wind, solar with an additional resource of generation or storage.
    1. In India, solar output is maximum between 11am and 3pm, while wind output is highest in the late evening and early morning.
    2. Peak demand for power is reached in the evening hours of 6-9pm, which cannot be catered to by either wind or solar.
    3. If we can store some energy during excess renewable generation hours and release it into the grid during peak demand hours, the combined “hybrid” system can produce 24×7 clean energy as per varying levels of demand in the day. 
  2. The storage can take many forms, such as batteries, pumped hydro or mechanical storage through the flywheel. 
  3. The intermittency of wind and solar could also be balanced by adding a fast ramping source of power such as an open cycle gas turbine. 
  4. Hybrid systems are driven by reducing costs of battery storage and solar energy. 
  5. An optimal combination of solar, wind and storage can deliver stable round-the-clock power at today’s costs of around ₹6-7/kWh. Though this is significantly higher compared to baseload coal plants, lithium-ion battery costs are expected to fall from current $220-240/kWh to below $100 in the next 3-4 years.
  6. Costs of solar energy have fallen from ₹4.63/kWh in 2016 to ₹2.50/kWh in the latest auctions and may fall as low as ₹2/kWh in the next 3-5 years.
  7. McKinsey’s proprietary modeling suggests that if the above improvements are factored in, wind-solar storage hybrid systems could generate round-the-clock power with cost as well as reliability levels comparable to existing coal-fired power plants in the next 4-5 years.

Ministry of new and renewable energy’s solar-wind hybrid policy, 2018 provides a framework to promote grid-connected hybrid energy through set-ups that would use land and transmission infrastructure optimally and also manage the variability of renewable resources to some extent.

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[op-ed snap] Rethinking KUSUM

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Redesigning Kusum

CONTEXT

  • Earlier this year, the Cabinet approved the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM).
  • There is a budgetary allocation of ₹34,000 crore to KUSUM and a similar contribution is expected from the States.

Features of KUSUM

  • KUSUM aims to provide energy sufficiency and sustainable irrigation access to farmers.
  • Objective – Providing financial and water security to farmers.
  • The components of the proposed scheme are
    1. Component-A: 10,000 MW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.
    2. Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
    3. Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.

Current Situation

  • Despite growing farm power subsidies, nearly 30 million farmers use expensive diesel for their irrigation needs.
  • This is because they have no access to electricity. More than half of India’s net sown area remains unirrigated.
  • KUSUM could radically transform the irrigation economy if the government chooses an approach of equity by design and prudence over populism.

Approach of Equity 

  • Reducing disparity among States with regard to solar pumps deployment and irrigation access should be the first aim.
  • This disparity highlights poor State budget allocation towards solar pumps and the lack of initiative by State nodal agencies.
  • To encourage equitable deployment, the Centre could incentivise States through target linked financial assistance and create avenues for peer learning.
  • Addressing inequity within a State – This is addressed by a share of central financial assistance under KUSUM should be appropriated for farmers with small landholdings and belonging to socially disadvantaged groups.
  • By providing greater financial assistance to smaller farmers, instead of a one­size­fits­all approach.
  • KUSUM proposes a 60% subsidy for the pumps, borne equally by the Centre and the States, and the other 40% will be the farmer’s contribution.
  • This will exacerbate the inter farmer disparity given the inequity in access to credit and repayment capacity between small and large farmers.
  • A more economical and equitable alternative – A higher capital subsidy support to small and marginal farmers and long-term loans with interest subsidies for large and medium farmers.

 Prudence over populism

  • Solarising existing grid connected pumps needs a complete rethink.
  • Existing grid connected farmers would receive the same financial support as that received by an off-grid farmer.
  • In addition, the farmer would earn regular income from the DISCOM on feeding surplus electricity, furthering the inequitable distribution of taxpayers’ resources.
  • Instead of this, the scheme should only provide Central government subsidy of up to 30% for solarisation, and use the proposed State support to incentivise DISCOMs to procure energy from the farmers.
  • Instead of feeding surplus energy to the grid, solar pump capacity could be used to power post harvesting processes, which complement the seasonal irrigation load.
  • The entire feeder could be solarised through a reverse bidding approach, and provide water conservation linked incentives to farmers as direct benefit transfer.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report (GSR)

Mains level : Renewable energy in India

  • The REN21’s Renewable 2019 Global Status Report (GSR) was recently released.

Global prospects of the report

  • Renewables now supply around 26 per cent of global electricity production but the transport, cooling and heating sectors lag far behind in renewable adoption.
  • Underlining the subsidy support being given to fossil fuel, the GSR read that lack of political will and fossil fuel subsidies are threatening to derail the crucial UN 2030 Climate and Development Goals.
  • Renewable energy’s share in power consumption is increasing undoubtedly, but people would have consumed more had policy makers prioritized the sector.
  • Erratic policy decisions kept the world from using the sector to its potential in meeting climate change targets, added the report.

Indian case

  • India ranked fourth globally for new investment in renewable energy in 2018.
  • India’s new power generation capacity from solar photovoltaic panels decreased compared to 2017, according to the report.
  • However, India placed fifth, overtaking Italy, with 33 gigawatts (GW) total installed capacity.
  • The report confirmed that installed renewable power capacity was more than that of fossil fuel and nuclear power combined for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Around 100 GW of solar PV were added in 2018 which is enough to meet more than 25 per cent of electricity demand in France.

Decrease in investments

  • Lack of ambitious and sustained policies to drive decarburizing in heating, cooling and transport sectors indicates that countries are not trying to maximise the benefit of energy transition.
  • The investment has decreased 16 per cent compared to 2017. It attributes this to factors like:
  1. Land and transmission constraints,
  2. 25 per cent safeguard duty on imports from China and Malaysia
  3. Flaws in tender scheme
  4. Tax uncertainties

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable Energy Certificates

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : REC

Mains level : REC and its functioning

  • Renewable Energy (RE) companies have moved the Delhi High Court, seeking an exemption for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) under the GST.

RECs in India

  • In a bid to promote renewable energy market in India, the Indian government has framed policies under the Electricity Act, 2003 and the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to increase the total renewable power generation capacity in the country.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) is a policy instrument to catalyze the development of renewable energy.
  • It is a market based mechanism which will help the states meet their regulatory requirements (such as Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs)) by overcoming the geographical constraints on existing renewable potential in different states.
  • RECs unbundle the electricity component (commodity) from the green/environmental attributes of the power generated from renewable sources.
  • Both the components can then be traded separately.
  • Thus RECs help in incentivizing the production of renewable energy over and above the RPO state limit as tradable certificates are not constrained by the geographical limitations of commodity electricity.

Working with RECs

  • The tradable RECs are awarded for every 1 mega-watt hour (MWh) of electricity generated.
  • Together with Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO), RECs act as market-pull incentives that create demand for renewable energy installations.
  • RPO, instituted in 2011, is a mandate that requires large power procurers to source a pre-determined fraction of their electricity from renewable sources.

Problems of states

  • The concentration of RE potential in a few states means that the same level of RPO compliance cannot be expected from all states.
  • Low potential states will have to resort to expensive cross-border procurement, accompanied with many regulatory hurdles and additional charges.

Why REC?

  • The REC market was introduced to facilitate RPO compliance by incentivizing RE procurement.
  • First, the REC mechanism presents an alternative for state discoms, with insufficient renewable capacity, to meet their RPO obligations.
  • Second, stand-alone projects built independent of the well-established auction regime have little incentive and a high risk perception, lacking purchase guarantees and payment default protections.
  • The income generated from trading RECs will bolster such independent projects.

Why GST on RECs?

  • RECs are being charged GST, while bundled power (RECs plus electricity, irrespective of source) or even just electricity are devoid of the same.
  • Cost of electricity generation from renewable energy sources is classified as cost of electricity generation (equivalent to conventional energy sources) and the cost of environmental attributes.
  • RECs is the environmental attribute of the electricity derived from RE.
  • As per regulations, RPO compliance through REC is at par with sourcing electricity directly from RE.
  • Therefore, GST applicable on the sale of RECs negatively affects its parity with similar electricity sale alternatives, be it conventional or renewable.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Global Energy Transition Index

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Energy Transition Index

Mains level: Move towards clean energy


News

  • India has moved up two places to rank 76th on a global energy transition index, released by World Economic Forum (WEF).

Global Energy Transition Index

  1. The WEF has ranked 115 economies on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability.
  2. The WEF index considers both the current state of the countries’ energy system and their structural readiness to adapt to future energy needs.
  3. The ‘transition readiness’ component of the index has taken into account six individual indicators:
  • capital and investment,
  • regulation and political commitment,
  • institutions and governance,
  • institutions and innovative business environment,
  • human capital and consumer participation, and
  • energy system structure

India’s Performance

  • India is amongst the countries with high pollution levels and has a relatively high CO2 intensity in its energy system.
  • India has made significant strides to improve energy access in recent years, and currently scores well in the area of regulation and political commitment towards energy transition.
  • It suggested there was a ground for optimism regarding India despite the current outdated energy system not being ready for transition, because an enabling environment is being built to support future transition.
  • While India has scored low in terms of system performance (ranking 97 and 86, respectively), it ranks considerably higher when it comes to readiness (45 and 61, respectively).
  • Overall, India has moved up two places from 78th last year.
  • China is ranked even lower than India at 82nd position, though it ranks very high at seventh place in the world for regulation and political commitment.
  • Despite its low ranking, India is the second best in the BRICS block of emerging economies, with Brazil being the best at 46th place globally.
  • However, India is the only amongst the five economies to improve its rank since last year.

Global Scenario

  • Sweden remains on the top on this annual list and is followed by Switzerland and Norway in the top three.
  • Among major economies, the United Kingdom (UK) is ranked seventh.
  • Singapore has been ranked thirteenth, while Germany, Japan and the US have bagged the seventeenth, eighteenth and the twenty-seventh place respectively.
  • Within Asia, Malaysia is ranked highest at 31st, Sri Lanka is 60th, Bangladesh 90th and Nepal 93rd.

Challenges ahead

  • The biggest challenge facing attempts to future proof global energy is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters.
  • Continued uses of coal for power generation in Asia, increasing commodity prices and slower-than-needed improvements in energy intensity have contributed to this year’s stagnation in performance.
  • The WEF said fossil fuels’ share of total primary energy supply at 81 per cent has been constant over the past three decades.
  • Also, the global CO2 emissions are expected to have increased by more than 2 per cent in 2018, the highest since 2014.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

New hydro policy to help meet renewables target

Note4students

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


News

  • 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%.

Huge imbalance

  • 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.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

[pib] UNNATEE (UNlocking NATional Energy Efficiency Potential)

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, following things are important:

Prelims level: UNNATEE

Mains level: Not Much


News

UNNATEE

  • Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed a national strategy document for accelerating energy efficiency in India.
  • PwC India has assisted BEE in executing this assignment.
  • The strategy document titled UNNATEE (Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential) describes a plain framework and implementation strategy to establish a clear linkage between energy supply-demand scenarios and energy efficiency opportunities.
  • The document offers a comprehensive roadmap to address India’s environmental and climate change mitigation action through energy efficiency measures.
  • This exercise is first of its kind, clearly delineating the energy efficiency targets for the respective demand sectors upto the state levels.
  • Developing India’s blueprint of effective energy efficiency strategy is a leap towards stimulating energy efficiency ecosystem and enabling reduction of the pressure on demand.

About BEE

  • The BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • It assists in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.
  • BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Large hydro projects get ‘renewable energy’ status

Note4students

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


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a new hydroelectric policy aimed at boosting the sector, including according large hydro projects the status of renewable energy projects.

New Hydroelectric Policy

  • According to the new policy, large hydro projects will also be designated as renewable energy projects.
  • So far, only smaller projects of less than 25 MW in capacity were categorised as renewable 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.

Why such move?

  • Development of hydro power projects is important to provide India a stable grid, given the country’s commitment towards 160 GW capacity additions from infirm sources of power like solar and wind by 2022.
  • The new measures give developers the flexibility to determine tariff by backloading it after increasing the project life to 40 years, increasing the debt repayment period to 18 years and introducing an escalating tariff of 2 per cent.
  • This will help bring down the initial tariff of hydro power projects, which is normally on the higher side on account of including flood moderation and enabling infrastructure costs in the project cost.

By Explains

Explain the News

Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Offshore Wind: The sleeping giant has been stirred

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Challenges for harnessing offshore wind energy


News

  • India’s offshore wind energy sector is hoping for a new lease of life with the draft offshore wind energy lease rules

Unmet challenges

  • The offshore wind energy comes with expensive challenges like resource characterization, sub-sea installation, turbine foundation and development of long transmission infrastructure.
  • India is ill-prepared to meet these challenges due to the lack of technological knowhow and studies to assess resources.
  • The country, nevertheless, jumped on to the bandwagon with its ‘National Offshore Wind Policy’ in 2015.
  • And, as is the trend in India, the government set ambitious targets — a capacity of 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030.

Progress till date

  • FOWIND, or the Facilitating Offshore Wind in India, is a Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)-led consortium that hoped to bring to India its leanings from the European experience.
  • The preliminary assessments estimated tremendous potential along the coasts in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
  • It was also handed the responsibility of the first demonstration project or the First Offshore Wind Project in India (FOWPI).
  • The first round of geotechnical, geophysical, ground investigation and metocean assessments was conducted by national Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) and by FOWPI.
  • The latter led the first Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-based wind profiling in the Gulf of Khambhat, which began in November 2017.

What the government did

  • Instead in April 2018, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) released an expression of interest (EOI) to get the lay of the land.
  • Despite considerable interest that the conservative EOI drew, no tender was issued.
  • In parallel, with the slowdown in the onshore wind industry, the excitement around offshore wind energy fizzled out very soon.

Draft Lease Rules for Offshore Wind

  • The MNRE in 2019 released Draft Lease Rules for Offshore Wind.
  • The regulations apply to leasing of offshore blocks anywhere between 100 and 500 square metres within the exclusive economic zone off the Indian coast.
  • The lease for prospecting can be for up to five years, for developers to undertake necessary assessments and feasibility studies.
  • Project development activities will be allocated a 30 year lease, with a facility to extend for five more years.
  • It talks about compensation to the developer in case the central government pre-emptively procures the energy generated and also permits curtailment if issues with grid stability or security arise.

Promises of the rules

  • The lease rules have also included social and environmental caveats rigidly stating that the development of the farm wind should not in any way affect the livelihood of the coastal population.
  • It should not lead to the deterioration of local flora and fauna.

Various loopholes

  • The National Offshore Wind Policy lays the onus of development of transmission infrastructure (till the sub-station on land) on the developer.
  • Large investments in offshore structures and transmission facilities will result in uncompetitive high tariffs – something Indian power procurers do not have the stomach for.
  • Second, there has been no mention on port augmentation and utilization for the purposes of offshore wind project development.
  • Functional ports close to offshore farms are essential to reduce costs. They could also help in operation and maintenance, repowering and decommissioning.
  • Neither the policy nor the regulations discuss upgrading or redesigning existing ports.
  • If India is serious about offshore wind, it must set up dedicated ports. Europe, for example, has 10 such ports.
  • Further, there is no visibility on whether the energy procurers will even buy the electricity generated at the high tariffs that offshore wind projects will inevitably yield.

Way Forward

  • There are several reasons for India to diversify to offshore wind, the primary one being the contentious nature of land in India.
  • A close second is that the best wind potential sites in the country are filling up.
  • Further offshore wind development in India is egged on by the tremendous potential, an underutilized manufacturing capacity and a thirst for more energy.
  • These worries might need to be addressed with government-backed guarantees in long-term power-purchase agreements.

By Explains

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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Renewable energy in India: Why rooftop remains the most untapped solar source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Benefits of Solar Rooftops

Mains level: SRTs as an alternative to DISCOM power


News

Background

  1. Most developed economies started their solar programmes by targeting household rooftops; as a result, they now have a sizable share of installations in the residential rooftop segment.
  2. China and India, on the other hand, have used large-scale solar installations in an effort to quickly achieve scale and simultaneously push down costs.
  3. In the case of India, this focus on large utility-scale solar seems to have become an unintended obstruction in the development of the rooftop segment.

Tapping the Rooftop potential

  1. India, though, does have an ambitious plan for solar rooftop or SRT, as it is called: a target of 40 gigawatts (GW) capacity by 2022.
  2. But so far, the achievement has fallen short of the goal.
  3. According to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), only 2,158 megawatt (MW) of SRT systems had been installed in the country till December 2018.

Household use is far less

  1. The shortfall in capacity is compounded by the fact that a large proportion—70 per cent—of the installed rooftop systems is for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers.
  2. Residential consumers account for less than 20 per cent of the total installed capacity.
  3. There are clear economic considerations behind industrial and commercial consumers’ preference for rooftop systems.
  4. Solar rooftop power is cheaper than grid-supplied electricity.
  5. These consumers have the financial resources to make the necessary investments, which are sizable, to install SRT systems.

The RESCO Model

  1. The commercial users also have access to the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) model.
  2. It is a model in which developers install the system on the consumers’ premises and sign a long-term contract to sell them electricity, under which they do not need to make any investments.

Benefits of SRTs

  1. Distributed solar rooftop systems, installed on individual residences, offer many advantages.
  2. They help minimize transmission and distribution losses, as the generated power is consumed locally.
  3. In large cities, they can act as a back-up, replacing polluting diesel generator sets.
  4. Solar rooftop can be harnessed for demand-side management (for example, time-of-day pricing to match household demand with solar generation).
  5. With falling solar prices and steadily increasing tariffs of distribution companies (discoms), SRT systems are being seen as financially attractive.
  6. SRT systems can offer reduced power bills for households; the gains may increase as tariffs are likely to keep going up.
  7. They provide environmentally friendly, inexpensive back-up supply of power (compared to DG sets), a big advantage, given the persistent supply interruptions in most places.
  8. They can result in lower transmission and distribution losses and improved grid management, since the generation is close to the point of consumption.

Problem of Finance

  1. Instead of these much needed policy initiatives and administrative interventions, the government has largely relied on subsidies to drive SRT installation.
  2. Most prospective customers either do not have the savings to cover the upfront costs, or are simply unwilling to invest, given the relatively large amount.
  3. Also, most customers do not have access to bank financing.
  4. Loans need to be made available, which requires significant capacity building of retail bank branches.

Various Policy Initiatives

  1. In recent years, the government has taken steps to improve the availability of loans for SRT projects.
  2. The RBI has identified solar rooftop as a priority sector for lending.
  3. Eight public sector banks have included SRT systems under their housing or housing improvement loans.
  4. Multilateral banks are providing concessional loans against sovereign guarantee to public sector banks to support subsidized lending to the segment.

Way Forward

  1. It is clear that SRT systems provide multiple benefits—to households, to the grid and even to discoms; promoting them, therefore, is a desirable policy goal.
  2. Solar rooftops, however, also face several challenges, as indicated in the preceding section: lacklustre growth, little consumer awareness, lack of innovative government policies or attention, bureaucratic hassles, and limited support from discoms.
  3. Sustained and broad-based efforts are required to promote SRTs.

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