Monday, June 20, 2016

Indian Renewable Energy Development: A case study for developing nations

The continuous use of fossil fuels for the past decades has made their availability much lesser now and the increasing human population makes them even scarcer. This results in increasing their price manifold. So power deficiencies resulting from it pose as a global issue. Renewable energy projects developed by various nations therefore try to combat this global threat. Assisted by the government India became the very first country in the world to establish a ministry of non-conventional energy resources back in the 1980s, called the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Also, the issue of renewable energy production becomes a matter of utmost importance especially in developing countries namely- India, China and various others. Such nations have a raging population and thus have exorbitant hunger for highly polluting non-renewable fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas which makes it an even more important to produce renewable resources by them.  Adopting and enforcing policies to work towards establishing renewable energy resources as primary energy sources, these nations can grow up to be the leading nations in renewable energy production. Especially tropical countries get enough sun to harness its energy for power production. Also, wind in universally available and hence wind power becomes an easy option for developing countries to replace the polluting energy resources such as the fossil fuels. And considering the constant availability of cheap labour owing to high population in these countries makes it easier to incentivise technology and product innovation in this sector. Just that, developing nations should keep the production and storage cost of the renewable energy sources in check. Because they do not have overflowing national coffers, cost – effectiveness becomes an important issue to look into. So whatever be the means, these countries should aim at supporting sustainable development by minimising pollution in a cost effective way. 

Welspun Renewables is a pioneer of renewable energy projects in India. Backed by many eminent international investors, Welspun Renewables has been effectively contributed to the production of solar and wind power in India and stands as one of the leading solar and wind IPPs in the country. The company has created a total energy having a capacity of 680 MW. The Asian Development Bank is instrumental to the development of Welspun Renewables and in their work for setting up sustainable development in the country.

About Author: 
Nikhil Mehra is a specialist on Indian Renewable Energy Development projects in India and is a professional who is well acquainted with industry news and similar development stories.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Renewable Energy in India: Can India march ahead of developed nations

The increased human population causes a pressure to develop on fossil fuels and that makes them makes them the primary energy source. But with constant use, they are seen to become scarce and consequently has their cost increase multifariously. So the world including our nation confronts power deficit problems. Funded by the government from its inception, India established a ministry of non-conventional energy resources back in the 1980s and thus turned out to be the first country in the world to do so.

India shares the honour of being the second highest energy producing country in the world, after US, with China. But India is way behind a number of developed countries in renewable energy production but that day will not be far when India will be able to sealing the gap but for that certain initial guidelines have to be followed which will help it progress a little towards bridging the gap:

(a) Industry leaders must enforce stringency on distribution companies to make them purchase power produced only from renewable resources and if any company fails to do the same, that company will be penalised.

(b) Government must fund most of the renewable energy production projects and also they must be backed by cheap capital investment so that it can be a long term process.

(c) Technology must be incentivised innovation in products is a necessity. It should become a matter of ease in India owing to the availability of cheap labour.

(d) India should also try cutting down on high-polluting sites like coal-based thermal power plants by revoking their licenses.

And Welspun Renewables is a significant renewable energy India source provider in our country. It has contributed to the production of solar and wind power throughout India including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka. It has been able to successfully produce a total energy of capacity 680 MW. Welspun Renewables has lifted the structural framework from high carbon utilizing regime to a low carbon utilizing one. The company has set up various solar and wind power plants throughout Indian of capacities ranging from 19 to 151 MW.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wind IPPs in India: Will they find enough land?

With the growing population and the consequent growing demand on fossil fuels, fossil fuels are becoming more and more scarce thereby witnessing a considerable increase in their cost.As a result, the power deficit poses as a global issue and the need to minimise it becomes almost inevitable. Renewable resources come to save the situation by working towards remedying the problem and thereby emerge Renewable Energy IPPs. Renewable Energy IPPs or the Independent Power Producers is an upcoming and lucrative market that works towards minimising the power deficit problem of India. Thus, private investors are actively contributing in the power generation sector as much as possible. Of them, a successfully emerging sector includes the wind IPP India. The wind sector initially developed as a private / SME market but then it witnessed a sharp fall in wind installations. Also, problems crept up due to the lowering of solar tariff. But due to the recent IRR increase of wind projects which is well over 15% and being backed up by state government policies, wind IPPs are witnessing a surge in their development and economy. 

Wind power is advantageous in a lot of ways – 

1. The PLF or Plant Load Factor is very high in case of wind power, more than that of solar power. 
2. Wind energy is available throughout the day as long as wind is there.
3. Wind energy driven power plants do not require water for running. 
4. The wind power plants are highly susceptible to wear and tear. 

Problems creep up while finding a proper location for the installation. The Wind Turbine Generators or WTG cannot be installed near townships as they produce a lot of noise and that can result in inconvenience. Hence open places away from townships make apt locations for WTG installations. So appropriate lands need to be procured along with the acquirement of the necessary permits and financing. 

Welspun Renewables is one of the leading wind IPP India, and also the various renewable energy projects undertaken by Welspun Renewables rank among the biggest power generating plants in India. Till date, the company has produced energy having a total capacity of 680 MW. Renowned international investors invest in the company, globally. Welspun Renewables has, in fact, successfully evolved from high carbon utilizing infrastructure to a low carbon utilizing one. It is one of the highest renewable energy resource producers in the country that is currently trying to replace the use of fossil fuels and hence working towards sustainable development. An instance of a wind power plant helmed by Welspun Renewables is located at Rajasthan which has a total capacity of 126 MW. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Challenges of solar IPPs in India

Solar Energy in India

A pertinent question that has been raging in the field of renewable sector is: Is India’s 2022 solar target of 100 GW for real? It may be an ambitious number but definitely not unattainable. Solar fundamentals are so compelling in India that the sector is bound to grow gigantically with India likely to become one of the largest solar markets globally in the next 3 years. India is already well on its track to enter the top five solar markets globally. By changing RPO (Renewable Purchase Obligation) targets (solar specific) for the year 2022 to 10.5% from 3% of all consumption of power in India which is yet to be ratified as per the Electricity Act of 2003 provisions,  India has plans to raise its solar capacity to 100 GW by 2021 from 20 GW in 2020. The 100 GW target has been divided in a 60-40 ratio between utility scale and rooftop and small projects respectively.

Both state and central governments have released several policies and schemes for accelerating the development of solar projects. The Centre has taken the lead with the National Solar Mission (15 GW worth of projects by the year 2019) and other initiatives like the policy related to solar parks and an interest rate subvention scheme. Many states, such as Andhra Pradesh (5 GW), Telangana (5 GW), Maharashtra (7.5 GW), Tamil Nadu (3 GW) and Karnataka (2 GW) have followed with massive targets. There will be several challenges in the way of accomplishing these plans, including land acquisition, project financing and transmission woes. However, the biggest hurdle will center on the enforcement of RPOs and the poor bankability of India’s DISCOMs or distribution companies. Since electricity is a recurring topic of discussion, i.e., the center and the states both legislate on it, the states have the option to not take into account the central government directives.

Growth of rooftop solar power generation majorly depends on its financial competitiveness vis-a-vis grid power. The government has of late announced encouraging financing initiatives to improving availability and cost of debt financing to go along with wide ranging net-metering policies. But experts are of the belief that these measures may not be anywhere near sufficient to reach the rooftop solar target of 40 GW. However, keeping this in mind, the overall outlook for solar energy in India is immensely positive and it is further complemented by powerful underlying fundamentals such as the increasing cost of conventional power, environment based concerns, lowered costs of solar power overall, huge irradiation, a high power deficit and the ability of solar to quickly bring power generation capacity online. These factors coupled with several state and central government initiatives should contribute towards making India one of the largest solar markets in the world. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The viability of renewable energy projects

Renewable energy production involves natural phenomena such as sunlight, wind, tides, plant growth, and geothermal heat. According to the explanation given by the International Energy Agency: 

"Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and bio-fuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources."

In recent times, there has been a renewable energy debate about the constraints and opportunities associated with the use of renewable energy. Renewable electricity production, from sources including wind power and solar power in India, is sometimes facing criticism for being variable or intermittent. There have been "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) concerns relating to the visual and other impacts of some wind farms. In the USA, the Massachusetts Cape Wind project was delayed for years partially due to aesthetic concerns. 

Renewable energy is also the most economically viable solution for new grid-connected capacity in areas without using cheap fossil fuels. With the cost of renewable power decreasing, the scope of economically viable applications will rise. Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) is a commonly used metric to compare the costs of various energy generation technologies. To put in simple terms, LCOE is the ratio of the total cost of the power source to the total energy output over its life, expressed in dollars per kWh. The total cost takes into account various factors including the initial capital investment, interest, operations & maintenance costs, and fuel expenses.  Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy (LACE) is a metric that quantifies the potential revenue that can be earned by adding renewable energy sources rather than buying power from other grid sources. The economic viability of an energy source is the difference between LACE and LCOE.

Renewable power technologies can have significant environmental benefits. As opposed to coal and natural gas, they can generate electricity and fuels without the emission of harmful quantities of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. When it comes to an aesthetic viewpoint, both solar and wind have been criticized. Those that support renewable energy also raise the argument that current infrastructure is less aesthetically appealing than its alternatives. 

All being said and done, there’s no denying the benefits of a clean energy future, for the world has an incredible Renewable Energy Project potential which can create millions of jobs and save millions of lives from air pollution and other hazards of the current energy system. 

Can India set an example when it comes to renewable energy development?

The renewable energy sector in India has been witnessing a rapid growth in recent times, and consequently, it presents an opportunity for strong financial returns.There are quite a few factors behind this. India is short of power, and thus, new renewable capacity generates electricity for a market which is undersupplied. Secondly, renewable energy can be more swiftly taken to market in place of other alternatives like coal fired power. Besides, renewable electricity prices are similar to those of electricity from other sources. India benefits from truly market-led renewable energy demand, without any major subsidies. There has been consistent and vital support from the Indian Government and this has not only reinforced the market fundamentals but also created a dynamic market which seems firmly on the growth path. The country already possesses 35 GW in terms of overall renewable energy capacity and plans to grow this 500% over a period of six years from now. Indian renewable energy development has presently got a shot in the arm and is progressing at a rapid pace.

India presently has a golden chance to properly shape its entire policy. Social and economic growth are one of the priorities of the government’s agenda, and new energy sources to cater to this demand are increasingly being derived from renewable energy. A number of factors have contributed to this. Besides the government policy which has been supportive, a wider set of actions, which include incentives, infrastructure and investment promotions, were taken up. Technology development, larger-scale projects and the learning effect has facilitated the use of efficient designs and have brought down costs. This makes renewable energy alluring to power utilities that are contracting new long-term capacity, and in addition, this helps avoid burdens relating to the fuel risk and also take or pay contracts. Multiple renewable energy projects have also come into being.

Renewable energy companies are minimally dependent on fiscal support from the government in India. It signifies an investor with a given capital can fund more projects across regions or even various asset classes for diversification into risks which are resource based. Additionally, a lower cost structure also means that an investor gets early or better prepared gains from better returns. Public opinion is positive with the recognition of environmental, economic and social benefits. According to recent studies, wind potential of 40-65 times higher is possible with new technologies and more scale. Additionally, new initiatives have come up for exploration of offshore wind, provision of solar parks or construction of transmission corridors for green energy and these can support overall development of the market. The considerations to meet energy demands, lower costs, sustainability and energy security are fueling renewable energy growth in the country. This also holds true at a global level. The industry estimates that Europe will add 109 GW of renewables by 2020 while India aims at reaching a staggering 175 GW or even adding 140 GW by the year 2022. This makes for a lucrative opportunity for developers and suppliers and is also a significant transformational chance for the power market and electricity policy alike.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Make in India and its impact on solar power

solar, wind power in india

Prime Minister Modi launched the Make in India program in September 2014 as part of a larger set of nation-building initiatives. It was devised to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub. India’s power generation has struggled to keep pace with its rapid economic growth, rise in population, and rampant urbanization. Despite an installed capacity of over 260 GW, energy demand has always surpassed supply by a wide margin, and with the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) that targets an annual GDP growth of 7-8%, there has to be a considerable increment in energy supply to keep up with the ever-increasing requirement.

There has to be a substantial expansion in energy infrastructure, whereby solar energy in India can continue to be a key driving force of its economic policy. Though presently both wind and solar technologies are manufactured in India, the former is better established with a capacity of over 10 GW, while solar manufacturing has only about 800 MW on offer. As the country gears up to raise its renewable energy capacity, it is imperative to recognize the need for a skilled workforce. The current population growth is such that India needs to create 10 million new jobs every year. However, although the renewable energy sector promises to a high potential to create new jobs, it also brings with it the need for skilling, which is not only urgent but also alarmingly unmet.

As India hosted the first Make in India Week, focusing on increasing domestic manufacturing in India, Piyush Goyal, the minister for power, coal, and new and renewable energy, spoke about how the country needs to have end-to-end solar manufacturing. To fructify the national renewable energy projects, there has to be recognition of the importance of strengthening domestic manufacturing. Goyal has promised that in the 18 months, solar manufacturing in India was likely to get significantly cheaper. The objectives of the Make In India initiative can be furthered only by strengthening domestic manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines, at competitive prices. Besides, it will also provide an impetus to the solar and wind industry.

It is high time for a transition to an energy future in which renewable energy is a significant component. The best part is the immense political support that is being extended to this sector. With access to high-quality and relevant training programmes, coupled with the support to the domestic solar and wind manufacturing market, it can be expected that the synergies have finally been identified, which will go a long way in determining the pace of the renewable energy scale-up in India. As a part of one of the fastest growing conglomerates in the country, Welspun Renewables is invested in a sector whose potential return on investment is expected to be one of the highest under the Make in India regime.