India has made a strong commitment to scale up renewable energy (RE), with an ambitious target of 175 GW of RE by 2022. It is very likely that even higher targets would be envisaged for 2030, mainly to take advantage of the low-cost discovery (`2.5–`2.75/kWh) and fixed price long- term contract nature of wind and solar power. The Secretary, MNRE, recently suggested a target as high as 500 GW RE by 2030. Similarly, a draft report from CEA ‘Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029–30’ is projecting a RE capacity of 450 GW by 2029–30 (http://cea. nic.in/reports/others/planning/irp/ Optimal_generation_mix_report.pdf). This would generate 913 billion units accounting for 36.4% of the total generation.

In spite of the several social, economic, and environmental benefits of RE, such high targets have profound implications and can throw up myriad challenges for the Indian power sector, especially in the medium term. The Indian RE sector has been in an extremely dynamic phase of evolution in the last few years, especially with regard to capacity addition and prices. Its share in total generation capacity has increased from 3.2% in 2002 to 22% as of FY19. Similarly, RE generation as a percentage of total electricity generation has increased from 3.5% in FY08 to 9.5% in FY19. While RE and thermal capacity addition in FY 17 was almost equal, at 11.3 GW and 11.5 GW respectively, RE capacity addition in FY18 and FY19 has been 40% higher than that of thermal capacity. According to data from CEA and MNRE, thermal capacity addition was 8.7 GW in FY18 and 5.7 GW in FY19. In comparison, RE capacity addition in the same years was 12.4 GW and 8.5 GW. Market expectations are for ~15 GW of RE capacity addition in FY20, which is again likely to be much higher than that in the thermal sector.

Hence, it is very important for the electricity sector stakeholders to objectively look at the rapid growth of renewables. While a lot of data is already available to understand the RE sector, but more granular and comprehensive up-to-date data, publicly accessible in a user-friendly manner, can aid better understanding of the RE evolution in the country. Prayas (Energy Group)’s Renewable Energy Data Portal is a step in that direction. It is our effort to collate important data, already available in the public domain, at one place and make it available for further analysis. Another feature of this effort is the interactive nature of the data portal which allows users to look at specific information across renewable energy sources/years/states, etc. The portal was inaugurated by Mr Anil Jain, erstwhile Adviser (Energy), NITI Aayog in December 2016. The portal has undergone three revisions, first in November 2017, second in June 2018, and finally in July 2019.

(REDP) is divided into seven sections, namely: (i) renewable energy capacity, (ii) generation, (iii) prices, (iv) RPOs, (v) RECs, (vi) rooftop solar, and (vii) other RE-related information. Such things help in analysing various broad sectoral trends and issues and further allow for a good comparison across states, years and can thus help inform policy and regulatory processes.

Seasonal Nature of RE Generation

Ever increasing penetration of variable RE generation has now become somewhat of a normal for the Indian power sector. This has significant implications for system operators at the state and regional level in terms of reliable grid operation. Additionally, they pose new challenges for system planners in terms of ever-growing needs of strengthening of grid infrastructure and inclusion of new assets such as battery energy storage systems for balancing and other applications.

At the national level, the absolute quantum of generation from small-hydro, biomass, and bagasse cogeneration has remained practically the same. Wind and bagasse generation are highly seasonal yet complimentary, contributing mainly in the monsoon months and from November–April, respectively. Low load conditions in monsoon coupled with the high generation availability from wind power makes it an ideal proposition of scheduling thermal generation maintenance in such a period. Additionally, when wind generation tapers off after the monsoon, one would expect higher support from the coal fleet to meet demand. Coal stations should ideally stock up on more coal in monsoon Source Wind Solar Bagasse Small Hydro Biomass Others 17,000 16 ,000 15,000 14,000 13,000 12,000 11,000 10,000 9,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 jan ‘14 May ‘14 Sep ‘14 jan ‘15 May ‘15 Sep ‘15 jan ‘16 May ‘16 Sep ‘16 jan ‘17 May ‘17 Sep ‘17 jan ‘18 May ‘18 j Sep ‘18 an ‘19 May ‘19 Generation (MU) All India » Seasonal nature of RE generation- All India » Seasonal nature of RE generation- Karnataka months (during maintenance and low utilization due to high wind and low load) to overcome the usual shortages in coal stocks in the post monsoon months. (Source: http://www.prayaspune.org/peg/ publications/item/421-come-septembercan-coal-based-power-plants-sing-ahappier-tune.html). The Karnataka shows the dramatic rise in the contribution of solar power in the state. Thus, the seasonal nature of VRE sources has serious implications for ensuring availability of conventional sources for power generation to reliably meet load. Similarly, in conjunction with seasonal load patterns, such dashboards could be useful in analysing the possibility of electricity trade across states.

The dashboard, in addition to sourcewise generation at the state level, shows the month-wise percentage share of RE electricity at the national level. All the data is taken from the CEA reports on RE generation and generation overview is published on a monthly basis.

Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) Compliance

RPO, as enshrined in the E Act (section 86(e)) is unarguably the strongest policy tool to ensure the promotion of renewable energy. The RPO tab in the REDP shows state- and year-wise targets and also documents RPO compliance by DISCOMs in a few states. While targets are laid down in the RPO regulations, data on compliance is extremely difficult to collate in most states with the exception of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat. The data is sourced mainly from ARR filings, tariff orders, and compliance reports for the respective DISCOMs. In many states, including Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh, no orders specific to RPO compliance have been released as yet. Also, lack of firm power purchase costs (due to untimely trueing up process) means that one has to rely on the power purchase approved by the Commission to get the sense of likely RPO compliance.

Overall, one can see that there is still a long way to go in terms of 100% compliance and points to the weak enforcement of RPO regulations. States doing quite well in RPO compliance include Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

For example, in the case of MSEDCL, one can see an evergrowing gap in the solar compliance and target but thankfully the non-solar targets have been met in the last 2 years with the support of REC purchases. More information on REC is available in a separate tab in the REDP.

Import of Solar PV Cells, Modules, and Panels

Owing to limited domestic manufacturing capacity, developers in India rely heavily on imports of solar cells/modules. Because of massive scale-up in manufacturing which drove economies of scale, aided by lower prices, Chinese manufacturers have enjoyed a comparative advantage over their competitors. While the period between FY 2008–09 and FY 2013–14 witnessed a huge surge in the imports of these Chinese solar products resulting in its share in total imports rising from 4% to 84%, it reached a record high of 90% in FY 2017–18. The import value of Chinese products, however, fell from `22,043 crore to `11,843 crore in FY 2018–19, on account of imposition of safeguard duty of 25%, applicable from July 18 to July 19, by the Ministry of Finance (Source: https://www.pv-magazine. com/2018/07/31/india-imposes-25- safeguard-duty-on-solar-imports/). Other countries including Malaysia, Taiwan, and Singapore also contributed significantly in the imports of solar cells/modules to India, representing an average combined share of 20% over the past 10 years. Such movements can be seen in a dashboard dedicated to solar import data from 2006– 07. Users can also view year-wise trends in exports of solar cells and FDI in the RE sector in India. The data is sourced from the import-export data bank and the FDI cell, both belonging to the Ministry of Commerce. Such information is useful in understanding long-term implications of imports on trade deficits, energy security, and employment in the Indian economy. The data also throws light on the growing dependence on a few countries, especially on China, and should motivate policymakers to devise strategies around domestic manufacturing, especially in a future era dominated by solar PV.

These illustrate the benefit and use of this RE data portal. The REDP includes many prices, REC, rooftop, and so on. We encourage the larger power sector community to make use of this free and useful resource. While doing so, kindly use the following citation for the portal: Prayas (Energy Group), Renewable Energy Data Portal (http://www.prayaspune.org/peg/re.html). Though Prayas (Energy Group) has taken several measures to ensure correctness of the data shown in the portal, we do not make any implicit or explicit claims about the accuracy of the same. We hope to improve this portal over time by periodically updating it when data becomes available in the public domain. We welcome contribution from all stakeholders to address any errors/data gaps as well as pointers to any new data which can be hosted on this portal. For more information on the portal, please write to us at re@prayaspune.org.

Article by: Mr Gandhar Ukidve and Mr Ashwin Gambhir, Prayas (Energy Group).

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