So­lar Power Gen­er­a­tion will Ex­ceed Ther­mal Out­put By 2027: Eco Sur­vey

Sur­vey notes that cost of re­new­able en­ergy has fallen dras­ti­cally re­cently

The Economic Times - - Economy & Companies - Our Bu­reau

New Delhi: In­dia’s re­new­able en­ergy pro­gramme is pro­ceed­ing at such a rapid pace that its con­tri­bu­tion to to­tal power gen­er­a­tion will equal that of coal in 2026 and sur­pass it the fol­low­ing year, ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tions made in the sec­ond vol­ume of the Eco­nomic Sur­vey re­leased on Fri­day.

At present, In­dia’s in­stalled power ca­pac­ity is 327 GW of which ther­mal power from coal com­prises 192.16 GW or 55% of the to­tal, while re­new­able en­ergy ca­pac­ity is 57.26 MW or 18% of the to­tal. In­dia has set it­self the goal of 175 GW of re­new­able power ca­pac­ity by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027.

But coal ca­pac­ity is ex­pected to in­crease by only 50 GW by 2022 and there­after re­main al­most con­stant, as a re­sult of which by 2027, coal-based power ca­pac­ity will 248.51 GW, or a shade less than that of re­new­ables. How­ever, that will de­pend on the am­bi­tious yearly en­ergy tar­gets be­ing per­sis­tently achieved.

Al­ready in 2016-17, in­stalled re­new­able ca­pac­ity in­creased by 24.5%, while ther­mal went up by merely 5.3%.

The sur­vey notes that the cost of re­new­able en­ergy has fallen dras­ti­cally in re­cent years putting eco­nomic cost of so­lar and wind power al­most on par with that of ther­mal power. It points out that the lev­elised cost of elec­tric­ity from so­lar halved be­tween 2010 and 2014 and has fallen fur­ther since to a record low of Rs 2.44 per kwH at a so­lar auc­tion in Ra­jasthan in May. It notes that wind tar­iffs too have dropped, though not as dra­mat­i­cally.

But the sur­vey also pro­vides a de­tailed anal­y­sis of the so­cial costs of both coal–based en­ergy and re­new­able en­ergy.

In all, it es­ti­mates that cur­rently the so­cial cost of re­new­ables is around Rs 11 per kwH, three times the so­cial cost of coal. How­ever, in com­ing years, the bal­ance is ex­pected to change con­sid­er­ably as the cost of stranded as­sets be­comes less im­por­tant.

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