Ed­i­tor's note

Power Watch India - - EDITOR'S NOTE -

The government, as per CEA data, has set a tar­get of gen­er­at­ing 1,229.4 bil­lion units in 2017-18 from ther­mal, hy­dro and nuclear sources. In a ther­mal power de­vel­op­ment, nearly half of the coun­try’s ther­mal power plants—are over 25 years old and a large num­ber of them are fast ap­proach­ing 40, which is con­sid­ered the end of their use­ful life span. Ex­perts opine that gen­er­a­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties of a ther­mal plant re­duce by about 40% af­ter 25 years. In this re­gard, Power Min­is­ter Piyush Goyal said that com­pa­nies should fo­cus on re­place­ment of old plants with en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient tech­nolo­gies and on a sep­a­rate oc­ca­sion said that as much as 39,710 MW ca­pac­ity based on su­per­crit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy has al­ready been added and 48,060 MW of su­per-crit­i­cal power gen­er­a­tion is in the pipe­line. About the RE sec­tor, the min­is­ter tweeted that In­dia has crossed 10,000 MW of so­lar ca­pac­ity - an over three times in­crease in less than three years. As per min­istry es­ti­mates, an­other 8.8 GW ca­pac­ity is likely to be added in 2017. The global price of so­lar mod­ules (which make up nearly 60% of a so­lar project’s to­tal cost) may fall by as much as one-fifth this year say an­a­lysts, which will lend im­pe­tus to Indian pro­duc­ers of so­lar power and in­crease the financial vi­a­bil­ity of projects. Sim­i­larly, re­al­is­ing that 27 per cent pumps ac­count for agri­cul­tural ap­pli­ca­tions, the govt has for­mu­lated many poli­cies and so­lar pumps have started as­sum­ing sig­nif­i­cance on a large scale in the last few years. Some an­a­lysts opined that along with pol­icy changes, in­cen­tives and manda­tory reg­u­la­tions would prove to be ben­e­fi­cial for this cru­cial seg­ment.

In terms of roof-top so­lar, a big driver would be the fall­ing prices of bat­tery stor­age sys­tems due to con­tin­u­ous in­no­va­tion and the ris­ing scale of pro­duc­tion. Since stor­age is also an im­por­tant part of elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs), there may be a surge in their use – which will be in line with the govt’s plan for six mil­lion elec­tric and hy­brid ve­hi­cles on Indian roads by 2020. This shift will also be in keep­ing with our COP 21 com­mit­ment and is sig­nif­i­cant in view of In­dia’s en­ergy im­port bill of around $150 bil­lion, which is ex­pected to reach $300 bil­lion by 2030. A con­nected trend of smart so­lar sys­tems has been fore­cast by an­a­lysts in the near fu­ture - to make op­ti­mum use of avail­able en­ergy with real-time mon­i­tor­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. This mar­ket is ex­pected to grow around USD 16 bil­lion till 2018, which it is hoped, will re­duce CO2 emis­sions by 15% glob­ally. In sum­mary, all these bur­geon­ing so­lar de­vel­op­ments - if prop­erly im­ple­mented - will usher in a Golden pe­riod for the power sec­tor.

R Srini­vasan

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