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The year 2010 turned out to be a watershed year in the history of the renewable energy sector in India. With the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in early 2010, the country took a big step towards harnessing the immense potential of Solar energy in the country. The JNNSM is an ambitious programme and targets an installed capacity of 20,000MW of grid connected Solar power by the year 2022. This compares to a current installed capacity of Solar energy of about 20 MW.  Towards the end of 2010, the selection process for 150 MW of Solar PV and 470 MW of Solar Thermal projects were concluded successfully by MNRE. This has definitely given a big push to the growth of the Solar power in India. In addition to this, the state of Gujarat also has started implementing its ambitious Solar Policy.

Another significant development that will impact the growth of the renewable energy in India is the launch of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) trading in India. The trading of RECs will help make the returns on investments in renewable energy sector more attractive and eventually will make the sector more market driven and less policy driven.

Power Sector in India

The country added a total of about 15 GW of power capacity and grew at a rate of about 9% while renewable energy addition was about 3 GW and grew at a rate of 20% from the previous year. Overall, renewable sources of energy contribute about 10% of the total power generation installed capacity from all sources in the country. The details of power generation capacity in India are given in the table below.

All numbers in MW
31-1-2010 % of Total 28-02-2011 % of Total Increase % Change
Thermal
–          Coal based 82,096 47% 92,418 48% 10,322 13%
–          Gas based 17,056 10% 17,706 9% 650 4%
–          Oil based 1,200 1% 1,200 1% 0%
Thermal Total 100,352 57% 111,324 58% 10,972 11%
Hydro 36,885 21% 37,367 20% 482 1%
Renewable 15,427 9% 18,454 10% 3,027 20%
Nuclear 4,120 2% 4,780 2% 660 16%
Captive power connected to the grid 19,509 11% 19,509 10% 0%
Total 176,293 191,434 100% 15,141 9%

Source: Central Electricity Authority and MNRE

Renewables in India

According to MNRE, the potential for power generation from different renewable energy sources(excluding solar) is estimated to be about 89,000 MW excluding solar energy.A total grid interactive renewable power generation capacity of around 18454 MW has been set up as on 28.02.2011, which is about 10% of the total power generation installed capacity from all sources in the country.

While Solar energy hogged the limelight in the renewable energy sector, Wind power continued to be the leader in the renewable energy sector with a cumulative installed capacity of about 13,000 MW. This constitutes about 70% of the total renewable energy installed capacity. Biomass power generation and Small Hydro grew at a steady pace while Waste to Power generation remained stagnant. The details are given in the table below.

Capacity additions
All numbers in MW Cumulative capacity till Capacity additions for Year Cumulative capacity at the end of
Year 2009 2010 2010 % of Total
Wind 11,806 1,259 13,065 70%
Solar 12 5.5 18 0.1%
Biomass/Bagasse Cogeneration 2,200 360 2,560 14%
Small hydro 2,736 204 2,940 16%
Waste to power 65 7.5 72 0.4%
16,819 1,836 18,655

Source: MNRE

Wind sector

Estimated potential: According to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology(C-WET), the potential for on-shore wind power in India is about 48.5 GW. This is very much on the conservative side and is based on wind measurements at relatively low hub heights of 50 metres. According to Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA), at greater heights, the potential can be upto 70 GW.

As can be seen from the table above, about 1,300 MW of capacity was added in the Wind sector in 2010.

Wind – Equipment Manufacturers

India based Suzlon, one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers in the world, announced its plans to start manufacturing the REpower blades in India. REpower is Suzlon’s subsidiary and focuses on the on-shore wind market. Kenersys, a Kalyani group company, inaugurated its wind turbine assembly plant in Baramati, Maharashtra, with plans to sell 150 MW of turbines in 2011.

Denmark based Vestas opened a state-of-the-art test centre for wind turbine components in Chennai. This is in addition to its existing Technology R&D centre in Chennai.Spain based Gamesa recently announced that it will invest more than EUR 60 million to build new manufacturing plants in Gujarat. Gamesa also has a wind turbine manufacturing site in Chennai. In addition to the manufacturing plants, Gamesa also inaugurated its technology centre in Chennai.

Siemens, headquartered in Germany, plans to build its first wind-turbine plant in Gujarat. The plantwill have a capacity of close to 500 megawatts a year of turbine capacity and will begin production in 2013. Not to be left behind, US based General Electric (GE) is also planning to set up a manufacturing facility in India.

Biomass and Waste to Power Sector

The capacity addition for Biomass was 360 MW and grew at a rate of 14% from previous year. With the major challenge in the sector being unpredictable availability of feedstock, many of the biomass power producers are backward integrating to energy crop farming, especially into bamboo farming.

Clenergen Corporation was one of the active players in the Biomass segment last year. The company commenced the operations of its 27 MW Biomass cogeneration plant in Tamil Nadu in March 2011. Besides acquiring a 1.5 MW power plant in Tamil Nadu, it also announced its plans to install two biomass power plants – a 16 MW plant in Tamil Nadu and 64 MW in Karnataka.

The other major player in Biomass, Orient Green Power Company (OGPL) entered into a 60:40 joint venture with Nishi-Nippon Environmental Energy Company of Japan. The joint venture would set up a poultry litter based power generation project in Tamil Nadu.

Waste to Power remained fairly low profile and added about 7.5 MW of capacity in the past year. However, this is a very critical area and can contribute immensely to the urban development.

Small Hydro Sector

The Small Hydro sector is a class of Hydro power projects that has a capacity of upto 25 MW. This sector was quite dynamic in 2010 and added about 200 MW capacity and grew at 16%. Against a potential of 15,000 MW (Source: MNRE) for small Hydro, the total installed capacity last year was about 3000 MW. According to MNRE, 271 projects with an aggregate capacity of 914 MW were under construction as of 31 January 2011. Himachal Pradesh leads the total potential with about 2,200 MW followed by Uttarakhand at about 1,600 MW, Jammu and Kashmir at about 1,400 MW and Arunachal Pradesh at about 1,300 MW.

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