Solar power to play a big role
The potential of power generation from renewable energy
sources is around 1,00,000 mw, excluding solar photovoltaic. Currently, power
generation through renewable energy sources is around 8,077.02 mw. To have a
consistent growth rate of 8 per cent through 2031-32 and to meet lifeline energy
needs of its citizens, India needs to increase its primary energy supply by at
least 3 to 4 times and its electricity generation capacity/supply by 5 to 6
times to 2003-04 levels.
In 2003-04, the installed electricity generation capacity was around 112,682 mw.
To realise the importance of power for economic growth of the country, it's
worth to take note of what late Jamsetji Tata once said, "Cheap and abundant
power is one of the basic ingredients for economic progress of a city, state or
The ministry of power has envisaged a capacity addition of 78,577 mw and 86,500
mw in the 11th and 12th Plan period respectively. The government had announced a
programme of reaching 12,000 mw installed capacity through the renewable energy
route by 2010. The estimated potential of power generation through renewable
energy sources is as follows: From wind it is around 45,000 mw, small hydro is
around 15,000 mw, biomass power and co-generation is around 19,500 mw, solar PV
is 20 mw/sq. km, waste-to energy is around 1700 mw, solar water heating is
around 1,400 lakh sq. m. collector area. Through biomass gasifiers around
62 mw power generation is taking place.
The demand for power will increase continuously. To meet the challenge, 'Power
for All by 2012' contribution from renewable energy sources should increase
further. Currently, renewable energy contributes around 5 per cent to the grid.
Experts believe that by 2011-12, India's power sector will witness a
technological breakthrough. They also believe that to meet the power generation
capacity of 78,577 mw by 2012, a mega chunk of this should come from renewable
"The target can't be achieved alone by coal/thermal, hydro and nuclear energy
sources," said Jayant Deo, member, the World Energy Council. To achieve the
target, solar energy will be contributing in a big way. India receives solar
energy equivalent to over 5,000 trillion kWh/year, which is far more than the
total energy consumption of the country. "India should utilise its solar power
properly," added Deo. The newer technologies are being discovered like dye-sensitised
solar cells and these technologies should be used.
The need is to increase efficiency of conventional solar photovoltaic cells.
According to former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, energy independence has
to be the nation's highest priority. The target is to achieve energy security by
2020, leading to energy independence by 2030 and beyond. And for this solar
energy will contribute in a big way. Large scale solar energy farms of 100s of
megawatts capacity in certain number could contribute around 55,000 mw.
Unveiling a national level renewable energy policy would help India achieve its
full potential from the renewable energy sector, especially in the wind sector,
says a player from the industry. Today, especially in wind energy different
states have different polices. As a result it doesn't attract investors. India
needs a national policy for promoting wind turbines.
Currently, there is no uniformity among states in either tariff they pay for
power generated by wind turbines or wheeling charges. For instance, the tariff
is about Rs 2.90 a unit in Tamil Nadu but more than Rs 3 in Gujarat, Maharashtra
and Karnataka. Likewise, Tamil Nadu charges 5 per cent wheeling charges, while
Andhra Pradesh charges more than 20 per cent. Also, the supporting
infrastructure should come up. Capacity of the substation and quality of
transmission and distribution grid should be enhanced further so that proper
evacuation of power takes place. "State level grids should be enhanced further,"
suggested a player from the industry.
[01 October 2007]