Solar And Wind To Drive Two Thirds Of India’s Power Generation Growth By 2032

Solar is now playing a bigger role in meeting India's peak demand, which is more likely now to occur in the daytime hours

● To make sure that India is on track of its 2027 targets, India needs to ramp up its annual solar capacity additions by 36% every year.
● Solar adoption in the country is now entering what’s known as an “accelerating growth” phase on S-Curve. Any emerging renewable energy technology follows a typical growth trajectory with an initial formative phase, followed by a rapid growth phase and finally slowing down in a saturation phase.

Two thirds of India’s power generation growth in the next 10 years will come from solar and wind, should the country achieve its national renewable targets, according to a new analysis by global energy think tank Ember. Solar power transitioned from the formative phase in FY2017, reaching a 1% share in India’s power mix. If India achieves its solar targets set out in the 14th National Electricity Plan (NEP14), its share is expected to increase five-fold, from 5% to 25% in the FY 2022 -32 period, marking a period of “accelerating growth.”

This implies that the country’s power generation growth, predominantly driven by coal in the last decade, could enter a stage with most of its power expansion over the next ten years driven by solar and wind, provided India is on track to deliver its NEP14 targets, Ember’s new analysis finds.

Meanwhile, as India’s solar adoption widens, there is also a growing need for a much higher level of storage capacity to be able to manage peak demand in the evenings and earlymornings, underscored by recent power shortages.

“India’s electricity supply landscape is projected to change quite significantly in the next decade or so, with solar and wind likely to drive the growth in generation,” says Neshwin Rodrigues, Ember’s India Electricity Policy Analyst. “Given their variable nature, a significant increase in storage capacity is crucial to balance generation and demand.”

As India is scaling up investments to renewable energy, the government now plans to tender 50 GW of solar and wind capacity per year in the following five financial years. However, to achieve the ambitious NEP14 targets, India needs to increase its current annual solar capacity addition by about 36% each year leading up to 2026-27, according to Ember’s analysis. This means that India would need to commission at least 17.5 GW in FY 2024, with a further ramp-up to 41 GW by the 2027 target year.

Other key findings of the report include :

● Solar is now playing a bigger role in meeting India’s peak demand, which is more likely now to occur in the daytime hours. Building grid flexibility and storage is now more crucial than ever to avoid shortages in the evenings and early mornings.

● The NEP14 storage capacity targets, including pumped hydro storage and battery storage, will be capable of shifting 15% of power generation from solar and wind sources in the daytime hours to early morning and evening hours by FY 2032.

● A setup of providing dispatchable solar power with storage capacity is likely to be more cost-competitive than building new coal plants as India accelerates its transition to renewables.

The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy

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