In addition to developing the traditional sources of renewable energy, the market is increasingly focusing on emerging technologies in order to be future-ready. The key among these are wind-solar hybrids, electric vehicles, offshore wind, and floating solar photovoltaic. During the past year, considerable development has been witnessed in these areas, paving the way for a promising future. Renewable Watch takes a look at the key highlights in these segments…
Following the release of the draft national Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy and the identification of sites by the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) in 2016, several pilot projects have been initiated in this segment over the past year.
- The NIWE issued an expression of interest (EoI) for the Kayathar project, which comprises a 15-20 kW wind plant and a 5-10 kW solar plant for technology demonstration.
- Gamesa won India’s first commercial level hybrid project called WiSH (Wind-Solar Hybrid) in Kudgi. Owned by NTPC, the project consists of a 50 MW wind farm with 28.8 MW of solar capacity, and a greenfield project with a 2 MW wind farm and 1.37 MW of solar capacity.
- IL&FS Energy and the Andhra Pradesh government have signed an MoU to develop a 1,000 MW hybrid park with energy storage.
- In March 2017, the Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute announced plans to develop wind-solar hybrid technology under which wind turbines with hub heights of 5-125 metres will be connected to rooftop solar and ground-mounted systems.
The government has begun work to tap the 350 GW offshore wind power potential. In January 2017, the Gujarat government signed an MoU with Samiran Udaipur Windfarms to set up India’s first offshore wind farm (500 MW) in the Gulf of Kutch, at a cost of Rs 65 billion. In November 2017, the FOWIND consortium commissioned India’s first offshore light detection and ranging equipment in the Gulf of Khambhat to undertake long-term wind measurements.
In September 2017, the National Institute of Ocean Technology identified Kanyakumari and Rameswaram, off the coast of Tamil Nadu, as the two suitable sites for offshore wind projects. As per estimates, 50 turbines with a capacity of 3.4 MW each can be installed 5 km away from the coastline of these cities. Each turbine is expected to cost Rs 690 million and the energy produced will be sold at tariffs of Rs 10.80 and Rs 9.60 per kWh in Rameswaram and Kanyakumari respectively. An internal rate of return of 14 per cent has been proposed to make these projects commercially viable.
The concept of floating solar power plants has been adopted by most states over the past year. In February 2017, the Andhra Pradesh government announced plans to set up a 100 MW floating solar power plant at the Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir in Anantapur. NTPC Limited commissioned a 100 kWp floating solar plant in Kayamkulam district, Kerala, in March 2017. Meanwhile, the NLC proposed tendering 5 MW of floating solar capacity in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In July 2017, Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited tendered a 2 MW grid-connected floating solar project at the Mudasarlova reservoir. In November 2017, the Lakshadweep Energy Development Agency invited an EoI to develop 10 MW of floating solar projects.
To aid the government’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, NITI Aayog released a proposal in November 2017 to develop electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in Delhi. Several projects were tendered or commissioned over the past year, kick-starting the e-vehicles programme.
In August 2017, under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) scheme, 25 charging stations were installed by Mahindra REVA Electric Vehicles in six locations across Bengaluru. Under the same scheme, the government sanctioned five proposals for development in Delhi-NCR, Jaipur and Chandigarh. NTPC has constructed two EV charging stations at its offices in Noida and Delhi and will develop 20 more stations in the NCR. It has sought a pan-Indian licence to aid its expansion plans. The ACME Group launched India’s first EV battery swapping and charging station in Nagpur, while Tata Power installed an EV charging station on its premises in Mumbai. Meanwhile, ABB India submitted a bid to set up 4,500 charging stations. It is developing nine solar charging stations for e-rickshaws in Jabalpur. Fortum and NBCC have signed an MoU to develop EV charging infrastructure.
All these developments point towards a promising future for emerging technologies that will enable higher efficiencies and reduce the country’s carbon footprint. Investor interest in this space has also strengthened over time.