To promote both wind and solar power uptake in Gujarat, the state government has launched the Gujarat Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy, 2018. It is the first state to have released a policy framework for hybrid projects based on the guidelines released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The policy, with an operational period of five years, has provisions for both brownfield and greenfield wind-solar hybrid projects. It encourages renewable power producers supplying to the grid as well as those using the power for captive purposes. It must be noted that the state has 1,637 MW of operational solar power capacity and 5,614 MW of wind capacity. This capacity can be utilised in a better way if converted into hybrid plants. These projects have a rated capacity of 40-45 per cent as against 20 per cent of stand-alone solar and wind power projects. However, hybrid power projects face geographical and designing constraints.
Gujarat has the highest wind power potential of 84,431 MW amongst all states in India, and the second highest installed wind capacity. On the solar front, various projects are lined up in the state including the world’s largest solar park in Dholera, which will have a capacity of 5,000 MW. The state has a high average annual solar irradiation of 5.5-6 kWh per square metres per day. Saurashtra, central and southern Gujarat regions receive high solar radiation from February to April, low radiation from May to September. The rest of the months have moderate radiation. The low radiation during monsoon is compensated with high wind speeds during the same period. However, the wind speed fluctuates between moderate and low in the rest of the months. In sum, the geographical mix is suitable for the development of hybrid projects in the state.
Need for hybridisation
Hybridisation will lead to cost reduction for developers owing to the efficient utilisation of land and transmission infrastructure. This will further lower the wind and solar tariffs, which will drive renewable energy uptake. While Gujarat has been a power surplus state since 2009, power deficit during the peak summer season is a common trend in the state. Hybrid power projects can resolve this problem and support the growing industrial base in the state with cleaner energy. Moving forward, hybridisation is also crucial for the adoption of smart grids and electric vehicles. In light of the future energy needs of the state, the launch of the Gujarat Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy is timely and apt.