With this issue, we celebrate our eighth anniversary. As before, we use this occasion to share our perspective on the state of the sector.
Over the past couple of years, the Indian renewable energy sector has changed dramatically, in terms of issues, challenges and opportunities. In good ways and otherwise.
The most significant change is the fact that almost all new capacity being planned or developed in the power sector is almost entirely from renewable sources. Amongst renewables, solar power has taken off in a way that most people could not have predicted. Wind power, meanwhile, seems to have revived finally following the introduction of competitive bidding. The solar-wind hybrid segment witnessed its first commercial installation. Floating solar PV also met with success amid land-related constraints. Overall, renewable energy has reached much closer to its objective of becoming a mainstream source of power.
However, policy and regulatory uncertainties, institutional challenges, transmission constraints and macroeconomic issues have slowed down the rate of growth across all renewable energy segments of late. So much so that the targets set for 2018-19 are far from being met.
The discoms’ health has improved post UDAY, but only marginally and variably. These utilities continue to be the weakest link in the power chain despite the fact that PPA bankability rests most on their financials.
The financing scenario can at best be termed weak with an overall high-risk sentiment. The industry seemed to have a false start with a series of consolidations and IPOs being announced early in the year. However, owing to an expectation mismatch between the sellers and the buyers, most of these fell through. Several large IPPs too faced disappointments and delays in their IPOs.
The country’s macroeconomic scenario is not at its best. Interest rates are increasing and the Indian currency has depreciated significantly, adding to the woes of developers and financiers. The only silver lining is that oil prices have gone up, making for a stronger case to move to renewable energy-powered EVs.
Amidst the qualms and worries of stakeholders across the sector, the stage has been set for new opportunities. Rooftop solar, energy storage, renewable hybrids and EVs will dominate the agenda next year. EVs, in fact, will provide the much-needed scale for battery costs to come down. Offshore wind, on the other hand, is still some years away.
As we look forward to better times in 2019 and beyond, we take this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the magazine: to be the most trustworthy source of information and analysis of the renewable energy sector. We would also like to thank our readers, editorial contributors and advertisers for their continued support.