In the past few years, Andhra Pradesh has established itself as one of the leading states in terms of renewable energy development. It is also promoting hybrid and integrated projects. In an interview with Renewable Watch, S. Ramana Reddy, IRPS, vice chairman and managing director, New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited (NREDCAP), talks about the key initiatives taken by the state in the renewable energy space, the progress made so far and the future plans. Excerpts…
What has been the key impact of Covid-19 on renewable project developments in the state?
The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted economic growth across sectors, including the power sector, due to a decline in demand. Apart from this, reduced collection and slow recovery impacted the already stressed distribution companies. However, because of the must-run status of the renewable energy sector, the impact is minimal. The project completion schedules are delayed due to shortage of supplies and manpower. Further, restrictions have been imposed on imports from China and there is a renewed focus on the centre’s Make in India programme to boost manufacturing. Overall, the renewable energy sector is expected to overcome the uncertainties with minimum impact as compared to other sectors of the economy.
What have been the key highlights of Andhra Pradesh’s renewable energy journey in the past decade?
During the past decade, Andhra Pradesh has become one of the major investment destinations for the development of renewable energy projects. The state government has come out with policies to promote renewable energy development in the state. These include the Solar Power Policy, 2012; the Wind and Solar Power Policies, 2015; the Wind, Solar and Wind Solar Hybrid Power Policies, 2018, and the Andhra Pradesh Renewable Energy Export Policy, 2020. The renewable energy capacity in the state has reached 8,212 MW, most of which has been commissioned during the past decade.
What have been the recent developments in upcoming segments such as wind-solar hybrids and integrated energy storage?
Andhra Pradesh has significant locations for the potential development of wind-solar hybrid power projects. An integrated renewable energy project of 2,750 MW, compressing 1,000 MW of solar, 550 MW of wind and 1,200 MW of pumped hydro power, is coming up in Kurnool district. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is also promoting a 160 MW wind-solar hybrid power project in Ananthapuramu district. There has also been interest from NTPC and SECI for developing projects under the MNRE scheme for the promotion of ultra mega renewable energy power parks. Recently, the state government has notified the Andhra Pradesh Renewable Energy Export Policy, 2020 for the promotion of renewable power projects, including wind-solar hybrid power projects with storage, for the export of power to other states.
NREDCAP has identified seven potential zones with an estimated renewable energy potential of 17,800 MW for the promotion of wind, solar and wind-solar hybrid power projects. To this end, it has identified large areas of uncultivable land. To balance the variable renewable power generation and export power to other states, the state has decided to promote pumped storage hydropower projects. NREDCAP has undertaken pre-feasibility studies at 29 probable locations to promote pumped storage hydropower projects. Of these, detailed project reports will be prepared for seven locations with an estimated potential of 6,300 MW.
Is the state working towards promoting local equipment manufacturing in the sector?
The Andhra Pradesh government is encouraging the local manufacturing of renewable energy equipment and extending incentives under its industrial promotional policies. Under wind and solar promotional policies, it is providing additional incentives like revenue land on a long-term lease basis and exemption of electricity duty for a period of 10 years from the date of commercial operation of manufacturing facilities. As per the MNRE, proposals have been submitted for the promotion of manufacturing facilities near seaports and the government has given consent for the allocation of lands. Wind turbine blades and component manufacturing facilities have been set up in the state by ReGen Powertech, Siemens Gamesa and Suzlon Energy.