India has a vast resource of renewable energy, especially solar. However, the potential, as well as development of renewable energy, varies vastly across the states owing to geographical, political and economic factors. A few states have been better performing than others in terms of renewable capacity deployment. The top 10 states with the highest installed renewable energy capacity together account for about 93 per cent of India’s total installed renewables capacity. While Karnataka had maintained its position as a frontrunner for many years, it was recently surpassed by Tamil Nadu. In fact, Gujarat, which is at the third position, is expected to catch up with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, Rajasthan has emerged as the state with the largest solar capacity, overtaking Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have started expanding their renewable capacity installation. While solar power is dominant among renewables, wind (including repowering of the existing plants), hydropower, wind-solar hybrid and pumped hydro storage are being harnessed across several states.
Renewable Watch takes a look at the top performing states in the country in terms of capacity addition so far…
Overtaking Karnataka in the past year, although still neck and neck, Tamil Nadu now has the largest capacity (15.75 GW) of renewable power generation in the country. The state contributes over 15 per cent to India’s total installed capacity of renewables. At the state level, renewable energy forms about 46 per cent of the total power generation capacity. A favourable coastline for wind speed, conducive policies and incentives have led to healthy wind power development in the state. With 9,847 MW of installed capacity, Tamil Nadu currently has the highest installed capacity of wind power across states. Given a history of wind power development spanning decades, the state offers a huge potential for repowering the existing wind plants. The state has also experienced significant activity in the solar power segment over the past few years. As of October 2021, Tamil Nadu, with 4,738 MW, has the fourth largest installed capacity of solar power in India. Despite a growth in solar capacity of around 12 per cent since October 2020, the state moved down from the third position in terms of solar capacity. Going forward, Tamil Nadu plans to retire old thermal plants and re-evaluate the energy mix by integrating more renewable energy to meet its demand.
Karnataka’s total renewable energy capacity stands at around 15.73 GW, 14 MW less than that of Tamil Nadu. The state currently has the second highest installed capacity of solar power (7.5 GW) across India. Renewables constitute more than half (51.7 per cent) of the state’s total installed power generation capacity. At around 48 per cent, solar power forms the largest share of renewables. Meanwhile, the wind, bioenergy and small-hydro segments constitute 32 per cent, 12 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. In October 2021, the state reissued the Draft Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy, 2021-2026 with the aim to develop 10 GW of renewable energy projects with and without energy storage; of this 1 GW will be rooftop solar. The positive policy environment, the promotion of solar parks and open access have been the key drivers of renewable energy growth in the state. However, Karnataka’s energy sector still faces issues relating to inadequate transmission infrastructure.
An early mover in the Indian renewable energy space, Gujarat is now a leading state in terms of solar and wind power project investments. It has 15.23 GW of total installed renewable energy capacity, comprising 8.95 GW of wind power, 6.09 GW of solar and a small capacity of biomass and small-hydro power. The state has a huge potential for solar and wind energy development, estimated at 122 GW. The barren but renewable-rich region of Kutch has become an investment hotspot in the past few years with multi-GW solar and wind power projects in the pipeline. A 30 GW solar-wind hybrid park is planned in the region; the foundation stone for this was laid in December 2020. Further, massive clean energy equipment facilities are planned by various industry heavyweights such as Adani, Reliance Industries and ReNew Power to leverage the state’s strategic location on international shipping routes and access to ports. This has further been facilitated by the launch of the production-linked incentive scheme along with various trade barriers imposed on solar imports by the central government. The discoms in Gujarat have been receiving good ratings, providing a firm financial ground for developers. With respect to its net installed renewable energy capacity, Gujarat ranks third after Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In the future, Gujarat might outrank these two states owing to the massive capacity deployments that are in the pipeline.
Rajasthan has been an early mover in the renewable energy space. At 13.39 GW, it has the fourth highest renewable energy installed capacity. Despite good wind potential, the growth in the renewable sector has been largely driven by solar power in the state. It is now the top state in solar installations, overtaking Karnataka at the end of the third quarter of 2021. As of October 2021, the total solar installations in the state stand at 8.9 GW. A large capacity of solar power is expected to come online in Rajasthan in the near future; however, some solar projects to be developed in the habitats of the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican have been stranded and are awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision. In addition to improvement in infrastructure, another area of concern for the state is the financial state of its discoms. Discom performance needs to improve and the problem of delayed payments needs to be resolved to instil confidence in renewable energy developers.
Renewable energy deployment has been gradually picking up in Maharashtra, and the state today has the fifth highest renewable energy installed capacity in the country. Wind power installation, which is fourth highest across states, accounts for around 47 per cent of the total renewable capacity in the state. In second place is bioenergy, with a total installed capacity of 2,632 MW, which is the highest state-level total in the country. Solar power accounts for the third highest installed capacity among renewables, at 2,540 MW, comprising mostly ground-mounted projects, which make up 1,646 MW. The remaining 380.58 MW is constituted by small hydro. In addition to utility-scale projects, the state has been promoting the use of decentralised and off-grid renewable energy applications in a bid to reach communities that are not able to secure regular supply of grid electricity. The state currently has a strong solar and wind project pipeline. In order to harness the wind and solar potential in the state and exploit the mutual synergies of the two resources, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has tendered over 500 MW of wind-solar hybrid capacity to be developed across the state. Further, solar applications in agriculture are proving to be popular in the state.
As of October 2021, Andhra Pradesh had around 9,175 MW of renewable energy capacity, which is about 8.5 per cent more compared to the year before. The largest contributors to this capacity are the solar and wind segments. While solar power makes up about 47.7 per cent of the total renewable energy capacity in the state, wind contributes about 44.6 per cent. In order to promote the uptake of renewable energy, the state government has issued solar, wind and wind-solar hybrid policies. In Andhra Pradesh, a large share of power is consumed by the agricultural sector. To this end, the state government plans to set up solar projects to meet the increasing demand for power and supply free, uninterrupted power to the agricultural sector. Further, the potential for pumped hydro storage is being explored. Greenko is currently developing a multi-GW scale integrated renewable energy storage project with national grid connectivity in the state. NREDCAP has also floated a tender for reports on the techno-commercial feasibility of pumped storage power projects in the state.
As of October 2021, the state’s total installed power generation capacity stood at 25,197 MW. Renewable energy made up about 21 per cent of this power mix, and there are plans to rapidly increase this share in the coming years. The renewable energy capacity in Madhya Pradesh has grown nearly tenfold over the past decade. The total installed renewable energy capacity in the state was less than 500 MW in 2012, and it now stands at 5,244 MW. Solar and wind energy each have a balanced share of about 48 per cent in the total renewable energy capacity of Madhya Pradesh. The growth in the renewable energy space has largely been driven by solar power installations in the past few years. A large part of solar power development in the state is taking place through large-scale solar parks. Of the total solar parks approved in 2021 in India, the maximum have been approved for Madhya Pradesh. In fact, of the 18,000 MW of capacity approved for solar parks, about 5,000 MW is to be developed in Madhya Pradesh alone. However, the health of state discoms has not improved much over the past few years and they continue to suffer from high revenue losses.
Telangana currently has about 4.4 GW of installed capacity of renewable power, accounting for about 25 per cent of the state’s total installed capacity. The state’s renewable energy capacity has been increasing steadily with a solar-focused approach. The solar capacity stood at 4,036 MW as of October 2021. The rooftop solar segment, with a current capacity of 205 MW, has also been growing. Telangana has built a unique model of decentralised solar development. Emerging technologies such as floating solar are also being explored. For instance, NTPC is developing a 100 MW floating solar project. This has helped reduce expenditure and increase the share of renewables in the state’s power sector. The estimated wind energy potential is close to 4.2 GW but the installed capacity is only 128 MW so far. Moreover, the acquisition of land for such projects is a challenge. While wind development is stymied, Telangana aims to have a total installed renewable energy capacity of 6 GW, primarily through solar, by the end of 2022-23.
The state had a total installed renewable energy capacity of 4.26 GW, as of October 2021, compared to barely 1.2 GW of commissioned solar power capacity, as of September 2020. This growth can be attributed to the scaling up of solar power projects in the state. Further, with over 2.2 GW of installed capacity, Uttar Pradesh is in the second position, after Maharashtra, in the bioenergy space owing to the abundance of sugar industries in the region.
The Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency has been active in tendering solar power projects over the past year. The state has four upcoming solar parks, which will have a total power generation capacity of 2,840 MW. These include the 1,200 MW Jalaun Solar Park, the 600 MW Lalitpur Solar Park and the 600 MW Jhansi Solar Park. Uttar Pradesh has also been promoting rooftop solar.
The state has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 1,759 MW, comprising solar, bioenergy and small-hydro. Of these, solar has the largest share with 1,093 MW of installed capacity as of October 2021. Among recent developments in the solar segment, SJVN won a 100 MW grid-connected solar project from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited. As per the draft renewable energy policy issued in October 2019, the state has a target of developing 3,000 MW of solar projects by 2030, including utility-scale, canal-top, rooftop, floating and hybrid solar. The second largest share in the renewable mix is of bioenergy, which forms 28 per cent of the total renewable capacity, contributing 491 MW. Being an agrarian state, there is a lot of untapped biomass potential in Punjab. Further, instead of burning the unwanted stubble to dispose of the crop residue, it can be used as biomass fuel for power production.
Net, net, a lot of interesting developments are taking place across Indian states as they make efforts to expand their clean energy portfolios. In order to ensure sustainable development of renewables, these states should focus on improving transmission, enabling land acquisition, addressing payment delays and removing bureaucratic hurdles for continued investor and developer confidence.
By Meghaa Gangahar