Interview with S. Ramana Reddy: “The government is keen to promote pumped hydro storage”

“The government is keen to promote pumped hydro storage”

S. Ramana Reddy, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, NREDCAP

Andhra Pradesh has been actively promoting the uptake of renewable energy, and the state government has released its solar, wind and wind-solar hybrid policies. The state has a rich renewable energy portfolio, with wind and solar power occupying the largest shares with roughly 4 GW of installed capacity in each segment. In a recent interview with Renewable Watch, S. Ramana Reddy, vice chairman and managing director, New and Renewable Energy Development Cor­poration of Andhra Pradesh Limited, shared his views on the state’s progress in renewable energy amidst the pandemic, the current constraints, expected policy changes and future outlook for the sector…

What is being done to promote renewables growth in the state?

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has given priority to the promotion of renewable energy projects. For large-scale promotion of renewab­le en­ergy power projects for export of power to other states, the state government notified the Andhra Pradesh Renewable Energy Export Policy 2020 in July 2020. A shelf of seven projects with an estimated renewable energy pot­en­tial of 17.8 GW has been identified for offering to the selected developers. Considering the increased penetration of variable renewable power to meet the pe­ak power de­mand in the region, the government has de­cided to promote pumped storage hydro­power projects. Techno-commercial feasibility re­ports have been prepared for 29 locations with an aggregate capacity generation potential of 33,240 MW. In the first phase, projects will be ta­ken up at seven locations, with an estimated po­tential of 6,600 MW. The feasibility reports were prepared and submitted to the Central El­ectricity Authority (CEA) for comments, and the detailed project reports are under preparation.

What are the challenges that the renewable energy sector is facing in your state?

The major constraint being faced by the renewable sector in the state is the unavailability of transmission infrastructure for evacuation of po­wer. The Ministry of New and Renewable En­er­gy has proposed to create transmission infrastructure for evacuating 8 GW of renewable po­wer from the Ananthapur and Kurnool districts. The CEA has approved the plan and the Power Grid Corporation of India has finalised the transmission infrastructure for execution in the state, once the prospective developers files for long-term access. We have also planned for transm­i­ssion lines and substations to evacuate another 10 GW of renewable power.

What policy changes can your state’s renewable energy sector expect in the coming months?

The state government is awaiting a policy for the promotion of energy storage in the power sector, as proposed by the Government of India. This is expected to boost investments in pum­ped storage plant projects.

What is the outlook for emerging opportunities such as floating solar and storage in your state?

The Government of Andhra Pradesh is actively pr­omoting floating solar power plants on waterbo­­dies. The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Co­­­­r­­poration has already commissioned a 3 MW Flo­ating solar power plant at Visakhapatnam. A further 2 MW capacity is under implementation. Oth­er municipal corporations, such as those of Ti­ru­pati, Guntur and Kakinada, are also pl­an­ning to implement floating solar po­wer plants. NTPC has commissioned the largest floating solar po­w­er plant with 25 MW of capacity at its thermal po­w­er plant at Visakhapatnam. The Solar Energy Co­rpo­ration of In­dia is also planning to set up a 200 MW hybrid project comprising 140 MW of solar, 60 MW of wind, and a 150 MWh battery en­er­gy sto­rage system, at Ramagiri, Anantapur.