The year 2021 was a defining one in India’s energy transition journey. The country’s renewable energy installations crossed the 100 GW milestone this year to reach 104 GW as of November 2021. The renewable energy sector received an impetus with the declaration of new targets by the prime minister at COP26 in Glasgow. India now aims to take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW and meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements through renewable energy by 2030. Further, the country aims to achieve the net-zero target by 2070.
To make India a global green hydrogen leader, the National Hydrogen Mission was announced with a mission document and clear green hydrogen mandates for various industries also being proposed. Currently, India ranks fourth in terms of installed renewable energy capacity and achievement of these goals within the stipulated time frame will strengthen the country’s position as a global clean energy leader.
Successful auctions have been conducted this year not only in traditional renewable energy areas but also in newer emerging segments. The first-of-its-kind round-the-clock auction for renewable energy blended with thermal was conducted successfully in October 2021. Five bidders won a total capacity of 2.5 GW and the lowest tariff discovered was Rs 3.01 per kWh. Meanwhile, the fourth tranche of the wind-solar hybrid auction in August 2021 witnessed tariffs as low as Rs 2.34 per kWh.
Despite the pandemic, the renewable energy sector continued to attract large investments, both foreign and domestic, as IPPs raced to capture larger market shares through a combination of organic and inorganic routes. The biggest deal yet in India’s renewable energy space was signed this year for the acquisition of SB Energy’s 5 GW portfolio by Adani Green Energy Limited from the SoftBank Group and the Bharti Group.
The most exciting developments took place in the solar manufacturing space. Import duties were announced on solar cells and modules to curb imports and promote domestic products. The much awaited production-linked incentive scheme was launched to promote the domestic manufacturing of advanced high efficiency solar cells and modules. Moreover, a successful auction was conducted to award 10.5 GW of solar manufacturing capacity to Jindal India Solar Energy, Shirdi Sai Electricals and Reliance New Energy Solar with a total PLI amount of Rs 44.5 billion.
Net, net, it will be interesting to see how these developments in the existing and emerging segments impact the growth of the renewable energy sector in the new year.