The past few days have been quite exciting for the renewable energy sector with a slew of policy interventions by the central government. From announcing plans to replace about 58,000 MUs of thermal power with 30 GW of renewables by 2025–26 to asking states and union territories to set up state-level steering committees for energy transition, the government has been focusing its attention on clean energy expansion at all levels.
Two landmark announcements made in the month of June 2022 have instilled a new sense of confidence in the future prospects of renewables in India. These include the notification of the Green Open Access Rules, 2022, and issuance of a trajectory for offshore wind bids. Both these far-reaching interventions focus on areas that have been limited by barriers, and thus, their true potential remains untapped.
The Green Open Access Rules, 2022 are meant to enable an unhindered and simplified procedure for the procurement of green power through open access. The limit for open access transactions in the case of green energy has been reduced from 1 MW to 100 kW so that smaller consumers can also avail of this option. Further, the rules provide for faster approval of green open access, uniform banking, voluntary purchase of renewable power by commercial and industrial consumers and no minimum limitation for captive consumers, which will help the huge distributed renewable energy market to expand and contribute to the country’s ambitions.
A bidding trajectory for offshore wind has been notified. It entails bidding out 4 GW of offshore wind energy blocks off the coast of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat per year for a period of three years followed by 5 GW of offshore wind bids every year for a period of five years up to 2029-30. The first bid for 4 GW is expected to be launched soon. Further, to encourage offshore wind development, power evacuation and transmission from the offshore pooling substation to onshore transmission systems will be free for capacities bid out up to 2029-30. This step to create a competitive offshore wind market will help elevate wind industry sentiment, which has been grim due to sluggish growth in the onshore wind space. It will also help accelerate India’s journey to net zero emissions.