Green Ways

Maharashtra makes efforts towards a clean energy transition

Maharashtra is one of the most industrialised and urbanised sta­tes in the country. The state’s po­w­er sector has made substantial prog­ress over the past decade with an inc­rea­se in generation capacity and strengthening of the network infrastructure leading to an improvement in the power supply position. As per the national power portal, Ma­ha­rashtra has a total thermal power ca­pacity of 27,063.08 MW as of Sep­tember 2022, of which approximately 23,856 MW comes from coal and the remaining 3,207 MW from gas. The fleet of coal-fired power plants in Maharashtra is among the largest in the country, comprising 56 per cent of the total power generation capacity.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the state’s total installed renewable power capacity is 11,421.96 MW (as of September 2022). At 5,012.83 MW, the installed wind power capacity accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total renewable capacity in the state. Solar power has the second-highest installed capacity among renewables, at 3,391.63 MW. This comprises ground-mounted projects (2,089.10 MW), rooftop projects (1,202.44 MW) and offgrid projects (100.09 MW). Bioenergy ranks third, with a total installed capacity of 2,636.42 MW. Of this, biomass power (bagasse cogeneration), biomass cogeneration (non-bagasse), waste-to-energy (WtE) and WtE-offgrid account for 2,568 MW, 16.4 MW, 12.59 MW and 39.43 MW respectively. The remaining 381.08 MW is small-hydro capacity. Renewable Wat­ch ta­kes a look at recent developments, tende­rs, auctions and policies in Maha­ra­shtra…

Recent projects and tenders

Maharashtra has seen a number of developments in the renewable energy space over the past few months as the state and its agencies have focused on boosting clean energy generation.

October 2022: JSW Energy Limited sign­ed an MoU with the Maharashtra government to build a 960 MW hydro pumped storage project. At the same time, Maha­ra­shtra State Electricity Distribution Com­pany Limited (MSEDCL) invited bids for the procurement of 500 MW of wind-solar hybrid power on a long-term basis from grid-connected intra-state projects. Fur­th­er, MSEDCL has invited bids to procure po­w­er on a long-term basis from 500 MW (Phase IX) of grid-connected intra-state solar power projects.

September 2022: The Maharashtra government announced the target of ins­ta­lling 200,000 solar agricultural pumps in the state. Energy Efficiency Services Limi­ted also issued a notice inviting tenders from contractors to supply 24 MW of solar polycrystalline modules (330 W and above) for its decentralised grid-connected solar project in Maharashtra.

August 2022: The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) invited bids to set up six solar power projects of 100 MW capacity each, in six regions of Maharashtra, under the “Muk­hya­mantri Saur Krishi Vahini Yojana”. MSEDCL also invited bids to procure 298 MW of solar power from decentralised so­lar projects of 500 kW to 2 MW under the PM-KUSUM scheme in the state. In the same month, Adani Solar announced plans to diversify its retail distribution business in Maharashtra with Roofsol Energy as the region’s official channel partner.

July 2022: The Maharashtra Energy Deve­lop­ment Agency released an expression of interest to estimate tariffs for the dep­loy­ment of 10 MW of grid-connected roof­top solar photovoltaic systems.

June 2022: MSEDCL invited bids to procure 1 GW of solar power from projects developed in the state. MAHAGENCO al­so invited bids to select a power developer to set up a 150 MW grid-connected fl­oa­­ting solar project at the Erai Dam solar park in the Chandrapur district of Maha­rashtra. In the same month, Mahatma Ph­ule Renewable Energy and Infrastruc­ture Technology invited bids to set up a 1 MW green hydrogen plant with the associated ecosystem on a build-own-and-operate basis in Maharashtra.

May 2022: MSEDCL invited a request for proposal for the procurement of 325 MW of wind power on a long-term basis throu­gh a competitive bidding process (follow­ed by reverse e-auction) from intra-state wind power projects. The Mahara­shtra en­ergy department and ReNew Power al­so signed an agreement of Rs 500 billion for renewable energy projects in the state ov­er the next six to seven years. In the sa­me month, MSEDCL invited bids to procure 431 MW of solar power from decentralised solar projects of 500 kW to 2 MW capacity un­der Component A of the PM-KUSUM sc­heme in Maharashtra. At the same time, Tata Power Renewable Ener­gy Limited (TPREL) co­mmissioned a 100 MW project for MSEDCL in Partur, Maha­rashtra. Prior to this, Indian Renew­able Energy Develop­ment Ag­ency authorised Rs 144.45 billion in loans and distributed Rs 100.18 billion to various green energy projects across the state.

February 2022: MSEDCL invited bids to procure 445 MW (AC) of power from decentralised solar projects of 500 kW to 2 MW capacity under Component A of the PM-KUSUM scheme in the state.

January 2022: Bharti Airtel announced co­mmissioning of a 21 MW solar power pla­nt in Bhuldana district of Maharashtra.

Auction activity

The past few months have been quite eventful in Maharashtra’s renewable energy space, owing to a series of successful tender auctions, which resulted in the discovery of competitive tariffs. In September 2022, NTPC Renewable Energy Limited and Avaada Energy were declared winners in MSEDCL’s auction to procure po­wer from 500 MW of grid-connected inter- or intra-state solar projects (Phase VIII) on a long-term basis. NTPC won 200 MW by quoting Rs 2.82 per kWh. Avaada Energy quoted Rs 2.83 per kWh for 500 MW but was awarded 300 MW under the bucket filling method.

In July 2022, SJVN Green Energy, Juniper Green Energy, TPREL, SAEL (Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited) and Avaada Energy were declared winners in MSEDCL’s auction to procure po­wer from 500 MW of grid-connected intra-state solar projects (Phase VII) on a long-term basis. SJVN and Juniper won 200 MW and 75 MW capacity, respectively, with each quoting Rs 2.90 per kWh. Tata Power and SAEL won capacity of 150 MW and 50 MW respectively, with each quoting Rs 2.91 per kWh. Avaada quoted Rs 2.91 per kWh for 300 MW, but was only awarded 25 MW under the bucket filling method.

Policy impetus

In order to increase the amount of accessible power and reduce power purchase costs in the future, Maharashtra has laun­ched an ambitious plan to build additional solar plants throughout the state to produce 12 GW of renewable energy over the next six years. In January 2021, the Maha­rashtra state cabinet issued its Unconven­tional Energy Generation Policy to promote non-conventional source-based energy generation. According to the sta­te’s unconventional energy generation policy, Maharashtra intends to continue on its leadership track and generate 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The policy is divided into two parts. In the first part of the policy, the state seeks to implement 17.36 GW of transmission system-connected renewable power projects by 2025. This includes 12.93 GW of solar projects, 2.5 GW of wind energy projects, 1.35 GW of cogeneration projects, 380 MW of small-hydro projects and 200 MW of urban solid waste-based projects. The 12.93 GW of solar projects include 10 GW of stand-alone solar power projects, 2 GW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects, 500 MW of solar-based water supply projects and 250 MW of solar generation projects for farmers, among others. Under the second part of the policy, the state plans to implement over Rs 780 million worth of transmission-free projects. These include 100,000 agricultural solar pumps, 52,000 kV of rooftop solar systems, 2,000 solar wa­ter supply stations, electrification of 10,000 rural homes, microgrid projects for 20 homes, 55,000 square feet of solar water/solar cooking systems and 800 solar cold storage projects.

In July 2021, the state government also an­­nounced the Draft Electric Vehicle Po­li­cy. The policy aims to support the adop­tion of sustainable and clean mobility solutions in Maharashtra. The primary objective of the draft policy is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the state so that they can contribute to 10 per cent of the new vehicle registrations by 2025.

The way forward

The present thermal-dominated generation mix in the state is unsustainable, bo­th environmentally and economically. Coal-ba­sed power plants not only relea­se gr­eenhouse gases but the power generation is also water intensive. Con­certed ef­forts are needed by the state government and developers to promote renewable energy development and achieve the set targets.

Maharashtra has been making steady progress in the clean energy transition by promoting utility-scale solar and so­lar-wind projects as well as decentra­lised so­lar projects such as solar pum­ps, solar agricultural feeders and solarisation of diesel pumps. How­ever, going forward, more efforts need to be made in this space to meet the planned solar targets in the state. In addition, a favour­able regulatory environment for op­en access and rooftop solar projects will go a long way in facilitating the energy tra­ns­ition in the state.

By Anusshka Duggal

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