India to emerge as the largest renewable energy producer in coming years

India to emerge as the largest renewable energy producer in coming years

It seems that the Indian Government’s ambitious target of 100GW solar capacity by 2022 is not unfounded, with commitments in the sector accelerating rapidly. US-based SunEdison is to develop a US$4b solar panel factory through a JV with Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises, as well as more than 10GW of PV capacity over the next five years. Even state-owned Coal India Ltd. is to develop 1GW of domestic solar capacity, while the US Ex-Im Bank has committed US$1b to clean energy projects in the country. A 100MW offshore wind farm is also currently under development in Gujarat, the first step toward India’s goal of 1GW offshore wind capacity by 2020.

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After Narendra Modi's ambitious Rs 6 lakh crore solar mission and the new wind energy plan, Power Minister Piyush Goyal expects India to become an energy powerhouse globally with the largest renewable energy base.

Soon after Cabinet approved the offshore wind energy policy, Goyal told Bloomberg TV India that India will lead the world in offshore wind energy rather than follow others. While this may sound ambitious, Goyal said: "Gujarat alone has 1,06,000 MW offshore wind energy potential, Tamil Nadu has 60,000 MW potential." 

The offshore wind energy policy envisages setting up of offshore wind power projects and research and development activities, in waters, in or adjacent to the country, up to the seaward distance of 200 Nautical Miles (EEZ of the country) from the base line. Assuring financial assistance to wind energy, Goyal said “accelerated depreciation will be extended for offshore wind energy projects till 2017.”

Elaborating on the feasibility of offshore wind projects, he said: “Onshore wind energy has issues of land acquisition but offshore wind energy won’t have such issues.” Seeking to allay fears of high tariff to cover the capex, Goyal said "solar seemed costlier when we set out. But now the power tariffs have come down to Rs 5/unit and are going lower. Better plant load factors and taller wind mills will ensure that power tariffs come down.”

Emphasizing on the government’s out-of-the-box thinking, he said: “This government believes that living in a silo or working in a closed loop and waiting for others to innovate so we can follow is an outdated model. The Prime Minister is passionate about innovation. We believe India will lead the world rather than follow the world in offshore wind energy.” (Source: Btvin)

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