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Published:Monday, February 18, 2019 2:54 PM

Renewable Energy – Challenges and Way Forward

Renewable Energy

Introduction

Renewable energy (RE) is becoming a backbone for growth of modern Indian economy. Since past few years, solar and wind energy segment has seen a tremendous growth and delivered inevitable support in renewable energy sector. During its nascent stages, RE sector has seen numerous challenges but gradually because of various advantages it has obtained a strong hold in meeting country’s energy needs. It is worth mentioning that not only to the government and investors but also the common citizens have joined the league to take benefits of RE source.

As far as traditional energy sector is concerned, it is driven by coal as primary source of generation but due to various environmental, structural and technical challenges create problem in delivering the power in remote areas and not able to connect every household through power supply.

Through renewable energy, numerous problems have been meted out, though it also having its challenges which must be sought out with the pace of time.

The conference started with a key note from Mr. Sanjeev Gupta – Chairman, Renewable and Alternative Committee, PHD Chamber. While emphasizing on the achievements and way forward, here are key points from the speech:

  • The heights achieved by Renewable energy till now:

  1. Achievement of Installed Capacity of around 75 GW from Renewable energy till now with target of 175 GW till 2022.

  2. Solar Power has achieved a tariff of as low as ? 2.44/unit.

  3. The Renewable energy has attracted $7 Billion-dollar investment till June 2018 through FDI in India.

  4. A tremendous growth of more than nine times in Solar Capacity from 2014.

  • The challenges which saw in Renewable energy are:

    1. Clear return prospective

    2. Liquidation & cash flows

    3. Asset is concentrated into MNC’s

    4. Policy framework

  • New targets which could create a robust roadmap for Renewable energy, such as:

    1. Total 49% share of Renewable energy in energy sector till 2040.

    2. 225 GW of installed capacity till 2030.

Ocean Technology in Energy Sector – A Way forward

India is having approx. 7500 Km length of coastal line which itself is an enormous resource for energy sector. The Ocean Energy is very huge and is a way forward to utilize this untapped energy potential.

As explained by Dr. Purnima Jalihal – Project Coordinator (BMDP), Scientist G, National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT):

Various ways by which potential of Ocean Energy can be reaped:

  1. Wave Energy: The Ocean energy which is harnessed from oceanic waves.

  2. Ocean Current Energy: Energy which can be extracted by oceanic current and converting into electrical energy.

  3. Ocean Thermal Energy: The Oceans have a thermal belt which connects all the oceans in all the world and one of the oceanic belt thermal different ends at Indian ocean. This temperature difference in oceanic water gives the creation of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) which is the new technology in the world of energy sector.

  4. Tidal Energy: The Tidal energy is defined as rise and fall of sea level caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun on the Earth.

Now, India is the first to install wave power desalination process in world. This project produces Reverse Osmosis (R.O) water from wave power and produced the first wave powered Navigation Buoy which was earlier powered by solar energy these Navigation Buoy to be utilized for navigating the ships in sea. India is planning to develop Kavarratti OTEC powered desalination plant in India.

Though, there is a huge potential in ocean for energy source but there are various challenges too which are highlighted below:

  1. High Cost of open sea operation

  2. Poor offshore infrastructure

  3. Corrosion problem

  4. Low wind, wave and current potential

  5. Risks, sustainability, site variant issues

Ultra-Mega Solar Projects, Wind Energy & Energy Storage – Industry outlook, Policy Initiative and regulatory Framework

In today’s scenario, the above-mentioned topic is very much required to discuss and justify its challenges which is facing industry for the implementation of Renewable energy in India. Some of the eminent speakers highlighted these issues and presented various prospective as well as challenges to the industry.

Some points explained by eminent speakers like:

  1. Mr. K.S. Popli – chairman & M.D. – IREDA,

  2. Mr Deepak Gupta, Vice president, Renew Power limited

  3. Mr. Sugata Mukherjee, Head – Solar and New Business, Tata Power DDL

The target of 175 GW is under development at full swing as 32 GW is under development stage and 33 GW is under bidding. The Government has a big initiative to solarize the 3 crore agricultural pump sets and solarization of Indian islands where grid cannot be achieved which eliminate the diesel gensets and for this 10 MW solar plant on island is under development and as achieved tariff of Rs. 6.5/-. The Cross-subsidy surcharge is limited to 20%. Also, the government is initiating 24 GW Evacuation through 2000 Km line through Green corridor. Therefore, the development of solar based generation in India is in full swing. The debate is on safeguard duty for solar projects which should be justified by the government through the policies. Highlighting this, a major concern to the project developers is return on equity which poses as a huge challenge in today’s solar project. As far as wind potential of India is concerned, India is having 300 GW potential of wind energy through their coast lines.

Some of the issues on wind and solar sector need to be noticed:

  1. In 2020, Standards and Quality control on solar and wind equipment

  2. To address the concern of waste management (i.e. Solar Panel Waste)

  3. Integration of Solar based power plants with Grid

  4. No notification issued on capacity charge on Renewable plants

  5. Scheduling and prediction are also a big issue for evacuation of RE power

  6. Must buy power from Small Hydro Plants by Discoms as these plants come under RE portfolio

  7. Discoms should collect money from consumers and send it to RESCO project developers to ease the RESCO modeling

Rooftop Solar – Stakeholder’s Engagement & Way Forward

The Rooftop solar is plays a key initiative by government for development of RE in India. An estimated target of 40 GW of grid connected solar has been envisaged till 2022. For this development, the challenges should be addressed in every domain to meet the target of rooftop solar. The eminent speakers were also present to give their views in above topic. Some eminent speakers were:

  1. Mr. Tanmay Bishnoi, Head – standard & Research, Skill Council for Green Jobs, Govt. of India

  2. Mr. Rajesh Bansal, Head – Network operations, BSES Rajdhani power limited

To implement Rooftop solar, the government had started SUPRABHA Rooftop Solar TA Program, which helps in implementing various solar grid in the country. Various renewable development agencies are eagerly developing Rooftop solar in a country. But there are various challenges in implementing the Rooftop solar in large scale. Some challenges are:

  1. Penetration and spread of Rooftop Solar is low

  2. Lack of know – how with respect to Grid Integration of Rooftop Solar

  3. Apprehensions in financial Solar Projects

  4. Assessment of performance and quality of solar installations for long term acceleration growth of Rooftop solar PV sector

  5. Lack of technical entrepreneurs

  6. Lack of customer awareness

Potential & Future of small hydro Power & Bio-Energy in India

The Small hydro power plants (plants having capacity less than 25 MW) and Bio energy are also a part of RE sector in India. Though its potential is not very large, but it plays an important role for remote areas in the country to supply power. India’s target to have 10% blending of ethanol with petrol is in full swing. Till now, 6% ethanol blending is succeeded. This ethanol is majorly provided by Sugar Industries in India. But some other measures are also under implementation such as capturing of CO2 and CO to convert it into ethanol for blending. As far as small hydro is concerned, these days small hydro are also in picture of Non-performing assets (NPA’s) which de-rates the sector growth and require to initiate by govt. for its growth.

Conclusion

Over the last few years India has made significant developments in capacity addition from Renewable Energy sources. In process of widening nation’s RE portfolio, various targets have been defined for implementation of renewable energy in every domain and to achieve those targets Government and their agencies are effectively participating with industry to implement the targets on time.

However, in order to meet these targets various bottlenecks shall be removed for smooth participation of various stakeholders and boost private sector participation and investment.

Various new technologies are coming up which is in pace of renewable energy but in renewable energy, whether its existing technology or upcoming one – all have different uncertainties & challenges and those challenges should monitored and viewed by proper way to eliminate it. A system shall be in place for continuous monitoring of issues and in-time redressal by authorities so that continuous growth is achieved with a long-term objective.

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