Maharashtra: Renewable energy: State has achieved 44 per cent of 2022 target

Nagpur: Out of the total renewable energy target of 2022, the state has till date achieved about 44 per cent. This was revealed in the latest analysis ‘The Curious Case of India’s Discoms’ by energy economist Vibhuti Garg and research analyst Kashish Shah from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

As per the National Electricity Plan 2018, the state has set a clean energy target of 22 gigawatt (GW) to be achieved by 2022. According to the analysis, the renewable energy installed capacity in the state as of June 2020 is 9.7GW. “The figures highlight the need for a strong policy and investment drive to achieve the target,” the analysis stated.

Highlighting the reasons for the state-owned discoms’ unsustainably high cost of power, the analysts said low efficiency of Mahagenco’s power plants is to blame. “Mahagenco plants also face water shortages, which affect their output. Before 2016, plant closure due to lack of water was still counted towards plants’ availability and operators would recover fixed costs for the duration of non-availability. But since 2016, non-availability of the plant because of water shortage does not count as a force majeure,” they stated.

Shortage of coal resulting in low plant load factor (PLF) is another reason behind high cost of power. PLF is the actual power generation out of total installed capacity and indicates a plant’s performance. Experts have maintained that for a plant to be technically viable, the PLF should be more than 50 per cent.

However, as per the analysis, PLF for state and privately-owned plants supplying power to MSEDCL in the fiscal 2019-20 was extremely low at 51 per cent and 48 per cent respectively. The PLF of state-owned power generators in the state was higher at around 60 per cent, but not all the power generated from these plants was allocated to MSEDCL.

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