Renewable Energy Integration is India’s Next Big Challenge: IEEFA

According to a report from Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), India already has 93 GW of on-grid variable renewable energy (VRE) capacity as of January 2021. Now, one of the next big challenges for India’s electricity sector is battery storage, green hydrogen, and flexible coal-fired power generation into the electricity grid i.e. renewable energy integration over the next decade.

However, there are opportunities for cross-learnings as some of the renewable energy-rich Indian states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu could have renewable generation increased to 50 percent by 2030, the reports suggested.

To do such a large-scale integration, India requires policy support for a time-of-day (ToD) pricing mechanism that incentivizes investment into a multitude of technology solutions for flexible, peaking power delivery.

“The transition to low-cost, variable renewable energy generation requires a flexible grid that can respond rapidly to changes in power demand dynamics,” says the report’s author IEEFA Research Analyst Kashish Shah.

The report stresses that the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) optimum generation mix report projects India’s solar and wind to form 420GW of capacity, 51 percent of the total installed capacity, by 2030. That will provide 31 percent of the total generation (biomass and small hydro will add another 30GW to the total installed capacity).

Also, in a recent India Energy Outlook 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that by 2040 India could add 900GW of renewable capacity with renewable energy becoming the dominant source of power supply in India’s electricity system.

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