India is expected to add more renewable energy generation capacity this fiscal year than the 8,532 MW installed in 2018-19. The country has already added 7,592 MW of new clean energy facilities from April to the end of December with a further 34,160 MW under implementation, according to power minister RK Singh.
Speaking in the upper house of parliament, the minister said most of the grid-connected renewable energy projects in the country were being built by private-sector developers selected through competitive bidding.
“Based on standard capital costs per megawatt, an investment of Rs405 billion is estimated to have been made in the renewable energy sector in the year 2018-19,” said Singh. “An investment of Rs367 billion is estimated to have been made in the year 2019-20 up to [the end of] December 2019.”
Electricity company reforms
Responding to a question about financial troubles and inefficiency at the nation’s electricity distribution companies (discoms), the minister pointed to clean power tariffs not reflecting true costs, delays in the filing of tariffs, states being too sluggish to release subsidies and high technical and commercial losses.
The government has launched an Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana program to improve the financial and operational efficiency of its utilities. The central authorities have also advised states to convert all meters into smart pre-paid devices to improve billing and collection efficiency within three years; ensure the upfront release of subsidies; and conduct regular energy audits.
The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited has offered short-term securitized loans to electric companies at preferential rates to ensure the prompt payment of subsidies to clean energy plant operators, the minister said. In the current fiscal year, said Singh, the agency has disbursed Rs9 billion to electric distribution companies in Telangana, Rs12 billion in Andhra Pradesh and Rs4.5 billion in Tamil Nadu.