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The central government has asked states to prepare action plans with year-wise targets to introduce renewable energy technologies and install solar rooftop panels as it tries to ensure states don’t lag while the Centre works to achieve 175 GW of renewable power by 2022.
Once the Centre receives all the plans, it will hold a meeting of all states on the issue on 2 March.
States must also set out annual targets for renewable purchase obligation (RPO) till 2022 and identify locations to set up renewable energy plants. RPOs are the minimum share of total power that electricity distribution companies and some large power consumers need to purchase from renewable energy sources.
“I shall be grateful to you if you could issue suitable instructions for developing an action plan for achieving targets in respect of your state for the year 2022,” new and renewable energy secretary Upendra Tripathy wrote to state chief secretaries on 11 February. “The action plan may include year-wise targets for different renewable energy technologies up to the year 2022, year-wise targets for solar rooftop, year-wise RPO trajectory to the SERCs (State Electric Regulatory Commission) for notification so as to reach 17% in the total energy mix by the year 2022 by including 8% from solar, identification of technology-wise locations for setting up renewable energy plants and power evacuation plan,” the letter said.
India’s projected power demand by 2022 is expected to be around 400,000 MW; of this, the government wants 25%, or 100,000 MW, to come from solar power and 75,000 MW from other renewable energy sources like wind energy and biomass.
In June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased India’s target for solar power by five times from 20,000 MW to 100,000 MW by year 2022.
Under the revised power tariff policy announced on 20 January, the government wants 8% of solar RPO by 2022.
Tripathy, in his letter, said the provisions for renewable energy in the revised policy are forward-looking and would accelerate deployment.
“However, operationalisation of the policy provisions would require concerted efforts, particularly gearing up electricity distribution companies for higher level of RPO, and also extending support to the SERCs for notifying RPO trajectory to meet capacity addition targets by the year 2022. This becomes pertinent in view of the fact that at present many of the states are not fulfilling RPOs, which has led to large inventory of unsold Renewable Energy Certificates (REC),” Tripathy added.
“By inviting all states to discuss their individual action plans, the central government hopes to formulate a ‘National Renewable Energy Plan’, a framework that would seek to create a national, uniform and mandatory RPO trajectory for all obligated entities. This was envisaged under the draft National Renewable Energy Act released in July 2015. As with the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act 2003, the National Renewable Energy Act itself has not yet seen the light of the day but the government is moving in that direction,” said Bridge To India, a consulting and knowledge service provider in the renewable power sector.
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