Gujarat can lead renewables race in India: IEEFA

In a race to be the top state in India, IEEFA has modelled the economic powerhouse Gujarat adding a staggering 46 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity by 2029-30, a new report said on Tuesday.

The report, “Gujarat’s electricity sector transformation – A role-model of India’s electricity transition”, identifies Gujarat as one of the five leading states for renewable energy in terms of both existing generation capacity as well as future potential.

Tim Buckley, co-author of the report and director of energy finance studies with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), said the Indian government has rightly identified the need to reduce its exposure to imported fossil fuels, including oil, coal and gas, setting the stage for a massive transformation across the country.

“The government knows an over-reliance on imported fuels adversely affects India’s trade account deficit and puts the country’s energy security at risk,” Buckley told IANS in a statement.

“Setting an ambitious new renewable energy target of 523 gigawatts by 2030 is a clear indication by the central government of the direction the states must pull towards,” he said.

“Although Gujarat has incurred the cost of the recent bailout of its unviable imported thermal coal capacity at Mundra, refocusing efforts on continuing its already promising renewable capacity additions would see the state come out on top as the country’s renewable leader.”

While Gujarat lifted its renewable energy target to 30GW from 17GW in July, the state could be more ambitious, with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimating Gujarat’s renewable energy potential to be 72.7 GW, equally balanced between solar and wind energy potential.

IEEFA models renewables additions of 4-5 GW annually to ensure all of Gujarat’s incremental demand going forward is supplied by renewables.

This would be a dramatic shift in Gujarat’s electricity sector composition, with renewables forming 70 per cent of its capacity and 48 per cent of generation by 2029-30.

IEEFA notes the incorporation of nearly 55 GW of intermittent renewable energy on Gujarat’s electricity network would require very active measures and investment on the grid integration and balancing front.

IEEFA recommends a multi-technology approach with storage solutions of pumped hydro and battery storage, flexible gas peakers, demand response management, faster ramping coal power, solar thermal with storage, rooftop solar plus behind-the-meter storage, as well as continued grid expansion and modernisation.

Co-author Kashish Shah, IEEFA energy analyst, said Gujarat could lead the way in transitioning to a low-cost, low-emission electricity system based on renewable energy sources.

“Gujarat is already well in the race for building renewables capacity between states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan with similar renewable energy potential,” said Shah.

Source: IANS

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