A new study by US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) on Wednesday showed how nine major global power markets, including India’s Tamil Nadu, have achieved an outsize share of wind and solar generation while assuring the security of supply.
They are providing compelling examples of the fast-moving evolution of electricity generation.
The report, ‘Power-Industry Transition, Here and Now’, includes case studies of markets — ranked by relative share of reliance on variable renewables — that include Denmark, South Australia, Uruguay, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Texas, California and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
“Our report shows that on the ground now and in a variety of markets these renewable-energy leaders have raced ahead of much of the rest of the world in proving how power grids can be readily sourced with up to 50 per cent of their energy from wind and solar,” London-based IEEFA energy finance consultant and lead author of the report Gerard Wynn said.
“As we speak, renewables are being integrated in these states and nations at levels in excess of 10 times global averages by using a menu of options and actions to integrate these clean, low-carbon power sources into electricity markets.”
“The tools exist now to spectacularly grow the global generation of wind and solar power worldwide,” Wynn said.
Wind and solar accounted for 14.3 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s total electricity generation in 2016-17.
The state leads India in variable renewables market share. It also leads India in installed renewable energy capacity.
Of the total 30 GW of installed capacity across the state as of March 2017, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6 GW or 32 per cent of the total.
Firm hydroelectricity added another 2.2 GW or seven per cent, nuclear eight per cent and biomass and run of river three per cent.
As such, zero emissions capacity represents a leading 50 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s total.
With much of Tamil Nadu’s renewable energy coming from end-of-life wind farms installed 15-25 years ago, average utilisation rates are a low 18 per cent, making the contribution of variable renewables to total generation even more impressive, said the report.
Tamil Nadu was the host of the largest single-site utility-scale solar project operational in the world at the end of 2016.
Built by Adani Green Power in just 18 months, this facility has a total capacity of 648 MW.
Last year China commissioned an 800 MW solar project, taking the title of the largest solar farm. This year there are several single-site projects under construction in various countries across the globe exceeding 1 GW, demonstrating the ever-larger scale of renewable deployments.
At Bhadla in Rajasthan, India has a 2.2 GW solar facility under construction, with almost half of this already commissioned.