June 21, 2016

India Govt Bats for Hybrid Solar-Wind Power Projects in Draft Policy

The government has sought to boost hybrid solar and wind power projects in the country with incentives and a financing system to increase renewable energy sources while better using existing transmission infrastructure and land.

In its draft policy guidelines released on Tuesday, the Ministry of New & Renewable Resources has set a target of achieving 10 giga watt (GW) generating capacity by 2022 through hybridisation of solar and wind power projects.

“The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV system for optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and thus achieving better grid stability,” as per the draft note that has been put for public comments.

The draft note adds that the policy aims to encourage new technologies, methods and way-outs involving combined operation of wind and solar photo-voltaic (PV) plants.

Under the category of wind-solar hybrid power plants, wind and solar PV systems will be configured to operate at the same point of grid connection. There can be different approaches towards integrating wind and solar depending upon the size of each of the source integrated and the technology type.

The policy proposes to allow hybridisation of existing wind/solar PV plants with certain conditions as well as new wind-solar hybrid plants.

The government has proposed that the Central Commission should lay down the guidelines for determination of generic tariff for wind-solar hybrid system. Further, the Commission is required to frame regulations for forecasting and scheduling for the hybrid systems.

It said that all fiscal and financial incentives available to wind and solar power projects may also be made available to hybrid projects. “Low cost financing for hybrid projects may be made available through IREDA and other financial institutions including multilateral banks,” it added.

The government will also support technology development projects in the field of hybrid systems and for development of standards for hybrid systems.

The draft policy note comes at a time when India has set an ambitious target of reaching 175 GW of installed capacity from renewable energy sources including 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind by the year 2022.

The country crossed a mark 26.8 GW of wind and 7.6 GW of solar power installed capacity last month.

A lot of private capital has been committed to renewable energy field especially solar and wind power in the last two years. Early this month, Greenko, a developer of wind and small hydro power projects, raised $230 million from sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

In April, Finnish energy company Fortum said it plans to invest €200-400 million ($228-456 million) in solar projects in India, joining firms from Canada to Japan looking to tap into the South Asian nation’s growing renewable energy sector. India is the first overseas solar energy market for Fortum.

Last year, emerging markets-focused PE major Actis created a renewable energy platform under Ostro Energy with initial commitment of $230 million.

In another big development, Japan's SoftBank joined hands with Bharti and Foxconn to bet big on Indian solar power sector.

Yesterday, Tata Power inked a deal to buy Welspun's renewable energy assets at an enterprise value of $1.4 billion.

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