Renewable Energy – UPSC GS3

  • Total installed capacity of wind power stood at 33 GW
  • Solar was the second major segment with cumulative capacity of 17 GW.
  • Bio-power occupied the third position with a total installed capacity of 4,551 MW
Targets set by Government:
  • 40 GW rooftop solar by 2022
  • 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022
  • 100 GW od Solar Energy by 2022
Challenges with renewable energy:
  1. Weather depend: both solar and wind sources are weather dependent; many times weather does not cooperate such as overcast sky, storms etc.; ensuring steady power supplies in such cases is difficult.
  2. Grid harmony: keeping power from different renewable sources in harmony over the grid is also difficult; especially in context of intermittent power flows from such sources.
  3. Land acquisition: sources such as wind & solar both require large land area to ensure large scale generation; difficult to obtain in agrarian countries like India.
  4. Poor battery efficiency: proposal to utilize batteries to meet peaks loads during evening & mornings is marred by poor battery efficiencies.
  5. High capital cost: high initial cost of investment & technology expertise in harnessing sources such as wind, tidal, geo-thermal etc. is unavailable with most of the countries.
What does Economic Survey say?
  • Economic Survey of 2017 indicated that the social cost of renewables to be three times that of coal, at around Rs11 per kilowatt-hour
  • One MW of solar plant requires 5 acres of land, whose cost is loaded on to the power cost.
  • Secondly, Indian industry is already suffering the disadvantage of higher energy cost due to levies like the coal cess, that has gone up by 800% in the last few years; from Rs 50 per tonne of coal in 2010 to Rs 400 in 2016
  • Thus, Solar and wind energy can never completely become the energy source for industries (in the near future) that need uninterrupted, reliable, steady and high wattage electricity.

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