Renewable Energy

Bright future

Print edition : June 09, 2017

A solar power plant in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Generation of renewable energy is steadily rising and the government must take this to the next level and reduce dependence on thermal power.

ENCOURAGING data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy show that the 2016-17 generation from alternative power sources such as wind, solar, small hydropower and biopower was close to 70 per cent of the targeted figures, with the cumulative achievements at a staggering 57,244.23 megawatts. The numbers come as a welcome development amid increasing awareness of the need to place greater emphasis on alternative, greener sources of energy and lessen dependence on thermal sources, which still meet the lion's share of the country’s electricity needs.

Among the green sources, wind, waste and solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems generated more than the targeted figures. According to the ministry’s annual report for 2016-2017, the total indicative installable potential for wind power in the country is 49,130 MW at a height of 50 metres and 1,02,788 MW at 80 m. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu were identified as the States with high potential.

In solar energy, Tamil Nadu topped the country in installed capacity with 1,591MW, followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat. Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra were identified as States with high potential.

The total installed capacity for power generation rose from 1,45,755 MW as on March 31, 2006 to 3,16,379 MW as on March 31, 2015, with thermal plants accounting for 71 per cent (2,24,674 MW). Estimated consumption went up from 4,11,887 GWh in 2005-06 to 9,48,328 GWh in 2014-15.

Sectorwise consumption data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed that in 2014-15, industry accounted for the largest share (44 per cent), followed by domestic use (23 per cent), agriculture (18 per cent) and commercial sectors (8 per cent).

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