The National Democratic Alliance government's largest clean energy initiative, the first global renewable energy conference, gets under way next week amid $200 billion commitments by companies.
The 2.17 gigawatt (Gw) green energy commitment is double of what the government is targeting by 2022. Power and engineering companies, sugar mills and even healthcare firms have promised to set up big renewable power capacities in the next five years.
This is in line with the government's initiative to create a category of investors ready to put in at least $1 billion in five years into renewables. An official at the Indian Renewable Energy Development Authority (Ireda) said these investors would receive financing and help with acquiring land and doing business.
Ireda is the nodal financing body for renewable energy and is organising RE-Invest along with the ministry of new and renewable energy and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The three-day conference begins on Monday.
The conference has drawn interest from US solar power major SunEdison Energy, which has committed 15,200 megawatts (Mw), 10,000 Mw solar power and the rest wind power. Pashupathy Gopalan, president (Asia-Pacific), SunEdison said, "Given the growth in the electricity sector the country is looking at, 650 Gw in 15 years, the need for cheap power makes India's renewable energy sector one of the most attractive investment options."
Following closely in commitments is the Sumant Sinha-promoted ReNew Power, which will set up 7,000 Mw of solar power and 4,500 Mw of wind power capacity. Azure Power will set up 11,000 Mw solar power capacity.
"The government is serious when it asks for a commitment of this magnitude. We were asked for board approvals and investment plans," said Vineet Mittal, vice-chairman of Welspun Renewables. The company has committed to 8,660 Mw of solar power and 2,341 Mw of wind power.
US company First Solar, which is present in the Indian photovoltaic cell market, has committed to 5,000 Mw of solar power.
While the renewable energy industry is excited by the initiative, experts are hoping bottlenecks will be resolved during the global conference. Power producers complain about land acquisition and the fact that the country's grid cannot transmit big amounts of unpredictable renewable energy.
India current renewables portfolio comprises 3,062 Mw of solar and 22,465 Mw of wind energy. The Green Corridors project, an alternative grid for renewable power costing Rs 40,000 crore is in a limbo.
A major solar power player said there were concerns on payment security. Mittal, however, pointed out if the government was coming up with large projects, the issue would be resolved.
"This is not just another event. There is interest globally for this kind of initiative. The funding institutions of the world are looking to invest in India's renewables story. This government needs to make sure the funding pipeline is as rich as the power units planned," said a leading renewable energy sector player.
RENEWABLE ROAD MAP
- 2.08 Gw committed by major private players & public sector companies
- $200 billion to be invested in renewable power development
- PSUs such as NTPC, Coal India, NHPC etc, commit 8,000 Mw
- SBI to finance 15,000 Mw, other financing bodies - 11,500 Mw
- Manufacturing draws 41 Gw of investment - both solar cells and wind turbines
- Noted names from all sectors, power & non-power, ready to be part of green bandwagon
- Foreign players join the fray with largest investment among all