• A draft report by the CEA of India expects solar and wind power to account for 440 GW of total installed capacity of the country by 2029-30
  • Solar alone will account for 300 GW or 36.1% of the total energy mix by target year out of 831 GW total installed power capacity of the country
  • Non-fossil fuels should account for around 65% of the total installed capacity by the target year which is quite high compared to India’s official target of 40% by 2030
  • Intermittency factor of the renewables could be managed by inclusion of battery energy storage capacity as its costs decline along with hydro power with storage
  • The CEA is seeking opinion and feedback on the draft report to be submitted till July 31, 2019

By the end of 2029-30, India may see wind and solar power accounting for 440 GW of total installed power capacity of India which is estimated to grow to 831 GW by then. Solar is expected to have 300 GW capacity installed, adding 36.1% to the total energy mix, which higher than for any other technology. However, coal would continue to be the leader in terms of gross generation accounting for 50% of total power generation.

Growth of these renewable energy technologies will be supported by battery energy storage of 34,000 MW/136,000 MWh from 2026-27 while assuming coal and lignite together to contribute over 266.8 GW to the total.

As of January 31, 2019, India’s cumulative installed solar power capacity was 349.2 GW.

These findings are part of a draft study prepared by India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) under the country’s Ministry of Power. The study is aimed at finding the least cost optimal generation capacity mix to meet the peak electricity demand and electrical energy requirement of the year 2029-30 projected as per the 19th Electric Power Survey.

The Draft Report on Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029-30 does not factor in any new nuclear or hydro power plants in its model proposed. Assuming the above, the CEA draft sees non-fossil fuels comprising solar, wind, biomass, hydro and nuclear to contribute around 65% of the total installed capacity and some 48% of gross electricity generation in the year 2029-30.

As per its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), India has pledged to have 40% of the total installed capacity by 2030 to comprise non-fossil fuel sources.

Increasing share of renewables has its own challenges as the CEA worries about the intermittency factor which can be addressed by the inclusion of battery storage. With declining costs of battery storage technology, it hopes more renewable energy can be absorbed into the system.

According to authors of the study, hydro power plants with storage are the ‘best option to address the intermittency of renewables as they have capabilities of fast ramping-up and ramping-down’.

The CEA used computer planning model called Ordena to study the optimal generation mix for the year 2029-30. It undertakes long term planning and short-term planning for optimized resource plan.

The CEA prepared the draft report in February 2019 and is seeking comments from power sector stakeholders to the study latest by July 31, 2019.

India is struggling to achieve its official solar power capacity target of 100 GW by FY 2021-22. According to official statistics, till March 31, 2019 country’s total installed solar power capacity was 28.78 GW (see India Installed Only 6.5 GW Solar In FY 2018-19). By 2029-30, the CEA expects its share to increase to 300 GW.