• The MNRE has written to solar and wind power developers that it is developing 50 GW solar and wind power capacity in two states
  • Two locations, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Khavada in Gujarat, will each host 25 GW capacity as ultra mega renewable energy parks
  • Land will be provided to the developers and the Ministry of Power has been roped in to strengthen transmission infrastructure within 24 months

The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has shared its plans to set up ultra mega renewable energy parks of 50 GW total capacity in Rajasthan and Gujarat in a letter to solar and wind developers in the country. These parks will be developed in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and Khavada in Gujarat.

Land will be made available to set up solar, wind and wind hybrid plants. For these locations the respective state governments have provided necessary clearances, and since these are border areas, the defense ministry has also been taken into confidence.

The government says the two parks will have 25 GW capacity each. MNRE has also requested the Ministry of Power to strengthen transmission to these locations within 24 months to enable timely power evacuation.

The ultra mega renewable energy parks are being explored under the country’s existing Solar Park Scheme for which the government claims public sector undertakings (PSU) like the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), among others have proposed to set up around 42 GW in various states.

Previously, Bloomberg reported in October 2019 the government’s plans to host renewable energy plants worth 30 GW along Gujarat and Rajasthan borders (see India Planning 30 GW RE Plants Along Western Border).

Earlier this month, Business Standard reported the development of another massive solar project in Andhra Pradesh where the state cabinet approved a government plan to develop 10 GW of solar power capacity at Donakonda in Prakasham district on government land to meet the state’s energy needs under a new company to be called AP Green Energy Corporation. Power generated will be sold to state utilities for INR 3.00 ($0.042) per kWh, it reported. 

Progress so far

India’s renewable energy target under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM, sometimes referred to as NSM) is 175 GW which the government plans to achieve by December 31, 2022 with solar contributing 60 GW of large scale solar and 40 GW of rooftop solar, and wind power adding another 60 GW. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s ambition to scale up its renewable energy target to 450 GW by 2030.

As per the MNRE, till January 31, 2020, India’s installed renewable energy capacity was 86.32 GW with solar’s share being 34 GW and that of wind power, 37.60 GW. For solar, the government said that as on December 17, 2019, a total of 25.05 GW was in the  ‘implementation phase’ and 25.78 GW has been tendered.

While the overall renewable targets are impressive, the actual addition is not commensurate with the speed it requires to be achieved. A little over than 8.53 GW was installed in FY 2018-19, followed by over 7.59 GW in 2019-20 (up to December 2019). Several experts doubt if the targets can be reached. However for 2019-20, MNRE is hopeful of more solar installations.