India has new renewables champion, says report

The Indian state of Karnataka has become the new national leader in renewable energy generation, according to a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Karnataka, which is on the southwest coast of India and has a population of more than 60 million people, had a total of 12.3 GW of renewables capacity installed as of March, after having added 5 GW in the 2017/18 financial year alone.

These gains helped Karnataka’s renewables sector overtake that of neighbouring state Tamil Nadu, which has long been India’s top renewables market.

The report describes a trend driven by state and national energy policies that have encouraged less reliance on imported energy and how declining costs have helped build momentum around the uptake of renewables, especially solar.

“Karnataka’s progressive leadership offers a positive role model of electricity system transformation for the rest of India,” said report’s authors Tim Buckley and Kashish Shah.

“As other states follow Karnataka’s lead, India is set to take its place as a global leader in decarbonization. The merits of adopting increasingly low-cost technology innovation and more sustainable development provides India with an alternative path to the now outdated plan of increased reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports.”

The report notes that recent solar tenders in Karnataka have seen near record low bids of 2.82-3.06 rupees per kWh ($41-44/MWh), materially less than the average Rs3-5/kWh for domestic thermal power tariffs and the Rs5-6/kWh tariffs required for imported coal fired power.

And it points out that in June, Karnataka introduced reverse auctions for windpower, with an upper cap of Rs3.45/kWh, following the success of similar auctions in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in 2017, when tariffs fell by as much as 50 per cent to as low as Rs2.43/kWh.

To see the full report click here.

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