The Indian government will push to achieve renewable energy installation targets two years in advance, as it looks to enact more aggressive policies to promote development of renewable energy infrastructure.
India has set a target to have 100 GW solar power, 60 GW wind energy, 10 GW small hydro power, and 5 GW biomass-based power projects operational by March 2022., but Minister of Power, Coal, and New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal recently stated that the Indian Government will try to achieve this target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2020 instead of the set timeline of 2022.
The Central Government has taken several initiatives to increase the uptake of renewable energy through policy initiatives including enactment of a national offshore wind energy policy, and throwing support behind generation-based incentives and accelerated depreciation.
The Government is also looking to address the biggest issue in the Indian power sector — the huge financial debt faced by state utilities. Several billion dollars of debt on state power utilities has prevented them from increasing the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix, despite mandatory renewable energy procurement targets. This fact has only been strengthened by the failure of the Renewable Energy Certificate scheme, and low compliance of the renewable purchase obligation.
Minister Goyal specifically mentioned that states will have to make a significant contribution if the steep renewable energy installation targets are to be met. The Indian government recently announced a comprehensive financial package to restructure the debt on state power utilities. The debt on these utilities will be taken over and guaranteed by the respective states. These utilities will not be given any additional debt from banks and will have to gradually increase their tariffs and reduce losses.