France's EDF, Japan's SoftBank give wings to PM Modi's renewable energy dream - Firstpost

France's EDF, Japan's SoftBank give wings to PM Modi's renewable energy dream

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's renewable energy push just got a huge boost. Betting big on the country's renewable energy space, France-based state-run power company EDF Group has announced plans to set up 2,000 MW of power projects at an investment of $2 billion.



"We are aiming 2 GW in the joint venture, $1 billion per GW, so that is $2 billion. We will have hundreds of millions of dollars that will be invested in this country from EDF over the next years," The Economic Times reported quoting EDF Energies' chief executive officer Antonie Cahuzac.

Cahuzac said his company wants to tap India's wind and solar energy segment, particularly the states like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, which have quality wind, the ET report said.

In the solar power space, Cahuzac said EDF will bid for projects assuming 21 percent efficiency in the photo voltaic solar segment. He also said equipment prices used for wind energy could fall 20-30 percent over the next three to five years, the ET report added.

Besides EDF, Japan's SoftBank Group, too, has evinced interest in the country's solar power play. The Japanese major is evaluating setting up a joint venture manufacturing unit for making solar panels.

"SoftBank’s strategy for India includes solar panel manufacturing,” a Bloomberg report said quoting Manoj Kohli, executive chairman of SB Energy.

Even as Modi has set a target of 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022, just around 40 percent of the country's 1.2 GW of annual solar-cell manufacturing capacity in operational, the Bloomberg report said.

Last year, a Bloomberg report said that Chinese companies Liang Wengen and Nan Cunhui were looking to pump in $5 billion into India’s renewable power sector space.

Liang’s Sany Group had said it will install 2,000 megawatts of capacity and generate 1,000 jobs from 2016 to 2020 at a cost of $3 billion, the Bloomberg report said.

According to the government of India's new and renewable energy sector report published last month, India's renewable sector has a total installed capacity of 44.2 GW as on 30 August, 2016. This accounts for 15 percent of the total installed capacity.

Of the total renewable capacity, wind energy capacity accounts for the largest chunk with 27.2 GW, followed by solar power capacity at 7.8 GW, small hydro power capacity at 4.3 GW and Biomass at 5 GW, respectively.

During Budget 2015, the government had said, “The Ministry of New Renewable Energy has revised its target of renewable energy capacity to 1,75,000 MW till 2022, comprising 100,000 MW Solar, 60,000 MW Wind, 10,000 MW Biomass and 5000 MW Small Hydro.”

As per the government's current assessment, the Centre hopes to generate 302 GW of wind, 750 GW of solar power, 25 GW of biomass and 20 GW from small hydro power, the report said. The aim is to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix. The overall target for the energy  sources is 175 GW.

However, experts state that the country's renewable energy policy interventions have failed to take a holistic approach. They say the current national policies such as preferential-grid access, feed in tariffs (FiT), renewable purchase obligations (RPO) on utilities, tax holidays, RE certificate (REC) trading and accelerated depreciation only address techno-economic barriers, said a recent article in the Economic & Political Weekly report.

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