Saturday, November 01, 2014

Fwd: 100 Gw of Solar Power – the audacity of hope? by T N Ninan

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeev nayyar <>
Date: Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 8:48 AM
Subject: 100 Gw of Solar Power – the audacity of hope? by T N Ninan
To: esams Nayyar <>

Modi wants Indians to think big, the solar power target is symbolic of that.
Among the dozens of announcements made by the Modi government in the less than six months that it has had, the most ambitious - indeed, the most audacious - is the plan to install 100,000 Mw (or 100 Gw) of solar power generating capacity. Audacious because of two things. First, the country has only 2.6 Gw of solar capacity installed as of now, and the plan has been to take it up to 20 Gw by 2020 (revised later to 2022). That was considered ambitious till now because of the nearly eight-fold jump. Second, the proposed 100 Gw target is for five years, that is, by 2019. In other words, what the Modi government proposes is a five-fold multiplication of an already ambitious target, along with a crunching of the time schedule. Such a scale change has never been attempted in India, in any field.

We need to see the numbers in context. A hundred Gw of solar power capacity over five years is the equivalent of about 30 Gw of coal-thermal capacity, because of the lower capacity utilisation delivered by solar (there is no sun at night, or in most of the monsoon months, and the winter sun is weak). Meanwhile, the total installed capacity for power generation is already 240 Gw; this is growing at 20 Gw annually, with only a marginal share for solar. Even the new solar plan will not, therefore, bring about a significant change in the country's energy mix, till many years have passed. Nevertheless, it is the boldest gambit yet for reducing the dependence on power based on imported fuels (
and gas).

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