India’s coal-heavy thermal power generation sector left the solar and wind energy sector behind in terms of new capacity added in the first quarter of this year. The decline in new capacity added in the renewable energy segment should ring alarm bells for the government as it seems to be falling behind its ambitious capacity targets for 2022.
According to the data published by the Central Electricity Authority, an agency working under the government of India, around 5.6 gigawatts of power generation capacity was added in the country in the first three months of this year. This capacity added marks an increase of 28% compared to the Q3 2018 but a decline of around 47% compared to Q1 2018. The first quarter of every calendar year usually sees a sharp jump in capacity addition as it is the last quarter of an Indian financial year.
Around 3.3 gigawatts of this capacity came from the coal-based power generation segment, a share of 58%. This is around 2.35 times the capacity added in the preceding quarter but a decline of around 21% compared to Q1 2018. A very large majority of this capacity was added in March 2019. Interestingly, all of this capacity was commissioned by government-owned companies with nil participation from the troubled private sector.
In the wind energy segment, around 2.2 gigawatts of capacity was added. While this marks a minor increase of around 200 megawatts compared to the capacity added Q4 2018, it was down 52% compared to the capacity added in Q1 2018. This also marked the lowest Q1 capacity addition in the wind energy segment at least since Q1 2016.
In the solar energy segment, around 2.4 gigawatts of capacity was added. This was lower than the Q4 2018 capacity addition by around 28% and around a third of the capacity added in Q1 2018. The capacity added in Q1 2019 is also the second-lowest in the last six quarters.
Despite the comparatively poor showing, solar energy managed to increase its share in India’s total installed capacity at the end of Q1 2019. Solar energy increased share in the total installed capacity from 7.41% in Q4 2018 to 8.07%. All other technologies witnessed a decline in their share. The share of fossil fuel segment, that includes coal, natural gas, and diesel, witnessed its 13th consecutive quarter of a declining share.
Source- Clean Technica