There has been a visible impact of renewable energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last five years. Renewable energy sector landscape in India has, during the last few years, witnessed tremendous changes in the policy framework with accelerated and ambitious plans to increase the contribution of solar energy. There is a perception that renewable energy can now play a significant role, as also, there is a confidence in the technologies and capacity to do so. Enlarging the scope of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission symbolizes both, and indeed encapsulates the vision and ambition for the future.
Renewable energy potential in India
India has an estimated renewable energy potential of about 900 GW from commercially exploitable sources viz.
- Wind – 102 GW
- Small Hydro – 20 GW
- Bio-energy – 25 GW
- 750 GW solar power
Renewable Energy Target
Immediately after the Prime Minister’s inaugural address to the 1st Renewable Energy Global Investor Meet & Expo (RE-INVEST 2015) on 15th February, 2015 articulating the future of renewable as “moving from megawatt to gigawatt”, the Government quickly worked towards laying down actionable plans for the Renewable Energy sector to make a quantum jump. Many investors and stakeholders have committed their investments in the sector by taking up projects in different parts of the country. The Government has laid a strong foundation for the penetration of renewable energy in India in the coming years. The Government has up-scaled the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by the year 2022 which includes:
- 100 GW from solar
- 60 GW from wind
- 10 GW from bio-power and
- 5 GW from small hydro-power
The capacity target of 100 GW set under the National Solar Mission (JNNSM) will principally comprise of 40 GW Rooftop and 60 GW through Large and Medium Scale Grid Connected Solar Power Projects. With this ambitious target, India will become one of the largest Green Energy producers in the world, surpassing several developed countries. The target, which looked overambitious, now seems within the realms of reality with several States already witnessing silent revolution on rooftop solar power generation with the launch of net metering in the country.
A) SOLAR PV
Solar is the Latin word for sun—a powerful source of energy that can be used to heat, cool, and light our homes and businesses. That’s because more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year. A variety of technologies convert sunlight to usable energy for buildings. The most commonly used solar technologies for homes and businesses are solar water heating, passive solar design for space heating and cooling, and solar photovoltaics for electricity.
Businesses and industry also use these technologies to diversify their energy sources, improve efficiency, and save money. Solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies are also being used by developers and utilities to produce electricity on a massive scale to power cities and small towns.
Solar energy is genesis for all forms of energy. This energy can be made use of in two ways the Thermal route i.e. using heat for drying, heating, cooking or generation of electricity or through the Photovoltaic route which converts solar energy in to electricity that can be used for a myriad purpose such as lighting, pumping and generation of electricity. With its pollution free nature, virtually inexhaustible supply and global distribution- solar energy is very attractive energy resource. Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells by scientists, convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV gets its name from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect. The PV effect was discovered in 1954, when scientists at Bell Telephone discovered that silicon (an element found in sand) created an electric charge when exposed to sunlight. Soon solar cells were being used to power space satellites and smaller items like calculators and watches. Today, thousands of people power their homes and businesses with individual solar PV systems. Utility companies are also using PV technology for large power stations. Solar panels used to power homes and businesses are typically made from solar cells combined into modules that hold about 40 cells. The panels are mounted at a fixed angle facing south, or they can be mounted on a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight. Many solar panels combined together to create one system is called a solar array. For large electric utility or industrial applications, hundreds of solar arrays are interconnected to form a large utility-scale PV system
Employment Opportunities in Solar Sector
As India faces rising fuel demand, threats to energy security, and the impacts of climate change, Solar energy offers a critical solution. Innovative clean energy solutions, including large solar parks and rooftop solar panels in dense urban areas, can help solve these daunting challenges, while increasing energy access, creating jobs, and reducing toxic pollution. As per the reports shared by many Government and Private organizations on Occupational Mapping and Skill Gap Analysis, India needs to create 10 million new jobs every year in renewable energy sector, and the analysis also shows that as many as 1 million FTE (Full Time Equivalent) jobs could be created in Solar PV Sector if India achieves its target of 100 GW of installed solar energy by 2022. Given the large employment generation potential of solar in India, a significant proportion of the Indian workforce would need to be trained with the necessary skills to support the market.
Skilling in Solar energy sector
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has made an effort to create the Skill Council for Green Jobs which is the responsible body to develop the qualification standards within India’s workforce, which shall prove effective in improving the quality of India’s employment market in the Solar PV Sector. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also been working in tandem with the Skill Council for Green Jobs to empanel various credible Training Institutions across the country for imparting quality training in Solar PV Technology. MNRE by launching Suryamitra programme has integrated various renewable energy institutions, which could help broaden the accessibility of renewable energy education.
B) Solar thermal
Solar Thermal Power systems uses concentrated solar radiation as a high temperature energy source to produce electricity using thermal route. The average operating temperature of stationary non-concentrating collectors is low (max up to 1200C) as compared to the desirable input temperatures of heat engines (above 3000C) thus the -concentrating collectors are used for such applications. These technologies are used for applications where direct solar radiation is high.
Classification of Solar Thermal
- Low- temperature collectors
- Medium- temperature collectors
- High- temperature collectors
Opportunities for Solar Thermal Power Generation in India
Solar thermal power generation plays a significant role in meeting the demand supply gap for electricity. Three types of applications are possible.
- Rural electrification using solar dish collector technology
- Integration of solar thermal power plants with existing industries such as paper, dairy or sugar industry, which has cogeneration units.
- Integration of solar thermal power generation unit with existing coal thermal power plants.
The detailed Skill Gap study is undergoing at Skill Council for Green Jobs to assess the market job potential.
C) WIND POWER
The Wind power programin India was initiated towards the end of the Sixth Plan, in 1983-84. A market-oriented strategy was adopted from inception, which has led to the successful commercial development of the technology. The broad based National program includes wind resource assessment activities; research and development support; implementation of demonstration projects to create awareness and opening up of new sites; involvement of utilities and industry; development of infrastructure capability and capacity for manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of wind electric generators; and policy support. The program aims at catalyzing commercialization of wind power generation in the country. The Wind Resources Assessment Program is being implemented through the State Nodal Agencies, Field Research Unit of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM-FRU) and Center for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET).
Wind in India are influenced by the strong south-west summer monsoon, which starts in May-June, when cool, humid air moves towards the land and the weaker north-east winter monsoon, which starts in October, when cool, dry sir moves towards the ocean. During the period march to August, the winds are uniformly strong over the whole Indian Peninsula, except the eastern peninsular coast. Wind speeds during the period November to march are relatively weak, though higher winds are available during a part of the period on the Tamil Nadu coastline. A notable feature of the Indian program has been the interest among private investors/developers in setting up of commercial wind power projects. The wind power generation capacity in India is 49,130 MW as per the official estimates in the Indian Wind Atlas (2010) by the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET). The potential is calculated with respect to 2 per cent land availability at windy locations and pertains to a 50 meter hub height level of the wind turbines. Presently large wind turbines with higher hub height in the range of 80-100 meter with large rotor diameters up to 120 m are available in the Indian market. Conceding technological advancement and higher wind speeds at higher hub heights, the potential of 49,130 MW at 50 meter level if extrapolated at 80 meter standard hub height, the projected wind potential using the same land availability will be in the order of 1,02,788 MW (not officially declared owing to lack of validation). As on March 31, 2015 a total of about 23439.26 MW of commercial projects have been established until.
D) SMALL HYDRO
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been vested with the responsibility of developing Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects up to 25 MW station capacities. The estimated potential for power generation in the country from such plants is about 20,000 MW. Most of the potential is in Himalayan States as river-based projects and in other States on irrigation canals. The SHP program is now essentially private investment driven. Projects are normally economically viable and private sector is showing lot of interest in investing in SHP projects. The viability of these projects improves with increase in the project capacity. The Ministry’s aim is that at least 50% of the potential in the country is harnessed in the next 10 years.
Hydro Power Project Classification
Hydro power projects are generally categorized in two segments i.e. small and large hydro. In India, hydro projects up to 25 MW station capacities have been categorized as Small Hydro Power (SHP) projects. While Ministry of Power, Government of India is responsible for large hydro projects, the mandate for the subject small hydro power (up to 25 MW) is given to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Small hydro power projects are further classified as
E) BIOMASS POWER / COGEN / CHP
In this technology biomass is being burnt in a high pressure boiler to generate steam and operate a turbine The net power cycle efficiencies that can be achieved are about 23-25%. The exhaust of the steam turbine can either be fully condensed or used partly or fully as process heat. In India the potential for power generation from agro residue (stalks, stems, straws) and agro-industrial residue (shells, husks, de-oiled cakes, etc.) is estimated about 25,000 MW. The potential for bagasse Combined Heat & Power(CHP)/Cogeneration lies mainly in the nine sugar producing States, with the maximum potential of about 1250 MW each in the State of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.And in order to harness the full potential of it capacity building is required. Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is promoting a Biomass Power & Bagasse Co-generation Programme under which more than 300 project of aggregating to about 4760 MW capacity have been installed (till Dec.2015) and about 30 projects of 350 MW is under implementation. Hence in order to meet the potential technology development and capacity building need to be done.The advantages of Biomass Power, Cogeneration/CHP are higher efficiencies of the plant, higher yield, reduction in energy waste, reduction in Green House Gas emissions and other pollutants, reduce base load electricity supply, reduce primary energy cost, help in reducing carbon footprints.
F) ENERGY STORAGE
Globally Energy Storage Technologies are expected to play a crucial role in shifting to large scale renewable energy. They can help manage the problems of fluctuating generation and regulating generation to match demand. All major economies have specialized focus on this area. Mckinsey has identified storage technologies as one of the 12 most important technologies for future. India’s energy systems face multiple challenges such as
- Constrained transmission and distribution capacity
- Large unmet energy demand
- Low energy access in rural areas
- Continuing dependence on coal based generation adding rigidity to the system
India has aggressive targets for shifting to renewable energy, which at present is un- scheduled, and stresses the grid operations. . One of the important means to meet these challenges is use of energy storage technologies. With launch of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles missions, and new programs for on-site solar energy and rural micro-grids, energy storage has become a crucial component of energy strategy for India. Energy storage provides several benefits such as
- Time shift
- Grid stabilization
- Peak shaving of demand
- Improved generation efficiency
- Reduction in carbon emissions
- Improved transmission capacity utilization etc
G ) BIOFUELS, BIOGAS, PELLETS/ BRIQUETTS
A biofuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes. Renewable biofuels generally involve contemporary carbon fixation, such as those that occur in plants or microalgae through the process of photosynthesis. Other renewable biofuels are made through the use or conversion of biomass (referring to recently living organisms, most often referring to plants or plant-derived materials). This biomass can be converted to convenient energy-containing substances in three different ways: thermal conversion, chemical conversion, and biochemical conversion. This biomass conversion can result in fuel in solid, liquid, or gas form. This new biomass can also be used directly for biofuels.
Biogas production is a clean low carbon technology for efficient management and conversion of organic wastes into clean renewable biogas and organic fertilizer source. It has the potential for leveraging sustainable livelihood development as well as tackling local (land, air and water) and global pollution. Biogas obtained by anaerobic digestion of cattle dung and other loose and leafy organic matters/ wastes can be used as energy source for cooking, lighting and other applications like refrigeration, electricity generation and transport applications.
Fossil fuels have been utilized for thousands of years. They include coal, gas, and gasoline. With time passing by, the consumption of fossil fuels is increasing sharply, so their amount is decreasing fast. And the fossil fuels are formed over thousands or even longer years of time, which makes it non-renewable. As a result, fossil fuels become extremely precious. What’s more, the burning of fossil fuels has caused severe pollution to the air, which ultimately harms human beings. Therefore, fossil fuels must be utilized in the most important and significant areas instead of being burned. Biomass pellets are cylinder sticks made from biomass. For making both pellet and briquette, biomass raw materials should be pulverized first. The high pressure of Pellet Mill Machine can press the powdery biomass tightly and make them not easy to break. Biomass pellets are usually utilized in home pellet stove, central heating boiler, industrial boiler, or in power plants to replace coal. They can also be used as horse bedding and cat litter.