Power generation from renewables falls by 24 per cent in July 2020; wind power output dropped significantly

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Electricity generation from renewable energy sources fell 24.2 per cent y-o-y to 12,241.9 million units (MUs) in July as power production wind plants — which currently has the largest capacity share in the renewables portfolio — dropped significantly due to seasonal variations in wind-speeds, Financial Express reports.

Wind power plants generated 6,489.8 MU in the month — an annual drop of 42.8 per cent. Production from solar plants increased 24.2 per cent y-o-y to 4,331.9 MU.

Electricity production from 88,041.9 MW of renewable energy-based plants fell despite the generation capacity being 9 per cent higher than the year-ago period. The intermittent nature of power supply from renewable energy, coupled with limited hours of supply and low capacity utilisations of plants, render it unattractive for state-owned discoms, who have to spend more money to make backup arrangements when supply from these sources fail.

Experts pointed that discoms refusing to buy power from renewable plants may have also contributed to lower generation. Despite renewables’ ‘must run’ status, instances of curtailment are regularly observed in several states.

Due to lower demand, generation from thermal sources dropped 1.9 per cent annually to 85,651.1 MU, while that from hydro power plants went up 13.6 per cent to 17,919.4 MU.

Overall power generation fell 3.1 per cent y-o-y to 1,20,710 MU as demand remained an aftermath of multiple lockdowns. The 1,12,244 MU of electricity supplied in July was 3.7 per cent lower y-o-y. Power demand would have been higher had the lower industrial usage not offset the increased agricultural consumption in the sowing season and higher residential requirement with the advent of summer.

Power demand in states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — where industrial and commercial consumers comprise over 40 per cent of electricity users — were lower by 10 per cent, 13 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively. States such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana— where agricultural consumption is higher than industrial — recorded annual increases of 9 per cent, 12 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.

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