India’s western state Gujarat has been making rapid inroads into the renewable energy (RE) sector with a slew of mega green energy projects.
The state’s mega-projects not only pertains to electricity generation but also to equipment manufacturing and they are backed by policy initiatives and strong investor support.
According to the state government’s estimates, the renewable power generation capacity of Gujarat should jump to 38,466 megawatts (MW) by 2025 and 61,466MW by 2030.
At present, the total installed power generation capacity from renewable energy sources — solar, wind, hydel, biomass, and bagasse — is about 13,152MW.
In the next 3-5 years, Gujarat is being primed to be a global hub for the RE sector. “Our estimates are based on project plans that have already been finalized. However, they are likely to be revised soon given the influx of fresh proposals coming in,” said Mamta Verma, principal secretary, energy and petrochemicals department, Gujarat government.
“With the state and central government’s policies and positive approach, Gujarat’s dependency on non-renewable energy will be negligible or zero in the coming years,” added Verma.
Further, to boost electricity generation from renewable energy sources, several mega projects are being implemented across the state. In December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a 30,000MW hybrid (solar and wind) renewable energy park in Kutch, billed as the world’s largest of its kind. Spread across 72,600 hectares, the park is being set up near the Indo-Pak border, around 90km from Khavda. It is estimated that the project will attract an investment of Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Recently, the state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) affiliated four power distribution companies signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 3,979 small scale-solar power projects (0.5-4MW) with the cumulative generation capacity of 2,500MW. These projects are expected to be commissioned in the next 18 months and they are expected to bring in investments worth Rs 10,000 crore in RE and allied sectors.
The state has already been working on developing solar energy parks at Dholera near Ahmedabad, and at Raghanesda and Harshad in Banaskantha. A slew of other solar and wind power projects are being set up in the state, which was auctioned by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Also, Gujarat is a leading state in solar rooftop installations.
The state’s renewable energy sector received a shot in the arm last month when Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) announced that the company has started developing the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar. This will have four Giga factories to manufacture solar photovoltaic modules, energy storage batteries, fuel cells, and electrolysers. RIL will invest Rs 60,000 crore in these initiatives over the next three years. The company will invest another Rs 15,000 crore to provide infrastructure and utilities to manufacturing ancillary material and equipment needed to support these Giga factories.
Moreover, Reliance will also establish and enable at least 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy in India by 2030.
Therefore, given the size and scale of the projects in the renewable energy space, the state has the potential to become a global hub for renewable energy generation and equipment manufacturing.
Gujarat’s average power demand hovers around 16,500MW and approximately one-third of it is met through renewable power. The state’s average power demand is estimated to rise to 28,500MW by 2030. By then, Gujarat’s installed RE generation capacity would be more than double the average power requirement. Gujarat is also fast emerging as a hub of solar and RE equipment manufacturing with RIL being the latest entrant.
Adani Solar, India’s largest integrated solar cell and module manufacturer, already operates solar PV cells and modules manufacturing facility at Mundra with a capacity of 1.5GW. The plan is to scale it up to 3.5GW. Adani Group already operates solar and wind power projects with a cumulative capacity of 925MW in Kutch, while projects to the tune of 880MW are either under construction or in the pipeline in the district. Surat-based solar panel manufacturer Goldi Solar is also planning to raise its manufacturing capacity from 500MW to 2,500MW in a phased manner.