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Parliamentary panel pulls up MNRE for missing renewable energy targets over years
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy has pulled up the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for failing to meet the targets for capacity addition over years. The failure could hamper the efforts at meeting the larger national target of reaching 175 Gigawatt (GW) capacity by 2022, it has said. The ministry could achieve only 11,319 Megawatt (Mw) of grid-connected RE capacity addition against a target of 16,560 Mw in 2016-17. It managed to achieve only 11,876 Mw of the targeted 14,445 Mw in 2017-18. Similarly, during 2018-19, only 8,519 Mw could be installed against the target of 15,355 Mw, a shortfall of 44.50 per cent. For the current financial (2019-20), the ministry had managed to achieve 4,272 Mw of the targeted 11,852 Mw grid-connected capacity by end September. Data sourced from the ministry’s website shows 7,592 Mw of renewable energy capacity has been added in the current fiscal year as on December 2019. “The committee hopes that the ministry will strive hard to achieve the target in the current year. The Committee feel that year-on-year shortfall in achievement of targets may hamper the entire mission of achieving 175 GW by 2022 which, in turn, may reflect poorly upon the commitment and sincerity of the ministry,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament in December. The committee, chaired by Janta Dal (United) Member of Parliament Rajiv Ranjan Singh, recommended the ministry should identify the weak areas and take corrective actions without delay and also ensure continuous monitoring of the implementing agencies.
The panel observed that for the year 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, against the targets of 12,000 Mw, 10,000 Mw and 11,000 Mw of grid-connected solar power, the ministry had been able to achieve 5,525 Mw, 9,362 Mw and 6,529 Mw, respectively. The utilization of the fund allocated for the years stood at Rs 2,590 crore, Rs 1,889 crore and Rs 2,524 crore, respectively. For the current financial year (2019-20), the government has set a target of adding 8,500 Mw of grid-connected solar power capacity with an allocation of Rs 2,479 crore. Grid-connected solar power projects of 5,013 Mw capacity were added in the country between April and December 2019, according to the ministry’s website. In the solar rooftop segment, the ministry had achieved 537 Mw by December 2019 against the annual target of 1,000 Mw. "The Committee find that the ministry has continuously been missing on its yearly solar energy capacity addition targets, so the committee is dissatisfied with the performance of the ministry in solar energy sector and feel that with such performance, the target of 100 GW by 2022 will be very hard to achieve," the report said.
In the wind energy sector, the ministry achieved 137 per cent of the targeted capacity addition in 2016-17 but only 47 per cent of the target in 2017-18 and 37 per cent in 2018-19. The committee said the ministry was not able to keep up the momentum it acquired in 2016-17 as its performance in the subsequent years is “highly disappointing”. For the current financial year (2019-20), the government has set a target of adding 3,000 Mw wind capacity with a budgetary allocation of Rs 920 crore. The country added wind energy capacity of 1,879 Mw between April and December 2019, according to MNRE website. In a report released last October, rating agency Crisil had said renewable energy developers are increasingly losing interest as discoms are lowering tariff caps which is impacting project viability and resulting in renegotiation of tenders. MNRE had issued a rebuttal on CRISIL’s arguments saying the doubts are ill-founded and not reflective of the status on the ground and plans. India had an installed renewable energy capacity of 85.90 Gw at the end of December 2019. This includes 37.50 Gw from wind energy, 33.73 Gw from solar, 10 GW from bio-power and 4.67 Gw of small hydro plants. The national target of installing 175 Gw capacity by 2022 includes 100 Gw from solar, 60 Gw from wind, 10 Gw from biomass and 5 Gw from small hydropower projects. At present, 31.68 Gw capacity projects are at various stages of implementation and 18.68 Gw projects are under various stages of bidding and the overall capacity addition in the sector is likely to stand between 8.5 Gw and 9.0 Gw in 2019-20, the same level as the last fiscal, according to ratings agency ICRA.