India raises renewable power target from 175 GW to 225 GW by 2022

Encouraged by the rapid increase in renewable energy capacity in the country, the government has revised upward its renewable energy target from 175 GW to 225 GW by the year 2022.

The 50 GW additional capacity is expected to come from investments in new schemes like floating solar, manufacturing-linked solar and offshore wind projects, minister of state for power and renewable energy RK Singh said on Tuesday. 
Addressing a press conference to detail four years of achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the power and renewable sector, Singh said India would achieve the target of 175-Gw in the next two years.
He said India’s established renewable power capacity currently stands at 70 GW while another 40 GW is under the tendering or construction phase.
“India’s current renewable-based power capacity stands at 70 GW, and we will cross the 175-Gw target well before 2022. We have new schemes like offshore wind, floating solar, which will help us over-achieve the current target," Singh said.
"We added a 24,000 MW power generation capacity per year, compared to 4,800 MW by earlier governments. Besides, a 25,000 circuit km transmission capacity was added per year, compared to 3,400 ckm during the previous governments," he said, comparing the achievements of his government in 48 months and that of the previous governments in 48 years.
However, there has been a spike in the demand for coal by power plants, which Singh attributed to non-optimal operation of coal-based and other power plants.
"Hydro-capacity is not up to the mark as snow melting has been slow. So wind is the resource helping during peak demand. Power demand has increased, and that is a good sign. We are in discussion with the coal and railways ministries every day for maintaining regular coal supply," said Singh.
Association of Power Producers director general Ashok Khurana said at 175 GW renewable capacity, the National Electricity Plan had projected average utilisation of thermal projects at 58 per cent. With 227 GW, it will fall more. “New capacity addition has to be demand-driven. We already have stranded 40 GW, looking for offtake agreements,” he said. 
Singh, however, pointed to the huge backlog of power supply. He said 400 million households without electricity would have a power connection by December this year, as against the March 2019 deadline under the SAUBHAGYA scheme. On the financial and operational health of state-owned power distribution companies, the minister said interest cost of more than Rs 200 billion was saved by discoms under the scheme, whereas technical and commercial losses had been reduced in 17 states within one year of operation.
The minister enlisted 11 stressed power assets, which are under the resolution scheme by the banks.