A study published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), an international think-tank, states that Indian renewable energy-rich states are not utilising their full energy potential, as pointed out by a Mongabay-India report. The IEEFA study examined the status in 16 major Indian states and ranked them based on their preparedness for transition towards cleaner sources of electricity. It finds that several renewable energy-rich states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra need better power sector performance. Experts claim Indian states need to use their renewable energy more effectively and they anticipate more changes with the proposed electricity legislation.
Highlighting that Karnataka is leading in the transition to clean energy, the study points out that Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal need to maximise their renewable energy potential. It adds that Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, which were earlier front-runners in initiating reforms in the renewable sector, also falling behind in meeting their renewable potential and progress has not been consistent across all the dimensions, particularly for Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, according to the Mongabay-India report.
Researchers analysed 16 Indian states that account for 90% of the country’s annual power requirement on four key dimensions of electricity transition: decarbonisation, the power system’s performance, power ecosystem readiness, and policy and political commitments. Under decarbonisation, the researchers explored the state’s preparedness to shift away from fossil-based power. They studied states’ ability to incentivise greener market participation to understand the performance of the power system. For the third category (readiness of the power ecosystem), these researchers studied states’ power system reliability to ensure electricity supply for the transition.
The Mongabay-India report also finds that the study underlines the importance of the electricity sector for achieving India’s NDCs targets, the report says, “Most of the NDC targets have the electricity sector as the foundation. Hence, it is important to set crystallised pathways for transitioning the electricity sector in India.” Also, the IEEFA study explains the electricity transition as a means to move away from producing electricity through fossil fuels to producing power with renewable energy. This transition includes innovative policies, green market participation, efficient technologies, and reliable supply.
To analyse the state’s power system, the Mongabay-India report points out that the researchers delved into the performance of discoms (power distribution companies), outstanding payment to power developers, GDAM participation, and performance on individual renewable targets. GDAM stands for Green Day Ahead Market. It is a green energy market mechanism where any entity can produce and supply renewable energy to discoms/states. Karnataka again appeared on top here, followed by Punjab, Telangana, and Gujarat. Karnataka purchased and sold the highest electricity volume.
To understand the state’s decarbonisation performance, the study looks at five criteria, including renewable energy mix in the state’s power supply, the potential of renewable energy utilised, old coal power capacity in operation, the emission intensity of the power sector, and state energy efficiency index. Based on these criteria, researchers found that states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana are doing well across parameters. Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh scored low on most parameters.
Surprisingly, the study found that Gujarat and Maharashtra, which are performers in the renewable sector, appeared mid-table in the ranking. The dependence on the coal sector emerged as one primary reason for those states that were ranked low. Gujarat still has a considerable proportion of older coal power plants in its coal fleet (19%). Similarly, 19% of Maharashtra operational coal fleet is older than 25 years. Their renewable energy share in total energy capacity is 10% and 11%, respectively. Among all the states, Uttar Pradesh had the highest share of coal power capacity older than 25 years (35%). States like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal, heavily dependent on coal, must catch up in utilising their renewable potential, says the report.
The Mongabay-India report said that to understand if states are ready for efficient electricity utilisation, the researchers looked into the quality of supply/power shortage, feeder segregation, smart metering, and electricity intensity of the gross domestic product. The report found that Karnataka has also exceeded its feeder segregation targets. It also completed 100% of its smart meter target. Andhra Pradesh also scored well in most of these parameters. Gujarat met its smart meter and segregation targets too. However, progress on many of these parameters appeared lagging for other RE-rich states like Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. However, Haryana and Punjab showed surprising results, moving rapidly towards electricity transition, according to the study.