2017-18 witnessed impressive growth of renewable energy (RE) in the electricity sector wherein two major milestones were crossed. Annual RE capacity addition surpassed conventional capacity for the first time, with RE registering more than double the growth in conventional energy, in GW terms; and electricity sector investments in RE in 2017 were higher than that in conventional sources of energy for the first time according to IEA.
While direct electricity generation economics now consistently favour new renewable energy installations, the rapid increase in RE deployment is facing newer challenges. We seem to be entering a second phase of the energy transition, wherein wider system costs, planning and policy-regulatory environment is beginning to dictate the pace of RE deployment. These include the financial health of the DISCOMs, their existing surplus generation capacity, lack of adequate transmission infrastructure, uncertainty over duties/taxes etc. As a consequence, capacity installation in the present financial year (2018-19) may fall well short of the central targets for both wind and solar power. This report covers major policy and regulatory developments in the sector over the past year, while underscoring this transition pain. The graphs in the report are from Prayas’ Renewable Energy Data Portal, which is updated on a monthly basis and can be referred to for more details. This report is an update to two earlier reports looking at India's journey towards 175 GW renewables, published by Prayas (Energy Group) in October, 2016 and July, 2017.