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Of the total electricity consumption in year 2014-15 in India, residential and commercial buildings accounted for ~23% and ~8%, respectively. It is likely that there could be ten fold increase in electricity consumption in these segments in the next thirty years. While energy efficiency measures can reduce demand significantly, onsite renewable energy generation can help further reduce energy & electricity bills, dependence on the central electricity grid, reduce transmission and distribution (T&D) losses while generating clean energy at the same time. Direct onsite renewable energy use in buildings has significant potential and forms one of the key blocks within the larger move by India towards greater use of renewable energy.

This report looks at the various onsite renewable energy generation technologies available in India, their policy-regulatory framework and their experience in deployment through various case studies. Supplemented by interaction with various stakeholders in this sector, the report focuses on identifying the opportunities and challenges in realizing the potential of onsite RE generation and use in buildings in India.

Published in Renewable Energy

The Solar Energy Corporation of India recently discovered a price of Rs 3.46/kWh for 1000 MW of wind power through the competitive bidding route. Buoyed by this success, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released draft competitive bidding guidelines for procuring wind power under section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003. In response to these guidelines, Prayas (Energy Group) has sent in few comments and suggestions detailed in the submission below.

Published in Renewable Energy

The full-day event "Reflections on contemporary issues in the electricity sector" consisted of three sessions, with each session focusing on one recent publication from Prayas. The event was well attended with each session having between 20 and 30 participants from across a wide spectrum consisting of regulators, senior bureaucrats, utility representatives, trade union representatives, civil society organisations, consultants, energy and environment researchers and think tanks.

In the first session, PEG presented its report Price of plenty analysing the "surplus" power situation in the country, its causes, implications and possible solutions. The report presentation was followed by remarks from Mr. Anish De (KPMG) as a discussant. This was followed by a robust discussion among participants sharing their perspectives on the topic.

In the second session, discussion revolved around the PEG report In the name of competition which analyses the saga of retail electricity competition in Mumbai. The analysis looks at the history of evolution of retail competition in Mumbai, the roles of various players involved and lessons for future reforms in this direction. Daljit Singh (independent researcher) and Geeta Gouri (former Member, Competition Commission of India) shared their views as discussants, following which participants shared and discussed their ideas on this issue.

The last session was based on a recent book published by PEG reviewing India's electricity sector reforms over the last 25 years. PEG made a presentation on the book titled Many sparks but little light which covers thermal, hydro and renewable generation, electricity distribution and associated fuel sectors of coal and gas. After PEG presented the motivation for the book and its major conclusions, Srinivasa Murthy (former Chair, Karnataka ERC) and Mahesh Rangarajan (Professor, Ashoka University) complimented PEG for publishing the book and shared their thoughts on it. Participants in the session also shared their views on the book as well as the future of the sector.

The event agenda and presentations made at the event can be accessed below.

The recent price bids for utility scale solar PV (Rs 3.3/kWh) and wind power (Rs 3.46/kWh) show that generation price of renewable energy should no longer be a concern while aiming at high shares of renewable energy in the future electricity mix. However this does not automatically mean that renewables will rule in the days to come. The renewable energy sector will increasingly have to confront the mainstream sectoral challenges. An opinion piece describing some of these challenges and potential ways to start addressing them was published in DNA on 11th March 2017.

Published in Renewable Energy

The year 1991 was an inflection point in the history of modern India. The country embarked upon wide-ranging economic reforms in what came to be known as the Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation or LPG era. The electricity sector — indeed, the entire energy sector — has seen multiple waves of reforms since then. It has been a quarter century since the beginning of the reforms and there are indications that a fresh wave of reforms are in the offing in the electricity sector. Over this period, Prayas (Energy Group) has keenly followed and participated in the reforms process as a proactive, independent organisation offering constructive critique and suggestions to further public interest.

Prayas (Energy Group) has authored a book born out of this unique engagement and understanding of the sector. The book critically examines many of these reforms and the impacts they have had, to understand if they achieved their expected objectives and if they helped in achieving the desirable socio-environmental outcomes. The in-depth analysis over eight chapters covers thermal, hydropower and renewable generation, electricity distribution, and associated fuel sectors of coal and natural gas. We hope that the book contributes to improve the design and implementation of further reforms, so that the sector overcomes its challenges in an equitable and sustainable manner.

The book is dedicated to Girish Sant, founder coordinator of Prayas (Energy Group), who continues to inspire our work.

The first attachment below is a preview of the book and contains a detailed table of contents, including list of figures, tables, and boxes. It also includes the foreword by Dr. E A S Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India, and the preface by the authors. The second attachment gives a bird’s eye overview of the major changes in the electricity and related sectors in the past two and half decades of reforms. Please write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy of the book.

Friday, 25 November 2016 11:26

Renewable Energy Data Portal

India has set itself an ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022. In spite of the several benefits of renewable energy, such a high target has profound implications for the Indian power sector, especially in the medium term. Hence it is very important for the electricity sector actors to objectively look at the growth of renewables. A lot of data is already available to understand the renewable energy sector, but more granular and comprehensive up-to-date data, publicly accessible in a user friendly manner, can aid better understanding of the renewable energy evolution in the country.

This Renewable Energy Data Portal is Prayas (Energy Group)'s effort to collate important data which is already available in the public domain and organise it in a manner which makes it more amenable for easier public access. Another feature of this effort is the interactive nature of the data portal which allows users to personalize their interaction and compare data across their chosen years/states/segments etc.

Published in Renewable Energy

India’s ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 has firmly placed renewables as a mainstream electricity supply option. This has attracted a great deal of attention from diverse stakeholders in India as well as the international community. While the social and environmental benefits of renewables are well known, they also have other benefits, in terms of enhancing energy security, price certainty and low gestation periods. However, in spite of these benefits, the 175 GW target has profound implications and can throw up myriad challenges for the Indian power sector, especially in the medium term. Some of these are potential higher direct procurement costs for DISCOMs, greater complexity in grid operations, higher capital requirements etc.

Given these benefits and challenges, it is vital for the electricity sector actors to critically look at the growth of renewables. This report is an endeavour in this direction. It attempts to understand the growth of renewables in the past few years and looks at the country’s progress towards reaching the goal of 175 GW by 2022. This is captured through various graphs and tables, relying less on a narrative.

Published in Renewable Energy

Worldwide, buildings use about 40% of energy and they emit approximately 1/3rd of GHG emissions. In India, residential and commercial buildings account for 31% of the electricity consumption2 and is increasing at a rate of 10-12% a year. Prayas Energy Group (PEG), Pune and Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (GKSPL), New Delhi are collaboratively working on identifying the opportunities and avenues to overcome the challenges in realizing the potential of onsite renewable energy generation and use in buildings. In this regard, PEG and GKSPL organized a half-day stakeholder discussion on October 20, 2016 to share the initial findings of this study and to get inputs on understanding key challenges, opportunities and action points in further increasing the effective use of RE in buildings.

Published in Renewable Energy

The 175 GW renewable generation capacity target for 2022 has fundamental implications for electricity grid planning and operations. Renewable energy generation, especially from wind and solar power, is variable in nature, given its dependency on the weather. Maintaining continuous balance in demand and supply and constant frequency is important for the reliable and secure operation of the grid. Deviation in frequency can occur due to instantaneous differences between generation and demand, which grid operators apprehend would worsen due to higher penetration of renewables. This coupled with some pre-existing problems of the relatively weak Indian grid makes reliable and effective grid integration of renewables even more challenging. Hence, policy-regulatory officials and grid operators are very concerned that such a steep and rapid increase in ‘infirm’ or ‘non-dispatchable’ renewables will affect the electricity grid and make grid operation far more complex and difficult to deal with.

This report is an attempt to understand the concerns of grid operators when it comes to integrating high levels of variable renewables. The focus is on forecasting and scheduling of renewable power, one of the key starting points to minimise grid imbalance and aid effective integration. It also examines the various supporting initiatives adopted by ERCs and policy makers towards easing grid integration. We conclude by outlining potential suggestions and ideas for easing the challenges of grid integration.

Published in Renewable Energy

The electricity sector is undergoing a transformation as it transitions from a static sector that is planned and operated by central authorities—regulators, utilities, system operators, and planners—to one that is increasingly driven by a mix of technologies, decentralized operators, and new market mechanisms and reforms.

These changes are creating an environment of genuine uncertainty in which many challenges arise, along with new opportunities for electricity sector planners and regulators to meet the goal of reliable, sustainable and universal electricity access. This report looks at experiences from four developing countries - Brazil, China, India, and Kyrgyzstan, and two developed countries - Germany and the United States to help electricity planners and utilities gain from the international experience. The way in which the sector stakeholders respond and engage with these emerging trends globally will ultimately determine the development pathway of the future grid.

Published in Renewable Energy
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