Karnataka outperforms Tamil Nadu in renewable energy

Solar power developers in Karnataka

Karnataka has outperformed Tamil Nadu in renewable energy expansion, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Renewable energy capacity in Karnataka reached 12.3 GW, surpassing Tamil Nadu by 1.7 GW. Karnataka’s renewable energy capacity exceeds its coal power capacity by 2.5 GW, said IEEFA.

Karnataka has added 4 GW of solar capacity during the last financial year to reach the solar capacity of 5 GW, wind capacity of 4.7 GW, and a small hydro, biomass and Heat & Power cogeneration portfolio of 2.6 GW.

Tamil Nadu until this year was the frontrunner in the race to renewables and still leads in wind energy capacity. On the other hand, Karnataka has expanded its solar capacity by adopting industry friendly policies.

“It’s good to see a healthy competition between the two progressive states, but both could do much more in tapping its wind potential,” said Tim Buckley, director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, IEEFA.
Wind power developers in KarnatakaThe coal power plants in Karnataka operate at an unviable capacity factor of 35 percent. IEEFA estimates two projects in the planning phase are unlikely to materialize near term given the current uncertainties around fuel supply cost and agreements, low utilization factors, and increased stranded assets.

“Karnataka does not need any new coal-fired capacity, possibly except replacing the 1.7 GW Raichur Thermal Power Plant that should be retired by 2022 as guided by the National Electricity Draft 2018,” co-author Kashish Shah added.

IEEFA estimates that the state imported about 7 TWh of electricity in 2017-18. Karnataka would need a net electricity production expansion of 49 TWh by 2027-28 to meet strongly growing electricity demand and to become a net zero electricity importer.

IEEFA’s forecast for the coming decade is for the addition of 4.5 GW of solar capacity by 2027-28. Combined with 1.4 GW of rooftop solar, some 33 percent of incremental electricity demand could be met by solar alone.

Application of retrospective charges and lack of transmission network infrastructure are the threat to the accelerated investment and grid integration of new renewable power.