India seeks bids for $5 billion in transmission lines to fuel renewables growth


India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions and have clean energy account for at least 40 percent of its installed capacity by 2030, up from 21.4 percent now, while looking to manage its energy appetite as its population becomes more prosperous.

The renewable energy targets would require investment in feeder lines and infrastructure upgrades.

India has awarded tenders for 12 GW of transmission lines since December, while bids for a further 16 GW will be launched by the end of June. Another 38 GW will be bid out before March 2020, he said.

Building transmission lines for 66 GW worth projects would need an estimated investment of around $6.2 billion, the secretary for renewables, Anand Kumar, said.

India, which receives twice as much sunshine as European countries, wants to make solar central to its renewable expansion as part of the fight against climate change.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has set a goal to raise solar power generation to 100 GW and wind to 60 GW by 2022. The other 15 GW would come from biomass and hydropower.

Consultancy firm WoodMac and research firm CRISIL have said India would not meet its renewable energy target due to policy issues, including cancellations of auctions of tenders, rights to land use and tariffs.

“The mandate of the government is that we should buy power at a competitive price which is affordable,” said Kumar.

“Projects of 103 GW have been installed or are under implementation, and over 37 GW are under various stages of bidding,” he said, adding that bidding for the targeted renewable energy addition would be completed by March 2020.

None of India’s private power producers plans to invest in new coal-fired power plants in at least the next five years, two industry sources told Reuters. Almost all of India’s new capacity addition is expected to come from renewable energy.