Gujarat’s Renewable Energy Policy: A path to sustainable growth

The Government of India has committed to a significant transition to clean energy in the power sector, with the aim of achieving 50% of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

In this regard, the Government of Gujarat has introduced the Renewable Energy Policy 2023. The policy aims at achieving 100 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. With investments of INR 5 lakh crores by utilizing approximately 4, 00,000 acres of land.    

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Gujarat’s Renewable Energy Policy 2023 aligns with India’s clean energy goals, aiming for 100 GW of renewable capacity by 2030 with INR 5 lakh crores of investments. The policy covers wind, solar, and hybrid projects, fostering sustainable development, energy security, and economic growth while attracting diverse stakeholders.

Gujarat’s 2030 renewable energy vision

The Renewable Energy Policy-2023 is designed to encourage the development of renewable energy projects, with a specific focus on wind, solar, and wind-solar hybrid technologies.

The policy’s goal is to simplify the framework to encourage the development of renewable energy projects in the state. It seeks to draw investments in the renewable energy industry and facilitate the accomplishment of the objective of generating 100 GW of total renewable energy capacity by 2030, with investments amounting to around INR 5 lakh crores. The policy will make use of roughly 4,00,000 acres of land.

While Wind and Solar technologies have already demonstrated their economies of scale, the state of Gujarat aims to harness its vast renewable energy potential, boasting 36 GW of solar capacity and 143 GW of wind capacity. The overarching objective is to optimize resource utilization, ensuring a cost-effective and reliable power supply to consumers.

Through the widespread adoption of renewable energy and synergistic wind-solar hybrid projects, the policy will enhance energy security and will make a contribution to economic development. Furthermore, it aligns with the state’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and extends its impact by supplying renewable power to consumers in other states.

  1. Maximizing Renewable Energy Potential: The primary objective is to tap into the maximum renewable energy potential available in the state.
  2. Participation from All Sectors: It aims to attract participation from industries, MSMEs, organizations, consumers, and other stakeholders to bolster clean energy sources in the state.
  3. Sustainable Development: The policy aligns with the state’s Sustainable Development Goals by rapidly transitioning to clean energy sources.
  4. Quality and Reliability: It seeks to provide quality, reliable, and cost-competitive renewable power to consumers through a conducive policy framework.
  5. Ambitious Target: The ultimate goal is to achieve 100 GW of renewable capacity in the state by 2030.

Objectives of the policy

The state’s policy aims to increase the use of renewable energy sources by boosting their proportion, which will enhance energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and provide daytime electricity to agricultural consumers. The policy will also reduce the state’s energy supply costs and promote decentralized renewable energy generation, investment, employment opportunities, skills development, local manufacturing, and start-ups. Furthermore, the policy will encourage the research, development, and deployment of innovative technologies and pilot projects in the renewable energy sector, and boost energy conservation through greater awareness.

The policy covers all ground-mounted solar, rooftop solar, floating solar, canal-top solar, wind, rooftop wind, and wind-solar hybrid projects.

Eligibility criteria for the scheme

Any individual, company, corporate entity, association, or group of individuals, whether incorporated or not, including artificial juridical entities, are eligible to establish renewable energy (RE) projects under this policy.

These RE projects can be developed for self-consumption or for the sale of electricity to third parties, whether they are registered under the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism or not, and even to distribution licensees. These activities should adhere to the regulations defined in this policy and be in accordance with the provisions of the Electricity Act 2003, subject to any amendments made over time.

It is important to emphasize that there are no capacity constraints imposed on the establishment of RE projects for either self-consumption or the sale of electricity to third-party consumers, irrespective of the consumer’s contracted demand or sanctioned load (measured in kilo-watt, kilo-volt-amp, or mega-volt-amp) with the Distribution Companies (DISCOMs). In this context, the AC capacity of the RE project is considered its installed capacity.

Holistic approach towards renewable energy

The policy covers various aspects of solar energy, including ground-mounted solar projects, rooftop solar projects, and floating or canal-based solar projects.

  1. Solar:

Ground-mount solar- ventures are permitted in solar parks or on government/private land, with access facilitated by the State Nodal Agency. Distribution Licensees can procure energy as per policy clauses. Moreover, power wheeling for either captive use or third-party sale is allowable with stipulated charges and energy settlement conditions.

Rooftop solar- consumers are encouraged to adopt rooftop solar setups under net or gross metering arrangements, with potential benefits from government schemes.

Floating/Canal-based solar- the policy promotes floating or canal-based solar projects, leveraging water reservoirs and canals. Distribution Licensees purchasing power from these ventures must pay a fixed royalty to the relevant authorities. This approach conserves land and mitigates water body evaporation.

  1. Wind:

Wind energy projects in Gujarat can be set up within or outside designated wind parks, whether on government or private land, with land allocation overseen by the State Nodal Agency. Consumers can also install small-scale wind projects for self-consumption or sell excess energy to DISCOM under applicable regulations, with potential incentives from government schemes. Distribution Licensees have the option to procure power from wind projects, and power wheeling for captive or third-party use is allowed, subject to specified charges and energy settlement terms in accordance with the policy.

  1. Wind-Solar Hybrid:

The policy recognizes the complementarity of solar and wind energy and encourages the development of hybrid projects. It categorizes projects into Type-A (existing or under-construction standalone projects) and Type-B (new projects).

Type-A Projects: These encompass the conversion of existing or under-construction standalone wind or solar power plants into hybrid projects. Under this category, only AC integration is permitted. The AC output from both the wind and solar systems is integrated at the pooling or sending-end substation. To ensure compliance with Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPOs), separate internal electrical lines and equipment are mandated for both wind and solar components.

The power output of the hybrid project must be controlled using suitable control equipment. Importantly, developers must ensure that the total grid injection from the combined wind and solar capacity does not exceed the allowed transmission capacity. If system studies conducted by GETCO/STU indicate the need for additional infrastructure due to the augmentation of wind or solar capacity, developers are responsible for financing these upgrades.

Type-B Projects: This category encompasses entirely new wind-solar hybrid power generation projects. Initially, only AC integration is allowed, but DC integration may be considered in the future, contingent on the establishment of DC metering standards. Regardless of the integration method, a dedicated line is mandated for power evacuation from the hybrid project to the receiving-end substation of GETCO/STU.

The policy promotes the development of renewable energy parks, including solar, wind, and hybrid parks. Park sizes are specified, and eligible developers include state and central government agencies, joint ventures, and private developers selected through transparent competitive bidding.

Way ahead

Gujarat’s Renewable Energy Policy is a bold step towards a sustainable and clean energy future. With a clear focus on maximizing renewable energy potential, encouraging participation from all sectors, and ensuring quality and reliability in power supply, this policy sets a strong foundation for the state’s energy transition.

The policy’s holistic approach, encompassing solar, wind, and hybrid projects, positions Gujarat as the next renewable energy hub in India. As the state continues to harness its abundant solar and wind resources, it will not only achieve energy security but also contribute to economic growth and job creation.

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