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Indian government to host event on ways to improve renewable energy

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is organising a brainstorming session for stakeholders in the renewable energy sector.

The event is being held against the backdrop of a time of relatively slow progress in the commissioning of sustainable energy projects, primarily because of differences between the government and developers over issues such as ceiling tariffs and land acquisition.

The MNRE secretary told reporters that the event is a chintan baithak, which translates to contemplation meeting. It is the first of its kind and will be held on 7 May at the Ficci auditorium in Delhi.

The secretary said that the event will explore how to kick-start the manufacturing of solar equipment in the country and ways to enhance wind manufacturing will also be discussed.

The Ministry has been attempting to promote solar cell manufacturing through several large size tenders but has had little success due to a lack of interest. Therefore, the participants will discuss how to make renewable energy a priority lending sector.

As reported earlier, the fiscal year 2018-2019 was weak for both the thermal and renewable sectors in terms of increased generation capacity. In total, only 12GW of net new power generation capacity was added; compared to an average of 22GW added between FY 2012-2013 and 17GW in FY 2017-2018.

The event will bring together developers, financial institutions, and planning commissions. However, the industry seemed unsure as to whether any the conference will lead to any fruitful outcomes as it is being held amid Lok Sabha elections.

India is considering an ambitious acceleration of renewable energy deployments to 500GW by 2028. This will require a US $500 billion investment in generation and another US $250 billion in grid expansion and modernisation.

In line with this, the brainstorming session will also discuss ideas for the next edition of the Ministry yearly flagship programme, RE Invest. The RE-Invest series of Investors’ Meet and Expo showcases India’s renewable energy potential and the government’s efforts to scale up capacity to meet the national energy requirement in a socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable manner.

The long-term outlook for the country is favourable for renewable energy, mainly due to the fact that there was a decline in the wholesale electricity tariffs from solar and wind generation sources in 2017-2018.  The capacity was consistently awarded at sub-IN ₹3 per unit through reverse bidding auctions.

In 2018, MNRE postponed the second edition of RE Invest 2018 from April to October. This year’s event will also be held in October. The Ministry may follow the same timeline for future editions of the RE Invest.

About 25,000 people attended last year’s event. This year, the Ministry is hoping for industry, developers, IPPs, investors, financing institutions, academia, and research communities to join.

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