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Leading the way in Renewable Energy: The facts speak for themselves

September 06, 2017

President Trump may have withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, but it still matters a great deal what the United States has to say on Renewable Energy issues and that’s why it’s worth paying attention to last month’s report from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Particularly as NREL has just taken a long hard look at India’s renewable energy markets and the influential research body has concluded that the subcontinent has more than sufficient technical and economic capability to integrate at least 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy into its national grid by 2022.

That is a matter of no small importance given Prime Minister Modi’s Government has committed itself to achieving renewables capacity of 175 GW by 2022; including 100 GW of solar power and 60 GW of wind. So it certainly matters that a body as prestigious as NREL should have stress tested the underlying economic assumptions and confirmed that the Government’s target is well within reach.

Bear in mind also that the subcontinent currently has 9 GW of solar and 29 GW of wind energy capacity, so the 2022 target is a big ask on any basis. It is important to know that India can do it.

At the end of the day, it is likely to come down to power system balancing: that crucial point at which the supply of electricity meets demand: the point of which 100 GW solar and 60 GW wind are achievable with minimal renewable Energy Curtailment. Curtailment being the term used by experts to express the amount of renewable energy generated which cannot be made use of due to grid limitations. India’s current coal-dominated power system has the flexibility to accommodate the variability associated with renewable energy targets.

The NREL Study used a detailed production cost model to demonstrate how India’s national grid is rebalanced every 15 minutes (which is the time frame conventionally used by grid operators). Its findings reveal operational impacts, such as:

  • 160 GW of solar and wind capacity would meet 22% of India’s power demand, delivering fuel savings and reduced emissions;
  • A power system model which is able to manage added variability of the wind and solar energy generation without the need for new, fast-ramping infrastructure is already well within reach;
  • Operating Systems with 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy in combination with existing coal generation plants would consume only half the existing coal generation capacity; so increasing the role for a new tariff structure, less dependent on energy delivery and reward plants for performance and flexibility instead.

Red Ribbon Asset Management is committed to pursuing Mainstream Impact Investment strategies that are capable of generating above market rate returns for its investors whilst at the same time creating the maximum positive impact on the local community, our wider society and on the environment generally. And that’s why global economic forces are currently converging to create a new paradigm: one that will favour market solutions that have a positive impact on society and the environment. India is leading the way in showing how that new paradigm will operate in practice and Red Ribbon is proud to be a part of it, investing in Projects not just because of a tick box reflex to compliance, but because those Projects actually make a long term difference in the mainstream economy.

Read about the National Renewable Energy Laboratory here: www.nrel.gov/

Read about the Indian Government’s Energy Targets and Programme here: https://www.theguardian.com › World › India

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