Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) has made significant progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 7 (which is to provide affordable and clean energy for all) by aggressively promoting renewable energy (RE). By doing so, the State is able to meet the burgeoning demand for energy while addressing environmental concerns.
With an aggregate capacity of 8.90 gigawatt (GW), non-fossil fuels (RE sources) account for nearly 36% of the State’s total installed capacity of 25 GW. A major chunk of the RE is coming from solar (4.20 GW) and wind (4.10 GW).
Since A.P. has an estimated RE potential of 82.50 GW, primarily from wind (44 GW) and solar (38.5 GW), the State government rolled out the RE Export Policy-2020 for establishing projects with an ambitious 120 GW capacity by the year 2025.
The government has set aside 5,00,000 acres of land for leasing to energy export project developers and RE equipment manufacturing facilities.
The government identified multiple RE projects across various departments with a total projected investment of around $40 billion.
It designated 29 locations for promotion of Pumped Storage Hydropower Projects (PSHPs) with a total capacity of 33,240 MW. Thirty-seven locations are found to be eligible for the construction of PSHPs with a combined capacity of 42,270 MW. PSHPs with a total capacity of 16,180 MW have been allocated to eligible developers, including Adani Green Energy Limited and Greenko.
These initiatives have been successful due to an array of incentives and investments facilitated by the government, such as exemptions from electricity duty, preferential tariffs and accelerated depreciation, which created a favourable environment for both domestic and foreign investors.
Skilling of workforce
Additionally, to support the growth of the RE sector, the government has laid emphasis on skill development and capacity building. Training programmes are being conducted to develop a skilled workforce required for the installation, operation and maintenance of RE projects. This resulted in the enhancement of the employability of the local population and ensured sustainability of the sector in the long term.
Further, the government is forging international partnerships to gain access to global technological expertise, and funding for RE projects.
The Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy is another key initiative aimed at promoting the combined use of wind and solar energy thereby optimising power generation and grid integration. It not only diversifies the State’s RE portfolio but also helps the utilities in supplying stable, quality power.
Also, a policy has been announced for producing green hydrogen and green ammonia through the open access route.
For achieving the RE goals, the abundant solar and wind resources are being leveraged to the extent possible and these efforts are backed by a robust policy framework and investment facilitation.
These measures are not only contributing to the State’s energy security but are also helping in aligning with India’s broader objectives of reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. A.P.’s achievements in the RE sector are serving as a positive example for other States and regions and underscoring the importance of sustainable energy development.
(The author is the Minister for Energy, Government of Andhra Pradesh