The energy sector is undergoing a massive transformation, with a focus on clean energy from renewable systems such as solar, wind and biopower. Even though renewable energy systems do not require any connection with the electricity grid to generate power, a number of people prefer to use the grid connection. Power grids are being modified to integrate renewable energy sources, improve energy efficiency and allow consumers more control over their energy consumption.
Advantages of a grid connection
A grid connection allows the consumer to draw electricity even when renewable resources are not available. This eliminates the expense of buying batteries for electricity storage. When not in use, the excess electricity produced by the renewables can be fed back into the grid.
Electric utilities also have the provision of net metering, which ensures that the user only pays for the extra electricity consumed from the grid-connected renewable energy systems.
The grid connection can also help in distributing excess power to states which are in need. The penetration of renewable energy is highly variable across states in India. The share of renewable energy from solar and wind in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab is higher than the national average of 8.2 percent, DowntoEarth reported. Grid connection can address the current challenge of expanding reliable energy access to other states.
Installing a grid-connected renewable energy system requires a one-time investment in equipment to safely transmit electricity to the consumer’s home. The consumer will also have to talk to the power provider to know the specific grid-connection requirements before purchasing the equipment.
Renewables in India
In India, the renewable energy sector is expected to boom in 2022, attracting total investments of over $15 billion, reports said. At present, India has an installed renewable energy generation capacity of over 150GW, which the government aims to take to 175GW in 2022, PTI reported. Of the 175GW target, 100GW will come from solar power, 60GW from wind, 5GW from small hydropower projects and 10GW from bio-power.
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As on November 30, the country’s installed solar power energy stood at 48.55GW, wind 40.03GW, bio-power 10.62GW, small hydro power 4.83GW and large hydro 46.51GW. India also has a nuclear energy-based installed electricity capacity of 6.78GW. The combined non-fossil-based installed energy capacity of the country stood at 157.32GW, which is 40 percent of India’s total installed electricity capacity of 392.01GW.
India has set a target of generating 500GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.
The government has implemented a scheme for the development of solar parks to facilitate large-scale grid-connected solar power projects. Solar power developers can avail a plug and play model from these solar parks by making use of the necessary infrastructure such as land, power evacuation facilities, road connectivity, water facility and statuary clearances. The government has already sanctioned 40 solar parks in 15 states with a cumulative capacity of 26.3 GW.
The government also launched the Green Energy Corridor (GEC) projects to reshape grids for future requirements. Under the first phase of the scheme, the inter-state GEC was completed in March 2020. The inter-state GEC has a capacity of 3,200 circuit kilometre (ckm) transmission lines and 17,000 MVA capacity substations.
Last week, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the second phase of the GEC for intra-state transmission lines of 10,750 ckm and 27,500 MVA capacity substations.
The second phase of GEC will facilitate grid integration and power evacuation of about 20 GW of renewable energy in Gujarat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)