229.25 RE Capacity Added in First 10 Months of FY21 in Andhra Pradesh

229.25 RE Capacity Added in First 10 Months of FY21 in Andhra Pradesh

Data from NREDCAP has revealed that in the first 10 months of the FY21, Andhra Pradesh had 229.25 MW of RE capacity connected to its grid.

The New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of AP (NREDCAP) has issued the updated status of renewable energy (RE) projects commissioned in the state of Andhra Pradesh (until January 18, 2021). The data revealed that in the first 10 months of the FY 2020-21, the state has had 229.25 MW of RE capacity connected to its grid. The entire new capacity came from solar power projects.

With this new capacity, the state currently boasts of a cumulative operational renewable capacity of 8424.018 MW or 8.42 GW. A majority of which is through wind power projects (4079.37 MW) and solar power projects (3752.24). The remainder of the 592.408 MW capacity is met via small hydro, biomass, co-generation, and waste-based projects.

For wind energy, which is the leading source of clean energy generation in the Southern state. There have been no new installations in the last 21 months, with the last project commissioned a 2 MW wind project in Kurnool commissioned by Gajavelli Spinning Mills in April 2019. 

In that time a total of 721.75 MW of solar power capacity has been commissioned in the state, bringing it close to being the leading clean energy source in the state. Besides solar and wind projects, no other clean energy projects have been commissioned in the state over the last three years. 

The leading (not exclusive) reason for the slow uptake in new renewable capacity in the state has been the disputes that have been festering since 2018-19 between multiple wind and solar developers and the new state government which was hell bent on renegotiating the PPA’s signed during the previous government tenure. 

This move by the government has been met with stiff opposition from generators, as well as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), which has specifically quoted the Andhra example to tighten up contract provisions and make changes in the proposed electricity act to prevent a recurrence.

The latest blow in that segment was dealt by Tata Power Renewable Energy which managed to get a stay order from the Andhra Pradesh High Court on the massive 6,400 MW ultra mega solar project recently proposed by the state government.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court has now directed the state not to enter into any agreements for the mega solar park, until the next hearing on February 15. As issue is the legal validity of the state government move to shift jurisdiction over these fresh projects to itself, rather than the state electricity regulator.

The AP plans for the 6400 MW solar projects are being fronted by a special firm the state government has set up, called the Andhra Pradesh Green Energy Development Corporation (APGEDCL). A key objective is to provide farmers with 9 hours of uninterrupted power supply in the day time. That makes these solar bids probably one of the last few that are plain vanilla solar parks, with no storage or other components.

This announcement for the 6.4 GW solar bids came after the state government made the announcement earlier that it plans to build solar infrastructure for 10 GW to meet the energy requirements of the agriculture sector. The locations for the planned new plants are spread all over the state, with sizes ranging from 400 MW at Thondur, to 1200 MW at Kambadur.

After a year in which the state government, by its act of attempting to renegotiate PPA’s, did more damage and delay to the state’s and country’s solar march than almost any other event sans Covid in recent times. It remains to be seen, that when (and if) the bids for the 6.4 GW solar projects go through, just which firms bid for and win these contracts, seeing how some of the biggest players have been impacted by the earlier moves of the state government.

But with unresolved disputes still doing rounds and more expected to come up in the near future, it is expected to be a long wait before the state sees renewable installations ramp up.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.