What Is Delaying Commissioning of India’s 96 GW Under-Construction RE Projects?

Highlights :

  • A latest report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) claimed that India has around 96 GW of under-construction renewable projects.
  • Several of them are mired in litigation, land acquisition issues and other hurdles which can further delay commissioning of these projects.
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A quarterly report by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for the period ending July 31 claims that renewable energy projects of up to 96 Gigawatt (GW) are under construction in the country. These projects are related to the renewable energy projects tendered through the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and other central public sector enterprises. 

CEA said that out of the 96,590 MW of under-construction capacity, the solar projects take the lion’s share. There are 58.839 GW (60.92% of the total under construction projects) of solar projects under construction. Similarly, 20.875 GW of wind projects (21.61%) are under construction. 

Other renewable segments share a minor stake in the under-construction projects. It includes 16.56 GW of hybrid projects, 8.5 GW of small hydro projects and 2.27 GW of other pending renewable energy projects. However, there is a major concern about the timely completion of these pending projects due to several ground-level challenges to many of these projects. This comes at a time when India announced to ensure 50 percent of the total capacity from non-fossil fuel energy by 2030. 

Some of the prominent challenges that have led to project delays included delays in land acquisition, involvement in litigations, tariff issues, extension of deadlines due to wildlife conservation issues and others. For example, SECI has around 105 solar projects under construction. However, 13 of them are disputed due to several issues. 

Take, for example, the three Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS)-connected solar park projects planned at Sanwara in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan with a cumulative capacity of 1250 MW. Their commissioning dates were extended due to the issue related to hazards to the Great Indian Bustards (GIB) and their preparedness for the same. Some of the projects, like the 2 GW solar project at Ettayapuram and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and a 1200 MW solar project at Lalsar and Hapasar in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan are under litigation. Some other projects are sub judice under APTEL or the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).

The scenario for wind projects is more problematic. Out of the 47 SECI wind projects, 22 have some disputes. For example–ISTS wind projects at Kutch in Gujarat are under consideration for extension of their project milestones in CERC. Projects at Bellary and Koppal in Karnataka are also under CERC. In many other cases, the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are yet to be signed. 

In total, SECI has around 21.629 GW of solar projects and 8.57 GW of wind projects under construction. It is in addition to its 5 GW of hybrid projects. NTPC on the other hand has a total of 1.28 GW of pending renewable projects. 


With such a high share of projects that are delayed, it is a real cause for worry in terms of how many of these will actually be completed. At various times, industry experts have opined that between 18-22 GW of projects in the pipeline, especially in solar and wind, might actually be cancelled altogether. However, a pricing shift that has been favourable in solar in recent months has helped ensure no further projects slip over into unviable territory. A shift to higher prices by over 15% from current levels will however push at least a further 10 GW of projects into unviable territory.

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