• While the government’s decision to re-classify large hydroelectric projects as renewable energy will certainly help the sector, the move will also go a long way in meeting the targets set by it for the sector, according to analysts.
  • The Union Cabinet approved a new hydroelectricity policy that, among other things, included large hydro projects within the ambit of renewable energy.
  • Prior to the policy, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy.
  • Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy.
  • India’s renewable energy sector had an installed capacity of 75,055.92 MW as of February 2019, according to data with the Central Electricity Authority.
  • This made up about 21.4% of the overall energy mix, with the rest coming from thermal, nuclear and large hydro sources.
  • With the inclusion of large hydro in renewable energy, the energy mix changes drastically.
  • Renewable energy capacity would now be 1,20,455.14 MW or 34.4% of the overall energy mix.
  • It must be noted that this is a purely cosmetic change.
  • No additional resources have been created through this policy.
  • It is a reclassification of existing capacity.
  • The policy has meant a drastic change in the renewable energy mix as well.
  • Whereas earlier, wind energy contributed nearly 50% of all renewable energy capacity, it will now make up only 29.3%.
  • Similarly, solar energy’s share will fall from 34.68% to 21.61%.
  • The hydro sector, however, will see its share grow from just over 6% to over 41%.

Tell us about the Huge imbalance

  • There has been a huge imbalance in the thermal-hydro mix for the last few years because of a sharp growth in thermal and complete stagnation in hydro.
  • The basic idea is to ramp up hydro because it provides grid stability which a renewable source like wind and solar do not.
  • The key reasoning seems to be providing grid stability and a better energy mix.
  • Other analysts, however, say that the government has additional reasons for bringing in such a reclassification, which have more to do with the renewable energy targets it set for itself.