Gujarat has announced a Renewable Energy Policy 2023 which aimed at catapulting the nation into a renewable energy powerhouse. The ambitious plan seeks to develop a cumulative capacity of 100 GW in renewable energy by the year 2030. This transformative endeavor is set to attract investments totaling around ₹5 lakh crores while utilizing approximately 4,00,000 acres of land.
The policy, which came into effect upon notification, will remain operational until June 2028 or until a new policy is introduced, whichever comes first. Its primary goal is to achieve the target of 100 GW of renewable capacity within the next decade. What sets this policy apart is its approach to promoting renewable energy without imposing capacity restrictions for setting up projects for captive use or selling electricity to third-party consumers, as long as they align with the consumer’s contracted demand or sanctioned load.
The scope of this policy extends to both solar and wind energy projects, which can be established within designated solar or wind parks, on government revenue land, or even on private land, emphasizing flexibility and inclusivity in renewable energy development.
Furthermore, the policy encourages the implementation of floating and canal-based solar projects, subject to consultation with the relevant government authorities responsible for canals, rivers, and streams.
A noteworthy feature of the policy is the inclusion of Wind Solar Hybrid (WSH) projects, categorized into Type-A and Type-B projects. Type-A projects involve the conversion of existing standalone wind or solar power plants into hybrid projects, while Type-B projects encompass entirely new wind-solar hybrid power generation ventures.
Renewable Energy Parks are another focal point of the policy, with a minimum capacity requirement of 50 MW and maximum capacities following guidelines established by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
Moreover, the policy permits the setup of renewable energy projects under the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism, whether for captive use or third-party sale, by Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) regulations. It also mandates that if these projects do not utilize their renewable energy attributes to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO), these attributes will be factored into the Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) RPO calculations.
DISCOMs are encouraged to procure power from distributed solar projects up to 4 MW capacity and small-scale wind projects up to 25 MW capacity at predefined levelized tariffs, by mechanisms devised by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC).
To further incentivize consumers to transition to renewable energy, the policy introduces a Green Tariff option. Under this provision, DISCOMs will supply 100% renewable energy to consumers upon request, subject to a Green Power Supply Tariff.
Additionally, renewable energy developers will be required to install Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) at their projects to enable real-time data transfer to the relevant Load Dispatch Centre for monitoring purposes.
Furthermore, the policy acknowledges the potential for carbon credit benefits, making renewable energy projects eligible for carbon credits issued through competitive bidding processes. These credits can be obtained and retained by developers, offering additional incentives for renewable energy initiatives in India.
India’s new renewable energy policy sets the stage for a green energy revolution, with far-reaching implications for the nation’s energy landscape and global climate efforts. With its commitment to substantial capacity growth and flexible project development options, this policy represents a significant leap toward a sustainable energy future.
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