India’s energy minister R K Singh has flagged a massive solar tender of 100GW (yes, that’s 100,000MW) – by far the biggest in the world, as the fastest growing energy consumer turns increasingly to renewables to satisfy its enormous needs.
“The biggest (renewable energy) tender was floated in Spain. We brought out single tender of 10,000MW which would be opened in July,” Singh said at a function in New Delhi this week, as reported by The Economic Times, the main financial daily.
“Now (we) will bring out a bid (tender) of one lakh MW which would also include solar manufacturing and storage (output).” A lakh is an Indian measurement meaning 100,000 units.
Singh did not give a direct timetable for the new tender, and given its size it would likely the a few years, but he did say that India will over achieve its renewable energy target of 175GW by 2022.
According to the Economic Times, Singh said India has already installed 70GW of renewable energy capacity and had about 12.5GW under construction.
“India is making rapid strides in the field of renewable energy and we will overshoot the target of 175GW renewable energy by 2022,” he was quoted as saying at the opening of a small 1.5MW solar plant.
Singh noted that 20 cities in India are ranked among the most polluted in the world and there is an urgent need to reduce fossil fuel use, and to deliver electricity to every household by the end of this year.
“This is a perfect illustration of the ambition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” vision,” said Tim Buckley, analyst at IEEFA.
“By offering a multi-year solar development pipeline bigger than the world has ever seen before, India will become the solar manufacturing hub of the world (behind only China), leveraging its well-educated, low-cost workforce.”
Buckley noted that the economies of scale will be huge, and would require total finance of around $US100 billion.
“This might sound far-fetched, but it was reported only last week that SoftBank of Japan was exploring lifting its $US20 billion commitment to Indian solar by 2022 to $US100 billion,” Buckley said.
This follows SoftBank’s alliance with the Saudi Crown Prince in a proposal for US$200bn of solar in Saudi Arabia by 2030.
Buckley said that given renewables both wind and solar – are already 10-20 per cent cheaper than existing thermal (coal) power generation in India, and half the price of imported coal-fired power, this makes entirely economic sense for India.
It also allows India to massively exceed its Paris Climate Agreement commitments, and enter the world stage alongside China as the global leader in low emissions industries of the future.
Meanwhile, the Australian federal government still wants to open up ten of the world’s largest new, low-quality thermal coal mines in the Galilee Basin.
“It is past time for Australia to realise the speed of the technology and finance led energy system transformation currently accelerating before our eyes,” Buckley said.