InfraBlaze 2016:Energy Panel Report

Panel Members:

Dr. Ajit Patwardhan Moderator

Mr. Vikram Mulye Head – Philippines Branch at AREVA

Mr. Rajneesh Shrotriya CTO – Solar ,Sterling and Wilson

Mr. Hemant Wamburkar M.D, Innovative Digital Energy Applications & Solutions

Mr. Narsimhan Santhanam Director , Solar Mango

Dr. Bhimaraya Metri Dean, L&T Institute of Project Management

India’s quest for green energy has crossed a major milestone, with renewable plants, mainly wind and solar, surpassing the capacity of large hydroelectricity projects. The total capacity of renewable energy projects expanded to 42,850 megawatts, overtaking hydropower that stood at 42,783 MW out of the country’s total capacity of about 3 lakhs MW on April 30, 2016 as per the latest assessment of the Central Electricity Authority. However, the country still depends primarily on thermal power, which has a much higher installed capacity.

Supply from renewable plants depends on sunshine or wind, which are not consistently available. Nevertheless, officials said the surge in renewable capacity marks a significant structural change in the energy landscape of India, which has emerged as the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy market.

Dr. Ajit Patwardhan, the Moderator of the Energy Panel commenced the discussion by highlighting few points in India’s Energy Infrastructure taking a view from consumption angle

Energy consumption has doubled since last 15 years in India. Recent in News: India imported 5.24 billion units of electricity from Bhutan last fiscal, which was 0.47 per cent of the total output.

Most households in India is without electricity

More than 75% of energy needs are fulfilled by fossil fuel

Contribution of the types of power generation

India’s total installed power generation capacity has crossed the 300-GW mark,  includes 42 GW of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind.


He raised the topic to panel members to provide their views and discuss upon the same. He elaborated that there is a certain energy mix in the society and what is theirs observations on the present energy mix? The production, transport and consumption of energy, all put considerable pressure on the environment. If we were to make changes to our energy mix, for example by relying more on solar or wind energy, what would the impact be?

Dr. Ajit requested the most senior expert Mr. Bhimaraya Metri to initiate

Dr. Bhimaraya Metri kept his views by starting with the background.

Global restructuring is taking place. As per 2007 data Power is shifted from West to East. India is in the early stages of a major transformation, bringing new opportunities to its 1.3 billion people and moving the country to centre stage in many areas of international affairs. The energy sector is expanding quickly but is set to face further challenges as India’s modernisation and its economic growth gather pace, particularly given the policy priority to develop India’s manufacturing base.

India, home to 18% of the world’s population, uses only 6% of the world’s primary energy. India’s energy consumption has almost doubled since 2000 and the potential for further rapid growth is enormous

There is a vast difference in energy consumption from North to South & West to East in India.


It has been observed that more power generation state is more powerful. Example is Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu etc

Cited an example: 15 years back Texas instrument Lab forced to move from Bangalore to Taiwan due to vulnerability of Power. The state was unable to supply the power demands of the company

Chinese product is cheaper and is taking over the world. One of the major reason being  cost of product per MW is less

Norway is known for innovation. Total sea is utilised for wind power. Offshore turbines have the advantage of fewer conflicts with local residents, less impact on the landscape and fewer birds— like eagles—that die due to collisions with the rotor blades. The wind at sea is also stronger and more stable.

In Netherland 2/3rd of the land is below the sea. It is blessed with huge availability of gas. But still, Netherland is going for Nuclear energy because of environmental concerns. Natural gas drilling can pollute sources of drinking water. Natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) requires large amounts of water and all thermal power plants, including those powered by coal, gas, and oil, withdraw and consume water for cooling.  The Netherlands is a country with a relatively small nuclear energy programme, but since two decades a considerable activity on development and production of medical isotopes has existed in the country. The Netherlands has a nuclear research infrastructure for both experimental and computational work on isotope developments, fission/fusion applications and radio waste handling.

Moving towards Nuclear and renewable energy because of environment. There is widespread popular support for using renewable energy, particularly solar and wind energy, which provide electricity without giving rise to any carbon dioxide emissions.

How to integrate renewable with thermal.

Madrid is an example for renewable energy grid integration

To be used during peak hours

Construction of Tunnel for Hydro Power projects is the biggest challenge

Tunnel boring machine instead of blasting. Saves 3 years that is it takes 2 years of work instead of 5 years. As cost of tunnelling with tunnel boring machine is very high as compared to the blasting process, the project cost goes very high with the Tunnel boring machine process. But using the boring machine saves 3 years and thus it saves the overall lifecycle cost of the project which is very important than the project cost.

Mr. Narsimhan Santhanam discussed the topic by separating the Renewable energy in 2 stages; before 1995 and after;

11% installed capacity out of which only 4% is the generation. Solar is 3 to 3.5%

have to deal with coal for at least 30- 40 years

2050 solar power will be the largest contributor

Solar shall be contributing 30 – 40% of what coal will be contributing

The households in the less energy consumption region consume 4 Kwh per month of

solar energy

The per capita power consumption in India is 733.54KWh/yr, which is very minimal

as compared to global average of 2340KWh/yr.

Till 2025 possibly 100 GW will be activated


Solar is going to make a big difference in 10-15 years. Beyond 2025 solar and wind will make major difference and contribute majorly. The Indian government has announced plans to bring the country’s solar capacity to 100 GW in 2022. This target is a five-fold increase over the previous target of 20 GW, representing a step-change in India’s solar ambition. From 3.7 GW of solar capacity in 2014, the target would require annual additions averaging 12 GW per year for the next eight years.

Storage is the issue. Because of intermittent nature of solar and wind energy,

even Germany is trying to figure out the storage of solar energy. The robust storage

system shall helps to create a more reliable future, contributing to create a more

stable grid. This energy storage allows re-using the energy that cannot be accepted by the grid.

Stable grid and outage is a concern. The grid is a very complex system with current challenges

such as over generation (more power than can be used at a given time), power fluctuations

and variability in the amount of power supplied to the grid. Due to sudden push by its

intermittent generation nature there is an issue of oversupply to the grid that leads to

instability and can lead to outage.

Mr. Hemant Wamburkar presented the totally different perspective. His views are

Money saved is money earned. 1 unit of energy saved is 3 unit of energy saved in generation

How to save energy?

via Thermal facility

via solar facility

Draw your attention to all leakages. It will ensure big savings

For example: LEDs, solar water heating etc.

Improving efficiency across a range of residential appliances is vital to counteract the upward

pressure on demand in the buildings sector.

Energy basket/energy economics. Power generation capacity has surged over recent years, but the outlook for the sector is clouded by the precarious financial situation of local distribution companies and large losses in the transmission and distribution networks. India has 45 GW of hydropower and 23 GW of wind power capacity, but has barely tapped its huge potential for renewable energy. India is, however, aiming high in this area, with a target to reach 175 GW of installed renewable capacity by 2022 (excluding large hydropower), which is a steep increase from today’s level of 37 GW. Solar power is a key element of the government’s expansion plans

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Coal is going to be the part of this energy mix and hence CO2. Three-quarters of Indian energy demand is met by fossil fuels, a share that has been rising as households gradually move away from the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking.

Have to deal with CO2. India’s CO2 emissions can be seen through two lenses. Calculated on a per-capita basis, emissions are extremely low, standing at just one-quarter of China’s and the European Union’s and one-tenth the level in the United States, while India also accounts for only a small share of cumulative historical GHG emissions. On the other hand, India is the third-largest country in volume terms of CO2 emissions in the world, behind only China and the United States. Heavy dependence on coal for power generation and the use of inefficient subcritical plants to burn it push up the carbon intensity of India’s power sector to 791g of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (g CO2/kWh), compared to a world average of 522g CO2/kWh.

Carbon Capturing and Sequestration is the method being used by America and Canada. Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is a technology that can capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation and industrial processes, preventing the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Mr. Rajneesh Shrotriya added the following points

Wind and Solar is the major chunks. From a low base, modern renewable energy (excluding hydropower) is rapidly gaining ground in India’s energy mix as the government has put increasing emphasis on renewable energy, including grid-connected and off-grid systems

Land is available for very good wind velocity. The most promising sites are in the west and south, with around 90% of the potential in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Solar land. India has substantial solar potential, estimated by India’s National Institute of Solar Energy at around 750 gigawats (GW) (based on the assumption that 3% of wasteland in each state can be used for solar power projects, plus an assessment of the potential for rooftop solar). This represents almost three-times India’s total installed power capacity today. The solar resource is strongest in the north and northwest of the country (Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir), but it is also considerable in a number of other states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.

Hybrid system. Solar thermal systems need sunlight rather than the more diffuse light which can be harnessed by solar PV.

Challenges for land type and type of energy

Faraway Grid connection

Land should not be agricultural

For example: Mozambique & Namibia which utilises the deserts. Mozambique is one of Africa’s largest hydroelectricity producers. Its hydropower generation potential is estimated at roughly 19,000 MW, of which only 2,100 MW have so far been exploited. Namibia has the best solar regimes in the world with high direct isolation and minimum cloud cover.

Integration with the Grid

Difficult. Village-scale mini-grids can serve tens or hundreds of households in settings where sufficient geographical density allows economical interconnections to a central power generator.

uncertainty of demand

Uncertainty of voltage fluctuations

NTPC comes up with the hybrid system that utilises solar with battery backup system. Grid-tie with power backup combines a grid tie installations with a bank of batteries. Unlike a standard grid-tie system, however, a battery bank provides contingency for power cuts – so that one can continue to use power from solar.

Big environment is required


Mr. Vikram Mulye suggested the following

Why need to change the energy mix

We import lot of coal from Australia and Indonesia due to lot of ash in our coal. Poor coal quality (high ash content) and the relatively high ambient temperatures in India play a role in lower efficiency levels.

India is around 11%. Why Europe is in forefront

Strong Grid Network. In urban areas, the most economic option is always on-grid electrification. Off-grid systems can provide vital initial access for remote communities, but are less able to accommodate rising energy needs as households buy new appliances. This expanded grid permits more efficient dispatch of the power plant fleet, thereby reducing generation costs.

Nuclear- Strong commitment to develop nuclear power as a way to meet its rising energy needs and enhance its energy security on a low-carbon basis.

Wind power generated along North Sea and pump that power the next day to Germany while Nuclear cater to the demand of France

Transmission and Distribution in India is problematic. India’s network suffers one of the highest shares of loss (of electricity generation) in the world. Network losses are driven by technical and commercial factors.

State sponsored mechanism in India. All power is subsidised. In Philippines everything is privatized. All costs are taken from end users.

Dr. Bhimaraya Metri further shares the term Power Banking with the audience- If you buy power in advance, price is very less. Just like flight ticket. Estimate well for a year in which quarter how much power you required. Banking of power means exchange of electricity for electricity (instead of money). For example, under a banking agreement an electricity surplus state, say Delhi will supply surplus power to deficit states in the winter months and agree to take the same amount of power from those states in the summer months, when Delhi itself faces power shortages. One example of banking is like the one between different states as shown above. Another example can be banking agreement between a captive generator (someone  who generates for his own use ,but uses the discoms network and supplies extra electricity to the discom under an agreement) and a discom , where the captive can bank surplus power with the discom and receive banked power when its own captive unit is producing less or no power. Sometimes these agreements are also done between generators (typically renewable generators such as wind power producers) and discoms. Suppose a long term agreement of 100MW wind power has been done between a discom and wind generator. However, in windy seasons the wind generator may even supply 120 MW and in non windy seasons 80 MW. Energy bills produced for the surplus 20MW supplied in one month can be compensated with the deficit of 20 MW next month. (This is a crude example)

Mr. Hemant Wamburkar also shares about the code ECBC from Energy conservation Act, 200. ECBC guidelines are applicable for the New Building to be designed. In 2007 India launched an Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) that sets minimum energy standards for new commercial buildings (those with energy requirements above a certain threshold). The code is voluntary until made mandatory by individual state governments, who can also amend it to suit local climatic conditions; but it has already been adopted for all central government buildings and in a majority of states, and the aim is to extend coverage across the country by 2017.3 The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has released guidelines for energy-efficient multi-storey residential buildings, although there is little in the way of mandatory regulation for this sector.


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