Renewable Energy Scenario in Karnataka

Improvements in Renewable Energy technologies and overcoming the challenges related to it, is the need of the hour and Karnataka has been in par with other cities when it comes to these two factors. With its wide availability of resources, it has been able to keep the biomass- cogeneration high but other growth in other resources was slow…

Climate change is a major challenge these days and to guarantee growth in the future, energy should be generated and utilised in an environment friendly manner. Renewable Energy harnesses the natural resources available to us like sun, wind and water to generate clean and green energy which can be replenished time to time.

  Karnataka is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources of all forms including Solar, Wind, Small Hydro, Biomass, Cogeneration, Waste-to-Energy, and Tidal. The state has an allotted renewable energy capacity of 29151.1 MW as on November 2017.

  Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) was established by the Government of Karnataka on 8th March 1996, registered under the company’s act 1956. KREDL is an organization which promotes non-conventional energy in Karnataka.

  Inspite of having an ample state renewable energy policy, Karnataka has lagged behind other states with good renewable energy potential such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat over the past few years. But the progress in biomass-based cogeneration has been higher as compared to other resources which have seen rather slower growth.

  One of the major challenges in the state has been project implementation, which means the progress of a project from when it is allocated to the actual commissioning. Even though 60% of the state’s total renewable energy potential has been ‘allocated’ by KREDL, only about 15% has been commissioned. This has led to several wind resource sites being held up and a lot of commissioned biomass plants are non-operational because of unviable tariffs and difficulty in establishing sustainable supply chains, resulting in trapped reserves. It is crucial to address these challenges, in order to make Karnataka a leader in the Renewable Energy Sector.

  Even though Karnataka’s village electrification achievement is 99.95%, an estimated 9.6 lakh rural households continue to rely on kerosene for lighting. Most electrified rural households face 6-8 hours of power cuts each day.

  The Energy and Demand scenario of the state in the past five years from 2010 to 2015 has been as shown in Figure 1 and 2.

Figure 1: Energy Requirement vs availability (in MU)

Figure 2: Peak Demand vs Peak Met (in MW)

  However, recently the world’s largest solar park is being constructed in a nearby village which is 200 kilometers from Bengaluru called Pavagada. This village is located in the eastern Karnataka’s border district of Tumkur, which is on a high plateau with many rocky hills around. This village has been a curse for the farmers but the state government is doing something huge – building the largest solar park. The plan is to be able to generate around 2700 MW from the Pavagada Solar Park by the end of 2018. The idea is also in coordination with the central government’s objective to generate 100 GW of Solar Power by 2020. The work has started and the first 500 MW has been bid out and generation will start soon.
In December 2017, KREDL has also issued a tender for allotment of 860 MW (20MW X 43 Taluks) in 43 taluks in Karnataka. The minimum capacity is 3 MW and the maximum is 20 MW per taluk and a total capacity of 200 MW in 10 taluks is reserved for module manufacturers in Karnataka.

  With the demand supply gap still existing, the state is also working on the initiative of 24 X 7 Power For All Initiative by the Central Government. The population of Karnataka has grown by 46% from 2001 to 2011 the per-capita consumption of electricity during past 4 years has been as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: Per-Capita Consumption of Electricity (kWh per person) in recent years

  The energy requirement of Karnataka during FY 2015 was 62,643 MU as per the CEA reports. On an average 22 hours of power supply was provided to urban areas and for rural areas, it was 16-18 hours. With the above supply, the average daily consumption of registered rural domestic consumers was increased to 1.19 kWh in FY 2015 at a CAGR of 4% during the last six years. At the same time, the average daily consumption of registered domestic urban consumers has increased to 3.00 kWh in FY 2015 at a CAGR of 3% during the same period. The projected daily household consumption till FY 2019 is given in figure 4.
For projection of sales for FY 2016 to FY 19, the CAGR of previous 6 years has been considered for all categories other than domestic.

Figure 4: Daily household consumption (kWh/Day/Household)

  Based on the above demand projections, the share of industrial sales (LT, HT) will decrease from 35% to 30% of the total consumption of the state whereas the share of domestic sales will increase from 25% to 30% of the total.

  This cumulative initiative of Government of India and the respective state governments having the objective to provide 24×7 power available to all households, industry, commercial businesses, public needs, any other electricity consuming entities and sufficient power to cultivation of farm holdings by 2019 is the need of the hour and it will lead to all round economic growth.

Figure 5

  Also apart from schemes like Niranthara Jyothi which aims to provide 24 hours power supply to non–agricultural loads like domestic, commercial, water supply, streetlight, rural industries, milk dairies etc. the state has taken many steps to flatten the load curve in the past few years: Like making “Time of Day Tariff” compulsory for industrial consumers, Energy efficient street lighting, Adoption of HVDS for agricultural loads etc.

In August 2017, Karnataka became the third highest producer of renewable energy by overtaking Gujarat, after Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Last year, Karnataka was fourth in position and now has outranked Gujarat in the recently released progress report of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable energy. At 7,458MW, Karnataka now has the third highest installed capacity in renewable energy. It will soon surpass Maharashtra to become 2nd in India. The neighbouring Tamil Nadu is on top with 10,625 MW.

  This shift was only possible because of a marked shift in policy. Strong government support and policy changes, along with increased targets fixed by Union Ministry at 175 GW by 2022, helped Karnataka jump to the third place. The Karnataka government revised its policy twice and set an ambitious target of solar energy generation at 6,000MW by March 2022 while the state’s solar power potential is estimated to be above 24,700 MW.


  Improvements in Renewable Energy technologies and overcoming the challenges related to it, is the need of the hour and Karnataka has been in par with other cities when it comes to these two factors. With its wide availability of resources, it has been able to keep the biomass- cogeneration high but other growth in other resources was slow. However, recently initiatives like the largest solar park in the world in Karnataka and 24X7 Power for All, have brought the city to number three in India with the highest production of renewable energy. Efforts of KREDL, along with the central government haven’t been in vain and the future of the state is in good hands.

If you want to share thoughts or feedback then please leave a comment below.

Leave a Reply