Renewable Energy: Today and Tomorrow

The renewable energy sector has seen rapid growth over recent years. This article takes an in-depth look at how renewable is shaping our energy future in India. - Lata Gidwani

Renewable Energy, Green Power Electricity, Energy Conservation, Sustainable Energy, Environments, Solar power | Renewable Energy: Today and Tomorrow - Electrical India Magazine on Power & Electrical products, Renewable Energy, Transformers, Switchgear & Cables
Renewable Energy: Today and Tomorrow

The year 2017 was recordbreaking one for renewable energy, characterised by the largest ever increase in renewable power capacity, falling costs, increases in investment and advances in enabling technologies. Many developments during the year impacted the deployment of renewable energy, including the lowest-ever bids for renewable power in tenders throughout the world, a significant increase in attention to electrification of transport, increasing digitalisation, jurisdictions pledging to become coal-free, new policies and partnerships on carbon pricing, and new initiatives and goals set by groups of governments at all levels. As of 2016, renewable energy accounted for an estimated 18.2 per cent of global total final energy consumption, with modern renewable representing 10.4 per cent. The number of countries with renewable energy targets and support policies increased again in 2017, and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious.

Today, the prominent renewable are hydropower, wind power and solar PV. So, in this article we will talk about hydropower, wind power and solar PV.

Renewable Energy Scenario (2017)

Hydro Power

During 2017, an additional 21.9 GW of installed hydropower capacity was added worldwide, with China once again making up for the largest share of newly commissioned projects. Total installed capacity worldwide has now reached 1,267 GW, producing an estimated 4,185 TWh in clean electricity – two-thirds of all renewable electricity generation. A record 4,185 terawatt hours (TWh) in electricity was generated from hydropower in 2017, avoiding approximately 4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases as well as harmful pollutants. Worldwide hydropower installed capacity rose to 1,267 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, including 153 GW of pumped storage. During the year, 21.9 GW of capacity was added including 3.2 GW of pumped storage. Growth was fastest in East Asia and the Pacific, with 9.8 GW of capacity added in 2017, followed by South America (4.1 GW), South and Central Asia (3.3 GW), Europe (2.3 GW), Africa (1.9 GW) and North and Central America (0.5 GW). China is the world’s largest producer of hydropower, and accounted for nearly half of global added installed capacity, at 9.1 GW. It was followed by Brazil (3.4 GW), India (1.9 GW), Portugal (1.1 GW) and Angola (1.0 GW). 58.4 per cent of surveyed hydropower decision-makers and professionals expect to expand their company’s installed capacity in the next three years, while 51.7 per cent of respondents expect to increase investments in hydropower over the next three years. This year, 2018, is shaping up to be a milestone year for the hydropower sector. Firstly, IHA and partners are preparing to launch an expanded Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol covering climate change mitigation and resilience, as well as a new tool for undertaking targeted, cost effective assessments of projects. This represents an important development in the toolbox available for reviewing, understanding and communicating the social, economic, environmental and technical performance of hydropower. In addition, during 2018, it is expected to see the completion of new green bond eligibility criteria for hydropower, which will provide much needed clarity for this important financial market.

Hydropower capacity in 2017 (MW)

Wind Power

The global wind power market remained above 50 GW in 2017, with Europe, India and the offshore sector having record years. Total installations in 2017 were 52,492 MW, bringing the global total to 539,123 MW. The annual market was in fact down 3.8 per cent on 2016’s 54,642 MW; and the cumulative total is up 11 per cent over 2016’s year-end total of 487,279 MW. The offshore segment had a record year with 4,334 MW of installations, an 87 per cent increase on the 2016 market, bringing total global installations to 18,814 MW, and representing a 30 per cent increase in cumulative capacity. Offshore is still only about 8 per cent of the global annual market, and represents about 3.5 per cent of cumulative installed capacity, but it’s growing quickly.

China, the largest overall market for wind power since 2009, retained the top spot in 2017. Installations in Asia once again led global markets, with Europe in the second spot, and North America in third. Once again in 2017, as has been the case since 2010 (except for 2012), the majority of wind installations globally were outside the OECD. China will cross the 200,000 MW mark in 2018, adding another milestone to its already exceptional history of renewable energy development since 2005. For the ninth year in a row, Asia was the world’s largest regional market for new wind power development, with capacity additions totalling 24.4 GW. China’s wind market reached 188 GW by the end of 2017, reinforcing China’s lead in terms of cumulative installed wind power capacity. India had a record year in 2017, adding 4.15 GW, the first time the country has broken 4 GW in a single year, taking total capacity to 32.8 GW and cementing its position as the world’s fourth largest wind market. Additionally, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has asked state governments to consider feed-in tariffs for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for projects below 25MW at tariffs to be determined by the states. First assessments of offshore wind potential in India together with pre-feasibility studies for two key coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have been conducted by GWEC led FOWIND (Facilitating Offshore Wind in India) project. Offshore wind power could play an important role in India due to the large wind resources available near centers of high-energy demand. The key challenges faced by the Indian wind industry include the lack of a system to trade and transfer wind power from windy states to other parts of the country and insufficient grid connections.

Wind Power Capacity in ASIA (2017)

Key findings

Total installed capacity 32,848 MW; Wind power capacity added in the country in 2017 4,148 MW; Wind-generated electricity produced in 2017 53,726 GWh; Share of wind generated electricity in India’s total electricity consumption 4.35 per cent; People employed by the wind industry at the end of 2017 0.2 million; Number of turbines 32,136; Leading turbine suppliers in 2017 Siemens Gamesa, Suzlon, Inox Wind Limited.

Top 10 new Installed Capacity (2017)

Solar PV – Key Findings

In 2017, the U.S. produced approximately 260 MW of PV cells and 970 MW of PV modules—a decrease of 66 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, year over year. Global PV installations reached 415 GW-DC, an annual increase of 98 GW-DC from 2016. At the end of 2017, global CSP installations reached 5.6 GW, an increase of 400 MW. BNEF estimates that approximately 10 GW of PV was installed in India in 2017, bringing cumulative deployment to 21 GW. An increase in module prices and the ambiguity over tax rates delayed installation of several projects in H2 2017. India aims to bring 80 GW of PV (and 28 GW of wind) to auctions in 2018 and 2019 as they try reach their 175 GW targets of renewables by March 2022. While most analysts estimate an increase in PV installations in 2018, projections range from 87 GW to 111 GW. In 2018, analysts expect China (~50 GW), the United States (~10 GW), and India (~8 GW) to remain the three largest markets; however, ROW is expected to significantly expand.

Solar PV Capacity in 2017 (MW)

Bio Power

Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, and other crop residues, manure, sugarcane, and many other by-products from a variety of agricultural processes. Recently, a new company called Mango materials used bacterial fermentation to produce an intracellular biopolymer, polyhydroxyalkanoate from methane. The great advantage of biopolymers is that it is biodegradable which makes it environment friendly. Because methane is being used that decreases the price of polymers that it would compete with traditional plastics. Also, because methane would be converted into biopolymer that would reduce methane emissions. Chief Executive Officer Molly Morse said that the unused methane would be enough to produce more than three billion pounds of biopolymer. Morse announced in 2017 that using this polymer will reduce the waste in the textile industry because it will be reproduced as biopolymer again in every effective industrial loop.


Geothermal power is ranked as the fifth biggest renewable energy source. The installed power production capacity from geothermal sources is about 13.438 GW as of 2016 [90]. One-third of the geothermal energy resources provide electricity generation, and the remaining two-thirds are used for direct heat generation. Globally, the geothermal power generation is dominated by the US, Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Italy.

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