India has invited South African renewable-energy developers and suppliers to consider participation in its ambitions plan to add 30 000 MW of additional renewables capacity by 2017.
The fast-growing Asian economy already has 25 000 MW of installed renewables capacity, making it also the fifth-largest deployer of clean energy solutions globally.
Addressing a renewable-energy conference organised by the Indian High Commission in Johannesburg on Monday, New and Renewables Energy director-general Gireesh B Pradhan said the country was seeking to add momentum to a roll-out that had already accelerated sharply over the past few years.
India’s installed base of renewables surged to its current level of 12% of the country’s 200 000 MW power capacity from a modest level of 3 600 MW in 2003.
Pradhan attributed the expansion primarily to its renewable purchase obligation, which obliged distribution utilities to procure a certain percentage of renewables from generators. The government would be looking to increase the penalties on distributors failing to meet the obligation.
But he stressed that the investment climate was also friendly, with India recently having been ranked fourth in Ernst & Young’s ‘Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index’.
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) co-chair Deepak Puri, who led a delegation of about 70 Indian renewables executives to South Africa, indicated that the country’s untapped wind, solar, biomass and small hydro resources remained considerable.
Puri, who also heads Moser Baer India and is also chair of CII National Committee on Renewable Energy, said that Indian companies were also keen to participate in South Africa’s renewables programme.
Under South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity, it was planning to add some 17 000 MW of renewables to the coal-heavy power mix by 2030.
The Department of Energy was currently procuring 3 725 MW of clean energy capacity that should be introduced to South Africa’s grid between 2014 and 2016.
Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta said South Africa and India, which had re-established their relations “brick by brick” since the demise of apartheid, now needed to integrate renewable energy into the expanding, and increasingly diverse, economic relations.