Renewable Energy capacity of 7,591.99 MW has been commissioned in the year 2019-20 till December 2019, said Minister of New and Renewable Energy R. K. Singh on Tuesday. This would exceed the capacity addition in 2018-19, which stood at 8,532.22 MW. Answering a question in the Rajya Sabha, another 34,160 MW of RE capacity is under implementation, Singh said. Most of the renewable energy projects connected through grids are bring implemented by private sector companies. Singh did not disclose the exact investment by the private companies but gave an estimate of Rs. 36,729.49 crore, based on the capital costs per MW of RE generation. The same figure for 2018-19 comes in nearly 10% higher at Rs. 40,459.99 crore. Through short-term securitised loans to distribution companies (DISCOMs), the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has disbursed Rs. 1,200 crore to Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 900 crore to Telangana, and Rs. 450 crore to Tamil Nadu at preferential rates. This is to ensure timely payment to renewable energy generators, Singh said. Delays in tariff filings, delays and partial or non-release of subsidies by states, high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) loss levels, and tariffs not reflective of all costs are some of the reasons why DISCOMs had been struggling, Singh said. Non-payment of dues to DISCOMs has been the renewable sector’s biggest worry. The government launched the UDAY scheme in hopes to improve the financial and operational efficiencies of DISCOMs. They also advised states to convert existing metres to smart prepaid metres in three years to improve efficiency of billing and collection, ensure upfront release of subsidies, and conduct regular energy audits. The central government has also undertaken further steps to incentivise the deployment of renewable energy in the country, Singh said. Such measures included financial incentives for rooftop solar PV systems and performance-based incentives for DISCOMs, flexibility in generation and scheduling of thermal power stations, grid augmentation for absorbing increasing share of RE, priority sector-lending status for loans up to a limit of Rs. 15 crore, among numerous others. Singh also outlined the measures taken by the government to boost investment in the RE sector. Allowing foreign direct investment of up to 100% under the automatic route, strengthening of power purchase agreements (PPAs), mandating the letter of credit as a payment security mechanism to ensure timely payments to RE generators, launching of schemes such as PM-KUSUM, waiver of Inter State Transmission System charges are a few of them, said the Minister.
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