As per a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based think tank, Tamil Nadu is one of the top nine markets in the world that sources a high percentage of its net energy needs from renewable energy sources. Karnataka, on the other hand, is leading even European countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands in producing renewable energy. In fact, it has become India’s biggest producer of renewable energy with an installed capacity of 12.3 GW including 5 GW of solar energy, 4.7 GW of wind energy, and approximately 2.6 GW of hydro, biomass and heat and power co-generation, as of March 2018.
Renewable energy production has become even more urgent with more bad news coming from a study of 52 countries that says India is among the top nine countries that will struggle to keep itself cool as global warming reaches its peak.
The IEEFA study assessed the top 15 countries and markets in the world which have a high share of solar and wind energy. Denmark is ranked first with 53 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources in 2017, which is about 7.7 GW of renewable energy, followed by Southern Australia and Uruguay.
In 2016–17, Tamil Nadu acquired 14.3 per cent of its energy needs from wind and solar energy sources and produced 9.6 GW of renewable energy, more than that produced by Denmark. As of March 2017, of the total 30 GW of installed capacity across the state, variable wind and solar power accounted for 9.6 GW or 32 per cent of the total, firm hydroelectricity 2.2 GW or 7 per cent, and nuclear 8 per cent, with the remaining coming from biomass and run of river.
The second largest solar development in the world, the 2 GW Pavagada industrial solar park, is currently under construction in Karnataka. This was enabled by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission’s decision to withdraw several surcharges that were earlier levied on private companies that sold renewable power directly to consumers and not through the state electricity utility. The state government has also incentivised farmers to produce solar power. Under this scheme, farmers can use government subsidies to switch to solar-powered irrigation pumps and sell the surplus power into the grid.
The IEEFA has outlined an increase in Karnataka’s renewable capacity by 14 per cent by the year 2027–28.