10 GW in new renewable energy capacity through implementation of micro and mini grids in India, according to new Ministry plan

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced plans to set up 10 GW renewable energy capacity through implementation of micro and mini grids. The plan, still in a state of proposal, calls for setting up small-scale solar, wind, hydro and biomass projects.

According to the proposal, mini grids will be linked to installed capacity of more than 10 kW while a micro grid shall have projects with cumulative capacity of less than 10 kW.

At an average plant size of 50 kW the government expects that 500 MW would be commissioned through 10,000 projects in the first go. The government targets 10 GW operational capacity over the next 5 years.

The micro and mini renewable energy grid plan will provide huge support to the government plan to provide electricity access to every household in the country by 2019.

Last mile connectivity through conventional technology and measures may not be the most time and financially efficient method. This is where independent small-scale renewable energy grids come in. The capital investment for such projects will be very low and results would be delivered in a short period of time. Additionally, the main transmission network will also be shielded from the potential adverse impacts of the intermittent injection of renewable energy.

India has a very ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW operation capacity by March 2022. To achieve this target the government is working on multiple fronts. Apart from the several phases and tranches under the National Solar Mission, aimed at utility-scale solar power projects, the government is also working on an expansive rooftop-solar power scheme. The MNRE recently launched a fresh draft policy for expansion of onshore wind energy infrastructure. The government is also looking to open up the offshore wind energy sector soon.