December 2021

Looking back at 2021, one of the key highlights for the power sector was India’s commitments at the COP26 climate summit at Glasgow to mitigate climate change and decarbonise the economy. India announced a net zero emissions target for 2070, backed by strong near-term goals to increase the reliance on renewables. It set a target to augment non-fossil fuel electric capacity to 500 GW (up from 450 GW) and meet 50 per cent of its energy needs from renewables by 2030.

To meet these targets, several policies are on the anvil. One such recent measure is the power ministry’s revised guidelines for flexibility in generation and scheduling of thermal/hydro power through bundling with renewable energy and storage. The nuances of these guidelines have been explored in greater detail in the current issue of the magazine.

Meanwhile, the power distribution segment continues to be in the doldrums. Discom dues have shot up to Rs 1,026 billion as of December 2021 from Rs 825 billion in April 2021. The privatisation drive for discoms in the union territories is yet to gain momentum, with progress being seen in only Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh. Notably, in the fourth attempt to turn around the power distribution segment, the results-linked Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme, with an enormous corpus of over Rs 3 trillion, was launched in 2021. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, this scheme will notably be based on an action plan worked out for each state.

Power Line’s year-end issue shares the views of power sector experts on the key hits and misses of 2021 and their outlook for the ensuing year.