KOLKATA: India’s renewable energy capacity will gallop ahead and multiply almost six-fold in the next decade, while the share of coal-fired plants in the energy mix will fall to 32% from the current 46% as growth in thermal generation will be far slower, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has estimated.

Total share of non-fossil-fuel plants, which includes solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear, will jump to 65% of the total projected capacity of 831,502 MW from 36.6% of the current installed capacity of 356,817 MW, according to CEA’s report on ‘Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for the year 2029-30’.

Coal will have a higher share of actual electricity generated because of consistent supply unlike wind and solar, which are erratic. But in generation also, coal’s share will fall from 77% to 52% by 2030, it said. Electricity supply from renewable will increase four-fold to 36%, it said.

Coal and lignite plants currently have a total capacity of 200,704 MW, running at 64% utilisation. In 2029-30, it is likely to rise to 266,827 MW but the capacity utilisation is projected to be a maximum of 55%, on days when green energy supply is relatively low.

Thermal plants would have to run at an even lower utilisation level of 40% on days of heavy generation by renewable energy plants. On such days, green generation would also have to be cut by up to 17%, it said. Gas-fired power plant capacity will be slightly lower than the current 24,937 MW by 2029-30.

The projected mix will be achieved through a five-fold rise in renewable generation capacities, including a near 10-fold rise in solar power capacity, a three-fold rise in wind power capacity, and a 1.5-times rise in nuclear power generation capacity in the next 10 years.

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