India gets serious about microgrids

The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s draft national policy for minigrids and microgrids aims to create up to 500 megawatts of capacity over the next five years for rural electrification. The policy provides some much-needed certainty to the sector and includes things such as single-window clearance, grid connectivity and pricing visibility. States such as Uttar, Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha, where electrification rates are low, are expected to benefit from the policy.

With the policy in the draft stage, regulators may face a challenge in pushing the changes through quickly enough to meet the Prime Minister’s target of providing 24/7 power for all Indians by 2019. At the same time, India is in the middle of a program to connect 250 million people without access to the grid, as well as others in the country who face power shortages. India’s US$11b rural electrification program includes a target of delivering power to 18,452 villages by 2018. Of these 14,204 can be served by grid extensions, and the remaining 3,449 need off-grid power.

India’s off-grid solar power recently benefited from a US-India agreement expected to bring in up to US$1b in investment.

For more information on India’s draft policy for minigrids and microgrids, see full article.