India mulls inclusion of large hydroelectric power in renewable standard

India’s efforts to meet its own clean energy targets could lead the country to expand its definition of renewables to include large hydroelectric power projects.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting last week, Minister of State Piyush Goyal said “all sizes and shapes [of hydropower] shall be considered renewable energy,” which, if adopted, would lift the 25 MW cap currently used to determine whether hydro plants are considered “renewable” by the Indian government.

The move would support the country’s goal of generating 175 GW from renewable sources by 2022. Under India’s current definitions for renewables, hydro accounts for about 13% — or 43 GW — of the country’s energy mix, while an expansion to include plants over 25 MW in capacity would increase it to 28%.

“I had a study carried out by the Secretary of Power and his team which demonstrates that except for four to five countries almost universally in the world, large hydropower is considered renewable,” Goyal said, adding the decision would likely allow India to be more ambitious in its overall renewable capacity goals, with the target extended to 230 GW by 2022.

The inclusion of large hydropower is also hoped to increase developer and investor interest, which seems to have stagnated compared to India’s solar, biomass and wind sectors.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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