India’s Alternative Power Future: Hydropower a Dying Source?

Hydropower has been a key renewable source of energy for India, evidenced by an increase in cumulative installed capacity from 26,269 megawatts (MW) in 2001 to 39,404 MW in 2009. However, due to increasing support for other renewable sources, wind, solar and biomass power installations are on rise.

Stronger winds

Wind power installed capacity in India grew from 1,407MW in 2001 to 10,925 MW in 2009, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.2%. By 2020, cumulative wind power capacity is expected to reach 32,200 MW, demonstrating a CAGR of 10.3% from 2009.

In terms of generation, wind is second largest renewable source of energy in India, after hydropower. Wind power generation in the country increased at a CAGR of 30.5%, from 2,271 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2001 to 19,141 GWh in 2009. By 2020, wind power generation is expected to reach 56,414 GWh.

Solar power continues to shine

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity increased at a CAGR of 26.0% during 2001–2009, from 28 MW in 2001 to 178 MW in 2009. By 2020, the Jawaharlal Solar Mission targets implemented by the Government of India will see cumulative installed solar capacity soar to an estimated 18,788 MW, demonstrating an impressive CAGR growth of 52.7% during 2009–2020.

Biomass generation set to swell

Biomass power installation in the country increased from 349 MW in 2001 to 2,450 MW in 2009, registering a CAGR of 27.6%. By 2020, biomass power installed capacity is expected to reach 7,286 MW, demonstrating a CAGR of 10.4% from 2009. In addition, biomass power generation in the country grew from 917 GWh in 2001 to 7,654 GWh in 2009, at a CAGR of 30.4%. By 2020, biomass power generation is likely to reach at 41,489 GWh, after recording a CAGR of 16.6%.

Hydropower growth to slow

While hydropower generation capacity in India is expected to reach 68,243 MW by 2020, the share of hydropower in the total renewable energy sources market is expected to decline to nearly 56.7% from its level of 79.39% in 2009. Despite this, in absolute terms, the contribution of hydropower will increase from 106,189 GWh in 2009 to 160,724 GWh in 2020.


Further Research




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