Assam Has Vast Renewable Energy Potential, Needs Policy Overhaul: Experts

New research released by the International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST) sheds light on Assam’s renewable energy (RE) generation potential and the imperative for policy enhancement and institutional capacity building to facilitate large-scale RE expansion.

The research reports, titled ”Assam Renewable Energy Potential Reassessment: Focus of Solar, Wind and Biomass”, ”Enabling Renewable Energy Growth in Assam”, and ”Impact of ISTS Waiver on Economics of Solar Power Procurement in Assam”, were unveiled during a multi-stakeholder dialogue organized by iFOREST in Guwahati’s Hotel Vivanta on March 27, 2024.

According to the findings, Assam possesses a significantly higher RE generation potential than previously estimated by central government agencies. This potential is deemed sufficient to support a low-carbon pathway to meet the state’s escalating electricity demand. However, the research underscores the need for policy tightening and institutional capacity building to overcome existing limitations to growth.

Bibhu Bhuyan, Managing Director of Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited (APGCL), highlighted the utility’s commitment to green growth, with plans to expand generation capacity to 2,000 MW by 2030, 92% of which will be from renewable sources.

However, iFOREST’s research indicates the need for accelerated RE capacity expansion. Assam’s electricity demand is projected to double by 2030, necessitating nearly 3,000 MW of RE capacity by 2026-27 and 5,000 MW by 2031-32 to meet renewable energy obligations (RPOs) and ensure energy security.

While the official assessment by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) estimates Assam’s RE potential at 14.4 GW, iFOREST’s reassessment suggests a significantly higher capacity. To fully harness this potential and stimulate RE investments, structural challenges limiting sector growth must be addressed.

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