The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has played a significant role in promoting renewable energy development. Incentives like accelerated depreciation and programmes like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) have given a fillip to the wind and solar industries.

The bidding for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects under the second round of Phase I of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) yielded unexpectedly low tariffs, ranging from 7.49 per unit to Rs 9.41 per unit. While the results have been welcomed by some industry observers as an indication of the solar power sector inching towards grid parity, there are many who express serious doubts about the financial viability of projects awarded at such low tariffs. Sector experts discuss the implications of the JNNSM bid results.

Before the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010, not much attention was paid to solar radiation assessment in India. The country had 45 meteorological stations managed by the Indian Meteorological Department to operate as weather observatories, which were not equipped to collect data on direct normal irradiance (DNI), a measure of solar radiation received per unit area, along with weather parameters at various locations.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) released the draft Terms and Conditions for Tariff Determination from Renewable Energy Sources Regulations, 2012 in November 2011, specifying technical parameters for tariff determination for renewable energy projects set up during the Twelfth Plan period. The draft regulations are a welcome step as they offer tariff visibility for the upcoming plan period and, therefore, help renewable energy developers in determining future expansion strategies.

India's estimated small hydro potential is over 15,000 MW. As of August 31, 2011, the segment had achieved a grid-connected capacity of 3,153.93 MW. The capacity addition target for 2011-12 is 350 MW, of which 111.3 MW had been added as of August 2011.

Biomass resources have significant potential for improving the rural energy access and economic scenarios in a country like India. These are the only sources of renewable energy available across the length and breadth of the country, thereby providing a local resource base for rural energy availability. Practically half of the income generated from the sale of biomass-based power goes back to farmers.

So far, Rajasthan has accounted for 80 per cent of the total project allocation under the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission (JNNSM). The state has assigned top priority to stepping up private investments in solar power and has taken several steps in this direction. Rajasthan also has high potential for the development of wind energy and the state government is in the final stages of drafting its wind policy.

Increasing urbanisation and industrialisation has increased the amount of waste generated, leading to a greater need for scientific waste management. Due to the presence of high organic matter in industrial and, specifically, urban waste products, generating power from waste is a potential solution to the problem of both waste management and clean energy generation.

Geothermal power continues to be one of the least exploited renewable energy segments in India. Almost the entire estimated potential of about 10,600 MW remains unutilised except a few pilot installations for power generation and direct heat transfer. India is yet to establish its first commercial geothermal power plant.

India has abundant bioenergy resources and although the segment has made progress in the past few years, less than 10 per cent of the total potential has been achieved so far. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) expects the launch of the long awaited National Bioenergy Mission (NBEM) to provide a platform for achieving this potential by providing an enabling environment for large-scale biomass-based capacity addition during the Twelfth and Thirteenth plan periods.