While Tamil Nadu has India’s largest share of renewable energy mostly due to its 40% share of the installed wind energy in India, Gujarat has rapidly expanded its wind and solar energy portfolio. Its solar subsidy scheme has been massively successful and now the state accounts for almost 60% of the total solar power capacity in India. Even in wind energy, Gujarat has been attracting massive investments into both wind farms and wind equipment manufacturing. Now the state has also decided to foray into geothermal energy by building a pilot plant in the Cambay area, between the Narmada and Tapi regions. Note geothermal energy remains a poor cousin to its bigger renewable relatives wind and solar energy. While there is 10 GW of geothermal capacity installed worldwide, wind and solar energy installed 45 and 30 GW in just 2011 alone. The reason is that geothermal energy has a long gestation time and the result of drilling wells is not always successful. Gujarat plans to build a 10 GW capacity if the pilot is successful (I am skeptical of the 10 GW plan though the initiative is encouraging).
Read more about Geothermal Energy Advantages and Disadvantages.
Geothermal Energy in India a non starter till now
Geothermal Energy in India like other places in the world is moving at a snail’s pace due to project development and financing problems. Geothermal Energy in India is non existent with not a single functioning plant as of 2011. However, the potential of this energy resource is immense which can be seen as 24% of Iceland’s energy demand is being met by geothermal energy. Geothermal Energy possesses one attribute that the others do not. Its 24 hour generation capability is a massive plus, compared to the intermittent nature of Wind and Solar Energy. However long project development time and large capital investments have deterred fast growth in geothermal energy in the world. Though some countries like Iceland, Indonesia, Philippines and USA have a strong geothermal energy industry.
The state government is planning to explore the feasibility of geothermal energy “We are meeting a delegation from Norwegian government to make a beginning of this untapped resource of energy next wee,” said T Harinarayana, director, Gujarat Energy Research and Management ( GERMI).
Officials said that there is a potential to generate electricity through geothermal resources, which are available in plenty in the geothermal zone located in Cambay between Narmada and Tapi river. If the pilot project is successful, the state may plan generation of 10,000MW in a decade.