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Renewable energy trade picks up speed in India

According to reports, Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) trade —  a mechanism to trade renewable energy including solar, wind, biomass and small hydro projects on platforms similar to stock exchanges — is slowly gaining ground in India. REC trade, which began in India in March, has already gained popularity in countries such as Australia and Japan.

 REC trade through the Indian Energy Exchange and Power Exchange India Ltd (PXIL) has till date generated R431 crore for the country’s renewable energy producers. One equals 1 MW of electricity produced from renewable resources.

“The current market size is around R30 crore per month and is expected to grow to R100 crore by the end of 2012,” Rupa Devi Singh, managing director, PXIL, told Hindustan Times. “It could even achieve a market size of more than R10,000 crore in a few years.”

REC trade on exchanges began after recommendations were issued in the National Action Plan on Climate Change by Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.

In 16 months since its introduction, 11.5% of the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources — 2,913 MW out of the total 25,409 MW — has been registered with the REC scheme.

State electricity distribution companies and public sector utilities, which are mandated to buy a certain portion of power from renewable sources under renewable purchase obligation (RPO), are the primarily drivers of the REC market.

However, the demand-supply mismatch in the energy sector is likely to hinder its growth in the short-term, said experts.

“The demand looks uncertain going forward against the rapidly increasing supply,” said Vishal Pandya who runs REConnect Energy Solutions, a firm that helps renewable energy companies in REC trade. “Despite the first quarter getting over, there is no firm development on RPO enforcement across states.”

For example, against a supply of half-a-million non-solar RECs, the demand was only about 161,000 in July, almost half of that in June. As a result prices fell from Rs. 2,400 to Rs. 2,200. Solar RECs, however, continue to be in demand, being traded at Rs. 12,800.

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