India’s largest integrated power company, Tata Power, plans to set up 10,000 renewable microgrids by 2026, more than double the number of microgrid projects identified in the world today.
In unveiling the plan Monday, Tata Power said the scale of the endeavour will make the company the largest microgrid developer and operator in the world.
Backed by the Rockefeller Foundation, the microgriding effort would bring power to 5 million households in India — 25 million people who lack access to a reliable grid.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to transform the lives of millions of people in India by providing access to power,” said Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Providing reliable electricity to the communities that need it most is one of the best ways for us to end poverty and unleash economic opportunity in our lifetimes.”
The partners also see the project creating a microgrid model for 800 million people worldwide who lack reliable electricity — or any power at all.
Resets microgrid industry scale
The anouncement resets the world stage for the microgrid industry’s scale. The 10,000 microgrid projects are more than double those identified by Navigant Research in its second quarter 2019 tracker, which found 4,475 microgrid projects planned and installed worldwide.
Tata Power formed a new company, TP Renewable Microgrid, to build, own and operate the microgrids. The microgrids will add to the 10,763 MW of conventional and renewable generation that Tata Power owns and operates in India. The company serves 2.6 million customers in Delhi, Ajmer and Mumbai.
Benefits to remote communities in India
After the renewable microgrids are built, the company intends to help develop micro enterprise services to benefit communities.
“Once at scale, TP Renewable Microgrid Ltd. anticipates supporting 100,000 rural enterprises, creating 10,000 new green jobs, and providing irrigation for over 400,000 local farmers,” said Tata Power CEO Praveer Sinha.
The microgrids also will lower electricity costs, reduce carbon emissions by one million tons per year, and cut diesel use by more than 15 million gallons annually, according to Tata Power.
Another Rockefeller Foundation project, Smart Power India (SPI), will provide technical expertise for the microgrids. SPI has built microgrids for more than 200 villages in rural India.
The Institute for Transformative Technologies, which uses sustainable technology to create access to food, electricity, water and healthcare, also is assisting with the project.