Solar and Wind energy sources  had two main issues. They were expensive and were not immediately dispatchable. But at utility scale they are not expensive any more. Internationally, in Texas, U.S,  Austin Energy, a solar developer, has agreed to supply the power from their solar farm at 5 cents a kilo-watt hour. That’s Rs 3.11 a kilo-watt hour. In India, in the recent bidding for utility scale solar power plants the lowest bid was at Rs 6.51 a kilo-watt hour. Couple of years ago  the solar power prices were at Rs 10-Rs 12 a kilo-watt hour. The prices of solar and wind have essentially become very competitive compared with conventional thermal power plants. Lower prices doesn’t mean we can replace the conventional power plants anytime soon. Solar and Wind are not immediately dispatchable. Peak Solar production lasts for 4-6 hours during day and wind could be more unpredictable and is often available during night hours when there is no load in the system. While most conventional sources can start producing the power when needed. However conventional sources suffer from pollution from carbon emissions which far exceeds the cost of production. For until cheaper form of storage of energy from renewables is found, we would need both forms of energy, but with more renewables in the mix than originally sought.

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