At the International Solar Alliance in Paris held in 2015, it was Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision to depend on the Sun to power our future and bring solar energy completely into our homes and lives.
India is one of the largest producers of energy from renewable sources, occupying the 5th global position for overall installed renewable energy (RE) capacity. Including large scale hydro-electricity power, RE accounts for more than 34% of the 347.37 GW of the total installed power capacity in India. The country has attained global 4th and 5th positions in wind and solar power installed capacities with a total of 101.83 billion units of power being generated during 2017-18 from renewable energy.
Amidst the growing international carbon footprint menace, the need for “clean/renewable” energy is unquestionable. With UN jointly bestowing PM Modi with the 2018 ‘Champion of the Earth’ award for leadership in promoting solar energy, India’s emerging leadership in renewable energy has received international recognition.
India has pledged that by 2030, 40% of the installed power generation capacity shall be based on clean sources. To that end, 175 GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed by 2022; 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro power. As a further fillip to this sector, Government has permitted 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the automatic route in the renewable energy sector.
US-based think-tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has indicated that out of 10 of the world’s largest 74.75 GW solar parks, 5 are under construction in India. While the world’s largest solar power plant, Bhadla Solar Park is being constructed in Rajasthan with a capacity of 2255 MW, the Pavagada Solar Park with 2000 MW will be the second largest solar power plant upon completion.
India was the first country in the world in the 1980s to set up the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to steward its non-conventional energy resources and is presently running one of the largest and most ambitious renewable capacity expansion programs in the world. India’s ambitious target shall make it one of the world leaders in renewable energy to emerge as a “Sunshine Country” as per International Solar Alliance’s project which promotes the growth and development of solar power internationally amongst over 120 countries.
Rural India with its large open landmass is also becoming a hotspot for renewable energy. Embracing it brings two immediate benefits. While precious Government finances on capex shall be saved in extending power grids to rural areas, it leaves a larger consumer surplus in the hands of villagers as they are saved the high expenses on non-renewal fossil fuels, like diesel. Success stories abound Dharnai village in Bihar has already earned the distinction of becoming India’s 1st solar powered village with its Greenpeace aided solar-powered 100 KW micro-grid. In 2018, Biomass power has already reached 8.3 GW of installed capacity with over 3.98 million family type biogas plants.
The perils of CO2 increase and rising global temperature, if uncontrolled through appropriate actions, will surely prove to be a challenge for the existence of the human race. RE sources can meet our energy demands, ensuring sustainable development. Though presently RE is capex intensive, its wider adoption shall reduce costs. Every rupee invested in RE shall ensure sustainable development, whereas investments in traditional energy sources will push us closer towards extinction! India’s potential for tapping RE sources are huge and it should be our endeavour to harness newer technologies for a cleaner, greener and safer place for our future generation.
To lend further support to the initiatives in the space of renewable energy by the Government of India, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has constituted three separate committees on Solar, Wind & Bioenergy. The CII National Committee on Solar Energy focusses on reforming the distribution sector; rationalising tariffs; creating roadmap for deployment of solar rooftop in States; to reduce duties imposed on solar modules, boost solar manufacturing and promote clear and transparent bidding guidelines to increase volume as well as investments in the sector. The CII National Committee on Wind focusses on issues relating to decreasing the cost of transportation of wind products domestically as well as internationally; ensuring that States honour the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and comply with their renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) and to diversify the wind auctions to increase volumes in other wind rich States. Of-late, this Committee is also focusing to enhance the Off-Shore wind potential in India. On Bioenergy, the Committee focusses on advocating greater use of biofuels in commercial and private transportation to achieve the Ministry’s target of going beyond 10 per cent blending; incentivize 2G Ethanol production technologies and chemicals and focused on policies, processes, financing and marketing of initiatives to convert agricultural and municipal waste into bio fuels/ bio gas and other viable / useful by-products.