A Changing Energy Landscape: Could India Become the World’s Leading Clean Energy Provider?
By admin April 16, 2019

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India is currently the world’s third largest economy; a result of GDP growth amid a period of serious poverty decline. However, the country also has a large and steadily increasing population, bringing with it a growing energy demand, increasing at a rate of 3.1% per annum. Since 93% of the country’s current energy supply is met by coal, oil, and natural gas, India is also the world’s third largest carbon emitter, just behind China and the US. While discussions concerning the installation of greater generating capacity with renewable sources are ongoing, implementation may be easier said than done, as India’s energy market is based on long-term contracts that are already in place, making it highly illiquid.

Yet, in terms of resources alone, India is well-primed for a renewable industry as its solar potential is almost unparalleled globally. In fact, with 300 sunny days per year, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy predicts that it would be possible to produce the same amount of energy in one year using solar that would be needed to cover the projected energy demand for the next three decades. Additionally, recent announcements of high federal renewable targets, including 200GW of installed capacity by 2050, will serve as further encouragement to establish the industry as soon as possible. It is worth noting, though, that both the governments’ plans and predictions with regards to India’s solar abilities in the next few decades are extremely ambitious. With worldwide installed solar capacity totaling just 16.5GW, and the above production plan involving dedicating the entire surface area of a desert to solar panels, these targets are more aspirational in their goal to immediately put India at the center of global clean energy development. However, they should not be ignored as they highlight the massive potential that solar energy could have in the country.

ReNew Power, India’s largest renewable energy independent power producer, is leading the way in the country’s energy transformation. In 2014, India had a total of 3GW solar capacity installed, less than 0.5% of the estimated potential. Today, ReNew Power has 7GW capacity, of which 4.3 GW are operational and have constructed utility-scale wind and solar projects across eight states, with community initiatives in over 149 villages. Furthermore, on Monday they announced their largest solar project to date – 300MW of capacity in the southern state of Karnataka. The project will be part of the Pavagada solar power park, which is set to be the largest in the country. This new installation will add to ReNew’s 50MW capacity that is already operational at the site and will use seasonal tilt technology to increase the panels’ efficiency.

Studies confirm that ReNew is on the right track by developing India’s solar capacity, suggesting that once the industry is fully established, its long-term benefits will be huge. The benefits will span job creation, lower long-term energy costs, greater energy security, rapid scalability and numerous environmental benefits. Ultimately, India should be seen by the international community as taking significant steps to becoming one of the world’s leaders in clean energy. However, in order for the industry to thrive the way it has in Germany and Japan, for example, sustained and effective political commitment will be needed from all stakeholders, including the government. Nicholas Parker, the co-founder of Cleantech Group Inc., a Canadian firm that initiated the first cross-border India fund and participated in its first ever solar Initial Public Offering (IPO), summarizes India’s position the best, noting that: “if current calculations are right, solar will be the most competitive with fossil fuels in the next 5-10 years. Hopefully by then, we will look back and say that this [federal clean energy] plan was not audacious, but a tentative first step.”


For more information:

IEA: India Stats

India Announces Groundbreaking Solar Plan

India’s ReNew Power Commissions 300-Megawatt Solar Project

India’s Solar Power Potential Estimated At 750 GW

ReNew Power Wind and Solar Power IPP Project

Thanks for sharing !

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