In view of the global climate change and the general trend of moving away from conventional sources, India has started looking at renewable energy in a big way. In this regard, India has set an ambitious target of generating 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing G-20 leaders on a ‘circular carbon economy approach’ recently, said, “We will meet our goal of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy well before 2022. And now, we are planning to take a big step towards achieving 450 gigawatts by 2030. Hence, India would meet its Paris Accord targets easily and also exceed them.”
Prime Minister Modi went on to highlight two major initiatives spearheaded by India, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). India is encouraging a circular economy and building next-generation infrastructure such as metro networks, waterways and more, Modi added.
ISA is the fastest-growing global alliance with 88 member countries signing up so far. The alliance has plans to mobilise billions of dollars to train thousands of stakeholders, and promote research and development in renewable energy, in the process contribute to reducing carbon footprint, the Prime Minister added.
The CDRI has 18 countries and four international organisations as members. Damage to infrastructure during natural disasters has not got the attention it deserves. The economically weaker nations are especially impacted by this which makes this coalition important, Modi said, adding, India has made LED lights popular saving 38 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
India’s renewable energy capacity is the fourth largest in the world and it is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries.
India presently has a renewable energy capacity of 136 gigawatts (GW) which is about 36 per cent of our total capacity. It’s expected that by 2022, the share of renewable capacity will increase to over 220 GW, said Modi during his inaugural speech at the RE-Invest 2020.
He went on to say that over the last six years we have increased our installed renewable energy capacity by two-and-half times. During the same period, the installed solar energy capacity went up 13 times.
During the last six years, India has also become a preferred destination for investment in renewables, with nearly Rs 500,000 crore or over $64-billion investment made in the renewable energy sector.
Modi further said that he wanted to make India a global manufacturing hub in renewable energy.
We are focusing on innovative bids for generating power 24×7 from renewables, solar-wind hybrid projects have been successfully explored. Further, it’s expected that the demand for domestically-manufactured solar cells and modules is expected to be around 36 GW over the next three years.
PM Modi further stated that our policies are in line with the technology revolutions, we are proposing to launch a comprehensive national hydrogen energy mission.
“Further, we’ve decided to extend PLI to high efficiency solar modules after the success of such a move in electronic manufacturing. Major plans for deployment of renewable energy are there over the next decade which are likely to generate business prospects of around Rs 1.5 lakh crore or $20 billion per year,” Modi said.
Ladakh, the newly-created Union Territory in deep north, has got the largest solar power project built under the ‘Make in India’ initiative at Leh IAF station to provide sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuel for energy generation.
This is the largest solar project installed till date out of the targeted 300 MW in three phases for defence sectors and 14 MW for Leh region as earmarked by the New and Renewable Energy ministry.
India’s renewable energy growth is without parallel in the world with continuous support from states, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said pointing out that renewables are becoming cheaper in the country as he addressed the Chief Ministers’ Plenary session of the virtual 3rd Global RE-INVEST Summit.
India has excelled in the renewable energy space and has been operating the largest energy access expansion plan. We have connected every household, connected the whole country to one integrated grid and we are the only G20 nation which has been able to keep the temperatures within two degrees by its actions, Singh stated.
The minister was aware of the fact that renewable energy is getting cheaper in India and lauded all the chief ministers for their excellent support.
Majority of the Chief Ministers have pledged to increase their renewable energy targets and encourage local manufacturing with incentives, motivating investors in the sector as local authorities play a crucial role in India’s goal to become a global hub in the sector. Apart from the Union minister, chief ministers from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh also spoke at the 3rd edition of RE-Invest. Incidentally, these states have significant renewable energy capacities, and have announced plans to expand them further.
Speaking during the interaction, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said that investors would be pleased to know that for solar manufacturers the state would extend waivers for projects. Rajasthan has already provided exemptions in areas such as state GST, stamp duty, and land acquisition for both solar and wind projects.”
Further, Gehlot said the price of solar energy had fallen from Rs 16 per unit 20 years ago to just Rs 2 and this is expected to fall even more. “If we continue to involve all stakeholders— experts, investors, and policymakers, in the process, the rates will further go down” he said. All said and done the future of renewable energy in India is burning bright.
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Arijit Nag is a freelance journalist who writes on various aspects of the economy and current affairs.
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