Mint Explainer: India’s Race to a Clean Energy Future | Whuff News

India’s story so far in renewables

The government is committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2070. By 2030, India plans to meet half of its electricity needs from renewable energy. The goal is backed by action, with India already among the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world. It is also among the top countries in overall installed capacity for wind and solar.

About 40% of India’s aggregate electricity generation comes from renewables, and the government hopes to nearly triple that to 450 GW by 2030, with 60% of that coming from solar.

By 2030, India plans to meet half of its electricity needs from renewable energy.

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By 2030, India plans to meet half of its electricity needs from renewable energy.

Solar capacity has increased more than 17-fold to 59 GW since Modi came to power in 2014. India already has 41 GW of wind power, the fourth largest in the world, and the Center has set a wind power target of 140 GW (out of 450 GW) by 2030.

The role of the private sector in renewables

More than half of the country’s installed capacity, mostly thermal, is generated by public sector entities. But India’s renewables march is led by private developers such as Adani Green, JSW, Tata Power and Renewable Power, all of which have plans to increase capacity.

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Adani Group plans to invest $50 billion in renewables by 2030, while JSW hopes to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Tata Power, which operates large thermal power plants, has decided to build new coal-fired plants, and aims to be carbon neutral. for the next three decades. Reliance Industries also plans to invest billions of dollars in solar projects.

So far, PSU power maharatnas have been very conservative in their renewable energy investments. It is estimated that their investment in renewables (excluding large hydro projects) is a tenth of their investment in fossil fuel projects.

However, all this may change soon. India’s largest power utility NTPC plans to have a renewable portfolio of about 32,000 MW, or about a quarter of its total capacity. Currently, NHPC is planning solar projects in Odisha and Telangana, to add to its giant hydropower footprint, while NLC’s mining and power generation company is eyeing wind and solar projects. Even Coal India plans to build renewable energy and will set up more rooftop and ground-mounted solar power projects adding up to 3,000 MW by FY24.

Incentives from the government, the market

The government has been promoting domestic manufacturing and the development of renewable energy sources. A product-related incentive (PLI) program will include one 35,000 crore for domestic production of solar photovoltaic cells and modules, reducing dependence on Chinese imports. For funded programs like the Rooftop Solar Program Phase-II for rural households, it is imperative to get solar cells and modules from local sources. A Basic Charge has also been imposed on the purchase of solar cells. In the air sector, some assembly and manufacturing should be done in India.

Meanwhile, the government’s commitment to renewables has boosted the stock prices of many companies in the sector. Most of them have huge debts and weak incomes. However, the market is clearly thinking long-term, as the world makes the transition to clean energy.

Renewables versus fossil energy

Average solar fees have dropped by about 70% since 2010, and some studies have shown that renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels in India and China, unlike many other parts of the world. The modularity and cost of the sector and the reverse competitive auction of projects, with well-funded companies that do not come into conflict, explain this.

Also, rooftop solar power has great future potential in a sun-drenched country like India. It’s not too expensive either: A 1 kw rooftop solar system costs 50,000-90,000, and the government provides a subsidy of 40% up to a capacity of 3 kW.

However, challenges remain in the mass adoption of solar energy. Domestic production of solar cells and modules is still limited in India, due to limited infrastructure and lack of skilled labor. Wind has lagged behind in the solar sector, with capacity only doubling since 2014, due to the difficulty of acquiring land in windy areas, and inadequate infrastructure to generate electricity. A highly competitive bidding process for projects has pushed down fees to unsustainable levels, and many developers are concentrating on a handful of countries with high wind speeds.

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