Where does India stand in the renewable energy race?

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renewable energy

Introduction :

Renewable energy is booming as technology advances, lowering costs and delivering on the promise of a clean energy future. Hydropower is the largest alternate energy source for electricity in every country though wind energy is soon expected to take over the lead. For example, American solar and wind generation is breaking records and being integrated into the national electricity grid without compromising reliability. India is also not behind to meet its commitment to ensuring affordable, clean and reliable energy for its growing population. This means renewables are increasingly displacing dirty fossil fuels in the power sector offering the benefit of lower emissions of carbon and other types of pollution.

So, What exactly is renewable and non-renewable energy?… A renewable energy source means energy that is sustainable, something that can’t run out or is endless like the sun. When you hear the term “alternative energy,” you are most likely thinking of renewable energy sources. It refers to energy sources that are not as non-sustainable as the most commonly used non-sustainable sources, such as coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels. Renewable energy, also known as clean energy, is derived from natural sources or processes that are continuously replenished, such as solar, hydro, wind, tidal, geothermal, and biomass energy.  Non-renewable energy includes coal, gas and oil most cars, trains and planes use non-renewable energy. They are made by generating energy by burning fossil fuels. India has increased its renewable power generation capacity as the world shifts to renewable energy.

Total Renewable Energy Capacity in India from 2009 to 2019 (in megawatts)

The total alternate energy capacity in the south Asian country of India was over 128,000MW in 2019, up from about 118,000MW in 2018. The total alternate energy capacity of the entire world was over 2 million megawatts in 2019.

By 2030, the Indian government wants to have 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity.  For comparison, the country’s total energy generation capacity today is about 380 gigawatts out of which 90 gigawatts are of renewable energy not including large hydropower stations. The Indian renewable energy market is the world’s 4th most attractive renewable energy market.  India was ranked 5th in wind power, 5th in solar power and 4th in renewable power installed capacity. Installed renewable power generation capacity has gained pace over the past few years posting a compound annual growth rate of 17.33% between the financial year 2016-2020. The sector has become more appealing to investors as a result of increased government support and improved economics. As India looks to meet its energy demand on its own which is expected to reach 15,820 terawatt hour by 2040, renewable energy is set to play an important role. The government is aiming to achieve 227 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity including 114 gigawatts of solar capacity edition and 67 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2022 more than its 175-gigawatt target as per the Paris agreement. 

Market size of india 

India’s renewable energy sector is expected to attract investment worth US 80 billion dollars in the next 4 years. As of November 30th, 2020, the installed renewable energy capacity stood at 90.39 gigawatts of which solar and wind comprised 36.91 gigawatts and 38.43 gigawatts respectively. Biomass and small hydropower constituted 10.14 gigawatts and 4.74 gigawatts respectively. By December 2019, 15,100 megawatts of wind power projects were issued of which projects of 12,162 megawatts capacity have already been awarded. Power generation from renewable energy sources in India reached 127.01 billion units in the financial year 2020 with a potential capacity of 363 gigawatts and with policies focused on the renewable energy sector. Northern India is expected to become a renewable energy hub in the country. 

Some initiatives by the government of India to boost India’s renewable energy sector are as follows: 

The government is committed to increased use of clean energy sources and is currently working on a number of large-scale sustainable power projects as well as heavily promoting green energy. 

  • In December 2020, SJVN Limited, public sector undertakings under the ministry of power entered into a memorandum of understanding with Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited( IREDA)., a public sector undertakings under the ministry of new and renewable energy to provide its services to SJVN Limited for green energy projects. SJVN Ltd. is developing 100MW Dholera Solar Power Project and 100MW Raghanesda Solar Power Project in Gujarat.
  • In November 2020, Ladakh got the largest solar power project set up under the central government’s Make in India initiative at Leh Indian air force station with a capacity of 1.5MW. The project namely the provision of a solar photovoltaic power plant has been completed within 12 months before the completion deadline of March 31st, 2021.
  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings under the ministries of power and new and renewable energy, signed a memorandum of understanding on November 17th, 2020, to discuss the rollout of India’s first convergence project in the state of Goa.  In the state of Goa, it is the country’s first project to generate green energy for rural and agricultural use, and it is in line with the international solar alliance, a government of India initiative.
  • In October 2020, the government announced a plan to set up an inter-ministerial committee under NITI Ayog to forefront research and study on energy modelling. The India Energy Modeling Forum, which was jointly launched by NITI Ayog and the US Agency for International Development, will benefit from this, as well as a steering committee.
  • In August 2020, the government announced plans to offer land near its ports to companies for building solar equipment factories. India plans to add 30GW of renewable energy capacity along a desert on its western borders such as Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • In November 2020, Sunsource energy announced that it will develop a 4MW grid-connected floating solar PV power project along with a 2MW battery energy storage system in Andaman and Nicobar islands which was won in a tender bid with the Solar Energy Corporation of India. Once commissioned it will be one of India’s largest floating plus storage project in Andaman which will, in turn, reduce the existing reliance on diesel. The project will be situated at the reservoir of Kalpong river, Kalpong hydroelectric project dam in North Andaman.
  • In November 2020, the Airport’s Authority of India(AAI) signed a memorandum of understanding with NTPC and Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, an NTPC subsidiary to promote the use of electric vehicles and set up solar power plants at its airports.
  • In October 2020, Patel Engineering announced that it has won an order worth US 211.15 million dollars to build the 2000MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Adani Group aims to become the world’s largest solar power company by 2025 and the biggest renewable energy firm by 2030. The assets of Adani Group stands today at over 2.5GW. This is expected to more than double growth touching 18GW by 2025.
  • The government of India has announced plans to implement a US 238 million dollar national mission on advanced ultra-supercritical technologies for cleaner coal utilization and setting up two centres of excellence on clean coal technologies at US 5 million each. In its quest for cleaner fuels, a national mission on methanol and dimethyl ether is being mounted. A new centre on solar photovoltaic thermal storage and solar fuels research has been approved at US 5 million dollars. The government is committed to increased use of clean energy sources and is already undertaking various large-scale sustainable power projects and promoting green energy heavily. In addition, renewable energy has the potential to create many employment opportunities at all levels, especially in rural areas.
  • By 2023, about 5000 compressed biogas plants will be installed across India. Biogas is a renewable energy source for the local grid, providing both electricity and heat.  The waste can be converted into a biofertilizer and spread directly onto fields. It has considerable environmental advantages less emission of the greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Biogas itself can be used interchangeably with natural gas as fuel. Overall it is environmental Friendly recirculation of organic waste from industry and households and also reduced costs for artificial Fertilizers.
  • By 2040, it is expected that renewable energy will generate around 49% of total electricity, thanks to the use of more efficient batteries to store electricity, which will reduce the cost of solar energy by 66% when compared to current costs.
  • As of April 2020, the private sector in India had the highest installed clean energy capacity with approximately 83,000MW. Using renewable energy instead of coal will save $8.43 billion per year.  Alternate energy will account for 55% of the total installed power capacity by 2030 as per the central electricity authority estimates by 2029 to 2030, the share of renewable energy generation would increase from 18 to 44% while thermal is expected to reduce from 78% to 52%.

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