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Can India Shift From A Coal-based Economy To Clean Energy Regime

By Author: Nikhil Mehra
Total Articles: 33

Among the very first things the Modi-led NDA government did after coming to power in May 2014 was to put generating energy from renewable resources at the top of its agenda in a bid to reduce the country's overwhelming dependence on coal-fuelled electricity, setting itself ambitious targets in the process.

The earlier target of installing 20,000 MW of solar energy projects by 2022 has been revised five-fold to 100,000 MW, backed by 60,000 MW of wind power capacity. This refreshing change has been fully supported by corporate backing. To its credit, the new government has secured pledges from 213 companies to set up renewable energy capacity of 266 GW over the next five years.

The government's focus on renewable energy is understandable given India's massive energy import bill of approx $50 billion, that is likely to touch about $300 billion by 2030, plus India imports about 80% of its crude oil and 18% of its natural gas requirements.

India's energy woes have been accentuated in recent years by a rising plethora of issues like delayed environmental approvals, fuel shortages and land acquisition obstacles, which have made it difficult to generate enough power to keep stay on the growth path at a price that makes its manufacturing competitive.

Given the increasing demand for energy and over-reliance on coal-based thermal power, the search for clean energy alternatives has assumed significance. India is well endowed with good potential for both wind and solar power generation which is now being leveraged courtesy pro-active policies and an increasing interest from wind IPP and solar IPP in India.

Yet there continues to be a fair degree of doubt about the high targets set for renewable energy generation, given their low base. Green energy has a share of only 12.25%, or 31,692.14 MW, in the country's installed power generation capacity of 2,58,701.46 MW.

However the government is going full steam ahead and expects an investment of approx $200 billion in renewable energy projects. Furthermore, leading financial institutions have made a commitment to finance renewable energy projects totaling 78 GW, and the government plans to start five funds of $5 billion each to promote green energy sources.

India is also working to build a consortium of some 50 countries to pool research and technological advances in order to improve access to solar energy by the weakest sections of society living in remote locations.

The Modi government is pushing steadily ahead and working on a strategy meet its solar power generation targets in tandem with various state governments. Clearly, India has recognized that it needs to do a lot more in the renewable energy sector, given its immense potential to be the backbone of the country's development story.

Welspun Renewables is on a mission to power a green India and help the country meet her growing energy requirements in an efficient, environment-friendly manner.

Pro-active policies and rising demand for clean energy is now being leveraged by wind IPP and solar IPP from the private sector

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