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Powering India's green energy revolution

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Powering India's green energy revolution

Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently gave an outline of India's efforts towards climate justice and renewable energy at the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021. In his speech, PM Modi said India's share of non-fossil sources in installed capacity of electricity grew to 38%. He also informed the leaders that we are on track to set up 450GW of renewable energy generating capacity by 2030.

As the summit progressed, special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry said: “India is actually a red-hot investment opportunity for its clean energy transition.” It is noteworthy that India received $64 billion foreign investment in the renewable industry in last four years.

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India's progress in clean energy

India, certainly, has been making significant progress in clean and green energy. The policy-led initiatives and reforms have helped the country to ramp up its green energy capacity over a short period of time. As per the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India stands at fifth position for overall installed renewable energy capacity in the world and has the largest renewable energy expansion programme of achieving 175 GW till 2022. The energy and emissions intensity of GDP have also reduced by over 20% over the last decade.

This paradigm shift is due to the actionable measures undertaken by the Centre as well as the state governments by utilising renewable energy sources like including solar, hydro, wind, and biomass to their optimum.

Several schemes including Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Development of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Power Parks, Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar (RTS) Programme, Solar PV manufacturing, National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy, Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II, etc have contributed to the overall well-being of the environment as well as the citizens.

For instance, installation of solar panels and solar pumps reduces dependencies on the grid, diesel and other fossil fuels. Moreover, farmers can earn extra income by installing solar panels on uncultivable land, thereby saving costs and protecting the environment.

Roadmap to a green India

Moreover, India also boasts of many firsts in turning its green vision into action. The Cochin International Airport in Kerala is the first airport in the world which is entirely powered by solar energy; the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is the first ‘green' cricket stadium in the world which harnesses solar energy.

A lot of action is happening at the state level as well. States such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra are pioneers in the space of renewable energy. They have been playing leadership roles and arriving at implementable solutions by partnering with NGOs, start-ups, conglomerates, innovators and communities to power households through solar. They are also inviting partnerships from various countries for investments.

Recently, the Maharashtra government said its New Renewable Energy Policy will attract Rs 75,000-crore investment in the state. In line with the Paris Agreement, it aims to achieve 40% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.

Besides the government, many start-ups and global companies have been working in many parts of the state to implement clean measures of generating electricity. Many organisations in Pune, Kurukumbh, Patalganga and Aurangabad are innovating with solar-based products and supporting clean initiatives.

Companies such as AB InBev too are making significant contributions by taking giant strides in fulfilling their sustainability goal towards climate action. In its breweries in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and Mysore in Karnataka, the company has addressed its electricity needs through renewable means by ~13% & 70% respectively. In 2021, it plans to expand the renewable electricity procurement to its other high-consumption plant locations and maximise the procurement of electricity through renewable sources.

Despite the efforts and encouraging numbers, India still has to overcome numerous challenges in green energy such as high cost of installation, equipment manufacturing, grid connectivity in tough terrains, community-level acceptance of renewable energy, skilled workforce, and upgradation. The hurdles can be crossed through subsidies, awareness initiatives, and training manpower to handle grid integration. The private sector can also play a supporting role in energy transition and help the country in building affordable and resilient energy.

PM Modi, in his speech at the World Sustainable Development Summit 2021, had lauded private companies for the important role they are playing in promoting green energy. As we are already in the ‘Year for Action', we will soon see how increased participation from corporates will further enhance the green revolution in India.