Being the world’s second-most populous country, it is understandable that the topic of power generation and distribution should be a primary issue, particularly when it comes to sustainability. India is a country that is geographically positioned in a way that it receives 300 sunny days a year. This is enough to realize the potential of renewable sources of energy for generating electricity and power.
The primary objective of deploying renewable energy in India is to mitigate climate change, improve access to clean energy, improve energy security, and advance economic development. In the present scenario, the Indian power sector is at a critical juncture of its evolution, with many domestic manufacturers and private producers playing a substantial role in numerous capacities and significant dependence on markets, subject to regulation.
The State of Renewables in India
The primary application of new alternative energy sources like solar and wind is in the area of electricity generation. Solar photovoltaic electric energy, solar thermal energy, and wind energy have the potential to contribute significantly to India’s power sector. Wind power can be generated on a cost-competitive basis from the energy potential of on-shore wind flow, but only at a low-load factor of about 20%.
Solar thermal power is a low-cost alternative but mainly feasible for water heating. Solar photovoltaic power, on the other hand, is expensive. In 2013, the cost per unit for solar photovoltaic power was in the range of ₹15-₹20/kWh. Over the years, it has reduced, and a study by the US-based Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and TERI has revealed that by 2030, the cost of solar will be around ₹2.3-₹2.6 kWh, and it may fall to ₹1.9-₹2.3 kWh. Most importantly, the cost of storage will fall by about 70%.
Previously, the development in the use of renewable energy sources was poor.
- The inadequacy of institutional support at the grass-root level, lack of entrepreneurship in the deployment of technology and capital
- Poor focus on management and training for maintaining and using such new technologies
- Lack of awareness among the rural communities and high cost
All these factors have been the primary barriers preventing the nation from exploring the available options.
But, in recent years, India has made a dramatic comeback in the renewable energy sector by making all the villages in the country ‘electrified.’ Also, the Indian Government has already set an ambitious target of achieving 100 gigawatts by 2022.
The following are the top 10 states in India with the highest solar-powered capacity:
- Karnataka – 5,328 MW
- Telangana – 3,501 MW
- Rajasthan – 3,081 MW
- Andhra Pradesh – 2,829 MW
- Tamil Nadu – 2.055 MW
- Gujarat – 1,607 MW
- Madhya Pradesh – 1,526 MW
- Maharashtra – 1,311 MW
- Uttar Pradesh – 875 MW
- Punjab – 845 MW
The Need to Harness Clean Energy
India is the 4th largest carbon emitter in the world, with a population of over 1.3 billion people. Its power sector contributes significantly to the same. Climate change concerns are putting world leaders and governments in a dilemma as to what can be done to mitigate the risks. The decision-makers have to create a detailed blueprint of sustainable and clean power for everybody. However, in the last decade, India has made some promising developments in the renewable energy sector.
India signed the Paris Climate Accord, and as per the commitments made, India has to work towards reducing its carbon emission intensity. The country is working towards generating 40% of its installed electric power capacity by 2030 from renewable sources of energy. The goal is to shift from coal-based electricity generation to non-fossil fuels.
However, it is a challenging feat to achieve. A study shows that by 2022, India has to generate 100 gigawatts from solar energy, 60 gigawatts from wind energy, 10 gigawatts from biomass, and 5 gigawatts from hydropower to achieve these challenging statistics.
The Future of Renewable Energy in India
The future looks bright for the Indian power sector as nearly 293 domestic and international companies have committed to producing 266 gigawatts of solar power, wind power, biomass, and hydropower over the next decade with an investment potential of ₹15 trillion. So, we can only expect immense opportunities in the generation of power.