- Solar Power
- Clean Energy
Renewables Are Taking Center Stage In India's Energy Future
Renewable and clean energy in India is targeted to reach 175 GW by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027—100 GW of which is expected to be from solar PV installations. In an interview with LiveMint a few months ago, the International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol stated, “We think India is moving to the center stage of global energy. And India will be the country with more than 20% of the solar PV worldwide.” Despite reliance on fossil-fired generation, the country has set ambitious targets and supportive infrastructure to promote clean energy through its Renewable Portfolio Obligation Act.
Renewables Represent Big Savings
Strong clean energy policy support, positive investment sentiments, regulatory measures, and COP commitments are set to help transition India’s position as a top contributor to growth in the global clean energy sector. The Indian government recently introduced the renewables generation obligation, mandating that all coal-fired power plants commissioned after a certain date also generate or contract generation of renewable energy sources. India has suffered from coal shortages and is leaning heavily on renewables and all non-coal sources to meet energy demands. The tariff policy also waives off interstate transmission charges and losses to promote the effective utilization of renewable sources. Use of renewables in place of coal is estimated to save India Rs 54,000 crore ($8.43 billion) annually.
As India aims to reduce its reliance on conventional fuels, solar will continue to be an important contributor to India’s ambitious renewable energy targets. Navigant Research expects that India will install more than 150 GW of solar PV between 2019 and 2027, although a slowdown is expected in India’s solar sector as uncertainties continue over import taxes and anti-dumping duties. Additionally, the government is facilitating land acquisition and infrastructure development as well as providing capital subsidies through viability gap finding to support renewable energy project development through its solar park scheme. In the wind sector, the shift from feed-in tariff policies to competitive power contract auctions is expected to result in a downturn of installed wind capacity. However, the market is expected to recover by 2020 to install within 3-4 GW annually.
There Is Still Ground to Cover
Whether or not India can achieve its 175 GW renewable targets by 2022 is yet to be seen, there is no denying the fact that renewable energy will be a key driver in putting India on the global energy stage. While India is running one of the most ambitious renewable capacity expansion plants there is still considerable ground to cover. It is time for India to leverage its resources—including all political and financial measures—to realize its self-sufficiency goals in the energy sector.