This National Energy Conservation Day, a look at India’s efforts towards renewable energy

For an overall energy efficiency, sustainable or renewable sources of energy are important to be adopted.

While energy conservation requires individual effort, here’s a look at India’s macro efforts of undertaking renewable and sustainable energy production.

National Energy Conservation Day 2021: India marks December 14 as National Energy Conservation Day, and therefore, today is an important day to talk about energy conservation and the need for renewable energy. Energy conservation refers to the efforts made to ensure that energy is used efficiently by either using less energy for a particular constant purpose – like switching off lights and fans when not being used – or reducing the use of a particular service that uses energy – like driving less and using public transport instead. Energy conservation is a conscious, individual effort, and at a macro level, it leads to energy efficiency. The end goal of energy conservation is to reach towards sustainable energy.

In the energy hierarchy aiming to reach a stage of sustainable energy, energy efficiency is the second priority while sustainable energy production is the third priority. For an overall energy efficiency, sustainable or renewable sources of energy are important to be adopted. In totality, to reach the goal of sustainable energy for a better environment, a multi-pronged approach is required. A similar approach is being used in many European nations as well, because energy conservation and renewable energy need to go hand in hand to minimise the ill-effects of energy consumption and production on the environment.

While energy conservation requires individual effort, here’s a look at India’s macro efforts of undertaking renewable and sustainable energy production.

Current scenario of power sector in India

To understand the scenario of the power sector in India, Financial Express Online spoke to Abhishek Nath, Sector Head – Energy & Power sector at the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), a Bengaluru-based think tank working towards sustainability. He said, “India is the third-largest electricity producer in the world. The nation has added an overall capacity of about 392 GW into its electricity grid, as of November 2021. Thermal, nuclear, and renewable energy systems are the major sources for generating India’s electricity. The installed power generation capacities for thermal, nuclear, and renewable energy technologies hold shares of 60% (234.69 GW), 2% (6.78 GW), and 38% (150.54 GW), respectively.”

Renewable energy in India

According to data collected by IBEF from various rankings and sources, the renewable energy sector in India is the fourth most attractive renewable energy market globally. Apart from that, in terms of wind energy installation capacity, India was ranked fourth, while it was placed fifth in solar energy installation capacity. The overall renewable energy installation capacity of India placed it at the fourth position in 2020.

“India has achieved a milestone by crossing 150 GW of renewable energy (RE) capacity. As of November 2021, the overall RE installed capacity stood at 150.54 GW against the ambitious RE target of 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030,” Nath said.

Installed capacity in India: How much thermal and renewable energy is installed in India?

The Union Ministry of Power’s Central Electricity Authority releases a monthly report on installed capacity in India. As per the November 2021 report, India has a total installed capacity of 392.01 GW. Of this, thermal energy accounts for 234.69 GW. Thermal energy capacity is further divided into coal energy (202.66 GW), lignite energy (6.62 GW), gas energy (24.89 GW) and diesel energy (0.51 GW). Nuclear energy capacity in India stands at 6780 MW or 6.78 GW).

Renewable energy capacity in India stands at 150.54 GW, of which large hydro energy accounts for 46.51 GW, small hydro projects account for 4.83 GW, wind power for 40.03 GW, solar energy for 48.56 GW, biomass power or cogeneration for 10.17 GW and waste to energy for 0.43 GW.

“The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set an ambitious RE target of 175 GW by 2022, which is further extended to 450 GW by 2030 to promote the use of solar, wind, and hydro energy. Additionally, MNRE has taken several initiatives (as explained below) to accelerate the growth of RE sources, thereby reducing the dependency on fossil fuels,” Nath said, talking about the steps India is taking to switch to more sustainable methods of energy.

Steps taken by India to promote renewable energy

Talking about the measures for promoting solar energy, Nath said, “Several schemes have been launched to boost the growth of solar energy across the nation, such as the Solar Park Scheme, VGF Schemes, CPSU Scheme, Defence Scheme, Canal Bank & Canal Top Scheme, Bundling Scheme, and Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Scheme. Along with these schemes, different policy measures have also been announced such as the declaration of trajectory for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) including solar, waiver of inter-state transmission system (ISTS) charges, wavier of losses for inter-state sale of solar and wind energy, particularly for the projects to be executed up to March 2022, must run status, issuance of guidelines for purchase of solar energy through a tariff-based competitive bidding procedure, standards for the deployment of solar photovoltaic systems, provision for rooftop solar and guidelines for the development of smart cities, amendments in building bye-laws for the mandatory provision of rooftop solar for the new constructions, infrastructure status for solar projects, raising tax-free solar bonds, and providing loans for a long period from multilateral agencies.”

“Wind projects have been promoted across the country through private sector investment by offering financial incentives such as accelerated depreciation (AD) benefits. Apart from this, the generation based incentive (GBI) scheme was also available for projects commissioned before 31 March 2017. Additionally, the Government has started other initiatives such as providing technical support comprising wind resource assessment and identification of suitable locations with the help of the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai, wavier of the inter-state transmission charges and losses for the wind projects to be commissioned by March 2022, and issuance of guidelines for the purchase of wind energy through a tariff-based competitive bidding procedure,” he added.

As far as the hydro energy is concerned, he said, “The Government is providing different physical and financial incentives to attract investments in the commercial small hydro projects (SHPs), apart from subsidising the state governments to set up SHPs. Also, MNRE is strongly focusing on encouraging the use of innovative and effective designs of water mills for electricity generation and implementation of micro hydel projects up to 100 KW for rural electrification. These projects are executed by involving local organisations such as water mill associations, cooperative societies, registered NGOs, village energy cooperatives, and state nodal agencies.”

Future of renewable energy power in India

A research by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) last year said that India’s renewable energy capacity could be sufficient to meet most of the energy needs in the country by 2040, which would lead to a reduction in emissions as well as costs. It said that 80% of the anticipated energy demand in India in 2040 could be met with renewable energy, and at that stage, the carbon dioxide emissions would reduce by 85%. Moreover, the overall cost for power has also been estimated to decline by US$50 billion.

“RE could play a major role in decarbonising India’s energy and power sector as costs of RE systems are falling and the technology is continuously improving. The government is cooperative, and there are tremendous opportunities for investment. However, to accelerate the adoption of RE, the government would have to consider several factors such as developing favourable policy regimes and regulatory frameworks, providing financial incentives and capital subsidies, and streamlining approvals and clearance procedures through a single-window clearance mechanism,” Nath added.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.