Sunday, 28 February 2016

Renewable Energy Status in India

With more than 20% of the Indian population or one in every five persons are living without any access to electricity (World Bank Indicator). The Indian government is working on developing various policies to develop renewable energy projects for both investors and land owners who provide their land to public sector for harnessing the energy. According to current power scenario, India has installed 34.35 GW of Renewable energy which produces approximately 7% of electricity. 

Source: MNRE, GoI ; CEA Statistics, GEF National Workshop in India • MNRE 

With the current policies and plans in place, one can be sure that India is on the verge of becoming solar and wind hub. Presently, India has installed the capacity of 22.2 GW of wind energy holding the 5th position globally; and 11th position with the capacity of 3.3 GW of solar energy.  According to various references, India has been expanding its solar network in every sector. For ex : Andhra Pradesh (AP) police department has collaborated with New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of AP (NREDCAP) to install solar panels at 118 police stations in AP. Various states in India are directing the administration to harness the maximum possible energy from renewable sources. Solar energy has also brought the hope of happiness in the lives of people of Koraput district where villagers have been living in the darkness for decades. Village officials said that people are safe and feel more confident with lights. And it is expected that administration will expand this network in neighbouring remote villages. In the recent, Union budget are planning to give subsidy to farmers to switch to solar water pumps. This will reduce the pressure on farmers to depend on diesel -engine pumpsets and ensures the continuous supply of energy.

Moreover Modi government in its bid to achieve maximum energy through renewable energy, has collaborated with many private and public companies to speed up the process of sustainable development by developing cost effective and energy efficient products. It is estimated that power requirement will be increased by 200% at the end of 2030 (GEF National Workshop in India • MNRE). And Indian government plans to harness approximately 175 GW from renewable sources. Although if the government wants to achieve this target by 2022, it will have to focus strongly on infrastructure, land management, public-private partnership, and land owners. 
One of the biggest issues faced by power sector is the massive financial debt of billion dollars by state utilities which is also preventing them to buy the additional share of renewable energy, despite the favorable policies and subsidies for stakeholders at every level. The government will also face some serious technical challenges in maintaining the solar grids and wind farms as the energy generated from these technologies depend on the climate variations. The Indian government would have to develop robust grids and manage the flexible operation of coal and nuclear plants. 

Considering the status of renewable energy in 2010, the capacity of renewable energy has almost doubled at the end of 2015 financial year. The major key drivers of renewable energy plans in India are supporting the government in its assistance in adapting the inexhaustible sources of energy by providing various incentives. In addition to that government has also attracted various foreign investments in renewable energy projects. 
India has massive unused source of renewable energy which is scalable and suitable to meet the needs of people in rural areas of India. The government of India is trying to achieve the target of harnessing the capacity of 41,400 MW of renewable energy by 2017. It is estimated that renewable market will be nearly 10.51$ billions by the end of 2017 financial year.

According to current statistics, the demand of power is constantly increasing. Also, India is becoming the fastest economy beating China and with key initiatives like “MAKE IN INDIA”, it is expected that India will focus on developing highly diverse network of energy sources of both conventional and unconventional sources. Indian government needs to propose a combination of hybrid technology to satisfy the needs of electricity in both urban and rural regions.

Nikunj Sharma

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