Evolution and adoption of Green Energy in India over the past 5 years

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Evolution and adoption of Green Energy in India over the past 5 years

In the modern world where technology continues to drive our way of life, the focus on growing environmental problems seems to have taken a backseat. While there are numerous contributing factors leading to the problems pertaining to the environment, energy remains at the heart of climate change.

When it comes to global greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas remain atop in the list of key contributors to global climate change. This, in turn, has made it imperative for human beings to reduce these emissions by ending our reliance on fossil fuels and finding alternative energy sources like renewable and green energy.

Though fossil fuels still make up for more than 80 percent of global energy production, the cleaner sources of energy are gaining more ground. Amid an increase in the global efforts to confront threats of climate change, the transition towards clean energy has also brought a major paradigm shift in India.

The recent years have been mere witness to India taking concrete steps in terms of investments, technological adoptions, policy changes, and many more in order to meet its green energy target and UN’s SDG-7 (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal-7). Acting on its commitment to fight climate change, India also aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 and meet 50% of its electricity needs with green energy sources by 2030.

India’s approach to green energy: policies and developments

Previously, India relied heavily on coal to meet its energy needs. Over the years, India has been committed to exploring new alternative energy sources for long-term development. With a population of 1.417 billion, India’s energy requirement has been significantly growing. However, in recent years, India has made tremendous progress, connecting hundreds of millions of people to electricity and dramatically increasing the use of green energy.

India committed to producing 50% of its total electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 in the Paris Agreement’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) targets in 2016. Furthermore, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of India also set a target of producing 50% of total electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, in 2018. At the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Government of India also expressed its concerns about climate change. There, India presented its five nectar elements (Panchamrit) climate action plan. In this plan, the nation has set a target of producing 500 GW by 2030 from green energy resources across solar, wind, bio-power, and hydroelectric applications. Later, it reiterated this commitment in COP27.

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, today India has emerged as the third largest producer of renewable energy, with non-fossil fuel sources accounting for 40% of installed electricity capacity. This has been achieved through the constant efforts and willingness of leaders to fight climate change. Let us now look at the various aspects of India’s position on green energy.

Harnessing the power of the wind

India has a coastline of approximately 7600 km that is surrounded by water on three sides and has promising prospects for leveraging nearshore wind energy. Wind energy research as an alternative energy source began in the 1960s, when India’s National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL) produced windmills primarily for water supply and irrigation. The government has also initiated a “National Offshore Wind Energy Policy” in 2015 in order to produce 30 GW of offshore wind installations by 2030. As a result, India has become the 4th largest wind power producer at a global level.

Utilising widely available solar energy

The geographical placement of India has endowed it with vast solar energy potential. Solar energy today benefits millions of Indians by meeting their cooking, lighting, and other energy needs in an environmentally friendly manner. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimates that 5,000 trillion kWh of energy are incident over India’s land area each year, with the majority of the country receiving 4-7 kWh per square metre per day. After achieving this success, India also took the lead in founding the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies. As one of the key missions in India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, solar energy now occupies a central position. This is on par with India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) goal of obtaining about 40% of the total installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

On the expanding energy scene in India, significant hydroelectric power projects have emerged. Over a number of years, numerous policy and regulatory initiatives have supported the development of hydropower and made investments easier. Before 1989, the Ministry of Power was in charge of overseeing hydropower. However, after 1989, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy received ownership of small hydroelectric plants with a capacity of 3 MW or less (MNRE). To encourage the promotion and adoption of small hydro resources, several initiatives were taken. One is the execution of the “Optimizing Development of Small Hydro Resources in Hilly Regions of India” Technical Assistance Project, which is funded by the UNDP and the GEF. Another one is the “India-Renewable Resources Development Project,” which aims to engage the private sector in 100 MW canal-based small hydropower projects. With these efforts, India has risen to the fifth-best position in the world for usable hydropower potential today.

A growing number of homes and businesses can now access clean, affordable, and reliable power thanks to the electricity sector’s transformation in India and the quick growth of green energy. However, we must put more effort into widespread process electrification, increased energy efficiency, and the application of carbon capture technologies. Government initiatives are expected to hasten India’s transition to clean energy and lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity and increased energy security.

The advancement of green energy technologies can be further encouraged by a combination of push policies and pull mechanisms, accompanied by specific strategies. Technology development, sound regulations, tax deductions, and efforts to increase efficiency as a result of research and development (R&D) are some of the avenues to energy and environmental conservation that should ensure that renewable energy resources are used quickly and affordably. Furthermore, India’s G20 presidency will accelerate the growth of energy transitions for other nations as well, as they implement their climate commitments and make the transition to a more green energy future.

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Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Evolution and adoption of Green Energy in India over the past 5 years

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