The largest democracy in the world, second highest populated country and one of the fastest growing economies in the world – India has set itself a very ambitious target of 175GW by 2022, to stand by its commitment in Paris agreement. The broad division of this renewable energy power generation target is as under:
• Solar – 100GW • Wind – 60GW • Small hydro – 5GW • Bioenergy – 10GW
By any measure this highly ambitious and very tough task the country has set for itself. But on the other hand, it is seen that the government is taking absolute firm steps towards it. The current level of electricity generation by way of renewable energy is just 37 GW, though.
With all the major nations in the world agreeing to the global climate accord last year in Paris, our planet sees a greener future in terms of power generation. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has pledged to promote / cultivate economic production that is less carbon intensive. India is aiming to source at least 40% of its total energy requirement from clean sources such as the wind and solar by 2030. It is a huge target of having a capacity of 300GW of renewable energy by 2030. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates India’s solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment would be about 209GW.
These targets appear overwhelming but the steps taken by the country are very firm, as the intent of Mr. Modi government is very serious. Within a short span of 2 years, the country’s RE capacity has gone from 33.8GW to 43GW, overtaking hydroelectric capacity. A senior energy sector official in the Indian government says “Unlike before, there is political support for the renewable energy program at the highest level – the Prime Minister’s Office is directly supporting and following it.”
The investment required to meet the solar power target of 100GW is to the tune of INR 600,000 crore or almost $100 billion. Indian government alone will not be in a position to pump this kind of money. Finances from private and foreign investors are available but the terms are unattractive- high cost of debt, short-tenor loans etc. The finance issue may be sorted out at the government level by altering the policies. But the Central Electricity Regulatory Authority, the country’s apex power regulator, says the focus must shift to the grid and the manner in which intermittent power like solar and wind energy are introduced, as India’s power transmission grid is outdated.