There is a crystal clear focus on renewable and clean energy in India, with due merit to the ambitious mission stated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). India leads Spain and UK in wind energy, with a fourth position in the world, after China, USA, and Germany.
MNRE has taken steps to actualise the mission towards clean energy and providing 24×7 affordable power to all citizens of the country.
The Government of India has reportedly set a target of 175 GW renewable power installed capacity by the end of the year 2022. This is inclusive of- Wind Power 60 GW, Solar Power 100 GW, Biomass Power 10 GW, and Small Hydro Power 5 GW.
The government is working towards increasing its thrust on renewable and clean energy. The core drivers of renewable energy have been Energy security, Energy access, Electricity shortages, Climate change, and more. There is a projected growth in the electronics market at a compounded annual growth rate of 24.4% between 2012-2020. It will reach up to $400bn by 2022, and fossil-free sources of energy will be evident to move to. India’s per capita energy consumption is lowest among the BRICS nations, and has increased from 734kWh in 2008-09 to 1075kWh in 2015-16.
Indian weather: an advantage for solar energy generation
The hot weather in India is good for generating solar energy. The largest solar power plant in India is at Kamuth, Tamil Nadu, which is at a single location, having a capacity of 648MW and can power around 150,000 homes. According to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), solar and wind energy generation is nearly the same price point or cheaper than newer fossil fuel capacity, in over 30 countries. The report also states that there are more political barriers than economic ones.
The costs associated with solar photovoltaic are a major challenge. The innovations in technology, economies of scale, and reduced equipment prices could help resolve this challenge.
1MW of solar power generation would require around five acres of land, which means land acquisition is another challenge. The MNRE report states that 34 solar parks with 20,000 MW capacity, in 21 states were sanctioned at various stages of execution. Another challenge is the evacuation of generated solar energy.
A systemic approach can help overcome these challenges and get the country to be poised towards a clean energy boom.