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Renewable Sector Leaders Investigate Green Goals of India

Pushing the boundaries to its limit, India too has set has its eyes to conquer this humongous feat, however, the venture is not as easy as it seems.

CollageStriving to attain a net-zero carbon emission policy, multiple countries have aimed to transform their energy sector towards a renewable and clean energy market and have come to achieve various targets.

Pushing the boundaries to its limit, India too has set has its eyes to conquer this humongous feat, however, the venture is not as easy as it seems.

Presenting the current scenario of the renewable sector, Aishwarya from BISinfotech had a detailed discussion with Amod Anand, Co-Founder, Loom Solar, Prashant Mathur, CEO, Saatvik Green Energy (P) Ltd, Akshay Gupta, MD & CEO, AP Solar Works.

Energy Demand

Holding the position of the second-most populous country of the world, India’s energy demands are jumping leapfrog.

According to Amod, India is a very large country with 1.3 billion and providing efficient energy is a difficult task but with the help of innovative solutions in the digital world it can be achieved, besides, we have to also ensure that it should be non-fossil fuel energy so we can also achieve the net-zero target.

There are many ways to do it.

  1. Install Large Solar Park: Government and Private Players are working hard to install large MW scale solar parks at wasteland to provide energy to the government, large Industry and commercial establishments.
  2. Install Small Size distributed solar system on the rooftop: As we know the generation of electricity is one task and also the other big task is transmission and distribution of the energy to the end-user and due to long distances, there is a chance for energy losses so Distributed solar energy is preferred for residential homeowners and it can be installed with upfront cost in the range of 1 to 100 KW. It will help to reduce the burden from DISCOM companies.

On the other hand, Prashant holds the view that as India’s economy picked up after a deadly second wave of Covid-19, power demand rose sharply. Now, you can consider it as an advantage but this has also contributed to an additional threat or risk of high-power consumption.

If I am not wrong, I read that power consumption in the last two months alone jumped by almost 17%, compared to the same period in 2020.

And the addition of the coal crisis will make the situation bad only. Since the price of coal has increased by 40% and India’s imports fell to a two-year low.

Now, the question arises how can we tackle this situation?

At first, urgent attention is required to bridge the massive deficit in energy generation from non-renewable sources. Also, it states that India intends to increase its total cumulative electric power installed capacity from fossil-free energy sources to 40 per cent by 2030.

So, what we can do here, we should start shifting our mindset to a) Energy Generation b) Energy-related Policies & c) Energy conservation.

The simplest one is to just increase the generation capacity to meet the demands. The most important one is to adopt certain strict energy policies. The third one is one of the most neglected aspects of the energy sector. Energy conservation can play a significant role in reducing energy demand which is a two-way benefit for consumers and suppliers.

Last but not least, we can educate our youngsters in their loving methods. We can run social media campaigns. We can provide them with useful sources to learn. Since renewable resources is a booming industry, they can have good career growth.

And that’s all. If we become able to accomplish all the above-mentioned measures and suggestions, we could win half of the battle against this impending energy crisis, he explained.

While Akshay feels that India, being the second-most populous country in the world behind china housing 1.3 billion people, has the third-highest power consumption worldwide just behind China and US. Even though the per capita consumption of electricity in our country is just 935 units per year as compared to 12,154 units in the US and 5312 units in china.

As we are making our way ahead as a developing nation having many opportunities, the power requirements of the county also keep growing. India currently has an installed capacity of 388.134 GW of which 37% of electricity comes from renewable sources of electricity including but not limited to Hydroelectric plants, Wind farms, Solar farms etc. As the electricity demand in India is expected to grow at 8.5% per year, the renewable energy sector will have a very important role to play in meeting the growing electricity demand of the country.

Carbon Neutrality Targets

With every country striving to attain net-zero carbon emissions targets, India has also set its own targets to achieve.

Amod shares that this is very good opportunity India has got in the renewable energy market. It’s a very early stage and we can see clearly that India is already leading in this space after installing 100 GW renewable energy by Oct 2021. India has set a target to install 450 GW of renewable energy by the year 2030 and also 50% of energy will contribute from renewable energy. It means more opportunities available for manufacturers, installers and new entrepreneurs to launch innovative products.

However, according to Prashant before answering for the future, we should talk about the present first. See, India is largely dependent on fossil fuels like oil and coal. And its economic priorities focus on domestic issues. The country’s energy demand is expected to rise sharply over the next decade as the economy continues on its growth trajectory.

He says, “Before being the CEO of my respective organization, I am a renewable energy believer first, and I believe that India’s 2070 target is “very much achievable” when taken together with the other impactable targets and policies as announced by Govt, which states the following:

  • India will expand its renewable energy capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030;
  • Around 50% of its energy needs would come from renewable sources;
  • It will reduce total projected carbon emissions by a billion tonnes between now and 2030;
  • India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45%.

All the above-announced pledges will provide policy certainty to industry to invest in decarbonization technologies to inspire India’s states and cities to set their net-zero pathways to development.

2070 is doable. But it is not going to be a cakewalk. And if you think all this can be achieved solely by those policies only, then I want you to wake up to reality. It does need strategies & planning, and planning is the word. It is not going to happen just because the announcement is made.”

“A lot of sectoral actions, policy planning, and intervention has to be there.”

Broadly, if the world wants to achieve its target of reducing global emissions to net-zero by 2070, we have to stand together as a team and support the government to make it come alive.

Akshay highlights that India is looking to cut its net carbon emissions to zero by 2070. This can only be achieved if the renewable sector of the country grows multiple folds in the coming years. India is also the world’s third-largest renewable energy-producing country.

Currently, the renewable energy sector is growing at a CAGR of 15.5%. The Indian government has set a very ambitious target of 450GW of installed renewable energy capacity by the year 2030. By that year, the government also wants to meet half of the country’s power demand with renewable sources.

Role of FDIs & Policies

Amod expresses that India is very focused on this sector and FDI is already allowed for renewable energy products. Recently, MNRE announced a PLI scheme of Rs. 4,500 cr for manufacturing setup and it will increase to 21,000 cr to further enhancement for integrated manufacturing setup. It means the government wants to export also in huge qty. USA company First solar and a few Chinese companies have already shown interest in setting up their factory in India.

On the other hand, Prashant feels that the Indian renewable energy sector is the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world. India was ranked fourth in wind power, fifth in solar power, and fourth in renewable power installed capacity, as of 2020.

As India looks to meet its energy demand on its own, which is expected to reach 15,820 TWh by 2040, renewable energy is set to play an important role. The government is aiming to achieve 227 GW of renewable energy capacity (including 114 GW of solar capacity addition and 67 GW of wind power capacity) by 2022, more than its 175 GW target as per the Paris Agreement. The government plans to establish a renewable energy capacity of 523 GW (including 73 GW from Hydro) by 2030.

As far as the employment opportunities are concerned in the renewable energy sector, it has become a mandate to utilize the resulting data for assessment. And for evaluation and planning purposes, a regular joint working group is established between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), and the Skill Council for Green Jobs.

Additionally, the Implementation of re-skilling programs would be imperative in the medium- to long term. It includes the job opportunities for (community-owned) renewable energy projects within the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

However, incentives have to be provided to ensure that jobs are also offered for unskilled and low-skilled workers from the communities where renewable energy installations will be located. And we believe, the Govt. of India, would be working to get the entire demands fulfilled.

Akshay also views the same as he says that we are set to achieve 220GW of installed renewable energy capacity by the year 2022. This growth in renewable energy has been the result of the policies and interests of the government. Foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 100% is permitted in the renewable energy sector under an automatic route and no prior government approval is required for the same. Policies of net metering, open access and captive consumption of renewable energy sources are also adding up to the capacities and encouraging the sector.

Renewable Sector Trends

“So far 100 GW installed from renewable energy and 45 GW from solar energy. MNRE has set a target of 175 GW by the year 2022. Approx. 50 GW under construction or bidding is done. So, the government is very hopeful to achieve this milestone also. For the next 10-year, the future of this renewable energy is bright and its expected growth of CAGR 40% led by solar energy.” said Amod.

While Prashant breaks down the situation as,

Market Size:

As of September 2021, India had 101.53 GW of renewable energy capacity and represents ~38% of the overall installed power capacity. The country is targeting about 450 Gigawatt (GW) of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 – about 280 GW (over 60%) is expected from solar.

With a potential capacity of 363 GW and with policies focused on the renewable energy sector, Northern India is expected to become the hub for renewable energy in India.

Role Of Government:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set an ambitious target to set up renewable energy capacities to the tune of 227 GW by 2022, of which about 114 GW is planned for solar, 67 GW for wind, and other for hydro and bio among other. India’s renewable energy sector is expected to attract investment worth US$ 80 billion in the next four years. About 5,000 Compressed Biogas plants will be set up across India by 2023.

It is expected that by 2040, around 49% of the total electricity will be generated by renewable energy as more efficient batteries will be used to store electricity, which will further cut the solar energy cost by 66% as compared to the current cost.

As per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates, by 2029-30, the share of renewable energy generation would increase from 18% to 44%, while that of thermal power is expected to reduce from 78% to 52%.

According to the year-end review (2020) by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, another 49.59 GW of renewable energy capacity is under installation and an additional 27.41 GW of capacity has been tendered. This puts the total capacity of renewable energy projects (already commissioned or in the pipeline) at ~167 GW.

The Government of India wants to develop a ‘green city in every state of the country, powered by renewable energy. The ‘green city’ will mainstream environment-friendly power through solar rooftop systems on all its houses, solar parks on the city’s outskirts, waste to energy plants, and electric mobility-enabled public transport systems, he elaborates.

Akshay feels that renewable energy sector is not only growing but is also technologically advancing. Solar energy in particular has added a lot of value in the sector with the upcoming trends being Building integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), Wind-Solar Hybrid, Portable and flexible solar modules and Energy storage systems (ESS).

Geographical Constraint

Familiar with the sporadic nature of India’s geography, Amod points out that as per research, India has the potential to generate solar energy to 700 GW. It has good sunshine climate for 300 days so there is no doubt about natural resources, if any challenges may come it could be uncertain at a policy level. Otherwise, it won’t be any problem as capital at a lower cost is available for renewable energy.

Whereas, Prashant views that as far as geography is concerned, the penetration of renewable energy in India is highly variable across states. The share of solar and wind in India’s 10 renewable-rich states — Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, and Kerala — is significantly higher than the national average of 8.2 percent.

India’s renewable energy-rich states already have a higher share of variable renewable energy (VRE) than most countries. Many states are already facing system integration challenges and that’s why I want to address demand-side flexibility, power plant flexibility, storage (pumped-storage hydro and batteries), and grid flexibility, as well as policy, market, and regulatory solutions for the short to medium term.

In the coming decade, the Indian power system is due to undergo an even more profound transformation. And then, I read some state leaders have expressed concerns that they will face excess VRE generation and will need to:

  • Export significantly more power to other states
  • Allow renewables to displace some coal power plants locally or
  • Curtail more solar and wind to ensure system security

However, contrary to that we should be given an equal amount of solar and wind capacity so that a larger share of renewables can be utilized and lower curtailment will also bring about the benefits of reduced system operating costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions, he expressed.

Sharing similar insight, Akshay pointed out that India’s geographic location provides it with a very unique proportion of Solar irradiation and wind flow. Hence is utilized correctly India can be a top producer of Renewable energy in the world and very well meet its renewable energy targets set by the government.

Decentralized systems or micro-grids are also leading the way in renewable energy production with as many as 10,000 micro-grids are set to be commissioned by the year 2026. Not only the renewable energy sector is meeting the country’s electricity demands but also contributing to employment in the country, he explains.

Renewable Market Offerings

As per Loom Solar’s initiative, KUSUM YOJNA is a very good scheme to double the income of farmers if implemented successfully in 10 years, Besides, Loom Solar is working hard towards educating homeowners about the benefits of this solar energy plant which is changing the lives of Individual, so far, we have installed Rooftop Solar system in 50,000 homes. And to contribute to India’s growing employment issues, Loom Solar also presents an opportunity to earn money online while just working from home through affiliate marketing.

On the other hand, Saatvik Green Energy (P) Ltd is a leading Indian Module Manufacture with a capacity of 500 MW and expanding up to 2 GW by FY 22-23. It was founded in 2016 and currently, we are celebrating 5 years of manufacturing with excellence.

Headquartered in Indore, AP Solar Works is a Renewable Energy & Cleantech Startup & are one of the fastest emerging organizations in the field of solar energy. We provide solar energy solutions to various industries, institutes, offices, households, schools and power plants.

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Aishwarya Saxena

A book geek, with creative mind, an electronics degree, and zealous for writing.Creativity is the one thing in her opinion which drove her to enter into editing field. Allured towards south Indian cuisine and culture, love to discover new cultures and their customs. Relishes in discovering new music genres.

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