To materialise the vision of 24X7 electricity for all power ministry has taken up ambitious target. Renewable energy is an important component of the same. On the background of climate change challenges, green energy initiatives of the government supported by the social and industrial sector is critical in coming days. Organiser presents a special package on this Sunshine Sector of India
In the face of rising pollution, depleting natural resources and the looming threat of climate change, Renewable Energy is fast becoming a mantra across the world. Indian tradition has long recognised the energy emanating from the Surya (Sun), Varuna (Water), Vayu (Wind), and Gau (biofuel). It is therefore, befitting that India should aim to be the Clean Energy Capital of the World. And India has started working towards it, and it was clearly reflected when the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said that “India is now thinking in Gigawatts rather than Megawatts when it comes to renewable”. The government’s commitment to renewable energy is reflected in its statements also e.g. the words “environment friendly” find a place in its “Mission of 24×7 affordable and environment friendly ‘Power to All’ by 2022 – something they are trying to achieve by 2019.
India is running the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme with a target to increase overall renewable capacity by more than 5 times from 32 GW in 2014 to 175 GW in 2022, This includes 100 GW from solar power (including 40 GW from roof top solar), 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydropower.
New and Renewable Energy: Achievements
The government has also set record targets in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) by 2030, which includes reducing the emission of GDP by 33-35 per cent from the 2005 level, achieving about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fuel based energy sources and creating additional carbon sink of 250-300 crore tonnes.
Remarkable Growth in capacity addition
These steep targets look achievable because of trail blazing growth seen in the power sector since Narendra Modi led government came to power. Following is a glimpse of the same:
- The highest ever increase of 3,019 MW in installed capacity of solar energy was achieved last year. In the last two years solar capacity has risen by 4,132 MW, which is a 157 per cent rise over the capacity in 2014.
- Wind sector too performed well with the highest ever increase of 3,300 MW in installed capacity last year.
- The growth in bio-power was also an encouraging 9 per cent last year.
The Renewable Rise is not a mere co-incidence but the fruit of various efforts put in by the government. e.g. Classification of Solar Plants as white from green category to ease environmental red tape, reduction of counterparty risk in Solar Power purchases by using NTPC & SECI, ease in bank financing etc.
Rather than subsidising renewable energy and burdening the citizens with expensive renewable power, the government has tried to reduce the cost of renewable energy through positive schemes and efforts, which affect different stages of production of renewable energy. It has been done through drafting a long-term policy regarding renewables, large-scale deployment goals, aggressive R&D and the domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products. Through technology intervention, solar tariff has been reduced from Rs. 16-18 per unit in 2010 to around Rs. 4.34-4.67 per unit now, which has made it viable for DISCOMs (Distribution Companies) to purchase it.
The government has not only been quick off its feet in clearing new projects but also overhauling the end-to-end step. e.g.
- Solar projects of 20,904 MW were tendered in 2015-16. 33 Solar Parks with a capacity of 20,000 MW in 20 states have been sanctioned.
- Recognising the transmission constraints a Green Energy Corridor worth Rs. 38,000 crore to strengthen transmission of renewable energy has been set up.
- In the solar device sector, 31,472 solar pumps were distributed in 2015-16 which is the highest ever for a year. Incidentally, this is greater than the total pumps distributed since the launch of the scheme in 1991.
- To ensure that the solar sector does not face any shortage of skilled manpower, Surya Mitra scheme for training of 50,000 personnel.
Policy changes for a Sustainable Future
- A new tariff policy has been formulated by the Government to benefit the environment for a sustainable future, which includes
- Enhancement in Solar Renewable Power Obligation (RPO) to 8 per cent by March 2022,
- The introduction of Renewable Generation Obligation on new coal/lignite based thermal plants,
- No inter-state transmission charges and losses to be levied for solar and wind power,
- Compulsory procurement of 100 per cent power converted from waste to energy
- Ancillary services to support grid operation for expansion of renewable energy.
- To boost wind energy the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy for the development of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) up to 200 nautical miles from the coast has also been unveiled.
- There has been an eight-fold increase in Clean Environment Cess from Rs. 50 to Rs. 400 per metric tonne of coal to help finance clean energy projects and Ganga rejuvenation.
Energy efficiency is also called as the fifth fuel and the government is exploiting the vast potential it has. For example the UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) Scheme through which 77 crore inefficient bulbs will be replaced by energy efficient LEDs by 2018, is estimated to reduce peak load demand by nearly 20,000 MW. This is equivalent to the size of 5 Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) each costing anywhere between Rs. 25,000-30,000 crore. Green house Gas emissions saved due to the reduction in energy saved will be about 7.9 crore tonnes CO2 and consumers can expect to save about Rs. 40,000 crore in electricity bills annually.
The success of this scheme is a story of the transparency ushered after the corruption laden Congress led UPA government. Due to transparency in procurement and other factors, LED bulb procurement prices have fallen by more than 82 per cent from Rs. 310 for a 7W bulb to Rs. 54.90 for a 9W bulb. Till date around 12 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed. Under UPA Government the figure was 6 lakh LED bulbs in a year and now it is 6 lakh in a day.
To monitor its own performance and to provide the information to all, the government has launched a mobile application UJALA, which provides the real time information regarding total number of LED, distributed and the details of the distribution centres etc.The recent progress has seen many records broken but still Clean power has a long distance to cover. However, the speed with which it is going can only be called heartening. Ujwal Bharat will rest on many factors and one hopes the strongest one will be Renewable Energy.
(The writer is founder www. swastika.net.in)