Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined India’s roadmap for carbon-free energy development and projected the country as an attractive destination for investment in renewable energy sector.
Inaugurating the global conference on renewable energy, RE-INVEST 2020, Prime Minister Modi detailed India’s progress in increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy basket.
‘’In the last 6 years, India is travelling on an unparalleled journey. We are expanding our generation capacity and network to ensure every citizen of India has access to electricity to unlock his full potential. At the same time, we are rapidly expanding generation of energy through renewable sources,’’ Mr. Modi said in his virtual address.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Netherlands Premier Mark Rutte were amongst those who participated in the inaugural.
The three-day event on a virtual platform themed “Innovation for Sustainable Energy Transition’’ aims to accelerate worldwide effort to scale up development and deployment of renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders.
The global conference would feature future energy choices and an exhibition of manufacturers, developers, investors and innovators. Around 75 international ministerial delegations, over 1,000 global leaders and 50,000 delegates are participating in the virtual conference.
India today has, the fourth largest renewable power capacity in the world, growing at the fastest speed among all major countries. It has recorded 136 Giga Watts of generation, which is about 36 percent of the total renewable power generation capacity. The generation capacity of renewable energy is expected to increase to over 220 Giga Watts by 2020, said the Prime Minister.
Mr. Modi explained the progress made in the field of renewable energy in India was the outcome of India’s commitment and conviction in fighting climate change.
“Now our investment and scale is bringing costs down. We are showing to the world that sound environmental policies can also be sound economics. Today, India is among the very few countries to be on track to achieve the 2 degree compliance goal,” said the Prime Minister. Promising global investors about India’s policies, Prime Minister Modi said, those are in line with the technology revolutions.
Promoting India as the preferred investment destination in renewable, Mr. Modi said, in the last six years, nearly US$ 64 billion of investment has been made in this sector.
India is targeting to achieve energy evolution, which aims to power the agriculture sector by providing solar-based power to irrigate farms, said the prime minister.
India’s liberalised investment ecosystem provides opportunity for foreign investors to invest independently or collaborate with a local partner to set up renewable energy-based power generation projects.
The new policy initiatives include a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission. It involves generating hydrogen fuel by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Hydrogen reacts with oxygen across an electrochemical cell similar to that of a battery to produce electricity, water and small amounts of heat. Hydrogen fuel cells have a wide range of applications like transportation, material handling and stationary, portable and emergency backup of power.
India, the Prime Minister promised to the investors, has huge demand for renewable energy and it would generate business prospects to the order of around US$ 20 billion per year. India’s demand for domestically manufactured solar cells and modules is likely to go upto 36 Giga Watts in the next three years.
Being an active player globally in the fight against climate change, India has made considerable progress towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, mainly on delivering energy access.
India’s gross energy and emission intensities have decreased by more than 20 percent over the last one decade. The per capita emissions in the country today are 1.6 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide, well below the global average of 4.4 tonnes.
Although the emission intensity of India’s GDP has decreased in line with targeted levels, progress towards a low-carbon electricity supply remains a challenge.
According to International Energy Agency, India’s energy demand could double by 2040. Unless the country makes significant improvements in energy efficiency, India would need to add massive investment in power generation capacity. By raising the level of energy efficiency, India could save some US$ 190 billion every year in energy imports by 2040 and avoid doubling conventional power generation.
Script: N Bhadran Nair, Executive Editor, Indian Science Journal