Renewable Energy in India: Current Status and Future Potential

<p>It is not hidden anymore that India has a vast supply of renewable resources and it has one of the largest programs in world for deploying renewable energy products and systems. India is the only country in the world to have an exclusive ministry for renewable energy development, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) which has launched one of the world’s largest and ambitious programs on renewable energy. This article gives a brief overview of various renewable energy resources, their status in India, the socio-economic impact of renewable energy resources (RES), challenges associated with it and the future of RES in India.</p><p><strong>Introduction:</strong></p><p>Energy is regarded as the most important building block in human development and it is a key factor that influences the sustainable development of any nation. The conventional sources have an intimidating shadow on our present and future global safety, environmental values, health and society in general. Hence, there is an urgent need to promote renewable energy in Indian power sector. Renewable energy is the energy collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. It is the cleanest source of energy with least carbon emissions or pollution. This helps on reducing reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. With the expansion of renewable energy, India can improve air quality, reduce global warming emissions, create new industries and jobs, and help to move world towards a cleaner, safer, and affordable energy.</p><p><strong>Current Scenario of Renewable Energy in India:</strong></p><p>Over the years, renewable energy sector has emerged as a significant player in India especially affecting the power generation capacity. This supports the government’s agenda of sustainable development while becoming an integral part in meeting the nation’s energy needs. For past two years, the Indian Government has taken several initiatives such as introduction of the concept of solar parks, organizing RE-Invest 2015—a global investors’ meet, launching of a massive grid connected rooftop solar programme, earmarking of Rs.38,000 crore (Euros 4 billion) for a Green Energy Corridor, eight-fold increase in clean environment cess from Rs.50 per tonne to Rs.400 per tonne (Euro 0.62 to Euros 5 per tonne) , solar pump scheme with a target of installing 100,000 solar pumps and programme to train 50,000 people for solar installations under the Surya Mitra scheme, no inter-state transmission charges and losses to be levied for solar and wind power, compulsory procurement of 100 per cent power from waste to energy plants, and Renewable Generation Obligations on new thermal and lignite plants, etc.</p><p><strong>Advantages of India:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Robust Demand:</strong> With the growing Indian economy, the electricity consumption is projected to reach 15,280 TWh by 2040.</li><li><strong>Increasing Investments:</strong> With Indian government’s ambitious targets, the sector has become quite attractive to foreign and Indian investors. It is expected to attract investments upto USD 80 billion (Euros 70 billion) in next four years.</li><li><strong>Competitive Advantage:</strong> Indian has sunlight available throughout the year and has a large hydropower potential.</li></ol><p><strong>Renewable Energy Targets:</strong></p><p>The Indian Government has increased the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.</p><p><strong>Installed grid interactive renewable power capacity (excluding large hydropower) as of 31 March 2018 (RES MNRE)</strong></p><figure class="table"><table><tbody><tr><td><strong>Source</strong></td><td><strong>Total Installed Capacity (MW)</strong></td><td><p><strong>2022 Target</strong></p><p><strong> (MW)</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td>Wind Power</td><td>34,046</td><td>60,000</td></tr><tr><td>Solar Power</td><td>21,651</td><td>1,00,000</td></tr><tr><td>Biomass Power (Biomass & Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)</td><td>8,701</td><td rowspan="2">10,000</td></tr><tr><td>Waste-to-Power</td><td>138</td></tr><tr><td>Small Hydro Power</td><td>4,486</td><td>5,000</td></tr><tr><td><strong>TOTAL</strong></td><td><strong>69,022</strong></td><td><strong>1,75,000</strong></td></tr></tbody></table></figure><p><strong>Different Renewable Energy Sources (RES):</strong></p><p><strong>Solar Power:</strong></p><p> Solar energy is a clean energy as it produces no harmful solid, liquid or gas wastes and does not create pollution. Solar power can be produced through PV cell which is made of semiconductor and Energy Collectors classified into parabolic trough, parabolic, tower and parabolic disc system etc. With 300 clear sunny days, India receives around 5,000 trillion KWh/year, which is far more than the total energy consumption of the country today. The solar power on the surface of the earth is 1016 W whereas the total worldwide power demand for all needs of civilization is 1013 W. Therefore, the sun gives us 1000 times more power than we actually need.</p>