Renewables in Indian markets
The Executive Director of International Energy Agency (IEA), Dr. Fatih Birol, recently stated in a conference that “Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field.” Keeping this in foremind, India is taking its progressive steps towards the exponential development of renewable resource utilization and development. Renewable energy technologies convert energy from different natural sources such as sun, ocean, wind, and others, into its usable forms such as electricity. The role of advanced energy storage technologies in renewable integration, energy access, electric mobility, and smart city initiatives is distinctive.
The encouragement and promotion of renewable energy in India have assumed a front seat in the past few years owing to a high growth rate of energy consumption, the large share of coal in national energy demand, massive dependence on imports for meeting requirements for fuels and unpredictability of world oil market. As per the Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index 2018, the Indian renewable energy sector is the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world.
Renewable energy utilization is not a new concept to India. Energy self-sustenance was identified as the major impetus for new and renewable energy in the country in the wake of oil shocks of the 1970s. The impact of these effects led to the Commission for Additional Sources of Energy in the Department of Science & Technology in March 1981; responsible for implementing programs for developing new energy sources and intensifying research and development of renewable energy sector.
The Ministry of Energy created the Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES) in 1982 and incorporated CASE, eventually became the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources in 1992. This same department of the government of India was renamed as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), which estimated total biopower in India to be 19,500 MW in its annual report of 2003-04.
India hosts one of the world’s most extensive small gasifier program and second-largest biogas program. Installation of improved cooking stoves (ICSs) and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems appear to have slowed down in recent years, contributing to the slow growth of renewable energy in India despite multiple successful ventures.
The state of alternate source of energy and the slow-paced development of renewable energy in India has been steady until recently. Today, several renewable energy technologies (RETs) are well established in the country. Numerous factors are boosting the prospects of renewable energy; global pressure, voluntary targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction, intensification of rural electrification program, and import of hydropower from neighboring countries.
The technology that has achieved the most dramatic growth rate and success is in wind energy; India ranks fourth in the world in terms of total installed capacity. Wind power contributes to the largest share of non-hydro renewable energy, and in comparison to coal, the leading source of electricity, wind power produces no health-damaging acid rain or pollution. Suzlon, one of the major players in the renewable energy market in recent times, deals mostly in wind energy projects.
The progress in solar energy has also gained the much-awaited momentum after a long slow development history. Tata Power Solar Systems Limited, a part of the Tata Group, is the most significant player in the integrated solar power market currently. With the fourth-largest installed capacity of wind power and the third largest installed capacity of concentrated solar power (CSP), India added 11 GW of combined wind and solar capacity in 2016-2017.
India is expected to be one of the giants in the global solar market within a span of a few years. ReNew Power Ventures is a name that comes in the context of the independent producer of non-conventional energy through solar and wind power. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has formulated an action plan to achieve a total capacity of 60 GW from hydropower and 175 GW from other renewable energy sources by 2022, which includes 100 GW of Solar power, 60 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power, and 5 GW from small hydropower.
The significant factors contributing to the global growth of the renewable energy are a surge in industries increase in stringent government regulations toward greenhouse gas emissions, and initiatives in favorable policies in the developed and developing economies for the renewable energy sector.
The Indian government is taking a high leap in facilitating the growth of the industry by significant policy changes. One initiative is the approval of the proposal to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee to consider the unforeseen disputes between solar/wind power developers and Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd/ National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, beyond contractual agreement. These have been proving to be the major thrust for the energy sector in India as the market players have enough incentives to move to a clean source.
The only concern with renewable energy is the initial extra investment compared to conventional sources, but with the cheaper power generation, the investment will be compensated in the long run.
This article is written by one of our staff writers, who contributes here from time to time. She has a background in electrical engineering and a good knowledge of the market. Look out for more items from her! Also, don’t forget to check out our other articles and daily link updates!