India Shifting Gears Towards Greener Energy

India Shifting Gears Towards Greener Energy
India Shifting Gears Towards Greener Energy

As the world is continuously scouting for other sustainable forms of energy, India is also shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy. According to a report in Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, The REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report ranks India as the fourth largest installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, considering both large hydro and solar power. The country also ranks fourth in wind power and solar power. At COP26, the country increased its initial goal to 500 GW of energy derived from sources other than fossil fuels by 2030. A fundamental promise under the Panchamrit has been this. When it comes to sustainable energy, this is the granddaddy of them all.

As of November 2023, India's installed non-fossil fuel capacity—which includes large hydro and nuclear—was over 179.57 GW, or 42% of the country's total capacity, a growth of 396% in the past 8.5 years. In 2022, renewable energy additions in India increased by 9.83% year-on-year, the greatest growth rate. With a 30x increase in the past nine years, the installed solar energy capacity reached 74.30 GW in January 2024. According to the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), India's solar power capacity might reach 748 GWp. Since 2014, there has been an approximately 128% growth in the installed capacity of renewable energy sources, including big hydro.

In its consolidated report, IBEF, an arm of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, India, is anticipated to experience the highest increase in energy demand over the next several decades due to its massive size and immense potential for development and progress. Hence, renewable, low-carbon energy sources must account for this additional demand. The statement by India that it plans to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2070 and get half of its power from renewable sources by 2030 is a watershed moment in the fight against climate change.

The sector is now more appealing to investors thanks to the government's enhanced backing and better economics. With an anticipated energy demand of 15,820 TWh by 2040, India is determined to meet its energy needs independently. Renewable energy sources are poised to play a significant role in this endeavour.

Government Pushing The Innovation
Floating PV Panels to Enhance Renewable Energy Production
National Green Hydrogen Mission Acting as A Catalyst

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Government Pushing The Innovation

Achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070; decrease the carbon intensity of the nation's economy by 45 per cent by the end of the decade; and cut India's total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion metric tonnes by 2030. These are a few set goals that the current government is working on. Apart from these, Solar City plans to install 57 solar parks with a combined capacity of 39.28 GW around the country, another mega project in the pipeline. 

Flexing its innovative muscle, the centre also supports floating PV projects, giving the entire solar concept a technological twist. With an initial budget of 19,744 Cr (INR 17,490 Cr for the SIGHT programme, 1,466 Cr for pilot projects, 400 Cr for research and development, and 388 Cr for other components of the Mission), The National Green Hydrogen Mission was approved by the Union Cabinet. The respective medium- and long-term objectives aim to increase offshore wind power capacity by 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030.

To better use transmission infrastructure and land, the government adopted policies in 2018 to encourage a large-scale grid-connected wind-solar PV hybrid system. Combining renewable energy sources like solar and wind can improve grid stability and mitigate the issue of intermittent power generation. With this, you can mix and match wind and solar power in a hybrid project, but remember that each resource's capacity needs to be at least 25% of the total rated power.

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Floating PV Panels to Enhance Renewable Energy Production

Though this concept is not new, it is catching up in India. One kind of solar power generator that may be placed on the water is floatovoltaics, which is another name for floating solar. On a solid base, they stand. Pontoons, capable of floating while carrying huge loads, serve as floats for the floating PV system, which differs from those used in solar PV plants. Floating floatovoltaics systems rely on several components—modules, converters, cables, anchoring systems, and more—to ensure proper operation.

Floatovoltaics provides a broader variety of energy savings than solar PV systems. This is because the water beneath the floating PV is a cooling device. The theory goes that keeping the water beneath the floats from evaporating too much will lessen the likelihood of a drought in that region. Small bodies of water are generally underutilised, but this helps to change that. Because algae can be toxic to aquatic life, this helps bring the algae levels down in bodies of water.

Floating PV plants allow for better water and land management than solar PV plants. When considering how to make the most of limited resources, FPV is an excellent option. In the right hands, it can also positively impact the environment. When harnessing the sun's energy, it also outperforms solar PV plants.

Solar Energy Capacity in India
Solar Energy Capacity in India

National Green Hydrogen Mission Acting as A Catalyst

At now, India's annual energy import expenditure exceeds $160 billion. These imports are projected to quadruple within fifteen years without corrective measures. India is poised to become a world leader in environmentally friendly hydrogen now that the National Hydrogen Mission has been approved. An initial budget of 19,744 crore rupees will cover the Mission's various components, with 17,490 crores going towards The Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) programme, 1,466 crores towards pilot projects, 400 crores towards research and development, and 388 crores towards other costs. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will create the scheme's implementation instructions for each component.

Hydrogen, an element with applications in the electrical, thermal, and nuclear domains, is among the most abundant in nature. Different kinds of hydrogen energy exist, such as grey and blue. However, "Green Hydrogen Production" refers to making hydrogen energy using renewable energy sources and water sourced sustainably. Green hydrogen has swiftly gained favour due to its ability to emit negligible amounts of greenhouse gases.

Given the current climate, India may become an important export hub for environmentally friendly hydrogen products. The nation has a lot going for it when it comes to renewable energy: plenty of area to spread it out, a trained workforce, and cheap power. This sets it apart from many industrialised economies.

India may earn much money from its green hydrogen derivatives if it sells them abroad at reasonable prices. This will eventually make it easier to build up green hydrogen infrastructure. Establishing internationally accepted standards for the export of green hydrogen derivatives could guarantee that buyers get high-quality goods. Stakeholders can exploit India's export potential by building bunkering facilities and port infrastructure and negotiating bilateral arrangements with countries that could import goods.

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What renewable energy sources are leading India's growth?

Solar power is leading the way, with a 30x increase in installed capacity in the past nine years. Wind power is also significant, and India ranks fourth globally in solar and wind power capacity.

How is the government supporting the growth of renewable energy?

The government provides financial backing, improved regulations, and missions like the Solar City plan to create large-scale solar parks.

What is India's target for renewable energy capacity?

India aims to reach 500 GW of energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. This ambitious target is part of the country's commitment to fight climate change.

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