As a developing country with the world’s second largest population, renewable energy plays a vital role in the economic development of our country. With the fossil fuel depleting and creating more pollution causing global warming and demand for energy increasing by the day creating electricity out of renewable sources has become extremely important as it is not exhaustible, clean and gives out green energy. These renewable energy sources and technologies have the power to provide solutions to the long standing energy problems that are faced by countries like India.
In order to meet the demand and ensure a sustainable future our country has been on a vigorous pursuit to research, develop and produce electricity by various applications such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. Making India one of the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources. This relentless journey in adopting responsible renewable energy techniques and taking a positive step towards carbon emissions has led India to become the fourth largest consumer of renewable energy.
Market Size of Renewable Energy in India
India now has a strong manufacturing base in wind power with the total of 20 manufactures producing 53 different wind turbine models of international quality, exporting to the US and other European countries. As of March 2020, 35.86% of India’s installed electricity generation capacity is the result of renewable sources generating 21.225 of total utility electricity in the country.
- India is the world’s biggest market for renewable energy auctions with the help of wind and solar project developers compete to offer the cheapest prices for zero carbon emissions.
- It ranks the fifth in in solar power generation, fourth in wind energy and is also fifth in the overall capacity of renewal energy installed as of 2018.
- In 2019, India installed 7.3 GW of solar power across the country while also establishing its rightful position as the third largest solar market in world.
- The country also secures the second place in the global ranking by its policy thrust towards renewable and ever increasing investments in the clean energy sector.
- As per April 2020, the renewable energy capacity stood at 87.26 GW (Gigawatts) out of which the wind and solar constituted 37.74GW and 34.81%, respectively.
- With a potential capacity of 363GW and with policies focused on the renewable energy sector, Northern India is expected to become a hub for renewable energy in India.
- Three of the top 5 largest solar parks worldwide are located in India, which includes the second largest solar park of the world at Kurnool. While the other known solar parks are Andhra Pradesh with the capacity of 1000 Megawatts (MW) and Bhadla Solar Park of Rajasthan which has the largest solar plant in the world producing 2255 MW.
According to the world wind report, India has the 4th largest installed wind power capacity in the world following China, USA and Germany. And is the second largest wind energy market in Asia with the capacity of 35 GW. Although a new comer compared to US and China, India has become a global player in wind energy with a strong domestic market. The performance and reliability of wind energy has achieved a tremendous growth from 1990 when the wind power first developed in India.
With the installation of wind turbines across the Indian subcontinent has led to some states such as Tamil nadu (7,269.50 MW), Maharashtra (4,100 MW), Gujarat (3,454.30 MW), Karnataka (2,318.20 MW), Rajasthan (2,784.90 MW), among others to have the highest potential of wind energy utilization. Tamil Nadu also has Muppandal wind farm which is the largest in India.The concept of wind farm became very popular with higher availabilities due to the development of wind turbine technology over the last decade.
In India the turbine technology is improving, and the highly efficient modern turbines produced with the help of foreign collaboration has more capacities more than 1MW. Recent studies also show that wind energy and be combined with the solar for the generation of self-sustainable renewable energy projects. While the peninsular country also has the advantage of installing offshore wind plants as it has 7,600 km of coast.
India has been blessed with rich solar energy due to its geographical location. It can generate enormous amounts electricity from this resource, making India rank no. 1 along with USA in terms of installed solar power generation capacity. The applications of solar energy is far more important than just producing Electricity as it also helps in the fields of telecommunications, battery charging, lighting, cooking and water heating.
Today the installed capacity of 33 by 35 grid interactive solar photovoltaic power plant with an aggregate capacity of 2.5 MW generate around 2.5 million units of electricity per annually. Solar energy is the perfect alternative for conventional forms of energy especially in the case of domestic and industrial applications. The Thar Desert in state of Rajasthan has been known for their successful solar power projects which is sufficient to generate 700 to 2,100 GW making it the next generation powerhouse of India.
While the government also plays a major role in getting India to that platform by promoting the installation of new solar energy projects by giving tax incentives. In 2017, India unveiled its $19 billion plan to produce solar power by 2020 which was a part of the National Solar Mission. According to the plan, mandatory use of solar powered equipment and applications to be made by all Government buildings including Hotels and Hospital.
The country does not have an electrical grid, so one of the first applications of solar power was to pump water and replace the countries four to five million diesel powered water pumps, which consumed 3.5 KW each. Solar power in India has been growing at the rate of 113% at the price of 4.34 rupees per kWh, which is around 18% lower than the average price for electricity generated by coal fired plants.
India is famously known to be the pioneer in the establishment of hydroelectric power plants. It currently stands at the rank of 5th worldwide in terms of hydro potential as only 20% has been utilized so far. It is the most widely used renewable energy in India as electricity is generated in hydro power plants through the use of gravitational force of falling water.
The hydroelectricity is considered to be clean and renewable source of energy but it also known to have some bad effects in environment clearance in large pond areas. Over 21% of electric power consumed in India is generated by hydroelectric plants. While the public sector has 97% in this sector, India is blessed with abundant electricity because of its hydro potential of about 2,50,000 MW.
As of march 31st 2020, India installed utility scale hydroelectric capacity was 45,699MW or 125 of its total utility power generation capacity. The Hydro power project in Darjeeling and Shivanasamudra was established as early as 1898 making them one of a kind in Asia. The Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station (NJHPS) of Himachal Pradesh is the largest power plant in India with the capacity of 1,530 MW.
Biomass also defined as a renewable energy resource derived from the carbonaceous waste of various human and natural activities. This waste can be derived from a number of sources such as agricultural crops, raw material from forest, household waste, etc. Our country is known for its ideal environment for biomass production giving India a huge availability of resources because of its tropical location and abundant sunshine and rains.
The countries vast agricultural potential provides huge agro- residue which can be used to meet energy needs for heat and power applications. The Biomass material that can be used for power generation include rice, husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut husks, saw dust, etc. There is also a high potential of biomass availability in the country at about 540 million tonnes per year which includes agro residue, firewood and other organic waste.
These kind of resources are mainly utilized by the villagers and rural areas of our country. India ranks the 2nd in utilization of Biomass and has the capacity to produce bagasse power of 2313.33 MW. Today the biomass sector has become essential and attracts an investment of $ 120 million while also providing vast number of employment opportunities in rural areas and generating an amount of 5000 million units of electricity every year.