Climate Change has been considered to be the biggest challenge this modern society is facing globally. India with its large population and under developed industry and infrastructure is striving to improve its quality of life but at the same time remaining committed to green environment. It is important to understand what contributes to greenhouse emissions:
We can define green energy based on the fact that it comes from nature and does not create carbon dioxide or any harmful gases during its production. Sources of this energy are sun light, wind, water, ocean waves, bio-mass, geo thermal heat etc. The main characteristics of green energy is that the sources are replenished by nature automatically.
Several missions have been undertaken by the government to improve its commitment for reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
The Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) designed on the concept of reduction in Specific Energy Consumption.
National Solar Mission aims to increase the share of solar energy in the total energy mix. The cumulative targets under the mission for Grid Connected Solar Power Projects consists of 40 GW Grid connected Rooftop projects and 60 GW large and medium size land based solar power projects. The combined target is now set at 100 GW. The total investment in setting up 100 GW will be around 6,00,000 crore or USD 80 billion.
National Water Mission focuses on monitoring of ground water, aquifer mapping, capacity building, water quality monitoring and other baseline studies.
National Mission for a Green India envisages a holistic view of greening and focuses on multiple ecosystem services along with carbon sequestration and emission reduction. The mission emphasized the landscape approach to treat large contiguous areas of both forest and non-forest, public and private lands with a key role of the local communities in planning, implementation and monitoring.
National Mission on Sustainable Habitat is being implemented through three programmes: Atal Mission on Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, Swachh Bharat Mission, and Smart Cities Mission. Energy Conservation Building Rules 2018 for commercial buildings having connected load of 100 KW or above has been made mandatory.
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture aims at enhancing food security and protection of resources. Key targets include covering 3.5 lakh hectare of area under organic farming, 3.70 under precision irrigation, 4.0 lakh hectare under System of Rice Intensification, 3.41 lakh hectare under diversification to less water consuming crop, 3.09 lakh hectare additional area under plantation in arable land and 7 bypass protein feed making. The mission has resulted in the formation of National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture, a network project.
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem aims to evolve suitable management and policy measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan Ecosystem.
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change seeks to build a knowledge system that would inform and support national action for ecologically sustainable development.
8 Global Technology Watch Groups in the areas of Renewable Energy Technology, Advance Coal Technology, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Green Forest, Sustainable Habitat, Water, Sustainable Agriculture and Manufacturing have been set up.
Greening Electricity Sector
India has an installed capacity of 371,977 MW. India has been a predominantly thermal energy coal based power plants having a contribution of more than 64% in its energy mix. Rest comes from green sources like hydro power, solar, wind, bio-mass etc. The government has established a major initiative to add green energy to its new capacity. It has decided to make massive investments in green energy sector related to solar energy, wind power and hydro power production to add new capacities while halting further investments in coal based plants and phasing out old thermal power plants.
India has defined its targets under greenhouse emissions in Paris Accord. 40% of cumulative electric power installed capacity would be from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and increase its forest cover and additional carbon sink equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2030.
India has an overall target of having 450,000 MW of green energy. It has set an ambitious target of adding 100,000 MW of solar energy and 60,000 MW of wind by 2022. Only 38,000 MW of solar and 34,000 MW of wind power has been added by end 2019. This represents a huge potential to add new capacities in solar and wind segment. India is a member of global solar alliance to promote solar investments.
In hydro power sector India has a huge capacity addition potential. It has a total potential of about 150,000 MW whereas only about 40,000 MW has been added.
Ocean waves have a huge potential but have not been tapped due to high cost of production and relatively a new technology segment with very little known success.
Policy Initiatives by Government of India
The government is taking several steps to incentivize the renewable energy sector in the country and is encouraging private sector developers to implement advanced technologies in renewable energy projects to tap maximum energy.
Private sector developers selected through transparent bidding process were undertaking most of the renewable energy projects in the country. “Government has issued standard bidding guidelines to enable the distribution licensees to procure power at competitive rates in a cost-effective manner,” Singh said. Norms for Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) until 2022 has been prescribed. Grid integration of large scale renewable energy capacity addition is being aided by the development of Green Energy Corridors.
No inter-state transmission charges and losses will be levied on transmission of the electricity generated by power plants using solar and wind sources of energy, including solar-wind hybrid power plants with or without storage commissioned till 30th June, 2023
Solar roof top projects for 12,000 MW have been initiated by providing net metering and export of surplus power to the grid. This is a great incentive to the industry to lower their cost of electricity.
More than 181,000 solar pumps have been installed in the country in last three years. The target is to achieve 1 million such pumps in the country by 2022 while scheme also envisages subsidies and establishment of small off grid solar plants across the country leading to 10,000 MW capacity addition in this segment. This will lead to better irrigation of the lands and reduced dependence on the grid or diesel power for running the pumps.
FDI status in power sector
Government initiatives like 24x7 power, power to all households by March 2019 and UDAY, which has improved viability of discoms to buy more power to serve more customers and the CEC initiatives that include linking of deviation settlement mechanism (DSM) prices to DAM prices at the exchange average clearing price, have helped the sector witness robust growth. These initiatives have helped investors look at this sector with confidence. Except for the corona impact on the economy, the power sector has a positive outlook for future. As the economy is poised to grow, power sector also need to be in sync with the growth plans.
India will see foreign participation in the development and financing of generation and transmission assets, engineering services, equipment supply and technology partnership in nuclear and clean coal technologies going forward. USD 80 billion capital investments in solar and wind segment is expected as the prices for the equipment is falling to the point where green power is able to compete with polluting thermal power. Power sector share in the total FDI received by India is not very significant. In 15 years from 2000-2015, power sector received only about USD10.3 billion which is only 3.7% of the total FDI India has received during this period. This shows a huge potential for investment in this sector exists and it will be in alignment of the government policy to invest in green power.
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