India has launched the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme and aims to achieve 175 GW capacity of energy by 2022. The country is taking national actions plans to abide by its duty under the Paris Agreement to keep the rising temperatures of the Earth well below 2 degree Celsius. Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are leading the renewable energy sector by generating electricity using wind farms. Rajasthan tops the list for solar and wind energy with a total installation capacity of more than 3,000 Megawatts. Indian projects like electrifying Rural India is also focused on using clean energy. It is also important to note that coal electricity in India does not see a cut-off. One of the biggest coal plants in Asia, the Mundra Thermal Power Plant in Gujarat seeks to import coal from Australia.
Electricity generation by coal is being opposed by countries at a global level. Due to this, renewable energy revolution in India is very strong. Recently, the government has signed a PPA to develop 1000 Megawatt of wind energy to reduce the burden on the northern grid which trips every summer.
Although, renewable energy has been bringing clean energy in India, there have been a couple cases of fraud and corruption. Recently, the UP government had to terminate an agreement with six solar companies, who had agreed to install 80 Megawatt capacity of solar energy in the state, but failed to do so within the stipulated time frame. Such hurdles will not cause the growth and progress of India based on renewable energy.
India is also importing hydro-power from Bhutan to electrify villages in Sikkim. The Central government wants to build a new India by 2022, which will be cleaner, greener, more sustainable and healthier. According to Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, “India will need financial and technological support from the world to achieve its target and do more.”
It is well known that the United States is one of the largest polluters in the world and it has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement. However, this has not stopped India from taking proactive measures. India is set to receive 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources by the end of 2030.
Another important aspect of developing renewable energy in India is cost-effectiveness. In the last three years, solar energy has been produced in India with as little as Rs 2.44 per unit. Similarly wind energy has been developed at a record low price of Rs 3.46 per unit. These prices are expected to go lower with further capacity installation.
India’s renewable energy revolution and action plan 2022 will make the country energy efficient.
The author is an environmental law scholar