India to lead in “Climate Change” efforts

India a global powerhouse

India’s energy needs have been increasing rapidly over the past few decades. According to Government estimates, 1.5 million MW of additional capacity was added to the existing grid between 2000 and 2010 alone, accounting for almost 25 per cent of the country’s total installed capacity. India is expected to add around 20,000 MW of renewable power by 2015. The government plans to provide electricity access to all rural households by 2017. In addition, the country is planning to increase its electricity generation capacity from 0.75 million MW currently to 2.05 million MW by 2020. By 2030, India is projected to need an additional 4.15 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually to meet its needs.

India- A producer and consumer

According to data collected by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), India’s energy consumption increased from 15.9 thousand bcm in 1990 to 31.8 thousand bcm in 2004. Over the same period, coal production rose from 5.9 thousand tonnes to 12.2 thousand tonnes. Coal accounted for 70 per cent of the total energy consumed in 2004, followed by petroleum at 19 per cent. Electricity generated from fossil fuels accounted for about 40 per cent of total installed power capacity in 2004. The share of renewables grew substantially between 1998 and 2004, reflecting the implementation of various programmes and policies to promote them. Wind power, hydroelectricity, solar, biomass and biogas contributed approximately 4.5 per cent, 6.8 per cent, 8.6 per cent, 10.2 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively.

Milestones towards a green future

The MNRE has set targets for achieving self-sufficiency in terms of both crude oil and natural gas, for both domestic use and export. The target for crude oil is 24 per cent, while the target for gas is 35 per cent. These numbers reflect a significant shift away from fossil fuel imports towards domestic production. The Government aims to generate at least 55 per cent of the nation’s electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2012, compared to only 18 per cent in 2005.

In a bid to encourage consumers to switch to clean energy sources, the Union Government has introduced several incentives, including providing subsidies for electric cars and hybrid vehicles. The Govt has established a national carbon trading scheme to reduce emissions caused by transport. The MNRE is developing guidelines for setting up an independent body — the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) — to implement the country’s energy policy. IREDA has been mandated to develop strategies for developing 100 gigawatts (GW) of wind power and 300 GW of solar power, based on projects identified under various schemes implemented by the MNRE. As of August 2011, the MNRE had approved 983 megawatt (MW) of wind power and 400 MW of solar power projects across the country. In addition, the Government intends to establish a National Solar Mission to achieve a cumulative target of 60,000 MW by 2022.

Commitment towards a better future

The Government has also taken steps to ensure that solar power meets demand for electricity. To overcome the problem of intermittent supply, the government is encouraging the installation of combined cycle turbine systems, where two turbines work together to produce continuous power. Also, an innovative project called the ‘Grid Tie’ Project is being undertaken to generate electricity directly from solar panels connected to the Indian Grid. The project is being implemented by the Central Power Purchasing Agency Limited, a body established by the MNRE to procure power from renewable energy sources. A pilot project is underway in Maharashtra. 

Seeking partnership for a green tomorrow

Govt of India is committed to “green energy development projects” and is inviting financial and technical assistance for the same. COP 27, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will celebrate Energy day on November 15 and will bring countries around the world to discuss and commit to change for a better tomorrow. 

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