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India emerging as a major global hub for renewable energy

by Gayan Abeykoon
February 28, 2024 1:00 am 0 comment

India extends help to develop renewable energy sector in Sri Lanka

A Climate Analysis report, released recently, highlights Asia’s crucial role in expanding global renewable energy. Currently, led by India and other Asian nations, Asia contributes the largest share (47 per cent) of additional renewable capacity needed to triple global production by 2030. This target was set at COP28 in Dubai to achieve the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming limit. The report warns that only Asia is “on track” to triple renewable energy by 2030, with sub-Saharan Africa lagging significantly.

Due to India’s current policies and renewable energy levels, Asia is the only region that could achieve the capacity needed to maintain the 1.5℃ goal by 2030.

India is making significant strides in the global renewable energy sector with a substantial expansion program. Under Modi’s leadership, the nation aims to boost its renewable energy production capacity, setting a target to install 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Modi’s proactive approach extends beyond national borders, as evidenced by his instrumental role in spearheading initiatives such as Mission Innovation (MI) and the International Solar Alliance. Launched at COP21 in 2015, MI, comprising 23 countries and the European Commission, aims to accelerate the global clean energy revolution, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s objectives and pathways to achieve net-zero emissions. As a founding member of Mission Innovation, India has led several pivotal initiatives, including Smart Grids, Off-Grid Access to Electricity, and Sustainable Bio-fuels, hosting numerous workshops to drive innovation and collaboration in the clean energy sphere.

India is the 3rd largest energy consuming country in the world. India stands 4th globally in Renewable Energy Installed Capacity (including Large Hydro), 4th in Wind Power capacity & 4th in Solar Power capacity (as per REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report).The country has set an enhanced target at the COP26 of 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy by 2030. This has been a key pledge under the Panchamrit. This is the world’s largest expansion plan in renewable energy.

India’s installed non-fossil fuel capacity has increased 396% in the last 8.5 years and stands at more than 179.57 GW (including large Hydro and nuclear), about 42% of the country’s total capacity (as of November 2023). India saw the highest year-on-year growth in renewable energy additions of 9.83% in 2022. The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 30 times in the last 9 years and stands at 74.30 GW as of January 2024. India’s solar energy potential is estimated to be 748 GWp as estimated by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE). The installed Renewable energy capacity (including large hydro) has increased by around 128% since 2014.

Up to 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects subject to provisions of The Electricity Act 2003.

Renewable energy sources have a combined installed capacity of 150+ GW.

As of Dec 2023, Renewable energy sources, including large hydropower, have a combined installed capacity of 180.79 GW.

India has set a target to reduce the carbon intensity of the nation’s economy by less than 45% by the end of the decade, achieve 50 percent cumulative electric power installed by 2030 from renewable, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. India aims for 500 GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2030.

India aims to produce five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030. This will be supported by 125 GW of renewable energy capacity.

50 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 37.49 GW have been approved in India. Wind Energy has an off-shore target of 30 GW by 2030, with potential sites identified.

India’s remarkable strides in renewable energy solidify its position as a frontrunner in Asia’s clean energy transition. Under Modi’s leadership, the nation has not only set ambitious targets like achieving 500 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, but has also implemented progressive policies, embraced technological advancements, and fostered green job creation. This multifaceted approach positions India as a leader, not just in its region, but on the global stage.

In light of the energy crisis that has hit Sri Lanka, it is opportune to revisit the need for green energy options. The abundance of sources makes it the preferred option, but capital and technology remain the main hurdles.

The inking of an agreement between institutions in India and Sri Lanka for a joint venture to establish a solar power electricity generating plant was a positive development.

India’s progress bodes well for Sri Lanka as an immediate neighbour. India possesses the fourth largest installed capacity for wind power in the world, enhancing its green power credentials.

Sri Lanka needs long-term technical cooperation, which whilst boosting India-Sri Lanka relations, would act as a catalyst for the island nation to achieve its true potential.

An economically strong Sri Lanka gives India a sound trading partner and a stable neighbour. While Sampur on the East coast is one location, similar joint projects need to be initiated across the island to augment the existing power supply, and enable a faster transition in the next decade.

According to Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry, discussions between India and Sri Lanka on grid connectivity and collaborative renewable energy sources are progressing. After nearly two decades of planning, the two countries are accelerating efforts, aligning with their green energy ambitions.

Officials from Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Power Grid Corporation, and India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) are reviewing technical reports. The grid connection is poised to be a joint venture with India’s Power Grid Corporation.

Sri Lanka also explores offshore wind potential and plans to invite expressions of interest, particularly from Indian firms. Feasibility studies for offshore wind energy are underway, suggesting surplus capacity in Colombo, potentially for export, be it as electricity or green hydrogen. With a target to source 70% of electricity from renewables by 2030, Sri Lanka aims to integrate an additional 5,000 MW into its grid, comprising solar, wind, or floating solar capacity. Collaboration between India and Sri Lanka signals progress towards sustainable energy goals. High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha paid a visit to the Hybrid Power Project site at Nainativu island in Sri Lanka recently.

The project stands as a testimony to India’s commitment towards Sri Lanka’s sustainable energy security Jha said during the visit. (ETEW)

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