Renewable Energy: Can India Realize Its Unlimited Potential?

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Driven by it increasing appetite for energy to fuel its economic engine, an over dependence on fossil fuels, increasing pollution levels across its major cities and a rising fuel import bill, India’s need to adopt and propagate the use renewable sources is more pressing than most.

To its credit, India has already made rapid strides towards achieving its core objectives in the renewable energy development domain. As a result of the concerted efforts put in by the central government and its Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in tandem with several state bodies and NGOs, India today is a leading global player in terms of its total installed wind power capacity and decentralized solar energy projects.

Solar energy is fast becoming the preferred option in the generation segment across a large number of states, driven largely by the ample sunlight across most parts of the country and multiple government incentives like tax holidays and capital subsidies.

Key factors like rapid improvements in technology, entry of fully integrated players and the sheer economics of scale have all combined to reduce capital costs of solar energy projects significantly in recent years. With this, several renewable energy projects including solar are expected to achieve grid parity as early as next year, when compared with costly to fuels such as LNG and imported coal.

According to the global clean energy communications and consulting firm, Mercom Capital, Indian solar installations are forecasted to be approximately 2,200 megawatt (MW) by the end of this year while its wind energy market is expected to attract investments totalling INR 1,00,000 crore ($15.7 bn) by the year 2020 while wind power capacity in the country is expected to almost double from over 23,000 MW in June 2015, with an estimated capacity augmentation of around 4,000 MW p.a over the next five years.

Realising its vast potential, the new Indian government has also announced a slew of big ticket programmes aimed at providing a new impetus to the Indian renewable energy development story. A list headlined by the announcement of a massive renewable energy power production target of 175,000 MW by 2022 (100,000 MW-solar, 60,000 MW-wind, 10,000 MW-biomass, 5,000 MW-small hydro power projects).

Other key initiatives include: announcing the National Wind Energy policy, approval for 15,000 MW of grid-connected solar power projects by the NTPC and the inclusion of the renewable energy under priority sector lending (PSL) by the RBI which has paved the way for banks to provide loans upto US$ 2.36 mn to borrowers for renewable energy projects.

Clearly, if things go as planned, India looks well set to occupy its rightful place as a leading producer of clean energy and a shining example for the rest of the world to follow.

Welspun Renewables is one of India’s leading players in the clean energy domain and is committed to establishing mega renewable energy projects in the country.

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