Energy Transition – a Beacon of Hope for India

29 Jun 2022

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is pushing the crude prices northwards, thereby creating a challenging situation for oil-importing nations such as India. It is not climate change alone, but events such as the ongoing war which will spur nations into action for a clean and sustainable energy transition.

Clearly, energy transition is now a business reality that needs augmentation. It is paramount that we quickly transition from existing carbonbased energy systems to green energy systems that are environmentally sustainable and help in resource conservation.

Among other nations, India is the only G-20 country that is making significant progress in meeting its global warming targets, despite growing rapidly for the last two decades and lifting millions of people out of poverty. Every year India adds a new city of the size of London to its urban population involving the construction of buildings, factories, and transportation networks.

India has already taken a giant step with its commitment at the COP26 to reach NetZero emissions by 2070. The contribution is noteworthy, as it tries to strike a balance between meeting energy security for its 1.38 billion population and at the same time contributing to global efforts in the reduction of greenhouse emissions.

Renewable energy is poised to play a critical role in the post-pandemic revival of the country. The total installed capacity is over 157 GW of Renewable Energy consisting solar (48.55 GW), wind (40.03 GW), small hydro power (4.83 GW), bio-mass (10.62 GW), large hydro (46.51 GW), and nuclear (6.78 GW). The RE in overall energy mix is more than 41%. I believe that if we have to optimize the use of renewable energy to power more and more of our needs, we need to create renewable energy parks as opposed to only solar parks or wind parks.

This is not the time for competition, it is the era of collaboration. Forging alliances, finding common ground, and identifying collective success is the key. The task at hand is huge and the timelines are urgent. It will take the cumulative strengths of all renewable energy sources across the globe to create a truly green and sustainable world.

In this context, wind-solar hybrid power plants seem to be an ideal solution to meet the rising demands of all stakeholders, consumers, and utilities. What we need today, is a comprehensive round-the-clock renewable energy power plant solution. Windsolar-battery power plants or wind-solar-gas power plants could be promising.

Wind-Solar Hybrid Projects can achieve higher PLFs of over 60%, making them very viable. With efficient storage, this PLF can go up to 80%. It is an efficient and resources integrated form of hybrid renewable energy that can fast-track our energy transition. This is one of the best ways to unlock the true potential of renewables in India in line with our expected requirements of green ammonia, green hydrogen, and e-mobility ambitions.

Apart from mitigating climate change, the growth in renewable energy will also generate sustainable employment as seen in 2019 in Germany, where over 308.5 thousand people were employed in the renewable energy sector that year led by wind energy.

The Change in the Energy Landscape of the Nation

In the last 5 years, India’s renewable energy capacity has almost doubled.

The pandemic has accelerated for a ‘reset’ button on the global economy and resulted in more and more countries undertaking Net Zero emission targets by the mid-21st century. The major pillar in achieving our NDC commitment is the massive renewable energy capacity target of 500 GW by 2030. The Government is playing a visionary role in making clean energy solutions more accessible, available and affordable.

However, to accelerate our green energy ambitions we need to look at Hybrid Renewable Energy parks more strategically, making it essential to create a policy environment that allows both wind and solar sectors to thrive. One without support from the other will not allow us to realize the true potential of our nation’s immense renewable energy resources.

The Industry is equipped and ready for this leap, and with the right policy support from the Government, the transition to clean energy and a ‘Greener Future’ is not too far.

The article has been contributed by Mr Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, CII Renewable Energy Council and Chairman & Managing Director, Suzlon Energy Ltd. The article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of CII Policy Watch, Theme – Energy Transition.

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