Banking On Renewables

Renewable energy is future. The world has made significant growth in generating renewable energy by reducing the costs drastically. While power is one of the basic amenities for a person, about 280 million people in India don’t have power to their households. The new Government came to power with a sounding mantra “Power For All” which is impossible until it recognises the need for Renewables and their impact in coming years. Only 12% of total power generated in India is renewable. Tamil Nadu tops the list followed by Gujarat. The Economic Survey 2014-15 dated 27th February,2015 forecasts the sector to generate business opportunities worth 160billion$ and immediate scaling up to 175 GW of renewable energy. India has already allowed 100% FDI(Foreign Direct Investment) in generating Renewable Energy. Only 28 billion$ foreign investment is seen in the sector since 2000. That means FDI has to pickup with high pace effective immediately. The survey has also mentioned the need to establish Renewable Energy University to promote academics and research in this area. But, allotting 150 crores towards Research & Development in the budget statement is disappointing as this meagre funds are obviously not sufficient to boost innovations within the country. The new Government after assuming office in June last year swiftly announced goals for power sector and specifically 100 GW of solar energy generation by 2022. REINVEST2015 is a summit addressed in NewDelhi to invite Global Investors to invest in Renewable Energy in India. All targets were reiterated at the summit by the Prime Minister Of India, Narendra Modi and Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal. 266 GW of Renewable Energy(more than survey’s expectation) is committed by various companies across the globe including domestic producers at the summit. Now, it is up to Ministry Of New And Renewable Energy(MNRE) to create an environment to boost hastle free investments in this area. Because India ranks 142 in the “Ease Of Doing Business” index (source: doingbusiness.org by world bank) which is worse than its neighboring countries like Pakistan and Nepal.

How to overcome challenges?
#Besides generation of power, India has to learn consumption. Government is already promoting the use of LED bulbs for efficient power consumption but lacks clarity. Such policies should always be accompanied by planning and systematic budgetary support.
#Reduction in costs is a result of innovation. Unless we promote science and innovation in this area, it is impossible to achieve renewable energy targets.
#Build infrastructure adopting best practices in order to minimise transmission and distribution losses.
#Make In India campaign adopted by the government should include Energy sector as its thrust sector.
#Facilitate easy approvals for renewable power projects through internet and auction routes. Because, one CEO at Davos summit  had to say that his firm sought 192 different approvals to start business in India.
#Government should intensify ‘Roof Top Solar Panels-Grid linked’ scheme. This scheme facilitate households to link surplus power generated on roof tops with the grid for which they earn money. Empowerment of rural women can be possible with this.
#Coordination between Energy Ministry and Environment Ministry is vital in sanctioning clean projects.

Cheap and Clean Fuel

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