Is India A Renewable Energy Showcase for Electricity? - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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“At a time when renewables comprise just 11.5% of energy source in the United States, India stands tall with renewables accounting for 32% of total electricity generation capacity. Even China and Japan trail behind India at 21 and 20 per cent respectively. Recent reports suggest the share of renewables in the Indian electricity basket is expected to rise to 15 per cent by 2030 from less than five per cent currently.

For developing countries like India, the global slowdown is an avenue for replacing archaic infrastructures and upgrading and building transportation, communication, energy and water systems in a sustainable manner”

This is what I read from this post @ The Server Side

I must say I was a bit confused…because the first and last sentences in the first paragraph don’t match.

In order to get this clarified, I did a bit of searching and came across these inputs:

Currently, the installed capacity for electricity in India is about 140,000 MW (source). From the link provided in brackets, it can be seen that about 45,000 MW out of 140,000 MW is from renewables, if you leave out nuclear energy because it is debatable whether it can be called renewable. Now, that comes out to over 30% ! However, when you look at gross power generation, the picture is quite different – 113/662 (billion units). Now that’s less than 10%. So, I guess this is what was meant by the earlier paragraphs – the first % represented capacity while the second actual generation. In fact, I sort of realized that must be the case, but anyway wanted to check.

Now that gets me to another question – why is there such a tremendous difference between capacity and generation? That will possibly be the matter for another post soon!

By the way, while searching for the answer to the above question, I also came across these interesting data from the Asian Development Bank report:

“In the 11th New and Renewable Energy five-year plan, the Government forecasts the renewable energy market in India will reach an estimated $19 billion from 2008-2012. Investments of $15 billion will be required in order to add the approximately 15,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the present installed capacity. The Government has set specific targets for renewable energy: by 2012 it expects renewable energy to contribute 10% of total power generation capacity and have a 4-5% share in the electricity mix.

From 2002 to 2007, there was 3,075 MW of renewable grid-tied power planned, but the actual capacity addition exceeded 6,000 MW by 2006. A large share of this was the result of exceptional growth of wind energy in India. Wind energy is expected to add more than 10,000 MW of additional capacity by 2012, followed by small hydro (1,400 MW), co-generation (1,200 MW) and biomass (500 MW). Thus, the Government’s current focus is on commercialization of solar energy development through the cutting-edge technology transfer. Grid-connected solar-photovoltaic (SPV) sector has experienced a scale up, with new technologies and manufacturing capacity in India. With the success of grid-tied solar electricity in other countries, and new state-level initiatives for feed-in tariffs, the outlook for this segment is now positive. The government has set aside US $50 million to subsidize solar power when its costs match those of small hydro”

15,000 MW addition to the present capacity will mean addition of about 10% (15/145) over the next 5 years. That’ll be a commendable achievement for a large country like India. And if by some method, folks are able to realize more and more of the renewable energy capacity we have, just imagine!

I have been spending most of my life complaining that we Indians are good for nothing , but I’m beginning to wonder whether I underestimated our own abilities. True, our politicians are indeed good for nothing (well, I’m wrong actually, they are good for creating unnecessary chaos and violence). Quite possibly, our politicians are so busy trying to score points over each other that they have no time to meddle around with the good work being done by our bureaucrats – which is fortunate indeed!

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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