Seizing the Green Tech Revolution
The growth of green technologies, which are employed to produce goods and services with reduced carbon footprints, presents expanding economic prospects. We are standing at the dawn of a technological revolution centered around green technologies. This emerging wave of technological advancements is set to wield a profound influence on the global economy.
The impacts of climate change are projected to be most severe in developing countries, where vulnerable populations often lack the resources to adapt effectively and risk missing out on these opportunities. It is crucial for developing nations to seize a greater share of the value generated by this technological revolution to foster economic growth.
Developing countries are urged to act swiftly and transition towards a development path that cultivates diversified, productive, and competitive economies. Previous technological revolutions have demonstrated, those who embrace innovation early can gain a head start and establish long-lasting advantages.
The value of green frontier technologies is anticipated to experience a significant increase, growing fourfold compared to their current valuation and reaching a market size of up to $ 2.1 tn by 2030. Moreover, the overall market for frontier technologies is expected to expand even further, reaching a staggering $ 9.5 tn by the end of the decade.
So, amidst these challenges lies a unique opportunity for these nations to adopt a complementary approach that focuses on fostering the capabilities of local businesses to seize the emerging opportunities presented by climate change. By embracing this perspective, developing countries can cultivate their green industries, stimulating sustainable economic growth while simultaneously contributing to environmental preservation.
Frontier Technology Divide
While developing countries generally face challenges in adopting frontier technologies, certain Asian economies have made significant policy changes that have surpassed expectations relative to their GDP per capita. India stands out as the most remarkable overperformer, surpassing expectations by 67 positions, closely followed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
India's strong performance in research and development and information and communication technology can be attributed to the availability of a large pool of qualified and highly skilled human resources at a relatively affordable cost.
India's Leadership in Green Energy Transformation
As India's green energy sector gears up for significant progress, it is essential to assess the current landscape and plan for the future. Reforms in this sector have been underway for more than ten years, resulting in a doubling of total installed capacity from renewable sources in the past five years. Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SGD 7), which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has committed to achieve energy independence for India by 2047. This ambitious goal necessitates challenging the conventional approaches to policy implementation and starting from the grassroots level, rather than focusing solely on highly developed regions.
India's dedication to the SDG is evident in its alignment with the national development agenda, encapsulated in the motto of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas" (Collective Efforts for Inclusive Growth). By leveraging the findings from the SDG India Index, which assesses progress at the subnational level, the country has established a strong framework for SDG localization. This model focuses on the adoption, implementation, and monitoring of SDGs at the state and district levels, ensuring a comprehensive approach to sustainable development throughout the nation.
Green technology in India is projected to achieve a market size of $ 45-55 bn within the next five years, with an estimated annual growth rate of 25-30%. To further bolster climate action and enhance disaster resilience, India has launched initiatives like the National Green Hydrogen Mission and International Solar Alliance, leveraging global partnerships for collective efforts in addressing climate change challenges.
The National Green Hydrogen Mission was set up with the objective of India becoming a global leader in the production and distribution of Green Hydrogen. To achieve this, India aims to establish itself as a leading provider of Green Hydrogen on a global scale, open export opportunities for Green Hydrogen and its by-products, decrease reliance on imported fossil fuels, and develop its own manufacturing capabilities. The goals set by India for 2030 under this initiative include the establishment of a green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 million metric tonnes per year, accompanied by the addition of approximately 125 GW of renewable energy capacity within the country. This endeavour will require total investments of over INR 8 lakh crore. The project is expected to generate over 6 lakh job opportunities and result in a cumulative reduction of fossil fuel imports worth more than INR 1 lakh crore. Additionally, the initiative aims to abate nearly 50 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The objective of the International Solar Alliance is to amplify the adoption of solar energy and drive down the cost of solar power generation. This is achieved through the aggregation of demand for solar finance, technologies, innovation, research and development, as well as capacity building. The ISA aims to promote collaboration and cooperation among member countries to accelerate the deployment of solar energy and make it more affordable and accessible to all.
India’s effort in Green Technology adoption
The growth of green technology markets has been uneven across the globe, posing challenges for developing countries. A notable example is the export of green technologies associated with renewable energy and electric vehicles. Between 2018 and 2021, exports from developing nations only saw a modest increase of around 32%, rising from $ 57 bn to $ 75 bn. In contrast, developed economies more than doubled their exports, jumping from $ 60 bn to $ 156 bn.
India's climate action strategies place a strong emphasis on the creation of clean and efficient energy systems, the construction of resilient infrastructure capable of withstanding disasters, and the execution of carefully planned initiatives for ecological restoration. Committed to its nationally-determined contributions, India has achieved remarkable milestones, including electrifying 100% of its villages, reducing 38 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually through energy-efficient appliances, supplying environmental-friendly fuel for cooking to 80 million underprivileged households, as well as establish a goal of implementing 450 GW of renewable energy capacity and rehabilitating 26 million hectares of damaged land by 2030.
India has set ambitious targets for 2030, which encompass multiple aspects of sustainable development. These targets include achieving a cumulative installed capacity of non-fossil fuel-based electricity generation of 500 GW, so that it comprises of 50% of cleaner non-fossil fuel of the installed capacity mix.
The Government of India is actively promoting environmental-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices through initiatives such as the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project. This flagship program focuses on developing technologies that are resilient to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture. These include the cultivation of resilient crop varieties that can withstand climatic stresses, the implementation of intercropping systems that enhance resilience, zero till drill sowing of wheat to combat heat stress and various alternative methods of rice cultivation. The project also emphasizes the adoption of practices like green manuring, organic farming and the utilization of rainwater through protective irrigation in farm ponds.
Indian Railways has made significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint and fuel costs and is committed to achieving a 'net-zero' carbon emissions status by 2030. One of its key initiatives toward decarbonization is the complete electrification of the Railways' broad-gauge network. This transition from diesel-powered locomotives to electric ones aims to eliminate carbon emissions and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
On a global scale, India now ranks 4th in renewable energy installed capacity, 4th in wind power, and 4th in solar power installations.