India Paving the Way for a Conscious Pivot to Renewables
In accordance with the COP26 targets, nations from all over the world have been demonstrating their dedication to making the transition to a green economy and pursuing climate initiatives. The road to net zero emissions by 2050 is long but full of rewards. Evidently, emerging markets stand to suffer from climate change's greatest effects and stand to gain the most from our collective climate ambition. However, only 20 per cent of the world's investment in clean energy is being made by developing and emerging economies, and only 17 per cent of the total funds dedicated to COVID-19 economic recovery take environmental factors into account. In spite of the fact that many more governments have pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2021, most nations have returned to looking for new fossil fuel sources and increasing their consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas as a result of the global energy crisis. The capacity of renewable energy is a long way from meeting the benchmarks required to achieve the global climate goals in this decade. Around 3,146 GW of installed renewable energy capacity was added globally by countries in 2021, an increase of 11 per cent from the year before. Although installed capacity increased, the proportion of renewable energy in the world's energy demand remained unchanged in 2021. The levels of renewable energy currently available are by no means sufficient to keep the world on course to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.
India, under this context, has aggressively prioritised climate-conscious growth and has created significant programmes to cut emissions as it makes its way to economic prosperity. A strategy for clean energy and climate mitigation, which are priorities for development over the next 25 years, is provided in the country's Union Budget for FY 2022–2023. The Prime Minister unveiled five new climate change targets, one of which was the historic net-zero pledge by 2070. To achieve net-zero means to remove from the atmosphere an equal amount of carbon dioxide as is created. All four of India's additional pledges are due by 2030. (i) Increasing non-fossil energy capacity to 500 Gigawatts (GWs), (ii) Fulfilling 50 per cent of energy requirements from renewable sources, (iii) Reducing carbon intensity of economy by 45 per cent, and (iv) Reducing total projected carbon emissions by One billion tonnes.
Furthermore, India was placed third in the world for renewable energy installations in 2021, behind China and Russia, according to a report just released by REN21, the only worldwide network of actors involved in renewable energy from science, governments, NGOs, and industry.
By 2030, the nation intends to use 500 GW of renewable energy from sources like solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, and hydro-power. India was the third-largest market globally and the second-largest market in Asia for new solar PV capacity (13 GW of additions in 2021). India increased its hydro-power capacity by 843 MW in 2021, bringing the total to 45.3 GW. India was in third place overall for installed wind power (40.1 GW), trailing only China, the US, and Germany. India surpassed Germany (59.2 GW) for the first time to take fourth place in terms of annual solar installations (60.4 GW). In 2021, India completed 4 GW of renewable energy installations. India's national solar production programme, which offers incentives to domestic and foreign businesses for establishing battery manufacturing factories, was extended. The rooftop PV industry in India reached a record high in 2021 as the country raised the maximum number of solar PV installations allowed under its net metering programme. The smooth transition to cleaner options in power generation, battery saving, and transportation systems, among other areas, is currently being supported by initiatives in India valued around to $ 197 billion.
The country has further made advances in terms of renewable energy policy and investment. The FY 2021- 2022 has witnessed a 70 per cent rise in new renewable energy investments, bringing the total to $ 11.3 billion. India also extended its national solar production programme worth INR 18,100 crore ($ 24.3 billion), which offers incentives to both domestic and foreign businesses for establishing battery manufacturing facilities. The rooftop PV industry in India reached a record high in 2021 as the country raised the maximum on solar PV installations allowed under its net metering programme.
On the policy front, several initiatives have been implemented by the state and the central government to ensure a smooth transition to a greener economy with net zero emissions. These include the Performance Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, Green Open Access Rules, the Green Term Ahead and Day-Ahead Market, and others.
Continued focused interventions and innovations in this sector, accompanied with efficient implementation, quick adaptation and regular monitoring can contribute in positioning the country at the forefront of the climate action discourses, in addition to providing sustainable solutions for other global markets.