Article: India’s Run Towards Renewables: Key Takeaways


A clean and sustainable energy future is on top of every developing as well as developed country’s priority list, which can be seen by the large-scale expansion of unconventional power projects worldwide. For India, it is the most important thing, as it ranks third in oil consumption with 212.7 million tons in 2016 after USA and China. The ever-increasing demand for imported natural gas, oil and coal is considerably overtaking domestic production, which is forcing the country to spend valuable foreign capital to procure additional energy resources. Investing and developing renewable sources will help quench India’s growing energy demands, smartly.

Renewable energy in India comes under the purview of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). India is concentrating to grow massively newer renewable electricity sources by 2022, which comprises of more than doubling of large wind power capacity and an around 15 fold surge in solar power with compare to April 2016 levels. This could make India one of the world leaders in renewable energy use and place India at the center of its International Solar Alliance project. The International solar alliance project is undertaken by more than 120 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, to curb the dependence on fossil fuels and to exploit solar energy more efficiently.

According to a report published by UK firm Ernst & Young showed that China and India have surpassed the United States to become the two most attractive countries for renewable energy investment. In an annual ranking of the top 40 renewable energy markets worldwide in terms of allure, China was the top country, followed by India.

Current Scenario

Natural Gas: India’s demand for natural gas is expected to rise 10% this fiscal year as local production flags (though there are ambitious expansion plans) and imports approach nearly a third of total consumption.

Oil: In 2005 India imported 76.5% of the 130 million metric tons of oil it consumed. Recent trends don’t suggest more self-sufficiency; it imported 85% of its 223 MMT of consumed oil in 2013. As lower oil prices create a budget windfall, India still faces annual import bills in the $100 billion ranges, not to mention incentives for increased oil dependency as prices fall—for now.

Since 1950, roughly 69 trillion cubic feet of proven and probable recoverable gas reserves have been discovered in India. However, only 42 trillion cubic feet have been developed and are currently under production. That leaves 18 trillion cubic feet of reserves yet to be produced and 27 trillion cubic feet of reserves yet to be developed. According to an analysis of 12 basins across India, approximately 64 trillion cubic feet of risked recoverable resources are yet to be found. Thus, India holds at least 91 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves.

On top of conventional gas reserves, India also holds an estimated 63 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. While these reserves are considered to be a secondary energy option, Indian agencies are encouraging exploration, and leading companies, such as ONGC and OIL, have implemented pilot projects to assess the shale opportunity.

Concerning all these facts and statistics, India has ample of reasons to move towards renewable energy sources. India is a pioneer in allocating utility-scale renewables projects, particularly solar power, through competitive bidding. Other countries like China, the US, Germany, Japan allocate projects through long-term contracts and guaranteed pricing depending upon production costs, which the government allows to recover in particular period.

India was the first country to set up a separate ministry dedicated to non-conventional energy resources. India’s total installed capacity has reached 329.4 GW, with renewables sharing 57.472 GW as of 14 June 2017. According to latest reports, wind energy contributes to 61% of total renewable power, whereas solar contributes nearly 19%. Also, as of 28 February 2017 total installed large hydro capacity was 44.41 GW.

Future Targets

  1. Indian government has set the target to increase the total installed power capacity from renewable sources to 175 GW from current 57.244 GW.
  2. The government intends to achieve 40% cumulative electric power capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  3. In the current scenario, wind power contributes highest percentage of renewable energy sources. This makes government to build more wind farms in order to reach the stipulated target.
  4. Government’s target of adding 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022 encouraged private players to invest in the non-conventional energy projects. This competition resulted in record low tariff rates at which contracts have been awarded.
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