In today’s world, when pollution has put the lives of the global community under threat, it is very important for every nation to commit itself and it’s citizens to reduce the carbon footprint. At a time when the leaders of the world meet to discuss climate change and it’s destructive impacts on living organisms, India goes on to portray it’s capability very efficiently in the field of protecting its environment by standing at the 2nd position in a report released by the energy researcher BloombergNEF which has corroborated India as a leading renewable energy producer. The organization studied over 80 indicators, such as clean energy policies, power sector structures, emissions, and installed capacities, for 103 countries around the world.
In comparison to last year, India has gained 3 spots to attain global recognition in the field of renewable energy marking India’s commitment to environmental protection.
Renewable energy installations in India exceeded those by coal power plants for the first time in 2017. “India’s well-established domestic supply chain facilitated the development of clean energy projects further, despite competitive auctions putting downward pressure on profit margins across the value chain,” Bloomberg NEF said.
The report also added that “India’s renewable auctions market is the largest in the world. Over 11 gigawatt (GW) of projects were awarded through auctions in 2017 resulting in the best year for solar capacity as installations jumped by 90 pc over the year.”
India has one of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets. The government has aimed to reach 175GW of clean energy capacity by March 2022, with 100GW coming from solar, 60GW from wind, and 15GW from other sources. Clean energy investment totaled to USD 7.4 billion in the first half of 2018, with solar power projects accounting for the majority. India’s solar market almost doubled in size in 2017, making it a record year with annual PV installations touching 8GW.
The ambitious project, “International Solar Alliance”, which was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2015 to galvanize 121 potential member countries to increase their solar footprint, aimed to mobilize USD 1 trillion to generate 1000GW of solar energy by 2030. The Prime Minister has pressed upon providing clean energy to the coming generations through effective policy management and global cooperation. The International Solar Alliance is not only for setting targets related to solar energy but also investing in the manufacturing sector for better economic gains. The Prime Minister, while addressing the first general assembly of the ISA on 3rd of Oct, 2018 exclaimed that “India looks to create a robust solar components manufacturing ecosystem in the country”.
This alliance is a macro implementation of what Narendra Modi had done while he was the incumbent Chief Minister of Gujarat. Gujarat, under Modiji’s leadership, was the first state to announce it’s solar policy back in 2009. For long, it remained the top state with respect to the solar generation capacity. Sparsely populated barren lands, where agriculture couldn’t be practiced were taken to an optimal use of generating electricity through solar energy. Solar Parks were set up, of which one has been set up in Charanka with a capacity of 615 MW. The Energy Minister of Gujarat, Shri Saurabh Patel, now, recalls that they were laughed at when they decided to set up solar power plants.
Also, as the Prime Minister took to office in 2014, the Ernakulam-Kochi International Airport went on to become the first fully solar-powered airport in the world in 2016. Adding a feather in the cap, in May this year, Guwahati got India’s first fully solar-powered railway station too.
Not only Solar power, but Wind Energy is also one of the renewable energies in which India has been gaining momentum. India conducted it’s first solar-wind hybrid auction this Wednesday. Hybrid is one in which solar and wind are generated together by placing solar modules and wind turbines alongside each other. This reduces the requirement of land and transmission facilities, and hence SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) is keen to encourage it.
The Prime Minister receiving UN’s highest environmental honor in September this year, not only substantiates India’s claim to be an important stakeholder in environmental protection but also highlights the dedication of our political leadership to make India an important partner in global initiatives.
Not only on global platforms, but in the country itself, the mass movement of replacing halogen lamps and other light emitting devices with LEDs (UJALA scheme) by not only subsidizing their rates, but also distributing them to various households, has saved USD 2 billion and 4 GW of electricity with the successful installation of 300 million LED bulbs. This was iterated by our External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj in a high-level meeting of the United Nations on the issue of Climate Change in September this year.
Apart from this, The Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based organisation that conducts research and analysis on financial and economic issues related to energy and environment, has said that India was likely to attain the goal of having 40 percent of its electricity generation coming from renewable sources by the year 2020 itself, instead of the original target of 2030. The officials in the Ministry of Environment and Forests exclaimed that India is likely to achieve it’s another target of reducing the emission intensity of the GDP by 33 to 35 percent ahead of schedule.
All of this comes at a time when political leaders in the nation are questioning each other’s credibility and their contributions in governance. The simple difference can be made out by citing the recent developments in the field of environment protection. In early December this year, the National Green Tribunal slapped a fine of Rs. 25 crores on the AAP led Delhi Government for having failed to curb the pollution in the National Capital Territory. As the National Capital inhales smoke and other harmful particles, the ruling state government has failed to act for its citizens.
This not only creates a clear distinction between the working culture of two governments but also questions the priorities of the Delhi Government to a large extent. Moreover, in a heated political stadium for the match in 2019, the dedication of the Central Government in expediting and nurturing India’s growth pushes many sixers into the BJP’s bucket.
India has always been a guardian of the environment as the respect for Mother Earth has been infused into our culture by our ancestors. We tend to worship nature as God and the Earth as our Mother. Right from the ancestral days, India has been concrete towards environment and nature protection which is now, through our political leadership, being embraced by the global community. As Indians, it becomes our collective responsibility to work for the same and uphold the values of Indian culture.