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Harnessing the Sun to Become a Climate Leader – India’s Energy Revolution Goes Global

clean energy revolution

In an earlier article we had talked about India being the only G20 country on track to comply with Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping temperature rise below 2°C. India has been able to walk the talk on reducing emissions because it has enthusiastically embraced the usage and adoption of solar energy in India. TERI Director General Ajay Mathur said that India has been able to move the needle of its carbon emissions trajectory through the largescale adoption of renewable electricity.

This is proven by the fact that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has increased solar capacity from 2.6 GW to more than 34 GW in 6 years.

Breaking Barriers After Barrier

2°C goal is the not the only commitment under Paris Climate Agreement. As this article in Foreign Policy titled “Surprise! India Is Leaping Ahead in clean energy” points out, India is on track to achieve two more commitments too.

India’s pledge to increase the share of power-generation capacity that doesn’t use fossil fuels to 40 percent by 2030 will be fulfilled as today, generation capacity from renewable, hydroelectric, and nuclear sources has already reached 38 percent, putting India on track to comfortably exceed its target.

The other commitment is to reduce carbon emissions by 33 to 35 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2030. Today, India looks likely to reduce emissions by as much as 45 percent by 2030, far surpassing its Paris target.

India Surpassing its Own Goals and Setting Even Higher Ones

As the article notes again, when, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced plans to build 175 GW of new renewable-energy capacity by 2022, the announcement was met with scepticism. After all, India at the time only had renewable generating capacity of 34 GW.

According to Amitabh Kant, CEO of the government policy think tank NITI Aayog, India has already installed 89 GW of renewable power capacity and will achieve Modi’s 175 GW target as planned.

PM Modi further raised the standard and pledged to install 450 GW of renewable energy beyond 2022, redoubling India’s commitment to become clean and green economy.

The installed capacity of renewable energy generation in the country has also  grown 72% from 80 gigawatt (GW) to 138.9 GW during the past six years according to Minister of New and Renewable Energy, R.K Singh. India is now already the fifth position globally in terms of installed Renewable energy capacity.

Solar Energy Revolution

The various ways in which Modi government has popularised the usage of solar energy stands proven by the fact that solar energy capacity has increased 13 times from 2.6GW in 2015 to more than 34 GW in 2020.

Solar operated pumps have also increased dramatically from 11,626 in 2.225 lakhs in 2019 In February 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the launch of the PM-KUSUM scheme which aimed to install 20 lakh stand-alone solar water pumps and add solar capacity of 25.75 GW by 2022.

The target has now been further scaled to enhance solar capacity to 30.8 (GW) by 2022 with revised Central financial support of ₹34,035 crore.

India’s major ports have also gone the green way with all 12 major ports in the country switching to renewable energy to meet their entire power requirements, making India the first nation to have all government-owned ports running on solar and wind energy.

One Sun, One World, One Grid

Taking the PM Modi’s Idea of One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) further, Indian government is working on ambitious agenda to connect 140 countries through a common grid that will be used to transfer solar power.

As per report in Business Standard, the vision behind the OSOWOG mantra is “the Sun never sets” and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time according to draft document released Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

With India at the fulcrum, the solar spectrum can easily be divided into two broad zones viz. far East which would include countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and far West which would cover the Middle East and the Africa Region,” MNRE said in the terms of reference in the Request for proposal published to hire consultants for OSOWOG.

The plan is divided into three phases: the first phase will connect the Indian grid with the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asian grids to share solar and other renewable energy resources. The second phase will connect the first phase nations with the African pool of renewable sources. The third phase will be the concluding step of global interconnection.

With reports coming in of how Solar and wind power costs in India will be comparable to coal in 2025 and with vision of PM Modi, India is definitely on path to become Renewable Energy Super-power of the world.