At the inauguration of the third edition of the Global Renewable Energy Investment and Expo (RE-Invest), Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the government’s mission and plans in the renewable energy space. Excerpts from his virtual address on November 26, 2020…
In the earlier editions, we spoke about our plans for a journey from megawatts to gigawatts in renewable energy. We also spoke about the One Sun, One World, One Grid plan to leverage solar energy. In a short time, many of these plans are becoming a reality.
For the last six years, India has been travelling on an unparalleled journey. We are expanding our generation capacity and network to ensure that every citizen of India has access to electricity, to unlock his full potential. At the same time, we are rapidly expanding the generation of energy from renewable sources. Today, India’s renewable power capacity is the fourth largest in the world. It is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries. The renewable energy capacity in India is currently
136 GW, which is about 36 per cent of our total capacity. By 2022, renewable energy capacity will increase to over 220 GW. Our annual renewable energy capacity addition has been exceeding that of coal-based thermal power since 2017. In the last six years, we increased our installed renewable energy capacity by two and a half times, and the installed solar energy capacity has increased by 13 times.
India’s progress in the field of renewable energy is an outcome of our commitment and conviction in fighting climate change. Even when it was not affordable, we invested in renewable energy. Now our investments and scale are bringing costs down. We are showing the world that sound environmental policies can also be sound economics. Today, India is among the very few countries that are on track to achieve the 2 °C compliance goal.
Our transition to cleaner sources of energy has been driven by a focus on access, efficiency and evolution. When I talk about providing access to electricity, you can estimate its scale in the numbers. In the last few years, over 25 million households were provided electricity connections. When I talk about energy efficiency, we have not limited this mission to only one ministry or department. We have ensured that it is a target for the entire government. All our policies are based on the consideration of achieving energy efficiency. This includes LED bulbs, LED street lights, smart meters, electric vehicles and lower transmission losses. When I talk about energy evolution, with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme, we are aiming to power our agricultural sector by providing solar-based power to irrigate the fields.
India is progressively becoming a preferred destination for investment in renewables. In the last six years, nearly $64 billion of investment has been made in the renewable energy sector in India. We want to make India a global manufacturing hub for the renewable energy sector.
There are several reasons why one should invest in the renewable energy sector in India. India has a very liberal foreign investment policy for renewables. Foreign investors can invest on their own, or collaborate with an Indian partner to set up renewable energy-based power generation projects. India is progressively focusing on innovative bids for supplying 24×7 power from renewables. Solar-wind hybrid projects have been successfully explored. The demand for domestically manufactured solar cells and modules is likely to be around 36 GW over the next three years. Our policies are in line with technology revolutions. We are proposing to launch a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission. After the success of the production-linked incentive scheme in electronics manufacturing, we have decided to give similar incentives to high efficiency solar modules. Ensuring ease of doing business is our top priority. We have established dedicated project development cells and foreign direct investment cells in all ministries to facilitate investors.
Today, every village and almost every household in India has access to electricity. Tomorrow, their energy demand will increase. Thus, demand for energy in India will keep growing. There are huge renewable energy deployment plans for the next decade. These are likely to create business prospects of the order of around $20 billion per year. This is a big opportunity for investment in India.