India has set itself on a path to become a global leader in the clean energy domain, motivated by climate change, rising population, increasing power demand, energy security and overall economic prosperity. The country has made its commitment to carbon neutrality clear by setting an ambitious target of deploying 500 GW of non-fossil fuel-based energy sources by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2070. India has made significant strides in the renewable energy sector over the past few years and is increasingly becoming an attractive destination of renewable energy investors across the globe. India has positioned itself to be a frontrunner in the green hydrogen space and is also catching up in the solar segment. At many recent global and domestic platforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been vocal about India’s potential to lead the global energy transition. At the recent G-20 summit held in Bali, he highlighted India’s mantra of “One Sun, One World, One Grid”, to strengthen global collaboration in the solar energy sector. He also spoke about India’s achievements and opportunities in the renewables space at recent events and rallies held in the country. Edited excerpts from some of his recent speeches…
At G-20 summit in Bali
India is taking charge of the G-20 summit at a time when the world is grappling with geopolitical tensions, economic slowdown, rising food and energy prices, and the long-term ill-effects of the pandemic. At such a time, the world is looking at G-20 with hope. Today, I want to assure that India’s G-20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented.
Over the next one year, we will strive to ensure that G-20 acts as a global prime mover in envisioning new ideas and accelerating collective action. The sense of ownership over natural resources is giving rise to conflict today and has become the main cause of the plight of the environment. For the safe future of the planet, the sense of trusteeship is the solution. LiFE, that is, the “Lifestyle for Environment” campaign can make a big contribution to this. Its purpose is to make sustainable lifestyles a mass movement.
In the field of renewable energy, India has given the mantra of one sun, one world, one grid. In confronting the challenge of climate change, India is working as a boon for the island countries. To deal with the problems of climate change, India has given the solution of “mission life” to the world. Mission life means a lifestyle for the environment. Imbibing such a lifestyle, which is environment friendly, helps in tackling the challenge of climate change at every moment.
India’s energy security is also important for global growth as it is the world’s fastest growing economy. India is committed to clean energy and environment. By 2030, half of our electricity will be generated from renewable energy sources. Time-bound and affordable finance and sustainable supply of technology to developing countries is essential for inclusive energy transition. We must not promote any restrictions on the supply of energy. Further, stability should be ensured in the energy markets.
At various state events
The position that India has achieved today in the field of renewable energy is an example for the whole world. In the last eight years, the country’s renewable energy capacity has tripled, and its solar energy capacity has increased by 20 times. The steps taken towards green growth and sustainable energy have attracted more and more investors. Those who want a return on their investment and also want to fulfil their responsibility towards this earth are looking towards India with hope.
For any country to progress, it is crucial to ensure that the two most basic things for a society – water and electricity – are sufficiently available. I once spoke to big business and industry leaders of Gujarat about the setting up of large-scale power plants on the coast of the state, with a capacity ranging between 10,000 and 15,000 MW. At that time, Gujarat had limited electricity generation capacity and the idea of setting up such large power plants seemed bizarre and excessively ambitious to most of the businessmen present there. However, today, Gujarat is home to large-scale power plants along its coast, with the capacity of generating more than 15,000 MW of electricity.
Gujarat has been a first mover in the field of renewable energy and has positioned itself as one of the leading states in this regard. Gujarat was the first state to introduce a policy on solar energy. To provide the people of the state with adequate means of electricity, diverse sources of power have been adopted and deployed such as solar energy, wind energy and electricity generation from foreign coal on the entire coastal belt. The electricity produced is reaching village-to-village, house-to-house, covering the entire coastal region. Our goal is to ensure that no person in the state suffers because of lack of access to power. In the older days, electric wires would often go bad due to the salty nature of the terrain in Gujarat. However, we introduced wires made of materials that can survive well in the salty patches, as a result of which issues related to wires in electricity generation and dissemination were resolved. A network of thousands of kilometres of distribution lines has been built. In addition, we have done extensive work on the gas pipeline. And we continue to make improvements in this regard even today.
Gujarat is swiftly moving towards becoming more prosperous and better endowed with diverse electricity sources, with a key focus on green energy over the coming months. We will ensure that the benefit of these advancements reaches each and every individual along the entire coastal belt from Kutch to Kathiawad. The introduction of emerging green energy sources such as green hydrogen in the state is also a promising prospect for the near future. We aim to create the world’s largest green hydrogen hub on the coast of Gujarat, be it in Kutch, Kathiawad, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, or Jamnagar. Gujarat, with its ports, has the capacity to produce and distribute green hydrogen on a large scale.
We also expect the mobility sector to transform with the introduction of newer vehicles, which utilise green hydrogen as a fuel. It is a real possibility that vehicles in the future are going to be run largely on hydrogen. Green hydrogen is often termed as the “future of energy” and we are preparing ourselves to create an ecosystem for this future.
The world is changing rapidly, the energy ecosystem is evolving, and this is being reflected in the new and emerging sources of energy, which countries are increasingly adopting across the globe. Green hydrogen is expected to be a game changer for leaders in the energy space and Gujarat is creating a policy landscape to reap this opportunity to its fullest. We expect a heavy inflow of investments in the state, both domestic and international, for the creation of large-scale green hydrogen hubs across the coast of Gujarat. This will also generate massive opportunities for job creation in the state. Moreover, due to the new industrial policy that the Gujarat government has introduced, a whole network of small industries will also join in to support the movement. The new industrial policy is also expected to generate new foreign investment potential within Gujarat, giving rise to wide economic opportunities and varied sources of livelihood for the diverse population of the state.
In his address to the nation
Today, India is combining its traditional experiences with modern science. That is why we have become one of the largest countries to generate electricity from solar energy. How solar energy is changing the lives of the poor and middle class of our country is also a subject of study.
Can you ever imagine that after using electricity for a month, instead of getting your electricity bill, you get paid? Solar energy has demonstrated that. A few days ago, everyone must have heard about the country’s first solar village, Modhera, in Gujarat. Most of the houses in the Modhera Surya Gram have started generating electricity from solar power. Now, in many houses there, there is no electricity bill at the end of the month; instead, a check from the electricity income is being generated. Seeing this happen, now people of many villages in the country are requesting for their villages to also be converted into Surya Gram. Thus, the day is not far when the construction of Surya Grams in India will become a big mass movement.