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Changing scenario of power sector in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal sub-region: Part-IV

08:00 PM Oct 20, 2023 IST | Dr Rupak Bhattacharjee
UpdateAt: 08:01 PM Oct 20, 2023 IST
changing scenario of power sector in bangladesh  bhutan  india and nepal sub region  part iv
Reports suggest that fossil fuels contribute over 75% of global GHG emissions and approximately 90% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.


India is the third largest producer of electricity in the world. In FY 2022-23, the total electricity generated in the country was 1,844 TWh, As per the CEA data, the Indian national grid as on May 31, 2023, has an installed capacity of 4,17,668 MW, of which 2,37,269 MW comes from fossil  fuel-based power plants (coal, lignite, natural gas and diesel), 46,850 MW from hydro,125,692 MW from renewable energy (RE) plants such as solar, wind and other resources, and the rest 6,780 MW from nuclear energy plants. At present, fossil fuels, especially coal dominate India’s power mix (56.80%), with coal contributing 49.10%, lignite 1.60%, natural gas 6% and diesel 0.10%.

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The share of RE in India’s total power mix has grown significantly over the last one decade. In June 2021, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the country’s power generation from RE has increased by 250% between 2014 and 2021. According to reports, globally, India ranks fourth in RE capacity and wind power. The current share of RE, which also includes large hydropower, in the total installed capacity is 41.40%. While large hydro contributes 11.20%, other RE sources account for 30.20%, including wind (10.30%), solar (16.10%), small hydro and other RE sources (3.89%), and nuclear power (1.60%) of the country’s total installed capacity.

The Government of India has stepped up efforts to enhance investment into the RE sector. Under the government’s National Electricity Plan, 2023-27, India will not build any fossil fuel-based power plants, apart from those currently under construction. It is expected that non-fossil fuel generation contribution is likely to reach about 44.70% of total gross electricity generation by 2029-30. The government has attached top priority for harnessing the country’s RE resources for generating power. Prime Minister Modi made two important announcements at the CoP 26 in Glasgow in this regard. In the first place, India would increase its RE capacity to 500 GW by 2030, and secondly, the country would meet 50% of its energy requirements from RE by 2030. The pledges India made at the CoP 26 were reiteration and revision of the commitments the country had made at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.

Reports suggest that fossil fuels contribute over 75% of global GHG emissions and approximately 90% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In addition to achieve net-zero emission goal by 2070, India has set two other targets for 2030—reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion ton and carbon intensity by 45%. India can realise these goals through the development of green energy (GE) which is referred to as clean, sustainable, or RE. The generation of GE does not release toxic GHG into the atmosphere, implying it causes little or no environmental impact. The GE sources include power produced by solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, low-impact hydropower and some eligible biomass sources.

In its efforts towards GE transition, the government has undertaken a number of policy initiatives like green hydrogen policy, offshore wind policy, introduction of a green day-ahead energy market, and easing terms for open access to produce GE. Besides, several schemes, including Green Energy Corridor (GEC), National Smart Grid Mission, Smart Metre National Programme and Further Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles. India’s other initiatives to enhance generation of GE by developing infrastructure across the world include International Solar Alliance (ISA), One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) and Mission Innovation Clean Tech Exchange.

The GEC Project was launched by the Government of India in FY 2015-16 in order to synchronise the total electricity produced from renewable sources like solar, wind, tidal and hydro with conventional grid connected to fossil fuel-based power plants. One major objective of the GEC is to evacuate approximately 20,000 MW of large-scale renewable power and improvement of conventional power stations in the grid in implementing states. The GEC Project is divided into two phases. The Phase I, which was started in FY 2015-16, is already under implementation in eight states, namely, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

The GEC-I is working for grid integration by developing a long transmission network of 9,700 km capable of evacuating and extracting 24 GW of RE within the revised deadline of 2022 end. The GEC-II announced in January 2022 aims to lay 10,500 km of transmission lines to facilitate grid integration and evacuation of 20 GW of power in seven states, namely, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Under the GEC-II, transmission systems will be created over a period of five years from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26. The ongoing GEC Project will contribute to the long-term energy security of India and ensure ecologically sustainable growth by reducing carbon footprints.

 The solar energy is a key RE source and plays a major role in India’s socio-economic development programmes. Solar power supports Indian government’s agenda of sustainable growth, and constitutes an important element of the solution to meet nation’s energy requirements as well as security. It has been an integral part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change with National Solar Mission (NSM) as one of the main goals. The NSM initiative was launched by the government on January 11, 2010, with active participation from states to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing the country’s energy security challenges.

India is endowed with vast solar power potentials. According the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MoNRE), around 5,000 trillion KWh energy is incident over the country’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per square mile per day. The solar energy sector’s share in India’s grid-connected power generation capacity has been steadily increasing over the last one decade. As per National Institute of Solar Energy’s estimates, India has a solar power potential of about 748 GW.

The solar power also contributes significantly towards the global climate change mitigation efforts. The NSM’s objective is to make India a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for solar technology diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. The NSM set the target of installing 100 GW grid-connected solar power plants by 2022. This is in line with India’s Intended Nationally Determined Conditions (IMDCs) target to achieve around 40% cumulative electric power from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources and to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% from 2005 level by 2030.

In its bids to achieve the above mentioned targets, the government has undertaken several schemes to encourage generation of solar power in India such as Solar Park Scheme, Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme, Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme, Defence Scheme, Canal Bank and Top Scheme, Bundling Scheme, Grid-Connected Solar Rooftop Scheme,  Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahaabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Atal Jyoti Yojana and Suryamitra Skill Development  Programme. The use of solar power is affordable and becoming popular in India. The MoNRE has also introduced many off-grid solar power applications like street lighting, home light, solar lantern, solar pumps and stand alone solar power plants (kW).

In 2018, the government introduced National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems for optimal and efficient utilisation of wind and solar resources, transmission infrastructure and land, and encourage new technology, methods and way-outs involving combined operation of wind and solar PV plants. The government has taken a number of steps specifically for promoting wind energy. Among others, the MoNRE is providing technical support including wind resource assessment and identification of potential sites through the Chennai-based National Institute of Wind Energy.

In its bids to promote RE in India, the government is permitting foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 100% under the automatic route and has taken other initiatives, including setting up of Project Development Cell for attracting and facilitating investments. According to reports, India’s RE sector received FDI inflow of $ 14.12 billion between April 2000 and March 2023. Growing foreign investments into the RE sector (such as the $ 75 billion from the United Arab Emirates) is likely to promote further investments in India. In its attempt to provide policy support, the government in the Union Budget 2022-23, allocated Rs 19, 500 crore ($ 2.57 billion) for a production linked incentive (PLI) scheme to boost manufacturing of high efficiency solar modules.