India lagging behind Renewable Energy Targets

#GS3 #Energy 

Context

  • The lockdowns took a toll on the renewable energy installations in India. 
  • The pace of installation is lagging India’s 2022 target, reveals a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

Target by India: 

  • To install 175 gigawatts (GW) of green energy (excuding large hydro) by 2022. In that case, 19 months are left to install the remaining 75 GW it had intended, considering the government was referring to the financial year of 2022-23.
  • To install 450 GW by 2030. increasing 25GW every year as we move forward.
  • Unfortunately, only 7 GW of such capacity was added in the financial year 2020-21 (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts)
  • India could manage to install only 43.94 GW till July 31, 2021.
  • Central Electricity Authority data reveals that India was supposed to have installed 100 GW of solar energy capacity by March 2023  (40-GW rooftop solar and 60-GW ground-mounted utility scale). 

India at Renewable Energy Front

  • India's renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world. 
  • India is a big market and a lot of countries are attracted towards it in terms of  International Solar Alliance.
  • The renewable energy capacity of India is 146 Giga Watts. Excluding the hydro power, it will be around 100 GW. 50 GW is under installation and 27 GW is under tendering. 
  • Per capita consumption of energy in India is quite low as compared globally.
  • Power sector, being primarily dependent on fossil fuels, is one of prime sources of air pollution.

Demand

  • As economic growth revives, electricity demand increases. Hence, the average prices at the exchange increase.
  • If better access to renewable energy was available, it could have contributed to lower energy prices, the report says.

Coal stocks

  • The coal stocks marked a record high of 1,320 lakh tonnes at the end of 2020-21. It exceeded the monthly averages of the previous five years. 
  • Imported coal prices have been on the rise in the past few months because of resurgent demand after the pandemic — especially in emerging Asian markets such as China and India, but also in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the U.S.
  • Relying too much on coal imports will increase thermal power prices in India, resulting in higher prices for the ultimate consumers.

Way Forward

  • India’s growing daily peak demand can be met with better battery storage, pumped hydro storage, peaking gas-fired capacity and flexible operation of its existing coal fleet. Hence, dependence on excess baseload thermal capacity can be avoided. 
  • Deployment of sources to help meet peak demand should be accelerated. Balancing the grid at a lower cost is also required. Government should take measures towards it. 
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