Q) Indian government has been trying to make India self-sufficient in energy. In this light, what is the importance of Renewable energy? Discuss various initiatives taken by the government to make India self sufficient through renewable energy.
Renewable energy sources and technologies have potential to provide solutions to the longstanding energy problems being faced by developing countries like India. Renewable energy can be an important part of India’s plan not only to add new capacity but also to increase energy security, address environmental concerns, and lead the massive market for renewable energy.
Importance for India:
- India still has many locations that do not have access to electricity.
- Electrification of remote areas and inaccessible terrains is not possible using grid connectivity.
- The only possible solution is the use of renewable energy sources to promote electrification to these areas.
- This is because renewable energy sources are inexhaustible and the sourcing is versatile.
Reduces global warming:
- Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions.
- the global warming emissions associated with renewable energy are minimal
Improved public health
- Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions.
- Whereas, Geothermal and biomass systems emit some air pollutants which are much lower than total air pollutants emitted from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.
- Reduction in pollution curb breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, premature death, and a host of other serious problems.
- Strong winds, sunny skies, abundant plant matter, heat from the earth, and fast-moving water can each provide a vast and constantly replenished supply of energy.
Jobs and other economic benefits
- Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which are typically mechanized and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry is more labor intensive thus creating more jobs.
Stable energy prices
- Renewable energy is providing affordable electricity across the country thereby stabilizing energy prices.
Reduce Oil demand:
- It is evident that India has a vast amount of renewable resources.
- The global Oil prices won’t affect India’s economy with enhanced renewable energy techniques.
Some of the initiatives taken by government
- Wind/solar hybrid projects: A hybrid system can combine wind, solar with an additional resource of generation or storage Renewable hybrids can play a key role in helping India accelerate the decarbonization of power generation and lowering the cost of electricity in the medium term.
- Biomass power and cogeneration programme: This scheme aims at optimum utilization of the country’s biomass resources in the power grid.
- Draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy: Through this policy, the government seeks to promote new renewable energy projects and hybridization of the existing one. It is a policy that provides a comprehensive framework to promote large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic hybrid systems.
- National Biogas and Manure programme: It is a central scheme that promotes the setting up of Family Type Biogas Plants mostly for the use of rural and semi-urban households. The energy is generated from biodegradable wastes such as wastes from the garden, kitchen, etc
- Scheme for Development of Ultra Mega Solar Parks: the scheme facilitates and speeds up installation of grid connected solar power projects for electricity generation on a large scale.
- Off-Grid and Decentralized Solar Photovoltaic Applications Programme: This scheme aims to promote off-grid application of the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) systems for meeting the lighting and electricity needs of the individuals, communities, commercial and industrial institutions
- National Offshore Wind Energy Policy: This involves the utilization of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the development of offshore wind farms up to 200 Nautical Miles from the baseline.
- National Clean Energy Fund: It is the fund created using the carbon tax for backing research and development of innovative eco-friendly technologies.
The risk of disruptive events will increase in future as droughts, heat waves, more intense storms, and severe wildfires become more frequent due to global warming. There is a need to shift for resilient and clean technologies as it is vital that we address the issue before the situation worsens in India.