Unleashing the potential of renewable energy in India

Jun 2011

India has 150GW of renewable energy potential, about half in the form of small hydropower, biomass, and wind and half in solar, cogeneration, and waste-to-energy. Developing renewable energy can help India increase its energy security, reduce the adverse impacts on the local environment, lower its carbon intensity, contribute to more balanced regional development, and realize its aspirations for leadership in high-technology industries.
Since 2005 the energy and climate change agenda has taken centre stage in the domestic and international policy arena. India is well placed to build on this momentum. It has tripled its renewable energy generation capacity in the past five years, now ranking fifth in the world in total installed renewable energy capacity, and it has established a legal and regulatory framework for sector oversight. The government has set ambitious targets. It aims to increase the capacity to generate renewable energy by 40GW to 55GW by the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2022). The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) has set the even more ambitious goal of a 1% annual increase in renewable energy generation which stands at about 3.5%  in 2008. Meeting this goal may require 40–80GW of additional capacity in renewable energy capacity by 2017, depending on India’s demand for power and plant capacity. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has set its own ambitious target of adding 1GW of capacity between 2010 and 2013. It seeks to increase combined solar capacity from 9MW in 2010 to 20GW by 2022.
To achieve these goals, India needs an order-of-magnitude increase in renewable energy growth in the next decade. To add 40GW by 2022, India will have to meet the ambitious target of the JNNSM, double its wind capacity, quadruple its small hydropower power capacity, fully realize co-generation capacity, and increase biomass realization by a factor of five to six.
This diagnostic note draws on a detailed analysis conducted by a PricewaterhouseCoopers India consulting team in 2008–09 for the World Bank. The data are based on information on about 180 wind, biomass, and small hydropower projects in 20 states, as well as information from and norms of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
The note is intended to provoke discussions of the feasibility of renewable energy development in India. Why is renewable energy development relevant? How much development is economically feasible? What needs to be done to realize the potential? Each of these topics is addressed in a separate chapter, all of which suggest a few implementable measures that India can consider to tap its vast unharnessed potential.

By: G. Sargsyan, M. Bhatia, S. G. Banerjee, K. Raghunathan, R. Soni (World Bank)

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