February , 2024
India’s Green Energy Initiatives: Biofuel Surge, Rooftop Solar Drive, and the Billion-Dollar Thrust for Renewable Energy
17:12 pm

Kuntala Sarkar

In a transformative move towards sustainable energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts a 30% increase in global biofuel demand over the next five years, anticipating an additional 38 billion liters by 2028. This surge is primarily led by emerging economies like Brazil, Indonesia, and India, as highlighted in the latest IEA report. The factors propelling this growth include robust biofuel policies, rising demand for transport fuel, and significant feedstock potential in these burgeoning economies.

In the pursuit of cleaner energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the PM Suryodaya Yojana on January 22, 2024. This initiative involves the installation of rooftop solar panels on the homes of middle-class and lower-class citizens, enabling them to generate power and reduce expenses. State-run REC has been appointed as the nodal agency for the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana, with an allocation of up to ` 1.2 trillion for rooftop solar panel installations. As of December 2023, India’s solar power installed capacity stands at approximately 73.31 GW, with rooftop solar reaching 11.08 GW. The National Rooftop Scheme provides financial assistance, covering 40% of the capital cost of solar rooftop projects. Previously, the Rooftop Solar Programme, launched in 2014, aimed to achieve a cumulative installed capacity of 40,000 MW by 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lead a roundtable with CEOs of prominent global oil and gas companies during the India Energy Week (IEW) in Goa from February 6-9. The second edition of this event aims to foster international discussions on energy co-operation, featuring energy ministers from 17 nations. IEW 2024 will feature sessions on biofuels, green hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

Recent Government and private initiatives toward green energy

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal unveiled the Delhi Solar Policy 2024, announcing zero electricity bills for domestic consumers and halving tariffs for commercial and industrial users upon installing rooftop solar panels. Under this policy, a residential consumer can earn Rs. 700-900 per month after installing rooftop solar panels, according to the proposed generation-based incentives (GBI). Meanwhile, the existing power subsidy scheme by the Delhi government provides a zero-amount bill for residential consumers using up to 200 units per month, along with a 50% subsidy for consumption between 201 and 400 units.

NTPC Green Energy Limited (NGEL), a subsidiary of NTPC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government to lead green hydrogen and derivatives projects, including green ammonia and green methanol, with a capacity of up to 1 million tons per annum. The MoU, signed on January 29, also encompasses the development of up to 5 GW of renewable energy projects in the state, marking a potential investment of around Rs. 80,000 crore.

Green energy firms are aggressively expanding their capacities. For instance, ReNew, a Nasdaq-listed decarbonization firm, proposes a total investment of  Rs.26,400 crore for a green hydrogen project with 220 KTPA of green hydrogen production capacity in Kerala. This project is fueled by a 2 GW capacity electrolyser, generating 14,000 million units of power annually from 5 GW to 6 GW renewable energy plants. On the other hand, Gujarat-based company Grew Energy, having signed an agreement with the state government, plans to invest  ` 6,000 crore in setting up manufacturing facilities for solar power equipment. They have applied for capacity under the PLI scheme and have successfully secured ` 567 crore of incentives from the center. Additionally, Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd (TPREL) has recently confirmed the commissioning of a 1,000-kilowatt bifacial solar system project in West Bengal.

The Economic Review, in its chapter on India’s climate action, commends the union government for prioritizing developmental goals in its energy transition efforts and acknowledges that the growth of green energy and associated ecosystems aligns with the economic pace in India. “Steps like the introduction of the regulatory framework for issuing green debt securities, ‘Framework for Sovereign Green Bonds,’ ‘Framework for Acceptance of Green Deposits’ by the Reserve Bank of India, the inclusion of mitigation projects such as those in renewable energy in the priority sector

lending rules, the issue of sovereign green bonds, and rules for financial disclosures and reporting of non-financial data, including information on sustainability impacts by top companies, all aim to foster and develop a green finance ecosystem in the country,” the Economic Review added. The strengthened National Action Plan on Climate Change has been a prominent intervention for the implementation of India’s climate action.

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