Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi – The Architect of Transformation of India’s Energy Ecosystem

RK Singh, Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy

The global warming caused by Green House Gases / CO2 emissions has led to rising concern around the world; increasing the pressure to shift to clean energy.  Energy transition is now on top of the international agenda. And India, thanks to the vision and determination of Prime Minister Modi, has emerged as a world leader in this.  In COP 21 in Paris, India pledged that by 2030, 40% of its established capacity would come from non-fossil fuel sources.  In parallel, Prime Minister Modi announced that India will endeavour to establish 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by end of 2022 – this was almost about 5 times the existing Renewable Energy capacity in 2014; but we are close to achieving it. Our Renewable Energy capacity today is 147 GW (including hydro-power which is included in the RE basket the world over); and we have 63 GW under construction.  This adds upto 210 GW.  We are already a world leader in renewables.  Bloomberg categorised us as the most attractive destination for investment in renewables in the world.

And we are innovating.  We are adding the solar – wind – hybrid with storage.  We have already had successful bids for Round The Clock Green Power and Peaking Power with Green Energy. We are shortly going to come out with a bids for 1000 MWH of battery storage. This is 2½ times the biggest established storage capacity in the world. We propose to set-up a 10000 MW of Renewable Energy Park in Ladakh with 14000 MW hrs of storage. 

In COP 21 in Paris, India had also pledged that it will bring down the emission intensity of its economy by 33% as compared to 2005 levels.  We are well on our way to achieving this. Under the LED Programme (UJALA), over 1.15 billion LEDs have been sold since 2015, leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions by 171 million tonnes per annum. Under the PAT (Perform Achieve & Trade) – the Energy Efficiency Programme for Industry, we have achieved a reduction of CO2 emissions by 86 million tonnes per annum by 2020.   Under our programme for energy efficiency in appliances – the star-rating programme, we have achieved a reduction of 53 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum.  By 2019, we had already achieved an emission intensity reduction of almost 28%.

The strategy to offer a ‘plug-and-play’ model to developers via utility-scale solar parks, which provide ready access to land, grid and other infrastructure, has helped minimise uncertainties and shortened project commissioning timelines.  Since 2015, the Government has sanctioned 47 solar parks in 15 states, with aggregate capacity of 37.7 GW, Karnataka’s 2 GW Pavagada Solar Park is among the largest in the world.

The PM-KUSUM Scheme, launched in March 2019, aims to add ~31 GW capacity through solar plants on barren / fallow / marshy land owned by farmers; replace 2 million diesel pumps with standalone solar pumps, and solarise 1.5 million grid-connected agri-pumps, using domestically made solar cells and modules.  PM-KUSUM is providing energy and water security to farmers, de-dieselising the farm sector and enhancing farmers’ income through excess solar power sale.  It will save ~32 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and 1.4 billion litres of diesel annually.

On the urban side, the Solar Cities Programme aims to develop at least one solar city in state, to source all electricity from renewable.  So far, 23 States / UTs have identified cities to be developed as Solar Cities.

To promote domestic manufacturing and reduce import dependence for RE equipment, Production Linked Incentives were launched in 2021 to promote manufacturing of high efficiency solar PV modules, including the upstream verticals such as cells, wafers, ingots and polysilicon.

Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, on the 15th of August 2021, announced the launch of the National Hydrogen Mission with a target to make India a global hub for production as well as exporting Green Hydrogen.  It is estimated that about 5.6 million metric tonnes (MMT) hydrogen is produced annually in India and consumed for various industrial purposes.   Most of this hydrogen is currently sourced from fossil fuels.  The hydrogen market is expected to double in size about 11 MMT per annum by 2030.

 There is wide acceptance based on techno-economic trends that use of Green Hydrogen would achieve cost-competitiveness within a decade or so.  It has the potential to enhance penetration of renewable energy in areas like long-range heavy-duty transportation and shipping.  It can also replace fossil fuel based feed-stocks in sectors like fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel etc.  It can be particularly useful in remote locations as a carrier of energy.  The New and Renewable Energy Ministry is accordingly developing a draft National Hydrogen Energy Mission document.  The broad vision is to develop indigenous capabilities and lower costs to speed up adoption of Green Hydrogen.

The proposed strategy is to create initial demand for Green Hydrogen through suitable mandates in sectors like fertilizer, refining and natural gas networks and simultaneously promoting indigenous manufacturing of electrolysers. This will enable economies of scale, facilitate technology development and accelerate cost reduction. The Mission would cover the key areas of creating demand and market instruments; developing indigenous manufacturing capacities, particularly in electrolysers; establishing facilitative policy and regulatory frameworks; building production and supply infrastructure; and carrying out R&D for green hydrogen.

In order to help other countries achieve energy access, India founded the International Solar Alliance (ISA).  Today, the ISA has 98 member countries working towards facilitating the deployment of 1000 GW of Solar energy globally by 2030.  In 2018, Prime Minister Modi proposed the One Sun-One World-One Grid initiative – a global Green Grid to deliver solar energy across borders.

In 2018, the UN Environment Programme bestowed Prime Minister Modi with its top environmental honour, designating him a Champion of the Earth for his bold environmental leadership on the global stage, his championing of the ISA, and his commitment to eliminating single-use plastics in India.

In 2021, India was selected as a UN Global Champion for Energy Transition for its voluntary and action-oriented clean energy and climate action policies, and citizen-centric approach to sustainable development.  We shall continue to remain at the forefront of energy transition; setting the pace for the rest of the world by what we do.