Why India needs to further diversify its energy basket

Why India needs to further diversify its energy basket

According to the latest assessment by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s total power capacity is pegged at over 300,000 Megawatt, of which 42, 850 MW is contributed by renewable energy projects and 42, 783 MW by hydro power projects. Additionally, experts are of the opinion that India is on track to become one of the world’s leading producers of green energy and is anticipated to soon supersede advanced countries in the race.

Known for its diversified power sector in the world, India has sources of power generation starting from conventional sources such as coal, lignite, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable non-conventional sources such as wind, solar and agricultural and domestic waste. The demand for electricity has been increasing rapidly and is expected to rise further in the coming years. Thus, to be able to cater to the increasing demand for electricity, massive additions in the existing generation capacity is required. Owing to the current government’s focus on promoting renewable energy and implementation of projects in time bound manner, India is at present ranked 3rd among 40 countries in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index.

Here are some factors that explain why diversification of energy sources is a good idea for India:

Growing price competitiveness: This is among the main reasons for diversification efforts. Energy alternatives such as gas, fossil fuels etc. collectively pose a risk for power plant operators, along with end users, with their price volatility. While the natural gas prices fluctuate from one state to another, the fluctuation of fossil fuel rates also appears from time to time. But the renewable energy sector has witnessed tremendous advancement in the whole value chain, especially the technology leap enabled by innovation. Adding to the positives would be the maturing market that has immense potential to drive down the prices of renewables rapidly. Also, there is no dearth of skilled and trained workers in India. This, coupled with the government’s backup for the startup segment, more and more new projects could be planted across the geography to reach a point where India’s need for energy can be satiated using renewable energy sources.

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Renewable energy a safe bet for the long run: Renewables are being heavily encouraged by policy makers. This is because the average wind or solar farm is built for up to 25 to 30 years of operation, which is even longer in case of hydro power plants. The operators of these power plants are aware that the equipment will be refurbished once its shelf life is over and that the newly upgraded solar module or wind turbine will be relatively more cost effective and efficient. Consequently, renewables have the capacity to continue generating electricity maintaining its efficiency that further boosts competitiveness.

Energy security: While oil and gas sources are limited to certain regions of the world, renewable energy is available everywhere and is domestic. Not only does it offer security of energy supply but also reduces dependence on imported sources. Diversification of energy can play a significant role in our energy needs by replacing foreign energy imports with domestically produced electricity that adds to the country’s economy. Read More…

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