India expands renewable energy while stimulating economic growth
India rapidly continues to grow, whose GDP is expected to grow at 7.3% in the fiscal year 2018-19. It is said that the country will attain the supremacy of the world economy in the 21st century. Did you know that India is becoming a major power in the field of renewable energy?
Actively investing in the renewable energy market
The Modi government in India has been actively investing in the field of renewable energy. Since 2014, when the government started, more than $42 billion (approximately 4,480 billion yen) has been invested in the renewable energy sector. New investments in the sector in 2018 reached $11.1 billion (approximately 1,186 billion yen). The government promoted deregulation and expanded the scope of electricity business to private companies, which increased independent power generation companies using renewable energy such as solar and wind power. This movement accelerated the use of renewable energy, and the proportion of renewable energy significantly has increased regarding the power source composition ratio.
Currently, the share of renewable energy in India’s total power generation is around 20%. The country is aiming to cover around 50% of the total electricity with renewable energy by 2040 by introducing more efficient storage batteries.
According to the “2018 Climatescope,” which summarizes the status of renewable energy in developing countries, published by British and American government agencies and Bloomberg annually, in the item of “transition to clean energy,” India ranked second after China, where is actively introducing renewable energy such as the construction of a large onshore wind power plant in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, among the 58 countries surveyed.
Aiming for both growth and sustainability
There is a reason that motivates the Indian government to promote the introduction of renewable energy. First, India’s population has grown at a phenomenal pace of 70,000 people a day, which is increasing energy demand accordingly. Self-sufficiency of energy and the consolidation of an energy supply network throughout India were regarded as top priorities of the country, and it was important not to rely on imports for energy demand. In addition, India, now the third-largest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world, was strongly demanded by the international community to break away from the coal-fired power generation, which accounts for more than 70% of the total power generation.
The Indian government was quick to realize that both growth and sustainability had to be addressed and, by utilizing sunlight and wind, decided to promote renewable energy over fossil fuels that emit carbon. In 2015, the government announced an ambitious target of 175GW of renewable energy by 2022 but later revised upwards to 225GW.
The international community is also giving attention to India’s expanding use of renewable energy. This is because if India can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will greatly increase the feasibility of the goal, “keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” set by the Paris Agreement.