By Categories: Economy, Editorials

Population explosion has resulted in manifold increase in demand for energy. The conventional, non-renewable sources of energy, such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc. are experiencing extensive pressure, resulting in an urgent need to switch to non-conventional sources of energy which are renewable and ecologically safe.

For instance, solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, tidal and wave energy fall under non-conventional sources. Maximum utilisation of renewable sources will facilitate generating energy without harming the environment and its surroundings.

The role of new and renewable energy has been assuming increasing significance in recent times with the growing concern for the country’s energy security. Energy self-sufficiency was identified as the major driver for renewable energy in the country in the wake of the two oil shocks of the 1970s. The sudden increase in the price of oil, uncertainties associated with its supply and the adverse impact on the balance of payments position led to the establishment of the Commission for Additional Sources of Energy (CASE) in the Department of Science & Technology (DST) in March 1981. The Commission was charged with the responsibility of formulating policies and their implementation programmes for development of renewable energy apart from coordinating and intensifying research and development in the sector.

There has been a visible impact of renewable energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last five years. Renewable energy sector landscape in India has witnessed tremendous changes in the policy framework with accelerated and ambitious plans to increase the contribution of solar energy. There is a perception that renewable energy can now play a significant role with access to improved technologies.  According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy:

The total power generated, as on March 31, 2016, from various renewable energy sources is 65.76 GW, bifurcation of which is – wind (33.03 GW), solar (7.45 GW), small hydro power (up to 25 MW) (8.33 GW), bio power (16.95 GW).

  • The Indian government has up-scaled the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro power.
  • The capacity target of 100 GW set under the National Solar Mission (JNNSM) will principally comprise of 40 GW Rooftop and 60 GW through large and medium scale grid connected solar power projects. With this ambitious target, India will become one of the largest green energy producers in the world, surpassing several developed countries.
  • The total investment in setting up 100 GW will be around INR 6,00,000 crore. Several states are already witnessing silent revolution on rooftop solar power generation with the launch of net metering in the country.
  • The new initiatives announced by the government during the financial year 2016-17 include setting up of two Light Detector and Ranging (LIDAR) at identified locations to study the offshore wind speed profile which would help in establishing techno-economic feasibility of the sites for installation of offshore wind power projects, schemes on energy storage, deployment of mini grid for meeting energy access and strengthening biodiesel activities in the states.
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) was launched on the January 11, 2010 by the Prime Minister. The Mission has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022. It is aimed at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country through long term policy, large scale deployment goals, aggressive research and development and domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products, as a result to achieve grid tariff parity by 2022. The Mission will create an enabling policy framework to achieve this objective and make India a global leader in solar energy.
  • The Special Area Demonstration Project (SADP) Scheme was started in 1992-93 with the objective to demonstrate the New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE) systems and devices and also to provide training facilities for meeting the energy needs in special areas.
  • The renewable energy systems being set up under SADP include mainly solar power plants, solar water heaters, solar lights, biogas plants from kitchen waste and battery operated vehicles.
  • SADP Scheme is being continued during the 12th Plan Period. The scheme comprises of the following two components; energy park scheme and demonstration of renewable energy systems at places of national and international importance to illuminate these places to supplement the energy requirement through clean and green energy.

Since India is running one of the largest renewable capacity expansion programmes in the world and there is a need for corresponding grid stability. Regulator will frame norms for ancillary services to support power system or grid operation especially with expanding renewable energy.

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