On the day when the Indian president has mentioned “Climate change, as you are aware, is the most critical challenge before humanity in this century”, the ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy has mentioned that India’s total installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel has increased.
Though totally unrelated happenings, we know the relationship between climate change and climate action. Renewable energy is one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change and India’s progress in this area is commendable.
In a reply submitted in the upper house of the Indian parliament, minister for power and new and renewable energy, R.K. Singh has mentioned that India’s total installed power capacity from non-fossil fuel is 39%.
As of 30 June 2021, India’s Renewable Energy installed power capacity and under installation was 96.95 GW and if large hydel projects are added, and total capacity goes up to 150 GW.
The government of India had set a target of 175 GW installed capacity from renewable sources by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from Solar, 60 GW from Wind, 10 GW from Biomass, and 5 MW from Small Hydro.
As per the details submitted, India is on course to achieve its nationally determined contribution (NDC) target which was 40% capacity by non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030.
In the last few months to promote renewable energy sources, the following steps have been taken:
- Waiver of inter-State transmission charges on the transmission of the electricity generated from the solar and wind sources, for projects to be commissioned up to 30th June 2025.
- Green energy corridors have been developed to evacuate power from Renewable Energy Sources.
- Renewable Purchase Obligation Trajectory has been notified with the objective of creating a renewable power capacity of 175 GW by the year 2022.
Natural Disasters in India in 2021
India has been facing major calamities almost every month in 2021, in February, 70 persons died in the glacier burst in Uttarakhand, in July, nine persons were killed in landslides in Himachal Pradesh and many got impacted by two cyclones in May & June.
India witnessed two cyclones, Tauktae and Yaas, within a matter of few weeks leaving behind a trail of destruction across several Indian states. Cyclone Tauktae emerged from the Arabian Sea on 17 May 2021 and about 24 people were killed across three Indian states. In a matter of few days, the cyclonic storm, Cyclone Yaas, formed in the Bay of Bengal and hit West Bengal and Odisha coasts causing serious damage to the region.
India needs to look beyond Renewable Energy
In light of the natural disasters, the Indian president’s acknowledged the setting up of two centers of excellence at the Kashmir University, where one is devoted to glaciology and the other to Himalayan biodiversity documentation, bio-prospection, and conservation. Addressing the 19th convocation of the University in Srinagar, President added “I am confident that these two ‘Centres of Excellence and the laboratory will help Kashmir and also show the way to the world in combating climate challenges and nurturing nature”.
The Himalayan region constitutes a major part of India’s geographical territory extending from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Sikkim are other important states in the Himalayan region. Millions of people are dependent on the mountains for their lives and livelihood. A natural disaster like the one in Himachal Pradesh creates havoc for the people living there. Hence it is extremely significant for India’s climate action plan to analyze the mountain region, its ecology, and its biodiversity.
Apart from renewable energy, India needs to take a holistic view of its measures to address climate change.
Increasing forest cover, tackling air pollution, weather monitoring, oceanography and most importantly nurturing innovation & technology would need Indian government interventions. Center of excellence and encouraging startups in this sector can go a long way in understanding the problem and crafting next-generation solutions.