FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Why India can be a world leader in clean energy
Updated:Jun 10, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Sunny Hundal 
 
Would you be surprised if I told you India was already a leader in clean energy, the most important technology of the future? Don’t worry you are not alone. In fact it’s more surprising the Indian government doesn’t brag about its achievements given it has shown no such shyness on other issues.
 
Across India, right now there are villages where households get loans to buy a solar power system for a few light bulbs inside. They don’t need to pay for power, only the initial cost. It is helping children study at night, saving farmers money on their crop, letting remote hospitals do necessary operations.
 
Renewable energy can not only transform thousands of villages and towns across this vast country, it can put also India on an accelerator into the future. The opportunities for transformation are vast. The only complaint is the BJP government is not going far enough.
Last month the New York Times even praised India (and China) for leading the world in clean energy investment, as it complained that Donald Trump’s America “now looked like a laggard.” With the Americans now planning to leave the Paris climate agreement the opportunity for Modi to lead the world is even greater.
 
In the last few years the global price of solar energy has fallen so fast it has left heads spinning. A lot of that drop has come from here. Five year ago solar companies in India were producing a kilowatt-hour for Rs.7. It’s now down to Rs.2.44 - even cheaper than coal. The world is watching in amazement.
 
The strides being made here are manifold: first the price of supplying solar power to the grid is falling fast. That in turn gets more companies to invest more money and create more jobs. And storing power for cloudy days has become less of a problem as the price of batteries has fallen. Being able to produce cheaper energy helps Indian companies export parts to all over the world.
 
Secondly, falling prices have encouraged the centre to set ambitious targets to expand clean energy capacity: from 36 gigawatts now to 175 gigawatts in five years. They even want to ensure only electric cars are sold by 2030. This could mean an end to blackouts and bottlenecks, and an economy that grows even quicker.
 
India’s strides are encouraging Europe to follow suit. Switzerland voted last month to phase out fossil fuels and focus on clean power. The new President of France has announced a similar plan. Germany has already set itself very high targets. China is investing more in clean energy than anyone else and expects to create 13 million new jobs in the sector by 2020.
 
This is a race to dominate the most important industry of the future. It is also a race to save the planet before climate change overwhelms us. Farming-heavy states like Punjab and Chhattisgarh are already feeling the effects as monsoon patterns keep changing. Climate change affects farming and crops and thus will hit India particularly badly.
 
India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Indian cities dominate the list of the most polluted on the planet. It needs clean energy so Indians can breathe properly, but also to power growth, educate the youth and create more opportunities.
 
“What’s happening with solar in India gives hope for the future,” I was told by Alasdair Cameron at Friends of the Earth. He added: “As the costs of solar continue to fall India has a real opportunity to become a world leader in the transition to a clean, 21st century energy system.”
 
This boom is changing our world so quickly it may look unrecognisable soon. But it needs the Modi government to get ambitious and deliver. If India wanted it could not only become a world energy leader but save the planet in the process.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
read-more
Israel has announced the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state since New Delhi established diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv in 1992. The visit will take place July 4-6. 
 
read-more
These are depressing times. For quite some time I have been watching with utter dismay the Secular India which Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani, Abdul Ghaffar Khan and others fought for being systematically undermined by ultra-Hindu nationalists. The obsession with Mother Cow has
 
read-more
With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
read-more
“We cannot allow the state brutality to which we are subjected each day snatch our humanity and values,” the Mirwaiz said, asking: “What will be the difference between them and us then?”
 
read-more
The standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim section of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries has led to a suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the new Nathu La route.
 
read-more
The city of Marawi in the south of the Philippines has been engulfed by a deadly, ongoing siege since late May, when government forces began to take on heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State. Local media estimate the death toll to be above 300. Over 200,000 residents have fled what has effectively become an urban battlefie
 
read-more
The Iraqi city of Mosul this week celebrates its first Eid free of the oppressive rule of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) in three years.
 
read-more
President Donald J. Trump hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House on June 26 for an official visit to Washington, D.C.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
Column-image

  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive