India has potential to be world's renewable energy powerhouse

February 11, 2011 | 00:00

India has potential to be world's renewable energy powerhouse

India has the potential to become a global renewable energy powerhouse due to its need for alternative energy sources, international pressure and strong government support, according to independent market analyst Datamonitor.

Akhil Sivanandan, Datamonitor analyst and author of a new report*, said: “There are several factors that mean India has great potential to become far more reliant on green power.

“There is currently unprecedented power demand in the country due to its continued breakneck economic growth, urbanisation and rapidly improving standards of living. This is of great concern to the government and developing energy infrastructure is recognized as a priority.

“Over the next decade India plans to diversify its energy mix, adding significant renewable capacity, which will help it to plug the demand gap and provide power to all residents. This need for renewable energy, combined with international pressure, has led to increasingly ambitious renewable energy targets.

“With strong support mechanisms being put in place, India could become a global renewable powerhouse. However, making that happen will involve overcoming significant hurdles, from providing enough financing incentives to cutting down the red tape which is prevalent in the power industry. Overcoming these problems will be the key to India’s green transformation.”

India is currently the fifth largest producer and consumer of electricity in the world, with an estimated 934.2 terawatt hours (TWh) of power generated and an installed capacity of 156.8 gigawatts (GW) in 2010. Per capita consumption is expected to more than triple from 704 kilowatts (kWh), as estimated in 2009, to reach 2,643kWh by 2032, fuelled by an estimated seven per cent yearly GDP growth. Currently 40 per cent of the country’s 1.2 billion people are said to be without access to electricity.

Mr Sivanandan continued: “Most of the electricity in India is generated through conventional thermal sources, which accounted for 64 per cent of power generated in 2010. However to plug the demand gap, renewable energy will need to play a much bigger role, which the government is addressing with plans to raise generation capacity.”

Nuclear, hydropower, wind, biomass and solar all already feature in India’s energy mix, with government plans to increase capacity and raise their importance. Mr Sivanandan added: “Except for hydropower, which is largely in the hands of the government, most other renewable energy sectors are at an early stage. But to promote renewable power generation and spur private investment the government has put forward a slew of supportive legislation, ambitious targets and incentives. The great potential is there, it remains to be seen if India can achieve it.”

 

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