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Tulsi Tanti

Chairman & Managing Director, Suzlon Energy Ltd, India

Renewable energy leading India’s transition to low carbon economy

The Indian Renewable industry is currently experiencing the right winds of change and is all set to alter the energy landscape of the country in a positive way. Clean energy sector is already contributing ~21% of India’s total installed power capacity which is mainly driven by over 34 GW of wind power. The renewable energy sector will play a critical role in enabling India’s COP21 commitment of 33-35% carbon emissions reduction by 2030. 

Additionally, owing to rapidly evolving technology, conducive policy environment and increasing cost efficiency of renewables, it has transitioned from alternative to mainstream source of energy. Further, an increasing focus on climate change is leading people, companies and countries to consume energy from more efficient sources.  There is an increased awareness about penalizing the emitters of greenhouse gases. These factors put together are giving impetus to the growth of renewable energy. 

The future for clean energy in India is promising as evinced in the last three years with installation of renewable energy capacity being more than doubled from 32 GW to 72 GW. Wind industry is supporting the Government’s vision and ‘Make in India’ initiative by championing the cause with over 75 percent localization. There is an immense potential for the country to become a global manufacturing hub for wind energy, which is visible as a number of global companies have set up their manufacturing units in India. The industry has established 45 manufacturing units across the country with an investment of over INR 25,000 crores. There are 23 manufacturers with over 60 models and around 16 R&D centres that maintain an international level of excellence. It is noteworthy that there are over 4,000 SME units in the country who are producing wind turbine components across the value chain and providing large scale employment. This gives us a huge leverage to start a robust export network from our nation to other countries.

In India, with the newly discovered tariff, wind energy is the cheapest source of energy. In fact, many corporates, public sector units (PSUs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as in textiles have already tapped the benefits of wind power to hedge their energy costs. The government’s target of 175 GW has now been revised to 227 GW by 2022 including 67 GW of wind energy. This target is closer to becoming a reality propelled by technology and conducive policy environment for renewables; thereby helping the nation achieve energy security in a sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly way. Further, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also announced target of 30 GW offshore by 2030. 

Additionally, the market visibility is improving and the government is deeply committed to pushing resources at the highest priority to exponentially grow the wind sector over the next few years. Wind industry is poised to grow at ~12 to 15 GW every year from FY20 facilitated by state and central bidding along with captive projects. India will add 60 to 75 GW of wind energy in the next 5 years.

However, the journey towards a new energy architecture needs long term and integrated policy approach. Availability of grid infrastructure should be addressed on priority and expeditiously. Renewable energy needs large-scale funding, so banks and financial institutions should enable financing for Renewable Energy projects for a duration of 20-25 years. 

I firmly believe India has the potential and capability to lead the global transition to renewable energy sources and become the renewable energy technology hub to the world. Technology will remain the catalyst in India’s shift to renewable energy dominated energy architecture. It is through technological innovations and the pursuit of sustainable social, economic and ecological development that we can chart the country’s path to progress and a greener tomorrow.