After Telecom And IT Sector Revolution, Next Revolution Will Be Of Clean Energy: Sumant Sinha, Founder Chairman & CEO, ReNew Power
Wind energy has seen a fall in prices due to technology evolution”, said Sumant Sinha, Founder Chairman & CEO, ReNew Power
At the Young Entrepreneurship Summit and Awards 2018, organized by ICFAI and BW Businessworld, there was a session on 'Clean Energy is ready to power the Future', where the speaker was Sumant Sinha, Founder Chairman & CEO, ReNew Power.
“Renewable energy has been around for the last 25 years. It started off originally with the concept of wind energy and slowly after that it migrated to solar. But now solar and wind have become cost-effective and have become competitive with the conventional thermal. When wind and solar started off, government mandates and government subsidies were fuelling it. Renewables started off with this whole imperative of climate change. It started off in the mid 90’s, when people started realizing they can generate power through wind turbines. Wind turbines have become bigger in size over the years, almost triple the size. Wind turbines, when you stand below, when you hear them moving, you will realize that it’s a big entity and this is what has enabled the cost to come down. Wind energy has seen a fall in prices due to technology evolution”, said Sinha.
Sinha also added, “Solar story is more remarkable. In the beginning, solar applications were on satellites and the cost of that solar generation was expensive. The cost of solar has also come down greatly in the last 7-8 years. This evolution is going to continue happening as we are just half-way through. Wind and solar are going to become cheaper in the future”. “Wind and solar are now cheaper than thermal. That is why we are in the beginning of the third energy transition. Oil was the second energy revolution, and now the third revolution in energy where we are transitioning to cleaner forms of energy. Why should not all future capacity addition not be coming from renewable energy sources? Why should anyone set up coal power plants? In the last 1-2 years, a lot of new capacity being set up is renewable energy. Renewables will start replacing the existing legacy systems we have, whether its coal or oil. Over the next 5-6 years, all new capacity addition will be renewables. The first obstacle which will arise is that renewable energy is not a stable source of power. Sun shines only in the daytime, and wind also blows in different patterns. Hence, renewable energy is not on demand energy for some services. There was a general thought that you could have 8-10% of renewable energy in the grid. But European countries have shown that the capacity of renewable energy can be in much larger quantities in the system. You can have a much higher penetration of renewables in the grid than thought before”, said Sinha.
Sinha also went on to add, “Batteries are now becoming cheaper and you can store large amount of energies in batteries. We are going to see a similar reduction of cost in battery storage. And that will be a boon as you can now store renewable energy in batteries. In the next few years, renewables and storage will be cheaper than coal or gas based power. We feel comfortable and confident that this sector will grow dramatically. And the kind of revolutions in the telecom sector and IT sector, a similar revolution will happen in the clean energy sector”. “The average Indian consumes 1/3rd the power than what the global consumer consumes. The average Chinese consumes 4 times the power than the Indian consumer consumes while the average US consumer consumes 15 times the power consumed by Indians. The power consumption of the average Indian is set to go up, it will probably double. If we have to double our total installed capacity from 330 to 660, a lot of it will come from renewable energy sources. We have to add 10 times the capacity we have today. By 2030, we will get to 40% of our total energy capacity from renewable energy sources. Our commitment to the Paris agreements will boost the scope of renewables”, said Sinha.
Sumant Sinha also added, “If you look at the sector itself, there are very small size companies. We have the largest capacity in this space but it is a very fragmented sector. The sector is going to undergo consolidation and massive growth. We are reading a lot about electric vehicles, and there is a strong attempt to make all cars electric vehicles post-2030. It is also going to lead to the evolution of battery storage technology. So there is going to be a revolution when it comes to mobility and storage as well”. ”It is really an exciting sector to look at when we go forward. More and more people will start installing solar on their rooftops, and that will make grid management tougher and will test the ability of policymakers and distributors. There is a tremendous amount of research being done on how to bring the cost of solar and wind lower. The funny thing is that even though India’s reforms started in 1990, the power sector seems to have had a go-bye, and there are a lot of reforms which are needed in this power sector”, concluded Sinha.