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Decarbonisation Is Required For Sustainability, Security: NEP

The report states that “while a cumulative capacity target of 175 GW has been declared for the year 2022, by 2040 a likely capacity of 597-710 GW is expected to be achieved".

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Decarbonisation has been deemed necessary to achieve sustainability in India, said Draft National Energy Policy (NEP) which was unveiled by country’s apex planning agency Niti Aayog last week.

NEP, aimed to “chart the way forward to meet government’s recent bold announcements in the energy domain”, lays emphasis on “de-carbonisation through the twin interventions of energy efficiency and renewable energy”, thus advocating cutting down of fossil fuel consumption to “promote the twin goals of sustainability and security”.

With the Nationally Determined Contribution target aiming at “reduction of emissions intensity by 33-35 per cent by 2030 over 2005, thus achieving a 175 gigawatts (GW) renewable energy capacity by 2022, and share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix”, it is integral to assess the map forward for the renewable energy sector, which is set to grow at a rapid pace in the next few years.

The report states that “while a cumulative capacity target of 175 GW has been declared for the year 2022, by 2040 a likely capacity of 597-710 GW is expected to be achieved”, further stating that no targets are proposed beyond 2022 as the “growth is expected to take place autonomously”.

The report added that in the next 23 years, the renewable energy sector will witness a “transformation in the electricity sector of India, calling for policy action across the entire value chain of generation, transmission and distribution”.

With regards to the natural, sustained growth of the renewable energy sector, the report states that as “consumers become agnostic to the source of power, renewable energy will soon blend with conventional power and markets will determine dispatch rather than policy levers.”

The report also stresses the importance of the large hydro-power component of the renewable energy sector, stating that “dedicated attention” needs to be given to it.

The report states that despite the large potential of hydro-power, “this sector has been rather slow in delivering power to the nation”, and that there has been a fall from 12 per cent in 2002 to 10 per cent in 2014-15 in “the share of large hydro in the electricity mix”.

The report however recognizes the potential of Arunachal Pradesh in large hydro-power, which has the “potential of 50,000 megawatts (MW) of hydro-power potential of which only 98 MW has been developed till March, 2016”. Some of the advantages of hydro-power enlisted are “containment of flood, irrigation, fishery, ground water-charge to name a few”.

The report goes to states measures for a “healthy growth and smooth integration of renewable sources of electricity in the Indian electricity system”, which includes financial measures such as the phasing out of capital subsidy, deferral of tax and feed-in tariffs “ought to drive growth of Renewable Energy”.

The report recognizes that currently, due to “inherent qualities of lower cost via economies of scale and ability to meet varying demand for power, grid based electricity is preferable to renewable solutions”. The report calls for Renewable Energy Service Companies (RESCOs) to “provide capital, technology and maintenance support to the Renewable Energy sector, particularly, in the case of roof top segment”.

The report recognizes the multi-potential of bio-mass energy as it is “flexible enough to provide back-up, can meet the local power need and also prevent air pollution by avoidance of stubble burning which has assumed menacing proportions in North India.”

The report goes on to enlist the role of state governments in facilitating the growth of the renewable energy sector, the role new technologies such as smart grids can play in the renewable energy sector and it develops a road map for developing an enabling ecosystem for renewable energy in India. The report also goes on to enlist solutions for storage and back-up of renewable energy, such as Electric Vehicles “that can also double up as a storage device”.