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Special Content

Issue no 3, 16 - 22 April 2022

India's Transition Towards Green Energy

Climate change represents a significant threat to the world economy. In India, it poses even bigger challenges due to heat stress, reductions in freshwater supply, soil drying, more intensive tropical cyclones, monsoons, and sea-level rise, amongst other impacts. Combating this would require a major or rather a complete transformation of the energy systems that underpin our economies.

The confluence of rising energy needs with a need for cleaner and cheaper energy resources to mitigate the consequences of a warming planet is enabling rapid growth for the renewable energy sector worldwide. India's energy system has changed significantly in the past two decades. The government's efforts to promote renewable energy technologies reflect a high level of policy support. In this context, India stands at a critical juncture as it lays the groundwork for one of the world's largest clean power systems.

A lot is said around the world about making the transition to cleaner sources of energy. To close the gap between rhetoric and action, the Government of India is spearheading several initiatives to decarbonize the existing energy systems, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint.

What is Decarbonization?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines 'decarbonization' as "the process of stopping or reducing carbon gases, especially carbondioxide, being released into the atmosphere as the result of a process, for example, the burning of fossil fuels". Decarbonization is not just limited to the power sector. It goes a long way to further decarbonize the economy as the industries that play a crucial part in a country's economy reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.

Decarbonization is important because when industries rely heavily on fossil fuels they emit large amounts of carbon dioxide leading to the greenhouse effect. However, if the industries shift to cleaner fuels, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere can be reduced significantly, which will also help in slowing down the effects of climate change.

In many comprehensive decarbonization pathways proposed for the world and for India, electrification of transportation, buildings, and industry is the principal solution to decarbonizing those sectors.

 How is India moving towards Decarbonization?

At CoP21 (2015), as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), India had committed to achieve 40% of its installed electricity capacity from non-fossil energy sources by 2030.

The country achieved this target in November 2021 itself. The country's installed Renewable Energy (RE) capacity stands at 150.54 GW (solar: 48.55 GW, wind: 40.03 GW, Small hydro Power: 4.83, Bio-power: 10.62, Large Hydro: 46.51 GW) as on 30.11.2021, while its nuclear energy based installed electricity capacity stands at 6.78 GW. This brings the total non-fossil based installed energy capacity to 157.32 GW which is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity of 392.01 GW.

 In line with the Hon'ble Prime Minister's announcement at CoP26 (2021), the Government is committed to achieving 500 GW of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by the year 2030.


 1. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM): To provide energy and water security, de-dieselise the farm sector and also generate additional income for farmers by producing solar power, the Government launched PMKUSUM Scheme for farmers. The scheme consists of three components: z Component A: Installation of 10,000 MW of Decentralized Grid Connected Solar Power Plants each of capacity up to 2 MW z Component B: Setting up of 20 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps z Component C: Solarisation of 15 Lakh existing Grid-connected Agriculture Pumps The Scheme aims to add 30.8 GW of solar capacity with the central financial support of over Rs. 34,000 crore.

2. Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme: In April 2021, the Government introduced PLI Scheme "National Programme on High-Efficiency Solar PV Modules" with an outlay of Rs. 4,500 crore to support and promote manufacturing of high-efficiency solar PV modules, including the upstage vertical components like cells, wafers, ingots and polysilicon in India, thereby reducing the import dependence in the Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) sector.

3. Solar Parks Scheme: To facilitate large scale grid-connected solar power projects, a scheme for "Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects" is under implementation. Solar parks provide solar power developers with a plug and play model, by facilitating necessary infrastructure like land, power evacuation facilities, road connectivity, water facility, etc., along with all statutory clearances.

4. Roof Top Solar programme Phase-II: Roof Top Solar programme Phase-II for accelerated deployment of solar rooftop systems is also under implementation. The scheme provides for financial assistance of upto 4 GW of solar rooftop capacity to the residential sector and there is a provision to incentivise the distribution companies for incremental achievement over the previous year. For the residential sector, use of domestically manufactured solar cells and modules have been mandated. This scheme is expected to act as a catalyst for adding solar cell and module manufacturing capacity in India.

5. Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme: The scheme paves way for setting up 12 GW Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Central Public Sector Undertakings with domestic cells and modules. Viability Gap Funding support is provided under this scheme. Apart from adding solar capacity, the scheme will also create demand for domestically manufactured solar cells/modules, and thus help domestic manufacturing.

6. Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY): The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched the AJAY to illuminate dark regions by installing solar street lights. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is implementing this sub-scheme under the Off-Grid and Decentralized Solar Application Scheme of MNRE. The objective is to illuminate the rural, semiurban and urban areas with solar LED street lights that face less than 50% grid connectivity as per 2011 census.

7. Green Energy Corridor: In order to facilitate renewable power evacuation and reshaping the grid for future requirements, Green Energy Corridor (GEC) projects have been initiated. The first component of the scheme, Inter-state GEC with target capacity of 3,200 circuit kilometer (ckm) transmission lines and 17,000 MVA capacity sub-stations, was completed in March 2020. The second component, Intra-state GEC with a target capacity of 9,700 ckm transmission lines and 22,600 MVA capacity sub-stations is expected to be completed by June 2022.

8. Several bio-energy schemes are also under implementation by the MNRE such as the Programme on Energy from Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Wastes/ Residues, scheme to support Promotion of Biomass based cogeneration in sugar mills and other industries, Biogas Power (Off-Grid) Generation and Thermal application Programme (BPGTP), and New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP).


On India's 75th Independence Day, the Prime Minister announced the launch of National Hydrogen Mission (NHM) and stated the goal to make India a global hub for Green Hydrogen production and export.

Hydrogen, like electricity, is an energy carrier that must be produced from another substance. Hydrogen can be produced-separated-from a variety of sources including water, fossil fuels, or biomass and used as a source of energy or fuel. Hydrogen has the highest energy content of any common fuel by weight (about three times more than gasoline), but it has the lowest energy content by volume (about four times less than gasoline).

The Mission proposes a framework for, inter alia, creating demand for Green Hydrogen in sectors such as petroleum refining and fertilizer production, support for indigenous manufacturing of critical technologies, research and development activities, and an enabling policy and regulatory framework. The aim is to develop India as a global hub for manufacturing of hydrogen and fuel cells technology across the value chain.

 Major activities envisaged under the mission include creating volumes and infrastructure; demonstrations in niche applications including transport and industry; goaloriented research & development; facilitative policy support; and putting in place a robust framework for standards and regulations for hydrogen technologies. The mission aims to aid the Government in meeting its climate targets and making India a green hydrogen hub. This will help in meeting the target of production of five million tonnes of Green hydrogen by 2030 and the related development of renewable energy capacity.

Hydrogen and Ammonia are envisaged to be the future of fuels and are envisaged to replace fossil fuels in the years to come. One of the major requirements of environmentally sustainable energy security of the nation is production of these fuels by using power from renewable energy sources. This is known as Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia. Transitioning to Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia is one of the major requirements for reduction of emissions. In this regard, a Green Hydrogen Policy has been framed by the Ministry of Power for compliance and implementation by concerned stakeholders.

The Hon'ble Prime Minister aims to transform India into an energy independent nation by 2047 where Green Hydrogen will play an active role as an alternate fuel to petroleum/fossil based products.

 Other Policies and Initiatives

·         Waiver of Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges for inter-state sale of solar and wind power for projects to be commissioned by June 30, 2025. 

·         Keeping in view India's longterm goals of decarbonising the electricity systems, and achieving energy security, and in keeping with our international commitments, in July 2016, long term Renewable Purchase Obligation growth trajectory, uniformly applicable to all States/UTs up to the year 2021-22, was notified. Further, the Ministry of Power in January 2021 included Hydropower Purchase Obligation (HPO) within NonSolar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) and notified the long term updated RPO trajectory from 2019-20 to 2021-22, including HPO till 2029-30.

·         Competitive Bidding guidelines for procurement of solar and wind power have been notified under section 63 of Electricity Act, 2003. These Guidelines provide for standardization and uniformity of the procurement process and a risk-sharing framework between various stakeholders, thereby encouraging investments, enhancing bankability and improving profitability for projects. The Guidelines also facilitate transparency and fairness in the procurement processes which have resulted in the drastic fall in solar and wind power prices over the past few years. 

·         International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched by the Hon'ble Prime Minister and the President of France in 2015 at Paris, France. ISA is the first international intergovernmental organization to be headquartered in India. The objective is to increase deployment of solar energy technologies as a means for bringing energy access, ensuring energy security, and driving energy transition in its member countries.

·         One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG): The idea for the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative was put forth by the Hon'ble Prime Minister at the First Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in October 2018. The United Kingdom and India agreed to combine forces of the Green Grids Initiative and the OSOWOG initiative and jointly launch GGI-OSOWOG at the COP26 summit in November 2021. It envisions building and scaling interregional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe, leveraging the differences of time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions. OSOWOG will also help decarbonise energy production, which is today the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. OSOWOG is also aimed at addressing the issue of high cost of energy storage.

 India has a huge edge in green hydrogen production owing to its favourable geographic conditions and the presence of abundant natural elements. A shift to large-scale use of hydrogen fuel can help bolster India's geopolitical heft and support energy security.

Compiled by Annesha Banerjee and Anuja Bhardwajan

Source: PIB/ISA