On The Horizon — Renewable Energy In Asia: India

1. What are the driving factors for increasing renewable energy production in India?

India’s power generation sector has been dominated by conventional energy. As per data released by the Central Electricity Authority in February 2011, if one looks at the current installed capacity, around 65 percent is constituted by thermal power (coal based and gas based), 22 percent by hydro-electricity power, 2.8 percent by nuclear power, and 10.7 percent by renewable energy.

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, a total grid interactive renewable power generation capacity of around 18842 MW has been set up as of 31 January 2011, which is over 11 percent of the total power generation installed capacity from all sources in the country. The Indian government has set a target of achieving 85 GW of renewable power by 2022, including 20 GW from solar energy.

There has been realization globally that as conventional energy reserves are limited and are being rapidly depleted, there is a need to tap alternative sources of nonconventional and renewable energy. There has also been a global shift to clean energy with nations signing conventions such as the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol.

However, India faces formidable challenges in meeting its future energy needs. Efforts by the public sector to stimulate production to bridge the demand/supply gaps have led to issues such as environment, energy security, availability, and efficiency taking a back seat.

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