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Rapidly Growing India Sets Ambitious Renewable Energy Targets

13 May

The use of energy in non-OECD countries in Asia is posed to double between 1990 and 2035, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

India in particular is experiencing significant population growth and resultant increased demand for energy.  By 2017, the country’s electricity demand is expected to double, requiring the addition of nearly 100GW of power generating capacity.

Coal and oil currently supply 40% and 24% of India’s power needs, respectively, with natural gas also playing a role.  J.P. Morgan estimates that over the next few years, Indian imports of natural gas will increase by 139% while domestic production increases by 90%, leaving the nation with a natural gas shortage and in all likelihood a higher import bill.

To make matters worse, poor infrastructure  has made electricity very expensive.  On average, the cost of electricity in India is five times higher than in the United Kingdom.

In light of these varied energy challenges, India has begun to focus seriously on developing domestic renewable energy resources.

At present, renewables account for 11% of all installed power capacity in India, with about 20GW installed. Earlier this year, India quadrupled its solar energy target, now aiming to develop 20GW of solar by 2022.   Ten percent of this targeted capacity will be off-grid distributed capacity to serve rural communities which currently lack access to the electricity grid.

Tata, the largest power utility in India, is reportedly seeking an additional 150MW of wind power for its portfolio.  It aims to increase production of solar energy tenfold from current levels, based on a report by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.

According to the Renewable Energy Secretary Uma Shankar, the Indian government will set an ambitious short-term target of 17GW in new capacity over the next six years; a plan that would nearly double the amount of renewable energy in the country. To achieve this target, up to $33.8 billion in new capital will be required.  Read more…

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