HT Editorial | Is the renewable energy sector under stress? – editorials
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday that his government ensures that growth occurs without damaging the environment. While this is encouraging, there are fears about the sustainability of a sector that is key to clean development. According to the Science and Environment Center Annual Report 2020 of the State of the Environment of India, India’s renewable energy (RE) sector is losing strength. By December 2019, India’s total installed capacity of RE was only 86 gigawatts (GW), while the target is 175 (GW) capacity by 2022.
There has been a slowdown due to a combination of factors, from delays in auctions and renegotiation of energy purchase agreements to rising costs and delays in payments. Inadequate land infrastructure and poor financial health from the inconvenience are making the situation worse. The government has maintained that it is confident in achieving its objectives. But this will be a challenge. Between 2014 and 2018, the RE sector grew from 2.6 GW to 28 GW. India will now have to install 37.8 GW of sunroof, 32.1 GW of solar energy and 23.3 GW of wind power capacity in just two and a half years to reach the target. To do this, there must be a mega impulse to restore the sanctity of auctions, and new mechanisms to manage the risks of discomfort must be explored. To address land acquisition, the government could think of placing ER infrastructure on degraded lands. Modi recognizes the centrality of renewable energy. It is important to translate that in the field.