India looks to invest $1 billion into renewable energy over coming few years
$1 billion, not $1 million. India has also increased its renewable energy capacity target from 22 gigawatts by 2022 to 100 gigawatts by 2019.
These announcements are somewhat staggering. I’ve long said that developing countries are going to leapfrog the giant thermal power plants of and go straight into the decentralized, renewable energy (especially solar energy) future. Over 1.2 billion people around the world are still without electricity, and 400 million of them are in India. Many more don’t have access to reliable, consistent electricity. Diesel generators no longer compare to solar on a cost basis, and pay-as-you-go programs have made solar more accessible to low-income families in the developing world. Furthermore, it was recently reported that solar in India is cheaper than imported coal.
Clearly, the current Indian leadership is a big fan of this idea, and is looking to speed up the growth of solar as well as wind, which is often the lowest-cost option for electricity on the wholesale market. Aside from the big solar energy target noted above, the wind energy target is 40 gigawatts by 2019, a doubling of current capacity.
Strong renewable energy investment was a big campaign point and early focus of Prime Minister Modi, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this kind of aggression.
A “Renewable Energy Act” (perhaps with a different name) modeled after Germany’s historically strong Renewable Energy Act is supposed to be unveiled by the Indian government early in 2015.
So, basically, we’re going to have to wait for more details on how the Indian government aims to achieve its tremendous renewable energy goals, but word on the street is that it’s going to be quite comprehensive and integrated.