Coal generates 70% of India’s electricity, but Narendra Modi, who is the Prime Minister of India has promised that by the year 2030, India will have produced more energy from solar as well as other renewables than it does currently. “First, India’s non-fossil energy capacity will be increased to 500 gigawatts. Second, by 2030, renewable energy will account for half of our energy requirements,” Modi stated at COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Officials believe the arid region of Rajasthan, where the Bhadla Park covers an area nearly the San Marino’s size, has 325 bright days each year, enabling it ideal for solar power revolution. Authorities have taken advantage of the sparsely populated area, stating that local residents have been displaced to a minimum. Robots remove dust and grit from an anticipated 10 million solar panels today, while a couple of hundred humans keep an eye on them.
The need for a greener future is driving this effort. India, with 1.3 billion people and on track to overtake China as world’s most populous nation, has a growing and insatiable desire for energy while also being at the forefront of climate change. As per International Energy Agency (IEA), it will need to build a power infrastructure the size of Europe’s in the next 20 years to meet the demand for its growing population, but it will also need to address harmful quality of air in its major cities.
“India is one of the world’s most susceptible countries to climate change, which is why it is making such a major push on renewables to decarbonize the power sector while simultaneously reducing air pollution,” stated Arunabha Ghosh, who is a climate policy expert with the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water. However, analysts say the UK, which is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, is still a long way from achieving its green goals, with coal projected to remain a major source of energy in the coming years.
Although India’s green energy sector has grown fivefold in just over ten years to reach 100 this year, it now requires to grow at the same rate to accomplish its 2030 objectives. Bhadla Solar Park, one of the world’s largest, is cited by proponents as an instance of how technology, innovation, and private and public funding can propel rapid change.
“There are huge tracts of terrain where there isn’t a single blade of grass.” You can no longer see the ground. All you see are solar panels. Subodh Agarwal, who works as Rajasthan’s additional chief secretary in charge of energy, said, “It’s such a significant turnaround.” Authorities are enticing renewable energy companies to locate in the “desert state” region. Demand, according to Agarwal, has “increased” since 2019.
“Rajasthan will be different this time.” “The next ten years is going to be the solar state,” he said. According to forecasts from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), coal-propelled power for the purpose of electricity generation could reach a peak by 2024 if the current trend continues.
Solar power currently accounts for 4% of total electricity generation. Based on present policy, the IEA predicted that coal and solar will converge at around 30% apiece by 2040, before Modi’s announcement.