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India misses Renewable Energy: Parliamentary panel

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure/Environment/Conservation

 

Source: TH

Context: A parliamentary panel has attributed the low installation of solar roof-top and wind energy projects as key reasons for the shortfall in achieving India’s renewable energy (RE) capacity target of 175 GW by 2022.

 

Background:

  • India set an ambitious target (in 2014) of installing 175 GW of RE capacity by the year 2022, which included 100 GW (solar), 60 GW (wind), 10 GW (bio-power), and 5 GW (small hydropower).
  • While India has enhanced its promises to RE in the “Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Plan” presented at the UNFCCC COP27, it appears that the nation will fall short of one of its initial pledges in the RE sector.

 

Findings of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy:

  • A RE capacity of90 GW (69% of the overall target) has been installed in the country as of December 31, 2022.
  • This is a commendable achievement, as the RE installed capacity has increased by more than 236% since 2014.
  • Whatever shortfall has occurred in achieving the target is because of the low installation of solar roof-tops and wind energy projects.
    • Against 40 GW, only 7.40 GW of rooftop solar projects could be installed in the country.
    • Against 60 GW, the cumulative installed capacity of wind power is 41.93 GW.

 

Issues responsible for deficient performance under the solar rooftop programme:

  • Non-availability of information at the grass root level,
  • Lack of awareness about this scheme amongst the masses,
  • The apathy of discoms, etc.

 

Recommendations:

  • Keeping in view India’s commitment to increase its non-fossil fuel-based energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) must ramp up its pace for the timely achievement of targets.
  • A strict timeline should be imposed for approvals/rejection of applications, installation of net-metre, an inspection of the system, etc., by the discoms.
    • As of Feb 2023, out of 43,171 applications received on the National Portal, 18437 – were approved by DISCOMs, 3031 – were rejected on technical grounds and the rest are pending.
  • Discoms may be incentivised to allay their concerns about losing their high-paying customers as a result of the installation of solar rooftops.
  • The MNRE should increase its fund absorption capacity and focus on exhaustive utilization of the budgetary allocation.
    • In the Union Budget 2023-24, Rs 10,222 crore has been allocated to MNRE with an increase of 45% against the Revised Estimates of 2022.

 

Insta Links:

Solar energy is not the best option for India

 

Mains Links:

Give an account of the current status and the targets to be achieved pertaining to renewable energy sources in the country. Discuss in brief the importance of the National Programme on Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). (UPSC 2016)