Scaling up Renewables for the Make in India growth story

The scaling up of Renewable energy is imperative to the success and growth of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. With government’s thrust, the country is experiencing positive winds of change in the Energy sector particularly in Renewables. Clean energy sector is already contributing ~13% of India’s total installed power capacity which is mainly driven by over 32 GW of Wind power. The government has set an ambitious target of 175 GW of Renewable energy capacity by 2022 in order to provide 24/7 power to all and achieve energy security in an environmentally sustainable way. Indeed, India has the potential and capability to lead the global transition to renewable energy sources and become the renewable energy technology hub to the world. What we require now is policy predictability and execution.

I believe, renewable industry can play two pivotal roles in actualizing the vision of ‘Make in India’ initiative.

  1. India can be transformed into a manufacturing hub for renewable energy technologies: There is enormous scope for indigenizing technology and component manufacturing. India is still heavily reliant on imports especially for Solar PV cells and other components. By securing the supply chain for Wind, Solar and other Renewable technologies in India, we can not only reduce the cost of these technologies, but also create value additions and employment in the country. This would act as a GDP multiplier as seen in Europe and China
  2. Renewables energy is key to competitiveness of Indian manufacturing and exports. Take any major Industry in India, power constitutes as a critical input and cost. Owing to rapidly declining cost of energy from renewables, renewable energy sources such as Wind is less expensive than the prevailing commercial or industrial tariff. In fact, many corporates, Public sector units and Small and Medium enterprises such as in textiles have already tapped the benefits of Wind power to hedge their energy costs. Indian industries can hedge 25 years of their energy costs by investing into Wind or Solar. Therefore, to develop a strong manufacturing and export base with global competitiveness, we need large scale renewable energy base in India.

I suggest some key measures to boost renewable energy and wind energy in particular.

  1. Availability of grid and land infrastructure at state level is a concern and the state governments need to invest in that area well in advance based on available wind and solar resources in the state.
  2. Renewable energy needs large-scale funding so Banks and Financial Institutions should earmark a certain percentage of finance for Renewable Energy projects and finance should be available for longer period of 20 years. This will ensure lower cost of energy which will benefit the end consumer.
  3. Renewable Energy is the key catalyst for economic growth of our country and development of renewable energy such as Wind is vital to attract domestic manufacturing in the country, rural employment through projects and operation and maintenance services
  4. It is imperative for the industry players to raise the quality standards and asset value optimization efforts. From the Wind energy perspective, we need to introduce many more innovative products that can harness energy from low wind sites at a competitive cost. Turbines with advanced control systems, improved scheduling and forecasting, digitally controlled smart grids and storage systems are also required in order to smoothen out variability.
  5. We have numerous opportunities to bring down the life cycle cost of energy from wind further by leveraging technology and optimizing supply chain.

The success of ‘Make in India’ needs long term and integrated policy approach amongst all stakeholders- India Inc, policy makers, and academia amongst others. I am confident, with a collaborative approach the Indian renewable sector will grow manifold and India can emerge as the innovation and manufacturing hub for renewables.