Renewable Energy Identified as One of Core Sectors for the ‘Make In India’ Initiative : Shri Amitabh Kant

For a rapidly urbanising India, energy security is a key challenge that needs to be met at the earliest . This was stated by Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), at a session of RE-INVEST 2015 titled ‘Make In India – Renewable Energy Focus’ The urgency of the issue is evident from the fact that India’s urban population would increase manifold and there should be an additional incentive for spurring investments into building infrastructure for renewable energy to provide energy security. This should also boost the manufacturing sector as a whole.

“The key challenge for India is to grow at 9-10% per annum for three decades or more, to be able to create jobs for a young population. The second challenge is – India is urbanising rapidly. These challenges of growth can only be met if the manufacturing sector grows at 13-14% per annum. India has largely grown through services. You can’t grow without energy and it is important to understand that, in India’s case, you cannot grow without renewable energy,” said Shri Amitabh Kant.

India’s current renewable energy portfolio stands at 33.79 GW out of a total of 254 GW of installed power capacity, said Shri Kant, and noted that the huge potential resource of 895 GW from commercially exploitable resources had resulted in renewable energy being identified as one of 25 sectors for the ‘Make In India’ initiative.

“You need to create a complete ecosystem for this. 70 percent of the country’s solar content is imported and coming in from China and the US. In the wind sector, manufacturing capacity is 10 GW and caters to rural markets mainly even if numerous companies have set up operations. In the small hydro sector, we have installed capacity of 3.8 GW as against an estimated potential of 20 GW,” he said.

Shri Kant and other members of the panel believe that renewables holds massive financial promise for investors since India is aiming to expand energy generation from renewables to 100 GW over the next five years. “There’s $100 billion to tap. It’s important to understand that the US and Europe have already experienced urbanisation. In China, it’s now flattening, but in India it’s only just begun and this raises challenges and opportunities in energy security,” said Shri Amitabh Kant.

The Secretary added that feed-in tariffs, portfolio standards, better evacuation infrastructure and moving away from predictive buying and selling are some of the issues that had to be looked into to help grow the renewables sector’s footprint in energy generation. India could also learn from the incentive schemes used in the US, Europe and China, such as tax rebates as well as financial instruments like green bonds.

“We need to ensure that renewable energy generation expansion by mandating a percentage of the grid supply that must be sourced from renewables. Since we are talking about size, scale and speed, we need to get over the technological barriers which remain because of poor evacuation infrastructure. Take wind, many assets lie unused because generated power is not being evacuated and not being sold. If we get this and net metering structure right, then it’ll be successful. Also, with open access smart infrastructure not in place, renewable generation cannot be aggregated and the buying and selling is predictive. Hence, the back end needs to be put right,” he stated.

Mr Adnan Amin, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency, supported Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ campaign in regards to renewable energy stressing that India is the fourth largest consumer of energy worldwide today. “This is expected to double by 2030 so there must be a focus on renewables,” he said.

Mr Ajay Goel, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Power Solar, believes that the thrust should not just be on manufacturing in India but also ‘Innovate In India’ which will “allow us to leverage our human capital and intellect”.

Other speakers in the session included Mr A.K. Jain (Chairman & Managing Director, Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Ltd), Mr Deepak Puri (Chairman & Managing Director, Moser Baer India Ltd),Mr Gao Jifan (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Changzhou Trina Solar Ltd), Mr Maria van der Hoeven (Executive Director, International Energy Agency), Mr Rakesh Bakshi (Managing Director, RRB Energy Ltd) and Mr Ramesh Kymal (Managing Director, Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd).